3 April 2014
Research published this month in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, calculates the environmental impact of phasing down hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, under the Montreal Protocol. The landmark 1987 agreement phased out the use of ozone-depleting refrigerants, like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), leading to increased used of replacements that include HFCs.
31 March 2014
There are so many ways that repositories for canisters of nuclear waste can leak that at least one country, Sweden, is engineering the canisters themselves to last a million years. In general, however, the integrity of nuclear waste repositories depends on a host of geologic factors, Jean Bahr, a professor of geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said at a briefing earlier this month on Capitol Hill.
11 March 2014
California’s persistent drought is forcing grape growers to keep a more-attentive-than-normal eye on their vines, as water shortages and elevated temperatures alter this year’s growing season.
5 March 2014
Scientists for several decades have studied the potential environmental impacts of a nuclear conflict—either an all-out conflagration between superpowers or a more limited regional war. Now a research team led by scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research has produced an unusually detailed picture of the aftermath of a hypothetical regional nuclear war by using a modeling approach that includes simulations of atmospheric chemistry, the oceans, land surface, and sea ice.
20 February 2014
What does a future society look like? Could it be one where people are far richer than they are today, but continue to burn fossil fuels in huge quantities? Might society decide to embrace renewable energy technologies, while its people become only slightly wealthier than they are now? What other futures might we expect?
11 February 2014
The polar vortex made large parts of the country miserable this year with freezing cold air. But, in the Arctic, air temperatures were above average, sea ice grew slower than average, and the yearly ice cover continues thinning into sheets that break up in the summer. This shift is altering the chemistry of the air over the Arctic, and may affect the climate in ways that scientists don’t yet understand.
13 January 2014
Our distant descendants may one day need to flee to other planets to escape fatally hot temperatures and boiling seas from a long-predicted and inexorable intensification of our Sun’s heat. A grim prospect. But, some good news, indicated by a study published Jan. 10, is that habitable places could remain on Earth for much longer than scientists had previously thought. That might mean more time for humanity to adapt to …
18 December 2013
An 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck 70 kilometers west of Santa Cruz Island in the Solomon Islands Feb. 6. It triggered a tsunami that swept through tribal towns and wooden huts along a 20-kilometer stretch of coastline.
17 December 2013
A local legend circulates in the Upper Neckar Valley in southeast Germany. It tells of a worker, a healthy, strong young man, who lay down one day beside the railroad tracks for a midday nap. The man never woke up, prompting speculation about his death that endures until today.
16 December 2013
Seismologists at James Madison University are analyzing 20 years worth of seismic data to create a map of the Earth’s crust and a possible mantle plume underneath the Samoan Islands.