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You are browsing the archive for 2019 Fall Meeting Archives - AGU Blogosphere.

15 January 2020

Crowdsourcing pollution data could benefit public health

Low-cost sensors provide localized air quality data By Jerimiah Oetting Wildfire smoke regularly threatens air quality over vast regions of places like California. But a new study finds a network of low-cost sensors placed in private homes could paint a more detailed picture of localized pollution, especially in areas where data on air quality is limited. “[The low cost sensors are] unlikely to replace our reliable regulatory monitoring networks,” said …

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Nearly barren Icelandic landscapes guide search for extraterrestrial life

New research on microbial lifeforms living in nearly barren volcanic landscapes in Iceland may help scientists understand how best to search for life on other planets. Researchers with NASA’s FELDSPAR project are studying the distribution of life in these harsh Icelandic environments to inform the search for hidden life signs on planets like Mars. So far, they have found that microbes at their study sites are often isolated in “hot spots” and that microbial communities are distributed differently in areas subjected to different geological processes, such as wind or glaciation.

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14 January 2020

Microbes endure a variety of inhospitable conditions in California’s Mono Lake

Microbes found across distinct layers in California’s Mono Lake may be surviving by using a variety of carbohydrates for energy, according to a recent study. New research presented last month describes bacteria that thrive in the inhospitable lake across a variety of nutrient conditions. Researchers predict that these bacteria, which express more carbohydrate utilization genes than their competitors, succeed by being able to adapt to use available energy sources. The research helps scientists understand how bacteria survive in extreme environments as well as how bacterial communities shift following changes in nutrient levels.

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13 January 2020

Board game educates Japan about new energy source

A three-dimensional box that mimics an underwater ocean scene teaches players about an underwater fossil fuel resource in a new Japanese board game. Methane hydrate is a natural energy resource buried deep below the ocean floor surrounding Japan. This mixture of methane and ice, once extracted, can be converted into methane gas, a viable energy source. Chiharu Aoyama, an ocean resources professor at the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, suspects Japan’s citizens do not know about this natural resource. In 2016, Aoyama worked with Daiki Aoyama, a family member and game hobbyist, to design a board game to raise awareness about methane hydrate among Japanese people of all ages.

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2 January 2020

Research sheds light on the Moon’s dark craters

The next wave of robots to fly to Mars in 2020 could offer scientists an unprecedented understanding of Earth’s closest neighboring planet. But there are still mysteries to be solved much closer to home, on Earth’s own Moon.

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30 December 2019

Wildfire modeling helps predict fires in Colombia

A new wildfire model helps predict where and when wildfires will start in the Aburrá Valley of Colombia. This research, presented earlier this month at the 2019 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco, is helping local cities avoid the devastating environmental and health impacts of fires.

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26 December 2019

Llamas could help replenish plant life after glaciers retreat

The rapid retreat of glaciers from alpine regions around the world could result in widespread ecosystem losses, according to new research. Now, scientists are exploring a hairy solution to this hairy problem in the form of llamas.

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23 December 2019

Monitoring conflict and climate could help stop famines before they happen

Deaths due to famine have fallen precipitously in recent decades, but undernutrition, which affects one in five children worldwide, remains rampant. Now, researchers are using satellite imagery and social media to detect food-scarce regions before they become full-blown crises.

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19 December 2019

Survey reveals low awareness of volcanic hazards in Australia

On December 9, several Australians were among the dozens of tourists who were killed, injured, or went missing after a deadly eruption on Whakaari/White Island in New Zealand. Whakaari/White Island has seen more volcanic activity in the past 10 years than neighboring Australia has seen for 5,000, but according to volcanologists, the country is not free from the risks of a potential eruption. And according to a new survey, Australian citizens are mostly unaware of their country’s potential volcanic hazards.

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18 December 2019

Climate change driving expansion of Lyme disease in the US

A new study finds increasing average winter temperatures are driving up reported Lyme disease cases in the Northeast and Midwest, especially near the outer limits of tick habitats where warmer winters boost tick survival rates and ability to find hosts. Public health officials are even seeing the disease spread to parts of Canada, in areas where it has never been seen before.

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17 December 2019

Wildfire residue may contribute to climate change

Wildfires leave behind large swathes of blackened earth when they raze a landscape. That charred material contains a host of molecules that could continue to release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere days and weeks after the fire has gone out, according to new research.

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12 December 2019

One of Europe’s worst famines likely caused by devastating floods

Europe’s Great Famine of 1315–1317 is considered one of the worst population collapses in the continent’s history. Historical records tell of unrelenting rain accompanied by mass crop failure…Now, new research using tree ring records confirms the historical data, showing the years of the Great Famine were some of Europe’s wettest.

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Newfound Martian Aurora Actually the Most Common; Sheds Light on Mars’ Changing Climate

A type of Martian aurora first identified by NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft in 2016 is actually the most common form of aurora occurring on the Red Planet, according to new results from the mission. The aurora is known as a proton aurora and can help scientists track water loss from Mars’ atmosphere.

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11 December 2019

Scientists use night vision to help save bats’ lives

High-resolution radar and night vision cameras may help scientists protect bats from untimely deaths at wind farms, according to new research. Researchers are using these technologies to provide more specific details about the number of bats killed by wind turbines in Iowa.

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10 December 2019

Property values plummeted and stayed down after Hurricane Ike

Texas homes that took the biggest hit in value after 2008’s Hurricane Ike were, surprisingly, not those within historic flood zones, new research finds. Instead, they were homes just outside these zones, where damage affected whole neighborhoods, driving property value down for years, according to a team of researchers from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill who presented the findings this week at AGU’s Fall Meeting 2019 in San Francisco.

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