Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα study. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα study. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Τετάρτη, Ιανουαρίου 14, 2015

Sea level rise quickens more than thought in threat to coasts

Sea level rise in the past two decades has accelerated faster than previously thought in a sign of climate change threatening coasts from Florida to Bangladesh, a study said today.
The report, reassessing records from more than 600 tidal gauges, found that readings from 1901-90 had over-estimated the rise in sea levels. Based on revised figures for those years, the acceleration since then was greater than so far assumed.

The report said the earlier readings were incomplete or skewed by local factors such as subsidence.

The new analysis "suggests that the acceleration in the past two decades is 25 percent higher than previously thought," Carling Hay, a Canadian scientist at Harvard University and lead author of the study in the journal Nature, told Reuters.

The study said sea level rise, caused by factors including a thaw of glaciers, averaged about 1.2 millimetres (0.05 inch) a year from 1901-90 - less than past estimates - and leapt to 3 mm a year in the past two decades, apparently linked to a quickening thaw of ice.

Last year, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated the 1901-90 rate at 1.5 mm a year, meaning less of a leap to the recent rate around 3 mm.


The Harvard-led study said the new findings might affect projections of the future pace of sea level rise, especially those based on historical trends.

John Church, a top IPCC author at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia, told Reuters he did not expect any impact on the IPCC's core sea level projections, which are not based on past trends.

IPCC scenarios, which range from a sea level rise of 28 to 98 cms this century, are based on the processes driving sea level change, for instance how ice in Greenland reacts to rising temperatures or the expansion of water as it warms, he said.

Stefan Rahmstorf, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and a world expert in past sea levels, said further analysis was needed to pin down 20th century sea level rise.

The new findings confirm that "sea level is rising and ... the rise has accelerated, with the most recent rates being the highest on record," he told Reuters.

Sea level rise is gnawing away at shores from Miami to Shanghai. In cities such as Jakarta, the rise is aggravated by big local subsidence.
  [buenosairesherald.com]
14/1/15
--
-
Related:

Πέμπτη, Νοεμβρίου 27, 2014

Russian divers plan to reach 100-meter depth in Antarctica

An expedition to the Antarctica started out in Russia on Thursday with divers from the Republic of Tatarstan who plan to dive to a 100-meter depth near the Antarctic coast.
The expedition is organized by the Russian Geographical Society.

The press secretary of the society’s Tatarstan organization, Alina Iskanderova, told TASS that it would be another stage of the Cold Pole project to study Far North, Arctic and Antarctic water environment systems and work out methods for diving under extreme conditions.

The first two stages were devoted to the study of the unique Russian Arctic lakes Labynkyr and Vorota in Yakutia.

Expedition members plan to dive to a depth of 100 metres, which has not ever been done by anybody. In the region, 20-meter diving is considered safe. Divers will take samples of water at the depth to study micro organisms,” the press secretary said.
http://en.itar-tass.com/non-political/763923
27/11/14
--
 

Τρίτη, Μαΐου 13, 2014

Ice Loss from Antarctic Glacier Unstoppable

A large portion of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is melting rapidly, and appears to be in an irreversible state of decline. That assessment, from a new study by researchers at NASA and the University of California, Irvine, finds that there is nothing to stop the glaciers in the area from melting into the sea.

Glaciologist and lead author Eric Rignot told a news conference Monday that the melting will be a major contributor to sea level rises in the decades and centuries to come.



"We and many other colleagues have looked extensively at this part of the world over the last two decades, with satellites, airplanes, ships and ground survey. We have examined enough direct and independent observations of this part of the world to conclude that the retreat of ice in that sector is unstoppable," said Rignot.

The glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica contain enough ice to raise the global sea level by more than a meter, and are melting faster than most scientists had expected. They already release almost as much ice into the oceans annually as the entire Greenland Ice Sheet.

The report, which appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, concludes: "The fact that the retreat is happening simultaneously over a large sector suggests it was triggered by a common cause, such as an increase in the amount of ocean heat beneath the floating sections of the glaciers. At this point, the end of this sector appears to be inevitable." 

  • The researchers say while cutting CO2 emissions could slow the glacier loss, they stress it could not reverse it.

For additional images and video related to this new finding, visit: http://go.nasa.gov/1m6YZSf

For additional information on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and its potential contribution to sea level rise, visit: http://go.nasa.gov/1oIfSlO

 [voanews.com]
13/5/14
--
-
Related:

Δευτέρα, Απριλίου 07, 2014

Bee health: what is the EU doing? -Questions & Answers

European Commission, MEMO, Brussels, 7 April 2014:
1. What has the European Commission done for better bee health?
The Commission contributes to bee health on many areas:
On the veterinary side, the Commission: created an EU Reference Laboratory for bee health in 2011; co-financed voluntary surveillance studies to estimate the extent of bee mortalities since 2012; trained hundreds of national veterinary officials in bee health under the Better Training for Safer Food initiative since 2010, and ran research projects to deal with honeybee health.
In addition, the Commission takes into account the limited availability of veterinary medicines for bees during the review of the EU veterinary medicinal products legislation. A Commission proposal is planned to be adopted in the second quarter of 2014.
On pesticides, the EU has one of the strictest regulatory systems in the world concerning the approval of pesticides. All pesticides on the market have been subject to a thorough and in depth assessment by Member States’ authorities and by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). For the assessment the latest scientific knowledge is taken into account, including independent studies. For pesticides the Commission further strengthened the data requirements for the submission of the dossiers, reviewed together with the EFSA the risk assessment scheme concerning the impact of pesticides on bees and took actions on 4 specific insecticides where a risk concerning bees was identified (additional details are reported in the questions below).
On agriculture, the Commission has maintained the level of EU funding to national apiculture programmes for the period 2014-2016 (taking into account the accession of Croatia), which amounts to € 33,100.000 per year.
On the apiculture sector (beekeepers), the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the EU brings important benefits. We eat more honey than we produce and honeybees take an active part in the pollination of crops. For several years, the EU has been providing support to the beekeeping sector, essentially through national apiculture programmes and rural development programmes.
On the environment, the Commission ran the LIFE+ programme which can be used for the benefit of wild bees; initiated the preparation of a Red List of Threatened Pollinators, to be published by the end of the year; and ran a research project to deal with the decline of both wild and domesticated pollinators in Europe.

2. Why was an EU surveillance study into honeybee losses and their causes carried out?
From 2007 various European and global publications and fora warned about bees disappearing (especially following news on “colony collapse disorder” in the USA), and about alarmingly high mortalities, severe and rapid decline in European honeybee colonies (winter mortalities around or in excess of 30-40%).
An EFSA project in 2009 indicated that the honeybee surveillance systems in the EU Member States were weak. There was a lack of representative official data at country level and comparable data at EU level to estimate the extent of colony mortalities.
The study (EPILOBEE, A pan-European epidemiological study on honeybee colony losses 2012-2013) addresses these weaknesses for the first time by harmonising the data collection methods.
It also assists the veterinary services in improving their capacity to undertake such surveillance. The methodology can be implemented and used as necessary, adapted to specific needs as appropriate for further work such as applied research, policy development, routine surveillance or to cross-check with data from other sources (e.g. from national or regional monitoring, from international standardised beekeeper surveys etc.).
Full report is available here: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/live_animals/bees/index_en.htm
 
3. What are the key findings of the study?
The study, which covers almost 32.000 colonies across 17 Member States during the period from autumn 2012 until summer 2013, shows that colony mortalities exist in the EU with significant regional differences.
Winter colony mortality rates ranged among participating countries from 3.5% to 33.6% with a distinct North/South geographical pattern.
The countries where mortalities on average were below 10% (Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Slovakia and Spain) represent the majority (over 59%) of hives (6.485.000) of the surveyed population and 47.3% of all EU honeybee population.
Countries with a mortality rate between 10% and 15% (Germany, France, Latvia, Poland and Portugal) represent 34.6% of the surveyed population or 27.7% of all EU honeybee population (3.793.170 hives).
Members States with more than 20% mortality rate (Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Sweden and UK) represent 6.24% of the surveyed population or ca. 5% of all EU population (684 500 hives).
Overall rates of seasonal colony mortality (during beekeeping season) were lower than winter mortality and ranged from 0.3% to 13.6%.

4. How representative are the findings and how do they compare to previous data?
17 Member States participated on a voluntary basis. They co-financed the study with the European Commission, which contributed with €3.3 million (70% of eligible costs).
The surveillance was specifically designed to collect data on a representative sample of apiaries and colonies, also by way of on-site investigations. A representative sample was reached through a random sampling of apiaries of the entire Member State or of some regions of the Member State considered as representative of the Member State’s situation. Member States were recommended to randomly select beekeepers and apiaries from a national list of beekeepers. Within each apiary, a number of colonies were randomly selected in order to be representative of the apiary. The sampling frame was the same for all the Member States.
These are the first results of its kind, i.e. collected and verified by the national competent authorities under the supervision of, and training by, the veterinary services, using EU harmonised methodology. This makes it difficult to compare them to previous data which may be missing incomplete or collected otherwise. Mortality rates less than 10% for large populations are encouraging.

5. Since the findings show that honeybee decline is less dramatic than first thought, will the Commission maintain its ban on neonicotinoids?
The Commission based its decision on new scientific information which became available in 2012 and on which EFSA was asked for an assessment. EFSA identified high risks for bees for some uses of three neonicotinoids (Imidacloprid, Clothianidin and Thiametoxam) and Fipronil. This assessment confirmed that the approval criteria of these pesticides were no longer satisfied. Furthermore, EPILOBEE did not take into account bumble bees and solitary bees, which are also affected by the pesticides and covered by the EFSA assessment. At the time the measures were taken, the results of the EPILOBEE programme were not yet available. 

6. Why does the EU surveillance not include pesticide monitoring?
The Commission did request the EU Reference Laboratory to include pesticides in the study. However a draft project was discussed with Member States experts and at that stage it was not considered feasible to carry out such a surveillance programme on pesticides together with the one carried out.
The EPILOBEE study which is still ongoing was not designed to assess the effect of the use of the banned pesticides on bee health. It would be unacceptable from a scientific view point to draw any conclusion from the results of this study on the use of the pesticides in question or to infer that the measures taken by the Commission were not appropriate. 

7. What is the status of the EU surveillance study?
These are the results of the first year of the surveillance studies, running from autumn 2012 to summer 2013. The studies are being repeated with the participation of 16 out of the 17 Member States for another year, between autumn 2013 and summer 2014, to see whether any trends can be established.

8. What is the situation with wild bees and are they important?
The surveillance study only looked into honeybees. Scientific data on wild pollinators, including wild bees is scarce, but current indicators show a worrying decline. We should have a better understanding at the end of this year when, thanks to joint work between IUCN and STEP in a Commission funded research project, will provide the first results on status and trends of European wild pollinators. However, preliminary results already suggest that wild bees face a serious threat. The recent assessment of bumblebees indicates that 24% percent of the 68 species of bumblebees that occur in Europe are threatened with extinction on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Domestic and wild bees are closely related, face the same threats and are both necessary to ensure crop pollination and maintain biodiversity. Therefore, the status of wild bees can give us insights into local changes and warn beekeepers about potential threats. Wild bees can jump in and provide pollination service when honeybees face decline or help increase the pollination efficiency of the latter. They are crucial for the survival of wild plants that honeybees cannot pollinate.

9. How does the recent CAP reform help to support the sector?
Member States can submit tri-annual national apiculture programmes for EU co-financing. Thanks to the reform the measures which can be funded have been updated and completed. In particular, EU funding will be available for actions aimed at combatting beehive invaders and diseases, particularly varroasis. All Member States have national apiculture programmes in place for 2014-2016.
With the new Rural Development Programmes, Member States have at their disposal a series of measures and eligibilities such as training, advisory services, participation in quality schemes and promotion, investments, cooperation projects and risk management which can be co-financed by the EU. Agri-environment-climate measures in these programmes can also make a positive contribution to creating a better environment for bees. Other measures in the reformed CAP may be indirectly beneficial for of bees. The compulsory greening measures of the new Direct Payment Regulation, in particular crop diversification and ecological focus areas, could contribute to a better environment for bees.

10. Does our countryside have an impact?
Agricultural practices that result in changes in land-use and habitat loss also represent a serious threat to many bees in Europe. Therefore, biodiversity-friendly measures in agriculture will be essential to reverse negative trends and are crucial for our food supply security. Among these are the provision of good forage through flower-rich field margins or buffer strips along agricultural fields and the preservation of species-rich grasslands or meadows that underpin stable populations of pollinators. The restoration of degraded ecosystems would also be an important support of pollinators.
For more information:
Honey production in the EU: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/honey/index_en.htm
National apiculture programmes: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/honey/programmes/index_en.htm and http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/evaluation/market-and-income-reports/apiculture-2013_en.htm
 http://europa.eu
7/4/14
--
-
 

Πέμπτη, Ιανουαρίου 30, 2014

Securing crop biodiversity is key to feeding world’s growing population – UN study


30 January 2014 – Seeking to ensure that the world can feed a fast growing population, expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, the United Nations today published voluntary international standards to improve conservation of the crops that are crucial to food security by preserving biodiversity in gene banks and in the field.
“As the world’s population grows and continues to face a wide range of climate, environmental and other challenges, maintaining a healthy variety of seeds and other plant genetic resources for the benefit of people in all countries will be essential to keeping agricultural and food systems sustainable and resilient, generation after generation,” UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Assistant Director-General Ren Wang said.

The FAO publication, Genebank Standards for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, outlines voluntary, international standards for the many repositories – or genebanks - around the world that store seeds and other materials used to reproduce plants, as well as for living plants in the field.
  • More than 7 million samples of seeds, tissues and other plant-propagating materials from food crops, along with their wild relatives, are safeguarded in about 1,750 genebanks.
“Plant genetic resources are a strategic resource at the heart of sustainable crop production,” Mr. Ren writes in a foreword. “Their efficient conservation and use is critical to safeguard food and nutrition security, now and in the future. Meeting this challenge will require a continued stream of improved crops and varieties adapted to particular agro-ecosystem conditions.
“The loss of genetic diversity reduces the options for sustainably managing resilient agriculture, in the face of adverse environments, and rapidly fluctuating meteorological conditions.”
The standards are designed to guide users in implementing the most appropriate technologies and procedures for the collection, conservation and documentation of crop diversity. Their wide application also supports research that could stem the loss of biodiversity and boost sustainability in agriculture, both necessary for feeding the world’s burgeoning population.
“Genebanks help bridge the past and the future by ensuring the continued availability of plant genetic resources for research and for breeding new varieties that meet the consumers’ continually evolving needs and a changing climate,” said Linda Collette, Secretary of FAO’s Intergovernmental Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
“They help us to conserve plant genetic resources and to improve them; they also help countries to share and exchange genetic resources with each other.”
The standards address a wide range of issues, including techniques for collecting samples; consistent labelling; protection from fungi, bacteria, pests and physical stress factors; viability and genetic integrity testing; and, developing strategies for the rapid multiplication of samples for distribution.
The world’s genebanks differ greatly in the size of their collections and the human and financial resources at their disposal. The Standards will help genebank managers strike a balance between scientific objectives, resources available, and the objective conditions under which they work, FAO says.

“Genebanks play a key role in the conservation, availability and use of a wide range of plant genetic diversity for crop improvement for food and nutrition security,” the publication stresses in its preface. “An efficient management of genebanks through application of standards and procedures is essential for the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources.”

FAO experts consulted with a wide range of partners, including those at the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a global partnership whose research is carried out at 15 centres worldwide, in particular Bioversity International; genebank managers; relevant academic and research institutions; and national focal points for plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.
 un.org
30/1/14
--
-

 

Σάββατο, Οκτωβρίου 19, 2013

New oil, gas discoveries off Lebanon coast. -New studies conducted in the field revealed large quantities of oil and gas

BEIRUT: Discoveries of oil and gas have been made off the coast of Beirut and Mount Lebanon, caretaker Energy Minister Gebran Bassil said in remarks published Saturday.

“There is a recent discovery of abundant quantities of oil and gas in the maritime zone off the coasts of Mount Lebanon and Beirut that extend at their northern and southern rims,” he told Al-Akhbar daily.

Bassil said that the new oil discovery was “scientific proof of the variety of our oil and gas resources.”
The minster also said that new studies conducted in the field revealed large quantities of oil and gas in both areas “that we need to know how to invest properly.”


Earlier this year, Lebanon officially launched its first oil and gas licensing round with 46 international energy companies prequalifying to bid for offshore exploration contracts.
Bassil has called on the caretaker Cabinet and Parliament to hold extraordinary sessions to approve the oil sector decrees.

The decrees, demarcating 10 maritime oil exploration blocks and establishing a revenue-sharing model, require Cabinet approval before oil and gas contracts can be awarded.
 dailystar.com.lb
19/10/13
---
-
Related:

 

lebanon EEZ


Τρίτη, Μαΐου 28, 2013

China deep sea exploration vessel sets sail

Video cctv

China’s most advanced deep sea exploration vessel, the "Ocean 6" has set sail for the Pacific Ocean. 

96 scientists will be on board, the biggest number of personnel ever for such a mission. 

On its 160 day voyage, the vessel will reach destinations such as Guam and Hawaii. It will explore mineral resources in the seabed and will also conduct geographic and sea biology studies. 

"Ocean 6" was designed and manufactured in China. Compared to other vessels of its kind, "Ocean 6" is bigger, safer, and provides a more comfortable living environment for the research team.

Haiyang-6, a Chinese research vessel, is seen at a dock in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, May 28, 2013. An expedition team of 96 members aboard Haiyang-6 set out for the Pacific Ocean Tuesday to carry out a five-month survey on undersea mineral resources. (Xinhua/Liang Zhiwei)
Wang Fei (L), director of China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association, confers a flag to a team member beside Haiyang-6, a Chinese research vessel, at a dock in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, May 28, 2013. An expedition team of 96 members aboard Haiyang-6 set out for the Pacific Ocean Tuesday to carry out a five-month survey on undersea mineral resources. (Xinhua/Liang Zhiwei)

Παρασκευή, Φεβρουαρίου 01, 2013

Are human-caused and natural global warming different? Study says yes.

 Human-triggered climate warming appears to leave a unique fingerprint on global rainfall rates compared with natural warming, according to a new study.
While rainfall rates increase whether the long-term warming trend is natural or not, the rate of increase appears to be higher during natural warming trends.
The result might help resolve a long-standing discrepancy between changes in rainfall projected in global climate models and changes projected by studying the historical record, researchers say............... 
Are human-caused and natural global warming different? Study says yes.

Δευτέρα, Νοεμβρίου 19, 2012

Learning foreign languages triggers brain growth

In the Swedish Academy of young translators, new recruits study a crash course in complex languages. It is not only about military discipline: specialists discovered that intensive study of foreign tongues stimulates the growth of the hippocampus and causes changes in other structures of the brain. Learning languages also helps in preventing Alzheimer's disease.
In the Swedish Academy, young people are offered to study Arabic, Russian or Dari (the language of the Afghan Tajiks) in 13 months. Newcomers had to learn the language all day long, every day, at a very intense pace. Their hard work gave unexpectedly impressive results. The experiment showed that it was not just active intellectual activity, but the study of foreign tongues. Researchers used a group of students of the Medical University of Umeå to control the research. Medics are known for their extensive studies, but the subject of their studies has nothing in common with foreign languages. Both groups took MRI tests before the experiment and after three months of active studies.

The results were surprising: the structure of the brain of the control group remained unchanged, but the students, who studied a foreign language, had certain parts of their brain increased in size. In particular, the researchers found the "growth" of the hippocampus - the deep structure of the brain responsible for the development of new knowledge, orientation in space and the consolidation of short-term memory into long-term memory.
"We were surprised that different parts of the brain developed to different degrees depending on how well the students performed and how much effort they had had to put in to keep up with the course," Johan Martensson, a researcher in psychology at Lund University in Sweden, said in a university news release.
The group of translator students also showed changes in three areas of the cerebral cortex. The students who showed a bigger growth of the hippocampus and the superior temporal gyrus, had better language skills than other students. Most diligent students also showed the growth in the middle frontal gyrus.
Scientists say that foreign language studies show almost a miraculous effect on the brain. The fact is that the studies of unfamiliar tongues and writings make the brain work as hard as it can. For example, in 2010, Israeli researchers found that reading in Arabic has the two hemispheres of the brain involved in the process. Reading in English or Hebrew does not give this effect, although the latter belongs to Semitic languages.
Interestingly, the Arabic language shows such an influence only on the brains of those people who study this language: children who just learn to write and foreigners studying Arabic in adulthood. Adult native speakers have only the right hemisphere involved in the reading process.
In 2004, neuroscientists at University College London, with the help of magnetic resonance imaging examined 105 people, 25 of whom knew only the English language, 25 was knew not only English, but another European language, 33 were bilingual (they knew a second language since childhood), and 22 came from other European countries and knew not only their native language, but also English (as a foreign one).
The scientists discovered that all test people, who knew two languages, ​​had increased density of the cerebral cortex in the lower part of the parietal lobe. Those changes were most intense with the participants who spoke two languages ​​from childhood.
"It means that older learners won't be as fluent as people who learned earlier in life. They won't be as good as early bilinguals who learned, for example, before the age of five or before the age of 10,"  Lead researcher Andrea Mechelli, of the Institute of Neurology at UCL, said. 
However, despite this scientific conclusion, language learning in adulthood and even in old age can do a lot of good.
American researchers say that employees who know a foreign language can cope with mental tasks better than those who speak only their native language. Bilingual people focus on relevant information better and ignore irrelevant information, and therefore perform better in tests of intellectual abilities and better achievements at work. For example, those who know additional languages ​​can effectively prioritize and work on more than one project at a time successfully.
"The main advantage of cognitive bilingual people is the ability to engage in several cases at the same time," researchers explain. The need to switch between two languages ​​enables bilingual people to constantly train their brain. This exercise is not accessible to those who speak only one language.
Yana Filimonova
19/11/12

Οι νεκροί Έλληνες στα μακεδονικά χώματα σάς κοιτούν με οργή

«Παριστάνετε τα "καλά παιδιά" ελπίζοντας στη στήριξη του διεθνή παράγοντα για να παραμείνετε στην εξουσία», ήταν η κατηγορία πο...