Environmental Monitoring (main)
The central argument for monitoring can be stated in a single sentence: You cannot recognize, understand, improve or maintain what you do not or cannot measure. The ability to measure is a necessity—an activity that we need to maintain our well-being and the quality of our lives. Also, this need places monitoring squarely in the context of achieving sustainability; it provides valuable tools that offer indicative measures of:
- Ecological and Environmental Resources;
- Economic Development and Growth; and
- Social Structure and Dynamics.
Purposeful, scientifically-defensible and credible measurements and observations in each of these areas can provide powerful bases for decisions and management actions that are focused upon a variety of goals including those related to sustainability. Broad categories of measurements arise from the practice of a spectrum of disciplines, not only those arising from environmental issues, opportunities and concerns.
Geophony, Biophony, and Anthrophony What do these words mean? Biophony is the melodic sound created by such organisms as frogs and birds; geophony, the composition of non-biological sounds like wind, rain and... More »
The etymology of the term 'monitoring' derives from the Latin monēre: to warn (that is, “something or someone that warns, an overseer). Originally, in English, the definition of the term monitoring was limited to characterizing “someone who gives a warning so that a mistake can be avoided”. Now, it also connotes the act of observing something (and sometimes keeping a record of that observation; or to: keep watch; keep track of; keep under surveillance; or, check usually for a special purpose). With ever-increasing technological capability, the term can be used to describe a device (usually electronic) used to record, regulate, or control a process or system. Its meaning extends to keeping track of systematically (that is, on a regular or ongoing basis) with a view to collecting information. For example, to monitor the plant or animal populations of an ecological system or drinking water for impurities, to measure the condition of a nation's economy, or to monitor a peoples' social, political or cultural views or habits.
Photovoltaic energy valuation model Photovoltaic Energy Valuation Model Sandia National Laboratories in collaboration with Solar Power Electric™ has developed PV ValueTM, an electronic form to... More »
Remote sensing (Environmental Monitoring) Introduction Remote sensing can be defined as the collection of data about an object from a distance. Humans and many other types of animals accomplish this... More »
Healthy Community Design The way we design and build our communities can affect our physical and mental health. Healthy community design integrates evidence-based health strategies into community... More »
Social Media: Predicting and Tracking Disease... How is society transforming disease surveillance and the way that health officials respond to disasters and pandemics? This article, written by Charles W. Schmidt*, appeared... More »
Cats, Toxoplasma, and Schizophrenia In humans, acute infection withToxoplasmosis can produce psychotic symptoms similar to those displayed by persons with schizophrenia. This article written by E. Fuller Torrey... More »
National Health and Nutrition Examination... The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Introduction The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is a program of studies designed to... More »
Scented Products and VOCs A single fragrance in a product can contain a mixture of hundreds of chemicals, some of which react with ozone in ambient air to form dangerous secondary pollutants.This... More »
Living in a contaminated world Humankind is now in its third generation since the chemical revolution—circa 1940. The myriad dimensions and implications of this worldwide phenomenon and its actual and... More »
State of the Climate in 2011 Worldwide, 2011 was the coolest year on record since 2008, yet temperatures remained above the 30 year average, according to the 2011 State of the Climate report released online by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Back-to-back La Niñas cooled globe and influenced extreme weather in 2011 The lead character of the 2011 climate story was a double dip La Niña, which chilled the Pacific at the start and end of the year. Many of the 2011 seasonal climate patterns around the world were consistent with common side effects of La Niña. More information. Worldwide, 2011 was the coolest year on record since 2008, yet temperatures remained above the 30 year average, according to the 2011 State of the Climate report released online today by NOAA. The peer-reviewed report, issued in coordination with the American Meteorological Society (AMS), was... More »
Combating Hopping Pests The Mormon cricket is a voracious feeder that wipes out acres of grasses and field crops in no time. When it’s young,it grows so fast that its immune system cannot keep up. ARS scientists are finding that this may be the best time to use biocontrol fungi to target the insect pest. New Hopes for Combating Hopping Pests For many Americans, summertime means warm, sunny days spent by the pool or exploring the country and the world. But for farmers, ranchers, scientists, and state pest control organizations in the western half of the country, summer also means a chance of infestations of hopping pests, particularly grasshoppers and Mormon crickets. Each adult female grasshopper can lay multiple egg pods—each containing many eggs—in one summer, which could greatly increase the population the next summer, after the eggs hatch. This compounding effect could lead... More »
Fungi (Environmental Monitoring) The word fungus usually invokes images of mushrooms and toadstools. Although mushrooms are fungi, the forms which a fungus may take are varied. There are over 100,000 species of described fungi and probably over 200,000 undescribed. Most fungi are terrestrial, but they can be found in every habitat worldwide, including marine (about 500 species) and freshwater environments. Fungi are nonmotile, filamentous eukaryotes that lack plastids and photosynthetic pigments. The majority of fungi are saprophytes; they obtain nutrients from dead organic matter. Other fungi survive as parasitic decomposers, absorbing their food, in solution, through their cell walls. Most fungi live on the substrate upon which they feed. Numerous hyphae penetrate the wood, cheese, soil, or flesh in which they are growing. The hyphae secrete digestive enzymes that break down the substrate, enabling the fungus to... More »
Alberta Mountain forests The Alberta Mountain forests ecoregion lies entirely within Canada and almost fully within the province of Alberta, but hugs the Alberta-British Columbia border from Banff northward to Jasper and Kakwa. The ecoregion is classified within the Temperate Coniferous Forests biome. Mean annual temperature in the Eastern Continental Ranges is 2.5°C, mean summer temperature is 12°C and mean winter temperature is -7.5°C. Precipitation increases from east to west and also with elevation, from 600-800 millimetres (mm) per year. Valley regions are marked by warm, dry summers and mild, snowy winters, and subalpine areas have cool, showery summers and cold, snowy winters. This region covers the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, incorporating the eastern flanks of the Continental Ranges. The major peaks cluster... More »
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: The Fate of the Oil The April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig led to the largest oil spill in U.S. waters. Federal government officials estimated that the deepwater well ultimately released (over 84 days) over 200 million gallons (or 4.9 million barrels) of crude oil. Although decreasing amounts of oil were observed on the ocean surface following the well’s containment on July 15, 2010, oil spill response officials and researchers have found oil in other places. A pressing question that has been raised by many stakeholders is where did the oil go? On August 4, 2010, the federal government released an estimate of the oil spill budget for the Deepwater Horizon incident. On November 23, 2010, the federal government released a peer reviewed “Technical Document” that further explained how the estimates were derived, and in some cases, modified the... More »