Earth

In an advance that could help ease health and environmental concerns about the emerging nanotechnology industry, scientists are reporting development of technology for changing the behavior of nanoparticles in municipal sewage treatment plants — their main gateway into the environment. Their study was published in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Using algae records from the early Pliocene, when earth's climate was warmer, scientists are finding evidence which suggests that coastal upwelling off the California coast was sustained in this period even though sea surface temperatures were several degrees higher than today. Long associated with cold water, coastal upwelling is the mechanism responsible for California's productive waters. It draws cool, nutrient-rich water to the surface, promoting the growth of algae and boosting productivity through the food chain.

December 15, 2009 – Signal Hill, CA – Tom Bowman, an expert in communicating scientific issues to the public and president of Bowman Global Change, has developed a series of graphics that translate key figures from the fourth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report for public audiences. These new graphics provide non-experts access to the authentic scientific information they need to make informed decisions about climate change risks and opportunities.

NASA researchers studying urban landscapes have found that the intensity of the "heat island" created by a city depends on the ecosystem it replaced and on the regional climate. Urban areas developed in arid and semi-arid regions show far less heating compared with the surrounding countryside than cities built amid forested and temperate climates.

Researchers studying climate now have a new tool at their disposal: daily global measurements of carbon dioxide and water vapor in a key part of Earth's atmosphere. The data are courtesy of the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua spacecraft and confirm the mainstream scientific view that large changes in the climate are likely over the next century.

San Francisco -- Scientists who study the melting of Greenland's glaciers are discovering that water flowing beneath the ice plays a much more complex role than they previously imagined.

Researchers previously thought that meltwater simply lubricated ice against the bedrock, speeding the flow of glaciers out to sea.

Sprays of dirt flew out of a soil box that held a retaining wall as it violently shook from a simulated 7.4 magnitude earthquake. The wall was put to test recently by engineers at the UC San Diego Englekirk Structural Engineering Center, which has the largest outdoor shake table in the United States. During the first series of tests, led by Dawn Cheng, a UCSD engineering alumna and now a civil engineering professor at UC Davis, researchers investigated the seismic response of a semi-gravity reinforced concrete cantilever wall.

A Web tool that generates color maps of projected temperature and precipitation changes using 16 of the world's most prominent climate-change models is being used to consider such things as habitat shifts that will affect endangered species, places around the world where crops could be at risk because of drought and temperatures that could cripple fruit and nut production in California's Great Central Valley.

New research shows how the migration and settlement patterns associated with the rapid urbanization of Peru may link to Chagas disease transmission. The study, published December 15 in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, suggests that the practice of shantytown residents from Arequipa making frequent seasonal moves to rural valleys where Chagas vectors are present may have contributed to the growing presence of Chagas disease near urban Arequipa, Peru.

SEQUIM, Wash. – In a pilot project that could help better manage the planet's strained natural resources, space-age technologies are helping a Washington state community monitor its water availability. NASA satellites and sensors are providing the information needed to make more accurate river flow predictions on a daily basis.

SAN FRANCISCO – For most of a decade, scientists have documented unfelt and slow-moving seismic events, called episodic tremor and slip, showing up in regular cycles under the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state and Vancouver Island in British Columbia. They last three weeks on average and release as much energy as a magnitude 6.5 earthquake.

Now scientists have discovered more small events, lasting one to 70 hours, which occur in somewhat regular patterns during the 15-month intervals between episodic tremor and slip events.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A Purdue University scientist has shown man-made changes to the landscape have affected Indian monsoon rains, suggesting that land-use decisions play an important role in climate change.

Monsoon rainfall has decreased over the last 50 years in rural areas where irrigation has been used to increase agriculture in northern India, said Dev Niyogi, an associate professor of agronomy and earth and atmospheric sciences. At the same time, heavily urban areas are seeing an increase in heavy rainfall.

Titan's ice is stronger than most bedrock found on earth, yet it is more brittle, causing it to erode more easily, according to new research by San Francisco State University Assistant Professor Leonard Sklar. Today, at the American Geophysical Union fall meeting, Sklar and his team presented new measurements from tests on ice as cold as minus 170 degrees Celcius which demonstrate that ice gets stronger as temperature decreases. Understanding ice and its resistance to erosion is critical to answering how Titan's earth-like landscape formed.

The first paper on proton collisions in the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) - designed to provide the highest energy ever explored with particle accelerators - is published online this week in Springer's European Physical Journal C.

"Development cooperation can play an important role in ensuring that the poorest countries will benefit from climate change funding," says Olof Drakenberg, policy analyst at the Environmental Economics Unit at the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.