The Daily Dose: Your Guide to the World Today – 18 August 09

Methane is escaping from the Arctic seabed off Norway as warming seas melt the ice-like methane hydrate trapped in benthic sediment. A joint UK/German study, using sonar, identified over 250 methane “plumes” bubbling off the bottom off West Spitsbergen – likely evidence of a predicted “positive feedback” effect of climate change.

Scientists have demonstrated that no matter how good or poor the climate model is, atmospheric moisture content is increasing due to human activity. Water vapour – itself a greenhouse gas – has increased by 0.4 kilograms per cubic metre per decade since 1988, amplifying the warming effect, and much of this is now confirmed as human-induced change.

Science Catches Up Dept: Common herbs and spices “show promise” as alternatives to conventional pesticides, a 10-year study finds. Essential oils of plants like mint, rosemary, thyme, and clove were demonstrated to either kill or repel bugs, giving organic growers more non-chemical options. Gee, fancy that!

Investment in green tech in the US is switching from capital-intensive generation like solar and wind to energy storage, transport, and efficiency, new trend analysis shows, with lithium-ion batteries and smart grid startups attracting the most interest. .

The most realistic way for Asia to feed its projected 1.5 billion more people by 2050 is to revitalise and improve its presently-dilapidated irrigation systems, a top modelling study says.

Look Back in Awe Dept: Amazonian farmers are re-learning the irrigation techniques of their ancestors to beat the flood/drought cycle – at the same time saving trees from being felled by making their land more sustainably productive.

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  • Posted on Aug. 18, 2009. Listed in:

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