Discovered in Green: Wind farms are making the Earth warmer, a map of clean and dirty ground water, the coral reef is moving, and Yellowstone's super-volcano isn't all that super.
- Nature Climate Change] Wind farms are making the Earth warmer. Oh, shoot, that's the opposite of what's supposed to happen. But, like all things green, this sustainable power generation tool has some unintended side effects. "This study indicates that land surface temperatures have warmed in the vicinity of large wind farms in west-central Texas, especially at night," explains researcher Anjuli Bamzai. But at least it's only sometimes in certain places. "The estimated warming trends only apply to the study region and to the study period, and thus should not be interpolated into other regions, globally or over longer periods," added researcher Liming Zhou. "For a given wind farm, once there are no new wind turbines added, the warming effect may reach a stable level," he continues. So, it's not as bad as it sounds, probably, maybe. [
- Is your water getting cleaner or dirtier? Depends on where you live. Or so says this map, which compares ground water samples from 1988-2000 to samples from 2001-2010. "By providing a nation-wide, long-term, uniformly consistent analysis of trends in groundwater quality, communities can see whether they belong in the group of more than 50 percent which are maintaining their water quality, or within the group of more than 40 percent for which water quality is back sliding," said researcher Marcia McNutt. "Communities in the latter group can decide whether and what action may be warranted to address quality issues so they do not cause concern to human health," she continues. You can take a look below. Or head over to the USGS site for an interactive experience. [USGS]
- The coral reef is moving to the Pacific islands. That sounds quite lovely. But, it's actually more of a refugee type migration. As oceans warm, these corals have moved to this cluster of islands as a survival tactic. "Our model suggests that the amount of upwelling will actually increase by about 50 percent around these islands and reduce the rate of warming waters around them by about 0.7oC (1.25oF) per century," explains researcher Kristopher Karnauskas. In fact, this is more like a martyr move, as the new location will slow warming for the rest of the ocean. The globe is warming, but there are things going on underfoot that will slow that warming for certain parts of certain coral reef islands," added researcher Anne Cohen. [Nature Climate Change]
- Yellowstone's super-volcano isn't all that super. Its eruptions just aren't as mighty as science thought. Turns out the biggest one ever was actually two different ones 6,000 years apart. Womp. "The Yellowstone volcano's previous behavior is the best guide of what it will do in the future," explains researcher Ben Ellis. But this also means these super events will happen more often. "This research suggests explosive volcanism from Yellowstone is more frequent than previously thought," continues Ellis. [Quaternary Geochronology]