Earth

A new study indicates that Arctic temperatures suddenly increased during the last 50 years of the period from 1 AD to the year 2000. Because this warming occurred abruptly during the 20th Century while atmospheric greenhouse gases were accumulating, these findings provide additional evidence that humans are influencing climate.

RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 1, 2009) – An international team of researchers has designed a new graphite-based, magnetic nano-material that acts as a semiconductor and could help material scientists create the next generation of electronic devices like microchips.

RICHLAND, Wash. -- Scientists have long known that molecules dance about as the temperature rises, but now researchers know the exact steps that water takes with a certain molecule. Results with small, electrically charged cyanide ions and water molecules reveal that water zips around ions to a greater extent than expected. The findings improve our understanding of a chemical interaction important in environmental and atmospheric sciences.

Trichoderma reesei's change from moldy best to industrial staple is due, in part, to scientific explorations that led to the development of mutant fungal strains that produce large quantities of biomass-degrading enzymes.

After more than a decade of inquiry, a Princeton-led team of scientists has turned the tables on a long-standing controversy to re-establish an old truth about nitrogen mixing in the oceans.

For decades, scientists thought they had a handle on the workings of an intricate natural mechanism known as the nitrogen cycle, essential to maintaining life on Earth. This process, one of nature's most elegant sleights-of-hand, shuttles nitrogen from the soils to the oceans to the atmosphere and back.

Ruben Juanes, MIT explains that some of the naturally occurring underground methane exists not as gas but as methane hydrate. In the hydrate phase, a methane gas molecule is locked inside a crystalline cage of frozen water molecules. These hydrates exist in a layer of underground rock or oceanic sediments called the hydrate stability zone or HSZ. Methane hydrates will remain stable as long as the external pressure remains high and the temperature low.

Persistent winds and a weakened current in the Mid-Atlantic contributed to higher than normal sea levels along the Eastern Seaboard in June and July, according to a new NOAA technical report.

After observing water levels six inches to two feet higher than originally predicted, NOAA scientists began analyzing data from select tide stations and buoys from Maine to Florida and found that a weakening of the Florida Current Transport—an oceanic current that feeds into the Gulf Stream—in addition to steady and persistent Northeast winds, contributed to this anomaly.

The team, led by scientists from the University of Edinburgh, says that the new method, which uses data collected from earthquakes, potentially allows the Earth's seismic activity to be mapped more comprehensively.

Scientists currently monitor underground movements, such as earthquakes and nuclear tests, using seismometers – instruments that measure the motion of those events at the Earth's surface. This helps to indicate where they took place.

A new study finds that large-scale farming projects can erode theEarth's surface at rates comparable to those of the world's largestrivers and glaciers.

Published online in the journal Nature Geoscience, the research offersstark evidence of how humans are reshaping the planet. It also findsthat - contrary to previous scholarship - rivers are as powerful asglaciers at eroding landscapes.

As much as half of California could be occupied by new bird communities by 2070 according to a new study by PRBO Conservation Science (PRBO) and partners. The publication entitled "Reshuffling of species with climate disruption: A no-analog future for California birds?" is to be released in the open access peer reviewed journal PLoS ONE on September 2nd.

It's unusual to see towering clouds that are created from smoke and fires, but that's what showed up in the latest satellite imagery from NASA, when capturing powerful Hurricane Jimena and Tropical Depression Kevin in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Jimena's outer rainbands were already spreading over southern Baja California at 11 a.m. EDT.

This summer, a group of scientists and students set out from Resolute Bay, Canada, on the icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent. They were headed through the Northwest Passage, but instead of opening shipping lanes in the ice, they had gathered to open up new lines of thinking on Arctic science.

In the paper, The Boundless Carbon Cycle, published in Nature Geoscience, scientists from the University of Vienna, Uppsala University in Sweden, University of Antwerp, and the U.S. based Stroud™ Water Research Center argue that current international strategies to mitigate man made carbon emissions and address climate change have overlooked a critical player - inland waterways. Streams, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and wetlands play an important role in the carbon cycle that is unaccounted for in conventional carbon cycling models.

Like most invasive plants introduced to the U.S. from Europe and other places, garlic mustard first found it easy to dominate the natives. A new study indicates that eventually, however, its primary weapon – a fungus-killing toxin injected into the soil – becomes less potent.

The study, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that evolutionary forces can alter the very attributes that give an invasive plant its advantage. In fact, the study suggests the plant's defenses are undermined by its own success.

Hot on the heels of the Royal Society's Geoengineering the Climate report, September's Physics World contains feature comment from UK experts stressing the need to start taking geoengineering – deliberate interventions in the climate system to counteract man-made global warming – more seriously.