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Environment

Study: Toothless ‘dragon’ pterosaurs once ruled skies

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ancient winged reptiles called pterosaurs were so successful that they ruled Earth’s skies for tens of millions of years, according to a study published in the journal ZooKeys. The fearsome fliers, part of a family of pterosaurs named Azhdarchidae, get their name from azdarha, the Persian word for “dragon.” Unlike earlier pterosaurs, they had no teeth, and they dominated from late in the Cretaceous period (around 90 million years ago) … 0

‘Severe’ drought in 99.8% of California

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

LOS ANGELES — Drought conditions may have leveled off across California, but nearly 100 percent of the state remains in the third-harshest category for dryness, according to the latest measurements. For the past two weeks, California’s drought picture has remained the same, halting a steady march toward worse. But the breather has allowed the state to recover only ever so slightly. In May, … 0

Fire near Yosemite that 1,000 fled doesn’t grow

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

OAKHURST, Calif. — A wildfire that forced about 1,000 people from their homes in the foothills near Yosemite National Park held steady Tuesday as humidity and calmer winds aided the fight against the second blaze around the park in recent weeks. The fire in Madera County remained at a little under 2 square … 0

MAP:E. coli bacteria levels high in Connecticut, Mill rivers; Health officials warn against swimming, boating following storm

Monday, August 18, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — The deluge of rain last Wednesday has elevated levels of E. coli bacteria at select spots on the Connecticut and Mill rivers, prompting health officials to warn people not to swim or boat there. Water samples … 0

Study: Less shake from artificial quakes

Monday, August 18, 2014

WASHINGTON — Man-made earthquakes, a side effect of some high-tech energy drilling, cause less shaking and in general are about 16 times weaker than natural earthquakes with the same magnitude, a new federal study found. People feeling the … 0

SeaWorld responds to animal rights critics with plan to expand killer whale habitat at its parks

Friday, August 15, 2014

SeaWorld will expand the killer-whale habitats at its theme parks, starting in San Diego, the company announced Friday. SeaWorld said it will create “new, first-of-its-kind killer whale environments” that “will offer park guests unique and inspiring killer whale encounters for generations to come.” The Orlando-based company made the … 0

Bird Sightings

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Audubon Society has reported a variety of recent bird sightings in western Massachusetts. Great egrets were reported in Longmeadow, Hadley, New Salem and Pittsfield. A blue-winged teal, a common gallinule and a Virginia rail were found in … 0

Valley Views Local photographers aim their cameras outdoors

Friday, August 15, 2014

DOE Quabbin Reservoir, Belchetown Photograph and text by Anne W. Ely of South Hadley Driving through Quabbin is something I always enjoy, especially in the late afternoon when, hopefully, I will catch sight of deer. This doe, however, … 0

A bluebird house offers a lesson in environmental ethics

Friday, August 15, 2014

It was a sunny day in mid-May. Our small group of fifth-and-sixth-graders walked quietly along the farm road with our eyes glued to the nesting box on the last tree. The students were uncharacteristically quiet. As we got … 0

Space station supply ship exits, packing trash

Friday, August 15, 2014

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A commercial cargo ship has ended its monthlong space station visit. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station released the Cygnus supply ship, now full of trash for disposal early Friday. They parted company 260 … 0

Study finds humans responsible for most of melting glaciers

Thursday, August 14, 2014

WASHINGTON — More than two-thirds of the recent rapid melting of the world’s glaciers can be blamed on humans, a new study finds. Scientists looking at glacier melt since 1851 didn’t see a human fingerprint until about the … 1

Southwest watches Lake Mead water levels drop

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

LAS VEGAS — Once-teeming Lake Mead marinas are idle as a 14-year drought steadily drops water levels to historic lows. Officials from nearby Las Vegas are pushing conservation but also are drilling a new pipeline to keep drawing … 0

Farms are focus of studies on Toledo’s drinking water toxin

Sunday, August 10, 2014

TOLEDO, Ohio — Scientists and farmers agree that phosphorus from agriculture runoff is feeding the blue-green algae blooms on Lake Erie linked to a toxin found in the drinking water of 400,000 people in Ohio and southeastern Michigan … 0