The carbon dioxide loop

Marine biologists quantify the carbon consumption of bacterioplankton to better understand the ocean carbon cycle.

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Earth’s first example of recycling — its own crust!

Rock samples from northeastern Canada retain chemical signals that help explain what Earth’s crust was like more than 4 billion years ago.

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Is spring getting longer? Lengthening ‘vernal window’

When spring arrives, temperatures begin to rise, ice is melts, and the world around us starts to blossom. Scientists sometimes refer to this transition from winter to the growing season as the ‘vernal window,’ and a new study shows this window may be opening earlier and possibly for longer.

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From space to the streets: New battery model also makes electric cars more reliable

Nano satellites weighing just a few kilograms orbit the Earth. Pivotal point of these miniature computers are their solar-powered batteries. Computer scientists have now developed a procedure that allows for better planning of solar battery operations.

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Multi-year study finds ‘hotspots’ of ammonia over world’s major agricultural areas

Fertilizers, animal waste, changes to atmospheric chemistry and warming soils are all tied to increased ammonia over US, Europe, China and India, say researchers as they reveal the first global, long-term satellite study of airborne ammonia.

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Only the tip of the iceberg: Monitoring programs underestimate human impact on biodiversity

Whether orchids or mammals, insects or slugs and snails: nowadays there are a large number of animals and plants under observation. Unfortunately, the collection of this data began only very recently. The fact that the human impact on biodiversity is likely to be greatly underestimated is the warning sent out by an international research team.

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Pattern of mammal dwarfing during global warming

More than 50 million years ago, when the Earth experienced a series of extreme global warming events, early mammals responded by shrinking in size. While this mammalian dwarfism has previously been linked to the largest of these events, new research has found that this evolutionary process can happen in smaller, so-called hyperthermals, indicating an important pattern that could help shape an understanding of underlying effects of current human-caused climate change.

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Flower-rich habitats increase survival of bumblebee families

New research has revealed for the first time that flower-rich habitats are key to enhancing the survival of bumblebee families between years. The results, which come from the largest ever study of its kind on wild bumblebee populations, will help farmers and policy makers manage the countryside more effectively to provide for these vital but declining pollinators.

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China’s severe winter haze tied to effects of global climate change

China’s severe winter air pollution problems may be worsened by changes in atmospheric circulation prompted by Arctic sea ice loss and increased Eurasian snowfall — both caused by global climate change.

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Marine recovery after mass extinction was likely delayed by further biotic crises

Biotic crises during the Triassic period may have delayed marine recovery after a mass extinction during the late Permian, according to a new study.

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Dissection of the 2015 Bonin deep earthquake

Researchers have been studying the deep earthquake which occurred on May 30, 2015, to the west of Japan’s Bonin Islands.

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Changing temperatures, precipitation may affect living skin of drylands

Arid and semiarid ecosystems are expected to experience significant changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, which may affect soil organisms in ways that cause surfaces to become lighter in color and thus reflect more sunlight, according to a new study.

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Optical fingerprint can reveal pollutants in the air

More efficient sensors are needed to be able to detect environmental pollution. Researchers have proposed a new, sophisticated method of detecting molecules with sensors based on ultra-thin nanomaterials. The novel method could improve environmental sensing in the future, say investigators.

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Copper-bottomed deposits

Researchers have studied over 100,000 combinations to establish the depth and number of years required for magma to produce a given amount of copper. The same scientists have also devised a model that can detect the quantity of copper held in a deposit by means of a simple factor analysis. The research will make it possible to estimate the potential for mining the metal before beginning any drilling.

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Study quantifies effect of ‘legacy phosphorus’ in reduced water quality

For decades, phosphorus has accumulated in Wisconsin soils. Though farmers have taken steps to reduce the quantity of the agricultural nutrient applied to and running off their fields, a new study reveals that a ‘legacy’ of abundant soil phosphorus in the Yahara watershed of Southern Wisconsin has a large, direct and long-lasting impact on water quality.

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Cold climates and ocean carbon sequestration

Efficient nutrient consumption by plankton in the Southern Ocean drove carbon sequestration in the deep ocean during the ice ages, a new study suggests.

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Did humans create the Sahara desert?

New research investigating the transition of the Sahara from a lush, green landscape 10,000 years ago to the arid conditions found today, suggests that humans may have played an active role in its desertification.

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Increase in extreme sea levels could endanger European coastal communities

Massive coastal flooding in northern Europe that now occurs once every century could happen every year if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, according to a new study.

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Spiders eat astronomical numbers of insects

A new study reveals some stunning estimates about how much the world’s spiders eat annually: between 400 and 800 million tons of insects and other invertebrates. These eight-legged carnivores play an important role to keep countless insect pests in check.

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Ice age thermostat prevented extreme climate cooling

During the ice ages, an unidentified regulatory mechanism prevented atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations from falling below a level that could have led to runaway cooling, reports a team of researchers. The study suggests the mechanism may have involved the biosphere, as plants and plankton struggled to grow under very low carbon dioxide levels.

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Fashion industry gains new tools to reduce its environmental load

The environmental impact of our clothing has now been mapped in the most comprehensive life cycle analysis performed to date. For the first time, this makes it possible to compare the environmental effects of completely different types of textiles. The results will be used to create a practical tool for clothing manufacturers that want to lighten their environmental load.

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Greenhouse gases: First it was cows, now it’s larvae

A certain species of larva uses methane to propel itself, and it is even possible that this mechanism is accelerating the release of gases into the atmosphere and magnifying global warming, scientists have discovered. The research demonstrates the negative role played by the larvae not just in global warming but also in disturbing the sedimentary layers at the bottom of lakes.

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Louisiana wetlands struggling with sea-level rise 4 times the global average

Without major efforts to rebuild Louisiana’s wetlands, particularly in the westernmost part of the state, there is little chance that the coast will be able to withstand the accelerating rate of sea-level rise, a new study concludes.

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Geologists develop app to print 3-D terrain models of any place on Earth

A new web application that makes it quick and easy for people to use 3-D printers to make terrain models of any place on Earth has now been developed by researchers. Their idea — they call it TouchTerrain — could be a powerful teaching tool in geology classrooms.

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A scientist and a supercomputer re-create a tornado

With tornado season fast approaching or already underway in vulnerable states throughout the US, new supercomputer simulations are giving meteorologists unprecedented insight into the structure of monstrous thunderstorms and tornadoes. One such recent simulation recreates a tornado-producing supercell thunderstorm that left a path of destruction over the Central Great Plains in 2011.

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Looking for ‘fingerprints’ at the intersection of weather and climate

Scientists have found the seasonal ‘fingerprints’ of Arctic sea ice, El Nino, and other climate phenomena in a new study that probes the global interactions between weather and climate.

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Rapid decline of Arctic sea ice a combination of climate change and natural variability

The dramatic decline of Arctic sea ice in recent decades is caused by a mixture of global warming and a natural, decades-long atmospheric hot spot over Greenland and the Canadian Arctic.

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