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Eco-news archive: January-February 2008

Pine Island Glacier
Antarctic glaciers surge to ocean
(Feb 24, 2008)

UK scientists working in Antarctica have found some of the clearest evidence yet of instabilities in the ice of part of West Antarctica. If the trend continues, they say, it could lead to a significant rise in global sea level. The new evidence comes from a group of glaciers covering an area the size of Texas, in a remote and seldom visited part of West Antarctica.

Read more. Source: BBC

hammerhead shark
Shark species face extinction amid overfishing and appetite for fins
(Feb 18, 2008)

Nine more species of shark are to be added to the endangered list as scientists warn that oceans are being emptied of the fish by overfishing and finning. The scalloped hammerhead shark, which has declined by 99% over the past 30 years in some parts of the world, is particularly vulnerable and will be declared globally endangered on the World Conservation Union (IUCN) list.

Read more. Source: Guardian

map of human impact on the world's oceans
Map shows toll on world's oceans
(Feb 14, 2008)

Only about 4% of the world's oceans remain untouched by human activity, according to the first detailed global map of human impacts on the seas. A study in Science journal says climate change, fishing, pollution and other human factors have exacted a heavy toll on 40% of the world's waters. Only remote icy areas near the poles are relatively pristine, but they face threats as ice sheets melt, they warn.

Read more. Source: BBC

Pacific plastic vortices
The world's rubbish dump: a garbage tip that stretches from Hawaii to Japan
(Feb 5, 2008)

A "plastic soup" of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean is growing at an alarming rate and now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States, scientists have said. The vast expanse of debris – in effect the world's largest rubbish dump – is held in place by swirling underwater currents.

Read more. Source: The Independent

Climate 'could devastate crops'
(Feb 1, 2008)

Climate change could cause severe crop losses in South Asia and southern Africa over the next twenty years, a study in the journal Science says. The findings suggest southern Africa could lose more than 30% of its main crop, maize, by 2030. In South Asia losses of many regional staples, such as rice, millet and maize could top 10%, the report says.

Read more. Source: BBC

ocean waves
Climate 'clearly out of balance'
(Jan 25, 2008)

The world's climate is "clearly out of balance and is warming", the world's largest society of Earth and space scientists has said in a statement. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) warned that changes to the Earth's climate system were "not natural". Changes in temperature, sea level and rainfall were best explained by the increased concentration of greenhouse gases from human activities, it added.

Read more. Source: BBC

boat on the Mediterranean
Warning on rising Med Sea levels
(Jan 19, 2008)

The level of the Mediterranean Sea is rising rapidly and could increase by up to half a metre in the next 50 years, scientists in Spain have warned. A study by the Spanish Oceanographic Institute says levels have been rising since the 1970s with the rate of increase growing in recent years. It says even a small rise could have serious consequences in coastal areas.

Read more. Source: BBC

Amazonia deforestation
Destruction of rainforest accelerates despite outcry
(Jan 18, 2008)

The destruction of the Amazon rainforest has surged in the past four months, raising the prospect of 2008 being a disastrous year for the world's most important eco-system, a senior Brazilian government scientist has warned. Dr Carlos Nobre, a scientist with a government agency that monitors the Amazon said thousands of square miles of rainforest had been destroyed since October, after four years in which deforestation rates had begun to slow.

Read more. Source: The Independent

Tata Nano
The environmental impact of India's Nano car
(Jan 12, 2008)

It may be the world's cheapest car, but is this the direction that India's promising engineering industry should be taking? Tata Motors this week launched the Tata Nano, a compact, shoe-boxy sort of car, with four tiny wheels and one wing mirror.

Read more. Source: New Scientist


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