Popular Science articles about Earth & Climate

Antarctic ice shelves rapidly thinning

A new study led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego researchers has revealed that the thickness of Antarctica's floating ice shelves has recently decreased by as much as 18 percent in certain areas over nearly two decades,...

Hydrolyzed fish fertilizer tested in organic vegetable production

In the production of organic vegetables, nitrogen is important, yet can be quite costly to manage. Nitrogen management is even more challenging when production practices call for the use of...

Twice the coral trout in Great Barrier Reef protected zones

This coral trout (<i>Plectropomus leopardus</i>) was being cleaned by cleaner wrasse and posed for the photo.Coral trout in protected 'green zones' are not only bigger and more abundant than those in fished 'blue zones' of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, but they are also...

Shell-shocked: Ocean acidification likely hampers tiny shell builders in Southern Ocean

Microscopic coccolithophores like this species, <i>Emiliania huxleyi</i>, among the ocean's most common phytoplankton, appear to be declining in the Southern Ocean, a possible result of a changing climate.A University of Colorado Boulder study shows a ubiquitous type of phytoplankton -- tiny organisms that are the base of the marine food web -- appears to be suffering from...

Soils help control radioactivity in Fukushima, Japan

Soil samples from Fukushima, Japan are tested for a range of characteristics.Radiation suddenly contaminates the land your family has farmed and lived on for generations. Can soil play a role in protecting crops and human health?

A stiff new layer in Earth's mantle

University of Utah geophysicist Lowell Miyagi holds a press that houses a diamond anvil, in which minerals can be squeezed a pressures akin to those deep within the Earth. Miyagi and a colleague in Germany squeezed mineral crystals in a diamond anvil under pressures like those deep underground. Their findings suggest the existence of a previously unknown layer of extremely stiff or viscous rock 930 miles underground in the top part of Earth's lower mantle. Such a layer would explain why seismic images have shown slabs from Earth's sinking tectonic plates sometimes stalling and thickening or pooling at that depth.By crushing minerals between diamonds, a University of Utah study suggests the existence of an unknown layer inside Earth: part of the lower mantle where the rock gets three times...

International study raises questions about cause of global ice ages

Moraines, or rocks and soil deposited by glaciers during the Last Glacial Maximum, are spread across the landscape near Mt. Cook, New Zealand's tallest mountain, and Lake Pukaki.A new international study casts doubt on the leading theory of what causes ice ages around the world -- changes in the way the Earth orbits the sun.

Traffic fatalities spike during spring break

Come spring break, college students from all over the country travel to warmer climates for time off from school and to escape the cold weather. However, it's not all fun...

Amazon's carbon uptake declines as trees die faster

This is the Amazon canopy at dawn, in Brazil.The most extensive land-based study of the Amazon to date reveals it is losing its capacity to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. From a peak of two billion tonnes of...

Warm ocean water is making Antarctic glacier vulnerable to significant melting

Researchers have discovered a valley underneath East Antarctica's most rapidly-changing glacier that delivers warm water to the base of the ice, causing significant melting.

New Mercury surface composition maps illuminate the planet's history

Two new papers from members of the MESSENGER Science Team provide global-scale maps of Mercury's surface chemistry that reveal previously unrecognized geochemical terranes -- large regions that have compositions distinct...

The Mediterranean diet is not only healthier, it also pollutes less

The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are well-known. As well as being healthier, a recent article concludes that the menu traditionally eaten in Spain leaves less of a carbon footprint than that of the US or the United Kingdom.

Increased sensitivity to climate change in disturbed ecosystems

Undisturbed ecosystems can be resistant to changing climatic conditions, but this resistance is reduced when ecosystems are subject to natural or anthropogenic disturbances. Plants are particularly sensitive to climatic changes...

A difficult climate: New study examines the media's response to the IPCC

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) periodically releases Assessment Reports in order to inform policymakers and the public about the latest scientific evidence on climate change. The publication...

Greenhouse gases unbalanced

Natural wetlands usually emit methane and sequester carbon dioxide. Anthropogenic interventions, in particular the conversion of wetlands for agriculture, result in a significant increase in CO2 emissions, which overcompensate potential...

Disturbingly little known about microbeads and plastics in the Great Lakes

New Democratic Party Member of Parliament Megan Leslie is calling on the Canadian government to list microbeads, tiny plastic flakes used in cosmetics, as a potential toxic substance. Health Canada...

Ascension of marine diatoms linked to vast increase in continental weathering

This image shows the ornamentation of the silica frustule of the  
chain-forming diatom <i>Skeletonema costatum</i>, a key player in the global carbon cycle .A team of researchers, including Rensselaer professor Morgan Schaller, has used mathematical modeling to show that continental erosion over the last 40 million years has contributed to the success of...

Adapting to climate change will bring new environmental problems

Adapting to climate change could have profound environmental repercussions, according to a new study from the University of East Anglia.

Many plastics labeled 'biodegradable' don't break down as expected

Plastic products advertised as biodegradable have recently emerged, but they sound almost too good to be true. Scientists have now found out that, at least for now, consumers have good...

Iron rain fell on early Earth, new Z machine data supports

Sandia's Z machine is the most powerful deliverer of bursts of electrical energy in the world.Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories' Z machine have helped untangle a long-standing mystery of astrophysics: why iron is found spattered throughout Earth's mantle, the roughly 2,000-mile thick region between Earth's...

Frequency of tornadoes, hail linked to El Niño, La Niña

A tornado brews near El Reno, Okla., May 2013. A new study links the frequency of tornadoes and hailstorms in parts of the southern United States to ENSO, a cyclic temperature pattern in the Pacific Ocean.Climate scientists can spot El Niño and La Niña conditions developing months ahead of time, and they use this knowledge to make more accurate forecasts of droughts, flooding and even...

Ponds are disappearing in the Arctic

Mac Butler, Ph.D., samples an arctic pond in northern Alaska in August 1976.Ponds in the Arctic tundra are shrinking and slowly disappearing, according to a new study by University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) researchers.

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