Earth

A Cardiff University research collaboration is working to recycle precious metals from road dusts and vehicle exhausts to create greener energy.

The innovative research by scientists from the School of Earth, Ocean and Planetary Science working with the University of Birmingham is to be featured at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition (2-5 July).

High Arctic ponds -- the most common source of surface water in many polar regions -- are now beginning to evaporate due to recent climate warming, say two of Canada’s leading environmental scientists.

John Smol (Professor of Biology at Queen’s University and holder of the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change) and Marianne Douglas (Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Director of the Canadian Circumpolar Institute at the University of Alberta) will publish their startling conclusions next week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

For the first time, a team of experts is preparing to create tsunami in a controlled environment in order to study their effects on buildings and coastlines - ultimately paving the way for the design of new structures better able to withstand their impact.

Dr Tiziana Rossetto, UCL Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, unveiled plans to develop an innovative new tsunami generator capable of creating scaled-down versions of the devastating waves. The UCL team will be working with marine engineering specialists HR Wallingford (HRW) throughout the project.

Research has uncovered alarming evidence that high Arctic ponds, many which have been permanent bodies of water for thousands of years, are completely drying out during the polar summer. These shallow ponds, which dot the Arctic landscape, are important indicators of environment change and are especially susceptible to the effects of climate change because of their low water volume.

Ongoing field trials since 2002 by a team that includes 16 farmers, Cornell researchers and Cornell Cooperative Extension field crops educators in 10 counties are showing the value of on-farm research. Their results are successfully quantifying and predicting the nitrogen needs for growing corn, saving farmers money and reducing environmental impact.

Using echo-sounding equipment to create images and maps of areas below the ocean floor, researchers have begun to unravel a new story about the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Images of areas below the Eastern Ross Sea, next to West Antarctica, provide evidence that the subcontinent was involved in the general growth of the Antarctic Ice Sheet as it formed many millions of years ago, according to scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The National Science Foundation provided funding for the project.

A NASA satellite has captured the first occurrence this summer of mysterious iridescent polar clouds that form 50 miles above Earth's surface.

The first observations of these clouds by the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite occurred above 70 degrees north on May 25. Observers on the ground began seeing the clouds on June 6 over northern Europe. AIM is the first satellite mission dedicated to the study of these unusual clouds.

NASA's Tropical Composition, Cloud and Climate Coupling (TC4) field campaign will begin this summer in San Jose, Costa Rica, with an investigation into how chemical compounds in the air are transported vertically into the stratosphere and how that transport affects cloud formation and climate.

Deep coal seams that are not commercially viable for coal production could be used for permanent underground storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) generated by human activities, thus avoiding atmospheric release, according to two studies published in Inderscience's International Journal of Environment and Pollution. An added benefit of storing CO2 in this way is that additional useful methane will be displaced from the coal beds.

A University of Utah study shows how various regions of North America are kept afloat by heat within Earth’s rocky crust, and how much of the continent would sink beneath sea level if not for heat that makes rock buoyant.

Of coastal cities, New York City would sit 1,427 feet under the Atlantic, Boston would be 1,823 feet deep, Miami would reside 2,410 feet undersea, New Orleans would be 2,416 underwater and Los Angeles would rest 3,756 feet beneath the Pacific.

Scientists at the Alaska Stable Isotope Facility can tell you whether marijuana came from Mexico or the Matanuska Valley. Soon they'll even be able to tell you whether it was grown indoors or out.

A few more years and enough samples and they hope to have something even more precise: an elemental fingerprint that could tell police where and under what conditions a sample of marijuana was grown.

Global climate change is causing Antarctic ice shelves to shrink and split apart, yielding thousands of free-drifting icebergs in the nearby Weddell Sea. According to a new study in this week’s journal Science these floating islands of ice – some as large as a dozen miles across – are having a major impact on the ecology of the ocean around them, serving as “hotspots” for ocean life, with thriving communities of seabirds above and a web of phytoplankton, krill, and fish below.

Forests in the United States and other northern mid- and upper-latitude regions are playing a smaller role in offsetting global warming than previously thought, according to a new study.

The study, which sheds light on the so-called missing carbon sink, concludes that intact tropical forests are removing an unexpectedly high proportion of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, thereby partially offsetting carbon entering the air through industrial emissions and deforestation.

Icebergs have long gripped the popular imagination, whether as relatively run-of-the-mill floating hazards that cause "unsinkable' ships to founder or, more recently, as enormous breakaway pieces of ice the size of states or small countries.

Plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air and combine it with water molecules and sunshine to make carbohydrate or sugar. Variations on this process provide fuel for all of life on Earth.

University of Wisconsin-Madison chemical and biological engineering Professor James Dumesic and his research team describe a two-stage process for turning biomass-derived sugar into 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF), a liquid transportation fuel with 40 percent greater energy density than ethanol.