Earth

Scientists at the University of Calgary have found that methane emission by plants could be a bigger problem in global warming than previously thought.

A U of C study says that when crops are exposed to environmental factors that are part of climate change -- increased temperature, drought and ultraviolet-B radiation -- some plants show enhanced methane emissions. Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas; 23 times more effective in trapping heat than carbon dioxide.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — When Apollo punished King Midas by giving him donkey ears, only the king and his barber knew. Unable to keep a secret, the barber dug a hole, whispered into it, "King Midas has donkey ears," and filled the hole. But plants sprouted from the hole, and with each passing breeze, shared the king's secret.

Washington, DC—New research about what triggers earthquakes, authored by Michael Strasser of Bremen University, Germany, with colleagues from the USA, Japan, China, France, and Germany, will appear in the Aug. 16 2009 issue of Nature Geoscience (online version). The research article, titled "Origin and evolution of a splay-fault in the Nankai accretionary wedge" is drawn from the scientists' participation in the Nankai Trough Seismogenic Zone Experiment (NanTroSEIZE), a long-term scientific ocean-drilling project conducted by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP).

CSIRO and the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA) are collaborating to try to outwit one of southern Australia's worst agricultural weeds.

"We are initiating a one-year study to see if it would be feasible to control one and two-leaf Cape tulips (Moraea flaccida and M. miniata) using the rust fungus Puccinia moraeae as a biological control agent," CSIRO Entomology's Dr John Scott said.

Massive burning of forests for agriculture thousands of years ago may have increased atmospheric carbon dioxide enough to alter global climate and usher in a warming trend that continues today, according to a new study that appears online Aug. 17 in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16, 2009 — The first dry powder inhalable vaccine for measles is moving toward clinical trials next year in India, where the disease still sickens millions of infants and children and kills almost 200,000 annually, according to a report presented here today at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16, 2009 — Will the universe expand outward for all of eternity and end in a vast, dark, cold, sterile, diffuse nothingness? Or will the "Big Bang" — the gargantuan explosion that formed the universe 14 billion years ago — end in the "Big Crunch?" Planets, stars and galaxies all hurtle inward and collapse into an incredibly hot, dense mass a billion times smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. And then … KA-BOOOOM!!! Another Big Bang and another universe forms and hurtles outward, eventually leading to new iterations of the Sun, the Earth, and you?

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, AIRS, is one of six instruments on board the Aqua satellite, part of the NASA Earth Observing System.

Its purpose is to detect trends in climate variation and observe water and energy cycles.

AIRS uses infrared technology to create 3-D maps of air and surface temperature, water vapor, and cloud properties. Its 2,378 spectral channels provide a spectral resolution more than 100 times greater than previous IR sounders and give more accurate information on the vertical profiles of atmospheric temperature and moisture.

The Atlantic Ocean's second Tropical Depression has been on shaky ground since it formed early in the week of August 11. It meandered westward from the African coast and maintained its tropical depression status until weakening to a remnant low. Now it has the potential to come back. In addition to Tropical Depression 2, there are three other areas forecasters are watching in the Atlantic Basin. Residents of Florida should particularly be watchful as there's a potential for tropical development on both the east and west coasts this weekend.

The warming of an Arctic current over the last 30 years has triggered the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from methane hydrate stored in the sediment beneath the seabed.

Scientists at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton working in collaboration with researchers from the University of Birmingham, Royal Holloway London and IFM-Geomar in Germany have found that more than 250 plumes of bubbles of methane gas are rising from the seabed of the West Spitsbergen continental margin in the Arctic, in a depth range of 150 to 400 metres.

Observations made by Southampton scientists help understand the massive blooms of microscopic marine algae – phytoplankton – in the seas around Madagascar and its effect on the biogeochemistry of the southwest Indian Ocean.

The observations were made by researchers based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS) during a 2005 hydrographic survey south and east of Madagascar while aboard the royal research ship RRS Discovery. The fully analysed results are published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Physicists at the University of Rochester have combed through data from satellites and ocean buoys and found evidence that in the last 50 years, the net flow of heat into and out of the oceans has changed direction three times.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- A team of MIT chemists has devised a new way to add fluorine to a variety of compounds used in many drugs and agricultural chemicals, an advance that could offer more flexibility and potential cost-savings in designing new drugs.

Drug developers commonly add fluorine atoms to drugs, such as the cholesterol-lowering rosuvastatin, to keep the body from breaking them down too quickly. Many of these drugs contain aromatic rings — a type of six-carbon ring — and attaching a fluorine atom to the rings can be a difficult, expensive process.

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary is among the healthiest coral reef ecosystems in the tropical Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, according to a new NOAA report.

An experimental atomic clock based on ytterbium atoms is about four times more accurate than it was several years ago, giving it a precision comparable to that of the NIST-F1 cesium fountain clock, the nation's civilian time standard, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) report in Physical Review Letters.*