Archive for April, 2014

Warming World Drives Hurricane Forming Winds, Study Says

Publication: NBC News   Date: April 28, 2014   View Article

Wind-whipped mayhem may ratchet up as the global climate adjusts to ever increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, according to a new study.

In particular, easterly winds associated with weather systems known as African easterly waves that bring rains critical to crops and livestock in the Sahel, transport Saharan dust within Africa and across the Atlantic Ocean, and play a role in the formation of tropical cyclones –- i.e. hurricanes –- will strengthen.

Some Corals May Be Resistant to Climate Change, Researchers Say

Publication: NBC News   Date: April 24, 2014   View Article

A new study on how coral reacts to global climate change has some researchers optimistic that at least a few of the polychromatic reefs crucial to underwater ecosystems may be better able to adjust to a warming world than was previously thought.

That’s good news, given that coral reefs soften the blow of storms headed to areas where people live, and nurture a kaleidoscopic array of fish that provide a livelihood and food for people around the globe.

But coral reefs aren’t out of hot water yet.

Monster El Nino May Be Brewing, Experts Say

Publication: NBC News   Date: April 19, 2014   View Article

Ready for a ’90s El Niño flashback?

Researchers are keeping a close eye on a giant pool of abnormally warm water in the Pacific Ocean that some think could trigger another El Niño of epic proportions if it rises to the surface, sending weather patterns into a tizzy around the world.

That could mean heavy rains in drought-stricken California, dry weather across the Midwest and East Coast, and parched landscapes in Australia and South Africa while it pours in South America. The phenomenon is linked to the periodic warming of surface waters in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.

Sucking Carbon From Sky May Be Necessary to Cool Planet, UN Says

Publication: NBC News   Date: April 14, 2014   View Article

International efforts to combat global warming are so broken that it’s come to this: hoovering massive amounts of carbon dioxide out of the sky.

A body of scientists convened under the auspices of the United Nations is giving more weight to the idea that vacuuming vast stores of CO2 from the skies and burying it in the ground may be necessary to limit the temperature rise to the internationally agreed safe level of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels.

Fish-Friendly Dams? Scientists Race to Reduce Turbine Trauma

Publication: NBC News   Date: April 14, 2014   View Article

A hydroelectric dam building boom in the Pacific Northwest in the past century drove dozens of salmon runs to extinction and has cost taxpayers billions of dollars to try to save the fish that remain. Today, scientists from the region are hard at work to prevent a repeat of history at a time when countries around the world race to wring more energy from rivers to fuel a power hungry and warming planet.

“We’ve made some pretty good progress here in the Pacific Northwest on determining criteria that can help keep fish safe,” Richard Brown, a senior research scientist at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., told NBC News.

‘That Was Home’: Residents Rebuild in Wildfire-Prone Areas

Publication: NBC News   Date: April 12, 2014   View Article

The most destructive wildfire in Colorado history swept through the Black Forest community outside of Colorado Springs and destroyed nearly 500 homes last June, and scores of those residents are starting to come back. But so could the fire.

Less than a year after the wildfire, 171 permits for new homes have been issued and the rebuilding process is well underway. There’s always a possibility that another massive fire may sweep through the area, but that’s just part of life in the woods, according to residents.

Among the first homes to burn belonged to Ray and Cindy Miller, who have lived on five acres in the quiet, forested community for 32 years. “When we came back to the property, it was devastating because all of the trees were pretty much gone,” said Cindy Miller, who had fled her home with just two blouses, makeup, and a camera as wind-whipped flames and black smoke engulfed the home. “But I just closed my eyes and listened to the sounds. That was home. I knew that I had to rebuild there.”

Innovator’s Prosthetic Socket Aids Boston Marathon Victims

Publication: NBC News   Date: April 9, 2014   View Article

A high-tech running shoe is worthless if it is two sizes too small and gives the runner blisters and pressure sores. The same goes for prosthetic limbs, according to David Sengeh, a 26-year-old graduate student from Sierra Leone who was honored Wednesday with an award for his work on an innovative socket that makes prosthetic limbs more comfortable and thus functional for amputees.

“Whether you have a robotic ankle or a wooden peg, if the socket is not functional you wouldn’t use your leg,” he told NBC News, explaining why he has focused his energy on developing next-generation sockets, or interfaces, for prostheses.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach