Featured Image

Lady of the Lakes

Nature Diane Orihel set her PhD aside to lead a massive protest when Canada tried to shut down its unique Experimental Lakes Area. It was an ominous way to start the day. When she arrived at work on the morning of 17 May 2012, Diane Orihel ran into distraught colleagues. Staff from Canada’s Experimental Lakes Area had just been called to an emergency meeting at the Freshwater Institute in Winnipeg. “It can’t be good,” said one.

Featured Image

In carbon sequestration, money grows on trees

Guyana’s tropical rainforests protected under the REDD program provide not just natural resources but an income stream to the country. Two hours south of Georgetown, Guyana, a paved highway recedes, giving way to a rutted red road gushing through thick rainforest. In its muddiest spots, the road swallows trucks and spits them out at dangerous angles. Many hours later, it leads to an area of protected land called Iwokrama, a Rhode Island-size forest in the heart of Guyana, crowded with ancient buttress-trunked trees draped in liana vines. [media-credit name=”Hannah Hoag” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]Since 2003, Jake Bicknell has been a fixture within … Read more…

Featured Image

Ozone loss warmed southern Africa

Nature Antarctic ozone hole’s effects may have spread much wider than thought. Ozone loss over the South Pole might be the reason for a two-decade rise in early summer temperatures across southern Africa, according to research published today in Nature Geoscience1. Desmond Manatsa, a climate scientist at Bindura University of Science in Zimbabwe, and colleagues analysed data sets of southern African climate from 1979 to 2010, covering the years before and after the development of the ozone hole over the Antarctic. They found that the size of the ozone hole seemed to influence wind patterns and triggered an upward shift in … Read more…

Featured Image

Arctic snow cover shows sharp decline

Earlier spring could spell trouble for permafrost Arctic snow is fading fast. June snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has dropped by almost 18% per decade during the past 30 years, according to a study published in Geophysical Research Letters1. The drop in snow extent will lower the amount of sunlight reflected away from the planet — a process that has a cooling effect — by exposing darker and less reflective soil, shrubs and trees, which absorb solar radiation and re-emit the heat into the atmosphere. The change also stands to warm the permafrost, alter the timing of spring runoff into … Read more…

Featured Image

Test lakes face closure

Lake 239 looks inviting. Pines and spruce fringe the shoreline and waves lap against outcrops of weathered granite. But on this hot August afternoon in northwestern Ontario (see ‘Water works’), one feature stands out. At the far end of the 800-metre-long lake, a series of plastic-walled columns descend from a floating dock to the muddy bottom about 2 metres down. They are the sign that the lake’s placid setting disguises an experiment in controlled environmental abuse. Jennifer Vincent, a graduate student at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, kneels by one of the columns and empties a vial of silver nanoparticles into … Read more…