Day: January 3, 2018

Reclaiming Appalachia: A Push to Bring Back Native Forests to Coal Country

Read the full story at e360.

Previous efforts to restore former coal mine sites in Appalachia have left behind vast swaths of unproductive land. Now, a group of nonprofits and scientists are working to restore native trees to the region — even if it means starting the reclamation process from scratch.

Improved Sensors Could Reduce Energy Used for HVAC Systems

Read the full story The News.

Engineering researchers at The University of Alabama are part of a nationwide project to find ways of reducing energy used to heat, cool, and ventilate buildings.

Dr. Zheng O’Neill, UA assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is leading a team developing testing standards and control strategies for sensors used to control HVAC in commercial and residential buildings.

The goal is to provide a way for those who manage HVAC systems to know sensors work efficiently when detecting human movement and occupancy to control heating, cooling and ventilation.

Tracking Climate Changes – Neighborhood by Neighborhood

Read the full story from Johns Hopkins University.

If you don’t like the weather, perhaps you could just move a few blocks away. Summer could be cooler, less smoggy, more healthy.

Research supports the existence of these “microclimates” in urban areas, and Johns Hopkins University climate scientist Anna Scott wants to know more. She’s launched a project to measure neighborhood to neighborhood differences in Baltimore, an effort that she hopes will alert residents, guide city planners and ease some of the impact climate change could have on people.

New Occupancy Detection Device Designed to Save Home Energy Use

Read the full story from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Photoelectric infrared (PIR) sensors are the current choice for occupancy presence detection in buildings. The sensors are used for smart thermostats to control heating and cooling based on occupancy. A major problem is that these PIR sensors only detect individuals who are moving. A Stony Brook University research team is developing a new type of PIR sensor that is equipped with an electronic shutter and other technologies that enable fast and accurate occupancy detection including individuals who are stationary.

Climate scientists study the odds of a U.S. megadrought

Read the full story in Science Daily.

To help untangle fact from speculation, scientists have developed a ‘robust null hypothesis’ to assess the odds of a megadrought — one that lasts more than 30 years — occurring in the western and southwestern United States.

Native fish species at risk following water removal from the Colorado River

Read the full story in Science Daily.

Agriculture and domestic activities consume much of the Colorado River water that once flowed to the Colorado Delta and Northern Gulf of California. The nature and extent of impact of this fresh-water loss on the ecology and fisheries of the Colorado Delta and Gulf of California is controversial. A recent publication reveals a previously unseen risk to the unique local biodiversity of the tidal portion of the Delta.

How Much Food Do We Waste? Probably More Than You Think

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Globally, we throw out about 1.3 billion tons of food a year, or a third of all the food that we grow.

That’s important for at least two reasons. The less the world wastes, the easier it will be to meet the food needs of the global population in coming years. Second, cutting back on waste could go a long way to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

How do we manage to waste so much?

With long-term funding stalled, small Iowa water quality group looks to donors to raise $100,000

Read the full story in the Des Moines Register.

With Iowa lawmakers gearing up for another battle over funding water quality improvements, a small northeast Iowa watershed group is making a direct plea to state residents to help finance their efforts.

Study tries to find right incentive to promote agricultural conservation methods

Read the full story from the Nebraska Radio Network.

A University of Nebraska study seeks to unearth what incentives will prompt farmers and ranchers to incorporate conservation into their production practices.

A New Approach to Production Agriculture, Soil Health and Cover Crops

Read the full story at Hoosier Ag Today.

Over 500 farmers from across the country gathered in Indianapolis on Thursday to explore a different kind of agriculture system, one that focuses on building soil health and reducing soil erosion while cutting costs and maintaining yield. The National Cover Crops and Soil Health Conference brought together farmers who are exploring an agricultural production system that focuses on using less inputs and more agronomy. This typically involves not using a plow, planting cover crops, and diversifying crops and rotations. The result is less soil erosion and dramatic improvement in soil health and fertility.

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