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20 September 2017

Tracking driftwood gives researchers insight into past Arctic Ocean changes

Wood from trees that fell into Arctic-draining rivers thousands of years ago is giving scientists a detailed look at how Arctic Ocean circulation has changed over the past 12,000 years. In a new study, researchers used nearly 1,000 pieces of driftwood collected from Arctic shorelines since the 1950s to track Arctic sea ice extent and ocean circulation since the start of the Holocene.

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19 September 2017

Researchers take on atmospheric effects of Arctic snowmelt

Researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute are exploring the changing chemistry of the Arctic’s atmosphere to help answer the question of what happens as snow and ice begin to melt. The research is concerned with the Arctic’s reactive bromine season, the period of time when bromine is consuming ozone, producing bromine monoxide and oxidizing mercury.

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5 September 2017

Discovery of boron on Mars adds to evidence for habitability

The discovery of boron on Mars gives scientists more clues about whether life could have ever existed on the planet, according to a paper published today in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

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31 August 2017

Record-low 2016 Antarctic sea ice due to ‘perfect storm’ of tropical, polar conditions

While winter sea ice in the Arctic is declining so dramatically that ships can now navigate those waters without any icebreaker escort, the scene in the Southern Hemisphere is very different. Sea ice area around Antarctica has actually increased slightly in winter — that is, until last year. A new study shows the lack of Antarctic sea ice in 2016 was in part due to a unique one-two punch from atmospheric conditions both in the tropical Pacific Ocean and around the South Pole.

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30 August 2017

Computer earthquake prediction in lab shows promise

By listening to the acoustic signal emitted by a laboratory-created earthquake, a computer science approach using machine learning can predict the time remaining before the fault fails. Not only does the work have potential significance to earthquake forecasting, but the approach is far-reaching, applicable to potentially all failure scenarios, including avalanches and other events.

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29 August 2017

Unprecedented levels of nitrogen could pose danger to Earth’s environment

Humankind’s contribution to the amount of nitrogen available to plants on land is now five times higher than it was 60 years ago, mainly due to increases in the synthetic production of fertilizer and nitrogen-producing crops, according to a new study. This increase in nitrogen parallels the exponential growth of atmospheric carbon, the main culprit behind climate change, and could pose as much of a danger to Earth’s environment, according to the study’s authors.

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28 August 2017

Biodegradable microbeads may clean sunblock chemical from seawater

By Madeleine Jepsen Beach-goers around the world who slather on sunblock before an ocean swim can unwittingly contribute to coral-reef bleaching. Oxybenzone, a chemical in many types of sunblock and some hair products, can cause coral bleaching and death by damaging the coral’s genetic material, according to researchers. A team of scientists has proposed a new way to remove oxybenzone from the ocean by using tiny, absorbent beads to soak …

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23 August 2017

Elevated zinc and germanium levels bolster evidence for habitable environments on Mars

New data gathered by the Mars Curiosity rover indicates a potential history of hydrothermal activity at Gale Crater on the red planet, broadening the variety of habitable conditions once present there, scientists report in a new study. Researchers found concentrations of the elements zinc and germanium to be 10 to 100 times greater in sedimentary rocks in Gale Crater compared to the typical Martian crust.

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Researchers investigate the lighter side of Earth’s inner core

Researchers report in a new study that a carbon compound called iron carbide, combined with small amounts of silicon impurities, may be an important component of the inner core. The researchers performed computer simulations to model how an iron and nickel core containing either iron carbide, or iron carbide with some silicon, compares to the density and other known characteristics of the inner core.

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14 August 2017

New study details ocean’s role in fourth-largest mass extinction

Extremely low oxygen levels in Earth’s oceans could be responsible for extending the effects of a mass extinction that wiped out millions of species on Earth around 200 million years ago, according to a new study.

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