A hazy sky and dirty cars are well-known consequences of Saharan dust carried to Europe by air currents. As part of the “PerduS” project, researchers are currently examining how dust – as haze in the atmosphere and deposited on solar panels – affects the output of photovoltaic systems. The aim is to provide a more reliable forecast for the output of photovoltaic systems through a better prediction of the spread of dust.
Pharmaceuticals in surface water such as lakes and streams are a growing concern. They can cause developmental and other health issues in aquatic life. Scientists have largely considered treated wastewater that’s released into the environment as the main source. Now researchers reveal other possible sources.
Small animals that decompose fallen leaves in the forest form complex food webs and are essential to a functioning ecosystem. A study comprising over 80 forests in Germany and on Sumatra (Indonesia) has now shown that two factors particularly influence this function when examined over larger landscapes: the number of animals and their species diversity. In previous studies, the connection between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning had been investigated mostly in small test areas.