Trump Administration Reverses Bottled Water Ban In National Parks

Read the full story from NPR.

In 2011, the National Park Service put in place a policy to encourage national parks to end the sale of bottled water. The aim was to cut back on plastic litter.

It was not actually an outright ban – but 23 out of 417 national parks, including Grand Canyon National Park and Zion National Park, implemented restrictions on bottled water sales. The parks encourage visitors to use tap water and refillable bottles instead.

Now, The Trump administration has reversed this Obama-era policy.

Researchers search for clues to toxic algae blooms

Read the full story from Minnesota Public Radio.

From Washington Lake in southwest Minnesota, to Lake Minnetonka, to Helen Lake in northern Minnesota, toxic blooms of algae are again surfacing on the state’s lakes.

They’re suspected culprits in one case of human illness and two dog deaths so far this summer.

When lake temperatures warm, blue-green algae thrives, often forming in thick, pea-soup colored blooms that spread out across the surface of lakes.

The algae has been present in Minnesota since at least the turn of the 19th century. But it’s only recently exploded on the public’s radar. It’s believed to have killed 20 dogs in Minnesota since 2004, including this August at Lake Minnetonka and at Lake Geneva, near Alexandria, Minn.

It’s unambiguous and definitive. These five charts prove that the planet is heating up.

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

The warming of the Earth’s climate is indisputable.

A new international climate change report, prepared by 450 scientists from more than 60 countries, has published trends from thousands of data sets that — across the board — present a clear-cut picture of a warming world.

Led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the report revealed that heat-trapping gases, global temperatures, ocean heat content, and sea levels reached record or near-record highs in 2016. It is the 27th version of the report, titled State of the Climate in 2016, and is being published as a special 280-page supplement in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

NOAA released the report documenting irrefutable evidence of global warming, even as President Trump and high-level members of his administration have expressed skepticism about the phenomenon, especially the human role.

Five indicators from the report, in particular, offer a particularly compelling illustration of the changing composition of the Earth’s atmosphere and the warming that has occurred in lockstep.

Thirty Years After the Montreal Protocol, Solving the Ozone Problem Remains Elusive

Read the full story at e360.

Despite a ban on chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons, the ozone hole over Antarctica remains nearly as large as it did when the Montreal Protocol was signed in 1987. Scientists now warn of new threats to the ozone layer, including widespread use of ozone-eating chemicals not covered by the treaty.

Frogs that adapt to pesticides are more vulnerable to parasites

Read the full story in Science Daily.

Amphibians can evolve increased tolerance to pesticides, but the adaptation can make them more susceptible to parasites, according to a team that includes researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The research, led by Binghamton University, showed that wood frogs that evolved increased tolerance to pesticides showed greater susceptibility to a dangerous virus, although they also demonstrated reduced susceptibility to a parasitic worm.

Algal blooms cost Ohio homeowners $152 million over six years

Read the full story from Ohio State University.

In a new study, researchers at The Ohio State University estimate algal blooms at two Ohio lakes cost Ohio homeowners $152 million in lost property value over six years.

Meanwhile, a related study suggests that algae is driving anglers away from Lake Erie, causing fishing license sales to drop at least 10 percent every time a bloom reaches a moderate level of health risk. Based on those numbers, a computer model projects that a severe, summer-long bloom would cause up to $5.6 million in lost fishing revenue and associated expenditures by anglers.

Those are the main findings from the first two studies ever to put a precise dollar value on algae impact, both on Lake Erie and two recreational lakes in Ohio. One study appears in the journal Ecological Economics, and the other in the Journal of Environmental Management.

Canary in a coal mine: Survey captures global picture of air pollution’s effects on birds

Read the full story in Science Daily.

Writing Aug. 11 in the journal Environmental Research Letters, University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Tracey Holloway, an expert on air quality, and her former graduate student Olivia Sanderfoot sort through nearly 70 years of the scientific literature to assess the state of knowledge of how air pollution directly affects the health, well-being, reproductive success and diversity of birds.