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Unlined Coal Ash Ponds Leak Toxic Matter

Despite recent strides in the green energy sector, the United States still got about a third of its total electricity from coal burning in 2015. And all the ash from those operations has to go somewhere, typically into coal ash ponds near power plants. Believe it or not, some of the ponds are unlined, without a barrier between the ash and sediments below -- what effects does that have on groundwater? In a recent study, investigators at Duke University tackled the issue in five Southeastern U.S. states. Their efforts looked at ponds near 21 power plants and revealed that toxic substances consistently leak from the unlined ponds into nearby surface waters and groundwater. What’s more, the impacts seem to stick around long after coal ash ponds are no longer used.

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Flood Warning Systems

Chapter Overview: Flood Warning A Real-Time Solution Streamflow Measurements Typical Flood Warning System Monitoring Location Data Management Quality Assurance Recommended Equipment Why Monitoring Matters While some areas are more prone to flooding than others, the establishment of flood warning systems near any major waterway or body of water provides critical information that can protect property and save lives. Of course, the most effective flood warning methods extend beyond the installation of gages and telemetry equipment, and employ qualified staff and carefully designed procedures to provide the earliest warning about whether a flood should be expected, when it will occur, and how severe it will be.

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Coral Bleaching Hits Clownfish Habitat Selection

With the pace of coral bleaching picking up in recent years, prospects for fish that depend on them as habitat aren’t looking too good. Take clownfish, a species that is fiercely reliant on anemones over the course of their lives. Found exclusively in the Indo-Pacific, clownfish are symbiotic animals that only live in sea anemones, a close relative of corals that don’t have a hard outer shell. The anemone provides a home and protection for the clownfish, while the clownfish provides food for the anemone.

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Sediment Cores Show Greenland Changes

Scientists try to predict the future by looking at the past all the time. One recent example of this is an investigation led by those at the University at Buffalo relying on sediment cores taken from a lake in Greenland to reconstruct how Arctic precipitation fluctuated over the past several millennia. With that information, their hopes were to gauge how the Greenland Ice Sheet has fluctuated in a past when warmer temperatures were more common. To approach that question, researchers extracted a long, cylindrical sediment core sample from a lake bottom in western Greenland. The mud in the sample contained ancient leaf waxes, with the oldest at the base of the column and the youngest at the top.

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