Earth

A tiny single-celled organism that plays a key role in the carbon cycle of cold-water oceans may be a lot smarter than scientists had suspected.

Mixotrophs are species of algae that act as "plants" when they produce their own food and as “animals” when they eat other plants.

Wanderson Carvalho from the University of Kalmar is studying these algae to understand their potential impact on the environment, the economy and public health issues.

An all-electric aircraft will be more efficient, produce fewer greenhouse emissions and be quieter but current technology cannot be used because an electric motor using conventional magnets can weigh up to five times as much as conventional jet engine and not be as fuel efficient.

Alan Hubert and Dixie Dansercoer collect snow-depth data for ESA's CryoSat-2 mission. They're seasoned polar explorers so they are used to dealing with physically demanding and downright harsh conditions but what they encountered during their three and a half-month expedition from Russia to Greenland via the North Pole was dangerous even for them.

Human-caused nitrogen deposition has been indirectly “fertilizing” forests, increasing their growth and sequestering major amounts of carbon, a new study suggests.

The findings create a more complex view of the carbon cycle in forests, where it was already known that logging or other stand-replacement events – whether natural or not – create periods of 5-20 years when there is a net release of carbon dioxide from forests to the atmosphere, instead of sequestration as they do later on.

Some call it the eighth wonder of world. Others say it's the next Great Wall of China.

Upon completion in 2009, the Three Gorges Dam along China’s Yangtze River will be the world's largest hydroelectric power generator and one of the few man-made structures so enormous that it's actually visible to the naked eye from space.

While solar power and hybrid cars have become popular symbols of green technology, Stanford researchers are exploring another path for cutting emissions of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas that causes global warming.

Carbon capture and storage, also called carbon sequestration, traps carbon dioxide after it is produced and injects it underground. The gas never enters the atmosphere. The practice could transform heavy carbon spewers, such as coal power plants, into relatively clean machines with regard to global warming.

The Biscuit Fire of 2002 burned more severely in areas that had been salvage logged and replanted, compared to similar areas that were also burned in a 1987 fire but had been left to regenerate naturally, a new Oregon State University Study concludes.

The analysis, one of the first to ever quantify the effect of salvage logging and replanting on future fire severity, is being published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a professional journal.

Monitoring the saltiness of the ocean water could provide an early indicator of climate change. Significant increases or decreases in salt in key areas could forewarn of climate change in 10 to 20 years time. Presenting their findings at a recent European Science Foundation (ESF) conference, scientists predicted that the waters of the southern hemisphere oceans around South Africa and New Zealand are the places to watch.

Though the dense humid forests of Central Africa have been regarded as among the most pristine on Earth, the expansion of industrial logging and the accompanying proliferation of road density are threatening the future of this important ecosystem.Logging concessions and road distribution in Central Africa: Cameroon (1), Central African Republic (2), Equatorial Guinea (3), Gabon (4), Republic of Congo (5), Democratic Republic of Congo (6). Credit: Woods Hole Research Center (whrc.org)

On the eve of World Oceans Day, a group of over 100 scientists from 15 countries has revealed new evidence for the declining state of Europe's 4 regional seas

The global warming debate has focused on carbon dioxide emissions, but scientists at UC Irvine have determined that a lesser-known mechanism -- dirty snow -- can explain one-third or more of the Arctic warming primarily attributed to greenhouse gases.

Sargassum seaweed, famous in nautical lore for entangling ships in its dense floating vegetation, has been detected from space for the first time thanks to an instrument aboard ESA’s environmental satellite, Envisat. The ability to monitor Sargassum globally will allow researchers to understand better the primary productivity of the ocean and better predict climate change.CLICK ABOVE FOR FULL SIZE.

In 1976 a research cruise in the Gulf of Alaska recorded the sighting of "brown penguins."

How was it that birds that swim rather than fly and live almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere turned up deep in the Northern Hemisphere? Did they migrate more than 5,000 miles from Peru?Humboldt penguins are native to the Southern Hemisphere, but North America was home to these Humboldts when they lived at Stanley Park in Vancouver, B.C. Credit: Dee Boersma

Weather models are not good at predicting rain. Particularly in hilly terrain, this can lead to great damage arising from late warnings of floods, or even none at all. From June 1 to September 1, 2007 Delft University of Technology is participating in a major international experiment in Germany’s Black Forest, to learn more about what causes rain. Aircraft and an airship are to be used alongside ground-based observatories and satellites.TARA at its homebase in Cabauw, Holland. Credit: TU Delft