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Thu, 24 Sep 2020
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Bizarro Earth

Studies Find Northeast Mercury Hotspots in the US

Concord - Mercury levels near some coal-burning power plants are five times higher than previous government estimates, calling into question how the Environmental Protection Agency identifies biological hotspots and prompting a Maine senator to propose a national monitoring system.

Mercury from coal-fired power plants and other sources is absorbed through the environment, concentrating as it moves upward in the food chain. Researchers said the greatest threat to humans comes from eating the fish. In 44 states, residents face varying forms of consumption advisories.

Better Earth

Are the dead porpoises on Scottish beaches more evidence of global warming?

HARBOUR porpoises are starving to death in the North Sea as a result of rising water temperatures, scientists have revealed.

Climate change has resulted in a dramatic decline in the numbers of sandeels - a major part of the staple diet of the porpoises.

Marine scientists have recorded a significant rise in the percentage of porpoise deaths due to malnutrition. They are also becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of the declining sandeel populations on other species such as the bottle-nosed dolphin and the minke whale, believing this could jeopardise the future of Scotland's booming whale-watching sector.

Bomb

Warm December Pushes 2006 to Record Year

WASHINGTON -- Last year was the warmest on record for the United States, with readings pushed over higher than normal by the unusual and unseasonably warm weather during the last half of December.

Preliminary data from the National Climatic Data Center listed the average temperature for the 48 contiguous states last year as 55 degrees Fahrenheit. That's 2.2 degrees warmer than average and 0.07 degree warmer than 1998, the previous warmest year on record.

Worldwide, the agency said, it was the sixth warmest year on record.

Bizarro Earth

Belching Bog Blamed For Citywide Gas Stink

Who cut the cheese?

New Jersey, apparently.

Across the length and breadth of Manhattan, people were asking, "What's that smell?" after a pungent odor like natural gas or rotten eggs blanketed the borough and northern New Jersey for three hours yesterday morning.

By evening, the answer seemed to be a stinky gas emitted by a New Jersey swamp or marsh.

Blackbox

Mystery as thousands of dead birds fall from sky in Australia

THOUSANDS of birds have fallen from the skies over Esperance and no one knows why.

Is it an illness, toxins or a natural phenomenon? A string of autopsies in Perth have shed no light on the mystery.

All the residents of flood-devastated Esperance know is that their "dawn chorus" of singing birds is missing.

Better Earth

Hot waters make it hard for fish to breathe

The warming of the oceans is having a cruel effect on some fish: they can't breathe fast enough to survive in a hotter home.

Hans Pörtner and Rainer Knust from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, studied the viviparous eelpout (Zoarces viviparus), a fish that lives in the northern Wadden Sea. When summer water temperatures were about 20 degrees C the fish were fine, but after a hot summer of 25 degrees C, the fish population crashed to nearly zero.

Cloud Lightning

Over 4.5 Billion people could die from Global Warming-related causes by 2012

A recent scientific theory called the "hydrate hypothesis" says that historical global warming cycles have been caused by a feedback loop, where melting permafrost methane clathrates (also known as "hydrates") spur local global warming, leading to further melting of clathrates and bacterial growth.

In other words, like western Siberia, the 400 billion tons of methane in permafrost hydrate will gradually melt, and the released methane will speed the melting. The effect of even a couple of billion tons of methane being emitted into the atmosphere each year would be catastrophic.

Recycle

What Al Gore Hasn't Told You About Global Warming

George Monbiot's new book Heat picks up where Al Gore left off on global warming, offering real solutions without sugar-coating the large personal sacrifices they will require.

Bomb

Tests confirm killer bees found in St. Bernard Parish

ARABI -- Testing from the Department of Agriculture and Forestry revealed a swarm of Africanized bees - more commonly known as "killer bees" - were discovered inside a St. Bernard home in October 2006, Department Commissioner Bob Odum said Friday.

Recycle

A Rotten Smell Raises Alarms and Questions

It was the odor associated with natural gas - the telltale, unpleasant sulfur scent that typically signals a gas leak. But this time, it was lingering in many areas of Manhattan and northeastern New Jersey, coursing through buildings and leading to fears that it could ignite or that a dangerous chemical had been deliberately released.