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Eco-news archive: July-August 2009





axolotl
Axolotl verges on wild extinction
(Aug 28, 2009)


The amphibian that never grew up is on the verge of going extinct in the wild. New survey work suggests that fewer than 1,200 Mexican axolotls remain in its last stronghold, the Xochimilco area of central Mexico. The axolotl is a type of salamander that uniquely spends its whole life in its larval form.

Read more. Source: BBC

Buildings with algae units
'Artificial trees' to cut carbon
(Aug 27, 2009)


Engineers say a forest of 100,000 "artificial trees" could be deployed within 10 to 20 years to help soak up the world's carbon emissions. The trees are among three geo-engineering ideas highlighted as practical in a new report. The authors from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers say that without geo-engineering it will be impossible to avoid dangerous climate change.

Read more. Source: BBC

Endangered frog
Launch for amphibian 'life raft'
(Aug 27, 2009)


Conservationists have launched a new initiative aimed at safeguarding the world's amphibians from extinction. The Amphibian Survival Alliance will bring together existing projects and organisations, improving co-ordination, scientific research and fund-raising. About a third of amphibian species are threatened with extinctions.

Read more. Source: BBC

Earth from space. Image: NASA
Global warming could change Earth's tilt
(Aug 21, 2009)


Warming oceans could cause Earth's axis to tilt in the coming century, a new study suggests. The effect was previously thought to be negligible, but researchers now say the shift will be large enough that it should be taken into account when interpreting how the Earth wobbles.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Methane bubbles observed by sonar, escape from sea bed as temperatures rise
Methane seeps from Arctic sea bed
(Aug 19, 2009)


Scientists say they have evidence that the powerful greenhouse gas methane is escaping from the Arctic sea bed. Researchers say this could be evidence of a predicted positive feedback effect of climate change. As temperatures rise, the sea bed grows warmer and frozen water crystals in the sediment break down, allowing methane trapped inside them to escape.

Read more. Source: BBC

Pine Island glacier
Antarctic glacier 'thinning fast'
(Aug 14, 2009)


One of the largest glaciers in Antarctica is thinning four times faster than it was 10 years ago, according to research seen by the BBC. A study of satellite measurements of Pine Island glacier in west Antarctica reveals the surface of the ice is now dropping at a rate of up to 16m a year. Since 1994, the glacier has lowered by as much as 90m, which has serious implications for sea-level rise.

Read more. Source: BBC

The eye of a hurricane. Image: NASA
'Many hurricanes' in modern times
(Aug 14, 2009)


Hurricanes in the Atlantic are more frequent than at any time in the last 1,000 years, according to research just published in the journal Nature. Scientists examined sediments left by hurricanes that crossed the coast in North America and the Caribbean. The record suggests modern hurricane activity is unusual – though it might have been even higher 1,000 years ago.

Read more. Source: BBC

oil platform
Warning: Oil supplies are running out fast
(Aug 3, 2009)


The world is heading for a catastrophic energy crunch that could cripple a global economic recovery because most of the major oil fields in the world have passed their peak production, a leading energy economist has warned. Higher oil prices brought on by a rapid increase in demand and a stagnation, or even decline, in supply could blow any recovery off course, said Dr Fatih Birol, the chief economist at the respected International Energy Agency.

Read more. Source: The Independent

Satellite images of polar ice sheets taken in July 2006 and July 2007 showing the retreating ice during the summer
Revealed: the secret evidence of global warming
(Jul 26, 2009)


Graphic images that reveal the devastating impact of global warming in the Arctic have been released by the US military. The photographs, taken by spy satellites over the past decade, confirm that in recent years vast areas in high latitudes have lost their ice cover in summer months. The pictures, kept secret by Washington during the presidency of George W Bush, were declassified by the White House last week.

Read more. Source: The Observer

a crack in the Petermann glacier
Arctic glacier to lose Manhattan-sized 'tongue'
(Jul 15, 2009)


The biggest glacier in the Arctic is on the verge of losing a chunk of ice the size of Manhattan. A group of scientists and climate change activists who are closely monitoring the Petermann glacier's ice tongue believe the rapid flow of ice is in part due to warm ocean currents moving up along the coast of Greenland, fuelled by global warming.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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