Every summer, the Gulf of Mexico is flooded with excess nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater treatment plants and farm fields along the Mississippi River basin. And every summer, those nutrients create a 'dead zone' in the Gulf. To address the issue, the US Environmental Protection Agency formed a task force and required 12 states to develop strategies to reduce agricultural runoff.
Researchers at Swansea University's Complex Flow Lab have been exploring the intricate shapes that emerge when air is injected into soil. Published in Physical Review Applied, these findings could one day be used to speed up the decontamination of industrial brownfield sites?which the United Kingdom currently has over 400,000 hectares of.
In their latest paper, published in the February issue of Nature Geoscience, Dr Philip Goodwin from the University of Southampton and Professor Ric Williams from the University of Liverpool have projected that if immediate action isn't taken, the earth's global average temperature is likely to rise to 1.5°C above the period before the industrial revolution within the next 17-18 years, and to 2.0°C in 35-41 years if the carbon emission rate remains at its present-day value.
Invasive species have diverse impacts in different locations, including biodiversity loss, as a result of native species being outcompeted for similar resources. A US research team studied the case of an aggressive Eurasian woodwasp that has recently established in North America and poses a threat to a native competitor species. In their paper, published in the open-access journal Neobiota, the scientists seek a solution for the seemingly rapid decline in the native wood-boring insect.
Shallow lakes in agricultural landscapes will emit significantly greater amounts of methane, mostly in the form of bubbles (ebullition) in a warmer world, which is a potential positive feedback mechanism to climate warming. Submerged plants are key predictors of methane ebullition. The combination of warming with the loss of plants appears to transform shallow lakes into methane bubbling machines.
An experiment using hundreds of plastic drifters in the Gulf of Mexico shows that rather than simply spread out, as current calculations would predict, many of them clumped together in a tight cluster.
Post-fire logging, rather than the wildfires themselves, is responsible for the steep decline in territory occupancy of the rare spotted owls living in the forests of California. The study's results coincide with the strong consensus among hundreds of US scientists opposing post-fire logging operations due to a wide range of ecological harms. The research is published in the open-access journal Nature Conservation.
Although the US and other countries have banned or restricted the use of bisphenol A (BPA) because of environmental and health concerns, it is still used in thermally printed receipts and labels. Now researchers report in a study in the ACS journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research that they have developed potentially safer polymers that could replace BPA for printed papers.
The study shows that sampling headwaters where streams form can identify which landscapes are resilient enough to handle the rigors of farming and which are vulnerable to leaching toxic residue into waterways.
A group of scientists from the Siberian Federal University (SFU, Krasnoyarsk, Russia) and the Nikolaev Institute of Inorganic Chemistry (NIIC, Novosibirsk, Russia) combined the useful properties of metal phthalocyanines and palladium membranes in order to create active layers in hydrogen detectors. This operation significantly increases the sensitivity of the sensors. The study is reported in the journals Dyes and Pigments and International Journal of Hydrogen Energy.