Earth

Palisades, N.Y., July 14, 2008—A group of scientists has used deep ocean-floor drilling and experiments to show that volcanic rocks off the West Coast and elsewhere might be used to securely imprison huge amounts of globe-warming carbon dioxide captured from power plants or other sources. In particular, they say that natural chemical reactions under 78,000 square kilometers (30,000 square miles) of ocean floor off California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia could lock in as much as 150 years of U.S. CO2 production.

For the first time, researchers have taken a detailed look at what lies beneath all of Iceland's volcanoes – and found a world far more complex than they ever imagined.

They mapped an elaborate maze of magma chambers - work that could one day help scientists better understand how earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in Iceland and elsewhere in the world.

WASHINGTON -- A remotely piloted aircraft carrying a NASA sensor flew over much of California earlier this week, gathering information that will be used to help fight more than 300 wildfires burning within the state. Additional flights are planned for next week.

The St. Lawrence Seaway, a series of canals and channels managed by both the U.S. and Canada that give large ships traveling from the Atlantic Ocean access to the Great Lakes, has been an entry point for invasive species since it was first opened in 1959. A new report from the National Research Council, ST. LAWRENCE SEAWAY: ISSUES AND OPTIONS, reviews ways to prevent ships from transporting invasive species into the Great Lakes, and makes recommendations on what the U.S. and Canada should do to deter future introductions of potentially harmful species.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The forests of the future may need to be managed as much for a sustainable supply of clean water as any other goal, researchers say in a new federal report – but even so, forest resources will offer no "quick fix" to the insatiable, often conflicting demands for this precious resource.

Fairbanks, Alaska—A 150-meter ice core pulled from the McCall Glacier in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge this summer may offer researchers their first quantitative look at up to two centuries of climate change in the region.

This year, the world and, in particular, developing countries and the poor have been hit by both food and energy crises. As a consequence, prices for many staple foods have risen by up to 100%. When we examine the causes of the food crisis, a growing population, changes in trade patterns, urbanization, dietary changes, biofuel production, and climate change and regional droughts are all responsible. Thus we have a classic increase in prices due to high demand and low supply.

As water demand increases in the United States, the nation's water managers are looking for ways to ensure reliable supplies of water. A new report from the National Research Council, HYDROLOGIC EFFECTS OF A CHANGING FOREST LANDSCAPE, explores how better management of forest resources could increase water supplies and quality and identifies future research needs.

MADISON, WI, JULY 7, 2008 -- The use of on-the-go crop and soil sensors has greatly increased the precision with which farmers can manage their crops. Recently released research in Agronomy Journal questions whether more precise management is necessarily more efficient. They discovered that the law of diminishing returns applies to precision agriculture, calculating how large of an application area is optimal for precision management techniques. According to the authors, this change could present significant cost savings for farmers.

MADISON, WI, JULY 6, 2008 -- Swine production generates large amounts of waste. While this waste contains nutrients that may serve as fertilizer when applied to agricultural fields, the ratio of nutrients in the waste is different than what a crop requires. Application of waste to meet the nitrogen needs of a crop results in application of excess phosphorus which increases the potential for environmental contamination.