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New international standards needed to manage ocean noise

As governments and industries expand their use of high-decibel seismic surveys to explore the ocean bottom for resources, experts from eight universities and environmental organizations are calling for new global standards and mitigation strategies.

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UCI study finds dramatic increase in concurrent droughts, heat waves

Droughts and heat waves are happening simultaneously with much greater frequency than in the past, according to research by climate experts at the University of California, Irvine. Their findings appear today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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EPA’s Fracking Study Draws Criticism from the Public

Today is the deadline to submit public comments to the Environmental Protection Agency in response to their highly controversial study about fracking’s impact on drinking water. Food & Water Watch, Environmental Action, Breast Cancer Action and other advocacy groups delivered nearly 100,000 comments asking the EPA to redo their study with a higher level of scrutiny and oversight.

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US scientists warn leaders of dangers of thawing permafrost

As President Obama and high-level representatives of other nations converge in Anchorage, Alaska on August 30-31 for the Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience (GLACIER), hosted by the U.S. Department of State, top U.S. climate scientists urge policymakers to address the critical problem of the thawing permafrost in the Arctic region.

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Big Bow Fishing Tourney on Mississippi Leaves Disturbed Wake

Bow fishing, the fastest-growing extreme sport in the U.S., has no place on a national wildlife refuge, according to a complaint jointly filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and Friends of Effigy Mounds. The “World Bowfishing Tournament” held in late July on the Upper Mississippi River has drawn both citizen complaints and an enforcement review by a state fish and game agency as well as a call for new federal prohibitions.

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Prehistoric dogs learned new tricks as climate changed

Man-made climate change is expected to have a “significant effect” on the wildlife of the planet. And, if fossil evidence is anything to go by, it could seriously alter the course of evolution.

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USGS: Increasingly Severe Disturbances Weaken World’s Temperate Forests

A new paper published today in Science magazine has synthesized existing studies on the health of temperate forests across the globe and found a sobering diagnosis. Longer, more severe, and hotter droughts and a myriad of other threats, including diseases and more extensive and severe wildfires, are threatening some of these forests with transformation. Without informed management, some forests could convert to shrublands or grasslands within the coming decades.

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UCI, NASA Researchers Find Link Between Amazon Fire Risk, Devastating North Atlantic Hurricanes

Researchers from the University of California, Irvine and NASA have uncovered a remarkably strong link between high wildfire risk in the Amazon basin and the devastating hurricanes that ravage North Atlantic shorelines. The climate scientists’ findings appear in the journal Geophysical Research Letters near the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s calamitous August 2005 landfall at New Orleans.

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Examining the fate of Fukushima contaminants

An international research team reports results of a three-year study of sediment samples collected offshore from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in a new paper published August 18, 2015, in the American Chemical Society's journal, Environmental Science and Technology.

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Meat Food Waste has Greater Negative Environmental Impact Than Vegetable Waste

Approximately 31 percent of food produced in the U.S., or 133 billion pounds of food worth $162 billion, was wasted in 2011 according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Now, University of Missouri researchers have found that the type of food wasted has a significant impact on the environment. Although less meat is wasted (on average) compared to fruits and vegetables, the researchers found that significantly more energy is used in the production of meat compared to the production of vegetables. This wasted energy is usually in the form of resources that can have negative impacts on the surrounding environment, such as diesel fuel or fertilizer being released into the environment.

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Government Documents Reveal That Killing Cormorants Won't Help Columbia River Salmon

Conservation groups today called for an investigation after agency documents, released last week under court order, showed that killing double-crested cormorants will not benefit salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River Basin. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s own biologists found that fish not eaten by cormorants would be eaten by other predators, but nevertheless authorized the killing of more than 10,000 double-crested cormorants and destruction of more than 26,000 cormorant nests on East Sand Island near the mouth of the Columbia.

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Antarctic fur seals have unique 'scent profile' to recognise their pups

Researchers studying Antarctic fur seals have discovered their scent has a unique ‘profile’ which enables them to recognise their offspring and family members. Until now researchers thought voice recognition was mostly important for finding their young, but now it is proven that scent also plays a crucial part. The results are published this week (Monhttps://www.bas.ac.uk/wp-admin/post-new.php?post_type=news#day 10 August) in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Research shows catastrophic invertebrate extinction in Hawai'i and globally

Hawai'i has been called the "extinction capital of the world." But, with the exception of the islands' birds, there has until now been no accurate assessment of the true level of this catastrophic loss. Invertebrates (insects, snails, spiders, etc.) constitute the vast majority of the species that make up Hawai'i's formerly spectacularly diverse and unique biota. A team of researchers, including scientists from the Pacific Biosciences Research Center (PBRC) at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Howard University in Washington DC, and the French National Museum of Natural History in Paris, recently published the first rigorous assessment of extinction of invertebrates in Hawai`i.

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Chilean Astronomical Site Becomes World's First International Dark Sky Sanctuary

A sanctuary is a place that invites deep contemplation in a safe and stable environment. Few places in the world provide a better opportunity to enjoy and contemplate the starry heavens than Andean mountains of northern Chile. But even in this astronomy mecca lights can intrude to ruin the view, and thoughtful protection is needed as the nearby towns and cities grow in size.

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Wealthy countries may feel flooding effects more in the future

Today, many wealthy countries are able to mitigate, to some degree, their risk of delta flooding through vulnerability-reducing investments, but a new model suggests that this mitigation may not be sustainable in the long-term. Ultimately, wealthy countries could be feeling the strain of floods to a similar degree as developing countries.

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New Initiative: Massive Purchasing Group to Buy 1.4% of Earth in Order to Save the Planet

Prof. Uri Shanas of the University of Haifa-Oranim has launched an unusual new initiative: a massive, international, and democratic “purchase group” open to all that aims to save the Earth. “It is neither possible nor necessary to conserve the entire planet all the time,” Prof. Shanas explains. “But if we manage to conserve even a small percentage that is home to an unusual diversity of plant and animal life in danger of extinction, we can go some way to halting the current process of species extinction.” Prof. Shanas is using the crowdsourcing technique to raise the funds needed to launch the initiative.

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Backyard Mosquito Misting Systems Use False Advertising, Says Complaint to FTC

Automatic pesticide misting systems marketed to homeowners use false claims about their safety and effectiveness, according to a complaint filed today with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The complaint takes aim at advertising touting misting systems’ ability to kill mosquitos and ticks, as well as assurances that the insecticides used are safe.

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Greenhouse gases' millennia-long ocean legacy

Continuing current carbon dioxide (CO2) emission trends throughout this century and beyond would leave a legacy of heat and acidity in the deep ocean. These changes would linger even if the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration were to be restored to pre-industrial levels at some point in the future, according to a new Nature Climate Change paper from an international team including Carnegie's Ken Caldeira. This is due to the tremendous inertia of the ocean system.

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End-of-century Manhattan climate index to resemble Oklahoma City today

Climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions will alter the way that Americans heat and cool their homes. By the end of this century, the number of days each year that heating and air conditioning are used will decrease in the Northern states, as winters get warmer, and increase in Southern states, as summers get hotter, according to a new study from a high school student, Yana Petri, working with Carnegie's Ken Caldeira. It is published by Scientific Reports.

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Shifting Winds, Ocean Currents Doubled Endangered Galapagos Penguin Population

Shifts in trade winds and ocean currents powered a resurgence of endangered Galapagos Penguins over the past 30 years, according to a new study. These changes enlarged a cold pool of water the penguins rely on for food and breeding—an expansion that could continue as the climate changes over the coming decades, according to a new study led by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

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Glaciers melt faster than ever

The World Glacier Monitoring Service, domiciled at the University of Zurich, has compiled worldwide data on glacier changes for more than 120 years. Together with its National Correspondents in more than 30 countries, the international service just published a new comprehensive analysis of global glacier changes in the Journal of Glaciology. In this study, observations of the first decade of the 21st century (2001-2010) were compared to all available earlier data from in-situ, air-borne, and satellite-borne observations as well as to reconstructions from pictorial and written sources.

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When cars and wildlife collide: Virtual reality could prevent real-life road accidents

Roadside Animal Detection Systems (RADS), which use sensors to detect large animals on the road and to alert drivers by activating flashing lights on warning signs, could be the answer for preventing numerous wildlife casualties.

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Storm surge, high rainfall and rising sea levels provide a devastating 1,2,3 'compound flooding' punch to US coastal cities

Scientists at the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science investigating the increasing risk of 'compound flooding' for major U.S. cities have found that flooding risk is greatest for cities along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts when strong storm surge and high rainfall amounts occur together. While rising sea levels are the main driver for increasing flood risk, storm surges caused by weather patterns that favor high precipitation exacerbates flood potential.

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Cruelty to Endangered Orca Nets Lawsuit Against Miami Seaquarium

This morning, a coalition including the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), PETA, Orca Network, and Orca Network director Howard Garrett hit the Miami Seaquarium with a lawsuit contending that the facility’s imprisonment of suffering orca Lolita—currently held without the company of any others of her kind in a cramped tank with no protection from the harsh sun—constitutes a violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Under the protection of the ESA—which Lolita was granted following a successful petition from the coalition—her imprisonment and forced performances constitute an unlawful “take,” meaning that she is being harmed, harassed, or wounded.

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Climate change reduces coral reefs’ ability to protect coasts

Coral reefs, under pressure from climate change and direct human activity, may have a reduced ability to protect tropical islands against wave attack, erosion and salinization of drinking water resources, which help to sustain life on those islands. A new paper gives guidance to coastal managers to assess how climate change will affect a coral reef’s ability to mitigate coastal hazards.

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Shallow fracking raises questions for water, new Stanford research shows

The United States now produces about as much crude oil as Saudi Arabia does, and enough natural gas to export in large quantities. That's thanks to hydraulic fracturing, a mining practice that involves a rock-cracking pressurized mix of water, sand and chemicals.

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New source of lead in drinking water identified: Galvanized steel pipe coatings

When unsafe levels of lead are found in drinking water, the culprit has typically been lead pipes or lead-containing brass and bronze fittings, but in a new study researchers clearly show that lead present in the zinc coating of galvanized steel pipes can be a very significant long-term source of lead in water. Copper piping installed upstream of a galvanized steel pipe can worsen lead release from the steel's zinc coating, according to the study published in Environmental Engineering Science, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Environmental Engineering Science website until August 22, 2015.

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Global warming’s record-breaking trend continues

Forget talk of a slowdown in global warming. Scientists say the climate is heading smartly in the opposite direction, with 2014 proving to be a record-breaking year.

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Two Sea Shepherd Crewmembers Arrested In The Faroe Islands With Assistance Of Danish Navy

Two volunteer crewmembers from the Sea Shepherd ship, Sam Simon, have been arrested in the Faroe Islands.

Susan Larsen of the United States, driver of the small boat, Farley, and Tom Strerath of Germany, navigator of the same small boat, were arrested at approximately 0900 local time this morning.

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Ocean acidification may cause dramatic changes to phytoplankton

Oceans have absorbed up to 30 percent of human-made carbon dioxide around the world, storing dissolved carbon for hundreds of years. As the uptake of carbon dioxide has increased in the last century, so has the acidity of oceans worldwide. Since pre-industrial times, the pH of the oceans has dropped from an average of 8.2 to 8.1 today. Projections of climate change estimate that by the year 2100, this number will drop further, to around 7.8 -- significantly lower than any levels seen in open ocean marine communities today.

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