Earth

Modern day concentrations of ground level ozone pollution are decreasing the growth of trees in the northern and temperate mid-latitudes, as shown in a paper publishing today in Global Change Biology. Tree growth, measured in biomass, is already 7% less than the late 1800s, and this is set to increase to a 17% reduction by the end of the century.

Hispanics often do not visit undeveloped natural areas like national forests because of a lack of information about recreation opportunities, according to a recent Forest Service report.

The report also showed Hispanics think there are few on-site employees of their ethnicity, and few family and friends interested in recreating in these places. In addition, it suggested most Hispanics who do visit national forests do not often participate in multiple-day activities like camping.

Why do some species of birds lay only one egg in their nest, while others lay 10 or more?

A global study of the wide variation among birds in this trait, known as the "clutch size," now provides biologists with some answers. The study, published in the current issue of the journal PLoS Biology, combined data on the clutch sizes of 5,290 species of birds with information on the biology and environment of each of these species.

Irvine, Calif. — In the rainforests of equatorial Asia, a link between drought and deforestation is fueling global warming, finds an international study that includes a UC Irvine scientist.

The study, analyzing six years of climate and fire observations from satellites, shows that in dry years, the practice of using fire to clear forests and remove organic soil increases substantially, releasing huge amounts of climate-warming carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

MADISON, WI, DECEMBER 8, 2008– Animal feeding operations are an important emission source of air pollutants including methane and carbon dioxide—known greenhouse gases. Recent inventories suggest that animal manure makes a significant contribution to global methane emissions. As a consequence, greenhouse gas emissions can potentially become a limiting factor in the development and sustainability of animal production and technologies are needed to mitigate pollutant gas emissions. Oil spray has been used as a mitigation technique to reduce pollution from animal buildings.

Non-profit organizations should be exploiting the strategies of online marketers to gain traffic to their websites, raise awareness of their "brand" and its aims and convert visitors into donors, according to a study published in the first 2009 issue of the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising.

In the search for life beyond Earth, scientists 'follow the water' to find places that might be hospitable. However, every home gardener knows that plants need more than water, or even sunshine. They also need fertilizer – a mixture of chemical elements that are the building blocks of the molecules of life. Scientists at Arizona State University are studying how the distribution of these elements on Earth – or beyond – shapes the distribution of life, the state of the environment and the course of evolution.

Intensifying winds in the Southern Ocean have had little influence on the strength of the Southern Ocean circulation and therefore its ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to a study published in Nature Geoscience.

The Southern Ocean slows the rate of greenhouse warming by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in the ocean. But previous studies raised the alarm by suggesting the Southern Ocean carbon sink is now 'saturated' and no longer able to keep pace with increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Physicists have taken a significant step toward creation of quantum networks by establishing a new record for the length of time that quantum information can be stored in and retrieved from an ensemble of very cold atoms. Though the information remains usable for just milliseconds, even that short lifetime should be enough to allow transmission of data from one quantum repeater to another on an optical network.

MADISON — The decline of the Roman and Byzantine Empires in the Eastern Mediterranean more than 1,400 years ago may have been driven by unfavorable climate changes.