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.
Melting ice caps may not be the only problem the Arctic has to worry about as the climate changes. As temperatures rise, permafrost melts earlier and stays wet longer. When plants and other organic material in the soil thaw, they decompose, releasing huge quantities of methane and carbon dioxide.
13 December 2013
New data from ocean microbes in the Soledad basin off the coast of Baja, Calif., confirms a La Niña-like effect cooled surface waters 4,000 to 10,000 years ago.
Wally the robot crawls along the ocean floor, watching the bubbles. And 8,000 miles away, a German scientist sits on a couch with a laptop, watching with him.