Archive | Regional

Red Snapper Population Sees Increase in Gulf of Mexico

NEW ORLEANS, Dec. 27 (UPI) — The red snapper population in the Gulf of Mexico appears to have rebounded thanks to the efforts of U.S. government regulators, scientific data suggests.

The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune said Sunday a new scientific assessment of the fish species’ population numbers in the gulf indicate the red snapper population is growing although overfishing still remains a point of concern.

Roy Crabtree, the National Marine Fisheries Service’s southeast regional administrator, praised the apparent reversal of the lengthy trend of major overfishing threatening the red snapper population.

“We’ve been trying to end the overfishing of red snapper for over 20 years, and this is the first time we’ve been able to do it,” Crabtree said. “I think a lot of fishermen have endured a lot of pain over the last few years, so hopefully things start to change for the better.”

The reversal of fortune for the species’ population comes after the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council set the red snapper quota to 5 million pounds in 2008.

The Times-Picayune said the catch limit for sport and commercial fishers was one of lowest for Gulf snapper in history.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Animals, Aquatic Life, Conservation, Fish, Nature & Ecosystems, Regional0 Comments

U.N. Climate Talks Late, Protests Heat Up

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 17 (UPI) — The United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen started late Wednesday due to disputes over documents to be used as the basis for the talks, observers said.

The formal negotiations during the final days of the two-week conference got under way nine hours late because the Danes upset blocs of developing countries by attempting to introduce new documents in lieu of the ones that have resulted from almost-yearlong negotiations, the BBC reported.

Developing countries accused the Danes of trying to bend the summit toward an outcome that will benefit developed nations, the BBC reported.

An incentive for the summit to proceed is Japan’s pledge of $5 billion to be given to poor nations between 2010 and 2012, but only if a deal is reached, and the Japanese position is the deal must include legally binding emission curbs from major developing countries. Japan’s large regional rival, China, is opposed to such a deal, the BBC said.

A bloc of six developed countries — the United States, England, Australia, France, Japan and Norway — together will pledge $3.5 billion to fighting deforestation, but “in context of an ambitious and comprehensive outcome in Copenhagen,” the BBC said.

Earlier in the day, police — prepared for a confrontation Wednesday — fought back protesters who tried to barge through barricades around Copenhagen’s Bella Centre.

A final draft of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation originally was to be offered Wednesday to conference representatives, but will not be presented until the end of the week, The New York Times reported.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Regional0 Comments

DOE Won't Stop Utah Bound Uranium Train

SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 16 (UPI) — The train has left the station and a shipment of depleted uranium headed for Utah cannot be stopped, the U.S. Department of Energy said Wednesday.

Gov. Gary Herbert has asked the department to stop the train bringing the uranium from the Savannah River in South Carolina, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“We are planning a briefing with the governor and his staff tomorrow,” Jen Stutsman, a department spokeswoman, said Wednesday. “But this shipment is continuing as planned.”

EnergySolutions Inc. had agreed to take the depleted uranium for disposal in Utah. The company has already buried 5,000 barrels of waste from the Savannah River in a landfill in Toole County and has disposed of a total of 49,000 tons at the site.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently said new rules are needed for disposal of depleted uranium in shallow burial sites. Herbert had asked the Department of Energy to delay any shipments until the Utah Radiation Control Board has had an opportunity to draft interim regulations.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Energy, Energy & Fuels, Liability, Law, & Government, Nuclear, Policy, Law, & Government, Radiation, Regional, U.S. Federal Government Agencies, U.S. State & Local0 Comments

International Scientists Say Atlantic Coast Sea Level is Rising

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 15 (UPI) — Scientists say the sea-level rise along the U.S. Atlantic Coast was 2 millimeters faster during the 20th century than at any time in 4,000 years.

The U.S.-led team of international scientists also determined the magnitude of the sea-level rise increases in a southerly direction from Maine to South Carolina. That, the researchers said, is the first demonstrated evidence of the phenomenon from observational data alone.

The scientists say the sea level rise might be related to the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet and ocean thermal expansion.

“There is universal agreement that sea level will rise as a result of global warming, but by how much, when and where it will have the most effect is unclear,” said University of Pennsylvania Assistant Professor Benjamin Horton. “Such information is vital to governments, commerce and the general public. An essential prerequisite for accurate prediction is understanding how sea level has responded to past climate changes and how these were influenced by geological events such as land movements.”

The research provides the first accurate dataset for sea-level rise for the U.S. Atlantic coast, identifying regional differences that arise from variations in subsidence and demonstrate the possible effects of ice-sheet melting and thermal expansion for sea level rise.

The study that included Florida International University, the University of Toronto and Tulane University appears in the Dec. 1 issue of the journal Geology.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Effects Of Air Pollution, Regional0 Comments

Water Temperature of Kuwait Bay Sea Rising Quickly

SOUTHHAMPTON, England, Dec. 1 (UPI) — British scientists say the water temperature of Kuwait Bay in the northern Arabian Gulf has increased three times faster than the global average since 1985.

Researcher Thamer al-Rashidi of Britain’s National Oceanography Center, who led the study, said the higher water temperatures are having profound effects on key habitats and on power generation.

Al-Rashidi and his colleagues used data gathered by satellites from 1985 to 2007 to assess warming in Kuwait Bay and the Gulf region.

The scientists said the temperature dipped in 1991, during the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait when dense smoke from burning of oil fields blocked sunlight during the summer. However, the water temperature then increased fairly steadily from 1992 to 2004.

“What all of this tells us,” al-Rashidi said, “is that the global trends reported by the (U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) may not be representative locally.”

The researchers estimate about a third of the observed increase in Kuwait Bay’s water temperature can be attributed to global climate change, approximately 13 percent to human activity along the coast, with the remainder apparently due to changes in regional drivers, including circulation and mixing of seawater in the Arabian Gulf and sand storms.

The report appeared in the July issue of the journal Natural Hazards.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Effects Of Air Pollution, Regional1 Comment

Landfills Still Filling Up in Northern California

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 25 (UPI) — Landfill operators in Northern California say it will take more than recycling to reduce the need for trash dumps in the coming years.

Tighter environmental regulations have led to some landfills in the San Francisco region to close, but at the same time has required other waste facilities to expand.

“We are on a path toward zero waste but we’re not there yet, and there’s a finite amount of landfill space in the Bay Area,” said Adam Alberti, spokesman for the waste-hauling company Recology. “A big part of it is that consumers need to change their behaviors — not just in recycling, but in consumption.”

The San Francisco Chronicle said Wednesday that Recology was seeking permits to begin shipping trash to Nevada by rail as some Bay Area dumps move closer to capacity or are shut down due to environmental concerns.

The newspaper said three landfills serving the area have either closed in the past four years on the verge of shutting down. Environmentalists say that causes more communities to truck their refuse farther to massive regional dumps.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Causes, Consumption, Landfills, Other, Recycling, Recycling & Waste, Regional0 Comments

Air Pollution at Small Airports a Concern

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 18 (UPI) — Air pollution is well-recognized problem at major airports, but air pollution near smaller regional airports may be overlooked, U.S. researchers say.

Suzanne Paulson of the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues said smaller regional airports are becoming an increasingly important component of global air transport systems.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, suggests that officials should pay closer attention to these overlooked emissions, which could cause health problems for residents. Paulson and colleagues note that scientists have known for years that aircraft emissions from fuel burned during takeoffs and landings can have a serious impact on air quality near major airports.

The scientists measured a range of air pollutants near a general aviation airport for private planes and corporate jets in Southern California — Santa Monica Airport — in the spring and summer of last year.

The researchers found that emissions of ultrafine particles, which are less than 1/500th width of a human hair, were significantly elevated when compared to background pollution levels.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Air Pollutants, Air Pollution, Aviation, Pollution & Toxins, Regional, Science, Space, & Technology0 Comments

Floods Displace Thousands in El Salvador

SAN SALAVADOR, El Salvador, Nov. 18 (UPI) — More than 15,000 people in El Salvador have been displaced by recent flooding caused by heavy rainfall and Hurricane Ida, Oxfam International said.

The international organization dedicated to fighting poverty worldwide said in a release Tuesday thousands of El Salvador residents are living in shelters in the wake of Nov. 7-8 storms that caused major flooding and landslides in parts of the country.

“The scenes of floods and landslides that struck El Salvador last week reflect a storm of almost unbelievable intensity. More than 200 people are dead or missing, more than 1,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed, and crops that the rural population depends on for food have been obliterated,” Carolina Castrillo, an Oxfam official based in San Salvador, said.

The widespread destruction caused by the storm prompted residents of impacted towns and villages to be relocated to emergency shelters, which now are struggling with supply shortages.

“Needs are significant across all of the affected areas with only 123 shelters accommodating more than 15,000 displaced residents. The damage is severe, and reconstruction and replacement of houses, infrastructure and crops will take a long time,” said Castrillo, the regional director for Oxfam in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Infrastructure, Regional0 Comments

Study Uncovers New Fact of Coral Spawning

MELBOURNE, Fla., Nov. 9 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they have determined why corals spawn for just a few nights in some locations, but elsewhere the spawning continues for several months.

It’s long been known corals synchronize their release of eggs and sperm into the water, but scientists were unsure how and why they did so.

Florida Institute of Technology Professor Robert van Woesik says he’s determined corals spawn when regional wind fields are light. When it is calm the eggs and sperm have the best chance to unite before they are dispersed.

Corals off the coast of Kenya have months of light winds so they can reproduce for much of the year, Woesik said. On the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, calm weather is short-lived and the coral reproductive season is brief.

Woesik said his findings are critically important for effective reef conservation.

“Coral reproduction is a very local event,” Woesik said. “This means local conservation efforts will maximize reproductive success and give reef systems a chance to adapt to global climate change.”

The study appears in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Conservation, Regional, Science, Space, & Technology, Wind0 Comments

Bangladesh Cholera Linked to Rivers

BOSTON, Nov. 9 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they’ve discovered why cholera outbreaks that occur once a year in Africa and Latin America occur twice a year in Bangladesh.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, scientists said. But they have tried, without much success, to determine the cause of the unique dual outbreaks in Bangladesh.

Researchers from Tufts University, led by Professor Shafiqul Islam, say they have found a link between cholera and fluctuating water levels in the region’s three principal rivers — the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna.

“What we are establishing is a way to predict cholera outbreaks two to three months in advance,” Islam said. “It’s not a microbiological explanation. The key is the river discharge and regional climate.”

The study’s findings are reported in the Oct. 10 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Human Health & Wellness, Regional0 Comments

No Posts in Category