One of the last refuges from the effects of global warming in Canadas Arctic is succumbing to rising temperatures, creating significant risks for polar bears and the people who must survive off a rapidly transforming landscape.
A team of five researchers from Queens University, Laurentian University and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment has looked at algae deposits in lake sediments in the Hudson Bay Lowlands over the past 70 years and determined that, since the mid-1990s, the area has warmed dramatically.
In a paper released Tuesday, they say their research provides evidence that we are witnessing the transformation of the Arctic at an exceptional pace.
The research follows a report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in late September in which climate scientists said they were more certain than ever that human activity is the leading cause of global warming and that its effects will linger for centuries.
Andrew Paterson, left, and Chris Jones collect sediment cores in the Hudson Bay Lowlands.
New York residents who are military veterans can apply to the state Department of Motor Vehicles for a special designation on their driver's license.
The special licenses are intended to eliminate the need for veterans to carry separate documentation proving their military service in order to take advantage of discounts or other programs available to vets.
Whether it will result in smoother traffic stops for designated vets is open to interpretation.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Greg Ball, an Air Force veteran. It went into effect on Thursday, a year after being signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, extracts oil and gas from deep underground by injecting water into the ground and breaking the rocks in which the valuable hydrocarbons are trapped. But it also produces wastewater high in certain contaminants and which may be radioactive.
In a study published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, researchers found high levels of radioactivity, salts and metals in the water and sediments downstream from a fracking wastewater plant on Blacklick Creek in western Pennsylvania.
Among the most alarming findings was that downstream river sediments contain 200 times more radium than mud that's naturally present upstream of the plant, said Avner Vengosh, a co-author of the study and a professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke University. Radium is a radioactive metal naturally found in many rocks; long-term exposure to large amounts of radium can cause adverse health effects and even diseases such as leukemia.
The concentrations of radium Vengosh and his team detected are higher than those found in some radioactive waste dumps, and exceed the minimum threshold the federal government uses to qualify a disposal site as a radioactive dump site, Vengosh told LiveScience. While the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility removes some of the radium from the wastewater, the metal accumulates in the sediment, at dangerously high levels, he added.
Plants that treat oil and gas wastewater are shown in red. The Josephine water treatment plant is shown in black.
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