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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Looming crisis of the much decreased fresh-water supply to Egypt’s Nile delta

A multi-year study of Egypt’s Nile Delta places the country’s major breadbasket at serious risk. The soil-rich delta evolved as the result of natural conditions involving the Nile’s fresh water flow and transport of sediment northward from Ethiopia, across the Sudan and Egypt to the Mediterranean.

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Red tides can be predicted, new study shows

For over a century scientists have been trying to understand what causes red tides to form in coastal areas seemingly out of nowhere. Using a new, novel technique, that mystery is finally being unraveled.

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Increased water availability from climate change may release more nutrients into soil in Antarctica

As climate change continues to impact the Antarctic, glacier melt and permafrost thaw are likely to make more liquid water available to soil and aquatic ecosystems in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, potentially providing a more nutrient-rich environment for life, according to a new study.

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Switzerland could generate more energy out of used wood

Switzerland is not fully exploiting a significant source of clean energy: 173,000 tonnes of used wood could be re-used producing valuable heat and power energy today, in addition to the 644,000 tonnes of used wood already being used. This was the conclusion reached by a nationwide survey among 567 companies in the construction, waste management and transport sectors.

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New research on Northern Lights will improve satellite navigation accuracy

Researchers have gained new insights into the mechanisms of the Northern Lights, providing an opportunity to develop better satellite technology that can negate outages caused by this natural phenomenon.

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Boaty McBoatface submersible prepares to dive into the abyss on first Antarctic mission

Boaty McBoatface is joining ocean scientists on an expedition to study some of the deepest and coldest abyssal ocean waters on earth – known as Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) – and how they affect climate change. The team of researchers will assess water flow and underwater turbulence in the Orkney Passage, a region of the Southern Ocean around 3,500m deep and roughly 500 miles from the Antarctic Peninsula. They will use one of the Autosub Long Range class of unmanned submersibles, the latest type of autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), now known as Boaty McBoatface, following last year’s campaign to name the UK’s new polar research ship.

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Scientists map seawater threat to California Central Coast aquifers

Using Earth-imaging technologies, scientists have studied the intrusion of saltwater into freshwater aquifers along the California coast.

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Effects of weather variability on maple syrup production studied

Some farmers in the United States and Canada have noticed that the quantity and quality of their maple syrup is changing with climate variability. Now researchers who are investigating these observations.

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Carbon-based approaches for saving rainforests should include biodiversity studies

Conservationists working to safeguard tropical forests often assume that old growth forests containing great stores of carbon also hold high biodiversity, but a new study finds that the relationship may not be as strong as once thought, according to a group of researchers.

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NASA’s aerial survey of polar ice expands its Arctic reach

For the past eight years, Operation IceBridge, a NASA mission that conducts aerial surveys of polar ice, has produced unprecedented three-dimensional views of Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, providing scientists with valuable data on how polar ice is changing in a warming world. Now, for the first time, the campaign will expand its reach to explore the Arctic’s Eurasian Basin through two research flights based out of Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the northern Atlantic Ocean.

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Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases

Growing sustainable energy crops without increasing greenhouse gas emissions, may be possible on seasonally wet, environmentally sensitive landscapes, according to researchers.

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Plants at the pump

Regular, unleaded or algae? That’s a choice drivers could make at the pump one day. But for algal biofuels to compete with petroleum, farming algae has to become less expensive. Toward that goal, a research team is testing strains of algae for resistance to a host of predators and diseases, and learning to detect when an algae pond is about to crash.

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Researchers discovered fungus gnat Paradise in Peruvian Amazonia

Researchers have discovered and identified 16 new fungus gnat species in the Amazonia. The diverse gnat species maintain exceptionally rich parasitoid wasp species, which shows the importance of interdependence between rain forest species.

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First global maps of volcanic emissions use NASA satellite data

A number of volcanoes around the world continuously exhale water vapor laced with heavy metals, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide, among many other gases. Of these, sulfur dioxide is the easiest to detect from space.

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Soils could release much more carbon than expected as climate warms

Soils could release much more carbon dioxide than expected into the atmosphere as the climate warms, according to new research. Their findings are based on a field experiment that, for the first time, explored what happens to organic carbon trapped in soil when all soil layers are warmed, which in this case extend to a depth of 100 centimeters.

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Convergent con artists: How rove beetles keep evolving into army ant parasites

Marauding across the forest floor, aggressive army ant colonies harbor hidden enemies in their ranks — parasitic beetles. Through dramatic changes in body shape, behavior, and pheromone chemistry, the beetles gain their hosts’ acceptance, so they can feast on their brood. These beetles arose at least a dozen separate times from non-ant-like ancestors. This discovery provides evidence that evolution has the capacity to repeat itself in an astonishingly predictable way.

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Discovery of widespread platinum may help solve Clovis people mystery

No one knows for certain why the Clovis people and iconic beasts — mastodon, mammoth and saber-toothed tiger — living some 12,800 years ago suddenly disappeared. However, a discovery of widespread platinum at archaeological sites across the US has provided an important clue in solving this enduring mystery.

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Can tree rings predict volcanic eruptions?

Scientists made a surprising discovery on their mission to find better indicators for impending volcanic eruptions: it looks like tree rings may be able to predict eruptions, report researchers.

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Researchers link methane in groundwater in Parker and Hood counties to natural sources

High levels of methane in well water from two counties near Fort Worth are probably from shallow natural gas deposits, not natural gas leaks caused by hydraulic fracturing operations in the underlying Barnett Shale.

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Diet and global climate change

Eating healthier food could reduce greenhouse gas emissions, suggests a new study. As it turns out, some relatively small diet tweaks could add up to significant inroads in addressing climate change.

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Silk Road evolved as ‘grass-routes’ movement

Nearly 5,000 years ago, long before the vast east-west trade routes of the Great Silk Road were traversed by Marco Polo, the foundations for these trans-Asian interaction networks were being carved by nomads moving herds to lush mountain pastures, suggests new research.

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