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Eco-news archive: March-April 2010





gas flare in Nigeria
Visible from space, deadly on Earth: the gas flares of Nigeria
(Apr 27, 2010)


Shell's Opolo-Epie plant is set to join at least 100 other flares burning across the swamps, creeks and forests of this oil-producing region of Nigeria, filling the atmosphere with toxins, seeding the clouds with acid rain and polluting the soil. The gas flares, some of which have been burning constantly since the 1960s, are visible from space.

Read more. Source: The Independent

frosty field
Quiet sun puts Europe on ice
(Apr 15, 2010)


Brace yourself for more winters like the last one, northern Europe. Freezing conditions could become more likely: winter temperatures may even plummet to depths last seen at the end of the 17th century, a time known as the Little Ice Age. That's the message from a new study that identifies a compelling link between solar activity and winter temperatures in northern Europe.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

forest
GM viruses offer hope of future where energy is unlimited
(Apr 13, 2010)


Scientists have made a fundamental breakthrough in their attempts to replicate photosynthesis – the ability of plants to harvest the power of sunlight – in the hope of making unlimited amounts of "green" energy from water and sunlight alone. The researchers have assembled genetically modified viruses into wire-like structures that are able to use the energy of the sun to split water molecules into their constitute oxygen and hydrogen, which can then be used as a source of chemical energy.

Read more. Source: The Guardian

burning trees in Brazil
'World needs a barometer of life'
(Apr 9, 2010)


The world needs a "barometer of life" to prevent ecosystems and species being lost forever, scientists have warned. Existing schemes, they said, did not include enough species from groups such as fungi and invertebrates to provide a detailed picture of what is at risk. Writing in the journal Science, the researchers said the barometer would increase the number of species being assessed from almost 48,000 to 160,000.

Read more. Source: BBC

Earth
Lovelock: 'We can't save the planet'
(Mar 31, 2010)


Professor James Lovelock, the scientist who developed Gaia theory, has said it is too late to try and save the planet. The man who achieved global fame for his theory that the whole earth is a single organism now believes that we can only hope that the earth will take care of itself in the face of completely unpredictable climate change.

Read more. Source: BBC

forest
Forest loss slows, as China plants and Brazil preserves
(Mar 25, 2010)


The world's net rate of forest loss has slowed markedly in the last decade, with less logging in the Amazon and China planting trees on a grand scale. Yet forests continue to be lost at "an alarming rate" in some countries, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Its Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 finds the loss of tree cover is most acute in Africa and South America.

Read more. Source: BBC

Arctic sea ice
Wind contributing to Arctic sea ice loss, study finds
(Mar 22, 2010)


Much of the record breaking loss of ice in the Arctic ocean in recent years is down to the region's swirling winds and is not a direct result of global warming, a new study reveals. Ice blown out of the region by Arctic winds can explain around one-third of the steep downward trend in sea ice extent in the region since 1979, the scientists say.

Read more. Source: The Guardian

coral reef and its associated life
Humans driving extinction faster than species can evolve
(Mar 8, 2010)


For the first time since the dinosaurs disappeared, humans are driving animals and plants to extinction faster than new species can evolve, one of the world's experts on biodiversity has warned. Conservation experts have already signalled that the world is in the grip of the "sixth great extinction" of species, driven by the destruction of natural habitats, hunting, the spread of alien predators and disease, and climate change.

Read more. Source: The Guardian

Icebergs in Greenland
Climate change human link evidence 'stronger'
(Mar 5, 2010)


A review from the UK Met Office says it is becoming clearer that human activities are causing climate change. It says the evidence is stronger now than when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change carried out its last assessment in 2007. The analysis, published in the Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews Climate Change Journal, has assessed 110 research papers on the subject.

Read more. Source: BBC

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