Elucidating Heavy Precipitation Events

It is difficult to forecast heavy precipitation events accurately and reliably. The quality of these forecasts is affected by two processes whose relative importance has now been quantified by a team at the Laboratoire d’Aérologie (CNRS / Université Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier). The researchers have shown that these processes should be taken into account in low wind speed events. Their findings should help forecast these events, which repeatedly cause significant damage, especially in south-eastern France. They are first published online the November 28, 2013 in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society.

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Iroko Trees Fight Climate Change

Iroko trees are native to the west coast of Africa. Sometimes called Nigerian teak, their wood is tough, dense, and very durable. Their hardwood is so sought after that the trees are often poached and are now endangered in many regions of Africa. But a new scientific discovery may aid in reforestation efforts. Oliver de Schutter, the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food, has found that Iroko trees can serve as long-term carbon sinks and can potentially play a role in the fight against climate change. Iroko trees and microbes can turn carbon dioxide emissions into soil-enriching limestone, a process that packs a one-two punch: carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere, and dry, acidic soil is made more fertile for agriculture.

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Cycling is on the up, but under Labour it would rise still further

As shadow transport secretary, I want to move cycling from the margins to the mainstream so Britain catches up with the likes of Germany and Denmark. In the golden summer of 2012, I joined millions of people cheering on Vicky Pendleton, Sarah Storey, Wiggo and Chris Hoy to Olympic glory. With a clutch of Olympic medals and two Tour de France winners in a row, Britain is now the world’s top elite cycling nation. Cycling is booming. The number of people getting on their bikes is up by a fifth in the past decade. For them, and me, cycling isn’t podiums, medals and world records. It’s about getting from A to B in a quick and healthy way. I enjoy, and sometimes endure, my morning ride to work. The roadworks, rain and bitter winter mornings are balanced out by reliability, free exercise and the ever changing seasons in one of the world’s great cities.

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Energy Department Makes Big Investment in Carbon Reduction Projects

“In the past four years we’ve more than doubled renewable energy generation from wind and solar power. However, coal and other fossil fuels still provide 80 percent of our energy, 70 percent of our electricity, and will be a major part of our energy future for decades,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in a DOE press release. “That’s why any serious effort to protect future generations from the worst effects of climate change must also include developing, demonstrating and deploying the technologies to use our abundant fossil fuel resources as cleanly as possible.”

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Climate change signals a whale of a shift in feeding patterns

Every summer and fall, endangered North Atlantic right whales congregate in the Bay of Fundy between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to gorge on zooplankton. Researchers have documented the annual feast since 1980, and well over 100 whales typically attend, a significant portion of the entire species. Only this year, they didn’t. Just a dozen right whales trickled in—a record low in the New England Aquarium’s 34-year-old monitoring program. And that comes on the heels of two other low-turnout years, 2010 and 2012.

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UK ordered to install 70,000 electric vehicle charging points by 2020

European law-makers have passed a resolution that will compel the UK to install a network of 70,000 electric vehicle recharging points as well as hydrogen and natural gas stations by 2020. The European Parliament today endorsed a draft directive that aims to reduce dependence on oil and boost take-up of alternative fuels, so as to help achieve a 60% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 2050.

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