Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Contaminating Trees

The predominance of certain trees in a street can raise the concentration of ozone in the air. The presence of ozone at ground level can lead to various diseases in humans such as asthma, bronchitis, and other breathing problems.Trees emit volatile organic compounds (VOC), these substances under the presence of solar radiation react with nitogen oxides given out by the smoke of the traffic to form ozone.
    Chimneys and cars emit VOC as a byproduct of the burning of fossil fuels; trees emit VOC, for other reasons, to repel harmful insects and to attract pollinators. Poplars, oaks, willows and tupelo are species which emit the greatest amounts of VOC into the atmosphere.

Barcelona showing the tree-lined (London Plane) Ramblas. 
Are these trees causing more harm than good in an already polluted city?

    But people don't have to worry as for this to happen, many conditions have to be present at once: sun and a warm atmosphere. Cold and cloudy cities have less reasons to worry. But climate change and global warming could all of this to change.

    So, does this mean that we have to cut down all of the trees that emit large amounts of VOC? No, if the city is well arranged and the trees are regularly spaced out there is no problem of having them in a city, but organisations that plan to plant trees as a way to decrease the levels of CO2 should be really careful when choosing the species to plant as they could harm their environment without even knowing it.

    Of course there is another way to prevent this. If we could decrease the emissions of traffic VOC we wouldn't need to be worries about the trees as they will have nothing to react with.

This was written by Pablo Raventós Surroca 
3rd ESO Combined Science


Researches say they have found the biggest dinosaur ever, in a desert near La Patagonia, Argentina. They have found fossilised bones of a dinosaur and they believe it has been the largest creature ever to walk the Earth.

Based on the fact of  its huge bones, it was 40m long and 20m tall. Researches measured the diameter of load-bearing bones like the femur and humerus and they were able to estimate the size and weight of the dinosaurs. This massive dinosaur was as heavy as 14 African elephants, 77 tones. It’s even seven tonnes heavier than the previous dinosaur discovered, Argentinosaurus.  

But this  gigantic dinosaur was a herbivore. It belonged to the sauropod group of dinasours, which are charasterised by their small heads, thick, pillar-like legs, and long necks and tails. But this one, is twice as long and four times as heavy. Researchers are even classifyng it as a new species of Titanosaur !
Based on the age of the rocks, researchers have conlcuded that this giant hervibore lived in Patagonia forests abour 95 and 100 millions years ago.
They found about  150 bones in total all in "remarkable condition". The dinasour fossils were excavated by a team of palaeotologists , led by Dr Jose Luis Carballido and Dr Diego.
“Such dimensions put the focus on the extent to which these animals may have grown. It's a real paleontological treasure,"says José Luis Carballido
The dinosaurs were found very close together along with a number of carnivorous dinosaurs. So, basically  it is believed that they may have died during a drought. Researches suggest  it could be possible that they died of dehydration or became stuck in the mud. Further analysis of the suggests that the area was different to how it looks today. Rather than a dry, arid land, it is likely that there were trees and and a wide variety of plant-life.

This was written by Paula Palacios, 3rd ESO Combined Science


A planet slightly larger than Earth was discovered on April 18th. Some scientists say that it could contain liquid water which is important as water is a key element for life. The only problem is it’s very far away, in fact it’s so far away that light takes nearly 500 years to get there from Earth. This means that the fastest spacecraft would take 15 million years to get just there, so 30 million to go there and back.

This planet is named after the Kepler space telescope which was the first to snap its picture and 186f refers to the star it orbits. Kepler-186f is at the right distance to keep water liquid, if it were further away the extreme cold could freeze the water and if it were closer the sun’s extreme heat would evaporate the water. Since it’s neither too far or too close (it’s in the area some scientists call the Goldilocks zone) water would be kept as a liquid. When scientists look for planets that can be habited they look for planets with water as a liquid since this allows basic processes to happen (such as transporting material in and out of cells). Even though some scientists say this planet would be suitable for life others are not as sure, Barclay says “Just because it’s in a habitable zone doesn’t mean it’s habitable”.

The Kepler telescope stopped working last year but it’s observations have helped massively in the future of planet-hunting. A mission will launch in 2017 which will search for planets near to Earth, and maybe this time they’ll find a habitable planet closer to home.

This was written by Helena Martinez 3rd ESO Combined Science

America’s East Coast on the Sights of Wave of Destruction

The canary islands are great for going on holiday. What most tourists and inhabitants don’t know, however, is that on one of the Canary Islands lies a major global catastrophe, a natural disaster so big it could flatten the Atlantic coastlines of North Africa, United States, Britain and Europe and cause enormous harm to all the sforementioned.
Scattered across the worlds oceans are a handful of rare geological and natural time-bombs, that, once the time runs out, will create an uncommon phenomenon, an enormous tidal wave called Mega Tsunami.
Lately, scientists have known that the next Mega Tsunami will probably originate from one of the Canary Islands, where the wall of water  will move across the  Atlantic ocean at the speed of a jet airliner ready to destroy the east coast of the United States, the Caribbean and Brazil.

The cause?
One fraction of the “Cumbre Vieja” volcano on “La Palma” is unstable and could be engulfed by the sea after cracking and dividing from the fire mountain due to the next volcanic eruption.

Dr. Day said in an interview with the BBC: "
If the volcano collapsed in one block of almost 20 cubic kilometers of rock, weighing 500 billion tonnes - twice the size of the Isle of Wight -. It would fall into water almost 4 miles deep and create an undersea wave 2000 feet tall. Within five minutes of the landslide, a dome of water about a mile high would form and then collapse, before the Mega Tsunami would fan out in every direction, travelling at speeds of up to 500 mph. a 330ft wave would strike the western Sahara in less than an hour. "
Europe would be shielded from the savage force thanks to its remote position, the Iberian penisula would get batteres with 33 ft. waves  reaching La Coruña and Lisbon within 3 hours. 

This was written by Erik Sörensen of 3rd ESO Combined Science

The Antarctic glacier melt is unstoppable

Scientists have been researching into Earth’s Global Warming for a long time. They say that the ice collapse could raise all the Earth's sea levels by more than 4 meters. This means that cities like Barcelona could disappear if this continues; however, they now say it’s unstoppable! Scientists says they are on an irreversible path to melting and that it’s impossible to stop it.

On May 16, Ian Joughin of the University of Washington in Seattle, who used simulations to show  the Thwaites and Haynes Glaciers in the same region, said that they may melt  in the next 200 to 900 years. Once this started, the glaciers could raise sea levels by 0.6 meters and start the melt of the rest of the continent’s ice sheet, which could add another 3 to 4 meters to the world's oceans.

This was written by a students of 3rd ESO Combined Science