Earth

Northern Nevada energy consumers can be excused if they have a sense of "sticker shock" when their power bills come due following the holiday season. Or, that they have a feeling of powerlessness as the price of gasoline climbs to $3 per gallon.

They wonder: will the days of the $1 tank of gas ever return?

Drilling is complete on an Alaskan North Slope well, cofunded by the Department of Energy, that could prove to be an important milestone in assessing America's largest potential fossil energy resource: gas hydrate.

Gas hydrate is an ice-like solid that results from the trapping of methane molecules - the main component of natural gas - within a lattice-like cage of water molecules. Dubbed the "ice that burns," this substance releases gaseous methane when it melts.

Bacteria could be used to help steady buildings against earthquakes, according to researchers at UC Davis. The microbes can literally convert loose, sandy soil into rock.

When a major earthquake strikes, deep, sandy soils can turn to liquid, with disastrous consequences for buildings sitting on them. Currently, civil engineers can inject chemicals into the soil to bind loose grains together. But these epoxy chemicals may have toxic effects on soil and water, said Jason DeJong, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Davis.

Ancient people living in Panama were processing and eating domesticated species of plants like maize, manioc, and arrowroot at least as far back as 7,800 years ago – much earlier than previously thought – according to new research by a University of Calgary archaeologist.

Using corncob waste as a starting material, researchers have created carbon briquettes with complex nanopores capable of storing natural gas at an unprecedented density of 180 times their own volume and at one seventh the pressure of conventional natural gas tanks.

Science doesn’t always happen at a lab bench. For University of Toronto Mississauga physicist Kent Moore, it happens while strapped into a four-point harness, flying head-on into hurricane-force winds off the southern tip of Greenland.

New research aimed at understanding the link between carbon dioxide emissions and climate change in boreal systems has found clear links between both Spring and Fall temperature changes and carbon uptake/loss. Dr Kevin Robert Gurney, assistant professor in the Earth & Atmospheric Science/Agronomy at Purdue University and Associate Director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, presented these results at the “Is a Warmer Arctic Adding Carbon Dioxide to the Atmosphere” session of American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in San Francisco, CA on December 17th.

At a 9 am press conference at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting (AAAS) on February 18th, an international team of leading fisheries economists, biologists, and ecologists will call for the abolition of government fuel subsidies that keep deep-sea fishing vessels moving to deeper waters.

"Industrial fisheries are now going thousands of miles, thousands of feet deep and catching things that live hundreds of years in the process - in the least protected place on Earth," says Elliott Norse of the Marine Conservation Biology Institute.

A scientific panel revealed today that rising global demand for healthy seafood has exceeded wild capture fisheries' ability to provide all fish meals demanded by consumers. Aquaculture -- or the farming of seafood -- is helping to fill the gap between sustainable wild supplies and the public demand for seafood. Research unveiled at the AAAS Annual Meeting demonstrated the enormous potential for sustainable growth of healthy farmed seafood production, notably through advancements in feed efficiency and the ability to expand production in marine environments.

When glaciologist Lonnie Thompson returns to Peru's Qori Kalis glacier early this summer, he expects to find that half of the ice he saw during his visit there last year has vanished.

What troubles him the most is his recent observations that suggest that the entire glacier may likely be gone within the next five years, providing possibly the clearest evidence so far of global climate change.