The amount of plastic in the ocean is set to triple in a decade unless litter is curbed, a major report has warned.
Salts left over from ancient seawater reveal new information about the oxygenation of the Earth's atmosphere more than 2 billion years ago.
A recent report has said the south Indian city of Bangalore could be doomed, like Cape Town in South Africa, to face the threat of running out of drinking water. But is this really the case? The BBC's Imran Qureshi investigates.
A new study on the timescale of plant evolution has concluded that the first plants to colonize the Earth originated around 500 million years ago -- 100 million years earlier than previously thought.
The massive Toba volcanic eruption on the island of Sumatra about 74,000 years ago did not cause a six-year-long "volcanic winter" in East Africa and thereby cause the human population in the region to plummet, according to new University of Arizona-led research.
When it comes to the final days of the dinosaurs, Africa is something of a blank page. Fossils found in Africa from the Late Cretaceous, the time period from 100 to 66 million years ago, are few and far between. That means that the course of dinosaur evolution in Africa has largely remained a mystery. But in the Egyptian Sahara Desert, scientists have discovered a new species of dinosaur that helps fill in those gaps.
Illegal fishing, logging and poaching, are impacting two-thirds of the 57 natural World Heritage sites monitored by the International Union for Conservation of Nature this year, putting some of the world's most precious and unique ecosystems and species at risk.
Understanding modern biodiversity and extinction threats is important. It is commonly assumed that being large contributes to vulnerability during extinction crises. However, researchers have found that size played no role in the extinction of fish during the largest mass extinction of all time.
Why does biodiversity grade from exuberance at the equator through moderation at mid-latitudes toward monotony at higher ones? Data from an international network of long-term forest dynamics research sites is finally providing an answer.
To understand how human activities are affecting the planet, scientists often study the health of animals in the wild. Now a new study finds that the levels of mercury in some polar bears are declining. But rather than heralding a drop in mercury in the environment, the decrease could indicate how climate change has led the animals to shift foraging habits, which has affected their diets and weight.
The distribution of established alien species in different regions of the world varies significantly. Until now, scientists were uncertain about where the global hotspots for established alien species are located. Most alien species can be found on islands and coastal regions
A new study suggests that roughly 22% of the element xenon found in Earth's atmosphere may have come from comets.
While climate change is expected to lead to more violence related to food scarcity, new research suggests that the strength of a country's government plays a vital role in preventing uprisings.
Reducing meat consumption and using more efficient farming methods globally are essential to stave off irreversible damage to the environmental, a new study says. The research also found that future increases in agricultural sustainability are likely to be driven by dietary shifts and increases in efficiency, rather than changes between food production systems.
Until now, the fauna of the Himalayas was considered to be an “immigration fauna," with species that have immigrated primarily from neighboring regions since the geological formation of this mountain range. Using molecular-genetic methods, a research team has now tested an alternative colonization hypothesis on lazy toads. The findings indicate that this group arose earlier than assumed in southern Tibet, and went on to colonize the Himalayas from there after its formation.
An area of West Antarctica more than twice the size of California partially melted in 2016 when warm winds forced by an especially strong El Nino blew over the continent.
Imagine being a scuba diver and leaving your air tank behind you on a dive. That's essentially what humans are doing as we expand our footprint on the planet without paying adequate attention to impacts on other living things, according to researchers. Both ominous and hopeful, a new report paints a picture of the value of biodiversity, the threats it faces and the window of opportunity we have to save species before it's too late.
Black band disease is less deadly to mountainous star coral (Orbicella faveolata) as water acidified, or decreased in pH, a new study has demonstrated.
Highly protected marine reserves can help mitigate against the impacts of climate change, a study by a team of international scientists has concluded.
Stony corals may be more resilient to ocean acidification than once thought, according to a Rutgers University study that shows they rely on proteins to help create their rock-hard skeletons.
Many large fish species, including many of the sharks and rays of Europe, are threatened with extinction. Confirming the findings of previous studies, scientists highlight regional differences in fish stock status in Europe and point to overfishing in the Mediterranean.
At the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, 200 million years ago, some 60% of species living on Earth disappeared. Scientists suspected that magmatic activity and the release of carbon dioxide were responsible for this environmental disaster. To corroborate this, one would need to find and to precisely date traces of this activity and make sure that it coincides with this mass extinction.
A pioneering new international study has looked at the true impact air pollutants have in impeding the local vegetation's ability to absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere.
It is not too late to save coral reefs, but we must act now.
Microorganisms play a crucial role in forming beachrock, a type of rock that forms on the beach and protects low-lying reef islands from erosion, a new study has revealed.
Researchers are taking the fight against global warming to colder climes. Their weapon of choice? Cold-loving bacteria.
A new study combining European ice core data and historical records of the infamous Black Death pandemic of 1349-1353 shows metal mining and smelting have polluted the environment for thousands of years, challenging the widespread belief that environmental pollution began with the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s and 1800s.
The discovery of anomalously high levels of mercury in rocks from the Ordivician geological period has led to a new interpretation of the ensuing mass extinction. A sequence of disturbances may have led to catastrophic cooling by reflective sulfate aerosols injected into the atmosphere by massive volcanism. The finding is important since aerosol cooling is under consideration as a way to temper global warming.
Biologists have shown what could be a startling drop in the amount of carbon stored in the Sierra Nevada mountains due to projected climate change and wildfire events.
Major gains in global biodiversity can be achieved if an additional 5 percent of land is set aside to protect key species, say experts. Scientists report such an effort could triple the protected range of those species and safeguard their functional diversity. The findings underscore the need to look beyond species numbers when developing conservation strategies, the researchers said.
In 2013, researchers studying mosses and microbes growing at the southern end of the Antarctic Peninsula documented unprecedented ecological change over the last 50 years, driven by warming temperatures. Now, the same research group has confirmed that those striking changes in the Antarctic are widespread, occurring all across the Peninsula.
Researchers have identified three new species of insects encased in Cambay amber dating from over 54 million years ago. Researchers describe the new species of fungus gnats, which provide further clues to understanding India's past diversity and geological history.
Planting trees is a popular strategy to help make cities 'greener,' both literally and figuratively. But scientists have found a counterintuitive effect of urban vegetation: during heat waves, it can increase air pollution levels and the formation of ozone.
Water reservoirs created by damming rivers could have significant impacts on the world's carbon cycle and climate system that aren't being accounted for, a new study concludes.
Several hundred miles off the Pacific Northwest coast, a small tectonic plate called the Juan de Fuca is slowly sliding under the North American continent. This subduction has created a collision zone with the potential to generate huge earthquakes and accompanying tsunamis, which happen when faulted rock abruptly shoves the ocean out of its way.
Global concentrations of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas and cause of climate change, are now growing faster in the atmosphere than at any other time in the past two decades.
Rich in biodiversity, with a rapidly growing economy, Malaysia exemplifies the tension between conservation and economic development faced by many tropical countries.
Heroes of Antarctic exploration have played a crucial role in research that suggests the area of sea ice around Antarctica has barely changed in size in 100 years. Ice observations recorded in the ships' logbooks of explorers such as the British Captain Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton and the German Erich von Drygalski have been used to compare where the Antarctic ice edge was during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration (1897--1917) and where satellites show it is todayed to attempt the first ever cross-Antarctic trek.
As atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise, very few coral reef ecosystems will be spared the impacts of ocean acidification or sea surface temperature rise, according to a new analysis. The damage will cause the most immediate and serious threats where human dependence on reefs is highest.
It is well-established in the scientific community that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels result in global warming, but the magnitude of the effect may vary depending on average global temperature. A new study concludes that warm climates are more sensitive to changes in CO2 levels than cold climates.
There are two types of liquid water, according to research carried out by an international scientific collaboration. This new peculiarity adds to the growing list of strange phenomena in what we imagine is a simple substance. The discovery could have implications for making and using nanoparticles as well as in understanding how proteins fold into their working shape in the body or misfold to cause diseases.
Global changes in temperature due to human-induced climate change have already impacted every aspect of life on Earth from genes to entire ecosystems, with increasingly unpredictable consequences for humans, according to a new study.
If it smells like food, and looks like food, it must be food, right? Not in the case of ocean-faring birds that are sometimes found with bellies full of plastic. But very little research examines why birds make the mistake of eating plastic in the first place.
The Alps are steadily "growing" by about one to two millimeters per year. Likewise, the formerly glaciated subcontinents of North America and Scandinavia are also undergoing constant upward movement. This is due to the fact that at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), the glaciers melted and with this the former heavy pressure on the Earth's surface diminished. Now, an international team of researchers has been able to show that the loss of the LGM ice cap still accounts for 90 percent of today's uplifting of the Alps.
Semi-volatile organic compounds can readily diffuse into the billions of tiny atmospheric particles that inhabit the air, easily moving among them, researchers have discovered. The findings provide greater understanding into how organic particles behave in the atmosphere.
Globally averaged concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached the symbolic and significant milestone of 400 parts per million for the first time in 2015 and surged again to new records in 2016 on the back of the very powerful El Niño event, according to the World Meteorological Organization's annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.
The indirect effects of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, such as changes in soil moisture and plant structure, can have a bigger impact on ecosystems than previously thought Understanding the importance of these indirect effects, in comparison to the direct effects, will improve our understanding of how ecosystems respond to climate change.
Microplastics are increasingly seen as an environmental problem of global proportions. While the focus to date has been on microplastics in the ocean and their effects on marine life, microplastics in soils have largely been overlooked. Researchers are concerned about the lack of knowledge regarding potential consequences of microplastics in agricultural landscapes from application of sewage sludge
Global populations of vertebrates -- mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish -- have declined by 58 percent between 1970 and 2012, states a new report. Animals living in the world's lakes, rivers, and freshwater systems have experienced the most dramatic population declines, at 81 percent. Because of human activity, the report states that without immediate intervention global wildlife populations could drop two-thirds by 2020.
Intensive farming, sprawling towns, a dense road network -- the modern world leaves less and less space for animals and plants. They are forced back into shrinking refuges, which are ever further apart. But not all react equally sensitively. That is even true for members of the same species, as demonstrated by a new study that suggests that animals living on the edge of their range suffer more from the fragmentation of their habitat than their fellows in the center.
Five years ago, the largest single release of human-made radioactive discharge to the marine environment resulted from an accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. Approximately 80 percent of the fallout happened over the Pacific Ocean. A new study explores the environmental consequences in the marine environment of the accident. It outlines the status of current research about the impact of the fallout on plant and animal life and what remains to be done as the radioactivity continues to spread.
Built-up areas on the Earth have increased by 2.5 times since 1975. And yet, today 7.3 billion people live and work in only 7.6% of the global land mass. Nine out of the ten most populated urban centres are in Asia, while five out of the ten largest urban centres are in the United States. These are some of the numbers calculated by a new global database which tracks human presence on Earth.
Bolivian glaciers shrunk by 43% between 1986 and 2014, and will continue to diminish if temperatures in the region continue to increase. Glacier recession is leaving lakes that could burst and wash away villages or infrastructure downstream, warns one expert.
Fish farms may hold the key to studying the impact of rising carbon dioxide on marine life, and help researchers understand if fish could adapt to climate change.
Antarctica's surrounding waters are home to some of the healthiest marine ecosystems on Earth and support thriving populations of krill, seabirds, fish and whales. But efforts to establish a network of effective Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Southern Ocean are being hobbled by political infighting and demands that prioritize fishing interests over conservation by members of the international consortium tasked with conserving the region, scientists say.
In pictures, the Arctic appears pristine and timeless with its barren lands and icy landscape. In reality, the area is rapidly changing. Scientists are working to understand the chemistry behind these changes to better predict what could happen to the region in the future. One team reports that sea salt could play a larger role in the formation of local atmospheric pollutants than previously thought.
Global examples of sustainability projects, which offer a positive future for the environment, have been identified by an international group of researchers. They gathered examples of positive initiatives from communities around the world for a website they created - Good Anthropocene. These ranged from projects involving community-based radiation monitoring in Japan and ones designed to create healthier school lunches in California, to puffin patrols in Newfoundland that save baby birds from traffic.
Ppredator-feeding behavior, global warming, and nutrient enrichment affect the basic building blocks of food webs, says a new dissertation. Just a small increase in temperature or in the availability of a limited nutrient can theoretically push the populations of predators and their prey from stable coexistence at approximately constant densities to wild oscillations, or even to predator extinction. But how and when this happens is still debated by ecologists.
Each and every organism on Earth is exposed to the influence of various environmental conditions and of other living organisms. These factors can trigger stress and make the living organism more vulnerable to external influences. A team of researchers has now succeeded in using aquatic organisms to demonstrate that the presence of environmental stress multiplies the effects of pollutants on organisms. Furthermore, they have developed a model that makes it possible to use the intensity of the environmental stress as a basis to predict the increased impact of pollutants.
Without significant improvements in technology, global crop yields are likely to fall in the areas currently used for production of the world’s three major cereal crops, forcing production to move to new areas, new research suggests.
Marine ecosystems are responsible for about half of global annual primary production and more than one billion people rely on fish as their primary protein source. Latest studies show that enormous warm water bubbles in the ocean are having a noticeable impact on ecosystems. How should we interpret these changes?
The biggest-ever statistical analysis of historical accidents suggests that nuclear power is an underappreciated extreme risk and that major changes will be needed to prevent future disasters
While climate change threatens coral reefs in oceans around the world, not all reefs are affected equally. As oceans warm, physical forces like wave strength and water flow influence which reefs thrive and which die, according to a study. The results offer new insight into how climate change will affect reefs on a local level -- and also hint at steps conservationists can take to reduce the impact of warming on these fragile ecosystems.
New research shows that human pollution of the atmosphere with acid is now almost back to the level that it was before the pollution started with industrialization in the 1930s. The results come from studies of the Greenland ice sheet.
By adding highly accurate radiocarbon dating of soil to standard Earth system models, environmental scientists have learned a dirty little secret: The ground will absorb far less atmospheric carbon dioxide this century than previously thought.
The Arctic's ice cover appears to have reached its minimum extent on September 10, 2016, according to scientists. Arctic sea ice extent on that day stood at 4.14 million square kilometers (1.60 million square miles), statistically tied at second lowest in the satellite record with the 2007 minimum.
A new study demonstrates that the Earth and other planetary objects formed in the early years of the Solar System share similar chemical origins -- a finding at odds with accepted wisdom held by scientists for decades.
A new study finds a trend toward earlier sea ice melt in the spring and later ice growth in the fall across all 19 polar bear populations, which can negatively impact the feeding and breeding capabilities of the bears. The paper is the first to quantify the sea ice changes in each polar bear subpopulation across the entire Arctic region using metrics that are specifically relevant to polar bear biology
A new study offers clues to the potential impact of ocean acidification deep-sea, shell-forming organisms. Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is also increasing oceanic CO2. Ocean acidification is therefore one of the most important research areas regarding the effects of elevated CO2 on deep-sea marine calcifiers and the marine ecosystem in general, say the researchers.
Oceanographers report that the northeast Pacific Ocean has absorbed an increasing amount of anthropogenic carbon dioxide over the last decade, at a rate that mirrors the increase of carbon dioxide emissions pumped into the atmosphere.
Nutrient pollution emptying into seas from cities, towns and agricultural land is changing the sounds made by marine life -- and potentially upsetting navigational cues for fish and other sea creatures, a new study has found.
Ocean warming is affecting humans in direct ways and the impacts are already being felt, including effects on fish stocks and crop yields, more extreme weather events and increased risk from water-borne diseases, according to what has been called the most comprehensive review available on the issue.
A team of scientists has discovered an unexpected disruption in one of the most repeatable atmospheric patterns.
Human occupation is usually associated with deteriorated landscapes, but new research shows that 13,000 years of repeated occupation by British Columbia's coastal First Nations has had the opposite effect, enhancing temperate rainforest productivity.
Researchers have created an animated map showing where mammals, birds and amphibians are projected to move in the Western Hemisphere in response to climate change.
A forest with greater diversity of plants can better adjust to climatic stress. Now for the first time, a team of scientists can show this in computer simulations of the Amazon region by accounting for its amazing diversity of trees. Biodiversity can hence be an effective means to mitigate climate risks and should not only be seen in the context of nature conservation.
The Working Group on the 'Anthropocene' (AWG) will provide its summary of evidence and its provisional recommendations on a potential new geological time interval.
An unnatural balance of nutrients threatens biodiversity in a survival of the fittest scenario, according to new research. A global network of researchers who have tested the impact increased nutrient levels is having on grasslands across six continents.
The global impact of human activities on the natural environment is extensive, but those impacts are expanding at a slower rate than the rate of economic and population growth.
Invasions from alien species such as Japanese knotweed and grey squirrels threaten the economies and livelihoods of residents of some of the world's poorest nations, new research shows.
Eight of every ten species extinctions has occurred on islands, and invasive mammals are the leading reason for those losses. Currently, 40 percent of species at risk of global extinction are island inhabitants. In the most thorough study of its kind, scientists have now analyzed global patterns of island vertebrate extinctions and developed predictive models to help identify places where conservation interventions will provide the greatest benefits to threatened island biodiversity.
In an experiment with organisms from the Kiel Fjord, a team of biologists has demonstrated for the first time, that ocean acidification and rising water temperatures harms the fatty acid composition of copepods in the natural plankton community. As a consequence, fish might find food of poorer quality, the researchers argue.
Batches of sand from a beach on the Delaware Bay are yielding insights into the powerful impact of temperature rise and evaporation along the shore that are in turn challenging long-held assumptions about what causes beach salinity to fluctuate in coastal zones that support a rich network of sea creatures and plants.
Global change will strike the oldest and most complex ecosystems of the world hardest, regardless of their past stability, warn experts in a new report.
Less than a month away from the kick-off the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii, a team of scientists reports that three quarters of the world's threatened species are imperiled because people are converting their habitat into agricultural lands and over-harvesting their populations.
Greenhouse gases are already having an accelerating effect on sea level rise, but the impact has so far been masked by the cataclysmic 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, according to a new study.
Researchers have uncovered previously hidden sources of ocean pollution along more than 20 percent of America's coastlines. The study offers the first-ever map of underground drainage systems that connect fresh groundwater and seawater, and also pinpoints sites where drinking water is most vulnerable to saltwater intrusion now and in the future.
New research by a forest landscape ecology professor shows that organisms will face more hardships as they relocate when climate change makes their current homes uninhabitable.
Experts call for new conservation guidelines after research shows 90% of tropical amphibian and reptile species are affected by the 'edge effect' and forest islands less than 500m in diameter are putting many at risk.
Subtle and short-lived differences in ocean salinity or temperature function as physical barriers for phytoplankton, and result in a patchy distribution of the oceans' most important food resource. The new research may help explain the large biodiversity in the sea.
The most abundant single-celled calcifying alga of the world's oceans, Emiliania huxleyi is basically able to adapt to ocean acidification through evolution. However, the longest evolution experiment that has been conducted with this organism so far shows, that the potential for adaptation is not as large as initially expected. The growth rate under elevated carbon dioxide concentrations has not improved significantly after four years. Calcification was even lower than in today's cells from Emiliania huxleyi.
Human disturbance negatively affects the pollination and seed dispersal of forest trees – an effect that can be observed in both tropical and temperate forests. This is the key result of a synthesis of 408 studies from 34 countries around the globe. In the long term, less pollination and seed dispersal is likely to reduce the ability of forests to natural regenerate.
Climate change could make much of the Arctic unsuitable for millions of migratory birds that travel north to breed each year, according to a new international study. Suitable breeding conditions for Arctic shorebirds could collapse by 2070, according to biologists.
An international consensus demands human impacts on the environment 'sustain', 'maintain', 'conserve', 'protect', 'safeguard', and 'secure' it. But, policy makers have little idea what these terms mean or how to connect them to a wealth of ecological data and ideas.
A research team simulated in a computer model, for the first time, the realistic evolution of global mean surface temperature since 1900. The researchers also created a new method by which scientists can measure and monitor the pace of anthropogenic global warming, finding that the contribution of human activities to warming in the surface waters of the Pacific Ocean can be distinguished from natural variability.
Levels of global biodiversity loss may negatively impact on ecosystem function and the sustainability of human societies.
The phrase "tipping point" passed its own tipping point and caught fire after author Malcolm Gladwell's so-named 2000 book. It's now frequently used in discussions about climate change, but what are "climate tipping points"? And what do they mean for society and the economy? Scientists tackle the terminology and outline a strategy for investigating the consequences of climate tipping points in a new study.
Future global warming will not only depend on the amount of emissions from human-made greenhouse gasses, but will also depend on the sensitivity of the climate system and response to feedback mechanisms. By reconstructing past global warming and the carbon cycle on Earth 56 million years ago researchers have used computer modelling to estimate the potential perspective for future global warming, which could be even warmer than previously thought.
Two massive blob-like structures lie deep within the Earth, roughly on opposite sides of the planet. The two structures, each the size of a continent and 100 times taller than Mount Everest, sit on the core, 1,800 miles deep, and about halfway to the center of the Earth. Researchers suggest these blobs are made of something different from the rest of Earth's mantle, and are determined to figure out what that is.
While some criticize the Paris climate target as impracticable, a team of scholars argues that it is a triumph of realism. First, keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius is necessary in view of the risks that unchecked climate change would pose. The scientists provide for the first time a diagram summarizing the tipping points/temperature issue. Second, implementing the Paris target is feasible through an explosive development of renewables. Third, the target is simple enough to create worldwide political momentum.
By the 2080s, as many as 3,331 people could die every year from exposure to heat during the summer months in New York City. The high estimate is based on a new model -- the first to account for variability in future population size, greenhouse gas trajectories, and the extent to which residents adapt to heat through interventions like air conditioning and public cooling centers.
Countries that contain most of the world's species biodiversity are also spending the least on a per-person basis to protect these natural assets, according to scientists. The authors also noted that spending appears to be associated with the country's social and governance organization.
By the year 2100, sea levels might rise as much as 2.5 meters above their current levels, which would seriously threaten coastal cities and other low-lying areas. In turn, this would force animals to migrate farther inland in search of higher ground. But accelerated urbanization, such as the rapidly expanding Piedmont area that stretches from Atlanta to eastern North Carolina, could cut off their escape routes and create climate-induced extinctions.
Global emissions of ethane, an air pollutant and greenhouse gas, are on the uptick again, according to a new study. The air samples for the study were collected from more than 40 sites around the world, from Colorado and Greenland to Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand and Earth's polar regions.
Reptiles rapidly invaded the seas soon after a global extinction wiped out most life on Earth, according to a new study. The oldest marine reptile fossils appeared 248.81 million years ago, the most precise date yet, according to the study. These pioneering marine reptiles, including the dolphin-like ichthyosaurs and sauropterygians, went on to rule the Mesozoic seas during the era of the dinosaurs.
If climate change continues on its current trajectory, the probability that any summer between 2061 and 2080 will be warmer than the hottest on record is 80 percent across the world's land areas, according to a new study. If greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, however, that probability drops to 41 percent, according to the study.
The susceptibility of the global economic network to workers' heat-stress has doubled in the last decade, a new study finds. The analysis shows for the first time how enhanced connectivity of the global network of supply can amplify production losses, as these losses can be spread more easily across countries.
All 36 countries that committed to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change complied with their emission targets, according to a new scientific study.
Using a new satellite-based method, scientists have located 39 unreported and major human-made sources of toxic sulfur dioxide emissions.
Part of Antarctica's coastline has been losing ice to the ocean for far longer than had been expected by scientists, a study of satellite pictures has shown.
Scientists have developed the Time Reverse Imaging Method to take real-time data from the ocean sensors and use that information to recreate what the tsunami looked like when it was born. Once scientists have the tsunami source pinpointed, they can use it to make better predictions about what will happen once the waves reach shore. This new method is fast enough to compete with existing algorithms but much more accurate.
Statisticians have developed what is believed to be the first model for factoring in the uncertainties of migration in population projections.
Policy makers must harness the power of ordinary people if society is to transition to a low-carbon energy future, argues a leading technology historian.
Scientists have found evidence that marine life can easily invade Antarctic waters from the north, and could be poised to colonize the rapidly-warming Antarctic marine ecosystems.
New research suggests that even though amphibians are severely declining worldwide, there is no smoking gun -- and thus no simple solution -- to halting or reversing these declines.
Humans have changed the world's oceans in ways that have been devastating to many marine species. But, according to new evidence, it appears that the change has so far been good for cephalopods, the group including octopuses, cuttlefish, and squid. The study shows that cephalopods' numbers have increased significantly over the last six decades.
First discovered by sailors, the masses of plastic debris floating at the center of vast ocean vortices called gyres are today under close scrutiny by scientists. To better understand the fragmentation of microplastics under the effect of light and abrasion by waves, researchers combined physico-chemical analyses with statistical modeling. They were thus able to show that pieces of plastic debris behave in very different ways according to their size. The bigger pieces appear to float flat at the surface of the water, with one face preferentially exposed to sunlight. However, the researchers observed fewer small-sized debris (around 1 mg) than predicted by the mathematical model.
250 methane flares release the climate gas methane from the seabed and into the Arctic Ocean. During the summer months this leads to an increased methane concentration in the ocean. But surprisingly, very little of the climate gas rising up through the sea reaches the atmosphere.
Climate scientists have long recognized the importance of forest conservation and forest regrowth in climate mitigation and carbon sequestration -- capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. But the detailed information required to make accurate estimates of this potential has remained elusive.
Climate change creates more shrub vegetation in barren, Arctic ecosystems. A new study shows that organisms, such as bacteria and fungi, are triggered to break down particularly nutritious dead parts of shrubbery. Meanwhile, the total amount of decomposition is reducing. This could have an inhibiting effect on global warming.
Fish provide protein to billions of people and are an especially critical food source in the developing world. Today marine biologists confirmed a key factor that could help them thrive through the coming decades: biodiversity. Communities with more fish species are more productive and more resilient to rising temperatures and temperature swings, according to a new study.
As climatologists closely monitor the impact of human activity on the world's oceans, researchers have found yet another worrying trend impacting the health of the Pacific Ocean.
Scientists have discovered how a tiny yet abundant ocean organism helps regulate Earth's climate. They showed that these tiny, hugely abundant bacteria could make the environmentally important gas, dimethyl sulfide.
Climate change is melting glaciers, reducing sea-ice cover and increasing wildlife activity -- with some of the most dramatic impacts occurring in the northern high latitudes. New research projects an increased probability of fires occurring in Alaskan boreal forest and tundra under a warmer, drier climate.
A new study provides insight into how the current El Niño, one of the strongest on record, formed in the Pacific Ocean.
As governments and researchers race to develop policies and technologies to make energy production more sustainable and mitigate climate change, they need to remember that the most sophisticated endeavors won't work if they're not adopted.
Researchers have compiled the first global set of observations of flow within the Earth's mantle -- the layer between the crust and the core -- and found that it is moving much faster than has been predicted
Bubbles trapped in ancient lava shows the early Earth did not have a thicker atmosphere -- the air pressure 2.7 billion years ago was at most half of today's.
Forecasts suggest that by 2050, the world could see 200 million environmental migrants, many of whom would be children. And yet, children are largely left out of discussions about appropriate responses to climate change, according to a new article.
A reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans due to climate change is already discernible in some parts of the world and should be evident across large regions of the oceans between 2030 and 2040, according to a new study.
Rainwater may play an important role in the process that triggers earthquakes, according to new research. Researchers have identified the sources and fluxes of the geothermal fluids and mineral veins from the Southern Alps of New Zealand where the Pacific and Australian Plates collide along the Alpine Fault.
Findings on Norway spruce show how plants and animals can adapt better to climate change than previously envisaged. The spruce remembers what the temperature conditions were like when it was a seed, the researchers report. This memory helps it adapt to climate change
In 1442, Shinto priests in Japan began keeping records of the freeze dates of a nearby lake, while in 1693 Finnish merchants started recording breakup dates on a local river. Together they create the oldest inland water ice records in human history and mark the first inklings of climate change, says new research.
The Chernobyl disaster struck 30 years ago today. The devastating radiation spill created a huge radio-ecological laboratory where scientists have been studying the effects of radiation on free-living organisms since 2000. In addition to cataloging a range of harmful effects that even low doses of radiation have on life, the scientists recently published a meta-analysis examining how a specific pathway, oxidative stress, is a key component of the damage.
A new study examining carbon exchange in the Amazon rainforest following extremely hot and dry spells reveals tropical ecosystems might be more sensitive to climate change than previously thought.
Many tropical forest trees depend on large fruit-eating animals such as elephants, tapirs, monkeys and hornbills for dispersing their sizeable seeds. Declines of these large mammals and birds due to hunting and forest disturbance, and consequent declines of tree species that they disperse, constitute a global conservation problem.
The loss of plant and animal species around the world due to human activities could have been significantly underestimated due to a commonly used scientific method, according to a new study.
Current measurement methods skim the surface of the ocean while computer modeling shows ocean turbulence may force plastics far below the surface despite their buoyancy.
A new study reveals that volcanic activity associated with the plate-tectonic movement of continents may be responsible for climatic shifts from hot to cold over tens and hundreds of millions of years throughout much of Earth's history.
To prevent a new mass extinction of the world's animal and plant life, we need to understand the threats to biodiversity, where they occur and how quickly change is happening. For this to happen, we need reliable and accessible data. A new study reveals those data are largely missing. We are lacking key information on important threats to biodiversity such as invasive species, logging, bush meat harvesting, and illegal wildlife trade.
If emission rates continue unchecked, regions of the United States could experience between three and nine additional days per year of unhealthy ozone levels by 2050, according to a new study.
Researchers have found substantially different climate change impacts for a global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C by 2100, the two temperature limits included in the Paris climate agreement. The additional 0.5°C would mean a 10-cm-higher global sea-level rise by 2100, longer heat waves, and would result in virtually all tropical coral reefs being at risk.
A study undertaken by scientists to understand swimming behavior in polar bears is showing an increase in this behavior related to changes in the amount and location of summer sea ice. The pattern of long-distance swimming by polar bears in the Beaufort Sea shows the fingerprint of climate change. Swims are occurring more often, in association with sea ice melting faster and moving farther from shore in the summer.
Cities have their own distinct microbial communities but these communities don't vary much between offices located in the same city, according to a new study. The work offers insight into what drives the composition of microbes in built environments.
Ocean currents can carry objects to almost any place on the globe in less than a decade, faster than previously thought. While good for microorganisms such as phytoplankton that are essential to the marine food web, it also means that plastic debris, radioactive particles and virtually any kind of litter can quickly become a problem in areas far from where they originated.
Deforestation is necessary to feed the growing global population – this is a common belief that has now been disproven by researchers. In a new study, they present results that reveal that it is possible to produce sufficient food for the world in 2050 and at the same time maintain the current forests of the world.
New research suggests that Great Barrier Reef (GBR) corals were able to survive past bleaching events because they were exposed to a pattern of gradually warming waters in the lead up to each episode. However, this protective pattern is likely to be lost under near future climate change scenarios.
A team of researchers has helped discover a new chemical method to immobilize uranium in contaminated groundwater, which could lead to more precise and successful water remediation efforts at former nuclear sites.
Coral reefs are early casualties of climate change, but not every coral reacts the same way to the stress of ocean warming. Researchers have developed the first-ever quantitative 'global index' detailing which of the world's coral species are most susceptible to coral bleaching and most likely to die. Based on historical data, the index can be used to compare the bleaching responses of the world's corals and to predict which corals may be most affected by future bleaching events.
Why are volcanologists interested in vapor bubbles? Because they can accumulate in a magma reservoir underneath a volcano, priming it to explode. Researchers have now discovered how bubbles are able to accumulate in the magma.
A research team confirms that 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is caused by humans.
Must greater prosperity necessarily lead to a greater carbon footprint and increased greenhouse gas emissions? In theory, no, but in practice this seems to be the case, suggests a study of 138 countries, the first ever to take a global approach to the connections between growth, prosperity and ecological sustainability.
Also in human-dominated landscapes large carnivores such as brown bears or wolves -- so-called top predators -- play a crucial role in the regulation of wildlife populations. The study is one of few that examine the impact of human activities on natural predator-prey relationships of wild animals and the regulation of wildlife populations.
Around 65 million years ago there was a mass extinction of dinosaurs. In addition, plankton, the base of the ocean food chain, was greatly affected. Many families of brachiopods and sponges disappeared, and the remaining hard-shelled ammonites vanished. It also greatly reduced the diversity of sharks and caused most of the vegetation on Earth to disappear. In short: more than half of the animal and plant species that inhabited our planet was eliminated.
Ecologists have issued a warning of underdocumented results of ecological restorations. The researchers show that continuous and systematic evaluations of cost-efficiency, planning, implementations and effects are necessary in order to make use of experiences in future projects.
While farm soil grows the world's food and fiber, scientists are examining ways to use it to sequester carbon and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. But here's the scientific dirt: Soil can help reduce global warming.
An interdisciplinary team of researchers has successfully measured both pH and carbonate ion concentration directly inside the calcifying fluid found in coral, an important development in the study of how ocean acidification will affect marine calcifying organisms such as corals and shellfish.
About a tenth of overall global greenhouse-gas emissions from agriculture could be traced back to food waste by mid-century, a new study shows. A team of researchers, for the first time, provides comprehensive food loss projections for countries around the world while also calculating the associated emissions.
An international team of scientists has found evidence of a series of massive supernova explosions near our solar system, which showered the Earth with radioactive debris.The scientists found radioactive iron-60 in sediment and crust samples taken from the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The iron-60 was concentrated in a period between 3.2 and 1.7 million years ago, which is relatively recent in astronomical terms.
The world's soils could store an extra eight billion tonnes of greenhouse gases, helping to limit the impacts of climate change, research suggests.
Increasing temperatures will enlarge Europe's seasonal window for the potential spread of mosquito-borne viral disease, expanding the geographic areas at risk for a dengue epidemic to include much of Europe, say researchers.
A new study has found that multiple stressors might be too much for corals. The findings have important implications for the resilience of coral reefs to climate change.
A radical approach to managing natural resources could target the problem of their over-exploitation, such as in forests or fisheries, according to a new study.
New research on coral reefs suggests that existing biodiversity will be essential for the successful adaptation of ecosystems to climate change.
Contrary to what many economists suggest, 'development is not always good for Nature,' a biologist argues. It is broadly accepted that biodiversity and the ecosystem are both fundamental to sustaining humanity and life on Earth, but in recent centuries they have been subject to heavy pressures due to overexploitation. Environmental protection is also raising concerns because of our improved understanding of the interconnections between human wellness and ecosystem health.
A new study used fossils and mercury isotopes from volcanic gas deposited in ancient proto-Pacific Ocean sediment deposits in Nevada to determine when life recovered following the end-Triassic mass extinction 201.5 million years ago.
Even as 60 million people around the world face severe hunger because of El Niño and millions more because of climate change, top European and American media outlets are neglecting to cover the issues as a top news item, says a new research report.
Landscapes are formed by a combination of uplift and erosion. Uplift from plate tectonics raises the land surface; erosion by rivers and landslides wears the land surface back down. In a new study, researchers examine the interplay of uplift and erosion along the coast range of Northern California to understand how the modern topography is built.
A new study from climate scientists suggests that the most recent estimates by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for future sea-level rise over the next 100 years could be too low by almost a factor of two.
Coastal flooding is often caused by extreme events, such as storm surges, which in some areas may be amplified by climate change. A number of studies have evaluated the dynamics of future extreme storm surges, but mainly at local or regional scale. A new study gives a wider perspective by developing projections for Europe for 2010-2040 and 2070-2100. According to the findings, the North and Baltic Sea coasts show the largest increases in storm surges, especially towards the east. In contrast, southern European coasts can expect minimal change.
Rights-based approaches could double fish biomass and make 77 percent of world's fisheries biologically healthy within a decade, report experts.
Weather and environmental forecasts made several weeks to months in advance can someday be as widely used and essential as current predictions of tomorrow's weather are, but first more research and sustained investment are needed, says a new report.
A novel study of a Tibetan alpine meadow has shown a clear link between higher biodiversity and greater infectious disease resistance. The researchers say it provides further strong evidence that maintaining biodiversity among the world's species should be a high priority.
A global study suggests that increases in plant respiration that could occur under global warming might not be as big as previously estimated, especially in the coldest regions. Since respiration adds CO2 to the air, it means that changes in plants might not add to the already growing burden as much as feared
Pioneering new research shows that existing studies have massively under-valued the risk that ongoing carbon dioxide emissions pose of triggering damaging tipping points.
Protecting large stretches of the ocean from human influence may well be good for conservation. But a new study suggests that setting aside at least 30 percent of it would also benefit fishermen and other stakeholders.
A new study, based on the most-extensive set of measurements ever made in tide pools, suggests that ocean acidification will increasingly put many marine organisms at risk by exacerbating normal changes in ocean chemistry that occur overnight. Conducted along California's rocky coastline, the study shows that the most-vulnerable organisms are likely to be those with calcium carbonate shells or skeletons.
Life in the twilight zone constitutes a huge potential source of fishmeal and Omega 3 fatty acids needed to feed the world population. However, it exists in a kind of "no man's water", where there are no rules for fishing. Critical for assessing the resilience of the community and thus develop sustainable management strategies is a lack of understanding of the biological processes in the twilight zone making it impossible to accurately estimate the fishing pressure the stocks can sustain
Warmer, wetter conditions in the Arctic are accelerating the loss of carbon stored in tundra and permafrost soils, creating a potential positive feedback that further boosts global temperatures, a new study finds.
Nearly four billion years ago, life arose on Earth. Life appeared because our planet had a rocky surface, liquid water, and a blanketing atmosphere. But life thrived thanks to another necessary ingredient: the presence of a protective magnetic field. A new study of the young, Sun-like star Kappa Ceti shows that a magnetic field plays a key role in making a planet conducive to life.
When we talk about climate change today, we have to recognize the natural variations to be able to distinguish them from the human-induced changes. Researchers have analyzed the natural climate variations over the last 12,000 years, and they have looked back 5 million years to see the major features of the Earth's climate. The research shows that not only is the weather chaotic, but the Earth's climate is chaotic...
Soil holds an enormous pool of carbon -- in a forest, for instance, usually there is more carbon beneath the surface than in the trees above -- and what happens to that carbon is an important factor in the future of our planet. Bacteria, fungi and other microbes are central players, converting carbon and other elements in the soil into carbon dioxide and other gases that are expelled into the atmosphere.
Currently, resources allocated to recover endangered species are insufficient to save all listed species, and with a scarcity of funds what is needed to be effective is a more analytical approach that can bring clarity and openness to resource allocation, argues Leah Gerber, an Arizona State University conservation biologist.
Analysis of more than 40 years of water samples archived at the Hubbard Brook Experiment Forest (HBEF) in New Hampshire tells a vivid tale of how the sources of precipitation have changed. Over the years, there has been a dramatic increase, especially during the winter, of the amount of water that originated far to the north.
Rapid melting of ice and Arctic permafrost is altering tundra regions in Alaska, Canada and Russia, according to a new study. Ice-wedge degradation has been observed before in individual locations, but this is the first study to determine that rapid melting has become widespread throughout the Arctic.
Extreme weather events like floods, heat waves and droughts can devastate communities and populations worldwide. Recent scientific advances have enabled researchers to confidently say that the increased intensity and frequency of some, but not all, of these extreme weather events is influenced by human-induced climate change, according to a new report.
The issue of global food security is a problem for us now, and for future generations. Perhaps the most visible issue is malnutrition, which affects millions in the developing world and poses a risk to many vulnerable people in the developed world. But the issue of global food security is much broader than the supply of food – it also refers to the challenges of our dependence on globally imported food, rising food prices, food waste and the provision of a nutritious, balanced diet.
Humans have mastered the art of cooperation better than any other animal species. However, many social dilemmas remain unsolved, such as over-fishing of the seas, rising global green-house gas emissions or accommodating large numbers of refugees. While we are in charge of most of our lives, in these dilemmas, representatives make decisions for us. Scientists have published the first experimental investigation into how representatives behave in social dilemmas in a new report.
New light has been shed on the processes by which ocean water enters the solid Earth during continental breakup. New research shows a direct link on geological timescales between fault activity and the amount of water entering the Earth's mantle along faults.
Studies of how climate change might affect agriculture generally look only at crop yields -- the amount of product harvested from a given unit of land. But climate change may also influence how much land people choose to farm and the number of crops they plant each growing season. A new study takes all of these variables into account, and suggests researchers may be underestimating the total effect of climate change on the world's food supply.
Humans have triggered the last 16 record-breaking hot years experienced on Earth (up to 2014), with our impact on the global climate going as far back as 1937, a new study finds. The study suggests that without human-induced climate change, recent hot summers and years would not have occurred.
More people live close to sea coast than earlier estimated, researchers have concluded after a new study. These people are the most vulnerable to the rise of the sea level, increased number of floods and intensified storms. By using recent increased resolution datasets, researchers estimate that 1.9 billion inhabitants, 28% of the world's total population, live closer than 100 km from the coast in areas less than 100 meters above the present sea level.
Clouds are notoriously hard to simulate in computer programs that model climate. A new study suggests why -- either clouds are more variable than scientists give them credit for, or those bright white clouds in the sky are much dirtier than scientists thought.
The Greenland ice sheet has traditionally been pictured as a sponge for glacier meltwater, but new research has found it's rapidly losing the ability to buffer its contribution to rising sea levels, say researchers. They have also found that climate change has caused meltwater from lower elevations to run directly into the sea.
Climate change is rapidly warming lakes around the world, threatening freshwater supplies and ecosystems, according to a study spanning six continents. The study is the largest of its kind and the first to use a combination of satellite temperature data and long-term ground measurements. A total of 235 lakes, representing more than half of the world's freshwater supply, were monitored for at least 25 years.
A new study urges scientists to move their focus from species extinction to species rarity in order to recognize, and avoid, a mass extinction in the modern world.
The ability of baby fish to find a home, or other safe haven, to grow into adulthood will be severely impacted under predicted ocean acidification, new research has found.
Using new, high-resolution global satellite maps of air quality indicators, scientists tracked air pollution trends over the last decade in various regions and 195 cities around the globe.
Who can and should hold states to account for how they live up to their commitments last Saturday made in Paris and beyond? The provisions on the table for formal mechanisms for states to hold each other to account within the agreement are weak at best, says an expert. States’ reluctance to voluntarily subject themselves to strong compliance mechanisms under particularly international environmental law is well-known, she says. “Accountability must be seen in a much broader context.”
For the first time, researchers have successfully dated the carbon dioxide and methane emitted by ponds and lakes on Bylot Island, Nunavut. The research team observed significant variability in age and emission rates of greenhouse gases (GHG) from aquatic systems located in a continuous permafrost zone.
This winter, weather patterns may be fairly different than what's typical—all because of unusually warm ocean water in the east equatorial Pacific, an event known as El Niño. Because of El Niño, California is expected to get more rain, while Australia is expected to get less. Since this El Niño began last summer, the Pacific Ocean has already experienced an increase in tropical storms and a decrease in phytoplankton.
New projections of permafrost change in northern Alaska suggest far-reaching effects will come sooner than expected, scientists report.
Tossed up onto Scottish beaches by the tonne, seaweed is finding a place at the table thanks to the fashion for foraged food. But it could also play a vital role in returning acres of abandoned farmland in Scotland to production, according to new research.
The billions of marine microorganisms present in every liter of seawater represent a structured ecological community that regulates how Earth functions in practically every way, from energy consumption to respiration. The function and behavior of this community will determine how the global ocean responds to broader environmental changes, according to a new review article.
Two geologists have provide different, though not necessarily incompatible, explanations for a boundary in Earth's mantle at a depth of one megameter (1,000 kilometers). One study suggests that the mantle below this line is more viscous, while the other proposes that the lower section is denser, due to a shift in rock composition.
The levels of black carbon in Arctic rivers has been determined by researchers who found that the input of black carbon to the Arctic Ocean is likely to increase with global warming.
Earth's oxygen-rich atmosphere emerged in whiffs from a kind of cyanobacteria in shallow oceans around 2.5 billion years ago, according to new research.
A new study by scientists in the UK and France has found that Antarctic ice sheet collapse will have serious consequences for sea level rise over the next two hundred years, though not as much as some have suggested.
The Andes were formed by tectonic activity whereby Earth is uplifted as one plate (oceanic crust) subducts under another plate (continental crust). To get such a high mountain chain in a subduction zone setting is unusual, which adds to the importance of trying to figure out when and how it happened. However, the timing of when the Andean mountain chain uplift occurred has been a topic of some controversy over the past ten years. Now, new research shows that the Andes have been a mountain chain for much longer than previously thought.
The first data-driven estimate of the Earth's total supply of groundwater shows that less than six per cent of groundwater in the upper two kilometers of the Earth's landmass is renewable within a human lifetime.
A group of scientists has developed a three-point plan to ensure the world's protected areas meet new biodiversity targets set by the 193 signatory nations of the Convention on Biological Diversity's.
The likelihood of an area experiencing a potentially devastating landslide could be influenced by its previous exposure to earthquakes many decades earlier, say scientists.
By the 2050s, parts of the Arctic Ocean once covered by sea ice much of the year will see at least 60 days a year of open water, according to a new modeling study.
A new study confirms that historical temperature data records constitute reliable evidence of climate change. A computational scientist, carried out a new analysis of the data following suggestions that it was unreliable and that the rate of global warming was exaggerated as a result.
Climate forecasts to 2050 suggest sorghum is set to remain Queensland's top crop as temperatures rise and rainfall decreases across the State. Researchers from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) forecast a relatively healthy future for sorghum crops, but see challenges looming for wheat production
A group of scientists has developed a three-point plan to ensure the world's protected areas meet new biodiversity targets set by the 193 signatory nations of the Convention on Biological Diversity's.
The likelihood of an area experiencing a potentially devastating landslide could be influenced by its previous exposure to earthquakes many decades earlier, say scientists.
By the 2050s, parts of the Arctic Ocean once covered by sea ice much of the year will see at least 60 days a year of open water, according to a new modeling study.
A new study confirms that historical temperature data records constitute reliable evidence of climate change. A computational scientist, carried out a new analysis of the data following suggestions that it was unreliable and that the rate of global warming was exaggerated as a result.
A team of researchers recently discovered that global climate change is causing general increases in both plant growth and potential drought risk.
Supervolcanoes, massive eruptions with potential global consequences, appear not to follow the conventional volcano mechanics of internal pressure building until the volcano blows. Instead, a new study finds, such massive magma chambers might erupt when the roof above them cracks or collapses
A JRC assessment shows that current climate commitments submitted by 155 countries for COP21 would increase global temperature around 3° C.
The cooling of the Nordic Seas towards modern temperatures started in the early Pliocene, half a million years before the global oceans cooled. A new study of fossil marine plankton published in Nature Communications today demonstrates this.
Mass extinction events are sometimes portrayed in illustrations of volcanic eruptions causing widespread destruction. According to experts this interpretation may have some truth behind it, but not in the instantaneous way we might think.
Rising levels of carbon dioxide released by anthropogenic activities are driving unprecedented changes in the chemistry of the oceans. The mean ocean surface acidity has increased by a near 30% as the advent of the Industrial Revolution. In agreement, ocean acidification is receiving increasing attention because of its potential to affect marine ecosystems.
Researchers have quantified how rapidly ancient permafrost decomposes upon thawing and how much carbon dioxide is produced in the process.
Climate change could bring deadly heat waves to Persian Gulf, say researchers. Their detailed climate simulation shows a threshold of survivability could be crossed without mitigation measures.
Beneath the Aurora Borealis an oil tanker glides through the night past the Coast Guard ice breaker Amundsen and vanishes into the maze of shoals and straits of the Northwest Passage, navigating waters that for millennia were frozen over this time of year.
Estimated electricity production from the total waste generated in Africa could reach 122.2 TWh in 2025, or more than 20 percent of the electricity consumed in 2010 at continental level (661.5TWh), according to a study that analyzed the potential of urban solid waste for Africa's electricity needs.
In the course of billions of years continents break up, drift apart, and are pushed back together again. The cores of continents are, however, geologically extremely stable and have survived up to 3.8 billions of years. These cores that are called cratons are the oldest known geological features of our planet. It was assumed that the cratons are stable because of their especially solid structure due to relatively low temperatures compared to the surrounding mantle. Now researchers have discovered that the craton below the North American continent is extremely deformed: its root is shifted relative to the center of the craton by 850 kilometers towards the west-southwest.
A greater understanding and appreciation of our oceans is essential for the wellbeing of the world’s population, according to a new report. The report looks at the future for: commercial shipping -- without which world trade would cease; for navies – so vital for security; and the health of the oceans – addressing the challenges of pollution, climate change and exploitation of resources.
Coral reef diversity 'hotspots' in the southwestern Indian Ocean rely more on the biomass of fish than where they are located, researchers say, a conclusion that has major implications for management decisions to protect coral reef ecosystems.
A new international study estimates that there are more than 3 trillion trees on Earth, about seven and a half times more than some previous estimates. But the total number of trees has plummeted by roughly 46 percent since the start of human civilization. The results provide the most comprehensive assessment of tree populations ever produced and offer new insights into a class of organism that helps shape most terrestrial biomes.
A new study is showing that rapid evolution can occur in response to environmental changes.
The Earth's first mass extinction event 540 million years ago was caused not by a meteorite impact or volcanic super-eruption but by the rise of early animals that dramatically changed the prehistoric environment.
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 seabird species have plastic in their gut.
Longer, more severe, and hotter droughts and a myriad of other threats, including diseases and more extensive and severe wildfires, are threatening to transform some of the world's temperate forests, a new study has found. Without informed management, some forests could convert to shrublands or grasslands within the coming decades.
A new study has found that the genetic diversity of wild plant species could be altered rapidly by anthropogenic climate change.
Several Palaeozoic mass extinction events during the Ordovician and Silurian periods (ca. 485 to 420 to million years ago) shaped the evolution of life on our planet. Although some of these short-lived, periodic events were responsible for eradication of up to 85% of marine species, the exact kill-mechanism responsible for these crises remains poorly understood.
The July average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.46°F (0.81°C) above the 20th century average. As July is climatologically the warmest month for the year, this was also the all-time highest monthly temperature in the 1880-2015 record, at 61.86°F (16.61°C), surpassing the previous record set in 1998 by 0.14°F (0.08°C).
Research reveals new insight behind widespread wildlife extinctions, shrinking fish sizes, and disruptions to global food chains. 'Our wickedly efficient killing technology, global economic systems and resource management that prioritize short-term benefits to humanity have given rise to the human super predator,' says an expert.
Comet impact on Earth are synonymous with great extinctions, but now research shows that early comet impact would have become a driving force to cause substantial synthesis of peptides -- the first building blocks of life. This may have implications for the genesis of life on other worlds.
Shade may limit the presence of invasive plants along streams and rivers, based on a study conducted using stream condition data collected by means of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Stream Visual Assessment Protocol (SVAP).
The world's population will increase from today's 7.3 billion people to 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion at century's end, experts in demographic forecasting have predicted.
The creation of the world's first digital map of the seafloor's geology is underway. It is the first time the composition of the seafloor, covering 70 percent of Earth's surface, has been mapped in 40 years; the most recent map was hand drawn in the 1970s.
A new analysis that provides more accurate estimates of sources of mercury emissions around the world has been conducted by an international team of researchers. New findings show Asia produces twice as much mercury emissions as previously thought.
There is no longer any doubt: We are entering a mass extinction that threatens humanity's existence. That is the bad news at the center of a new study by a group of scientists including Paul Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies in biology and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Ehrlich and his co-authors call for fast action to conserve threatened species, populations and habitat, but warn that the window of opportunity is rapidly closing.
An international team of scientists has found that the climatic events that ended the ice age before last are surprisingly different to those of the last Ice Age.
Extroverts are the least likely to adopt green lifestyles because they’re distracted by their social life, activities and other people, according to new research whose study found that among the UK's older population, those with open personalities are the most green, and extroverts are the least green.
A long-standing fact widely accepted among the scientific community has been recently refuted, which now has major implications on our understanding of how Earth has evolved. Until recently, most geologists had determined the land connecting North and South America, the Isthmus of Panama, had formed 3.5 million years ago. But new data shows that this geological event, which dramatically changed the world, occurred much earlier.
Eating bugs may not seem appetizing, but according to experts, insects are a sustainable alternative protein source with nutritional benefits that can't be ignored.
Several once endangered species, including the humpback whale, the northern elephant seal and green sea turtles, have recovered and are repopulating their former ranges, a study of marine mammals finds. But returning species create a new challenge: some people interpret the return of these animals as a hostile invasion. The study presents strategies for 'lifting baselines' to help manage and celebrate recovering species.
A new and significant role for marine reserves on the Great Barrier Reef has been revealed, with researchers finding the reserves reduce the prevalence of coral diseases. It's been known for some time that marine reserves are important for maintaining and enhancing fish stocks, but this is the first time marine reserves have been shown to enhance coral health on the Great Barrier Reef.
Collaboration between ecologists and climate researchers has generated fascinating new insight into how seabirds are affected by climate change.
If greenhouse-gas emissions continue to rise, glaciers in the Everest region of the Himalayas could experience dramatic change in the decades to come. Researchers have found Everest glaciers could be very sensitive to future warming, and that sustained ice loss through the 21st century is likely.
Over the past century, many forests have shifted from open to closed canopies. The change in forest structure could be contributing to declines in pollinator species, especially native bees, according to a new study.
We are already reaping the rewards of the Montreal Protocol, researchers say, with the ozone layer in much better shape than it would have been without the UN treaty. Although the Montreal Protocol came into force in 1987 and restricted the use of ozone-depleting substances, atmospheric concentrations of these harmful substances continued to rise as they can survive in the atmosphere for many years. Concentrations peaked in 1993 and have subsequently declined, the researchers say.
A first global scale study has estimated how forest emitted compounds affecting cloud seeds via formation of low-volatility vapors. According to the latest projections, terrestrial vegetation emits several million tons of extremely low-volatility organic compounds per year to the atmosphere. These oxidation products of compounds such as monoterpenes results in an increase of condensing vapors that can further form cloud condensation nuclei over the continents and thus has an influence on the cloud formation.
Increasing public knowledge and understanding about energy issues is vital if improved energy-saving behaviors are to be encouraged among individuals and organizations, a study suggests.
Tropical rainforests have long been considered the Earth's lungs, sequestering large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and thereby slowing down the increasing greenhouse effect and associated human-made climate change. Scientists in a global research project now show that the vast extensions of semi-arid landscapes occupying the transition zone between rainforest and desert dominate the ongoing increase in carbon sequestration by ecosystems globally, as well as large fluctuations between wet and dry years. This is a major rearrangement of planetary functions.
A new study analyzes the required climate policy actions and targets in order to limit future global temperature rise to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100. This level is supported by more than 100 countries worldwide, including those most vulnerable to climate change, as a safer goal than the currently agreed international aim of 2 degrees Celsius -- an aim which would already imply substantial greenhouse-gas reductions. Hence the interest for scrutinizing the very low end of greenhouse-gas stabilization scenarios.
US residents' exposure to extreme heat could increase four- to six-fold by mid-century, due to both a warming climate and a population that's growing especially fast in the hottest regions of the country, according to new research.
Scientists have pinpointed the climate pattern that likely sets the stage for boreal bird irruptions in which vast numbers of northern birds migrate far south of their usual winter range. The discovery could make it possible to predict the events more than a year in advance.
The migratory potato leafhopper causes untold millions of dollars in damage every year. A study by entomologists suggests that climate warming could be making this problem worse. Using data that span more than six decades, the team found that potato leafhoppers arrive an average of 10 days earlier than in the early 1950s, and their infestations are more severe in the warmest years.
Globalization of trade is creating instability in the food distribution system, according to results from an environmental scientist's study. The study assesses the food supply available to more than 140 nations (with populations greater than 1 million) and demonstrates that food security is becoming increasingly susceptible to perturbations in demographic growth, as humanity places increasing pressure on use of limited land and water resources.
Water delivery via asteroids or comets is likely taking place in many other planetary systems, just as it happened on Earth, new research strongly suggests.
In the history of continental drift, India has been a mysterious record-holder. More than 140 million years ago, India was part of an immense supercontinent called Gondwana, which covered much of the Southern Hemisphere. Around 120 million years ago, what is now India broke off and started slowly migrating north, at about 5 centimeters per year. Then, about 80 million years ago, the continent suddenly sped up, racing north at about 15 centimeters per year -- about twice as fast as the fastest modern tectonic drift. The continent collided with Eurasia about 50 million years ago, giving rise to the Himalayas.
The asteroid that slammed into the ocean off Mexico 66 million years ago and killed off the dinosaurs probably rang the Earth like a bell, triggering volcanic eruptions around the globe that may have contributed to the devastation, according to a team of University of California, Berkeley, geophysicists.
Marine ecosystems can be changed by night-time artificial lighting according to new research. The results indicate that light pollution from coastal communities, shipping and offshore infrastructure could be changing the composition of marine invertebrate communities.
As greater atmospheric carbon dioxide boosts sea temperatures, tropical corals face a bleak future. New climate model projections show that conditions are likely to increase the frequency and severity of coral disease outbreaks, reports a team of researchers.
The decline of the world's large herbivores, especially in Africa and parts of Asia, is raising the specter of an 'empty landscape' in some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Many populations of animals such as rhinoceroses, zebras, camels, elephants and tapirs are diminishing or threatened with extinction in grasslands, savannahs, deserts and forests.
The demise of Neanderthals may have nothing to do with innovative hunting weapons carried by humans from west Asia, according to a new study. The researchers say their findings mean that we may need to rethink the reasons humans survived Neanderthals - and that we may not have behaved as differently as we thought. The researchers looked at innovative stone weapons used by humans about 42,000-34,000 years ago. Traditionally, anthropologists believed that innovation in weapons enabled humans to spread out of Africa to Europe. However, the new study suggests that the innovation was not a driving force for humans to migrate into Europe as previously thought - they were no better equipped than the Neanderthals.
An international archaeological team is investigating an historic site devastated by conflict in Lebanon. They have demonstrated it is possible to obtain original and important information from heritage sites that have been devastated by conflict.
The increasing acidity of the world's oceans is having some pretty dire effects, including damaging coral reefs and weakening the shells of clams, oysters and mussels. Acidification is also harming sea creatures at the bottom of the oceanic food chain, such as plankton and fish larvae, posing a threat to many species of marine life.
Changes to the Earth's oceans, caused by extreme volcanic activity, triggered the greatest extinction of all time, a study suggests.
New evidence published in Science by Smithsonian geologists dates the closure of an ancient seaway at 13 to 15 million years ago and challenges accepted theories about the rise of the Isthmus of Panama and its impact on world climate and animal migrations.
When one hears the term “alternative protein source” tofu, tempeh and seitan are what typically come to mind. Researchers discuss three lesser known, but just as nutritious and palatable alternative protein sources.
The discovery of a 86 million-year-old fossil of a rare species of oyster, has once again re-confirmed the presence of marine life and sea in central India
A 'nearly pristine' 600 million-year-old sponge has been uncovered in southern China. Scientists believe the sponge – which represents the most primitive animal on Earth - is the oldest ever found.
Earth is now entering a period of changing climate that will likely be faster than what's occurred naturally over the last thousand years, according to a new article, committing people to live through and adapt to a warming world.
A provisionally patented technology could revolutionize carbon dioxide capture and help significantly reduce pollution worldwide.
Researchers in Australia have found that corals commonly found on the Great Barrier Reef will eat micro-plastic pollution. Microplastics are tiny fragments of plastic in the environment and are a widespread contaminant in marine ecosystems, particularly in inshore coral reefs.
New research concludes that Earth's infrequent but predictable path around and through our Galaxy's disc may have a direct and significant effect on geological and biological phenomena occurring on Earth. Scientists conclude that movement through dark matter may perturb the orbits of comets and lead to additional heating in the Earth's core, both of which could be connected with mass extinction events.
The ancient British were not cut off from Europeans on an isolated island 8,000 years ago as previously thought, new research suggests.
How was human evolution and migration influenced by past changes in climate? This question has led Aberystwyth University researchers to drill day and night to great depths in a dried up lake in east Africa.
The appearance of infectious diseases in new places and new hosts, such as West Nile virus and Ebola, is a predictable result of climate change, says a noted zoologist affiliated with the Harold W. Manter Laboratory of Parasitology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Europe cannot achieve the WHO air quality guidelines without strictly controlling emissions from coal and wood burning for home heating, road traffic, and other sources such as industrial-scale factory farming, according to new research.
Since life originated on Earth between 3.8 and 3.9 Ga ago, microorganisms have significantly shaped and influenced the chemistry of Earth's surface and subsurface environments. Reconstructing the evolution of early microbial life depends mainly on finding organic and mineral remnants of microbial activity preserved in the rock record. Even when microfossils are found, there are often controversies about their biological origin, since parameters that lead to a good preservation of microfossils are not well constrained.
At least five mass extinction events have profoundly changed the history of life on Earth. But a new study shows that plants have been very resilient to those events.
A spark from a lightning bolt, interstellar dust, or a subsea volcano could have triggered the very first life on Earth. But what happened next? Life can exist without oxygen, but without plentiful nitrogen to build genes -- essential to viruses, bacteria and all other organisms -- life on the early Earth would have been scarce.
How much mismanaged plastic waste is making its way from land to ocean has been a decades-long guessing game. Now scientists have put a number on the global problem. Their study found between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic entered the ocean in 2010 from people living within 50 kilometers of the coastline.
A study of three remote lakes in Ecuador has revealed the vulnerability of tropical high mountain lakes to global climate change -- the first study of its kind to show this. The data explains how the lakes are changing due to the water warming as the result of climate change.
The link between volcanism and the formation of copper ore has been discovered. The findings could have far-reaching implications for the search for new copper deposits.
9,000 years ago most of the Sahara was not the ultra-arid desert as we know it today. Due to higher precipitation it was covered by large lakes and savannah that were populated by herds of wild game. Scientists from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) now have discovered that vegetation at the end of the Green Sahara disappeared much faster than previously assumed. This probably forced the Neolithic populations to start farming. The study has been published in the international open-access journal PLOS ONE.
Vast ranges of volcanoes hidden under the oceans are presumed by scientists to be the gentle giants of the planet, oozing lava at slow, steady rates along mid-ocean ridges. But a new study shows that they flare up on strikingly regular cycles, ranging from two weeks to 100,000 years -- and, that they erupt almost exclusively during the first six months of each year. The pulses -- apparently tied to short- and long-term changes in earth's orbit, and to sea levels--may help trigger natural climate swings. Scientists have already speculated that volcanic cycles on land emitting large amounts of carbon dioxide might influence climate; but up to now there was no evidence from submarine volcanoes. The findings suggest that models of earth's natural climate dynamics, and by extension human-influenced climate change, may have to be adjusted. The study appears this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Overfishing, pollution, climate change and destruction of habitats like coral reefs are all putting our seas in trouble but academics fear the risk is not being taken as seriously as concerns for the loss of animals and plants which live on land.
Pieces of sediment from the Cretaceous period encased in lava floated to the surface with the underwater eruption of El Hierro in 2011, bringing scientists valuable data on the islands' ocean floor. The analysis of the materials matches the origin of the Canary Islands archipelago to the model of how Hawaii was formed and confirms that the oldest islands are found to the east and the youngest to the west.
Seismic investigations from the Qinling-Dabie-Sulu orogenic belt in eastern China suggest that this region was affected by extreme mantle perturbation and crust-mantle interaction during the Mesozoic era. The Qinling-Dabie-Sulu orogenic belt formed through the collision between the North and South China blocks, which produced large-scale destruction of the cratonic lithosphere, accompanied by widespread magmatism and metallogeny.
The most recent eruption on the Canary Islands – at El Hierro in 2011 – produced spectacularly enigmatic white ‘floating rocks’ that originated from the layers of oceanic sedimentary rock underneath the island. An international team of researchers, led from Uppsala University, use microscopic fossils found in the rocks to shed new light on the long-standing puzzle about the origin of the Canary Islands.
Researchers who are building the highest-resolution map of the Greenland Ice Sheet to date have made a surprising discovery: two lakes of meltwater that pooled beneath the ice and rapidly drained away.
Yale-led research may have solved one of the biggest mysteries in geology -- namely, why do tectonic plates beneath the Earth's surface, which normally shift over the course of tens to hundreds of millions of years, sometimes move abruptly?
The year 2014 broke a series of heat records in France, Britain, Germany and Belgium, weather agencies reported Monday.
The ice on Greenland could only form due to processes in the deep Earth interior. Large-scale glaciations in the Arctic only began about 2.7 million years ago; before that, the northern hemisphere was largely free of ice for more than 500 million years. Scientists at the German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ, Utrecht University, the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) and the University of Oslo could now explain why the conditions for the glaciation of Greenland only developed so recently on a geological time scale.
The distinctive "fecal prints" of microbes potentially provide a record of how Earth and life have co-evolved over the past 3.5 billion years as the planet's temperature, oxygen levels, and greenhouse gases have changed. But, despite more than 60 years of study, it has proved difficult, until now, to "read" much of the information contained in this record. Research from McGill University and Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), sheds light on the mysterious digestive processes of microbes, opening the way towards a better understanding of how life and the planet have changed over time.
Yamal Peninsula in Siberia has recently become world famous. Spectacular sinkholes, appeared as out of nowhere in the permafrost of the area, sparking the speculations of significant release of greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere.
New research indicates that shifts in Pacific trade winds played a key role in twentieth century climate variation, a sign that they may again be influencing global temperatures
Imagine one day you woke up, and the North Pole was suddenly the South Pole. This geomagnetic reversal would cause your hiking compass to seem impossibly backwards. However, within our planet's history, scientists know that this kind of thing actually has happened...not suddenly and not within human time scales, but the polarity of the planet has in fact reversed, which has caused scientists to wonder not only how it's happened, but why.
The Marshall Islands is experiencing its worst-ever coral bleaching as global warming threatens reefs across the entire northern Pacific, scientists said Monday.
By 2050, a majority of U.S. coastal areas are likely to be threatened by 30 or more days of flooding each year due to dramatically accelerating impacts from sea level rise, according to a new NOAA study, published today in the American Geophysical Union's online peer-reviewed journal Earth's Future.
Over the past 166 years, the average temperature in Finland has risen by more than two degrees. During the observation period, the average increase was 0.14 degrees per decade, which is nearly twice as much as the global average, experts report.
The Atlantic Ocean at mid-depths may have given out early warning signals -- 1,000 years in advance -- that the last Ice Age was going to end, scientists report today in the journal Paleoceanography.
A new study is helping to answer a longstanding question that has recently moved to the forefront of earth science: Did our planet make its own water through geologic processes, or did water come to us via icy comets from the far reaches of the solar system?
A team of scientists, led by the University of Toronto's Barbara Sherwood Lollar, has mapped the location of hydrogen-rich waters found trapped kilometres beneath Earth's surface in rock fractures in Canada, South Africa and Scandinavia.
Every so often our Earth encounters a large chunk of space debris which reminds us that our solar system still contains plenty of debris that could potentially have an impact on life on Earth.
The highest concentration of carbon in parts of Amazonia is not stored in trees, but below the ground as peat, according to new University of Leeds research.
The total cloud inversion is expected to hang inside the canyon throughout Thursday. Cory Mottice of the National Weather Service says the weather event happens about once every several years, though the landmark was treated to one last year.
The temperature of the seawater around Antarctica is rising according to new research from the University of East Anglia. New research published in the journal Science shows how shallow shelf seas of West Antarctica have warmed over the last 50 years
Chinese scientists have found evidence of a powerful earthquake that shook central China's Henan Province more than 3,000 years ago, the earliest tremor known in Chinese history.
Pangea, the supercontinent that contained most of the Earth's landmass until about 180 million years ago, endured an apocalyptic undoing during the Jurassic period, when the Atlantic Ocean opened up. This is well understood. But what is less clear is how Pangea came into being in the first place.
The El Niño Southern Oscillation is Earth's main source of year-to-year climate variability, but its response to global warming remains highly uncertain.
As California finally experiences the arrival of a rain-bearing Pineapple Express this week, two climate scientists from the University of Minnesota and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have shown that the drought of 2012-2014 has been the worst in 1,200 years.
While Antarctica remains one of the cleanest places in the world, increasingly large amounts of natural and man-made atmospheric pollutants are finding their way to the frozen continent. Pollutants enter via a number of pathways; some direct, others more convoluted.
For the first time, modeling research led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that atmospheric particles can brighten cold clouds in the Arctic. Using simulations, they showed that low clouds over the Arctic may be brightened by deliberately injecting small particles known as aerosols. It's already well known that injecting aerosols into low clouds over the warm ocean can, in some circumstances, reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches the surface. The concept, untested over the Arctic until now, is called marine cloud brightening, and it can also happen when ships send exhaust into the atmosphere.
A 12-year University of Illinois study shows that, although the use of cover crops does not improve crop yields, the practice does increase the amount of sequestered soil organic carbon using three different soil management systems.
Researchers believe a blitz of small space rocks, or planetesimals, may have bombarded Earth around the time the moon was formed, kicking up clouds of gas with enough force to permanently eject small portions of the atmosphere into space.
Researchers have discovered a fascinating new way to take some of the atmospheric carbon dioxide that's causing the greenhouse effect and use it to make an advanced, high-value material for use in energy storage products.
As much as two-thirds of Earth's carbon may be hidden in the inner core, making it the planet's largest carbon reservoir, according to a new model that even its backers acknowledge is "provocative and speculative."
A team of researchers from the Universities of Liverpool, Southampton and Bristol have derived the first theoretical equation to demonstrate that global warming is a direct result of the build-up of carbon emissions since the late 1800s when man-made carbon emissions began.
A lush expanse of Amazon rainforest known as the "Mother of God" is steadily being destroyed in Peru, with the jungle giving way to mercury-filled tailing ponds used to extract the gold hidden underground.
Shifts in the timing and duration of ice cover, especially the possible lengthening of ice-free periods, may impact polar bears under projected warming before the end of the 21st century, experts say.
A study of ancient marine algae, led by the University of Southampton, has found that climate change affected their growth and skeleton structure, which has potential significance for today's equivalent microscopic organisms that play an important role in the world's oceans.
Today, ray-finned fish, which belong to the bony fish, are by far the most biodiverse fish group in both salt- and freshwater. Their spectacular variety of forms ranges from eels, tuna, flounders and angler fish all the way to seahorses. With around 1,100 species, the second most biodiversegroup is the cartilaginous fish, which are almost exclusively marine and include sharks, rays and chimaeras. Exactly why bony fish managed to prevail in different habitats is the subject of debate: Do they have a better body plan, which is suited to more ecological niches than that of the cartilaginous fish? Or are other factors involved in their successful distribution?
People tend to think of gravity here on Earth as a uniform and consistent thing. Stand anywhere on the globe, at any time of year, and you'll feel the same downward pull of a single G. But in fact, Earth's gravitational field is subject to variations that occur over time. This is due to a combination of factors, such as the uneven distributions of mass in the oceans, continents, and deep interior, as well as climate-related variables like the water balance of continents, and the melting or growing of glaciers.
The extent of sea ice cover in Arctic was much less than it is today between four and five million years ago. The maximum winter extent did not reaching its current location until around 2.6 million years ago. "We have not seen an ice free period in the Arctic Ocean for 2,6 million years. However, we may see it in our lifetime." says a marine geologist.
Deforestation in the Amazon rain forest dropped 18 percent over the past 12 months, falling to the second-lowest level in a quarter century, Brazil's environment minister said Wednesday.
Sean Bemis put his hands together side by side to demonstrate two plates of the earth's crust with a smooth boundary running between them. But that boundary is not always smooth and those plates do not always sit together neatly, which makes the earth's crust a dynamic and complex surface.
A recent study used a novel combination of techniques to reveal how carbon dioxide (CO2) injections—a process that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere—could affect sulfate-reducing bacteria that catalyze a key biogeochemical process in the deep subsurface. Ultimately, these findings offer an insight into the effects of CO2 sequestration on indigenous microbial populations, and could lead to new strategies for improving the success of CO2 sequestration, thereby helping to reduce climate change.
Take in a deep breath of salty ocean air and more than likely, you're also breathing in naturally occurring sea spray aerosols. But, there's much more in each of those tiny bursting "bubbles" than salt. They're also bursting with ocean life, from bacteria to phytoplankton—even viruses. Because sea spray aerosols seed clouds, they affect the climate.
In the world's driest rainfed wheat region, Washington State University researchers have identified summer fallow management practices that can make all the difference for farmers, water and soil conservation, and air quality.
Time ravages mountains, as it does people. Sharp features soften, and bodies grow shorter and rounder. But under the right conditions, some mountains refuse to age. In a new study, scientists explain why the ice-covered Gamburtsev Mountains in the middle of Antarctica looks as young as they do.
Instead of carbon dioxide being like a blanket that slowly warms the planet, after about a decade most warming comes from melting ice and snow and a more moist atmosphere, which both cause Earth to absorb more shortwave radiation from the sun.
The intense farming practices of the 'Green Revolution' are powerful enough to alter Earth's atmosphere at an ever-increasing rate, boosting the seasonal amplitude in atmospheric carbon dioxide to about 15 percent over the past five decades. That's the key finding of a new atmospheric model, which estimates that on average, the amplitude of the seasonal oscillation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing at a rate of 0.3 percent every year.
An ultra-high-resolution computer model has given scientists a stunning new look at how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere travels around the globe. Plumes of carbon dioxide in the simulation swirl and shift as winds disperse the greenhouse gas away from its sources. The simulation also illustrates differences in carbon dioxide levels in the northern and southern hemispheres and distinct swings in global carbon dioxide concentrations as the growth cycle of plants and trees changes with the seasons.
Researchers are using time-lapse photography, linked to weather data, to study climate and geological change in the Antarctic Dry Valleys
Scientists reveal details about carbon deep beneath the Earth’s surface and suggest ways it might have influenced the history of life on the planet.
The Himalaya features some of the most impressive gorges on Earth that have been formed by rivers. The geologic history of the famous Tsangpo Gorge, in the eastern Himalaya, now needs to be rewritten.
Researchers have shed new light on the climate of the Little Ice Age, and rekindled debate over the role of the sun in climate change. The new study, which involved detailed scientific examination of a peat bog in southern South America, indicates that the most extreme climate episodes of the Little Ice Age were felt not just in Europe and North America, which is well known, but apparently globally. The research has implications for current concerns over ‘Global Warming’.
Shellfish farms and hatcheries along the Pacific U.S. coast can now get real-time, online ocean acidification data through the Integrated Ocean Observation System (IOOS), a NOAA-led national-regional partnership working to provide new tools and forecasts to improve safety, enhance the economy, and protect the environment. The data, ranging from carbon dioxide concentrations to salinity and water temperatures can be found through the IOOS Pacific Region Ocean Acidification Data Portal which began operations this month.
The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is an ocean-atmosphere fluctuation of air pressure and sea surface temperature that occurs thousands of miles distant in the Pacific Ocean. The team have shown that large outbreaks of plague tend to coincide with the timing of ENSO events.
Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have identified a possible source of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases that were abruptly released to the atmosphere in large quantities around 14,600 years ago. According to this new interpretation, the CO2 - released during the onset of the Bølling/Allerød warm period - presumably had their origin in thawing Arctic permafrost soil and amplified the initial warming through positive feedback. The study now appears online in the journal Nature Communications.
Scientists at Queen's University Belfast have led the discovery of a volcanic ash cloud that travelled from Alaska to Northern Ireland and beyond - overturning previously held assumptions about how far ash deposits can drift, with major implications for the airline industry.
Geologists in Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences have recently figured out what has caused the Alaska Range to form the way it has and why the range boasts such an enigmatic topographic signature. The narrow mountain range is home to some of the world's most dramatic topography, including 20,320-foot Mount McKinley, North America's highest mountain
According to the results of a major new national survey published by the University, the majority of the British public has a very low awareness of the issue of ocean acidification, with around only one-in-five participants stating they had even heard of the issue.
A key to understanding Earth's evolution is to look deep into the lower mantle—a region some 400 to 1,800 miles (660 to 2,900 kilometers) below the surface, just above the core. Data have suggested that deep, hot, fluid magma oceans of melted silicates, a major Earth material, may reside above the core-mantle boundary.
Today's climate models predict a 50 percent increase in lightning strikes across the United States during this century as a result of warming temperatures associated with climate change.
The Sudbury Basin located in Ontario, Canada is one of the largest known impact craters on Earth, as well as one of the oldest due to its formation more than 1.8 billion years ago.
Small volcanic eruptions might eject more of an atmosphere-cooling gas into Earth's upper atmosphere than previously thought, potentially contributing to the recent slowdown in global warming, according to a new study.
If you want to see into the future, you have to understand the past. An international consortium of researchers under the auspices of the University of Bonn has drilled deposits on the bed of Lake Van (Eastern Turkey) which provide unique insights into the last 600,000 years. The samples reveal that the climate has done its fair share of mischief-making in the past.
Leave it to long-dead short-tailed shrew and flying squirrels to outfox climate-modelers trying to predict future habitats. Evidence from the fossil record shows that gluttonous insect-eating shrew didn't live where a species distribution technique drawn by biologists put it 20,000 years ago to survive the reach of glaciers, says University of Oregon geologist Edward B. Davis. The shrew is not alone.
Several months after a mysterious hole in the ground was discovered on the Yamal Peninsula of northwest Siberia, scientists have worked up the courage to climb down into the crater. While rappelling into the hole this week, the researchers captured a series of stunning images.
The ocean is warming steadily and setting up the conditions for stronger El Nino weather events, a new study has shown. A team of US, Australian, and Canadian researchers sampled corals from a remote island in Kiribati to build a 60-year record of ocean surface temperature and salinity.
This summer has seen the highest global mean sea surface temperatures ever recorded. Temperatures even exceed those of the record-breaking 1998 El Nino year
The continental margins of plates on either side of the Atlantic Ocean are thinner than expected, and an international team led by a Rice University scientist is using an array of advanced tools to understand why.
Environmental change is nothing new in Polynesia. For centuries, the inhabitants of the volcanic, sea-battered islands have been employing a variety of strategies to adapt to their changing landscapes.
The Sudbury Basin located in Ontario, Canada is one of the largest known impact craters on Earth, as well as one of the oldest due to its formation more than 1.8 billion years ago.
Scientists will have to find alternative explanations for a huge population collapse in Europe at the end of the Bronze Age as researchers prove definitively that climate change - commonly assumed to be responsible - could not have been the culprit.
Ocean acidification might alter climate-relevant functions of the oceans' uppermost layer, according to a study by a group of marine scientists published in the "Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans".
The Earth’s ancient oceans held much lower concentrations of sulfate—a key biological nutrient—than previously recognized, according to research published this week in Science.
Climate change may affect human health directly or indirectly. In addition to increased threats of storms, flooding, droughts, and heat waves, other health risks are being identified. In particular, new diseases are appearing, caused by infectious agents (viruses, bacteria, parasites) heretofore unknown or that are changing, especially under the effect of changes in the climate (change of host, vector, pathogenicity, or strain). These are so-called "emerging" or "re-emerging" infectious diseases, such as leishmaniasis, West Nile fever, etc. According to the WHO, these diseases are causing one third of deaths around the world, and developing countries are on the front line.
Scientists have identified a mechanism that could turn out to be a big contributor to warming in the Arctic region and melting sea ice.
A new study shows that the rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide that contributed to the end of the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago did not occur gradually, but was characterized by three “pulses” in which C02 rose abruptly.
Scientists have long speculated as to why animal species didn't flourish sooner, once sufficient oxygen covered the Earth's surface. Animals began to prosper at the end of the Proterozoic period -- but what about the billion-year stretch before that, when most researchers think there also was plenty of oxygen? Yale University researcher Noah Planavsky and his colleagues found that oxygen levels during the 'boring billion' period were only 0.1 percent of what they are today.
Earth is known as the Blue Planet because of its oceans, which cover more than 70 percent of the planet's surface and are home to the world's greatest diversity of life. While water is essential for life on the planet, the answers to two key questions have eluded us: where did Earth's water come from and when?
The tremendous amounts of lava that are emitted during super-eruptions accumulate over millions of years prior to the event in the Earth's crust. These reservoirs consist of magma that intrudes into the crust in the form of numerous horizontally oriented sheets resting on top of each other like a pile of pancakes.
Wright State University researchers have discovered a formula that accurately predicts the rate at which soil develops from the surface to the underlying rock, a breakthrough that could answer questions about greenhouse gases and has potential applications in agriculture.
Jeffrey Karson, a Syracuse University geologist who recently traveled to Iceland to monitor the early stages of the eruption, says the lava field now covers more than 22 square miles (or 14,000 acres), nearly the size of Manhattan.
Silent evidence of a large earthquake in 363 CE -- the skeleton of a woman with a dove-shaped pendant -- was discovered under the tiles of a collapsed roof by archeologists from the University of Haifa during this excavation season at Hippos-Sussita. They also found a large muscular marble leg and artillery ammunition from some 2,000 years ago. "The data is finally beginning to form a clear historical-archaeological picture," said Dr. Michael Eisenberg, head of the international excavation team.
Most of the concerns about climate change have focused on the amount of greenhouse gases that have been released into the atmosphere. A new study reveals another equally important factor in regulating Earth's climate. Researchers say the major cooling of Earth and continental ice build-up in the Northern Hemisphere 2.7 million years ago coincided with a shift in the circulation of the ocean.
Spectacular eruptions at Bárðarbunga volcano in central Iceland have been spewing lava continuously since Aug. 31. Massive amounts of erupting lava are connected to the destruction of supercontinents and dramatic changes in climate and ecosystems. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-10-icelandic-volcano-massive-magma-hot.html#jCp
The contribution of home gardens in the preservation of biodiversity, economics and human health prompted a multidisciplinary group at the South Border College (Ecosur) in Mexico to work on a project in Tabasco with the aim to improve the production and environmental management of these plantations.
Climate change is a global phenomenon, yet Earth scientists are keeping a wary eye on one place in particular--the Arctic. "Polar regions are important for us to study right now," explains Tom Wagner of NASA's Earth Science Division in Washington DC. "They are changing rapidly.
When we talk about global carbon fixation – "pumping" carbon out of the atmosphere and fixing it into organic molecules by photosynthesis – proper measurement is key to understanding this process. By some estimates, almost half of the world's organic carbon is fixed by marine organisms called phytoplankton – single-celled photosynthetic organisms that account for less than one percent of the total photosynthetic biomass on Earth.
"I cover a big range of time, during which Antarctica went through some pretty massive changes in the behaviour of its ice sheets," she says. "These were times when the ice sheets were often smaller and more dynamic than today."
Published on 14 September in Nature Geoscience, a study conducted by researchers from several institutes, including IFREMER (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea), CNRS and IFSTTAR, offers the first theoretical model that, based on fluid-related processes, explains the seismic precursors of an underwater earthquake. Using quantitative measurements, this innovative model established a link between observed precursors and the mainshock of an earthquake. The results open a promising avenue of research for guiding future investigations on detecting earthquakes before they strike.
Climate change predictions for the Middle East, like other arid regions of the world, are alarming. In an area known for its water scarcity, rainfall is expected to decrease even further in the near future, spelling disaster for the functioning of unique ecosystems—hotspots of biodiversity and rich genetic fodder for essential crops
A mass of marine debris discovered in a giant sinkhole in the Hawaiian islands provides evidence that at least one mammoth tsunami, larger than any in Hawaii's recorded history, has struck the islands, and that a similar disaster could happen again, new research finds. Scientists are reporting that a wall of water up to nine meters (30 feet) high surged onto Hawaiian shores about 500 years ago. A 9.0-magnitude earthquake off the coast of the Aleutian Islands triggered the mighty wave, which left behind up to nine shipping containers worth of ocean sediment in a sinkhole on the island of Kauai.
A UC Santa Barbara geochemist studying Samoan volcanoes has found evidence of the planet's early formation still trapped inside the Earth. Known as hotspots, volcanic island chains such as Samoa can ancient primordial signatures from the early solar system that have somehow survived billions of years.
Scientists have found evidence for a huge mountain range that sustained an explosion of life on Earth 600 million years ago
A new look at one of ecology's unsolved puzzles—why biodiversity is higher in the tropics compared with colder regions—brought some unexpected revelations.
An international team of geologists has a new explanation for how the Midwest's biggest geological feature -- an ancient and giant 2,000-mile-long underground crack that starts in Lake Superior and runs south to Oklahoma and to Alabama -- evolved.
A new study on the frequency of past giant earthquakes in the Indian Ocean region shows that Sri Lanka, and much of the Indian Ocean, is affected by large tsunamis at highly variable intervals, from a few hundred to more than 1,000 years. The findings suggest that the accumulation of stress in the region could generate as large, or even larger tsunamis than the one that resulted from the 2004 magnitude-9.2 Sumatra earthquake.
Conditions on Earth during its first 500 million years may have been cool enough to form oceans of water instead of being too hot for life to form. This alternate view of Earth's first geologic eon, called the Hadean, has gained substantial new support from the first detailed comparison of zircon crystals that formed more than 4 billion years ago with those formed contemporaneously in Iceland, which has been proposed as a possible geological analog for early Earth.
According to NOAA scientists, the globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for August 2014 was the highest for August since record keeping began in 1880. It also marked the 38th consecutive August with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average global temperature for August occurred in 1976.
Like building a high-performance engine, the components you add to a climate model determine the quality of the finished product. A new study led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory looked for which "tunable" variables were most influential in depicting various cloud types in a global atmospheric model. They found that different parameters influenced different types of clouds
Ocean acidification has risen by a quarter since pre-industrial times as a result of rising carbon emissions, casting a shadow over the seas as a future source of food, scientists warned on Wednesday.
The conversion of forests, grasslands, shrublands and wetlands to cropland over the course of three centuries profoundly changed the surface of the Earth and the carbon cycle of the terrestrial ecosystem in Northeast China.
Sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean melted to its sixth lowest extent this year, while sea ice surrounding the Antarctic continent continued to break winter records, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC)
Because of the deforestation of tropical rainforests in Brazil, significantly more carbon has been lost than was previously assumed. As scientists of the Hemholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) write in the scientific journal Nature Communications, the effect of the degradation has been underestimated in fragmented forest areas, since it was hitherto not possible to calculate the loss of the biomass at the forest edges and the higher emission of carbon dioxide. The UFZ scientists have now closed this knowledge gap. According to their calculations, the forest fragmentation results in up to a fifth more carbon dioxide being emitted by the vegetation.
Scientists have devised a new map of the Earth's sea floor using satellite data, revealing massive underwater scars and thousands of previously uncharted sea mountains residing in some of the deepest, most remote reaches of the world's oceans.
Current changes in the ocean around Antarctica are disturbingly close to conditions 14,000 years ago that new research shows may have led to the rapid melting of Antarctic ice and an abrupt 3-4 metre rise in global sea level.
The extreme atmospheric conditions associated with California's crippling drought are far more likely to occur under today's global warming conditions than in the climate that existed before humans emitted large amounts of greenhouse gases.
Fish stocks around the world are under increasing pressure from fishing and human impacts such as excess nutrients entering the water, pollution, habitat loss and climate change.
Global temperature is likely to rise 3.3-5.6 degrees Celsius by the end of this century, unless international climate negotiations in Paris next year are more effective than expected, according to a report released Monday by the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. The predicted temperature increase surpasses the threshold identified by the United Nations as necessary to avoid the most serious impacts of climate change, altering precipitation patterns and heightening the pressures of population and economic growth.
Britta Jensen and Duane Froese in the U of A's Faculty of Science led the research, which showed that a distinct deposit of white, sand-sized grains of volcanic ash visible just below the modern forest floor over much of the Yukon and southern Alaska is present not only near the originating Mount Bona-Churchill in Alaska, but also in the Greenland Ice Sheet and across northwestern Europe.
Research by The University of Queensland has led to a new technique for mapping a "probable" one-metre inundation by 2100 allowing researchers to identify parts of the coastline most at risk. The work has been published in the academic journal PLOS One.
Land-ice decay at the end of the last five ice-ages caused global sea-levels to rise at rates of up to 5.5 metres per century, according to a new study.
The Earth seems to have been smoking a lot recently. Volcanoes are currently erupting in Iceland, Hawaii, Indonesia and Mexico. Others, in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, erupted recently but seem to have calmed down. Many of these have threatened homes and forced evacuations. But among their less-endangered spectators, these eruptions may have raised a question: Is there such a thing as a season for volcanic eruptions?
A recent study of the global carbon cycle offers a new perspective of Earth's climate records through time. Scientists at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science suggest that one of the current methods for interpreting ancient changes in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and oceans may need to be re-evaluated. Read more at: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.fr/2014/09/scientists-analyze-marine-sediment-core.html#.VCEvxRYrOpM Follow us: @ArchaeoNewsNet on Twitter | groups/thearchaeologynewsnetwork/ on Facebook
Climate change is a fact, and most of the warming is caused by human activity. The Arctic is now so warm that the extent of sea ice has decreased by about 30 pct. in summer and in winter, sea ice is getting thinne
A new study released Monday found that warming temperatures in Pacific Ocean waters off the coast of North America over the past century closely followed natural changes in the wind, not increases in greenhouse gases related to global warming. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-links-pacific.html#jCp
The Tibetan Plateau in south-central Asia, because of its size, elevation and impact on climate, is one of the world's greatest geological oddities. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-snail-shells-high-rise-plateau.html#jCp
The mystery of what kick-started the motion of our earth's massive tectonic plates across its surface has been explained by researchers at the University of Sydney. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-plate-tectonics-earth-plates-motion.html#jCp
An ice age may sound as a stable period of cold weather, but the name deceives. In the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, the period was characterized by significant climate changes. Cold periods (stadials) switched abruptly to warmer periods (interstadials) and back. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-gulf-stream-ice-age.html#jCp
Earthworm presence in the soil increases crop yield, shows a new study that was published this week in Scientific Reports. "This is not unexpected," says Jan Willem van Groenigen, associate professor in the Soil Biology group of Wageningen University, and lead author of the study. "People have known for millennia that earthworms can be good for plant growth. However, we did not know how strong this effect is, nor how it works. That is what we studied." Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-earthworms-nature-free-fertilizer.html#jCp
Air pollution in Singapore rose to unhealthy levels Monday, blanketing the city-state's skyline with clouds of smog from fires raging across giant rainforests in the neighbouring Indonesian island of Sumatra, officials said.
A new study on the frequency of past giant earthquakes in the Indian Ocean region shows that Sri Lanka, and much of the Indian Ocean, is affected by large tsunamis at highly variable intervals, from a few hundred to more than one thousand years. The findings suggest that the accumulation of stress in the region could generate as large, or even larger tsunamis than the one that resulted from the 2004 magnitude-9.2 Sumatra earthquake. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-reconstructs-mega-earthquakes-timeline-indian-ocean.html#jCp
A growing "dead zone" in the middle of the Arabian Sea has allowed plankton uniquely suited to low-oxygen water to take over the base of the food chain. Their rise to dominance over the last decade could be disastrous for the predator fish that sustain 120 million people living on the sea's edge Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-shift-arabia-sea-plankton-threaten.html#jCp
The new research, published today (9 September 2014) in the International Journal of Climatology, shows that weather patterns over the UK have become distinctly more unstable, resulting in contrasting conditions from very mild, wet and stormy to extremely cold and snowy. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-british-weather-unsettled.html#jCp
A recent study in the Journal of Environmental Management carried out by researchers at the European Forest Institute and their partners in the FP7 funded MOTIVE project (Models for Adaptive Forest Management) discusses how forest managers and decision makers can cope with climate uncertainties. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-climate-european-forests.html#jCp
Around the world, there is more salty groundwater than fresh, drinkable groundwater. For example, 60 percent of India is underlain by salty water—and much of that area is not served by an electric grid that could run conventional reverse-osmosis desalination plants. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-sun-powered-desalination-villages-india.html#jCp
An international team of researchers has found that the majority of threatened species are 'invisible' when using modern methods to predict species distributions under climate change. Using African amphibians as a case study, the researchers found that more than 90 per cent of the species listed as threatened on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species are omitted by the most popular tools for species distribution modelling.
Scientists and natural resource managers are closely watching the potential development of El Nino as it might increase rainfall in California and bring relief to the severe drought there (see footnote 1). In the western United States, drought often brings a double punch: water shortfall plus wildfires.
Most of North America's megafauna -- mastodons, short-faced bears, giant ground sloths, saber-toothed cats and American camels and horses -- disappeared close to 13,000 years ago at the end of the Pleistocene period. The cause of this massive extinction has long been debated by scientists who, until recently, could only speculate as to why. Read more at: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.fr/2014/08/13000-year-old-nanodiamonds-from.html#.VAXvi2MrOpM Follow us: @ArchaeoNewsNet on Twitter | groups/thearchaeologynewsnetwork/ on Facebook
A new study of satellite data from the last 19 years reveals that fresh water from melting glaciers has caused the sea-level around the coast of Antarctica to rise by 2cm more than the global average of 6cm.
Some species of marine phytoplankton, such as the prolific bloomer Emiliania huxleyi, can grow without consuming vitamin B1 (thiamine), researchers have discovered. The finding contradicts the common view that E. huxleyi and many other eukaryotic microbes depend on scarce supplies of thiamine in the ocean to survive.
Healthier diets and reducing food waste are part of a combination of solutions needed to ensure food security and avoid dangerous climate change, say the team behind a new study.
The tectonic plate that dominates the Pacific "Ring of Fire" is not as rigid as many scientists assume, according to researchers at Rice University and the University of Nevada.
Protected areas conserve biodiversity, experts say, and more action is needed to ensure safeguards are in place to protect these areas. "Our work has now shown that protected areas have significant biodiversity benefits. In general, plant and animal populations are larger and more species are found inside rather than outside protected areas. In other words, protected areas are doing their job," they report.
The cycling of mercury through soil and water has been studied as it impacts atmospheric loadings, researchers report. Recent studies that show increasing levels of mercury in the ocean's upper levels, along with news reports of Arkansas lakes as a hotspot for mercury in fish, have heightened awareness of the potential harm mercury poses.
The re-distribution of anthropogenic aerosol emissions from Europe and North America towards China and India between 1996 and 2010 has surprisingly warmed rather than cooled the global climate. This result reinforces the notion that the recent hiatus in global warming is mainly caused by internal variability of the climate. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-08-climate-impacts-aerosol-emissions.html#jCp
Research published last week in Science suggested that the makeup of the Earth's lower mantle, which makes up the largest part of the Earth by volume, is significantly different than previously thought.
A new analysis suggests the planet can produce much more land-plant biomass - the total material in leaves, stems, roots, fruits, grains and other terrestrial plant parts - than previously thought.
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 by microbial activity.
The force of the Gulf Stream was significantly influenced by the sea ice situation in the Fram Strait in the past 30,000 years. Scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) come to this conclusion in a new study that appears in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
Following rapid warming in the late 20th century, this century has so far seen surprisingly little increase in the average temperature at the Earth's surface. At first this was a blip, then a trend, then a puzzle for the climate science community.
A new analysis suggests the planet can produce much more land-plant biomass -- the total material in leaves, stems, roots, fruits, grains and other terrestrial plant parts -- than previously thought. The study recalculates the theoretical limit of terrestrial plant productivity, and finds that it is much higher than many current estimates allow.
Tropical glaciers have responded to episodes of cooling in Greenland and the Antarctic over the past 20,000 years, according to a study carried out mainly by researchers at the CNRS, Université Joseph Fourier, Aix-Marseille Université and the IRD, in collaboration with other French scientists and colleagues in the US, Colombia and the UK. Their work, which covers 21 Andean glaciers, is published on August 24th, 2014 in the journal Nature. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-08-cold-snap-tropics.html#jCp
Over recent decades, scientists have watched a climate conundrum develop at the opposite ends of Earth: The Arctic has warmed and steadily lost sea ice, whereas Antarctica has cooled in many places and may even be gaining sea ice. Now, MIT researchers have a better understanding of the elemental processes behind this asymmetric response of the polar regions to the effects of human-induced changes to the climate. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-08-ocean-circulation-arctic-affected-global.html#jCp
A plane flies past a smoke plume from the 2011 eruption of the Grímsvötn volcano in southeast Iceland, on May 21, 2011. Grímsvötn, the island nation's most active volcano, caused disruption to air travel across northwestern Europe from May 22–25 in 2011.
Researchers have found evidence of a potential "ocean's worth" of water deep beneath the United States. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-08-scientists-evidence-oceans-worth-earth.html#jCp
Intense aerial turbulence, ice storms and scorching heatwaves, huge ocean waves -- the world's climate experts forecast apocalyptic weather over the coming decades at a conference in Montreal that ended Thursday.
The University of Waterloo has unveiled a new satellite image of Antarctica, and the imagery will help scientists all over the world gain new insight into the effects of climate change
Global warming is currently taking a break: whereas global temperatures rose drastically into the late 1990s, the global average temperature has risen only slightly since 1998 - surprising, considering scientific climate models predicted considerable warming due to rising greenhouse gas emissions.
The hard corals primarily responsible for the construction of coral reefs around the world have attracted the attention of taxonomists for hundreds of years. Despite the important role such corals play in building what are arguably the world's most diverse ecosystems, coral reefs in some parts of the world still hold surprises for modern scientists
The Hawaiian Islands represent a wide diversity of ecosystems and environments, including areas of breathtaking natural beauty as well as densely populated coastal cities. These unique environments are already changing under the influence of climate change from the effects of increasing temperatures, decreasing rainfall, rising seas, coastal erosion, land use and development changes, and increasing demands on our natural resources. What can we expect in the future, and how can we best prepare? Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-08-hawaii-impacts-climate.html#jCp
New research led by NASA and the University of Washington, Seattle, confirms that springtime snow on sea ice in the Arctic has thinned significantly in the last 50 years, by about a third in the Western Hemisphere and by half near Alaska.
About 60 percent of California is experiencing "exceptional drought," the U.S. Drought Monitor's most dire classification. The agency issued the same warning to Texas and the southeastern United States in 2012. California's last two winters have been among the driest since records began in 1879. Without enough water in the soil, seeds can't sprout roots, leaves can't perform photosynthesis, and agriculture can't be sustained.
NASA research shows Earth's atmosphere contains an unexpectedly large amount of an ozone-depleting compound from an unknown source decades after the compound was banned worldwide.
A new study has, for the first time, reconstructed solar activity during the last ice age. The study shows that the regional climate is influenced by the sun and offers opportunities to better predict future climate conditions in certain regions.
The precarious state of the world’s primary forests has been outlined in new research by an international team of conservationist scientists and practitioners. Primary forests -- largely ignored by policy makers and under increasing land use threats -- are forests where there are no visible indications of human activities, especially industrial-scale land use, and ecological processes have not been significantly disrupted. The analysis reveals that only five percent of the world’s pre-agricultural primary forest cover is now found in protected areas.
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 that people are more concerned than ever about what is happening at the poles, research led by the University of Washington and NASA confirms that snow has thinned significantly in the Arctic, particularly on sea ice in western waters near Alaska.
A group from the University of Alcalá (Spain) has defined the landscape of forest fires on a nationwide scale over the course of 42 years. The research has found that the abandonment of agricultural land and higher temperatures have contributed to intensifying the fires.
North Chile is at risk of a mega earthquake after a tremor in April released only some of the tension building along a high-risk fault zone since 1877, researchers said Wednesday. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-08-geologists-mega-quake-north-chile.html#jCp
Ice discharge from Antarctica could contribute up to 37 centimeters to the global sea level rise within this century, a new study shows. For the first time, an international team of scientists provide a comprehensive estimate on the full range of Antarctica's potential contribution to global sea level rise based on physical computer simulations. Led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the study combines a whole set of state-of-the-art climate models and observational data with various ice models. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-08-antarctica-sea-faster-previously-thought.html#jCp
Mercury is a naturally occurring element as well as a by-product of such distinctly human enterprises as burning coal and making cement. Estimates of 'bioavailable' mercury -- forms of the element that can be taken up by animals and humans -- play an important role in everything from drafting an international treaty designed to protect humans and the environment from mercury emissions, to establishing public policies behind warnings about seafood consumption.
Geologists are explore the hidden world beneath our feet. Examining the effects of human drilling shows how humans have left their mark on Earth both above the surface and deep below in the subterranean network of human-made tunnels in ways that will have a long-standing impact in the future.
The world's oceans are vast and deep, yet rapidly advancing technology and the quest for extracting resources from previously unreachable depths is beginning to put the deep seas on the cusp of peril, an international team of scientists has warned.
Scientists studying the potential effects of climate change on the world's animal and plant species are focusing on the wrong factors, according to a new article. The authors claim that most of the conservation science is missing the point when it comes to climate change.
Water is used around the world for the production of electricity, but new research results show that there will not be enough water in the world to meet demand by 2040 if the energy and power situation does not improve before then.
New research has identified areas of the Earth that are high priorities for conservation in the face of climate change. Europe is particularly vulnerable, as it has the lowest fraction of its land area, only four per cent, of any continent in ‘refugia’ – areas of biological diversity that support many species where natural environmental conditions remain relatively constant during times of great environmental change.
A new study from scientists at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and colleagues confirms rising levels of water vapor in the upper troposphere -- a key amplifier of global warming -- will intensify climate change impacts over the next decades. The new study is the first to show that increased water vapor concentrations in the atmosphere are a direct result of human activities.
Many studies have shown the potential for global climate change to cut food supplies. But these studies have, for the most part, ignored the interactions between increasing temperature and air pollution -- specifically ozone pollution, which is known to damage crops. A new study shows that these interactions can be quite significant, suggesting that policymakers need to take both warming and air pollution into account in addressing food security.
Scientists have long been concerned that global warming may push Earth's climate system across a 'tipping point,' where rapid melting of ice and further warming may become irreversible -- a hotly debated scenario with an unclear picture of what this point of no return may look like. A new study suggests that combined warming of the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans thousands of years ago may have provided the tipping point for abrupt warming and rapid melting of the northern ice sheets.
Reversing the increasing rate of global biodiversity losses may not be possible without embracing intensive, and sometimes controversial, forms of threatened species management, according to zoologists.
The planet's current biodiversity, the product of 3.5 billion years of evolutionary trial and error, is the highest in the history of life. But it may be reaching a tipping point. Scientists caution that the loss and decline of animals is contributing to what appears to be the early days of the planet's sixth mass biological extinction event. Since 1500, more than 320 terrestrial vertebrates have become extinct. Populations of the remaining species show a 25 percent average decline in abundance. The situation is similarly dire for invertebrate animal life.
The planet's soil releases about 60 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year, which is far more than that released by burning fossil fuels. Short-term warming studies have documented that rising temperatures increase the rate of soil respiration. As a result, scientists have worried that global warming would accelerate the decomposition of carbon in the soil, releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and accelerating global warming.
What do mollusks, starfish, and corals have in common? Aside from their shared marine habitat, they are all calcifiers -- organisms that use calcium from their environment to create hard carbonate skeletons and shells for stability and protection.
Statistical analysis of average global temperatures between 1998 and 2013 shows that the slowdown in global warming during this period is consistent with natural variations in temperature, according to research. The study concludes that a natural cooling fluctuation during this period largely masked the warming effects of a continued increase in human-made emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Researchers have found that rainwater can penetrate below the Earth’s fractured upper crust, which could have major implications for our understanding of earthquakes and the generation of valuable mineral deposits. It had been thought that surface water could not penetrate the ductile crust - where temperatures of more than 300°C and high pressures cause rocks to flex and flow rather than fracture - but researchers have now found fluids derived from rainwater at these levels. Fluids in the Earth’s crust can weaken rocks and may help to initiate earthquakes along locked fault lines.
The first global census of the Adélie penguin, long considered a key indicator species to monitor and understand the effects of climate change and fishing in the Southern Ocean, has revealed its population (3.79 million breeding pairs) to be 53 percent larger than previously estimated. By using high-resolution satellite imagery, researchers have applied a new method that permits regular monitoring of Adélie penguins across their entire breeding range, and by extension the health of the Southern Ocean ecosystem.
Tropical species will be most at risk from rising temperatures as the discrepancy between physiological thermal limits and projected temperatures is highest in tropical regions, research shows. In contrast, a large part of mammal and bird species in temperate zones will find ambient temperatures in 2080 within their tolerance ranges. However, indirect effects of rising temperatures may counteract opportunities given by species’ physiological tolerances in temperate zones, researchers say.
A long-term study of the links between climate and marine life along the rapidly warming West Antarctic Peninsula reveals how changes in physical factors such as wind speed and sea-ice cover send ripples up the food chain, with impacts on everything from single-celled algae to penguins.
The Malaspina Expedition, led by the Spanish National Research Council, has demonstrated that there are five large accumulations of plastic debris in the open ocean that match with the five major twists of oceanic surface water circulation. In addition to the known accumulation of plastic waste in the North Pacific, there are similar accumulations in the central North Atlantic, the South Pacific, the South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean.
If no further action is taken and global temperature increases by 3.5°C, climate damages in the EU could amount to at least €190 billion, a net welfare loss of 1.8 percent of its current GDP. Several weather-related extremes could roughly double their average frequency. As a consequence, heat-related deaths could reach about 200,000.
Scientists have warned that the world’s protected areas are not safeguarding most of the world’s imperiled biodiversity, and clear changes need to be made on how nations undertake future land protection if wildlife is going to be saved. These findings come at a time when countries are working toward what could become the biggest expansion of protected areas in history.
Variations in high-altitude wind patterns expose particular parts of Europe, Asia and the US to different extreme weather conditions, a new study has shown. Changes to air flow patterns around the Northern Hemisphere are a major influence on prolonged bouts of unseasonal weather -- whether it be hot, cold, wet or dry.
Substantial improvements in freshwater quality by 2015 have been a declared objective of the EU member states, manifesting itself by the requirements of the Water Framework Directive. A recent study shows that this target is unlikely to be met due to the high levels of toxicants in the water bodies. One of the reasons: current measures for the improvement of water quality do not account for the effects of toxic chemicals. The study demonstrates for the first time on a pan-European scale that the ecological risks posed by toxic chemicals are considerably greater than has generally been assumed.
Avoiding dangerous levels of climate change requires a radical rethink of the shipping system, according to a new report. If global shipping is to make its fair contribution to avoiding the 2°C of warming associated with dangerous climate change, CO2 emissions need to be cut within the next decade and fall by at least 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, say experts.
Some 71% of Earth's surface is covered by oceans and 29% by land. The question of when large landmasses emerged from the oceans has always been hotly debated by scientists. New investigations by geoscientists of the University of Cologne in cooperation with the University of Bonn and the Jacobs University Bremen have shown that large land masses did indeed exist on Earth 2.7 billion years ago
Rising global temperatures could increase the amount of carbon dioxide naturally released by the world's oceans,
Atmospheric particles affect cloud formation in real time, researchers suggest. Clouds need tiny particles called aerosols that rise in the atmosphere, in order to form.
Scientists have discovered a relationship between climate change and ocean currents over the past six million years after analyzing an area of the Atlantic near the Strait of Gibraltar, according to new research.
Ancient volcanic eruptions in Australia 510 million years ago significantly affected the climate, causing the first known mass extinction in the history of complex life. Scientists used radioactive dating techniques to precisely measure the age of the eruptions of the Kalkarindji volcanic province.
Breaking research news reveals that the composition of the Earth's lower mantle may be significantly different than previously thought. The lower mantle comprises 55 percent of the planet by volume and extends from 670 and 2900 kilometers in depth, as defined by the so-called transition zone (top) and the core-mantle boundary (below). Pressures in the lower mantle start at 237,000 times atmospheric pressure (24 gigapascals) and reach 1.3 million times atmospheric pressure (136 gigapascals) at the core-mantle boundary.
An oceanographer is working with experts from around the globe to warn against lasting damage to the deep ocean, caused by fishing, oil and gas development, industrial-scale mining, waste disposal and land-based pollution. The world's deep ocean spans more than half the planet and holds vast quantities of untapped energy resources, precious metals and minerals. But as advancements in technology enable greater access to these treasures of the deep, experts are urging caution, highlighting the potentially irreversible damage that extracting such materials can cause.
It is estimated that ocean temperature warming will cause phytoplankton and zooplankton biomass to decrease by 6% and 11% respectively by the end of the century. A lower amount of these two main elements in the marine food web could reduce fish biomass in certain regions.
New research shows the first detailed look at global land surface warming trends over the last 100 years, illustrating precisely when and where different areas of the world started to warm up or cool down.
The tropics ill be highly affected by local changes in temperature and precipitation, leading to novel climates with no current analogues in the planet. These results expose the complexities of climate change effects on biodiversity and the challenges in predicting and preserving natural ecosystems in a changing Earth.
A major new survey of the seafloor has found that even in the deepest ocean depths you can find bottles, plastic bags, fishing nets and other types of human litter. The litter was found throughout the Mediterranean, and all the way from the continental shelf of Europe to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge 2,000 kilometers from land. Litter is a problem in the marine environment as it can be mistaken for food and eaten by some animals or can entangle coral and fish -- a process known as "ghost fishing."
Changing agricultural practices and ending food waste around the world are among recommendations made by scientists charged with looking at ways to mitigate global climate change. "Agriculture globally contributes about 10 to 12 percent to greenhouse gas emissions," the author said. "If you add in forestry it moves it up to around 25 percent. Agriculture is significant but not the major contributor and has declined slightly, percentage-wise, since the last report in 2007, not so much because agriculture has changed that much but because the energy sector is contributing more."
Protecting wildlife while feeding a world population predicted to reach nine billion by 2050 will require a holistic approach to conservation that considers human-altered landscapes such as farmland, according to researchers. A new study finds that a long-accepted theory used to estimate extinction rates, predict ecological risk and make conservation policy recommendations is overly pessimistic. The researchers point to an alternative framework that promises a more effective way of accounting for human-altered landscapes and assessing ecological risks.
A global warming of 2 degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial climate has been considered as a threshold which society should endeavor to remain below, in order to limit the dangerous effects of anthropogenic climate change.
Why do environmental pollutants accumulate in the cold polar regions? This may not only be due to the fact that many substances are less volatile at low temperatures, as has been long suspected, but also to their extremely slow natural degradation. Although persistent environmental pollutants have been and continue to be released worldwide, the Arctic and Antarctic regions are significantly more contaminated than elsewhere. The marine animals living there have some of the highest levels of persistent organic pollutant (POP) contamination of any creatures.
Future generations will have to pay more for today's carbon emissions than what governments across the world currently understand. The climate models used by policymakers around the world to estimate the economic and social costs of CO2 emissions have to be improved according to experts.
Researchers have found new evidence that permafrost thawing is releasing large quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere via plants, which could accelerate warming trends. Permafrost is soil that is frozen year round and is typically located in polar regions. As the world has gotten slightly warmer, that permafrost is thawing and decomposing, which is producing increased amounts of methane.
An international team of researchers has discovered a previously unknown atmospheric phenomenon over the tropical West Pacific. Like in a giant elevator to the stratosphere, many chemical compounds emitted at the ground pass unfiltered through the so-called 'detergent layer' of the atmosphere, known as the 'OH shield.' The newly discovered phenomenon over the South Seas boosts ozone depletion in the polar regions and could have a significant influence on the future climate of the Earth.
Increasing uncertainty in the climate system compels a greater urgency for climate change mitigation, according to new research. Scientists have shown that as uncertainty in the temperature increase expected with a doubling of carbon dioxide from pre-industrial levels rises, so do the economic damages of increased climate change. Greater uncertainty also increases the likelihood of exceeding 'safe' temperature limits and the probability of failing to reach mitigation targets. The authors highlight this with the case of future sea level, as larger uncertainty in sea level rise requires greater precautionary action to manage flood risk.
A new study estimates that 12 percent of land will be subject to drought by 2100 through rainfall changes alone; but the drying will spread to 30 percent of land if higher evaporation rates are considered. An increase in evaporative drying means that even regions expected to get more rain, including important wheat, corn and rice belts in the western United States and southeastern China, will be at risk of drought.
Methane-producing microbes may be responsible for the largest mass extinction in Earth's history. Fossil remains show that sometime around 252 million years ago, about 90 percent of all species on Earth were suddenly wiped out -- by far the largest of this planet's five known mass extinctions. It turns out that Methanosarcina had acquired a particularly fast means of making methane, and the team's detailed mapping of the organism's history now shows that this transfer happened at about the time of the end-Permian extinction.
Some 252 million years ago, the largest extinction event occurred at the end of the Permian age. It wiped out almost 90 percent of all life in water. So far researchers had assumed that the ecosystems gradually recovered from this catastrophe over a long stretch of eight to nine million years and that large predators at the uppermost end of the food chain were the last to reappear. Palaeontologists now show that the food nets during the Early Triassic did not recover in stages. Large predators like, for instance, crocodile-like amphibians and later the precursors of the known plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs went in search of prey in the oceans soon after the end of the mass extinction.
Analysis of a highly detailed picture of feeding relationships among 700 species from a 48 million year old ecosystem provides the most compelling evidence to date that ancient food webs were organized much like modern food webs. The results are significant because they show that the Messel ecosystem developed a modern ecological structure, along with a modern biota, in a relatively brief 18 million year period following Earth's most recent die-off, the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, which disrupted ecosystem dynamics on a massive scale and served as a species diversity bottleneck.
Human activity in Africa significantly contributes to air pollution. However, no detailed data regarding country-by-country pollutant emissions in the continent was available until now. To remedy this scientists mapped these emissions in Africa for 2005, before estimating them for 2030, using three scenarios. The researchers showed that the climate change models used by the IPCC underestimate Africa's emissions, which could account for 20-55% of global anthropogenic emissions of gaseous and particulate pollutants by 2030.
Scientists have devised a pair of math equations that better describe how the topography and rock composition of a landscape affects the process by which carbon dioxide is transferred to oceans and eventually buried in Earth's interior. Scientists have long suspected that the so-called the geologic carbon cycle is responsible for Earth's clement and life-friendly conditions because it helps regulate atmospheric concentrations of CO2, a greenhouse gas that acts to trap the sun's heat. This cycle is also thought to have played an important role in slowly thawing the planet during those rare times in the past when temperatures dipped so low that the globe was plunged into a "snowball-Earth" scenario and glaciers blanketed the equator.
Nothing dies of old age in the ocean. Everything gets eaten and all that remains of anything is waste. But that waste is pure gold to an oceanographer. In a study of the ocean's role in the global carbon cycle, oceanographers used those nuggets to their advantage. They incorporated the lifecycle of phytoplankton and zooplankton -- small, often microscopic animals at the bottom of the food chain -- into a novel mechanistic model for assessing the global ocean carbon export.
A new study shows Earth's climate likely will continue to warm during this century on track with previous estimates, despite the recent slowdown in the rate of global warming. The research hinges on a new and more detailed calculation of the sensitivity of Earth's climate to the factors that cause it to change, such as greenhouse gas emissions. The study found Earth is likely to experience roughly 20 percent more warming than estimates that were largely based on surface temperature observations during the past 150 years.
Alaska, the last great frontier, is being threatened by many proposals to mine an estimated 5.5 trillion tons of coal. Scientists comment on the struggle to keep Alaska untouched.
French researchers have looked into data mining to develop a method for extracting information on the vulnerability of cities in regions of moderate risk, creating a proxy for assessing the probable resilience of buildings and infrastructure despite incomplete seismic inventories of buildings. The research exposes significant vulnerability in regions that have experienced an 'explosion of urbanization.'
Will the dating of the volcanic eruption of Santorini remain an unsolved mystery? The question whether this natural disaster occurred 3,500 or 3,600 years ago is of great historiographical importance and has indeed at times been the subject of heated discussion among experts. After investigating tree rings, scientists have concluded that the volcano erupted in the 16th century BC, rather than any earlier than that.
The Earth's mantle is a solid layer that undergoes slow, continuous convective motion. But how do these rocks deform, thus making such motion possible, given that minerals such as olivine (the main constituent of the upper mantle) do not exhibit enough defects in their crystal lattice to explain the deformations observed in nature? Scientists have provided an unexpected answer to this question. It involves little known and hitherto neglected crystal defects, known as 'disclinations', which are located at the boundaries between the mineral grains that make up rocks.
The majority of Europe will experience higher warming than the global average if surface temperatures rise to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels, according to a new study.
A recent study of five decades of satellite data, model simulations and in situ observations suggests the impact of seasonal diurnal or daily warming varies between global regions affecting many ecosystem functions and services, such as food production, carbon sequestration and climate regulation. The effects of non-uniform climate warming on terrestrial ecosystems is a key challenge in carbon cycle research and for those making future predictions.
Judging the effects of climate change on extinction may be easier than previously thought, according to a new article. Although widely used assessments of threatened species, such as the IUCN Red List, were not developed with the effects of climate change in mind, a study of 36 amphibian and reptile species endemic to the US has concluded that climate change may not be fundamentally different from other extinction threats in terms of identifying species in danger of extinction.
Scientists are revealing how microbes living on floating pieces of plastic marine debris affect the ocean ecosystem, and the potential harm they pose to invertebrates, humans and other animals.
With the help of a tiny fragment of zircon extracted from a remote rock outcrop in Australia, the picture of how our planet became habitable to life about 4.4 billion years ago is coming into sharper focus. New research reveals data that confirms that Earth’s crust first formed just 160 million years after the formation of our solar system. It also confirms that the timeframe that the planet was a fiery ball covered in a magma ocean came earlier, and that in order to become habitable, Earth cooled and formed its crust during the first geologic eon of the planet. The research may help scientists to understand how other habitable planets may form.
New research focusing on the last 3 million years of the Cretaceous period, managed to detail exactly the chronology of the climatic, magnetic and biological events prior to the great extinction of 66 million years ago (Ma.), which includes the disappearance of almost all dinosaurs (except birds). Scientists analyzed gravitational interactions between the Earth, the Moon, the Sun and the planets of the solar system (principally Jupiter) in their work.
Climate change caused by human activities is by far the worst threat to biodiversity in the Arctic. Some of these changes are already visible. Unique and irreplaceable Arctic wildlife and landscapes are crucially at risk due to global warming caused by human activities according to a new report prepared by 253 scientists from 15 countries.
An international team of scientists has produced global maps showing how fast and in which direction local climates have shifted.
With a stock estimated at 1,000 million tons so far, mesopelagic fish dominate the total biomass of fish in the ocean. However, scientists have found that their abundance could be at least 10 times higher. The results are based on the acoustic observations conducted during the circumnavigation of the Malaspina Expedition.
In spring 2010, the research icebreaker Polarstern returned from the South Pacific with a scientific treasure -- ocean sediments from a previously almost unexplored part of the South Polar Sea. What looks like an inconspicuous sample of mud to a layman is, to geological history researchers, a valuable archive from which they can reconstruct the climatic history of the polar areas over many years of analysis. This, in turn, is of fundamental importance for understanding global climatic development.
Extreme air pollution in Asia is affecting the world’s weather and climate patterns, according to a new study. Using climate models and data collected about aerosols and meteorology over the past 30 years, researchers found that air pollution over Asia -- much of it coming from China -- is impacting global air circulations.
Many popular measures to combat overfishing help conserve mostly small juvenile fish. The results from a set of international studies may now revolutionize fishing regulations.
A new study quantifies for the first time future losses in deep-sea marine life, using advanced climate models. Results show that even the most remote deep-sea ecosystems are not safe from the impacts of climate change.
Global average temperatures will rise at least 4°C by 2100 and potentially more than 8°C by 2200 if carbon dioxide emissions are not reduced according to new research published in Nature. Scientists found global climate is more sensitive to carbon dioxide than most previous estimates.
Earth's mantle temperatures during the Archean eon, which commenced some 4 billion years ago, were significantly higher than they are today. According to recent model calculations, the Archean crust that formed under these conditions was so dense that large portions of it were recycled back into the mantle. This is the conclusion reached by Dr. Tim Johnson who is currently studying the evolution of Earth's crust as a member of the research team led by Professor Richard White of the Institute of Geosciences at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU).
Bottlenose dolphins in Louisiana's Barataria Bay have lung damage and adrenal hormone abnormalities not previously seen in other dolphin populations, according to a new peer-reviewed study published Dec. 18, 2013 in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
The future availability of carbon capture and storage (CCS) will be pivotal in reaching ambitious climate targets, according to a new comprehensive study of future energy technologies from IIASA, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Change, the Stanford Energy Modeling Forum, and researchers worldwide.
Less than 20 miles from the site where melting ice exposed the 5,000-year-old body of Ötzi the Iceman, scientists have discovered new and compelling evidence that the Italian Alps are warming at an unprecedented rate.
NASA scientists have revealed the inner workings of the ozone hole that forms annually over Antarctica and found that declining chlorine in the stratosphere has not yet caused a recovery of the ozone hole.
The sensitivity of Earth's climate to CO2 could be double what has been previously estimated, according to a statement issued by the Geological Society of London.
Scientists have discovered huge reserves of freshwater beneath the oceans kilometres out to sea, providing new opportunities to stave off a looming global water crisis.
An international team including CNRS, Météo-France, CEA, UVSQ and INERIS has carried out and analyzed a group of climate projections for the whole of Europe at an unprecedented resolution of 12 km, by downscaling the global simulations carried out for the 5th IPCC report. These simulations for the 21st century now provide a much more detailed representation of local phenomena and extreme events.
Flower color in some parts of the world, including the Himalayas, has evolved to attract bees as pollinators, research has shown for the first time.
A new study led by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Zoological Society or London warns that the world's largest tropical desert, the Sahara, has suffered a catastrophic collapse of its wildlife populations.
Climate change has increased concern over possible large and rapid changes in the physical climate system, which includes Earth's atmosphere, land surfaces, and oceans. Some of these changes could occur within a few decades or even years, leaving little time for society and ecosystems to adapt.
A new study, led by a University of Southampton scientist, highlights the potential for fish communities in marine reserves to resist climate change impacts better than communities on fished coasts.
One of the largest and longest experiments ever done to test the impact of nutrient loading on coral reefs today confirmed what scientists have long suspected -- that this type of pollution from sewage, agricultural practices or other sources can lead to coral disease and bleaching.
The most detailed range-wide assessment of the bonobo (formerly known as the pygmy chimpanzee) ever conducted has revealed that this poorly known and endangered great ape is quickly losing space in a world with growing human populations.
British cities -- unlike their counterparts on the mainland -- are taking the lead in making plans to curb and handle the impact of climate change. So says Diana Reckien, of Columbia University in the US, in a study published in Springer's journal Climatic Change that analysed the relevant strategic policies and planning documents of 200 urban areas in eleven European countries. They found that one in every three European cities has no plans on the table to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while seven in every ten urban areas have no formal adaptation plans in place.
Life originated as a result of natural processes that exploited early Earth's raw materials. Scientific models of life's origins almost always look to minerals for such essential tasks as the synthesis of life's molecular building blocks or the supply of metabolic energy. But this assumes that the mineral species found on Earth today are much the same as they were during Earth's first 550 million years -- the Hadean Eon -- when life emerged. A new analysis of Hadean mineralogy challenges that assumption.
Even if carbon dioxide emissions came to a sudden halt, the carbon dioxide already in Earth's atmosphere could continue to warm our planet for hundreds of years, according to Princeton University-led research published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The study suggests that it might take a lot less carbon than previously thought to reach the global temperature scientists deem unsafe.
An international team of researchers led by Ralf Tappert, University of Innsbruck, reconstructed the composition of Earth's atmosphere of the last 220 million years by analyzing modern and fossil plant resins. The results suggest that atmospheric oxygen was considerably lower in Earth's geological past than previously assumed. This new study questions some of the current theories about the evolution of climate and life, including the causes for the gigantism of dinosaurs.
A University of Maryland-led, multi-organizational team has created the first high-resolution global map of forest extent, loss and gain. This resource greatly improves the ability to understand human and naturally-induced forest changes and the local to global implications of these changes on environmental, economic and other natural and societal systems, members of the team say.
A new scientific study has identified the protected areas most critical to preventing extinctions of the world's mammals, birds and amphibians. Resulting from an international collaboration, this analysis provides practical advice for improving the effectiveness of protected areas in conserving global biodiversity.
An interdisciplinary team of researchers say they have found 'missing heat' in the climate system, casting doubt on suggestions that global warming has slowed or stopped over the past decade.
In a major new international report, experts conclude that the acidity of the world's ocean may increase by around 170% by the end of the century bringing significant economic losses. People who rely on the ocean's ecosystem services -- often in developing countries -- are especially vulnerable.
In a reconstruction of Pacific Ocean temperatures in the last 10,000 years, researchers have found that its middle depths have warmed 15 times faster in the last 60 years than they did during apparent natural warming cycles in the previous 10,000.
Coral reefs may be able to adapt to moderate climate warming, improving their chance of surviving through the end of this century, if there are large reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, according to a study funded by NOAA and conducted by the agency's scientists and its academic partners. Results further suggest corals have already adapted to part of the warming that has occurred.
Nearly 17,000 kilometres of road were built in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest every year between 2004 and 2007. Although road-building is a major contributor to deforestation and habitat loss, the way in which road networks develop is still poorly understood.
An open access special issue of the International Journal of Global Warming brings together, for the first time, empirical evidence of loss and damage from the perspective of affected people in nine vulnerable countries. The articles in this special issue show how climatic stressors affect communities, what measures households take to prevent loss and damage, and what the consequences are when they are unable to adjust sufficiently.
A team of scientists, led by the University of Southampton, has developed a new method to help the world's coasts adapt to global sea-level rises over the next 100 years.
For the first time ever, scientists have documented a widespread extinction of bees that occurred 65 million years ago, concurrent with the massive event that wiped out land dinosaurs and many flowering plants. Their findings, published this week in the journal PLOS ONE, could shed light on the current decline in bee species.
People are bad at getting a grip on collective risks. Climate change is a good example of this: the annual climate summits have so far not led to specific measures. The reason for this is that people attach greater value to an immediate material reward than to investing in future quality of life.
The researchers discussed the state of forests and how the situation of endangered forest species could be improved by restoring natural forest functions and structures that have disappeared from forests. This kind of activity is called ecological restoration.
Economics of Climate Change in East Asia notes that while climate adaptation investments can be large, the aggregate cost to protect the most vulnerable sectors -- infrastructure, coastal protection, and agriculture -- would be less than 0.3% of East Asia's gross domestic product every year between 2010 and 2050.
In some areas of Africa, farmers, scientists and policymakers are beginning to win the war on hunger, says Pedro Sanchez, PhD. Several factors have come together in recent years to tip the scales and increase food production.
What do smoke rings, tornadoes and the Great Red Spot of Jupiter have in common? They are all examples of vortices, regions within a fluid (liquid, gas or plasma) where the flow spins around an imaginary straight or curved axis. Understanding how geophysical (natural world) vortices behave can be critical for tasks such as weather forecasting and environmental pollution monitoring.
Over 80% of the world's ice-free land is at risk of profound ecosystem transformation by 2100, a new study reveals. "Essentially, we would be leaving the world as we know it," says Sebastian Ostberg of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany.
The first ever evidence of a comet entering Earth's atmosphere and exploding, raining down a shock wave of fire which obliterated every life form in its path, has been discovered by a team of South African scientists and international collaborators.
As human life expectancy increases, so does the percentage of invasive and endangered birds and mammals, according to a new study by the University of California, Davis.
The seesaw variability of global temperatures often engenders debate over how seriously we should take climate change. But within 35 years, even the lowest monthly dips in temperatures will be hotter than we've experienced in the past 150 years, according to a new and massive analysis of all climate models.
The mystery of why life on Earth evolved when it did has deepened with the publication of a new study in the latest edition of the journal Science.
New data visualizations from the NASA Center for Climate Simulation and NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio at Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., show how climate models used in the new report from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimate possible temperature and precipitation pattern changes throughout the 21st century.
Water vapor changes in the stratosphere contribute to warmer temperatures and likely play an important role in the evolution of Earth's climate, says a research team led by a Texas A&M University professor.
Oxygen appeared in the atmosphere up to 700 million years earlier than we previously thought, according to research published today in the journal Nature, raising new questions about the evolution of early life.
The explosion of animal life on Earth around 520 million years ago was the result of a combination of interlinked factors rather than a single underlying cause, according to a new study.
A magnitude 8.3 earthquake that struck deep beneath the Sea of Okhotsk on May 24, 2013, has left seismologists struggling to explain how it happened. At a depth of about 609 kilometers (378 miles), the intense pressure on the fault should inhibit the kind of rupture that took place.
Habitable conditions on Earth will be possible for at least another 1.75 billion years - according to astrobiologists at the University of East Anglia.
By the year 2100, global warming will have caused sea levels to rise by 1 to 3 meters. This will strongly affect islands, their flora, fauna and inhabitants. A team of researchers from the Ecologie, systématique et évolution (CNRS/Université Paris-Sud) laboratory studied the impact of rising sea levels on 1,269 French islands throughout the world. Their model shows that between 5% and 12% of these islands could be totally submerged in the future.
Using data from the world's ecosystems and predictions of how climate change will impact them, scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the University of Queensland, and Stanford University have produced a roadmap that identifies the world's most vulnerable and least vulnerable areas in the Age of Climate Change.
Scientists at the University of Leeds have solved a 300-year-old riddle about which direction the centre of Earth spins.
For the first time, researchers have successfully demonstrated an interaction between ocean currents and bacteria: The unexpected interaction leads to the production of vast amounts of nitrogen gas in the Pacific Ocean. This takes place in one of the largest oxygen free water masses in the world -- and these zones are expanding. This can ultimately weaken the ocean's ability to absorb CO2.
Scientists expect climate change and warmer oceans to push the fish that people rely on for food and income into new territory. Predictions of where and when species will relocate, however, are based on broad expectations about how animals will move and have often not played out in nature. New research based at Princeton University shows that the trick to more precise forecasts is to follow local temperature changes.
As Earth's temperature climbs, the stony corals that form the backbone of ocean reefs are in decline. It's a well-documented story: Violent storms and coral bleaching have all contributed to dwindling populations, and increasing acidity of seawater threatens to take an additional toll. Less discussed, however, is the plight of gorgonian corals -- softer, flexible, tree-like species that can rise up like an underwater forest, providing a canopy beneath which small fish and aquatic life of all kinds can thrive.
Leaders of the major world religions can play a key role in preserving biological diversity. A new study carried out by ecologists at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), among others, indicates that if the world's religious leaders wished to bring about a change, they would be ideally positioned to do so.
This century, climate change is expected to induce changes in air pollution, exposure to which could increase annual premature deaths by more than 100,000 adults worldwide. Based on the findings from a modelling study published in Springer's journal Climatic Change, lead author Dr. Yuanyuan Fang, formerly at Princeton University and now at the Carnegie Institute for Science at Stanford, urges, in the face of future climate change, stronger emission controls to avoid worsening air pollution and the associated exacerbation of health problems, especially in more populated regions of the world.
The best real estate for coral reefs over the coming decades will no longer be around the equator but in the sub-tropics, new research from the University of Bristol suggests.
The ancient closest relatives of mammals -- the cynodont therapsids -- not only survived the greatest mass extinction of all time, 252 million years ago, but thrived in the aftermath, according to new research published today (28th August).
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M), Dr. Katharina Six, Dr. Silvia Kloster, Dr. Tatiana Ilyina, the late Dr. Ernst Maier-Reimer and two co-authors from the US, demonstrate that ocean acidification may amplify global warming through the biogenic production of the marine sulfur component dimethylsulphide (DMS).
Mercury accumulation in the ocean fish we eat tends to take place at deeper depths, scientists found, in part because of photochemical reactions that break down organic mercury in well-lit surface waters. More of this accessible organic mercury is also being generated in deeper waters.
The melting of sea ice in the Arctic is well on its way toward its annual "minimum," that time when the floating ice cap covers less of the Arctic Ocean than at any other period during the year. While the ice will continue to shrink until around mid-September, it is unlikely that this year’s summer low will break a new record. Still, this year’s melt rates are in line with the sustained decline of the Arctic ice cover observed by NASA and other satellites over the last several decades.
Climate change combined with rapid population increases, economic growth and land subsidence could lead to a more than nine-fold increase in the global risk of floods in large port cities between now and 2050.
The study shows that the pollution-population relationship varies by region. For example, a city of 1 million people in Europe experiences six times higher nitrogen dioxide pollution than an equally populated city of 1 million people in India, according to the research led by Lok Lamsal, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The variation is a reflection of regional differences such as industrial development, per capita emissions and geography. The study was published June 13 in Environmental Science & Technology.
The number of humans on the planet has almost doubled in the past 50 years ‒ and so has global food production. As a result, the use of pesticides and their effect on humans, animals and plants have become more important.
Climate change is set to trigger more frequent and severe heat waves in the next 30 years regardless of the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) we emit into the atmosphere, a new study has shown.
Concerns that melting water would speed up the decline of Greenland's ice sheet have been allayed by new research which shows the lubricating effect of water beneath glaciers will not significantly add to sea-level rise.
Research by scientists at The University of Manchester and Lancaster shows maintaining healthy soil biodiversity can play an important role in optimising land management programmes to reap benefits from the living soil.
Both freshwater availability for many millions of people and the stability of ecosystems such as the Siberian tundra or Indian grasslands are put at risk by climate change. Even if global warming is limited to two degrees above pre-industrial levels, 500 million people could be subject to increased water scarcity -- while this number would grow by a further 50 percent if greenhouse-gas emissions are not cut soon.
Carpeting the high valleys of Yosemite and other parts of the Sierra Nevada, mountain meadows are more than an iconic part of the California landscape. The roughly 17,000 high altitude meadows help regulate the release of Sierra snow melt into rivers and streams. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-08-sierra-meadows-worsen-california-drought.html#jCp
From the most parched areas of Saudi Arabia to water-scarce areas of the western U.S., the idea of harvesting fog for water is catching on. Now, a novel approach to this process could help meet affected communities' needs for the life-essential resource. Scientists describe their new, highly efficient fog collector, inspired by a shorebird's beak, in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.
Electric vehicles are cool, research shows. Literally. A new study adds more fuel to the already hot debate about whether electric vehicles are more environmentally friendly than conventional vehicles by uncovering two hidden benefits.
Researchers have found that microbial communities in different regions of the Pacific Ocean displayed strikingly similar daily rhythms in their metabolism despite inhabiting extremely different habitats -- the nutrient-rich waters off California and the nutrient-poor waters north of Hawai'i. Furthermore, in each location, the dominant photoautotrophs appear to initiate a cascade effect wherein the other major groups of microbes perform their metabolic activities in a coordinated and predictable way.
The human-dominated geological epoch known as the Anthropocene probably began around the year 1610, with an unusual drop in atmospheric carbon dioxide and the irreversible exchange of species between the New and Old Worlds, according to new research.
A new study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.
New research illuminates where and why novel species combinations are likely to emerge due to recent changes in temperature and precipitation