Today in truly odd jobs: China is apparently hiring “human sniffers” to act as living, breathing sensors to detect potentially unhealthy gases around waste and sewage treatment plants. In fact, Beijing has been doing this for years. China’s rapid urbanization in recent decades has resulted in the construction of many new treatment facilities for waste and sewage that can emit unhealthy and offensive vapors into the air, and the state has dealt with this via a small army of human smell detectors.
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China is already doing plenty of things to the atmosphere above it, but most changes are byproducts of the country’s marathon industrial revolution. Now China plans to make some purposeful atmospheric changes — namely making it rain, for the purpose of growing crops.
The quickest way to slow the melting of Arctic sea ice is through reducing soot emissions, according to a new study of soot's climate effects. Eliminating soot entirely could undo nearly a century of global warming, the study says.
Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson is the latest in a line of scientists to suggest reducing soot to slow global warming. He says it is second only to carbon dioxide in its ability to warm the climate -- it's even more powerful than methane, according to his models.
Environmental monitoring has come a long way since the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Now we use bees.
Airports in Germany are using honeybees as "biodetectives," regularly testing their honey for a suite of pollutants, the New York Timesreports. This year's first tests were conducted in early June at Düsseldorf International Airport, and the bees got a clean bill of health. That means the air was clean, too.
By Christopher MimsPosted 01.19.2010 at 10:43 am 6 Comments
The International Maritime Organization, which oversees the shipping industry, will begin enforcing rules this July that mandate cleaner fuel to cut air pollution and acid rain. Ironically, this eco-motivated change will undo one of our strongest, if accidental, defenses against climate change.