Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Most effective individual steps to tackle climate change aren't being discussed


Governments and schools are not communicating the most effective ways for individuals to reduce their carbon footprints, according to new research. Story here.

Insecticides damage bee socialization and learning skills, study reports


Wikimedia Commons

Researchers find that bees fed with thiacloprid (a neonic) significantly reduces their social interactions, suggesting that foraging bees that encounter high doses of insecticide in the field may be less likely to recruit others to nectar sources. Story here.

2.1 billion people lack safe drinking water at home, more than twice as many lack safe sanitation

World Health

Some 3 in 10 people worldwide, or 2.1 billion, lack access to safe, readily available water at home, and 6 in 10, or 4.5 billion, lack safely managed sanitation, according to a new report by WHO and UNICEF. Story here.

'When Rising Seas Hit Home': Hundreds of Towns Threatened by 2100

Common Dreams

Daunting new report shows coastal communities are at-risk and unprepared for flooding caused by climate change. Story here.

The cycle of mercury pollution in the Arctic tundra

Human activity has been a major source of mercury pollution in 

the Arctic, and a new study has identified the form most often 

taken by the pollutant: gaseous elemental mercury (GEM). The 

present News & Views article discusses how the Arctic tundra 

acts as a major sink for mercury, as the local plants uptake GEM 

from the atmosphere; and what this means for the global mercury 

cycle as global temperatures warm. Isotopic data collected in the 

original study by Obrist et al. reveal that GEM accounts for 90% of 

the mercury in plants, and the uptake of GEM by plants is 

especially high in the summer. Since plant matter decomposes 

into the soil, the Arctic soil may soon become a substantial 

mercury sink.

Anthropogenic activities have led to large-scale mercury pollution in the Arctic, but it remains uncertain whether wet deposition of oxidized mercury via precipitation and sea-salt-induced chemical cycling of mercury are responsible for the high Arctic mercury load. This paper presents a mass-balance study of mercury deposition and stable isotope data from the Arctic tundra, and finds that the main source of mercury is in fact derived from gaseous elemental mercury, with only minor contributions from the other two suggested sources. Consistently high soil mercury concentrations derived from gaseous elemental mercury along an inland-to-coastal transect suggest that the Arctic tundra might be a globally important mercury sink and might explain why Arctic rivers annually transport large amounts of mercury to the Arctic Ocean.

Iceberg almost the Size of Lake Winnipegosis breaks off Antarctic ice shelf


Satellite data confirms ‘calving’ of trillion-tonne, 5,800 sq km iceberg from the Larsen C ice shelf, dramatically altering the landscape. Story here.

The Larsen ice shelf as it was in 2004. NASA photo.