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IN THE NEWS

Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

12/15/2015 -

How will climate change affect the Delaware watershed and the region's water supply? That's the "elephant in the atmosphere," as the Academy of Natural Sciences' Roland Wall put it, and part of the focus of a multimillion-dollar research initiative launching this week. Researchers know that changes in temperature and precipitation will impact the Delaware River and the areas that surround it, But Wall, director of the academy's environmental initiatives, said much less is known about the best approaches to prepare for this and protect the water supply in general.

12/15/2015 -

People the world over are feeling, or soon will feel, the effects of the strongest El Niño event since 1997-98, currently unfolding in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. New satellite observations are beginning to show scientists its impact on the distribution of rain, tropospheric ozone and wildfires around the globe.

UDaily: UD scientist's research shows promise in creating sustainable algae-based biofuels
12/11/2015 -

Carbon dioxide gives soda its fizz and champagne its sparkle. But increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to human activities can cause the Earth to warm and oceans to acidify at alarming rates.

Scientists have long sought to find clean, green alternatives to fossil fuels like gasoline, which exacerbate the carbon dioxide problem, and biofuels — fuels derived from biological resources such as plants or plant biomass — are considered a renewable solution.

UDaily: Essay in "Nature" identifies five important books on sustainability
12/10/2015 -

Five books published between 1964 and 1972 can be considered classic studies that first made sustainability the critical public issue it is today, the University of Delaware’s Adam Rome writes in a review essay in the Nov. 26 issue of the journal Nature. Rome, who is the Unidel Helen Gouldner Chair for the Environment and a professor of history and English, wrote the essay for a special edition that Nature published in advance of the U.N. Climate Change Conference, which opened Nov. 30 in Paris.

UDaily: Grant to address fate of munitions constituents in the environment
12/10/2015 -

The Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR) was established in 1911 as a field artillery firing and field training site. Over the next several decades, MMR, which occupies 34 square miles on upper Cape Cod, was used for a variety of military operations. No one guessed — in 1911 or even years later during the Cold War — that those activities would contaminate an aquifer which, as of the early 1980s, provided drinking water to some 200,000 year-round and an additional 300,000 seasonal residents of the four towns surrounding MMR.

UDaily: UD's Dixson discusses ocean acidification at White House briefing
12/05/2015 -

As high-level climate talks continue at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21), the University of Delaware’s Danielle Dixson spoke to legislators and staffers at a White House briefing on ocean acidification (OA) held Wednesday, Dec. 2.

The briefing, hosted by U.S. Rep. Mark Takai and U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, the Ocean Caucus and the Ocean Conservancy, was designed to raise awareness of the current and future consequences of OA. Ocean acidification is the ongoing decrease in pH in the global ocean due to the absorption of excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

UDaily: UD's first sustainability manager is working toward a greener university
12/05/2015 -

Michelle Bennett has logged quite a few miles since her first day on the job as the University of Delaware’s new sustainability manager. Crisscrossing the Newark campus and the state to meet people and tour facilities, she’s been wearing out shoes at a high rate since mid-August. 

“I’ve just generally been trying to wrap my brain around all the ongoing efforts to make UD a more sustainable place,” says Bennett. “I’ve been talking to a lot of people, from students to administrators, listening to their ideas and sharing what I’ve learned so far about our progress towards our sustainability goals.”

12/03/2015 -

Monday marks the first day of the Paris climate talks, as leaders from all over the world come together to discuss taking action on climate change. University of Delaware professor and head of UD’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy John Byrne will be among the experts taking part. In Paris, he'll recommend a couple of goals he feels the U.S. should adopt to mitigate climate change risks.

UDaily: DENIN event to boost appreciation for soil, an overlooked resource
12/03/2015 -

The Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) will host an event in celebration of the International Year of Soils from noon to 4 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 7, in the Trabant University Center. The University of Delaware community is invited to stop by DENIN’s booth near the food court to play soil-related trivia, enter the “Pay Dirt” raffle, pot a plant to take home, and sample the special “DENIN Dirt” ice cream flavor concocted by the UDairy Creamery.

UDaily: UD scientist receives special appointment from the Institute of Soil Science in China
12/01/2015 -

Donald L. Sparks, Unidel S. Hallock du Pont Chair in Soil and Environmental Chemistry at the University of Delaware and director of the Delaware Environmental Institute, has been named an honorary professor of the Institute of Soil Science in Nanjing, China.

A division of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Soil Science is the oldest and most prestigious institution for soil science in China. Sparks is the first soil scientist to receive the title of honorary professor in the institute’s 60-year history.