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22 April 2019

New research explains why Hurricane Harvey intensified immediately before landfall

A new study explains the mechanism behind Hurricane Harvey’s unusual intensification off the Texas coast and how the finding could improve future hurricane forecasting.

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18 April 2019

The Moon’s crust is really cracked

The bombardment of asteroids and meteoroids that pockmarked the Moon’s surface over the eons also created fractures reaching deep into the lunar crust, report researchers in a new study in AGU’s Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

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16 April 2019

Dust toll in Africa exceeds deaths from HIV

New modeling indicates mineral dust from the Sahara is the biggest contributor to air pollution-related premature deaths on the African continent.

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15 April 2019

Earliest life may have arisen in ponds, not oceans

Shallow bodies of water, on the order of 10 centimeters deep, could have held high concentrations of what many scientists believe to be a key ingredient for jump-starting life on Earth: nitrogen.

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11 April 2019

Extended winter polar vortices chill Saturn’s strangely familiar moon, Titan

Daylight scatters through Titan’s atmosphere, seen from the moon’s night side. A hood of haze sits over the north pole at top, and a hint of the south polar votex appears at the bottom in this image captured by Cassini in June 2018, about three Earth years past the moon’s equinox. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Saturn’s hazy moon Titan has a long-lived Earth-like winter polar vortex supercharged by the moon’s peculiar chemistry. A new study finds Titan’s northern hemisphere polar vortex sticks around past the moon’s summer solstice, into what would be late June on Earth, lasting three-quarters of a Titan year, or about 22 Earth years.

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28 March 2019

California ‘browning’ more in the south during droughts

Like a climate chameleon, California turned brown during the 2012–16 drought, as vegetation dried or died off. But the change wasn’t uniform. Large areas of the northern part of the state were not severely affected, while Southern California became much browner than usual… 

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25 March 2019

Laser Blasts Show Asteroid Bombardment, Hydrogen Make Great Recipe for Life on Mars

A new study reveals asteroid impacts on ancient Mars could have produced key ingredients for life if the Martian atmosphere was rich in hydrogen. An early hydrogen-rich atmosphere on Mars could also explain how the planet remained habitable after its atmosphere thinned.

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21 March 2019

Chemical tracers untangle natural gas from agricultural methane emissions

With natural gas booming across the Front Range, drilling rigs may operate within feet from cattle farms. That shared land use can confound attempts to understand trends in methane, a greenhouse gas and air pollutant—the gases emitted from these different sources blend together.

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20 March 2019

Where do microplastics go in the oceans?

Where do tiny bits of plastic go when they are flushed out to sea? Much gets caught in subtropical ocean gyres, but more microplastic may be reaching Arctic waters than previously appreciated. Watch a simulation of microplastic drift over 12 years in the North Pacific.

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19 March 2019

Western droughts caused permanent loss to major California groundwater source

According to new research, the San Joaquin Valley aquifer in the Central Valley shrank permanently by up to 3 percent due to excess pumping during the sustained dry spell.

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