Findings: Hurricanes, water, soot
New findings show manure burns cleaner than traditional fuels, more intense hurricanes are predicted, a housing trend could cut carbon emissions and more.
Wed, May 20, 2009 at 03:03 PM
LESS IS MORE: By feeding cattle waste into digesters that convert the material into bio-gas, families in rural India used 60 percent less firewood and kerosene.
1 Fuel from manure burns cleaner and costs less than traditional fuels. By feeding cattle waste into digesters that convert the material into bio-gas, families in rural India used 60 percent less firewood and kerosene. The $250 systems paid for themselves in two years.
2 Fewer but more-intense hurricanes will form over the Atlantic Ocean this century because of global warming, predicts a NOAA climate model. The study challenges prevailing theories that warmer sea surface temperatures will generate more hurricanes.
3 Soot, already linked to respiratory and cardiovascular problems, might be even more dangerous than previously thought. Researchers discovered that soot-filled smog may cause blood clots that can be deadly if they travel from the lower leg or thigh to the lungs.
4 Whether they’re homeless or live in a McMansion, Americans’ carbon footprints are more than twice as large as those of people living elsewhere. Most emissions come from housing, transportation and food.
5 A new housing trend could cut carbon emissions in the U.S. Increasingly, people are opting for co-housing arrangements — private houses with shared gyms, offices and more — in which they consume about 60 percent less energy than single-family homes.
6 Honolulu, Los Angeles, and Portland, Oregon, emit the fewest greenhouse gases per capita of 100 U.S. cities, reports a new study. The survey examined transportation fuel and energy use in homes but didn’t take into account industry or commercial buildings.
7 Good news for marine dwellers: A 20-year study revealed that overall contaminant levels in U.S. coastal waters have dropped. Most notably, PCBs and DDT numbers have decreased dramatically, though flame retardants called PBDEs — found in furniture, electronics, and other products — are on the rise.
8 Long considered a barren expanse with occasional bio-oases at hydrothermal vents, the seafloor appears to be teeming with microbes that “feed” on the earth’s crust. Scientists found thousands of times more bacteria on the ocean bottom than in the water above, suggesting that early life possibly began on the seafloor.
This article originally appeared in Plenty in August 2008.
Copyright Environ Press 2008.