The Future Of Diesel

The Shaky Future Of Diesel Fuel In America
September 25, 2015
http://www.npr.org/2015/09/25/443489259/the-shaky-future-of-diesel-fuel-in-america

WOOLDRIDGE: The primary advantage of a diesel engine versus a gasoline engine is the efficiency. So it’s fundamentally higher efficiency than your gasoline engine.

GLINTON: It also has greater low-end torque, which means you have more power at low speeds, but that higher efficiency comes at a cost. The higher efficiency means higher pressure, and the higher pressure results in higher temperatures. So the hotter the burn, the more byproducts you get – things like soot or nitrogen oxide or NOx which are bad for air quality. So the fundamental challenge is…

WOOLDRIDGE: The things that we do to increase the efficiency intrinsically make more air toxic emissions.

related:

http://www.npr.org/2015/09/18/441530803/epa-says-volkswagen-dodged-clean-air-rules-with-emissions-software

Methane-munching microbes

Sea floors host surprise methane-munching microbes
Nature News. 14 October 2014
http://www.nature.com/news/sea-floors-host-surprise-methane-munching-microbes-1.16151
Organisms living in carbonate rock provide a previously unrecognized sink for the greenhouse gas.

Carbonate rocks near methane seeps in the sea floor are home to thriving ecosystems of microbes that consume that greenhouse gas, suggests research published in Nature Communications.

A Scientist’s New Job: Keeping The Polar Bears’ Plight Public

The sea ice that polar bears use as a platform to catch seals is shrinking, threatening the species’ existence.

A Scientist’s New Job: Keeping The Polar Bears’ Plight Public
December 28, 2013
http://www.npr.org/2013/12/28/257775410/a-scientists-new-job-keeping-the-polar-bears-plight-public

The Endangered Species Act, which turns 40 on Saturday, helped bring back iconic species such as the wolf, grizzly bear and bald eagle, after hunting, trapping and pesticides almost wiped those animals out.

But a very different kind of threat — global warming — is pushing some species like the polar bear to the brink of extinction.

One government biologist discovered the best way he could help save polar bears was to quit his job.

The scientists showed that the sea ice that polar bears live on and use as a platform to hunt seals was shrinking as global temperatures rose. The threat was clear, and the government put bears on the endangered species list five years ago.

But, Amstrup says, “It was also clear that this was not a typical conservation problem.”

Florida’s Mangroves Move North

Florida’s Mangroves Move North As Temperatures Rise
December 31, 2013
http://www.npr.org/2013/12/31/258699479/floridas-mangroves-move-north-as-temperatures-rise

Mangroves, those luxurious coastal thickets of exotic forest and nurseries for fish, are moving north.
Satellite images show the mangroves along the Florida coast are thriving in areas to the north that used to be too cold. It’s another result of higher temperatures, and especially a lack of freezing temperatures farther north.
It’s good news for mangroves, which are disappearing in many parts of the world, but bad for the northern salt marshes they replace.

The world’s climate is warmer on average than it was a hundred years ago.
insects that like warm weather are on the move.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
They point out that more mangroves might be a good thing but they fear that other plants that have been held back by cold weather – invasive weeds like the all-consuming kudzu – may also be following right behind the mangroves.

People have short-term memories

With National Treasures At Risk, D.C. Fights Against Flooding
December 20, 2013
http://www.npr.org/2013/12/26/255847303/with-national-treasures-at-risk-d-c-fights-against-flooding

The nation’s capital is not exactly a beach town. But the cherry-tree-lined Tidal Basin, fed by the Potomac River, laps at the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. And, especially since Superstorm Sandy, officials in Washington have a clear idea of what would happen in a worst-case storm scenario.

People have short-term memories,” she says. “They see the cars are running; they can go to work. The office buildings are back. So it’s hard to convince people that there’s actually a threat.”

related:
https://franzcalvo.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/the-optimism-bias