This week from the world of science and environment

Here's a weekly round-up of major environment and science news 

By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Monday 29 February 2016 | 07:02:48 AM

Sea levels rising fastest in 2,800 years due to global warming

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.

Experiment confirms ocean acidification harms coral reef growth

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.

Ebola survivor’s blood may lead to new treatment

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. 

Europe strengthens policy against wildlife crimes

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.

Initial tests for space-based gravitational wave detector successful

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.

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