27 - Wednesday 27th July
This archive of news stories on energy related topics came from RSS feeds from the most relevant government institution. These press releases date from 27th July 2011 and no guarantee can be provided on the accuracy of these stories from the Green Deal Group. Click on the relevant links for more information and the corresponding article.
- Weatherwatch: Sahara dust
It was the height of the swinging sixties, and the papers were full of strange tales, but the events of 1 July 1968 were weirder than usual. A stifling summer heat wave finally ended as a depression swept across southern Britain, bringing cooler conditions and rain. But the nature of the rain caused people to take a second look: instead of the usual transparent stuff, this was coloured brick-red. After the rains stopped, there came another big surprise: every available surface was covered with a thin layer of sand, varying in colour from red through orange to yellow.
This was the most extreme recorded example of a fairly regular phenomenon: the fall of "Sahara dust". This occurs when sandstorms in North Africa push sand up into the atmosphere, which is then swept northwards by the wind until it drops, usually along with rain, here in Britain, 1,500 miles to the north. In 1984, there were falls of Sahara dust as late as mid-November, during an unseasonal warm spell when temperatures reached 19C. These southerly winds brought another surprise: four pallid swifts, the paler version of our own familiar summer visitor, were seen by birdwatchers in scattered locations from Wales to Kent. As aerial feeders, the pallid swifts had been caught up in the same airstream as the sand. Before this unusual multiple sighting, there had only been two previous records of this North African species in Britain.guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Wed 27th Jul 2011 11:02pm
- Country diary: Achvaneran, Highlands
Although we have lived in this strath for 24 years the garden still, fortunately, keeps coming up with surprises so far as wildlife is concerned. However, it is exceptional, as within the last two weeks, to have had two mammals involved in two incidents.
The first was in mid-afternoon when the mandarin and mallard ducks on the pond below my study were, as usual, loafing on the dam. Some were asleep while others were busy preening. The young ducklings were trying to imitate the adults in preening and sometimes falling over in their efforts. Suddenly all changed as the mallard started quacking loudly and the mandarins with their coot-like calls were joining in. Some mallards were diving and splashing and then all the ducks started swimming round and round the small island. The culprit emerged and there, swimming across the pond, was a black mink. It reached the bank and disappeared into the undergrowth. At least we have no domestic ducks and hens these days but I wondered what havoc would it vent on the wildlife.
The second was late in the evening, at 11pm, when I stood looking down from the bedroom window. The large bird table was below, about six metres from the house. As usual, I looked at the pond where the ducks were swimming around but then there was that moment when you realise there is something different happening. I had sprinkled some grain under the table for the mallard and mandarin ducklings to come up for an early feed the next morning. There, feeding on the grain, was a badger. After a few minutes it was joined by another one and the black-and-white head patterns were conspicuous and I could see the grey hair on their backs. I was spellbound and in awe, and had great difficulty in sleeping that night.guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Wed 27th Jul 2011 11:01pm
- Fire in the north: burning tundra heralds new warming worries
A paper out in Nature today suggests that the touch-paper for runaway global warming could be lit by increased fires in the previously damp tundra soils of the Arctic. Such fires have been absent for 11,000 years – their reappearance could help cause permafrost to melt more readily, in a chain-reaction of CO2 emissions that would boost global warming.
Wed 27th Jul 2011 6:00pm
- A new hope for aquaculture, eco-clean fish farms
A new patent developed by a scientist in Israel allows for fish farms to minimize or even illiminate water pollution and fish contamination. According to a report by the UN Fish and Agriculture Organization, aquaculture (artificially grown seafood) provides over 47% of total world supply of seafood.
Wed 27th Jul 2011 4:00pm
- Mass poultry production causes water pollution
Large scale broiler production is affecting water quality in Chesapeake Bay. A report from Pew Environment Group, Big Chicken: Pollution and Industrial Poultry Production in North America, claims that the vast scale of these operations poses a real threat to the environment.
Wed 27th Jul 2011 3:34pm
- Our favourite fish under threat says new study
The fish on which we most rely are under threat of extinction says a new survey of scombrids, which include mackerel and tuna - overfishing, pollution and destruction of ocean habitat is the cause say the compilers of the Red List of Threatened Species.
Wed 27th Jul 2011 3:09pm