Environment

A map od the Great Lakes. Image: brian0918
Environment News Science

Great Lakes Almost Frozen Over This Year

The Great Lakes were almost completely frozen over by March 2, with 90.5 per cent of their total surface covered in ice.

The five connected lakes are located on the border between Canada and the United States, in northeastern North America.

Although some sections of the lakes freeze each winter, usually only about 50 per cent of the water is covered with ice.

In 2012-2013, only about 38 per cent of the lakes was frozen over, and just 13 per cent was covered with ice in the winter of 2011-2012.

Mt. Everest. Image: CC-BY-2.0.
Environment News

Cleaning Up The World’s Tallest Garbage Dump

Imagine climbing all the way to the top of Mount Everest—the tallest mountain in the world—and when you get there, the summit is littered with garbage.

Over the years, exhausted climbers have left things like empty oxygen tanks, tent poles and food containers at the summit.

There are even parts from a helicopter that crashed on the mountain in 1974.

Experts say there are about 50 tons of garbage on the mountain.

Microplactics produced by toothpaste. Image: Dantor
Environment News Science

Microplastics Threaten Marine Life In The Great Lakes

Tiny pieces of plastic – each about the size of a grain of sand – are posing a huge threat to marine life in the Great Lakes.

For the past two summers, researchers from an organization called 5 Gyres have been collecting water samples from the Great Lakes.

They used fine-mesh nets to skim the surface of the water.

When they looked at what they had collected, they found thousands of tiny plastic beads, each less than a millimetre.

At first the scientists didn’t know where these “microbeads” came from. Then they used an electron microscope to compare them to products such as face and body washes or toothpaste that people use to help scrub and polish our skin and teeth.

Image: Mav
Environment News Science

Canada Announces Protection For Endangered Birds

Environment Canada has issued an emergency protection order that will limit construction activity and loud industrial noise near the habitat of an endangered bird species.

The greater sage-grouse is a shy bird that lives in southeastern Alberta and Saskatchewan.

There are fewer than 150 adult birds left in Canada, and environmentalists believe the species could be extirpated (locally extinct) within five years unless it is protected.

The birds’ natural habitat is long prairie grass, but much of this grassland has been destroyed by agriculture and oil and gas development over the past hundred years.

In December 2013, Environment Canada – the government department responsible for the environment – issued an order that prohibits any activity that would disrupt the birds’ habitat during the spring mating season.

Animals Environment News Science

Scientists Find 60 New Species In Suriname Rainforest

Scientists have discovered 60 species of previously unknown plants and animals living in a remote rainforest in southeastern Suriname.

Suriname is a small country on the northeastern coast of South America, just north of Brazil.

It is located in a geographic area called the Guiana Shield, which contains more than one-quarter of the world’s rainforest.

An expedition of 16 field biologists spent three weeks in Suriname in 2012, exploring the remote, mountainous rainforest region.

Thirty indigenous men helped transport their food and equipment by boat and guided team through the forest.

Environment News

Philippines Hit By Massive Typhoon

There has been a terrible storm in the Philippines.

The Philippines is a country in southeast Asia.

Because it is an island in the Pacific Ocean, the Philippines often gets very bad weather, including earthquakes, volcanoes and typhoons.

However, Typhoon Haiyan is perhaps the worst natural disaster to ever befall the country.

The typhoon hit the Philippines last Friday.

Its winds of up to 300 kilometres an hour whipped up the ocean waves.

The storm also caused flooding and landslides.

The country’s National Red Cross has launched a huge program to help the people whose houses were destroyed by the typhoon.

Image: Fredrik Rubensson
Environment Science

Pollution Shuts Down Chinese City

The air pollution was so bad in Harbin, in China, on October 21 that the city was forced to close roads and schools, and to cancel hundreds of flights from its airport.

News reports said the smog (a mixture of smoke and fog) was so thick that people couldn’t see more than 10 or 20 metres in front of them.

According to unofficial reports, people could not even see the person standing next to them.

The city’s website said: “You can’t see your own fingers in front of you.”

Residents said there was a “burning” smell in the air.

Many people covered their noses and mouths with scarves or masks.

The pollution was blamed on several factors.

Image: Seattle Skier
Environment Science

World’s Largest Volcano Discovered

What is the largest volcano on Earth? You may be surprised at the answer.

That’s because the world’s largest volcano has just been discovered–and it’s underwater.

The volcano Mauna Loa, in Hawaii, used to be thought of as the largest volcano in the world.

But scientists have discovered one that’s bigger. Much, much bigger.

Tamu Massif is a massive volcano about the size of the British Isles–or more than three times the size of New Brunswick.

Environment News

Human Activity Responsible For Global Warming: UN Report

A group of scientists associated with the United Nations has just issued a report on “climate change.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has confirmed that human habits and activity is responsible for global warming and for higher sea levels.

If this continues, according to the report, there will be more dramatic changes in plant and animal life.

Some critics believe that the current situation is more likely due to short-term factors or weather cycles. They believe that the climate situation will change on its own eventually.

But the UN report says the reality is clear and the facts are there.

Luckily, because humans cause the problem, humans can help solve the problem.

Image: Ks0stm
Environment News

NBA Star Donates $1-Million To Oklahoma Relief Efforts

To help his home city “bounce back” after a terrible storm, NBA player Kevin Durant has donated $1-million.

The number of people harmed by a recent tornado in the U.S. state of Oklahoma was greatly reduced, thanks to a special early-warning system.

On Monday, a major tornado hit Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City.

A tornado is a violent storm that usually looks like a whirling funnel.

Residents were warned there was a big storm coming, and possibly a tornado, days before it arrived.

When it actually hit, sirens blared, giving people a 16-minute head start to find shelter.