Environment 

Microplastics Contaminate Snow from Alps to Arctic

By Jacqueline Mattos Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that pollute the environment and can range from 0.05 to 5 millimeters in length. Bigger plastic items can be fragmented by the action of light, temperature fluctuations, ocean waves, or mechanical abrasion into smaller pieces that are widely dispersed, persistent in the environment, and sometimes accompanied by microorganisms. A recent article by Bergmann et al., published in the periodical Science Advances, assessed quantities of microplastics in the snow from the Alps and other northern European sites to the Arctic and found…

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Honeybees Are Attracted to Fungicides and Herbicides Environment Zoology 

Honeybees Are Attracted to Fungicides and Herbicides

Scientists found that honeybees are attracted to fungicides and herbicides. Honeybees have a deadly attraction to the chemicals in Roundup. By Neha Jain Whenever you eat fruits, vegetables, and nuts, take a moment to thank honeybees for their pollination services that contribute $17 billion to the US economy each year. In fact, almonds are almost solely dependent on honeybees for pollination. Populations of these much-needed pollinators have mysteriously plunged over the past decade, and many studies suggest a link to the use of neonicotinoid insecticides among other factors such as…

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global warming Environment Science Videos 

Global Warming: What’s Really Warming the Earth?

Dr. Joe Hanson explores the possible causes of global warming in this episode of It’s Okay To Be Smart.   References and Further Reading July 2016 is hottest on record NOAA’s State of the Climate July 2016 Bloomberg’s climate change data viz project Solar activity and temperature show opposite trend Milankovitch cycles (I left out eccentricity because it operates on scales so long that it doesn’t affect short-term climate change) Connecting climate models with actual temperature changes NASA Goddard’s Gavin Schmidt explains the history of the instrumental temperature record Last time…

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Marshall Islands Nuclear Test Radiation Environment Health 

Marshall Islands Radiation Still Too High Decades Later

By Emily Rhode @riseandsci In the years immediately following the end of World War II, the United States government conducted large-scale testing of nuclear weapons on a small group of islands in the remote Pacific Ocean. On March 1, 1954, the largest nuclear device ever tested by the United States was detonated at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Castle Bravo, as the bomb was known, created a mushroom cloud of radiation almost four and one-half miles wide. This was more than 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on…

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Curbing the Chainsaws: Recycled Smartphones Hunt Down Illegal Loggers Environment New Technologies 

Recycled Smartphones Hunt Down Illegal Loggers

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore In the summer of 2011 Topher White, founder of Rainforest Connection, a nongovernmental organization (NGO), visited the rain forests of Borneo as a tourist. He was shocked to learn that among the buzzing of insects, chirping of birds, and howling of gibbons, illegal loggers were sawing down a tree, just a few hundred meters away from a ranger station. The guards could not hear the noise of the chainsaw amid the cacophony of sounds. Deforestation accounts for the second-highest emission of greenhouse gases—even higher than that…

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Hot Towns, Urban Heat Islands. Sunlight: Solar as Equitable Energy Source. Environment 

Hot Towns, Urban Heat Islands

By Steven Spence It’s Hotter in the City Have you ever noticed on weather reports that cities seem to be hotter than the surrounding areas? That’s a result of the  Urban Heat Island (UHI) phenomenon. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, urban areas with 1 million or more residents have a mean annual temperature 1°C to 3°C warmer than their surroundings. At night, the effect is even more pronounced, with city temperatures reaching up to 12°C hotter. With more than half (54 percent) of the world’s population living in urban…

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Desert Dust Increases Harmful Marine Bacteria Biology Environment Oceanography 

Desert Dust Increases Harmful Marine Bacteria

By Emily Rhode, @riseandsci A new study out of the University of Georgia could help predict blooms of a common but deadly type of marine bacteria and change the way we view some the planet’s most important environmental processes. The genus Vibrio includes the bacteria that cause cholera. It can also cause gastroenteritis from shellfish consumption and wound infections from seawater in humans, as well as diseases in marine organisms. Dubbed “opportunitrophs,” the bacteria are known for their ability to reproduce and adapt to changes quickly. “Part of what makes these…

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