news 2014



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Environment - Earth Sciences - 24.12.2014
Climate change threat to mussels’ shells
The world's mussel population could be under threat as climate change causes oceans to become increasingly acidic, scientists have discovered. In a new paper published today (Wednesday 24 December) in the Royal Society's journal Interface , researchers from the University of Glasgow describe how mussels' shells become more brittle when they are formed in more acidic water.

Environment - Astronomy / Space - 15.12.2014
Migrating ’supraglacial’ lakes could trigger future Greenland ice loss
Predictions of Greenland ice loss and its impact on rising sea levels may have been greatly underestimated, according to scientists at the University of Leeds. The finding follows a new study, which is published today , in which the future distribution of lakes that form on the ice sheet surface from melted snow and ice – called supraglacial lakes – have been simulated for the first time.

Physics - Environment - 12.12.2014
Composite plane life cycle assessment shows lighter planes are the future
Composite plane life cycle assessment shows lighter planes are the future
A global fleet of composite planes could reduce carbon emissions by up to 15 per cent, but the lighter planes alone will not enable the aviation industry to meet its emissions targets, according to new research. The study, by the Universities of Sheffield, Cambridge and University College London, is the first to carry out a comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) of a composite plane, such as the Boeing Dreamliner 787 or Airbus 350, and extrapolate the results to the global fleet.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 03.12.2014
Birds conform to local 'traditions'
New findings debunk theories that over hunting by early humans led to the disappearance of mastodons from the Arctic and Subarctic. New dates show they were wiped out locally before human colonisation. The paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that the Arctic and Subarctic were just temporary "holiday homes" for mastodons when the local climate was warm around 125,000 years ago.

Health - Environment - 02.12.2014
Air pollution in Delhi is worse during winter, international research study shows
As the cold weather sets in, a quantitative analysis on particulate matter (PM) in Delhi has highlighted that residents are exposed to significantly higher levels of air pollutants in the Indian capital during winter than in summer. Air pollution continues to be one of the key global environmental challenges and is widespread in India, with Delhi, most notably, experiencing major air quality problems.

Environment - 02.12.2014
Research confirms how global warming links to carbon emissions
The team have derived the first theoretical equation to demonstrate that global warming is a direct result of the build-up of carbon emissions Research by the University of Liverpool has identified, for the first time, how global warming is related to the amount of carbon emitted. A team of researchers from the Universities of Liverpool, Southampton and Bristol have derived the first theoretical equation to demonstrate that global warming is a direct result of the build-up of carbon emissions since the late 1800s when man-made carbon emissions began.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 01.12.2014
New research highlights the key role of ozone in climate change
The models which are used to predict how climate change will occur could be much improved by including the key role of ozone, which is often overlooked in current models. These models are the only tools we have in terms of predicting the future impacts of climate change Peer Nowack Many of the complex computer models which are used to predict climate change could be missing an important ozone 'feedback' factor in their calculations of future global warming, according to new research led by the University of Cambridge and published today (1 December) .

Environment - Health - 26.11.2014
The unbelievable underworld and its impact on us all
Our structure (research) Impact of our research Postgraduate research 26 Nov 2014 A new study has pulled together research into the most diverse place on earth to demonstrate how the organisms below-ground could hold the key to understanding how the worlds ecosystems function and how they are responding to climate change.

Environment - 20.11.2014
Should the role of afforestation in climate change mitigation policy be re-evaluated?
Press release issued: 20 November 2014 Afforestation (planting trees) to mitigate climate change could cause warming rather than cooling globally due to non-carbon effects of land use change, according to new research from the University of Bristol. Global land use change and its interaction with the climate system is recognised as an important component of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s future climate scenarios.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 18.11.2014
Mountain range is being created and destroyed by earthquakes
Mountain range is being created and destroyed by earthquakes
Scientists have shown that earthquakes, not an ancient wetter climate as previously thought, are eroding the mountains in Peru. A team of geologists including an Imperial researcher have for the past several years been studying cobbles, which are stones that have been rounded as they bounce downstream, in the tributary system that feeds into the Pisco River in the Western Andes Mountains of Peru.

Environment - 18.11.2014
Training can lead to synaesthetic experiences, study shows
Training can lead to synaesthetic experiences, study shows
Training can lead to synaesthetic experiences, study shows A new study has shown for the first time that people can be trained to "see" letters of the alphabet as colours in a way that simulates how those with synaesthesia experience their world. The University of Sussex research, published today (18 November 2014) in Scientific Reports , also found that the training might potentially boost IQ.

Environment - Social Sciences - 17.11.2014
Climate change was not to blame for the collapse of the Bronze Age
Scientists have proven definitively that climate change could not have been responsible for a huge population collapse in Europe at the end of the Bronze Age. Archaeologists and environmental scientists from the University of Leeds, the University of Bradford, University College Cork and Queen’s University Belfast have shown that the changes in climate that scientists believed to coincide with the fall in population in fact occurred at least two generations later.

Environment - 13.11.2014
House of Commons taps into Lancaster ‘gold dust’
House of Commons (HoC) researchers are 'hot desking' alongside environmental scientists at Lancaster University' Environment Centre. The University is the first in the UK to provide permanent workspace to HoC specialists that provide evidence-based briefings to Members of Parliament, in order to share research results and expert opinions which have been described as 'gold dust'.

Life Sciences - Environment - 13.11.2014
Mongoose sentinels respond flexibly to threats
Press release issued: 13 November 2014 Just as soldiers on sentry duty constantly adjust their behaviour to match the current threat level, dwarf mongoose sentinels exhibit flexible decision-making in relation to predation risk, new research from the University of Bristol has shown. Biologists Julie Kern and Dr Andy Radford found that decisions about when to go on duty, what position to adopt and how long to remain on post were all affected by information about the likelihood of danger.

Environment - Event - 03.11.2014
Variations in ice sheet height influence global climate
Press release issued: 3 November 2014 Heinrich events, in which large masses of icebergs rapidly broke free from ice sheets during the last ice age, are thought to have influenced global climate by interrupting ocean circulation patterns with a large influx of freshwater. However, new research from the University of Bristol suggests the variations in the height of the ice sheet that happen in these events might also influence global climate.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 01.11.2014
Study of Chile earthquake identifies rock structure that affects rupture
Researchers have found an unusual mass of rock deep in the active fault line beneath Chile Researchers from the University of Liverpool have found an unusual mass of rock deep in the active fault line beneath Chile which influenced the rupture size of a massive earthquake that struck the region in 2010.

Environment - Life Sciences - 02.10.2014
Amazonian birds under threat from road expansion
Amazonian birds under threat from road expansion
Increased road construction is reducing bird biodiversity in Brazil's Amazon rainforest, according to a new study. Reporting in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B , scientists examined the links between density of road networks in Pará, which is a Brazilian state found in the North of the Amazon rainforest, and the richness of forest bird species.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 02.10.2014
Salt marsh plants key to reducing coastal erosion and flooding
Study finds that natural flood defences such as salt marshes can reduce the height of damaging waves in storm surge conditions by close to 20%. Even in extreme conditions, salt marshes are a vital defence for our coastlines Iris Möller The effectiveness of salt marshes - wetlands which are flooded and drained by tides - in protecting coastal areas in times of severe weather has been quantified in a study by researchers from the University of Cambridge.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 01.10.2014
Grouse moor burning causes widespread environmental changes
Evidence of the environmental impact of heather burning is published today in the first authoritative study on the subject, to help relieve tensions on both sides of the grouse moor management debate. The EMBER (Effects of Moorland Burning on the Ecohydrology of River basins) project has shown that heather burning on moorland, which is practised predominantly to support red grouse populations for gun sports, has significant negative impacts on peat hydrology, peat chemistry and physical properties, river water chemistry and river ecology.

Environment - 23.09.2014
Is TV coverage of climate change too focused on disaster?
A study of how television news covered three reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) during 2013 and 2014 shows that news bulletins tended to focus most on past or potential disaster in their telling of the story. TV news bulletins also gave much less air time to other potential focuses - the uncertainty surrounding climate change, the opportunities it presents and the explicit risks it presents, says the study published by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University.
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