Earth

The effectiveness of the media to inform the public during evacuations and wildland fire effects on recreation are some topics addressed in a U.S. Forest Service report published this month that is a compilation of 17 studies on the social science aspects of fires.

More than 20 scientists present their work in the 260-page report, entitled "Fire Social Science Research From the Pacific Southwest Research Station: Studies Supported by National Fire Plan Funds."

Putting brass where your money is could be a guarantee of safety according to researchers looking at the dangers of eating raw fish and shellfish in seafood restaurants, scientists heard today (Wednesday 10 September 2008) at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

Tiny amounts of food soil stuck to surfaces can act as a reservoir for potentially pathogenic bacteria. This food may help bacteria to survive industrial cleaning regimes in food processing factories, scientists heard today (Wednesday 10 September 2008) at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

Nearly 40 percent of fish species in North American streams, rivers and lakes are now in jeopardy, according to the most detailed evaluation of the conservation status of freshwater fishes in the last 20 years.

The 700 fishes now listed represent a staggering 92 percent increase over the 364 listed as "imperiled" in the previous 1989 study published by the American Fisheries Society. Researchers classified each of the 700 fishes listed as either vulnerable (230), threatened (190), or endangered (280). In addition, 61 fishes are presumed extinct.

Quietly, and with little of the fanfare accompanying the relentless surge in gasoline costs, the price of coal has doubled in less than a year.

The reasons are varied. Worldwide demand for coal is growing sharply. Bad weather has hampered production in Australia and China. Shipping problems have slowed exports from Australia and South Africa.

Because coal-fired power plants produce half the electricity in the U.S., the spike in prices has increased utility bills in some states, just as consumers are already coping with rising food and gas prices.

Drought or deluge - scientists working with Meinrat O. Andreae, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, have now discovered how aerosols affect the when, where and how much of rainfall. Until now, the answers to these questions have been as varied as they have been inconsistent. Andreae and his co-authors are now tracing a common theme through the sometimes contradictory effects that these tiny particles have on precipitation.

The forecast for clear skies and smooth sailing for oceanic vessels has been impeded by worldwide concerns of their significant contributions to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that impact the Earth's climate.

A new study by professors James Winebrake and James Corbett examines "Emission Tradeoffs among Alternative Marine Fuels: Total Fuel Cycle Analysis of Residual Oil, Marine Gas Oil, and Marine Diesel Oil," in a recent issue of Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association.

New studies of the Southern Ocean are revealing previously unknown features of giant spinning eddies that have a profound influence on marine life and on the world's climate.

These massive swirling structures – the largest are known as gyres - can be thousands of kilometres across and can extend down as deep as 500 metres or more, a research team led by a UNSW mathematician, Dr Gary Froyland, has shown in the latest study published in Physical Review Letters.

Bacteria found in compost heaps able to convert waste plant fibre into ethanol could eventually provide up 10% of the UK's transport fuel needs, scientists heard today (Tuesday 9 September 2008) at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Scientists who have determined how much carbon is stored annually in upper Midwest forests hope their findings will be used to accelerate global discussion about the strategy of managing forests to offset greenhouse gas emissions.