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Tire particles can impact fresh water

New modelling by UBC Okanagan researchers suggests an increasing amount of microplastics — fragments from tires and roadways — are ending up in lakes and streams. The UBCO School of Engineering researchers developed a conceptual framework to examine the potential contamination originating from the regular use of vehicles on roads and highways. Their findings suggest …

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Western wildfires spark stronger storms in downwind states

Typically, western wildfires and storms in the Central U.S. are separated by seasons. As blazes begin earlier each year, however, the two events now strike closer together. Earth scientist Jiwen Fan, a Laboratory Fellow at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, began investigating a relationship between the two phenomena when she noticed that …

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Endangered birds can be protected from predators with chemical camouflage

Predator control is a common challenge in areas where the prey populations, such as ground-nesting waterfowl, cannot withstand the impact of the increased number of predators. For example, in areas that lack apex predators, the red fox population can be overly large for its native habitat. In addition, red fox is an invasive species in …

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Advances in water-splitting catalysts

The lab of chemical and biomolecular engineer Haotian Wang at Rice’s George R. Brown School of Engineering has replaced rare and expensive iridium with ruthenium, a far more abundant precious metal, as the positive-electrode catalyst in a reactor that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. The lab’s successful addition of nickel to ruthenium dioxide (RuO2) …

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Ancient ocean methane not an immediate climate change threat

New research from scientists at the University of Rochester, the US Geological Survey, and the University of California Irvine is the first to directly show that methane released from decomposing hydrates is not reaching the atmosphere. The researchers, including John Kessler, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and DongJoo Joung, a …

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Methane-eating ‘borgs’ have been assimilating earth’s microbes

Last year, a team led by Jill Banfield discovered DNA structures within a methane-consuming microbe called Methanoperedens that appear to supercharge the organism’s metabolic rate. They named the genetic elements “Borgs” because the DNA within them contains genes assimilated from many organisms. In a study published today as the cover item in Nature, the researchers …

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Future emissions from ‘country of permafrost’ significant, must be factored into global climate targets

But that’s only one possible future for the vast stores of carbon locked in the formerly perennially frozen but now-thawing ground in the Arctic. Using over a decade of synthesis science and region-based models, a new study led by Northern Arizona University and the international Permafrost Carbon Network and published in Annual Review of Environment …

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Economic losses from hurricanes become too big to be offset by the US if warming continues

“Tropical cyclones draw their energy from ocean surface heat. Also, warmer air can hold more water which eventually can get released in heavy rains and flooding that often occur when a hurricane makes landfall,” says Robin Middelanis from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Potsdam University, lead author of the study. “It’s …

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