University of Delaware
delware environmental institute


Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

National Science Foundation: Ancient alteration of seawater chemistry linked with past climate change
07/20/2012 -

Scientists have discovered a potential cause of Earth's "icehouse climate" cooling trend of the past 45 million years. It has everything to do with the chemistry of the world's oceans.

07/20/2012 -

Delaware’s energy efficiency program has a small, tenuous funding stream, and needs new ideas to pay for programs if it is to stay relevant, the group’s executive director said.

New leader: Mark Moline takes helm as director of School of Marine Science and Policy
07/20/2012 -

When Mark Moline was an undergraduate, the biology major gained hands-on experience in marine science on research expeditions to Bermuda, Australia and Antarctica. Over the course of his career, he continued zigzagging around the globe to use underwater robots and remote sensing to better understand the ecosystems in which whales, penguins, plankton and other aquatic organisms live.

Weevils and weeds: UD researchers use weevils to check spread of prolific mile-a-minute weed
07/20/2012 -

Mile-a-minute weed has declared war on Doug Tallamy’s yard. This non-native, invasive vine is growing up his trees, scrambling over shrubs and smothering tree seedlings. By blocking sunlight, it weakens a plant by reducing its ability to photosynthesize.

Native Delaware: Butterfly season only average, according to UD entomologist and others
07/18/2012 -

Brian Kunkel’s weekend strolls at Middle Run Natural Area make him see red – not because he’s angry but because the red admiral butterfly has been abundant at this 850-acre park east of Newark. A large, red-banded butterfly, the red admiral has been seen in large numbers throughout Delaware this summer.

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).