New Lab to Speed Michigan Water Testing
A new laboratory at Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township aims to speed and improve the process of testing water at beaches in Michigan.
The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens and The Detroit News report the lab opened this week in Harrison Township following years of work to improve testing. The lab is part of a pilot project designed to help state officials plan for future water monitoring.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/new-lab-speed-michigan-water-testing
Town Would be First to Ban Fracking in Texas
Natural gas money has been good to the Texas city of Denton: it has new parks, a new golf course and miles of grassy soccer fields. The business district is getting a makeover, and the airport is bustling, too. For more than a decade, Denton has drawn its lifeblood from the huge gas reserves that lie beneath its streets. The gas fields have produced a billion dollars in mineral wealth and pumped more than $30 million into city bank accounts.
But this former farming center north of Dallas is considering a revolt. Unlike other communities that have embraced the lucrative drilling boom made possible by hydraulic fracturing, leaders there have temporarily halted all fracking as they consider an ordinance that could make theirs the first city in the state to permanently ban the practice.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/town-would-be-first-ban-fracking-texas
Research Underscores the Importance of Species
UC Santa Barbara doctoral candidate Caitlin Fong travels to French Polynesia often but not for vacation. She goes there to study a coral reef ecosystem influenced by human impacts such as overfishing and nutrient pollution.
Her work focuses not only on biological changes but also methods scientists use to determine within-group group responses to ecological processes. The findings are published in ESA Ecology, a journal of the Ecological Society of America.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/research-underscores-importance-species
The subseafloor is home to over one third of the bacteria on the planet, but up until recently it was unclear if this huge microbial biosphere was alive and dividing. Now, the same group that demonstrated this activity has shown that bacteria from the hostile sea-floor environment have adapted by over-activating stress response and DNA-repair mechanisms, to cope with the harsh conditions.
Subseafloor sediment contains the Earth’s largest habitat for microbial life – over one third of all the planets microbial biomass. By drilling deep into the sea floor and taking samples, it can be proven that the subseafloor contains a variety of microbial life forms, but it’s only in the last year that researchers have proven that sea floor microbes are actually active in in their natural sea-bed situation – it is difficult to analyze life forms that live hundreds of meters below the sea surface because of their low activity levels. A group of researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Univ. of Delaware developed techniques to analyze the messenger.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/subseafloor-bacteria-survive-over-activating-dna-repair
The international climate community is focused on completing negotiations on a new global agreement to address climate change, which will be decided by the end of 2015. Unfortunately, all indications are that negotiators will seek to simply advance many of the tried-and-failed approaches of the previous decades. It’s time for a fundamentally new approach to global climate change; one that looks beyond the staid approaches of years past and directly attacks the core problem: making clean energy cheaper than fossil fuels through proactive clean energy innovation policy.
Read complete report here: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/report-presents-framework-global-climate-policy
State officials say samples from a massive mound of dirt believed to have caused a nearby interstate bridge in Delaware to tilt show no dangerous contaminants.
State environmental official Tim Ratsep says that test results on the dirt showed only low levels of polyaromatic hydrocarbons, or uncombusted carbon. He says that is typical of soils next to roadways because of asphalt.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/chemical-analysis-dirt-clears-it-move
Image of the Week: South China Sea is Case Study for Protecting Oceans
A west Australian marine ecologist’s method of gauging the health of Australia’s oceans has been adopted by the United Nations World Ocean Assessment — which is responsible for assessing global ocean environmental conditions.
Trevor Ward from Perth-based Greenwood Consulting and Sydney Univ. of Technology developed the “expert elicitation” process while steering the marine component of Australia’s National State of Environment reports in 2011.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/image-week-south-china-sea-case-study-protecting-oceans
Humanity’s Environmental Footprint Isn’t Sustainable
Substantial, fundamental changes in the world economy are required to reduce humanity’s overall environmental footprint to a sustainable level. This is the conclusion of Arjen Hoekstra, professor of Water Management at the Univ. of Twente. He has published his findings in Science.
Hoekstra, mainly known for his work on the water footprint, has published the research together with his counterpart Thomas Wiedmann, from the Univ. of New South Wales in Australia. In Science, the authors describe how intertwined the global economy, politics, consumption and trade are in their effect on global land, water and raw material consumption and on the climate.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/humanitys-environmental-footprint-isnt-sustainable
Report Calls for Shutdown of High Seas Fisheries
Fish and aquatic life living in the high seas are more valuable as a carbon sink than as food and should be better protected, according to research from the Univ. of British Columbia.
The study found fish and aquatic life remove 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year, a service valued at about $148 billion U.S. This dwarfs the $16 billion U.S. paid for 10 million tons of fish caught on the high seas annually.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/report-calls-shutdown-high-seas-fisheries
Oil Spill in 1979 Still Aids Research
The site of one of the largest crude oil pipeline spills in Minnesota is still producing significant discoveries for researchers three decades later.
A Lakehead Co. pipeline northwest of Bemidji split on Aug. 20, 1979, and released about 440,000 gallons of crude oil. Today, the site attracts scientists from around the world who are collecting data from sensors that sample soil, water and air.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/oil-spill-1979-still-aids-research
Researchers Look South to Solve Ice Age Puzzle
The paleoclimate record for the last ice age — a time 21,000 years ago called the “Last Glacial Maximum” (LGM) — tells of a cold Earth whose northern continents were covered by vast ice sheets. Chemical traces from plankton fossils in deep-sea sediments reveal rearranged ocean water masses, as well as extended sea ice coverage off Antarctica. Air bubbles in ice cores show that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was far below levels seen before the Industrial Revolution.
While ice ages are set into motion by Earth’s slow wobbles in its transit around the sun, researchers agree that the solar-energy decrease alone wasn’t enough to cause this glacial state. Paleoclimatologists have been trying to explain the actual mechanism behind these changes for 200 years.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/researchers-look-south-solve-ice-age-puzzle
EU Reports Lowest Emissions on Record
The European Union’s greenhouse gas emissions continued to fall in 2012, as a 1.3 percent decrease cut emissions to 19.2 percent below 1990 levels, according to official data from the European Environment Agency (EEA). This puts the EU within reach of its 20 percent reduction target, with eight years to go until the 2020 deadline.
The findings come from final EU greenhouse gas emissions for 2012, reported to the United Nations. Emissions have decreased by 1,082 metric tons in the EU since 1990, which is more than the combined 2012 emissions of Italy and the UK. As a result, the EU was already very close to reaching its 2020 Climate and Energy Package target through domestic measures alone.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/eu-reports-lowest-emissions-record
Forests Increase Carbon Uptake in Response to Climate
A two-decade study of carbon storage changes within North American forests provides new evidence of the direct impact of climate change on ecosystem function, opening questions for how Australian ecosystems are responding.
Macquarie Univ.’ Trevor Keenan led the study across temperate forests of North America, where a strong trend of seasonal changes indicates an ecological adaption to extend the “green” seasons, thus enhancing ecosystem carbon uptake.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/forests-increase-carbon-uptake-response-climate
EPA Seeks to Cut Carbon Emissions by 30 Percent
The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday will roll out a plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030, setting the first national limits on the chief gas linked to global warming.
The rule, which is expected to be final next year, is a centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s plans to reduce the pollution linked to global warming, a step that the administration hopes will get other countries to act when negotiations on a new international treaty resume next year.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/epa-seeks-cut-carbon-emissions-30-percent
USDA Seeks Partners to Protect Soil, Water
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is teaming with businesses, nonprofits and others on a five-year, $2.4 billion program that will fund locally designed soil and water conservation projects nationwide, Secretary Tom Vilsack says.
Authorized by the new farm law enacted earlier this year, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program is intended to involve the private sector more directly in planning and funding environmental protection initiatives tied to agriculture. Officials provided details of the program to The Associated Press ahead of the announcement.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/05/usda-seeks-partners-protect-soil-water