13 January 2016

Underwater volcanoes may have sent carbon dioxide to the atmosphere at the end of the last ice age

Underwater volcanoes may have sent carbon dioxide to the atmosphere at the end of the last ice age

During the last glacial period, Earth’s land and sea stored carbon as both dissolved carbon dioxide and biomass. But as the ice receded, water warmed and organisms decayed, that carbon surged into the atmosphere. Most of the released gas came from the atmosphere originally, but in a new study, a data anomaly hints that a small percentage of it came from volcanoes erupting on the ocean floor.

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31 December 2015

Himalayan glacial lake threatens to flood Buddhist holy city

Himalayan glacial lake threatens to flood Buddhist holy city

Himalayan lakes, like South Lhonak, are becoming more and more common as glaciers retreat due to warming temperatures, according to Anil V. Kulkarni, a glaciologist at the Divecha Center for Climate Change at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. Kulkarni wants to understand how quickly the lakes are growing and how dangerous they are. He studies South Lhonak Lake because it’s large and growing, which suggests that it is unstable, he said.

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30 December 2015

Appliance upgrades that save the most water, energy and cost

Appliance upgrades that save the most water, energy and cost

A new analysis helps consumers choose which appliances to swap for more efficient models and save money in the process, with some surprising results. Best buys include the furnace and water heater, rather than the more visible clothes dryer and refrigerator, the researchers found.

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Scientists develop new tools to anticipate coastal pollution in Maine

Scientists develop new tools to anticipate coastal pollution in Maine

Scientists from the University of Maine, University of New Hampshire, and College of the Atlantic have now designed a new way to predict fine-scale watershed contamination along Maine’s coast. Their work will inform watershed management throughout the state and ultimately other coastal areas, said Sean Smith, a watershed geomorphologist at the University of Maine who presented the project at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.

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29 December 2015

In Antarctica, melting ice drives unusual phytoplankton growth

In Antarctica, melting ice drives unusual phytoplankton growth

In most of the Southern Ocean, phytoplankton – the base of the marine food web – grow poorly because they’re starved for iron. But in the Amundsen Sea on the west coast of Antarctica, phytoplankton abound in summer. A new study now shows the reason behind the sea’s startling productivity: meltwater from an abutting ice shelf flows into the sea, buoys iron to the surface and jumpstarts phytoplankton growth.

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Seesawing sea surface height corresponds with global temperatures, study finds

Seesawing sea surface height corresponds with global temperatures, study finds

Patterns of sea level changes in the Pacific may be a better way to monitor global temperatures than measuring ocean temperatures at the sea surface, new research finds. Those changes in sea level can explain observed global temperature trends and even predict how much temperatures will change during the current El Niño event, according to the researchers.

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28 December 2015

Storm runoff could help replenish dwindling California aquifers

Storm runoff could help replenish dwindling California aquifers

Depleted groundwater supplies in the parched state of California have left many communities scrambling to secure water for the future. Now, researchers have a plan to recharge groundwater aquifers in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties with runoff captured from rainstorms. Using models that carefully characterize the region, they produced maps highlighting the best sites for stormwater capture in their own backyards.

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Parts of Sierra Nevada Mountains more susceptible to drought than previously thought, study finds

Parts of Sierra Nevada Mountains more susceptible to drought than previously thought, study finds

Particular areas in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains have a high capacity to store water but are more susceptible to droughts than previously thought, new research finds. In the new study, scientists studied the relationship between groundwater and stream flow in 10 strategically chosen locations throughout the Sierra Nevada in eastern California. They reported that high groundwater storage areas are losing the most water during the current drought.

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23 December 2015

Chemical changes in groundwater precede earthquakes in Iceland, study finds

Chemical changes in groundwater precede earthquakes in Iceland, study finds

Northern Iceland is a geothermally active land where heat from deep below the crust melts snow and wreaths the land in steam. Now, new research shows that the tumultuous groundwater beneath northern Iceland’s mist may hold the key to predicting future earthquakes in the region. In a new study presented at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, researchers found that concentrations of dissolved minerals in groundwater sharply increased before two major earthquakes in northern Iceland, possibly offering a strategy for earthquake prediction.

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Large asteroid hit would make the world burn, go dark

Large asteroid hit would make the world burn, go dark

Sixty-six million years ago, an asteroid crashed into Earth. Its impact, scientists believe, caused global catastrophic fires, transformed the climate, and caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. A new study shows that if a similar asteroid were to strike Earth today, the soot from fires alone would severely alter the climate and imperil life.

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