August 9, 2012

Removing the Glines Canyon Dam on Washington's Elwha River     Photo: Courtesy of American Rivers

Dams Linked to Global Warming

Drawdowns release potent methane gas

Dams are the latest global warming culprits, according to researchers at Washington State University. The reservoirs created by dams are hotbeds for methane gas-producing life. When engineers lower water levels through drawdowns, methane release increases 20-fold. “Reservoirs have typically been looked at as a green energy source,” says Bridget Deemer, a doctoral student at Washington State University, Vancouver. “But their role in greenhouse gas emissions has been overlooked.” A 2011 study concluded that reservoir emissions could shave off a quarter of the terrestrial ecosystem’s ability to soak up greenhouse gas emissions. But by timing drawdowns for colder months, engineers might be able to limit the amount of methane released into the environment.

Via The Petri Dish

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open water swimming     Photo: Kyle Taylor

Sewage Threatens Ironman Championships

Millions of gallons flowing into Hudson

Saturday's U.S. Ironman Championships may take place without a swimming leg after a break in a sewer line that will lead to the release of millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Hudson River. Triathlon officials were informed Thursday that a rupture in Tarrytown, New York, will require a controlled release of the county's sewage into the river at a point about 20 miles north of the finish line. The first-ever New York City Ironman triathlon has 2,500 particpants who each paid at least $895 for a spot. “We’re not messing with water quality,” race organizer John Korff said. “It is what it is—it’s either yes or no. It depends which way the water is flowing. Athletes will know at least the day before.” The health department is currently advising kayakers and swimmers to avoid direct contact with the water.

Via Bloomberg

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    Photo: Will Clayton/Flickr

Pistorius to Run Relay Final After Appeal

South Africa to race in lane nine

Despite not finishing their preliminary race, the South African men’s 4x400m relay team will be racing in the final. In what looked to be a disappointing end to Oscar Pistorius’ Olympics, his teammate Ofentse Mogwane collided with Kenyan runner Vinvent Killu during the second leg of the relay. Killu cut across Mogwane, who then ran into Killu’s back. Both runners went down injured, and neither team finished the race. Pistorius, who was set to run the third leg, didn’t get to touch the baton. However, the South African team appealed, and the result was overturned by a jury of appeal, ruling that South Africa’s “chances had been severely damaged in the incident with Kenya.” The South Africans will run as an additional team in lane nine in Friday’s final. Mogwane will miss the final due to a shoulder injury sustained during his collision with Killu.

Via The New York Times

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Michael Phelps, 2008 Olympics     Photo: marcopako/Flickr

'Everybody' Pees in the Olympic Pool

But the British Prime Minister says, 'not okay'

Ryan Lochte raised eyebrows last week when he told Ryan Seacrest that elite swimmers "always" pee in the pool. He was quickly backed up by former U.S. national swimmer Carly Geehre and most-decorated-Olympian-ever Michael Phelps. "I think everybody pees in the pool. It's kind of a normal thing to do for swimmers. When we're in the water for two hours, we don't really get out to pee," Phelps said. "Chlorine kills it so it's not bad." But the British Prime Minister has taken a different view. "I was quite surprised by that. It is not okay to pee in the pool," David Cameron told the Metro. Lochte followed up on his statements with a video addressing young swimmers: "Kids, it is okay to pee in the pool."

Via Huffington Post

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A U.S. helicopter sprays Agent Orange over Vietnam     Photo: Jrtayloriv/Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Begins Agent Orange Cleanup

First U.S. environmental restoration in Vietnam

For the first time, the United States has started to clean up Agent Orange used to defoliate forests during the Vietnam War. On Thursday, U.S. crews got to work on a 47-acre former military base, one of several "hot spots" marked for cleanup. The herbicide Agent Orange contains dioxin, a chemical linked to cancer, birth defects, and other disabilities. Over the course of the war, the U.S. sprayed 10,000 square miles of jungle—an area the size of Massachusetts—with defoliant. The base marked for cleanup includes lakes and wetlands where dioxin has seeped into the water and soil. Restoring the site is expected to cost $43 million and take four years. It marks the first direct involvement of the U.S. in cleaning up the chemical. "We are both moving earth and taking the first steps to bury the legacies of our past," U.S. Ambassador David Shear said. "I look forward to even more success to follow."

Via Washington Post

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