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Special report: Catastrophic drought in the Amazon

Rio Negro, BrazilA widespread drought in the Amazon rainforest last year caused the "lungs of the world" to produce more carbon dioxide than they absorbed, potentially leading to a dangerous acceleration of global warming. Scientists have calculated that the 2010 drought was more intense than the "one-in-100-year" drought of 2005.

They are predicting it will result in some eight billion tonnes of carbon dioxide being expelled from the Amazon rainforest, which is more than the total annual carbon emissions of the United States. For the second time in less than a decade, the earth's greatest rainforest released more carbon dioxide than it absorbed because many of its trees dried out and died.

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EPA to limit rocket fuel chemical in tap water

perchlorateThe Environmental Protection Agency is setting the first drinking water standard for a toxic rocket fuel ingredient linked to thyroid problems in pregnant women and young children, the Obama administration is to announce on Wednesday.

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson will say that setting the standard will spark new technologies to clean up drinking water, according to a press release obtained by The Associated Press. Based on monitoring conducted from 2001 to 2005, 153 drinking water sources in 26 states contain perchlorate. The standard could take up to two years to develop.

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Polar bear's long swim illustrates ice melt

Polar brear has longer swim nowIn one of the most dramatic signs ever documented of how shrinking Arctic sea ice impacts polar bears, researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska have tracked a female bear that swam nine days across the deep, frigid Beaufort Sea before reaching an ice floe 426 miles offshore.

The marathon swim came at a cost: With little food likely available once she arrived, the bear lost 22% of her body weight and her year-old female cub, who set off on the journey but did not survive, the researchers said.

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2 million fish found dead in Maryland

The investigation comes days after the deaths of an estimated 100,000 fish in northwest Arkansas. Authorities suspect disease was to blame there, a state spokesman said.

"The affected fish are almost exclusively juvenile spot fish, 3 to 6 inches in length," the Maryland department said. A recent survey "showed a very strong population of spot in the bay this year. An increased juvenile population and limited deep water habitat would likely compound the effects of cold water stress."

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Gulf Oil Spill Blowout Preventer Testing Could Be Compromised

Blowout preventer may habe been compromisedThe U.S. government disclosed Friday it is investigating whether a Transocean worker's handling of a key a piece of evidence in the Gulf oil spill probe affected the integrity of the examination of the device.

Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, said in a letter to U.S. Rep. Ed Markey that his investigators have questioned workers from various government agencies and a Norwegian firm the government hired to test the failed blowout preventer.

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The Drug Store in Your Tap Water

Water taken near a Nebraska feedlot had four times the trenbolone levels as other water samples and male fathead minnows nearby had low testosterone levels and small heads.

Nor do you have to see a doctor to imbibe a witch's brew of prescriptions like pain pills, antibiotics and psychiatric, cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy and heart meds in your drinking water, says the AP. Free of charge.

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For Many Species, No Escape as Temperature Rises

Climate changees threatens species in high placesSimon Joakim Kiiru remembers a time not long ago when familiar birdsongs filled the air here and life was correlated with bird sightings. His lush, well-tended homestead is in the highlands next to the Aberdare National Park, one of the premier birding destinations in the world.

When the hornbill arrived, Mr. Kiiru recalled, the rains were near, meaning that it was time to plant. When a buzzard showed a man his chest, it meant a visitor was imminent. When an owl called at night, it foretold a death.

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