The risk of people being forced from their homes by flooding increases by half for each additional degree of global warming, as an international research team led by the Weather and Climate Risks Group at ETH Zurich demonstrate.
An integrated model of climate and human activity suggests water scarcity can have economic ripple effects across the globe - sometimes amplifying economic harm, sometimes even providing benefits to distant regions. The model informs the management of regional water resources and economic adaptation
University of Texas at Dallas researchers have discovered that a novel surface they developed to harvest water from the air encourages tiny water droplets to move spontaneously into larger droplets. When researchers placed microdroplets of water on their liquid-lubricant surface, the microdroplets propelled themselves to climb, without external force, into larger droplets along an oily, ramp-shaped meniscus that forms from the lubricant around the larger droplets. The "coarsening droplet phenomenon" formed droplets large enough for harvesting.
Water scarcity in rural Alaska is not a new problem, but the situation is getting worse with climate change. Lasting solutions must encourage the use of alternative water supplies like rainwater catchment and grey water recycling. They must also address the affordability of water related to household income, say researchers from McGill University.
The claim that old-growth forests play a significant role in climate mitigation, based upon the argument that even the oldest forests keep sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere, is being refuted by researchers at the University of Copenhagen. The researchers document that this argument is based upon incorrectly analysed data and that the climate mitigation effect of old and unmanaged forests has been greatly overestimated. Nevertheless, they reassert the importance of old-growth forest for biodiversity.
Palm oil is the most important source of vegetable oil in the world, but keeping up with demand has threatened fragile ecosystems. A four-year research project in Indonesia, led by a Nebraska agronomist and supported by a $4 million grant from the Norwegian Ministry of Affairs, suggests that improved management practices have the potential to significantly increase palm oil yields without converting more land into production.
Engineers at Duke University have developed an electronics-free, entirely soft robot shaped like a dragonfly that can skim across the water and react to environmental conditions such as pH, temperature or the presence of oil. The proof-of-principle demonstration could be the precursor to more advanced, autonomous, long-range environmental sentinels for monitoring a wide range of potential telltale signs of problems.
To help environmental agencies battle the toxic threats posed by landfills, researchers at the University of Missouri -- in partnership with the USDA Forest Service -- have developed a system that ranks the toxins present in a landfill by order of toxicity and quantity, allowing agencies to create more specific and efficient plans to combat leachate.
The unprecedented rainfall from Hurricane Harvey in 2017 brought more than flood damage to southeast Texas. For people living in environmental justice communities such as the Manchester neighborhood near the Houston Ship Channel, heavy rainfall and flooding may have increased risks of exposure to harmful chemicals from nearby industry.
Floating solar farms could help to protect lakes and reservoirs from some of the harms of climate change, a new study suggests. However, given the complex nature of water bodies and differing designs of solar technologies, there could also be detrimental ecosystem impacts of deploying floating solar arrays.