30 June 2014

Cold War era samples reveal sharp drop in major global warming agent in part of Arctic

Cold War era samples reveal sharp drop in major global warming agent in part of Arctic

Scientists measuring soot on thousands of air filters from the Finnish Arctic found a 78 percent decrease in the particulates — the second largest man-made contributor to global warming — from 1971 to 2010, according to a new study.

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24 June 2014

The risky business of climate change

The risky business of climate change

Up to $106 billion worth of coastal homes and businesses in the U.S. are likely to be underwater by the year 2050 due to rising sea levels, and up to $507 billion in coastal property will likely be below sea level by 2100, according to a new report released today. The report is based in part on a new study on sea level rise in Earth’s Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

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12 June 2014

Where it burns, it floods: predicting post-fire mudslides in the West

Where it burns, it floods: predicting post-fire mudslides in the West

By Alexandra Branscombe WASHINGTON, DC – Just a week after a 21,000-acre wildfire between Sedona and Flagstaff, Arizona, residents there are already bracing for mudslides that could surge down the burned slopes. These water-fueled flows of burned-out trees, loose rocks and mud can pack enough power to wipe out homes and roads. A new online hazard assessment system could help threatened communities in central Arizona and elsewhere in the western …

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6 June 2014

Earth’s most abundant mineral finally gets a name

bridgmanite

The mineral said to be the most abundant of our planet, but found so deep within Earth’s interior that scientists usually cannot observe it directly, now has a name.

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3 June 2014

Modern ocean acidification is outpacing ancient upheaval, study suggests

Modern ocean acidification is outpacing ancient upheaval, study suggests

Some 56 million years ago, a massive pulse of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere sent global temperatures soaring. In the oceans, carbonate sediments dissolved, some organisms went extinct and others evolved.
Scientists have long suspected that ocean acidification caused the crisis—similar to today, as manmade carbon dioxide combines with seawater to change its chemistry. Now, for the first time, scientists have quantified the extent of surface acidification from those ancient days, and the news is not good: the oceans are on track to acidify at least as much as they did then, only at a much faster rate.

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30 May 2014

Sonar could spot oil spills hidden by Arctic ice

Sonar could spot oil spills hidden by Arctic ice

By Alexandra Branscombe WASHINGTON, DC –Melting summer sea ice is opening up new shipping and drilling opportunities in the Arctic, bringing with them the potential for oil spills that could become trapped under the remaining sea ice and go unseen by current oil-detection methods. Now, a team of scientists is investigating a way to use sound waves to find this elusive oil. Scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts …

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22 May 2014

Snow photos sought to illuminate snowmelt puzzle

Snow photos sought to illuminate snowmelt puzzle

In some places, where trees protect snow from sun and wind, it actually melts faster than in open areas. That’s what scientists concluded recently when they did a review of global data about snowmelt. Now, to gather much more data needed to deeply understand the discovery, and to make it useful for land and forest management, those same scientists are reaching out to an unlikely pool of collaborators: hikers, forest managers and other outdoors enthusiasts throughout the Pacific Northwest.

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20 May 2014

New research questions emerge from Arctic melting

New research questions emerge from Arctic melting

What is hidden within and beneath Arctic ice? Why does winter matter? What is being irretrievably lost as the Arctic changes?

These are just some of the emerging questions that scientists are being challenged to answer about the rapidly changing Arctic in a new report, “The Arctic in the Anthropocene: Emerging Research Questions,” released last month by the National Research Council’s Committee on Emerging Research Questions.

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15 May 2014

Humans caused nearly 90 percent of sea level rise from warming of upper ocean, study says

Humans caused nearly 90 percent of sea level rise from warming of upper ocean, study says

Human-generated emissions are largely responsible for warming the top layer of the ocean over the past four decades, causing water to expand and sea level to rise, according to a new study.

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14 May 2014

Volcanic ash creates sticky situations for jet engines

ash plume

WASHINGTON, DC — Thousands of airplane passengers were stranded in airports across Europe in 2010 when Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano spewed billions of cubic feet of volcanic ash into the sky. The large cloud of ash – enough to fill at least two football stadiums – threatened to clog jet engines and cause airline accidents.

But it is not just large volumes of volcanic ash that can cause problems for jet engines. Volcanic ash can melt when it gets inside the hot engine and even small amounts of the melted ash can do harm by coating the interior of turbines, interacting with protective coatings, or sticking to parts that cool the engine.

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