Researchers track impact of Brazil’s ‘Soy Moratorium’ on an advancing agricultural frontier

The 2006 Soy Moratorium had a larger effect in reducing deforestation in the Amazon than has been previously understood, outlines a new study.

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When bridges collapse: Researchers study whether we’re underestimating risk

Studying how and why bridges have collapsed in the past identifies the limitation of current risk assessment approach and demonstrates the value of new perspectives on climate change impact.

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Long-term fate of tropical forests may not be as dire as believed, says study

Conventional wisdom has held that tropical forest growth will dramatically slow with high levels of rainfall. But researchers turned that assumption on its head with an unprecedented review of data from 150 forests that concluded just the opposite.

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Modern metabolic science yields better way to calculate indoor carbon dioxide

The air we breathe out can help us improve the quality of the air we breathe in. But to do so, one needs a reliable way to calculate the concentration of carbon dioxide we produce indoors. Researchers have developed a new computation method that uses well-established concepts from the study of human metabolism and exercise physiology to significantly improve how this important data is derived.

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Tibetan people have multiple adaptations for life at high altitudes

The Tibetan people have inherited variants of five different genes that help them live at high altitudes, with one gene originating in the extinct human subspecies, the Denisovans.

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Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region’s past

Ice cores drilled from a glacier in a cave in Transylvania offer new evidence of how Europe’s winter weather and climate patterns fluctuated during the last 10,000 years, known as the Holocene period.

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Another good year for Chesapeake Bay’s underwater grasses

An annual survey shows the abundance of underwater grasses in Chesapeake Bay increased 8 percent between 2015 and 2016, continuing an upward trend initiated in 2012.

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Ocean warming to cancel increased carbon dioxide-driven productivity

Researchers have constructed a marine food web to show how climate change could affect our future fish supplies and marine biodiversity.

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Engineers shine light on deadly landslide

Late in the morning of March 22, 2014, a huge chunk of land cut loose and roared down a hillside in the Stillaguamish River Valley just east of Oso, Washington, about 60 miles northeast of Seattle. In a matter of minutes, 43 people lost their lives as a wall of mud, sand, clay, water. A new report details the factors leading to the disaster, the hazards that accompany landslides and steps that can be taken to mitigate landslide consequences and risk in the Pacific Northwest, with the aim of preventing future tragedies.

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Tsunami formation: Study challenges long-held theory

A new study is challenging a long-held theory that tsunamis form and acquire their energy mostly from vertical movement of the seafloor.

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Changes that lightning inspires in rock quantified

New research has identified the minimum temperature of a bolt of lightning as it strikes rock. The study discovered that, based on the crystalline material in the sample, the minimum temperature at which the fulgurite formed was roughly 1,700 degrees Celsius.

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Paleontologists identify new 507-million-year-old sea creature with can opener-like pincers

Paleontologists have uncovered a new fossil species that sheds light on the origin of mandibulates, the most abundant and diverse group of organisms on Earth, to which belong familiar animals such as flies, ants, crayfish and centipedes. Named Tokummia katalepsis by the researchers, the creature documents for the first time the anatomy of early mandibulates, a sub-group of arthropods with specialized appendages known as mandibles, used to grasp, crush and cut their food.

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Hard rocks from Himalaya raise flood risk for millions

Scientists have shown how earthquakes and storms in the Himalaya can increase the impact of deadly floods in one of Earth’s most densely populated areas.

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Common pesticide damages honey bees’ ability to fly

Biologists have provided the first evidence that a widely used pesticide can significantly impair the ability of otherwise healthy honey bees to fly. The study, which employed a bee “flight mill,” raises concerns about how pesticides affect honey bee pollination and long-term effects on the health of honey bee colonies.

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‘Whispering’ keeps humpback whales safe from killer whales

Newborn humpback whales ‘whisper’ to their mothers to avoid being overheard by killer whales, researchers have discovered. The recordings were the first obtained from tags directly attached to the whales.

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New model could help predict major earthquakes

Researchers have characterized several earthquakes that struck South America’s west coast over the last 100 years by using seismographic data, tsunami recordings, and models of the rapid plate movements associated with these natural disasters. The team showed that some earthquakes were linked to the same sites of rupture at plate boundaries and others to different sites. Thus, they revealed the periodicity and intensity of earthquakes associated with particular sites, potentially aiding future earthquake prediction.

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Is climate change responsible for record-setting extreme weather events?

After an unusually intense heat wave, downpour or drought, climate scientists inevitably receive phone calls and emails asking whether human-caused climate change played a role.

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Overfishing in one of world’s most productive fishing regions, new study suggests

Scientists used images from satellites and flyovers to count the number of small boats, or pangas, to find that fishing in Gulf of California, which separates Baja California and mainland Mexico, is over capacity. The analysis suggests that future investment in the region’s fisheries may not be economically or ecologically viable.

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Triggering artificial photosynthesis to clean air

A chemistry professor has just found a way to trigger the process of photosynthesis in a synthetic material, turning greenhouse gases into clean air and producing energy all at the same time. The process has great potential for creating a technology that could significantly reduce greenhouse gases linked to climate change, while also creating a clean way to produce energy.

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Mystery of the missing mercury at the Great Salt Lake

Around 2010, the deep waters of Utah’s Great Salt Lake contained high levels of toxic methylmercury. Mercury measurements in waterfowl surrounding the lake led to a rare human consumption advisory for ducks. But by 2015, 90 percent of the deep mercury was gone.

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Century-old mystery of Blood Falls solved

A century-old mystery involving a famous red waterfall in Antarctica has now been solved by researchers. New evidence links Blood Falls to a large source of salty water that may have been trapped under Taylor Glacier for more than 1 million years.

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Early organic carbon got deep burial in mantle

Petrologists who recreated hot, high-pressure conditions from 60 miles below Earth’s surface have found a new clue about a crucial event in the planet’s deep past.

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New atlas provides highest-resolution imagery of the Polar Regions seafloor

Scientists have created the most comprehensive and high-resolution atlas of the seafloor of both Polar Regions.

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Warm winds: New insight into what weakens Antarctic ice shelves

New research describes for the first time the role that warm, dry winds play in influencing the behavior of Antarctic ice shelves.

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Toronto’s subways expose passengers to more air pollution than Montreal, Vancouver systems

Subways increase our personal exposure to certain pollutants, even as they decrease overall emissions, research finds. Another finding from this study is that Toronto has the highest levels in Canada.

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Predicting the movement, impacts of microplastic pollution

Microplastics, which are particles measuring less than 5 mm, are of increasing concern. They not only become more relevant as other plastic marine litter breaks down into tiny particles, they also interact with species in a range of marine habitats. A new study takes a look at how global climate change and the impact of changing ocean circulation affects the distribution of marine microplastic litter.

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Heavy precipitation speeds carbon exchange in tropics

New insight into how forests globally will respond to long-term climate change has been gained by recent research. The new work suggests that climate-change driven increases in rainfall in warm, wet forests are likely to cause increased plant growth. Plant-growth declines are still expected in cooler forests with increased precipitation.

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