AUSTIN, Texas — Homes with solar panels do not require on-site storage to reap the biggest economic and environmental benefits of solar energy, according to research from the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. In fact, storing solar energy for nighttime use actually increases both energy consumption and emissions compared with sending excess solar energy directly to the utility grid. (more…)
Tag Archives: emissions
A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder looking for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as scientists expected between 2000 and 2010 now thinks the culprits are hiding in plain sight — dozens of volcanoes spewing sulfur dioxide.
The study results essentially exonerate Asia, including India and China, two countries that are estimated to have increased their industrial sulfur dioxide emissions by about 60 percent from 2000 to 2010 through coal burning, said lead study author Ryan Neely, who led the research as part of his CU-Boulder doctoral thesis. Small amounts of sulfur dioxide emissions from Earth’s surface eventually rise 12 to 20 miles into the stratospheric aerosol layer of the atmosphere, where chemical reactions create sulfuric acid and water particles that reflect sunlight back to space, cooling the planet. (more…)
Researchers at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies have discovered that diseased trees may be a significant cause of global warming. The university’s researchers tested the trees at the Yale Myers Forest near their campus in Connecticut and discovered that rotting trees release a significant amount of methane gas, a highly flammable type of natural gas that can cause climate change in large quantities. The trees at the Yale Myers Forest produce emissions that are equivalent to burning 40 gallons of gas per acre of forest per year.
In their academic report on this matter, “Elevated Methane Concentrations in Trees of an Upland Forest,” the Yale University research team noted that trees that release methane gas look just like ordinary trees on the outside. However, on the inside, they’re being eaten alive by fungus. And the fungus that rots these trees helps fuel methane production because it makes the trees a hospitable breeding ground for methanogens, tiny organisms that create methane. (more…)
New research from North Carolina State University shows that federal requirements governing diesel engines of new tractor trailer trucks have resulted in major cuts in emissions of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) – pollutants that have significant human health and environmental impacts.
“These requirements for new emission control technologies have increased costs for truck owners and operators, and we wanted to know whether there was any real benefit,” says Dr. Chris Frey, professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research. “We found that there is a huge reduction in both PM and NOx emissions.” (more…)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Measurable improvements in air quality and visibility, human health, and water quality in many acid-sensitive lakes and streams, have been achieved through emissions reductions from electric generating power plants and resulting decreases in acid rain. These are some of the key findings in a report to Congress by the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program, a cooperative federal program.
The report shows that since the establishment of the Acid Rain Program, under Title IV of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, there have been substantial reductions in sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from power plants that use fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil, which are known to be the primary causes of acid rain. As of 2009, emissions of SO2 and NOx declined by about two-thirds relative to levels in the 1990s. These emissions levels declined even further in 2010, according to recent data compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (more…)
Washington, D.C. — Coral reefs are extremely diverse ecosystems that support enormous biodiversity. But they are at risk. Carbon dioxide emissions are acidifying the ocean, threatening reefs and other marine organisms. New research led by Carnegie’s Kenneth Schneider analyzed the role of sea cucumbers in portions of the Great Barrier Reef and determined that their dietary process of dissolving calcium carbonate (CaCO3) from the surrounding reef accounts for about half of at the total nighttime dissolution for the reef. The work is published December 23 by the Journal of Geophysical Research.
Reefs are formed through the biological deposition of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Many of the marine organisms living on and around a reef contribute to either its destruction or construction. Therefore it is crucial that the amount of calcium carbonate remain in balance. When this delicate balance is disrupted, the reef ceases to grow and its foundations can be weakened. (more…)
*Widespread urban development alters weather patterns*
New research focusing on the Houston area suggests that widespread urban development alters weather patterns in a way that can make it easier for pollutants to accumulate during warm summer weather instead of being blown out to sea.
The international study, led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), could have implications for the air quality of fast-growing coastal cities in the United States and other mid-latitude regions overseas. (more…)
Projected Losses of Arctic Sea-Ice and Polar Bear Habitat may be Reduced if Greenhouse Gas Emissions are Stabilized
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Sea-ice habitats essential to polar bears would likely respond positively should more curbs be placed on global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new modeling study published in the journal, Nature.
The study, led by the U.S. Geological Survey, included university and other federal agency scientists. The research broke new ground in the “tipping point” debate in the scientific community by providing evidence that during this century there does not seem to be a tipping point at which sea-ice loss would become irreversible. (more…)