Sunday 15 December 2013

Arctic Summer Sea Ice volume increased

The bounce back in the extent of sea ice in the Arctic this summer was reflected also in the volume of ice.
Data from Europe's Cryosat spacecraft suggests there were almost 9,000 cu km of ice at the end of this year's melt season. This is close to 50% more than in the corresponding period in 2012.

But scientists caution against reading too much into one year's "recovery". "Although the recovery of Arctic sea ice is certainly welcome news, it has to be considered against the backdrop of changes that have occurred over the last few decades," said Prof Andy Shepherd of University College London, UK. "It's estimated that there were around 20,000 cu km of Arctic sea ice each October in the early 1980s, and so today's minimum still ranks among the lowest of the past 30 years,"

Saturday 14 December 2013

Yellowstone Volcano even more Colossal than we knew

The supervolcano that lies beneath Yellowstone National Park in the US is far larger than was previously thought, scientists report.

A study shows that the magma chamber is about 2.5 times bigger than earlier estimates suggested.The study team found the cavern stretches for more than 90km (55 miles), is up to 30km wide, and contains 200-600 cubic km of molten rock. It Reaches depths of between 2km and 15km (1 to 9 miles).

If the Yellowstone supervolcano were to blow today, the consequences would be catastrophic. Major eruptions happened 2.1 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago and 640,000 years ago.

The last one sent ash across the whole x6 of North America, and affected the planet’s climate.

Friday 15 November 2013

2013 one of the Warmest on record

This year is likely to be among the top 10 warmest on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

It continues a pattern of high temperatures blamed directly on man-made climate change.

All of the warmest years have been since 1998, and this year once again continues the underlying, long-term trend. The coldest years now are warmer than the hottest years before 1998.

Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases reached new highs in 2012, and are expected them to reach unprecedented levels by the end of 2013.

Thursday 14 November 2013

CO2 Emissions are turning the Oceans too Acid for many forms of life

The world's oceans are becoming acidic at an unprecedented rate and may be souring more rapidly than at any time in the past 300 million years.

Increasing acidification caused by human activities is adding 24 million tonnes of CO2 to the Oceans every day.Up to 30% of the Oceans species are unlikely to survive to 2100 if the acidification carries on at its present rate.The economic impact of the losses from aquaculture could be huge - the global cost of the decline in molluscs could be $130bn by 2100.

It's yet another environmental disaster in the making, which can be swept under the carpet by Politicians and Governments as there is no immediate and spectacular change that can be easily seen.

Monday 21 October 2013

Just 227 species account for half of Amazonia's trees

Despite being home to about 16,000 tree species, just 227 "hyperdominant" species account for half of Amazonia's total trees, a study suggests.

An international team of researchers found that the region was, in total, home to an estimated 390 billion trees.

Friday 18 October 2013

European Wildlife making a comeback

Some of Europe's key animals have made a comeback over the past 50 years, a report suggests.

Conservationists say species such as bears, wolves, lynx, eagles and vultures have increased in numbers.

They believe that protection, curbs on hunting and people moving away from rural areas and into cities have helped Europe's wildlife to recover.

The analysis was carried out by the Zoological Society of London, Birdlife and the European Bird Census Council.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Short-Haired Bumblebee reintroduced to England

The short-haired bumblebee started dying out in Britain in the 1980s and officially became extinct in 2000.

A reintroduction project saw queen bees brought over from Sweden. After two releases of queens at the RSPB's Dungeness reserve in Kent, offspring worker bees have been recorded there for the first time.

Short-haired bumblebees were once widespread across the south of England but declined as their wildflower rich grasslands disappeared.

Nikki Gammans, who leads the project, said: "This is a milestone for the project and a real victory for conservation. We now have proof that this bumblebee has nested and hatched young and we hope it is on the way to become a self-supporting wild species in the UK".

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Computer Game to Help Fight Ash Dieback

The public are being asked to help in the fight against ash dieback by playing a computer game that analyses genetic data on the disease.The Facebook game aims to use the power of social media to find a scientific solution to protecting ash trees from the Chalara fraxinea fungus.

Many of the UK's 80m ash trees are threatened by ash dieback.Scientists believe some trees may have natural immunity to Chalara and could be used to grow resistant forests.They hope to identify potential woodland survivors by studying the genetics of British ash trees.They are also looking at the genetics of the fungus to find out more about how it spreads.

Wednesday 14 August 2013

The State of Nature Report

The State of Nature report, compiled by 25 wildlife organisations - from the RSPB to the British Lichen Society suggests 60% of animal and plant species studied in the UK have declined in the past 50 years. Hedgehogs have declined by around a third since the millennium The small tortoiseshell butterfly has declined in abundance by 77% in the last ten years Corn cleavers, a flower found in arable fields, has undergone one of the most dramatic declines of any plant species and now only survives at the Rothamsted research station.

You can read the report and see what Sir David Attenborough has to say about it at The RSPB Website