Popular Science articles about Earth & Climate

Clues from ancient Maya reveal lasting impact on environment

Evidence from the tropical lowlands of Central America reveals how Maya activity more than 2,000 years ago not only contributed to the decline of their environment but continues to influence today's environmental conditions, according to researchers at The University of...

Ancient cold period could provide clues about future climate change

This is the entrance to the cave in Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan, Philippines. The researchers used a  stalagmite growing from the floor of the cave to learn about rainfall in the Philippines during the Younger Dryas.Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have found that a well-known period of abrupt climate change 12,000 years ago occurred rapidly in northern latitudes but much more gradually...

How wind sculpted Earth's largest dust deposit

Geoscientist Fulong Cai stands on a linear ridge on top of China's Loess Plateau and looks across a river valley at another of the plateau's linear ridges. The high hills in the far background are on the edge of the plateau, which drops about 1,300 feet (400 meters) to the Mu Us Desert to the northwest.China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years, according to a new report from University of Arizona geoscientists.

UCI study finds dramatic increase in concurrent droughts, heat waves

Droughts and heat waves are happening simultaneously with much greater frequency than in the past, according to research by climate experts at the University of California, Irvine. Their findings appear...

Grey Swans: Rare but predictable storms could pose big hazards

Toward the end of this century (project here for the years 2068 to 2098) the possibility of storm surges of eight to 11 meters (26 to 36 feet) increases significantly in cities not usually expected to be vulnerable to tropical storms, according to recent research in the journal <em>Nature Climate Change</em>.Researchers at Princeton and MIT have used computer models to show that severe tropical cyclones could hit a number of coastal cities worldwide that are widely seen as unthreatened by...

Intensity of desert storms may affect ocean phytoplankton

Each spring, powerful dust storms in the deserts of Mongolia and northern China send thick clouds of particles into the atmosphere. Eastward winds sweep these particles as far as the...

Lab experiments question popular measure of ancient ocean temperatures

A tropical-water archaea from the Seattle Aquarium grown at 30 C (left) and an isolate from Puget Sound grown at 26 C (right) give very different TEX-86 readings depending on the water's oxygen content.Understanding the planet's history is crucial if we are to predict its future. While some records are preserved in ice cores or tree rings, other records of the climate's ancient...

Research may solve lunar fire fountain mystery

Melt inclusions are tiny dots of magma frozen within olivine crystals. The crystals lock in volatile elements that may have otherwise escaped from the magma. Researchers have shown that melt inclusions within volcanic glasses from the Moon contain carbon. They conclude that gas-phase carbon likely drive the "fire fountain" eruptions the produced the glass.Tiny beads of volcanic glass found on the lunar surface during the Apollo missions are a sign that fire fountain eruptions took place on the Moon's surface. Now, scientists from...

NASA and university researchers find link between Amazon fires and devastating hurricanes

This map of ocean surface temperatures shows how warm waters in the North Atlantic fueled Hurricane Katrina. NASA and UCI researchers have found that the same conditions heighten fire risk in the Amazon basin.Researchers from the University of California, Irvine and NASA have uncovered a remarkably strong link between high wildfire risk in the Amazon basin and the devastating hurricanes that ravage North...

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Grape waste could make competitive biofuel

The solid waste left over from wine-making could make a competitive biofuel, University of Adelaide researchers have found.

Scientists turn oily soil into fertile ground

Rice University pyrolyzed oil-contaminated soil to reduce total petroleum hydrocarbons below federal standards, while leaving beneficial carbons in the soil. The lab grew lettuce in samples of reclaimed soil to test its viability.Rice University scientists are cleaning soil contaminated by oil spills in a way that saves energy and reclaims the soil's fertility.

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This is the global map of tree density at the square-kilometer pixel scale.

Oxygen oasis in Antarctic lake reflects Earth in the distant past

Lake Fryxell, Antarctica is permanently covered in ice, and the waters at the bottom are oxygen-free but still receive some sunlight. Scientists have discovered a thin layer of oxygen created by photosynthetic bacteria at the bottom of the lake. This could be a model for conditions on Earth 2.4 billion years ago, before oxygen became common in the atmosphere.At the bottom of a frigid Antarctic lake, a thin layer of green slime is generating a little oasis of oxygen, a team including UC Davis researchers has found. It's...

Plastic in 99 percent of seabirds by 2050

This is a red-footed booby on Christmas Island.Researchers from CSIRO and Imperial College London have assessed how widespread the threat of plastic is for the world's seabirds, including albatrosses, shearwaters and penguins, and found the majority of...

Evidence of ancient life discovered in mantle rocks deep below the seafloor

Scientist found mummified microbial life in rocks from a seafloor hydrothermal system that was active more than 100 million years ago during the Early Cretaceous when the supercontinent Pangaea was breaking apart and the Atlantic ocean was just about to open. Buried under almost 700 meters of sediment, the samples were recovered by the seafloor drilling vessel JOIDES Resolution near the coast of Portugal. Hydrothermal fluids rich in hydrogen and methane mixed with seawater about 65 meters below the seafloor. This process supported bacteria and archaea in what scientists call 'the deep biosphere' in rocks from Earth's mantle. Conditions for microbial life were nearly ideal, the study showed, in this seemingly inhospitable environment.Ancient rocks harbored microbial life deep below the seafloor, reports a team of scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Virginia Tech, and the University of Bremen. This new...

Future climate models greatly affected by fungi and bacteria

When a plant dies, its leaves and branches fall to the ground. Decomposition of soil organic matter is then mainly carried out by fungi and bacteria, which convert dead plant...

What would a tsunami in the Mediterranean look like?

This is a still from an animation showing water elevation for an earthquake-induced tsunami at the Southwest of Crete.

The animation can be seen here: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.egu.eu/medialibrary/image/1501/crete-tsunami-animation/">http://www.egu.eu/medialibrary/image/1501/crete-tsunami-animation/</a>A team of European researchers have developed a model to simulate the impact of tsunamis generated by earthquakes and applied it to the Eastern Mediterranean. The results show how tsunami...

Climate impacts on marine biodiversity

Warming oceans will have a profound impact on marine biodiversity around the world.New research into the impact of climate change has found that warming oceans will cause profound changes in the global distribution of marine biodiversity.

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Catastrophic landslides post-earthquake

Ongoing debris fall mobilizing rock and dust from a landslide deposit due to the 2015 Gorkha, Nepal, earthquake (Mw 7.9). On the forefront (on the left), on the banks of the Upper Bhote Koshi river, collapsed houses and poles are visible, as well as other landslide deposits from the main shock and following aftershocks. This ongoing fall started without any determined trigger.In the last few months, it has once more become clear that large earthquakes can solicit catastrophic landsliding. In the wake of the Nepal earthquake, the landslide community has been...

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Boreal forests challenged by global change

Management of boreal forests needs greater attention from international policy, argued forestry experts from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Natural Resources Canada, and the University of Helsinki...

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Warming climate is deepening California drought

Dry grassland and oak landscape of the Coastal Mountain Range are among the parts of California most affected by the current drought. This photo was taken in August 2015.A new study says that global warming has measurably worsened the ongoing California drought. While scientists largely agree that natural weather variations have caused a lack of rain, an emerging...

New estimates show China's carbon emissions were less than previously thought

China's carbon emissions have been substantially over estimated by international agencies for more than 10 years, according to research co-led by the University of East Anglia.

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