Accounting for Greenhouse Gases: Methane in India

How do we know how much heat-trapping greenhouse gas there is in the atmosphere? What about where these greenhouse gases are coming from? Scientists work hard to answer these questions on global, national, and regional levels. Recently, a group of scientists from India, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States collaborated to evaluate India’s emissions of the greenhouse gas methane. This blog post explains how greenhouse gas accounting is similar to tracking your bank account. The post then discusses in more detail how the India study was conducted, and why its findings are important.

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Connecting to nature and understanding ecosystem services: the urban perspective

Food and water – two resources vital for life on Earth. These are two prime examples of the products that arise from ecosystem services. There are four broad categories of ecosystem services: provisioning regulating, supporting, and cultural. Food and water are a form of ecosystem service provisioning – these are the products that directly benefit humans. Globalization and climate change are increasingly threatening food and water security, and other vital ecosystem services throughout the world.

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Under a wave of global change, lakes remain placid

Swimmers, boaters, and fishing enthusiasts care about keeping our lakes healthy. As climate and patterns of land development change, scientists are diving into the challenge of understanding how these interacting forces impact water quality. In a recently published paper, researchers assembled a database of thousands of lakes across the northeastern United States to address this question. They found that water quality has remained surprisingly stable over the past twenty years.

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Of feces and fertilizer: residential sources of urban water pollutants

Excess nutrients from pet waste and lawn fertilizer contribute to degraded water quality in cities. Due to the widely dispersed nature of these pollutants in residential areas, decisions made at the household level can go a long way towards solving—or exacerbating—water quality problems.

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Generating electricity while microbes clean wastewater – how wastewater treatment plants could go from brown to green

Microbial fuel cells are structures that behave like batteries, but are powered by ever-present environmental microbes. Researchers in South Korea measured the ability of Microbial Fuel Cell prototypes to generate electricity while cleaning up wastewater. Results indicate that this technology could radically reduce the energy requirements of wastewater treatment facilities.

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