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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Solar Gold or … Fool’s Rush:

Will the San Luis Valley be Colorado’s Mojave Desert?

From the SLV Renewable Communities Alliance
The San Luis Valley is Colorado’s sole target for massive solar development although efforts have not proceeded at the same pace as in California. Still, more than 150,000 acres of mostly intact public land are being offered up by the Bureau of Land Management for industrial scale (100-1,000 MW) solar development. Two controversial Big Solar projects (Tessera Solar and Solar Reserve) are underway on private lands in Saguache County. Is the San Luis Valley poised for its own solar conflagration?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Food Crisis: Would The Vested Interest Starve The World? (Guest Post)

Food Crisis: Would The Vested Interest Starve The World? (Guest Post)




By Kurt Cobb

In his latest book entitled Bottleneck sociologist and ecologist William Catton Jr. explains in detail why he believes human society is destined for a major dieoff, a "bottleneck" from which few survivors will emerge.

A Shale Gas Bubble?

A Shale Gas Bubble?

Back to Basics on Climate Science

Back to Basics on Climate Science

Russia to deploy two army brigades to protects its claims to the Arctic

Russia to deploy two army brigades to protects its claims to the Arctic

from The Extinction Protocol: 2012 and beyond

Russia to deploy 2 army brigades in Arctic

Russia to deploy 2 army brigades in Arctic

Open Letter to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo: Do Not Lift Fracking Moratorium!

Open Letter to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo: Do Not Lift Fracking Moratorium!

New York is about to lift its ban on hydrofracking. Will Governor Cuomo listen to local activists?

T. Boone Terrorism

T. Boone Terrorism

Global plant database set to promote biodiversity research and Earth-system sciences

Global plant database set to promote biodiversity research and Earth-system sciences

The world's largest database on plants' functional properties, or traits, has been pub-lished. Scientists compiled three million traits for 69,000 out of the world's ~300,000 plant species. The achievement rests on a worldwide collaboration of scientists from 106 re-search institutions. The initiative, known as TRY, is hosted at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena (Germany). Jointly coordinated with the University of Leipzig (Germany), IMBIV-CONICET (Argentina), Macquarie University (Australia), CNRS and University of Paris-Sud (France), TRY promises to become an essential tool for biodiversity research and Earth-system sciences.
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BP Spins Success From Reports About Its Failure

BP Spins Success From Reports About Its Failure

Bridging the gap between scientists and the public through communication

Bridging the gap between scientists and the public through communication

Climate Change Makes Some Chemicals More Toxic to Aquatic Life, Study Finds

Climate Change Makes Some Chemicals More Toxic to Aquatic Life, Study Finds

ScienceDaily (June 29, 2011) — Some areas of the southern United States are suffering from the longest dry spell since 1887 and a new Baylor University study shows that could prove problematic for aquatic organisms.

European research effort improves understanding of impacts of aerosols on climate

European research effort improves understanding of impacts of aerosols on climate

Atmospheric aerosol particles (otherwise known as Particulate Matter) have been masking the true rate of greenhouse gas induced global warming during the industrial period. New investigations show that the aerosol cooling effect will be strongly reduced by 2030, as air pollution abatements are implemented worldwide and the presently available advanced control technologies are utilized. These actions would increase the global mean temperature by ca. 1 degree Celsius. This is one of the main research outcomes of the recently concluded EU EUCAARI (European Integrated project on Aerosol Cloud Climate and Air Quality Interaction) project.

FARM NEWS Global plant database will expand research on ecosystems and climate change


FARM NEWS
Global plant database will expand research on ecosystems and climate change

Oil production soars at Brigham's Bakken Shale well in Montana

Oil production soars at Brigham's Bakken Shale well in Montana

Canada opens bidding on eight deepwater blocks offshore Nova Scotia

Canada opens bidding on eight deepwater blocks offshore Nova Scotia

* Natural gas industry hits back at 'biased' shale media coverage

Natural gas industry hits back at 'biased' shale media coverage

Drowning Fish?

Drowning Fish?

Cuomo Will Seek to Lift Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing



Cuomo Will Seek to Lift Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing

Economic benefits of shale-gas extraction unclear

Economic benefits of shale-gas extraction unclear

Federal fracking policy would end conflicting state actions

Federal fracking policy would end conflicting state actions The issue of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has taken on a life of its own. But with so much misinformation circulating, it is hard for the general public to know whether it is a good thing or a bad thing. The truth is - as with any polarizing issue - somewhere in the middle

http://link.ft.com/r/G8OTZZ/GDKB5J/EW4YCB/ZBUUIL/3O8GCD/1G/h?a1=2011&a2=7&a3=1
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Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Jersey Lawmakers Vote to Ban Fracking

New Jersey Lawmakers Vote to Ban Fracking
Mike Ludwig, Truthout: "The New Jersey Legislature passed a bill on Wednesday that would place a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial natural gas drilling technique commonly called 'fracking.' The bill passed the state Senate by 32-1 and the state Assembly by 56-11. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has not said if he would sign the bill into law. New Jersey is the first state to consider a ban on fracking, but a widespread grassroots movement has helped establish local bans and moratoriums in 63 municipalities across the country."
Read the Article

Climate Change and extreme weather from The Nuclear Green Revolution by Charles Barton

Climate Change and extreme weather

(A hat tip to Jay Gulledge who on the Energy Collective discussed recent information sources on AGW and extreme weather.)

Gulledge is the co-author of a Pew Center white paper Extreme Weather and Climate Change
Understanding the Link, Managing the Risk
. In addition John Carey has posted a 3 part series on the relationship between climate change and extreme weather events:
Storm Warnings: Extreme Weather Is a Product of Climate Change
Global Warming and the Science of Extreme Weather
Our Extreme Future: Predicting and Coping with the Effects of a Changing ClimateExtreme weather is and probably will be a topic of growing importance in the climate debate. In the Pew Center White Paper Daniel G. Huber and Jay Gulledge state that in 2010,
874 weather and climate-related disasters resulted in 68,000 deaths and $99 billion in damages worldwide.
It is going to grow increasingly difficult for climate change skeptics to deny the reality of climate change with six feet of flood waters in their garage, or while watching their house burn during a droughts driven wildfire.

Hunting expects post-Macondo restart

Hunting expects post-Macondo restart http://link.ft.com/r/WDI4RR/TUPAVD/NS9NWA/RN9EPF/ZBTJG5/GX/h?a1=2011&a2=6&a3=30

BOEMRE increases maximum civil penalties

BOEMRE increases maximum civil penalties
BOEMRE increased the maximum civil penalty rate for Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act violations from $35,000 to $40,000 per day; and from $25,000 to $30,000 per day for Oil Pollution Act financial responsibility violations.

Pennsylvania DEP fines Chief Oil & Gas for Marcellus Shale drilling infractions

Pennsylvania DEP fines Chief Oil & Gas for Marcellus Shale drilling infractions
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection fined Chief Oil & Gas for issues involving drilling and development of the Marcellus Shale in the state.
Full Article

USGS increases Cook Inlet reserves estimates

USGS increases Cook Inlet reserves estimates
Alaska’s Cook Inlet holds more oil and gas than previously estimated, according to a new study by the US Geological Survey.
Full Article
Study projects $205.2 billion in midstream gas outlays by 2035
An average $8.2 billion/year will have to be spent by 2035 for the US and Canada to accommodate new natural gas supplies, particularly from prolific shale plays, and meet growing demand, a study commissioned by the INGAA Foundation concluded.
Full Article

US group 'concerned' about climate science threats

US group 'concerned' about climate science threats

Chinese firm to invest 10 million euros in Congo forest area

Chinese firm to invest 10 million euros in Congo forest area

New Global Website Presents Low-Carbon Solutions from Sugarcane

New Global Website Presents Low-Carbon Solutions from Sugarcane

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

AEP v. Connecticut: The Decision and its Implications BNA Webinar

AEP v. Connecticut: The Decision and its Implications BNA Webinar

from PEN

State of the Climate in 2010 -- NOAA

State of the Climate in 2010 -- NOAA

"The primary goal of the annual State of the Climate collection of articles is to document the weather and climate events of the most recent calendar year and put them into accurate historical perspective, with a particular focus on unusual or anomalous events...This edition presents contributions from the largest body of authors to date and brings several new sections to the readership. The year 2010 was notable for its globally-averaged warmth and for the far-reaching impacts related to significant behavior of several modes of climate variability. These modes have unique influences and impacts throughout the climate system."

No Recovery - Next up, Resession or Collapse?

No Recovery - Next up, Resession or Collapse?

Chile’s Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic eruption may cool planet’s atmosphere

Chile’s Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic eruption may cool planet’s atmosphere

from The Extinction Protocol: 2012 and beyond

By the numbers- the deadliest tornado season in the U.S. in 50 years

By the numbers- the deadliest tornado season in the U.S. in 50 years


June 29, 2011JOPLIN, MO – Year-to-date, tornadoes have killed m

Alamo acquires Devonian Shale acreage, plans 125 wells in Kentucky

Alamo acquires Devonian Shale acreage, plans 125 wells in Kentucky
Alamo Energy acquired 2,500 acres in the Appalachian Basin of Kentucky and plans to drill 125 wells targeting the Devonian Shale and Big Lime formations.

Drilling: Coaxing along a geriatric field

Drilling: Coaxing along a geriatric field
An hour and a half drive south of Midland, where dusty flatlands give way to mesas, people are scarce and strong winds keep hundreds of giant white wind turbines spinning, a Houston company is trying to coax more crude from a historic field long past its prime.

Proposed bill aims to speed onshore drilling permit process

Proposed bill aims to speed onshore drilling permit process
US Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) introduced legislation that would require quicker decisions by the US Department of the Interior on onshore oil and gas drilling permit applications on public lands.
Full Article

Statoil discovers oil, condensate at Krafla West in the North Sea

Statoil discovers oil, condensate at Krafla West in the North Sea
Norwegian operator Statoil discovered oil and condensate at the Krafla West prospect in the Norwegian North Sea.
Full Article

Petrobras produces first oil from Aruana with EWT offshore Brazil

Petrobras produces first oil from Aruana with EWT offshore Brazil
Brazilian major Petrobras has produced first oil with the start of an extended well test at its Aruana oil field in the deepwaters of the Campos Basin offshore Brazil.
Full Article

Gavea hailed as 'most significant' oil discovery in the pre-salt Campos Basin

Gavea hailed as 'most significant' oil discovery in the pre-salt Campos Basin
Repsol Sinopec has discovered oil with its exploration well 1-REPF-11A-RJ at Gavea – hailed by the partners as the “most significant” oil discovery to date in the pre-salt area of the Campos Basin offshore Brazil.
Full Article

Greener Disaster Alerts: Low-Energy Wireless Sensor Networks Warn of Hurricanes, Earthquakes

Science News

Greener Disaster Alerts: Low-Energy Wireless Sensor Networks Warn of Hurricanes, Earthquakes

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Worst drought in 60 years hits 10 mln in east Africa

Map of the African continent.Image via WikipediaWorst drought in 60 years hits 10 mln in east Africa
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Ocean Currents Speed Melting of Antarctic Ice: A Major Glacier Is Undermined from Below

The ocean currents.Image via Wikipedia

Ocean Currents Speed Melting of Antarctic Ice: A Major Glacier Is Undermined from Below

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Northern Eurasian snowpack could be an important predictor of winter weather in U. S

Eurasian snowpack could be an important predictor of winter weather in US
Athens GA (SPX) Jun 29, 2011 - Every winter, weather forecasters talk about the snow cover in the northern U.S. and into Canada as a factor in how deep the deep-freeze will be in the states. A new study by researchers at the University of Georgia indicates they may be looking, at least partially, in the wrong place. It turns out that snow piling up over a band of frozen tundra from Siberia to far-northern Europe may hav ... more

NASA Oceanography

NASA Oceanography

Looking at our Earth from space, it is obvious that we live on a water planet. Ocean covers over 70% of the Earth's surface and contains about 97% of the Earth's surface water. Life in the oceans can be found from the surface to the extreme environments at the bottom of the deepest submarine trench. It is not surprising that the oceans represent over 99% of the living space on Earth...we are indeed living on what is truly an ocean planet.

Why does NASA study the ocean?


Part of NASA's mission is to develop an understanding of the total Earth system and the effects of natural and human-induced changes on the global environment. Our oceans play a major role in influencing changes in the world's climate and weather. Collecting and analyzing long-term ocean data from satellites is a relatively new field of exploration. The analysis of remotely-sensed ocean data makes it possible to understand the ocean in new and exciting ways.
Prior to satellite data, most of what we have learned about the oceans had come from infrequent measurements collected from ships, buoys, and drifters. Ship-based oceanographers are limited to sampling the ocean in a relatively small area with often a great deal of difficulty. Data from ships, buoys, and drifters are not sufficient to characterize the conditions of the spatially diverse of the ocean.

The advent of ocean-observing satellites has launched a new era of marine discovery. Remotely sensed satellite data and modeling techniques enable the global mapping of seasonal changes in ocean surface topography, currents, waves, winds, phytoplankton content, sea-ice extent, rainfall, sunlight reaching the sea, and sea surface temperature. Studying these patterns at a global scale help forecast and mitigate the disastrous effects of floods and drought. Images generated by ocean observing satellite missions tell us volumes about the most fundamental climate changes. During the last decade, forecasting models have benefited from satellite data as they have improved the ability to predict events such as El Niño and other global and regional climate cycles. These models will become more sophisticated as scientists and forecasters further develop the ability to simulate certain ocean phenomena and thus better predict when they will occur.

Using remote sensing data and computer models, scientists can now investigate how the oceans affect the evolution of weather, hurricanes, and climate. Oceans control the Earth's weather as they heat and cool, humidify and dry the air and control wind speed and direction. And the weather determines not just what you'll wear to work in the week ahead--but also whether the wheat crop in Nebraska will get enough rain to mature, whether the snow pack in the Sierras will be thick enough to water southern California, whether the hurricane season in the Atlantic will be mellow or brutal, whether eastern Pacific fisheries will be decimated by El Niño. Long-term weather patterns influence water supply, food supply, trade shipments, and property values. They can even foster the growth of civilizations, or kill them off. You can't escape the weather, or even change it--but being able to predict its caprice makes its impact manageable. And only by understanding the dynamics of the oceans can we begin to do this.

NASA has been observing the oceans from space for more than 20 years. NASA launched Seasat, the first civilian oceanographic satellite, on June 28, 1978. The satellite carried five complementary sensors designed to monitor the oceans from space. These sensors included:
 
  • a radar altimeter to measure spacecraft height above the ocean surface
  • a microwave scatterometer to measure wind speed and direction
  • a scanning multichannel microwave radiometer to measure sea surface temperature
  • a visible and infrared radiometer to identify cloud, land and water features
  • a synthetic aperture radar to monitor the global surface wave field and polar sea ice conditions
 
Although a massive short-circuit in its power system ended all data-taking operations after only 105 days, the Seasat instruments provided as much oceanographic data as had been acquired by ships in the previous 100 years! The variables that Seasat measured in its short lifetime are some of the most important for understanding the ocean and its role in climate.

Another satellite, Tiros-N, was also launched in 1978. It carried the first AVHRR sensor which produced the first really useful maps of sea-surface temperature, and the Coastal Zone Color Scanner, that produced the first maps of chlorophyll and primary productivity in the ocean.

Today there are several ocean-observing satellite missions and an extensive scientific research community studying these data. Each mission provides its own unique contribution to our knowledge of the ocean, however our understanding is rapidly evolving such that we are coming to more fully understand the role that each parameter plays in the constantly changing conditions and cycles of the ocean and thus on climate and weather.

Ocean Exploration at NASA

NASA is the exploration agency of the Federal Government. NASA Earth observing satellites often open up new vistas for Earth science research. All are meant to explore the envelope of what is known and understood about the physical, chemical and biological processes of the planet. Learn more about Ocean Exploration at NASA.
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier melting from below twice as fast as perviously thought from The Extinction Protocol: 2012 and beyond by The Extinction Protocol

Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier melting from below twice as fast as perviously thought

from The Extinction Protocol: 2012 and beyond

Why Al Gore Is A Failure: Part Deux

Why Al Gore Is A Failure: Part Deux

Scientists warn of drain on water technology R&D

Scientists warn of drain on water technology R&D

Emissions from Energy Use in the Water Sector Are Poorly Understood

Emissions from Energy Use in the Water Sector Are Poorly Understood

Flooding of Ancient Salton Sea Linked to San Andreas Earthquakes

Flooding of Ancient Salton Sea Linked to San Andreas Earthquakes

Science News Salton Sea called earthquake factor

Science News

Salton Sea called earthquake factor

Study: Salton Sea faults may trigger big San Andreas Fault earthquake

Study: Salton Sea faults may trigger big San Andreas Fault earthquake

Florida: Offshore rigs back in plans

Florida: Offshore rigs back in plans
Senate President Mike Haridopolos joined the governor in calling for a new state energy policy that will open the door to oil and gas drilling off Florida's coast, new nuclear power and increased investment in renewable energy.

Oil production soars at Brigham's Bakken Shale well in Montana

Oil production soars at Brigham's Bakken Shale well in Montana

Monday, June 27, 2011

Media Is Very Wrong on Climate Change - Barry Brook, BraveNewClimate

Clearing up the climate debate

Houston Has a Problem: Ozone Pollution - Physics Today

Houston Has a Problem: Ozone Pollution - Physics Today

Houston's structures thwart cleansing breezes

A new computer simulation sheds light on why the coastal city sometimes endures dangerous ozone pollution

‘Energy Beet' The Next Ethanol Solution?

‘Energy Beet' The Next Ethanol Solution?

Tar Sands Means C02 Game Over

Tar Sands Means C02 Game Over

US producers break new ground in Texan basin - FT

US producers break new ground in Texan basin - FT

Fracking and Water: E.P.A. Zeroes In on 7 Sites By LESLIE KAUFMAN

Fracking and Water: E.P.A. Zeroes In on 7 Sites

Cracking the Permian to provide oil supplies for future

Cracking the Permian to provide oil supplies for future

Committee approves bill to speed Keystone XL pipeline decision

Committee approves bill to speed Keystone XL pipeline decision

USGS completes study of knowledge gaps on Alaskan OCS

USGS completes study of knowledge gaps on Alaskan OCS

US rig count jumps as oil and gas drilling heats up onshore

US rig count jumps as oil and gas drilling heats up onshore

Oil & Gas Video News Update

Oil & Gas Video News Update

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ocean currents speed melting of Antarctic ice

Ice Bridge Antarctic Sea Ice (200910270017HQ) ...Image by nasa hq photo via FlickrOcean currents speed melting of Antarctic ice
Stronger ocean currents beneath West Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf are eroding the ice from below, speeding the melting of the glacier as a whole, according to a new study in Nature Geoscience. A growing cavity beneath the ice shelf has allowed more warm water to melt the ice, the researchers say—a process that feeds back into the ongoing rise in global sea levels. The glacier is currently sliding into the sea at a clip of four kilometers (2.5 miles) a year, while its ice shelf is melting at about 80 cubic kilometers a year - 50 percent faster than it was in the early 1990s - the paper estimates.
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Amid US gas boom, split over environment risks

Amid US gas boom, split over environment risks
The United States is seeing a natural gas boom thanks to discoveries of abundant shale gas, and at the same time a groundswell of opposition from critics who say the environmental risks from drilling are too great.
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Pollution Solutions

Pollution Solutions

We are the SCGI, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to informing the public and policymakers about technologies and strategies that can lead to an energy-rich world. SCGI provides a forum for many of the world's prominent scientists, authors and activists to collaborate and share their knowledge regarding solutions to the world's energy, resource and environmental problems.

We can accomplish these goals now:

  • Eliminate air pollution
  • Recycle spent nuclear fuel
  • Bring the fossil fuel era to an end
  • Prevent resource wars, including looming water wars
  • Effortlessly recycle virtually all of our waste products
  • Power our vehicles with zero-emission energy systems
  • Provide abundant energy and fresh water to every nation
  • Reduce human-caused greenhouse gas emissions to a trickle
  • Diminish the world’s nuclear arsenals, turn old nuclear weapons into energy

Technologies that can lead us to a post-scarcity era:

  • Integral Fast Reactors (using "nuclear waste" for fuel)
  • Zero-emission vehicle technologies
  • Plasma recyclers

An Answer to: Is There Any Real Hope of Cutting Global Carbon Emissions?

An Answer to: Is There Any Real Hope of Cutting Global Carbon Emissions?

Jim Hansen Keen on next-generation nuclear power

Keen on next-generation nuclear power

RENEWABLE energy won't save the planet so it's time to go nuclear, according to one of world's most high-profile climate scientists.
"We should undertake urgent focused research and development programs in next generation nuclear power," said atmospheric physicist James Hansen, head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and adjunct professor at Columbia University's Earth Institute in New York.
While renewable energies such as solar and wind were gaining in economic competition with coal-fired plants, Professor Hansen said they wouldn't be able to provide baseload power for years to come.

Nuclear options: Nuclear power may be a ‘green’ solution worth using

Nuclear options: Nuclear power may be a ‘green’ solution worth using

Houston Chronicle 1/5/2010
NASA climatologist James Hansen's research into global warming has brought him fame — and put him in the big fat middle of controversy on more than one occasion.

The intellectual journey that first led Hansen to warn against the imminent perils to our planet of continuing to burn fossil fuels, particularly coal, began in the 1980s. Over the years it has also led him to another, somewhat surprising conclusion: Nuclear power could offer an environmentally acceptable way out of the problems caused by heavy reliance on coal.

Specifically, Hansen says, the Generation IV nuclear power plants now under development offer an alternative to burning coal that ought to be pursued, in this country and globally.
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Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush New York Time

Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush New York Time

Research Flights Seek to Improve View of Air Pollution from Space

Steve Cole NASA Headquarters, Washington stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov 202-385-0918
Michael Finneran NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va. michael.p.finneran@nasa.gov 757-598-1720
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 23, 2011
Research Flights Seek to Improve View of Air Pollution from Space
WASHINGTON -- This summer two NASA research airplanes will fly over the Baltimore-Washington region and northeast Maryland as part of a mission to enhance the capability of satellites to measure ground-level air quality from space. The flights will be supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and will aid the agency in monitoring pollutants that affect people’s health.
”With improved ability to monitor pollution from satellites, scientists can make better air quality forecasts, and more accurately determine sources of air pollutants. This information is useful in developing strategies to protect our nation’s air quality,” said Dr. Paul Anastas, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

The flight measurements will be taken in concert with satellite and ground measurements. EPA scientists will use ground-based instruments to measure oxides of nitrogen and ozone along portions of the flight path. Data from the project is expected to provide a greater understanding of how the existing ground-based air monitoring network funded by EPA and run by states and local agencies can be used to improve satellite observations.
A fundamental challenge for space borne instruments monitoring air quality is to distinguish between pollution high in the atmosphere and that near the surface where people live and breathe. The new field project will make measurements from aircraft in combination with ground-based observations to help scientists better understand how to observe ground-level pollution from space in the future.
The project is called DISCOVER-AQ, which stands for Deriving Information on Surface conditions from Column and Vertically Resolved Observations Relevant to Air Quality. It is one of  five Earth Venture investigations selected in 2010 as part of NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder program. These targeted science investigations complement NASA's larger research missions.

"What we're trying to do with DISCOVER-AQ is to fill the knowledge gap that limits our ability to monitor air pollution with satellites," said James Crawford, the mission's principal investigator based at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.
Since many countries, including the United States, have large gaps in ground-based networks of air pollution monitors, experts look toward satellites to provide a more complete geographic perspective on the distribution of pollutants.
 
NASA's A-Train constellation of satellites, including Aqua and Aura, will pass over the DISCOVER-AQ study area each day in the early afternoon. This data will give scientists the opportunity to compare the view from space with that from the ground and aircraft.
 
"Although we are better at detecting some pollutants from space than others, broadly speaking we have difficulty distinguishing between pollutants high in the atmosphere, which we can see quite well with satellites, and pollutants at the surface," said Kenneth Pickering, DISCOVER-AQ’s project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
Test flights begin as early as June 27 followed by up to 14 flights during July using two NASA planes. Sampling will focus on an area extending from Beltsville, Md., to the northeastern corner of Maryland in a pattern that follows major roadway traffic corridors. The flight path passes over six ground measurement sites operated by the Maryland Department of the Environment.
Ground sites maintained by the Maryland Department of the Environment form the backbone of the surface network. These sites will supplemented by additional instrumentation provided by NASA, EPA, Howard University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, and Millersville University in Pennsylvania. In the air, NASA investigators will be joined by colleagues from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the University of California-Berkeley, and the University of Innsbruck in Austria.
The combined scientific resources are what make DISCOVER-AQ a rare opportunity for air quality researchers. "It's not just one instrument that's more important than another. It is the combination of all of them that makes this campaign valuable," said Jennifer Hains, a research statistician with the Maryland Department of the Environment in Baltimore.
More information on EPA’s work on DISCOVER-AQ: http://www.epa.gov/nerl/discover-aq.html
 
More information on the DISCOVER-AQ project: http://www.nasa.gov/discover-aq

EPA Identifies Case Studies for Hydraulic Fracturing Study


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 2011

EPA Identifies Case Studies for Hydraulic Fracturing Study
Agency to conduct field work in various regions of the country starting this summer
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today, in keeping with the administration’s focus to ensure that the agency leverages domestic resources safely and responsibly, announced the next steps in its congressionally mandated hydraulic fracturing study. EPA has identified seven case studies to help inform the assessment of potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. The sites identified were selected following extensive input from stakeholders, including the public, local and state officials, industry, and environmental organizations. To ensure the agency maintains the current timeline for the study, the EPA will begin field work in some of the selected regions this summer.
 
Natural gas plays a key role in the nation’s energy future. EPA is working closely with other federal partners to ensure that this important resource can be developed safely.

“This is an important part of a process that will use the best science to help us better understand the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water,” said Paul Anastas, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “We’ve met with community members, state experts and industry and environmental leaders to choose these case studies. This is about using the best possible science to do what the American people expect the EPA to do -- ensure that the health of their communities and families are protected.”  

The studies, which will take place in regions across the country, will be broken into two study groups. Two of the seven sites were selected as prospective case studies where EPA will monitor key aspects of the hydraulic fracturing process throughout the lifecycle of a well.

These areas are located in:
Haynesville Shale - DeSoto Parish, La.
Marcellus Shale - Washington County, Pa.

Five retrospective case studies were selected and will examine areas where hydraulic fracturing has occurred for any impact on drinking water resources. These are located in:

Bakken Shale - Kildeer, and Dunn Counties, N.D.
Barnett Shale - Wise and Denton Counties, Texas
Marcellus Shale - Bradford and Susquehanna Counties, Pa.
Marcellus Shale - Washington County, Pa.
Raton Basin - Las Animas County, Colo.
The information gathered from these case studies will be part of an approach which includes literature review, collection of data and information from states, industry and communities, laboratory work and computer modeling. The combination of these materials will allow us to do a more comprehensive assessment of the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. The study will continue to use the best available science, independent sources of information, and will be conducted using a transparent, peer-reviewed process, to better understand any impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing. 
  EPA invited stakeholders from across the country to participate in the identification of potential case studies through informational public meetings and the submission of electronic or written comments. Following thousands of comments, over 40 case studies were nominated for inclusion in the study. The case studies were identified, prioritized and selected based on a rigorous set of criteria. These criteria included proximity of population and drinking water supplies to activities, concerns about impaired water quality (retrospective only) and health and environmental impacts (retrospective only), and knowledge gaps that could be filled by the case study. Sites were prioritized based on geographic and geologic diversity, population at risk, site status (planned, active or completed), unique geological or hydrology features, characteristics of water resources, and land use.

The draft study plan and additional information: http://www.epa.gov/hydraulicfracturing


R214




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