We must wake up to devastating impact of nitrogen, say scientists

More than 150 top international scientists are calling on the world to take urgent action on nitrogen pollution, to tackle the widespread harm it is causing to humans, wildlife and the planet. The scientists highlight that “the present environmental crisis is much more than a carbon problem” and are asking all countries “to wake up … Read more

Sunlight degrades polystyrene faster than expected

A study published by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) shows that polystyrene, one of the world’s most ubiquitous plastics, may degrade in decades or centuries when exposed to sunlight, rather than thousands of years as previously thought. The study published October 10, 2019, in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters. “Right now, policy … Read more

Oceans to become more toxic threatening ecosystems and putting marine life at risk

Common toxins in the ocean will become even more toxic in the future, threatening marine life and even humans, new research reveals. Two of these toxins – saxitoxin and tetrodotoxin – are used by a variety of species, for example puffer fish or blue-ringed octopuses, to attract mates, ward off predators and kill prey. The … Read more

UQ research contributes to international climate change guidelines

The International Panel on Climate Change has used University of Queensland research to update its National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Guideline for the first time in 13 years. UQ’s Advanced Water Management Centre has spent a decade researching greenhouse gas emissions from wastewater systems, both in lab-scale and full-scale, in close collaboration with its many utility … Read more

Cutting emissions gradually will avert sudden jump in warming

Reducing fossil fuel emissions steadily over coming years will prevent millions of premature deaths and help avoid the worst of climate change without causing the large spike in short-term warming that some studies have predicted, new analysis by researchers at Duke University and the University of Leeds finds. “We analyzed 42 scenarios presenting different timescales … Read more

Scientists use honey and wild salmon to trace industrial metals in the environment

Scientists have combined analyses from honey and salmon to show how lead from natural and industrial sources gets distributed throughout the environment. By analysing the relative presence of differing lead isotopes in honey and Pacific salmon, Vancouver-based scientists have been able to trace the sources of lead (and other metals) throughout the region. Scientists in … Read more

Urban stormwater could release contaminants to ground, surface waters

A good rainstorm can make a city feel clean and revitalized. However, the substances that wash off of buildings, streets and sidewalks and down storm drains might not be so refreshing. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology have analyzed untreated urban stormwater from 50 rainstorms across the U.S., finding a wide variety of contaminants … Read more

Monitoring CO2 leakage sites on the ocean floor

Injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) deep below the seabed could be an important strategy for mitigating climate change, according to some experts. However, scientists need a reliable way to monitor such sites for leakage of the greenhouse gas. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology have studied natural sources of CO2 release off the coast of … Read more

Global change is triggering an identity switch in grasslands

Since the first Homo sapiens emerged in Africa roughly 300,000 years ago, grasslands have sustained humanity and thousands of other species. But today, those grasslands are shifting beneath our feet. Global change – which includes climate change, pollution and other widespread environmental alterations – is transforming the plant species growing in them, and not always … Read more