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25 July 2017

Researchers uncover 200-year-old sunspot drawings in Maine

In April of 1815, the volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia caused a global decrease in temperatures for the following few years, and 1816 came to be known as the “year without a summer.” New England states were particularly hard hit by these temperature changes, which significantly affected agriculture production and quality of life. Alongside his journal entries, Reverend Jonathan Fisher of Blue Hill, Maine sketched the sunspots during the summer of 1816, thinking they might be responsible for the cold summer temperatures.

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21 July 2017

Mountain glaciers recharge vital aquifers

Small mountain glaciers play a big role in recharging vital aquifers and in keeping rivers flowing during the winter, according to a new study. It suggests that the accelerated melting of mountain glaciers in recent decades may explain why arctic and subarctic rivers have increased their water flow during the winter even without a correlative increase in rain or snowfall.






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7 July 2017

Greenland’s summer ocean bloom likely fueled by iron

Iron particles catching a ride on glacial meltwater washed out to sea by drifting currents is likely fueling a recently discovered summer algal bloom off the southern coast of Greenland, a new study finds. Microalgae, also known as phytoplankton, are plant-like, marine microorganisms that form the base of the food web in many parts of the ocean.






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27 June 2017

As climate stirs Arctic sea ice faster, pollution tags along

A warming climate is not just melting the Arctic’s sea ice; it is stirring the remaining ice faster, increasing the odds that ice-rafted pollution will foul a neighboring country’s waters, says a new study. The new study, which maps the movement of sea ice in the region, underscores the risk of contaminated sea ice drifting from the economic zone of one country to another’s.






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21 June 2017

Extraordinary storms caused massive Antarctic sea ice loss in 2016

Antarctic sea ice – frozen ocean water that rings the southernmost continent – has grown over the past few decades but declined sharply in late 2016. By March of 2017 – the end of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer – Antarctic sea ice had reached its lowest area since records began in 1978. Puzzled scientists wanted to know why.






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12 June 2017

New study evaluates efficiency of oceans as heat sink, atmospheric gases sponge (plus video)

A new study is one the first to estimate how much and how quickly the ocean absorbs atmospheric gases and contrast it with the efficiency of heat absorption. Using two computer models that simulate the ocean, scientists found that gases are more easily absorbed over time than heat energy.






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8 June 2017

Some clouds filled with ice lollipops

A cloud full of lollipops may sound like the most delicious carnival treat ever… except this cloud’s lollipops are made of ice. Scientists spotted the lollipop-shaped ice crystals during a research flight in southwest England. The researchers flew through a large cloud system in 2009 to better understand how ice forms at relatively mild temperatures.






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7 June 2017

Offshore wind turbines vulnerable to Category 5 hurricane gusts

Offshore wind turbines built according to current standards may not be able to withstand the powerful gusts of a Category 5 hurricane, creating potential risk for any such turbines built in hurricane-prone areas, new University of Colorado Boulder-led research shows. The study, which was conducted in collaboration with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, highlights the limitations of current turbine design and could provide guidance for manufacturers and engineers looking to build more hurricane-resilient turbines in the future.






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24 May 2017

LA lawns lose 70 billion gallons of water a year

In summer 2010, Los Angeles was losing about 100 gallons of water per person per day to the atmosphere through the evaporation and plant uptake of lawns and trees, new research finds. Lawns accounted for 70 percent of the water loss, while trees accounted for 30 percent, according to a new study.






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18 May 2017

Planting trees cannot replace cutting carbon dioxide emissions, study shows

Growing plants and then storing the carbon dioxide they have taken up from the atmosphere is not a viable option to counteract unmitigated emissions from fossil fuel burning, a new study shows. Plantations would need to be so large they would eliminate most natural ecosystems or reduce food production if implemented as a late-regret option in the case of substantial failure to reduce emissions, according to the study.






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