Popular Science articles about Earth & Climate

A group of emperor penguins is resting and preening next to a tide crack in the ice near the Gould Bay colony.

Modern logging techniques benefit rainforest wildlife

New research has highlighted the value of a modern logging technique for maintaining biodiversity in tropical forests that are used for timber production.

Interaction of Atlantic and Pacific oscillations caused 'false pause' in warming

The recent slowdown in climate warming is due, at least in part, to natural oscillations in the climate, according to a team of climate scientists, who add that these oscillations...

Felling of tropical trees has soared, satellite shows, not slowed as UN study found

The Democratic Republic of Congo contains half of Africa's tropical forest and the second largest continuous tropical forest in the world. This animation of Landsat images from 1999 and 2008 shows how much deforestation has occurred between those years -- impinging even on Virunga National Park. These images are from the same Landsat datasets used by researchers at the University of Maryland to study the 34 countries -- including the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- that contain 80 percent of the forested tropical lands.The rate at which tropical forests were cut, burned or otherwise lost from the 1990s through the 2000s accelerated by 62 percent, according to a new study which dramatically reverses...

Caribbean coral findings may influence Barrier Reef studies

Griffith University's Dr. Emma Kennedy and University of Exeter's Dr. Jamie Stevens.Corals may be better equipped to tolerate climate change than previously believed, according to research led by Griffith University's Dr Emma Kennedy.

Long-term nitrogen fertilizer use disrupts plant-microbe mutualisms

University of Illinois plant biology professor Katy Heath and her colleagues found that long-term nitrogen fertilizer use disrupts the mutually beneficial relationship between legumes and soil microbes.When exposed to nitrogen fertilizer over a period of years, nitrogen-fixing bacteria called rhizobia evolve to become less beneficial to legumes -- the plants they normally serve, researchers report in...

NASA satellite sees a warm winter in the western US

This Feb. 18 infrared image from the AIRS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite shows a warm US West. The darker orange colors indicate warmer temperatures.While people in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S have been dealing with Arctic Air, the bulge in the Jet Stream over the eastern Pacific Ocean has been keeping the...

Greenland is melting -- The past might tell what the future holds

A team of scientists lead by Danish geologist Nicolaj Krog Larsen have managed to quantify how the Greenland Ice Sheet reacted to a warm period 8,000-5,000 years ago. Back then...

UI engineers find switchgrass removes PCBs from soils

University of Iowa researchers have found a type of grass that was once a staple of the American prairie can remove soil laden with PCBs, toxic chemicals once used for...

Humans altering Adriatic ecosystems more than nature, UF study shows

These shellfish species from the northern Adriatic Sea were also found in sediments, providing a record of mollusks that thrived in the region 125,000 years ago.The ecosystems of the Adriatic Sea have weathered natural climate shifts for 125,000 years, but humans could be rapidly altering this historically stable biodiversity hot spot, a University of Florida...

Iconic graph at center of climate debate

The "Hockey Stick" graph, a simple plot representing temperature over time, led to the center of the larger debate on climate change, and skewed the trajectory of at least one...

The sun has more impact on the climate in cool periods

The activity of the Sun is an important factor in the complex interaction that controls our climate. New research now shows that the impact of the Sun is not constant over time, but has greater significance when the Earth is...

Embrace unknowns, opt for flexibility in environmental policies

We make hundreds, possibly thousands, of decisions each day without having full knowledge of what will happen next. Life is unpredictable, and we move forward the best we can despite...

First direct observation of carbon dioxide's increasing greenhouse effect at the Earth's surface

The scientists used incredibly precise spectroscopic instruments at two sites operated by the Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility. This research site is on the North Slope of Alaska near the town of Barrow. They also collected data from a site in Oklahoma.Scientists have observed an increase in carbon dioxide's greenhouse effect at Earth's surface for the first time. The researchers, led by scientists from the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley...

Geysers have loops in their plumbing

Threading temperature and pressure sensors down a geyser hole in the El Tatio region of Chile's Atacama desert.Geysers like Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park erupt periodically because of loops or side-chambers in their underground plumbing, according to recent studies by volcanologists at the University of California,...

Massive amounts of Saharan dust fertilize the Amazon rainforest

This conceptual image depicts dust from the Saharan Desert crossing the Atlantic Ocean to the Amazon rainforest in South America.The Sahara Desert and the Amazon rainforest seem to inhabit separate worlds. The former is a vast expanse of sand and scrub stretching across the northern third of Africa, while...

Reconstructing topsy-turvy paleoclimate of western US 21,000 years ago

Reconstruction of the climate 21,000 years ago at the peak of the last ice age in the western US found that the transition between the dryer zone in the north and wetter zone in the south ran diagonally from the northwest to southeast.Climate scientists now put the odds that the American Southwest is headed into a 30-year "mega drought" at 50/50. Meanwhile, the forecast for the Pacific Northwest is continued warming with...

Ancient and modern cities aren't so different

The underlying organizational ingredients of modern cities were present in ancient settlements in the Basin of Mexico.Despite notable differences in appearance and governance, ancient human settlements function in much the same way as modern cities, according to new findings by researchers at the Santa Fe Institute...

Study finds climate change may dramatically reduce wheat production

A recent study involving Kansas State University researchers finds that in the coming decades at least one-quarter of the world's wheat production will be lost to extreme weather from climate...

Farmers can better prevent nutrient runoff based on land characteristics

This map shows how poorly drained the land in the study's observed watersheds area. The darker colors indicate that there are more poorly drained fields in a region, meaning that water leaving farm fields passes easily into the local watershed without being filtered, taking more nutrients with it.Farmers on a quest to keep more fertilizer on their fields--and out of Iowa's waterways--may have an easier time finding a solution, thanks to new research from the University of...

Large scale study warns of unsustainable ecological decline in rural China

The agricultural development of a region of eastern China is ecologically unsustainable and actions are needed soon to reverse its decline, according to a new study by geographers at the...

Study: Global rainfall satellites require massive overhaul

Circling hundreds of miles above Earth, weather satellites are working round-the-clock to provide rainfall data that are key to a complex system of global flood prediction.

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