Popular Science articles about Earth & Climate

NASA explains why June 30 will get extra second

The day will officially be a bit longer than usual on Tuesday, June 30, 2015, because an extra second, or "leap" second, will be added.

Antarctic life -- highly diverse, unusually structured

In a comprehensive assessment of Antarctic biodiversity, published in Nature this week, scientists have revealed the region is more diverse and biologically interesting than previously thought.

A third of the world's biggest groundwater basins are in distress

Two new studies led by UC Irvine using data from NASA Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellites show that civilization is rapidly draining some of its largest groundwater basins, yet...

New study shows Arctic Ocean rapidly becoming more corrosive to marine species

NOAA and partner scientists collected water samples to measure ocean acidification in the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas on two research cruises aboard USCG cutter Healy.New research by NOAA, University of Alaska, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the journal Oceanography shows that surface waters of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas could reach levels of...

New Grand Canyon age research focuses on western Grand Canyon

This is Figure 2 from Darling and Whipple: Photographs taken from Twin Point overlook by Rich Rudow. (A) View to the southeast, showing the Shivwitz Plateau escarpment above the Sanup Plateau. (B) View to the south, showing the Sanup Plateau in the foreground and the Hualapai Plateau in the background. Surprise and Spencer canyons are prominent recesses in the plateau.The age of the Grand Canyon (USA) has been studied for years, with recent technological advances facilitating new attempts to determine when erosion of this iconic canyon began. The result...

Quenched glasses, asteroid impacts, and ancient life on Mars

Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) maps of modeled mineralogy (olivine in red; mafic glass in green; pyroxene in blue) projected over Context Camera (CTX) imagery.Quenched glasses formed by asteroid impacts can encapsulate and preserve biological material for millions of years on Earth, and can also serve as a substrate for microbial life. These impact...

Sudden draining of glacial lakes explained

Thousands of supraglacial lakes form each spring and summer on top of the Greenland Ice Sheet. When they drain, they send torrents of water to the base of the ice sheet, lubricating the interface between rock and ice. That allows the ice sheet to flow faster to the ocean and discharge ice into ocean, which causes sea levels to rise fasterIn 2008 scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the University of Washington documented for the first time how the icy bottoms of lakes atop the Greenland Ice Sheet...

New climate stress index model challenges doomsday forecasts for world's coral reefs

A WCS scientist recording data on coral cover in coastal Kenya. A new climate stress model using both environmental data and field observations provides scientists with a more accurate predictive tool than more widely used models based on solely temperature and coral survival thresholds, according to a new study by WCS and other groups.Recent forecasts on the impacts of climate change on the world's coral reefs--especially ones generated from oceanic surface temperature data gathered by satellites--paint a grim picture for the future of...

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Severe flooding hits central Texas, Oklahoma

This image shows IMERG rainfall estimates for the week-long period May 19 to 26, 2015 for the south central US.A stagnant upper-air pattern that spread numerous storms and heavy rains from central Texas up into Oklahoma has resulted in record flooding for parts of the Lone Star State. ...

Severe ozone depletion avoided

Arctic ozone without the Montreal Protocol (left) and following its implementation (right) on 26 March 2011.We are already reaping the rewards of the Montreal Protocol, with the ozone layer in much better shape than it would have been without the UN treaty, according to a...

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...

Backward-moving glacier helps scientists explain glacial earthquakes

The relentless flow of a glacier may seem unstoppable, but a team of UK and US researchers have shown that during some calving events - when an iceberg breaks off into the ocean - the glacier moves rapidly backward and...

California's wildflowers losing diversity in face of warmer, drier winters

These are wildflowers at McLaughlin Natural Reserve, part of the UC Davis Natural Reserve system.Native wildflowers in California are losing species diversity after multiple years of drier winters, according to a study from the University of California, Davis, which provides the first direct evidence...

Polar bears aren't the only victims of climate change

From heat waves to damaged crops to asthma in children, climate change is a major public health concern, argues a Michigan State University researcher in a new study.

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New calculations to improve CO2 monitoring from space

How light of different colours is absorbed by carbon dioxide (CO2) can now be accurately predicted using new calculations developed by a UCL-led team of scientists. This will help climate...

When trees aren't 'green'

Testing equipment was used to measure nitrogen runoff.Most of us don't consider forests a source of pollution. As natural bodies, they should be good for the environment. But a recent study in Japan shows that older cedar...

Coral reefs defy ocean acidification odds in Palau

Palau's beautiful coral reefs are surprisingly resistant to the effects of ocean acidification.Will some coral reefs be able to adapt to rapidly changing conditions in Earth's oceans? If so, what will these reefs look like in the future?

New study uncovers why some threatened corals swap 'algae' partners

This image shows Caribbean star coral (<i>Orbicella faveolata</i>) with individual coral polyps showing different levels of bleaching during a warm summer bleaching event in summer 2014. Image taken off northern Florida Keys.A new research study showed why threatened Caribbean star corals sometimes swap partners to help them recover from bleaching events. The findings are important to understand the fate of coral...

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Little-known quake, tsunami hazards lurk offshore of Southern California

This is a satellite picture of the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California. New research into the little known, fault-riddled, undersea landscape off of Southern California and northern Baja California has revealed more worrisome details about a tectonic train wreck in the Earth's crust with the potential for magnitude 7.9 to 8.0 earthquakes.While their attention may be inland on the San Andreas Fault, residents of coastal Southern California could be surprised by very large earthquakes - and even tsunamis - from several...

Glacier changes at the top of the world

Researchers taking measurements in the Mera Glacier region of the Dudh Kosi basin.If greenhouse-gas emissions continue to rise, glaciers in the Everest region of the Himalayas could experience dramatic change in the decades to come. A team of researchers in Nepal, France...

Deciphering clues to prehistoric climate changes locked in cave deposits

This is Jessica Oster at the entrance of a Tennessee cave that she has begun studying.When the conversation turns to the weather and the climate, most people's thoughts naturally drift upward toward the clouds, but Jessica Oster's sink down into the subterranean world of stalactites...

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. ...

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