Popular Science articles about Earth & Climate

Severe drought is causing the western US to rise

The severe drought gripping the western United States in recent years is changing the landscape well beyond localized effects of water restrictions and browning lawns. Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have now discovered that the...

Sunlight, not microbes, key to CO2 in Arctic

Terrestrial organic matter is shown spilling into a lake.The vast reservoir of carbon stored in Arctic permafrost is gradually being converted to carbon dioxide (CO2) after entering the freshwater system in a process thought to be controlled largely...

Record decline of ice sheets

This new elevation model of Antarctica was derived from CryoSat-2."The new elevation maps are snapshots of the current state of the ice sheets. The elevations are very accurate, to just a few metres in height, and cover close to...

Sunblock poses potential hazard to sea life

The sweet and salty aroma of sunscreen and seawater signals a relaxing trip to the shore. But scientists are now reporting that the idyllic beach vacation comes with an environmental...

Purdue ag economists: Shale oil 'dividend' could pay for smaller carbon footprint

Unanticipated economic benefits from the shale oil and gas boom could help offset the costs of substantially reducing the U.S.'s carbon footprint, Purdue agricultural economists say.

Project serves up big data to guide managing nation's coastal waters

These are the scores for the composite stressor index; map shows scores for individual estuaries, while pie charts represent the percentage of total estuarine area for each subregion falling within each of five index categories (very low to very high based on index quintiles). In the center bar chart, dark gray vertical bars represent the mean of the individual estuary composite stressor index scores within each subregion.When it comes to understanding America's coastal fisheries, anecdotes are gripping -- stories of a choking algae bloom, or a bay's struggle with commercial development. But when it comes to...

Giant Amazon fish becoming extinct in many fishing communities, saved in others

The arapaima fish, which once dominated Amazon fisheries, is long and can weigh as much as 400 pounds.An international team of scientists has discovered that a large, commercially important fish from the Amazon Basin has become extinct in some local fishing communities.

Megascale icebergs run aground

Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), have found between Greenland and Spitsbergen the scours left behind on the sea bed by gigantic...

The immediate aftermath of an oil spill

The fate of oil during the first day after an accidental oil spill is still poorly understood, with researchers often arriving on the scene only after several days. New findings...

Northern Pacific's tropical anoxic zone might shrink from climate change

A commonly held belief that global warming will diminish oxygen concentrations in the ocean looks like it may not be entirely true. According to new research published in Science magazine,...

New research links tornado strength, frequency to climate change

Professor James Elsner's new study shows that climate change may be causing more and deadlier tornadoes.New research by a Florida State University geography professor shows that climate change may be playing a key role in the strength and frequency of tornadoes hitting the United States.

(Top) Global average surface temperatures, where black dots are yearly averages. Two flat periods (hiatus) are separated by rapid warming from 1976-1999.  (Middle) Observations of heat content, compared to the average, in the north Atlantic Ocean. (Bottom) Salinity of the seawater in the same part of the Atlantic. Higher salinity is seen to coincide with more ocean heat storage.

Viruses take down massive algal blooms, with big implications for climate

This is a location map. Black rectangle delineates the area shown in Figures 1B and 2. (B) Map of surface chlorophyll from June 22, 2012 (day 174), emphasizing the phytoplankton patch as a distinct area of high chlorophyll concentration. Thick black lines mark the main attracting Lagrangian coherent structures from calculation of finite-size Lyapunov exponents. To facilitate the presentation, we plotted only the highest 20 percent of FSLEs (for the entire FSLE field, see Figure 2C). Thin black contour outline region of strong Chl gradient is used to define patch boundaries. Magenta diamonds mark the position of Argo floats used for extracting the mixed layer depth in the patch vicinity. Green diamonds mark the location of the sampling stations.Algae might seem easy to ignore, but they are the ultimate source of all organic matter that marine animals depend upon. Humans are increasingly dependent on algae, too, to suck...

US expedition yields first breakthrough paper about life under Antarctic ice

The first breakthrough paper to come out of a massive U.S. expedition to one of Earth's final frontiers shows that there's life and an active ecosystem one-half mile below the...

Exporting US coal to Asia could drop emissions 21 percent

Under the right scenario, exporting U.S. coal to power plants in South Korea could lead to a 21 percent drop in greenhouse gas emissions compared to burning the fossil fuel...

International scientific team criticizes adoption of 'novel ecosystems' by policymakers

This picture features a classic novel ecosystem. The ground cover is cogon grass, a highly invasive Asian grass that is one of the South's worst and fastest-growing weed problems. The trees in this forest are most native loblolly pine. The picture was taken recently on the flood plain of the Pascagoula River in Mississippi.Embracing "novel" ecosystems is dangerous, according to a new study by an international team.

Snow has thinned on Arctic sea ice

The probe, shaped like a ski pole, includes a basket that stays on top of the snow while the tip of the probe plunges down to the sea ice below.From research stations drifting on ice floes to high-tech aircraft radar, scientists have been tracking the depth of snow that accumulates on Arctic sea ice for almost a century. Now...

A global temperature conundrum: Cooling or warming climate?

When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently requested a figure for its annual report, to show global temperature trends over the last 10,000 years, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Zhengyu...

2010 Chilean earthquake causes icequakes in Antarctica

The HOWD Polenet seismic station is located near the northwest corner of the Antarctica's Ellsworth Mountains. It was the station that showed the clearest indication of high-frequency signals following the 2010 Chilean earthquake.Seismic events aren't rare occurrences on Antarctica, where sections of the frozen desert can experience hundreds of micro-earthquakes an hour due to ice deformation. Some scientists call them icequakes. But...

Air traffic growth set to outpace carbon reduction efforts

Carbon reduction efforts in the airline industry will be outweighed by growth in air-traffic, even if the most contentious mitigation measures are implemented, according to new research by the University...

Study measures steep coastal costs of China's GDP growth

Economic activity, as in this floating mariculture installation at Sanya, is having a dramatic effect on the health of China's seas.A new study by a team of Chinese and American conservation biologists quantifies the serious consequences of China's recent economic growth on its coastal ecosystems.

Water 'microhabitats' in oil show potential for extraterrestrial life, oil cleanup

An international team of researchers has found extremely small habitats that increase the potential for life on other planets while offering a way to clean up oil spills on our...

More news about Earth & Climate

Breaking science news from the newsfeed about Earth & Climate