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Eco-news archive: July-August 2006

Greenland ice sheet
Melting ice dilutes northern seas
(Aug 30, 2006)

Freshwater pouring into northern oceans is slowly turning high-latitude waters less salty. Shrinking ice sheets and melting glaciers are partly responsible for the freshening effect, a review in the journal Science has confirmed. If salinity levels continue to drop, dramatic changes to the North Atlantic currents could occur.

Read more. Source: BBC

ozone hole over the Antarctic in 2005
Ozone hole stable, say scientists
(Aug 23, 2006)

Leading scientists in the United States say the hole in the ozone layer of the Earth's atmosphere above the Antarctic appears to have stopped widening. The ozone layer blocks the Sun's ultra-violet rays, exposure to which is harmful to humans, animals and plants. International agreements were reached to end the use of ozone-depleting chemicals called CFCs after the hole was discovered in 1986.

Read more. Source: BBC

map of global water availability
Map details global water stress
(Aug 22, 2006)

The alarming extent of water scarcity across the world is detailed in a map compiled by a leading environmental think tank. It shows two key types of scarcity; water is said to be either physically scarce or economically scarce. The map appears in a report by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) on the use of water in agriculture.

Read more. Source: BBC

forest fire
'More disasters' for warmer world
(Aug 15, 2006)

Rising temperatures will increase the risk of forest fires, droughts and flooding over the next two centuries, UK climate scientists have warned. Even if harmful emissions were cut now, many parts of the world would face a greater risk of natural disasters, a team from Bristol University said. The projections are based on data from more than 50 climate models looking at the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.

Read more. Source: BBC

margin of Greenland ice sheet
Greenland ice cap may be melting at triple speed
(Aug 11, 2006)

The world's second largest ice cap may be melting three times faster than indicated by previous measurements, according to newly released gravity data collected by satellites. The Greenland Ice Sheet shrank at a rate of about 239 cubic kilometres per year from April 2002 to November 2005, a team from the University of Texas at Austin found. In the last 18 months of the measurements, ice melting has appeared to accelerate, particularly in southeastern Greenland.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Sea-bed plan to store carbon
(Aug 9, 2006)

Storing carbon dioxide under the sea-bed could help to reduce global warming, according to US scientists. The proposals involve pumping the gas miles underground then injecting it under the sea floor. There is enough space for almost unlimited carbon emissions, a US team reports in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read more. Source: BBC

oil on Lebanese beach
Environmental 'crisis' in Lebanon
(Aug 1, 2006)

The United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) has expressed its "grave concern" about oil pollution in Lebanese coastal waters. An oil slick caused by Israeli bombing of the Jiyyeh power station now covers 80km (50 miles) of coast. Local environmental groups describe the slick as an "environmental disaster".

Read more. Source: BBC

Amazon rainforest 'could become a desert'
(Jul 23, 2006)

The vast Amazon rainforest is on the brink of being turned into desert, with catastrophic consequences for the world's climate, alarming research suggests. And the process, which would be irreversible, could begin as early as next year. Studies by the blue-chip Woods Hole Research Centre, carried out in Amazonia, have concluded that the forest cannot withstand more than two consecutive years of drought without breaking down.

Read more. Source: Independent

Earth facing 'catastrophic' loss of species
(Jul 20, 2006)

The Earth is on the brink of "major biodiversity crisis" fuelled by the steady destruction of ecosystems, a group of the world's most distinguished scientists and policy experts warn today. Nineteen leading specialists in the field of biodiversity, including Robert Watson, chief scientist at the World Bank, and Professor Georgina Mace, director of the Institute of Zoology, are calling for the urgent creation of a global body of scientists to offer advice and urge governments to halt what they call a potentially "catastrophic loss of species".

Read more. Source: Guardian

First half of 2006 warmest on record in U.S.
(Jul 18, 2006)

January through June was the warmest first half of any year in the continental United States since records began in 1895, U.S. government scientists reported Friday. The average January-June temperature was 51.8 degrees Fahrenheit – 3.4 degrees above the 20th century average, according to preliminary data reported by scientists at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

Read more. Source: MSNBC

black rhino
Extinction fear for black rhino
(Jul 11, 2006)

The West African black rhino appears to have become extinct, according to the World Conservation Union (IUCN). A mission to their last known habitat in northern Cameroon failed to find any rhinos or signs of their existence. The sub-species has declined in recent decades due primarily to poaching, which has also brought the northern white rhino close to extinction.

Read more. Source: BBC

Clarion call to save amphibians
(Jul 7, 2006)

Hundreds of amphibian species will become extinct unless a global action plan is put into practice very soon, conservationists warn. Campaigners are forming an Amphibian Survival Alliance, to raise $400m and carry through a rescue strategy. More than a third of all amphibian species are said to be in peril.

Read more. Source: BBC

compact fluorescent lighting
A bright idea: How changing light bulbs helps beat global warming
(Jul 3, 2006)

The simple use of current technology could have a dramatic impact on global warming, if only we would adopt it. The low-energy light bulb and other efficient lighting systems could prevent a cumulative total of 16 billion tons of carbon from being added to the world's atmosphere over the next 25 years, according to a report by the International Energy Agency.

Read more. Source: Independent


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