Satellites orbiting the earth are becoming an increasingly powerful tool for counting and monitoring wildlife populations and to answer a host of other questions about the natural world.
We are well-aware of the negative effects of air pollution on human health and on the environment, but a recent study at Duke University has revealed that global solar energy production is taking a major hit due to air pollution and dust.
The soils that encircle the northern reaches of the Arctic are a vast repository for carbon in the form of undecayed organic matter from dead vegetation. The enormous amount of material trapped in the permafrost contains enough carbon to double the current amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the global authority for determining species’ vulnerability in the face of threats such as habitat loss and climate change. How widely a species can be found – its geographic range – is a key indicator used by the IUCN to assign an appropriate conservation status.
For most of us, a day spent in the mountains, the woods, or at the beach always seems like a good day. Communing with nature tends to make us feel better.
Farmers in many places have found additional sources of income by allowing wind turbines to be built on their land. One example is the Amazon Wind Farm, which is a massive project of over 100 turbines near Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The 494-foot tall turbine towers scattered over 34 square miles are rising up above farms that grow corn, wheat and soybeans. It is the first utility-scale wind farm in the Southeast.
Genetically modified crops have been at the center of a great deal of controversy for a number of years. There have been widespread fears that they are unsafe to eat. Continuing studies have indicated that those fears appear to be unsubstantiated.
Electric cars are gradually becoming more popular, but there are still real concerns about their driving range, the availability of charging infrastructure, and their price. Adoption of the technology is still rather slow.
Filoviruses have devastating effects on people and primates, as evidenced by the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. For nearly 40 years, preventing spillovers has been hampered by an inability to pinpoint which wildlife species harbor and spread the viruses.
Ebola. Hantavirus. Lyme disease. What do they have in common? Like most emerging infectious diseases, they originated in mammals. So many debilitating pathogens make the jump from wildlife and livestock to humans, yet at the global scale little is known about where people are most at risk of outbreaks.
Scientists are calling for the creation of a global early warning system for infectious diseases. Such a system would use computer models to tap into environmental, epidemiological, and molecular data – gathering the intelligence needed to forecast where disease risk is high and what actions could prevent outbreaks or contain epidemics.
The discovery of acid rain in North America was made possible by environmental data collected at a biological field station nestled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest is just one of the many biological field stations located around the globe that are keeping a pulse on the health of our planet.