delware environmental institute


Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

Greenland glacier loses ice:  Greenland glacier loses ice island twice the size of Manhattan
07/17/2012 -

An ice island twice the size of Manhattan has broken off from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier, according to researchers at the University of Delaware and the Canadian Ice Service. The Petermann Glacier is one of the two largest glaciers left in Greenland connecting the great Greenland ice sheet with the ocean via a floating ice shelf.

Andreas Muenchow, associate professor of physical ocean science and engineering in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, reports the calving on July 16, 2012, in his “Icy Seas” blog. Muenchow credits Trudy Wohleben of the Canadian Ice Service for first noticing the fracture.

The discovery was confirmed by reprocessing data taken by MODIS, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites.

EarthSky: NOAA releases comprehensive 2011 State of the Climate Report
07/13/2012 -

On Tuesday, July 10, 2012, NOAA released the 2011 State of the Climate report. This report is a peer reviewed paper that was compiled by 378 scientists from 48 countries around the world. This report looks at the extreme weather events that occurred in 2011. It also analyzes global climate indicators and monitoring stations and instruments used on land, sea, ice, and sky. The report says that 2011 was the coolest year on record since 2008, but it remained above the 30-year average (1981-2010). La Nina – the cool phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation – was the major cooling factor, globally, in 2011. At the same time, the influence of human-caused global warming on the climate system continues to grow. The report identified “human fingerprints” in more than two dozen climate indicators examined by this international research team — from air temperatures to ocean acidity.

07/09/2012 -

Delaware Technical and Community College will host a workshop, “HIP (High Impact Practices) for STEM,” on Wednesday, Aug. 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Delaware Environmental Education Center on the Wilmington Riverfront.

“We’re looking for innovative faculty from four-year institutions who would like to collaborate with Delaware Tech faculty to bring current, regional research into the community college classroom,” says Virginia Balke, biology and chemistry instructor at Delaware Tech.  “Our faculty can be great partners on outreach and broader impacts sections of proposals.”

Irrigation station: UD helps farmers manage irrigation based on Delaware-specific environmental data
07/09/2012 -

Watering corn, cantaloupes and other crops with industrial-sized sprinklers can be costly for farmers, but so can be fields parched by dry, hot weather. University of Delaware researchers are helping growers find the right balance between irrigation and rainfall with new online software that incorporates Delaware-specific environmental data.

NSF Highlight: Climate change drives coral reefs toward ecosystem collapse
07/09/2012 -

Coral reefs could be on the verge of a total ecosystem collapse lasting thousands of years, according to a paper published recently in Science. The paper shows how natural climatic shifts stalled reef growth in the eastern Pacific for 2,500 years. The stall-out, which began 4,000 years ago, corresponds to a period of dramatic swings in the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

07/09/2012 -

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Watershed Stewardship will hold an informational workshop for its Community Water Quality Improvement Grant from 9 to 11 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 2 at the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR), St. Jones Center for Estuarine Studies, 818 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Persons wishing to attend the workshop must pre-register by July 31, 2012. For more information, or to register for the workshop, contact Sharon Webb, Nonpoint Source Pollution Program, Division of Watershed Stewardship at 302-739-9922.

NSF Highlights: Scientists discover new trigger for immense North Atlantic plankton bloom
07/06/2012 -

On this July 4th week, U.S. beachgoers are thronging their way to seaside resorts and parks to celebrate with holiday fireworks. Across the horizon and miles out to sea toward the north, the Atlantic Ocean's own spring and summer ritual is unfolding: the blooming of countless microscopic plant plankton, or phytoplankton.

DNREC News: First reported fish kill of summer fits familiar pattern of high heat and low dissolved oxygen
07/06/2012 -

On July 4, DNREC responded to reports of a fish kill in Rehoboth Beach’s Silver Lake that initially involved an estimated 1,500 gizzard shad 2 to 4 inches long along with 800 white perch the same size, plus a few bluegills and a largemouth bass. Today, DNREC scientists continued to investigate the cause of the fish kill, which had broadened overnight to include both juvenile and adult fish of those same species – with approximately 5,000 to 6,000 dead gizzard shad of all sizes and 600 adult white perch, plus adult blue gills and largemouth bass observed on July 5.

Honorary membership:  UD's Sparks one of six soil scientists honored at international meeting
06/30/2012 -

Donald L. Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Chair in Soil and Environmental Chemistry in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and director of the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN), was recently elected an honorary member of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS).

The honor was announced at the IUSS meeting on June 6 in Jeju, Korea. It is the highest honor awarded by the professional society, which represents more than 50,000 soil scientists from around the world.

Sparks was one of just six soil scientists presented with the honorary membership this year, and he is only the 15th American so recognized since the IUSS was founded in 1924.

Water in a changing world: Experimental watershed provides new insights, rich education experience
06/26/2012 -

Six years and about 4,000 water samples later, an outdoor experimental watershed laboratory established by University of Delaware faculty members Shreeram Inamdar and Delphis Levia at Fair Hill, Md., is now producing valuable data and novel insights into how water and chemicals move through the forest canopy, soils and watersheds, and how future climate change may impact or alter such responses.