09 Jun

U.N. to upgrade "space weather" forecasts

in Atmosphere

U.N. to upgrade "space weather" forecasts - OSLO (Reuters) - A U.N. plan to upgrade "space weather" forecasts can help the world cope with solar storms that might wreak up to $2 trillion in damage if the sun repeated a giant flare of 1859, experts said.

08 Jun

China floods made tens of thousands homeless

in Current issue

Tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes in southwest China after days of flooding caused by heavy rains. BBC
BBC News]

02 Jun

CSU forecasts five major hurricanes in 2011 season

in Climate

Colorado State University forecasters predicted the Atlantic hurricane season that began on Wednesday would be a busy one with 16 tropical storms and nine of those growing into hurricanes. They said there was a 47 percent chance that a major hurricane would make landfall along the U.S. coast of the Gulf of Mexico, where major oil and gas facilities are clustered. The CSU outlook is in line with those of other meteorologists who issue seasonal forecasts, all of whom expect an above-average year.

02 Jun

Brazil approves massive Amazon dam for construction

Brazil's environment agency gave its definitive approval on Wednesday for construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam. This is a much debated project in the Amazon that has drawn criticism from native Indians and conservationists. The 6-km-long (3.75-mile) dam, to be the third largest in the world with a cost of $17billion, might displace 30,000 river dwellers, partially dry up a 100-km (62-mile) stretch of the Xingu river, and flood large areas of forest and grass land. The government has said that the 11,200-megawatt project, to start producing electricity from 2015, is crucial for the Brazil's fast-growing economy.

01 Jun

Congo's poor need incentives to save giant forest

in Current issue

Logging mostly illegal continues in Congo, despite a moratorium on new forestry contracts in place since 2002. Rich countries have pledged billions of dollars under the scheme for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), which effectively pays developing countries not to cut their forests down. But developing countries complain that, apart from a deal with Norway and Indonesia worth $1 billion to halt licenses for clearing Borneo's forests, funds have been slow to trickle out.

Environmental experts from 35 countries have gathered in the Congo Republic, DRC's smaller neighbor, on Tuesday for a week-long summit seeking ways to protect the world's three largest rainforests -- the Amazon in South America, the Congo in Central Africa and the Borneo-Mekong in Indonesia. The outcome of the summit could play a role in the preservation of some 80 percent of the world's remaining tropical forest, seen by experts as key to offsetting rising global emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide - reports Thomson Reuters.

17 May

Little rain for Europe before June

in Climate

Parts of central Europe received than 40 percent of their mean rainfall from February to April. Dry conditions are expected to continue in most parts of Europe adding pressure to the commodity market. The unusually dry spring in top EU wheat producers France, Germany and Britain has revived drought fears after a dry summer in 2010 ravaged Russian and Ukrainian wheat harvests -- driving a surge in food prices around the world.News report:Little rain for Europe's farmers before June - LONDON (Reuters) - Drought in much of Europe looks set to continue with little relief for parched farmland until June at the earliest, forecasters say.

[Reuters Environment]

17 May

Dubious assumptions prime population bomb

In a recent news article in Nature, the author Fred Pearce examined the assumption behind the latest estimate of the population growth. The global  population expected to rise one more billion by the end of the century. However, the author points to the paradox of the future fertility rate and suggests a change in perception in child birth. Since most life threatening diseases for the babies are declining now, modern women choose not to have more number of babies as compared to their grandmothers.

29 Apr

More rain ; more virus ?

in Ecosystem levels and species biodiversity may affect humans' exposure to zoonotic diseases (those carried by other animals) reports a new Nature article.