May 9, 2012
Dairy cow

Dairy cow     Photo: JelleS/Flickr

Cows Contribute to Los Angeles Smog

Emissions may be triple that of cars

A new study published in Geophysical Research Letters concludes that ammonia emissions from Southern California dairy cattle are a significant source of smog in Los Angeles. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gathered data on fly-overs in the Southern California air basin in May and June 2010, resulting in estimates ranging from 33 tons to 176 tons of cow ammonia per day, compared to 62 tons from car emissions. The calculations are based on the 298,000 head of cattle in the region during the study, though the Dairy Herd Network says that only 100,000 cows remain. Ammonia creates smog only when mixed with nitrogen oxides not originating from farms.

Read more at TreeHugger


West Java, Indonesia

West Java, Indonesia     Photo: Dhamd/Flickr

New Russian Plane Missing in Indonesia

Jet was first designed since fall of USSR

A new Russian passenger plane carrying 46 people is missing after departing on a trial flight from West Java, in Indonesia, on Wednesday. The aircraft, known as Superjet, was on only its second test flight and was carrying a mix of Indonesian and Russian businesspeople. It is the first commercial plane produced in Russia since the end of the Cold War and represents a major effort to revive the country's domestic aviation industry. A search operation is expected to begin Thursday morning.

Read more at the Christian Science Monitor


Solar panels

Solar panels     Photo: Living Off Grid/Flickr

First Solar Plant Opens on Federal Land

Facility will power 10,000 homes

On Monday, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar switched on the first-ever utility-scale solar facility on U.S. public land, delivering energy to about 10,000 homes in Nevada. The Enbridge facility, located 40 miles south of Las Vegas in the Mojave desert, marks the opening of 16 solar energy plants approved for construction on public lands as part of a 2009 sustainable energy package. “This is a landmark for America, a landmark for the solar industry and a landmark for how we use public lands,” Salazar said. The initiative will eventually produce enough electricity to power 2.3 million homes.

Read more at Environmental News Service



Pelican     Photo: Jim Bahn/Flickr

Peru Pelicans Died of Starvation

More than 1,000 birds perished

Scientists believe that thousands of dead birds found on Peru's beaches starved to death. Last week, the government warned people to stay off beaches while it investigated the mass deaths of birds and dolphins along the shore. Preliminary investigations suggest that a virus might have killed the dolphins, but no such evidence was found for the birds, most of which were pelicans and boobies. A new hypothesis points toward warming waters near Peru's coastline that have pushed the birds' prey, mostly anchovies, into deeper water, where the birds cannot catch them. Many of the dead birds have been underweight juveniles who do not yet know how to dive and therefore cannot feed themselves.

Read more at The Guardian