Earth

Burnaby, B.C. – March 18, 2009 – In Canada, campaign spending limits for candidates during a federal election are stipulated by the Canada Elections Act. A study recently published in the Canadian Journal of Economics uses these spending limits to evaluate the impact of candidate spending on voting outcomes. Results show that higher spending by candidates is found to lead to better chance of the candidate winning the election, and that spending limits are good for democracy.

CIUDAD OBREGÓN, MEXICO (17 March 2009)— The world's leading wheat experts from Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas—invited to Mexico by Nobel Prize Winner Norman Borlaug—today reported significant progress in developing new varieties of wheat capable of resisting a virulent form of an old plant disease that threatens wheat production worldwide.

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Cliff I. Davidson, Joseph B. Kadane and Nanjun Chu have found that polluted air in the highly populated East End areas of Pittsburgh are more affected by major sources to the city's southeast than previously thought.

Because more than three-quarters of particulate matter found in the city originates from outside the Pittsburgh urban area — mainly to the west — the importance of certain air quality sources had not been quantified in the past.

The Earth explorer satellite GOCE (Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer), built by the European Space Agency ESA, was successfully launched today at 15:21 GMT from the Russian Cosmodrome Plesetsk. GOCE is the first satellite mission within the framework of the Living Planet Programme of ESA and will map Earth's gravity field in unprecedented detail.

Autosub, a robot submarine built and developed by the UK's National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, has successfully completed a high-risk campaign of six missions travelling under an Antarctic glacier.

EAST LANSING, Mich. --- Tiny creatures at the bottom of the food chain called diatoms suck up nearly a quarter of the atmosphere's carbon dioxide, yet research by Michigan State University scientists suggests they could become less able to "sequester" that greenhouse gas as the climate warms. The microscopic algae are a major component of plankton living in puddles, lakes and oceans.

CO2GeoNet, Europe's Network of Excellence working on the geological storage of carbon dioxide (CO2), will meet in Venice on 18-20th March 2009 to present highlights from five years of research and development carried out by hundreds of scientists and to interact with stakeholders on future needs to be addressed by science.

The stabilising influence that land and ocean carbon sinks have on rising carbon emissions is gradually weakening, scientists who attended the international Copenhagen Climate Change Conference."Forests, grasslands and oceans are absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere faster than ever but they are not keeping pace with rapidly rising emissions," says CSIRO scientist and co-Chair of the Global Carbon Project, Dr Mike Raupach.

Scientists have long established that the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming spots on Earth. Now, new research using detailed satellite data indicates that the changing climate is affecting not just the penguins at the apex of the food chain, but simultaneously the microscopic life that is the base of the ecosystem.

RICHLAND, Wash. -- Single oxygen atoms dancing on a metal oxide slab, glowing brighter here and dimmer there, have helped chemists better understand how water splits into oxygen and hydrogen. In the process, the scientists have visualized a chemical reaction that had previously only been talked about. The new work improves our understanding of the chemistry needed to generate hydrogen fuel from water or to clean contaminated water.