Popular Science articles about Earth & Climate

Sudden onset of ice loss in Antarctica detected

A group of scientists, led by a team from the University of Bristol, UK has observed a sudden increase of ice loss in a previously stable region of Antarctica. The research is published today in Science.

Tara Oceans expedition yields treasure trove of plankton data

Tara organizes expeditions to explore the world's oceans, in cooperation with prestigious international laboratories and institutions. The Tara Oceans expedition is the very first attempt to accomplish a global study of marine plankton, the only truly continuous ecosystem on Earth. Studying plankton is like taking the pulse of our planet. Tara Oceans also included a survey of several coral reefs and of pollution by microplastic particles in surface waters.In five related reports in this issue of the journal Science, a multinational team of researchers who spent three and a half years sampling the ocean's sunlit upper layers aboard...

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New tool to save salmon: Isotope tracking

A cross-section of a salmon otolith, also known as a fish ear stone or fish ear bone. By measuring strontium isotope ratios in different layers of otoliths from salmon caught at sea, researchers from the universities of Utah, Washington and Alaska Fairbanks and the U.S. Geological Survey were able to determine not just the watershed, but a set of streams where the salmon hatched and grew before migrating downstream to the ocean. The new fish-tracking method may help pinpoint critical habitats for fish threatened by climate change, industrial development and overfishing.Salmon carry a strontium chemical signature in their "ear bones" that lets scientists identify specific streams where the fish hatched and lived before they were caught at sea. The new...

Brazilian beef industry moves to reduce its destruction of rain forests

Historically, expansion of cattle pastures has driven deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, where these pastures cover about two-thirds of all the deforested land. A new study led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Holly Gibbs shows that market-driven "zero deforestation agreements" have dramatically influenced the behavior of ranchers and the slaughterhouses to which they sell.Expansion of cattle pastures has led to the destruction of huge swaths of rain forest in Brazil, home to the world's largest herd of commercial beef cattle. But a new...

Carbon emissions from peatlands may be less than expected

Duke University scientists have discovered a previously unknown dual mechanism that slows peat decay and may help reduce carbon dioxide emissions from peatlands during times of drought.

Research aims to restore riparian corridors and an iconic tree

Research by the U.S. Forest Service at the Finger Lakes National Forest (FLNF) is exploring whether native trees can restore a degraded stream corridor and whether degraded stream corridors can...

Soil security

A group of leading soil scientists, including the University of Delaware's Donald L. Sparks, has summarized the precarious state of the world's soil resources and the possible ramifications for human...

Pollen and clouds: April flowers bring May showers?

The main job of pollen is to help seed the next generation of trees and plants, but a new study from the University of Michigan and Texas A&M shows that...

India drift

In the history of continental drift, India has been a mysterious record-holder.

Warm oceans caused hottest Dust Bowl years in 1934/36

This image shows a dust storm approaching Stratford, Texas.Two ocean hot spots have been found to be the potential drivers of the hottest summers on record for the Central US in 1934 and 1936. The research may also...

Gravity data show that Antarctic ice sheet is melting increasingly faster

Princeton University researchers "weighed" Antarctica's ice sheet using gravitational satellite data and found that from 2003 to 2014, the ice sheet lost 92 billion tons of ice per year.During the past decade, Antarctica's massive ice sheet lost twice the amount of ice in its western portion compared with what it accumulated in the east, according to Princeton University...

Mapping poaching threats: York ecologists and WCS develop new method

Ecologists from the University of York, together with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), have developed a new method to better identify where poachers operate in protected areas.

Pockmarks on the lake bed

This shows the scheme of Crazy Crater.Anna Reusch, a doctoral student at ETH's Geological Institute, was utterly amazed one morning: during a routine measuring run with her research vessel on Lake Neuchâtel, she suddenly saw an...

Wetlands continue to reduce nitrates

A spring view of wetlands along the Embarras River in southern Champaign County. The wetlands were constructed and first studied for nitrate runoff from 1994-98. Results from recently conducted research on the same wetlands show an overall 62 percent nitrate removal rate and little emission of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas.Wetlands created 20 years ago between tile-drained agricultural fields and the Embarras River were recently revisited for a new two-year University of Illinois research project. Results show an overall 62...

Massive southern invasions by northern birds linked to climate shifts

Citizen scientists watching backyard birdfeeders helped scientists pinpoint the climate pattern behind boreal bird irruptions, when vast numbers of northern birds migrate far south of their usual winter range.With puzzling variability, vast numbers of birds from Canada's boreal forests migrate hundreds or thousands of miles south from their usual winter range. These so-called irruptions were first noticed by...

Did ocean acidification cause marine mollusc extinction?

New research, led by the University of Southampton, has questioned the role played by ocean acidification, produced by the asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs, in the extinction of ammonites...

A climate signal in the global distribution of copper deposits

Climate helps drive the erosion process that exposes economically valuable copper deposits and shapes the pattern of their global distribution, according to a new study from researchers at the University...

A model approach for sustainable phosphorus recovery from wastewater

Wastewater treatment infrastructure, such as this anaerobic digester, can be leveraged to capture and recycle phosphorus, a limited essential nutrient.A new approach to wastewater treatment may be key in efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Moreover, it can be profitable.

New technique shows shale-drilling additives in drinking-water taps near leak

This is a bottle containing foam from a water source.Substances commonly used for drilling or extracting Marcellus shale gas foamed from the drinking water taps of three Pennsylvania homes near a reported well-pad leak, according to new analysis from...

Fjords are 'hotspots' in global carbon cycling

While fjords are celebrated for their beauty, these ecosystems are also major carbon sinks that likely play an important role in the regulation of the planet's climate, new research reveals.While fjords are celebrated for their beauty, these ecosystems are also major carbon sinks that likely play an important role in the regulation of the planet's climate, new research reveals.

How cracking explains underwater volcanoes and the Hawaiian bend

University of Sydney geoscientists have helped prove that some of the ocean's underwater volcanoes did not erupt from hot spots in Earth's mantle but instead formed from cracks or fractures...

'Dead zones' found in Atlantic open waters

<p>The dead-zone eddies found in the <i>Biogeosciences</i> study are somewhat similar to the one seen in this picture, which was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA's Terra satellite in late 2011.

<p>More images, a video, and the pre-print version of the paper are available at: <a target="_blank"href="http://www.egu.eu/news/165/dead-zones-found-in-atlantic-open-waters/">http://www.egu.eu/news/165/dead-zones-found-in-atlantic-open-waters/</a>.A team of German and Canadian researchers have discovered areas with extremely low levels of oxygen in the tropical North Atlantic, several hundred kilometres off the coast of West Africa....

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