Climate Change and Extreme Events Research Showcased at American Geophysical Union Meeting

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Climate Change and Extreme Events Research Showcased at American Geophysical Union Meeting
12/18/2014 04:26 PM EST

By Dr. Michael Hiscock   Derechos. Blizzards. Polar vortexes. Superstorms. Whatever you call them, you’re probably aware of the extreme weather events that have occurred with increasing frequency the past few years. What you may not be aware of is their complicated relationship with climate change, air and water quality. Although science will probably never […]

Origin of high-latitude auroras revealed

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Origin of high-latitude auroras revealed
18-12-2014 08:00 PM CET

Cluster_and_Image_during_aurora_observation_small.jpg

Auroras are the most visible manifestation of the Sun’s effect on Earth, but many aspects of these spectacular displays are still poorly understood. Thanks to ESA’s Cluster and NASA’s Image satellites working together, a particular type of very high-latitude aurora has now been explained.

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U.S.–Cuba Relations: President Obama Announces a New Approach

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On December 17 President Obama announced a new approach to U.S.–Cuba diplomatic relations.

The new approach includes:

  • Re-establishing diplomatic relations in matters such as migration, counternarcotics, environmental protection, among others.
  • Adjusting regulations to improve travel and remittance policies, support the flow of information between Americans and Cubans, and more.
  • Facilitate an expansion of travel to Cuba by Americans. Travel licenses will be made available in 12 existing categories, such as family visits, humanitarian projects, journalism, import/export, professional meetings, etc.
  • Authorize expanded sales and exports to Cuba. This expansion will empower the Cuban private sector, and Cubans will have access to certain lower-priced goods to improve their living standards.
  • Authorize American citizens to import goods from Cuba. Those with travel licenses will be authorized to import $400 worth of goods from Cuba, of which no more than $100 can consist of tobacco products and alcohol combined
  • Initiate new efforts to increase Cubans’ access to communications and their ability to communicate , by allowing telecommunications providers to set up the mechanisms and infrastructure to provide commercial telecommunications and Internet services.

To find out more, read the official announcement from the White House.

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News Release: Two Texas Companies and Four Chinese Manufacturers Found to Be in Viol ation of Clean Air Act for Selling More than 11,000 Uncertified Motorcycles and ATVs

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CONTACT:
Jennifer Colaizzi
Colaizzi.jennifer@epa.gov
202-564-7776

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2014

Two Texas Companies and Four Chinese Manufacturers Found to Be in Violation of Clean Air Act for Selling More than 11,000 Uncertified Motorcycles and ATVs

EPA has also denied applications for certificates to these companies for sale of model year 2015 vehicles in the US

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that two Texas-based companies—Jonway Motorcycle (USA) Co., Ltd., and Shenke USA, Inc.—and four manufacturers in China violated the Clean Air Act by importing and selling more than 11,000 motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) that did not conform to the specifications that the companies had certified to EPA or lacked EPA certification.

EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board ruled that the companies are responsible for a $1,258,582 civil penalty for these violations. EPA also denied applications from Zhejiang Jonway Motorcycle Manufacturing Co., Ltd., Shenke USA, Inc., and a third company not part of the case decided by the Environmental Appeals Board—Huibang USA, Inc.—for certificates of conformity for model year 2015 highway motorcycles and recreational vehicles manufactured by Zhejiang Jonway Motorcycle Manufacturing Co., Ltd. Without these certificates, which are like permits, Jonway and Shenke may not lawfully sell their model year 2015 vehicles in the U.S.

“EPA’s vehicle certification regulations are an important way we help reduce air pollution and protect public health,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Failing to provide honest and accurate information to EPA compromises our ability to protect clean air for Americans.”

Jonway Motorcycle (USA) Co., Ltd. and Shenke USA, Inc., hold the certificates of conformity for uncertified vehicles. Four Chinese entities—Jonway Group Co., Ltd., Shanghai Shenke Motorcycle Co., Ltd., Zhejiang JMStar Shenke Motorcycle Co., Ltd., and Zhejiang Jonway Motorcycle Manufacturing Co., Ltd.—manufactured the vehicles.

As EPA reviews future certificate applications for these manufacturers, the agency will carefully consider all available information, including any outstanding or unresolved enforcement penalties or actions, when deciding whether to approve those applications.

The Clean Air Act requires vehicle manufacturers to certify to EPA that their products will meet applicable federal emission standards to control air pollution, and every vehicle sold in the U.S. must be covered by an EPA-issued certificate of conformity. To obtain certificates of conformity, manufacturers or importers must submit an application to EPA that describes the engine or vehicle, including its emission control system. The application must also provide emissions data demonstrating that the engines and vehicles will meet applicable federal emission standards.

Through inspections of imported vehicles at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport and Nitro Powersports, LLC, a vehicle retailer in Carrollton, Texas, EPA discovered that Jonway and Shenke imported 11,043 noncompliant highway motorcycles and 226 ATVs beginning in model year 2009. The companies illegally imported and distributed over 80 models of uncertified vehicles, which were available for purchase across the U.S.

The motorcycles and ATVs were not covered by certificates of conformity because they had undersized catalysts, adjustable carburetors that were not described in the corresponding application for certification, were manufactured by an entity different from the one specified in the corresponding application for certification, or were manufactured after the applicable certificate expired. Jonway and Shenke also imported ATVs that lacked proper warranties and labels.

EPA’s investigation also uncovered evidence of recordkeeping violations related to emissions testing and certification. Jonway Motorcycle (USA) Co., Ltd. and Shenke USA, Inc. failed to maintain complete emissions test records for several of the engine families for which they were the certificate holders. The companies also failed to maintain records on all of the vehicles covered by their certificates that were imported into the U.S. as well as failing to timely and completely respond to EPA’s request for information to assess their compliance.

In July and August, 2014, Shenke USA, Inc. and Zhejiang Jonway Motorcycle Manufacturing Co., Ltd., jointly submitted applications for certificates of conformity for model year 2015 highway motorcycles and recreational vehicles. These applications were denied later in August 2014. In September 2014, Huibang USA, Inc. and Zhejiang Jonway Motorcycle Manufacturing Co., Ltd., jointly submitted an application for a certificates of conformity for model year 2015 recreational vehicles. This application was denied in October 2014.

Highway motorcycles and recreational vehicles emit carbon monoxide, as well as hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides that contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone. Breathing carbon monoxide can cause harmful health effects by reducing oxygen delivery to the body’s tissues and organs, like the heart and brain. Nitrogen oxides can cause or contribute to a variety of health problems and adverse environmental impacts, such as ground-level ozone, acid rain, water quality deterioration and visual impairment. Breathing ozone can trigger a variety of health problems, including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation and congestion, and can worsen bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.

The Environmental Appeals Board’s default order and final decision in the case is available at http://yosemite.epa.gov/oa/EAB_Web_Docket.nsf/4192ecc36740334585256fc500721f72/af693f1241c52c4e85257d900059758b!OpenDocument.

For more information on this case, visit http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/jonway-and-shenke-default-order-and-final-decisionhttp://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/jonway-and-shenke-default-order-and-final-decisionhttp://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/jonway-and-shenke-default-order-and-final-decision.

R301

European Space Agency YouTube Update

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18-12-2014 07:40 PM CET

Becquerel crater is 167 km in diameter and lies in the Arabia Terra region on Mars, on the boundary between the southern highlands and northern lowlands. This movie shows the location of Becquerel crater on Mars and then provides a flyover of a mound of layered, sulphate-bearing deposits on the crater floor, thought to have formed under the influence of water. The darker material surrounding the mound is wind-blown dust from a source to the north, and provides evidence for effects of wind in eroding the sedimentary deposits.

The movie was made from a mosaic of four individual images acquired by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on ESA’s Mars Express during orbits 3253/1, 5332, 5350 and 5368. The image is centred at about 22ºN / 352ºE. The average ground resolution is about 17 m per pixel.

To download the raw images and dtms in GIS-ready formats, please follow this direct link to Becquerel crater on the HRSC mapserver: http://maps.planet.fu-berlin.de/?zoom=7&lat=21.12671&lon=-8.38806&layers=B0TFFFTTT

Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Copyright Notice: This work is licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO (CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO) licence. The user is allowed to reproduce, distribute, adapt, translate and publicly perform this publication, without explicit permission, provided that the content is accompanied by an acknowledgement that the source is credited as ‘ESA/DLR/FU Berlin’, a direct link to the licence text is provided and that it is clearly indicated if changes were made to the original content. Adaptation/translation/derivatives must be distributed under the same licence terms as this publication. To view a copy of this license, please visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/igo/

From: European Space Agency, ESA
Views: 745

79 ratings
Time: 02:44 More in Science & Technology

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European Space Agency Flickr Update

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Galaxy Cluster Fireworks
18-12-2014 04:10 PM CET

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Galaxy Cluster Fireworks

This multi-telescope composite combines X-ray, infrared and optical data of the galaxy cluster XDCPJ0044.0-2033.

The purple/pink in the image corresponds to infrared emission measured by Herschel and X-ray emission detected with NASA’s Chandra telescope.

Infrared data from ESA’s Herschel telescope has revealed where interstellar dust in the cluster’s core is being heated by young, hot, stars. This is the first time that star formation has been found in the core of a cluster of this size and age.

The X-ray data were used to map the mass of this giant cluster.

These data have been combined with optical and near-infrared images of the cluster captured by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan’s Subaru telescope and the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope, the data from which are coloured red, green and blue in this image.

XDCPJ0044.0-2033 is a massive galaxy cluster with an estimated mass of about four hundred thousand billion times that of our Sun. It lies at a redshift of almost 1.6, meaning that we see it as it was 9.6 billion years ago.

Read more: sci.esa.int/herschel/55150-herschel-view-of-the-early-uni…

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/INAF/P.Tozzi, et al; Optical: NAOJ/Subaru and ESO/VLT; Infrared: ESA/Herschel/J. Santos, et al.

Sentinel-3A antenna covered
18-12-2014 03:26 PM CET

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Sentinel-3A antenna covered

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

The appliance of multiple layers of metal-sprayed plastic film with spacers in between is the reason why many satellites being readied for flight end up resembling crinkly-wrapped presents.

These layers help to maintain the ‘thermal balance’ of the satellite within set limits, enabling the electronics to function optimally and preventing any structural deformation from the rapid temperature shifts experienced in the airlessness of space.

This month saw the completion of Sentinel-3A at the mammoth Thales Alenia Space cleanroom in Cannes, France. After this picture was taken, it went on to endure shaker testing to simulate the experience of launch, with thermal testing due for early next year.

After it is launched at the end of 2015, Sentinel-3A will use the antenna shown in the photo to measure the precise contours of the sea surface.

Delivering key information for Europe’s Copernicus programme, Sentinel-3A also carries an ocean-colour and land-imaging instrument and ‘radiometer’ to take the temperature of the sea surface.

Credit: ESA–Anneke Le Floc’h

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC
18-12-2014 11:07 AM CET

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC during an event to mark 50 years of 50 years of European cooperation in space.

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC
18-12-2014 11:07 AM CET

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC during an event to mark 50 years of 50 years of European cooperation in space.

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC
18-12-2014 11:01 AM CET

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC

Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director-General greets Lilianne Ploumen – Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development during an event to mark 50 years of 50 years of European cooperation in space.

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC
18-12-2014 11:01 AM CET

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC
18-12-2014 11:01 AM CET

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC

Lilianne Ploumen – Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development at ESTEC during an event to mark 50 years of 50 years of European cooperation in space.

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC
18-12-2014 11:01 AM CET

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC

From left to right:
Lilianne Ploumen – Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development,
HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands,
Franco Ongaro, Head of ESTEC a
at ESTEC during an event to mark 50 years of 50 years of European cooperation in space.

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC
18-12-2014 11:01 AM CET

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands with ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers.

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC
18-12-2014 11:01 AM CET

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC

From left to right: HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director-General and Franco Ongaro, Head of ESTEC

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC
18-12-2014 11:01 AM CET

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands is welcomed to ESTEC by Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director-General and Franco Ongaro, Head of ESTEC

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC
18-12-2014 11:01 AM CET

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC

Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director-General at ESTEC during an event to mark 50 years of 50 years of European cooperation in space.

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC
18-12-2014 11:01 AM CET

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands visits ESTEC

Andre Kuipers at ESTEC during an event to mark 50 years of 50 years of European cooperation in space.

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Last Chance: Give 2-for-1

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News Release: EPA Announces 2014 Annual Environmental Enforcement Results

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CONTACT:

Jennifer Colaizzi
Colaizzi.jennifer@epa.gov
202-564-7776

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2014

EPA Announces 2014 Annual Environmental Enforcement Results

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released its annual enforcement and compliance results reflecting a focus on large cases driving industry compliance and that have a high impact on protecting public health and the environment.

“By taking on large, high impact enforcement cases, EPA is helping to level the playing field for companies that play by the rules, while maximizing our ability to protect the communities we serve across the country,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Despite challenges posed by budget cuts and a government shutdown, we secured major settlements in key industry sectors and brought criminal violators to justice. This work resulted in critical investments in advanced technologies and innovative approaches to reduce pollution and improve compliance.”

In fiscal year 2014, EPA enforcement actions required companies to invest more than $9.7 billion in actions and equipment to control pollution and clean up contaminated sites. EPA’s cases resulted in $163 million in combined federal administrative, civil judicial penalties, and criminal fines. Other results include:

  • Reductions of an estimated 141 million pounds of air pollutants, including 6.7 million pounds of air toxics.
  • Reductions of approximately 337 million pounds of water pollutants.
  • Clean up of an estimated 856 million cubic yards of contaminated water/aquifers.

EPA pursues high impact cases that drive compliance across industries:

  • Lowe’s Home Centers agreed to a corporate-wide compliance program ensuring contractors nation-wide follow laws to protect children from dangerous lead paint exposure.
  • The nation’s second largest natural gas producer, Chesapeake Appalachia, agreed to restore streams and wetlands damaged from its operations and implement a comprehensive plan to comply with water protection laws.

EPA holds criminal violators accountable that threaten the health and safety of Americans, while directing funds to affected communities:

  • EPA’s criminal program generated $63 million in fines and restitution, secured $16 million in court-ordered environmental projects and sentenced defendants to a combined 155 years of incarceration.
  • After EPA pursued the case, Tonawanda Coke was found guilty and required to pay a $12.5 million criminal penalty and to fund $12.2 million in community service in New York, for releasing benzene from its facility into neighboring communities.

EPA enforcement work reduces pollution in the sectors that impact American communities the most:

  • Settlements with Minnesota Power and Wisconsin Electric Power Company are cutting coal fired power plants emissions, requiring companies to control pollution and conduct innovative mitigation projects that promote renewable energy development and protect clean air for local communities.
  • We’re reducing dangerous air toxics released from industrial flares at refineries and chemical plants, requiring companies like Shell and DuPont to implement monitoring and pollution control technologies. These efforts are equipping minority and low-income communities with monitoring data, while reducing toxic air pollution for residents living near the facilities.
  • EPA is working closely with cities such as East Bay MUD (California), Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (Illinois) and Miami-Dade County (Florida) to cut discharges of raw sewage and contaminated stormwater through integrated planning, green infrastructure and other innovative approaches.

EPA ensures companies and federal facilities take responsibility and clean up toxic pollution they create.

  • Polluted sites across the country are being cleaned up while EPA conserves and recovers federal funds. This year, settlements will result in more than $453.7 million in commitments from responsible parties to clean up Superfund sites, and return $57.7 million to the Superfund trust.
  • When abandoned munitions posed an imminent and substantial endangerment at the Camp Minden, Louisiana site, EPA acted to ensure proper cleanup and accountability by the U.S. Army.

Major cases developed in 2014, but not included in fiscal year 2014 statistics demonstrate EPA’s ongoing commitment to tough enforcement:

  • A settlement with Hyundai-Kia netted a $100 million fine, forfeiture of emissions credits and more than $50 million invested in compliance measures helps level the playing field for car companies that follow the law, and helps reduces greenhouse gas emissions fueling climate change.
  • The largest cleanup settlement in American history, with Anadarko and Kerr McGee, will put more than $4.4 billion into toxic pollution cleanup, improving water quality and removing dangerous materials in tribal and overburdened communities.
  • A settlement with Alpha Natural Resources, one of the country’s largest coal companies, requires it to protect water quality in communities near their coal mining operations in five states.

More information about EPA’s Fiscal Year 2014 enforcement results: http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/enforcement-annual-results-fiscal-year-fy-2014