Here's a weekly round-up of major environment and science news
Sea levels are rising several times faster than they have in the past 2,800 years according to new studies. Man-made global warming has been cited as the reason for this acceleration. Until the 1880s, seas rose by 3-4 cm in a century, at most. Global sea levels did not change by more than 7.6cm above or below the 2,000 year average. However, in the 20th century, global sea level increased by 14 cm. An international team of scientists examined two dozen locations across the globe to chart rising and falling seas over centuries and millennia.
A new experiment has proven that ocean acidification is harming the growth of coral reefs in their natural surroundings. This provides experimental evidence that corals and other organisms who build their shells out of calcium carbonate suffer when seawater becomes more acidic. This reduction in seawater pH is caused by dissolution of atmospheric carbon dioxide—that has increased from human activities such as burning fossil fuels.
The blood sample of a man who survived Ebola almost two decades ago may be crucial in developing a new treatment against the disease. The survivor produced some of the strongest antibodies against Ebola found so far, researchers say. The antibody “mAb114” has been successful in protecting monkeys from the lethal virus several days after the animals were infected. The antibody can now advance to human trials.
Poachers, smugglers and other wildlife criminals are set to face prison sentences of at least four years in the European Union, as per an action plan of the European commission. The action plan would consider major wildlife trafficking a grave offence under the UN’s convention against transnational organised crime, as per media reports. The new policy will end current legal loopholes.
After the detection of gravitational waves earlier this month, scientist are now a step closer to launching a space-based detector for these waves. The technology that involves firing lasers between metal cubes in freefall, is performing well in its initial tests, as per media reports. Because of its scale, a space-based detector could detect lower-frequency gravitational waves than Earth-based experiments.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.