Q&A: China and Europe likely to see different effect of coronavirus-related air pollution drop

Coronavirus lockdowns have caused air pollution to drop. Science is probing whether air pollution worsens the effects of coronavirus, with recent studies including in Italy suggesting there’s a link between polluted areas and higher fatality risk. Image credit - European Space Agency/ licenced under CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

In March, a study revealed that between 50,000 and 100,000 deaths could be avoided this year in China if air pollution stayed at the same level as during the coronavirus lockdown. While other parts of the world have also seen improvements in air quality, the impact in Europe is likely to be less dramatic than for China, … Read more

Matchmaking corals from different colonies could reduce bleaching events

Planting baby corals that are bred to be resistant to heat stress can boost a reef's tolerance to warmer waters. Image credit - James Guest

Breeding together corals that have naturally high heat tolerance and planting them on coral reefs could increase the reefs’ resilience to climate change and reduce the impact of bleaching events, according to Dr James Guest, a coral reef ecologist from Newcastle University, UK. He is studying this ‘assisted evolution’ approach to coral conservation and examining … Read more

Magnets are being used to extract algal molecules for the beauty, bioplastics industries

Entrepreneurs in the aquaculture sector face a problem – extracting all the valuable molecules from seaweed and algal cells is still really difficult. But marine enzymes and magnets are now making it easier to remove precious molecules and can even turn microalgae into magnetically-guided ‘vehicles’ for targeted drug delivery. Algal cells contain all kinds of … Read more

Biodiversity loss in the oceans can be reversed through habitat restoration

Image credit - Fan mussel (Pinna nobilis) by Arnaud Abadie is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Activities such as laying gas pipelines, trawling for fish, drilling for oil, and even burying internet cables in the deep sea, are destroying marine ecosystems. But studies have shown that reintroducing seaweed and corals to these habitats could ward off the worst effects – and recover marine life. Biodiversity loss is considered to be one … Read more

Ceramic honeycomb air filters could cut city pollution

Prototype air filtering stations placed in Paris, France, helped to keep the level of particulates below World Health Organization thresholds. Image credit - Pollution event in Paris by Tangopaso and Mariordo is licensed under CC0 1.0

A new type of outdoor filter that could cut city air pollution and is scheduled to be debuted at the 2024 Paris Olympics has been awarded the €3 million Horizon Prize on materials for clean air. The prize, which was announced on 30 October at the Innovative Industries for Smart Growth Conference in Vienna, Austria, was … Read more

Managing energy demand spikes with seasonal forecasts of heatwaves and cold spells

Researchers want to make climate forecasts more accessible to help the energy and other industries better predict spikes in usage.

The impact of heavy droughts, heatwaves and cold spells on energy demand and supplies would be lessened with seasonal climate forecasts that allow energy companies to better predict spikes in usage ahead of time, researchers say. Researchers already have the ability to predict what changes in climate can be expected in two to three weeks’ … Read more