Mittwoch, 19. Januar 2011

Science News summary Jan. 2011 / Neues aus der Wissenschaft Jan. 2011

This is a short overview of interesting science news for January 2011

Dies ist ein kurzer Überblick über Nachrichten aus der Wissenschaft für Januar 2011
A new analysis of the Northern Hemisphere's "albedo feedback" over a 30-year period concludes that the region's loss of reflectivity due to snow and sea ice decline is more than double what state-of-the-art climate models estimate. - The study was published online this week in Nature Geoscience. (read more)
Sakhalin Energy Investment Company -- part owned by Shell -- has announced plans to build a major oil platform near crucial feeding habitat of the Western North Pacific gray whale population. (read more)
The bodies of virtually all U.S. pregnant women carry multiple chemicals, including some banned since the 1970s and others used in common products such as non-stick cookware, processed foods and personal care products, according to a new study from UCSF. Published in Environmental Health Perspectives. (read more)
[...]scientists have long suspected that far more severe and longer-lasting cold intervals have been caused by changes to the circulation of the warm Atlantic ocean currents themselves.[...]The new results suggest that the Atlantic ocean is capable of radical changes in how it circulates on timescales as short as a few decades. published in Science (read more)
The researchers also found that that engaging in horticultural activities can provide people opportunities to forget worries, transfer attention, or experience another way of life, or 'escape'. That the respondents rated the dimension of 'escaping' so high emphasizes the importance of the restorative benefits of contact with nature, observed the scientists. (read more)
Global surface temperatures in 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest on record, according to an analysis released Jan. 12, 2011 by researchers at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. [...] In the new analysis, the next warmest years are 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2009, which are statistically tied for third warmest year. The GISS records begin in 1880. (read more)
Using detailed land analysis, Illinois researchers have found that biofuel crops cultivated on available land could produce up to half of the world's current fuel consumption. (read more)
The world's oceans are under siege. Conservation biologists regularly note the precipitous decline of key species, such as cod, bluefin tuna, swordfish and sharks. Lose enough of these top-line predators (among other species), and the fear is that the oceanic web of life may collapse. In a new paper in Geology, researchers at Brown University and the University of Washington used a group of marine creatures similar to today's nautilus to examine the collapse of marine ecosystems that coincided with two of the greatest mass extinctions in the Earth's history. [...] the implications could not be clearer today. [...] "In effect, we are currently responsible for the sixth major extinction event in the history of the Earth, and the greatest since the dinosaurs disappeared, 65 million years ago," the 2006 report states. (read more)
[...]cities and countries, like animals, have metabolisms that must burn fuel to sustain themselves and grow.[...] To support the expected world population in 2050 in the current US lifestyle would require 16 times the current global energy use, for example. Noting that 85 percent of humankind's energy now comes from fossil fuels, the BioScience authors point out that efforts to develop alternative energy sources face economic problems of diminishing returns, and reject the view of many economists that technological innovation can circumvent resource shortages. (read more)
New research indicates the impact of rising CO2 levels in Earth's atmosphere will cause unstoppable effects to the climate for at least the next 1000 years (read more)
Insects produce much smaller quantities of greenhouse gases per kilogram of meat than cattle and pigs. [...] Insect meat could therefore form an alternative to more conventional types of meat. (read more)
Most college students in the United States do not grasp the scientific basis of the carbon cycle -- an essential skill in understanding the causes and consequences of climate change, according to research published in the January issue of BioScience. (read more)
An international team of scientists has released data indicating that greenhouse gas uptake by continents is less than previously thought because of methane emissions from freshwater areas [like hydropower reservoirs] (read more)
The first in-depth national study of wild bees in the U.S. has uncovered major losses in the relative abundance of several bumble bee species and declines in their geographic range since record-keeping began in the late 1800s (read more)