Grasslands’ carbon storage value now quantified

Grasslands that feature diverse plant species have more carbon storage capacity than less-diverse grasslands, largely because the former produce more biomass, the researchers say. They found that increasing the number of plant species from one to 10 had twice the value of increasing from one to two species, from the standpoint of carbon storage capacity.

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Can barnacle geese predict the climate?

The breeding grounds of Arctic migratory birds such as the barnacle goose are changing rapidly due to accelerated warming in the polar regions. They won’t be able to keep up with this climate change unless they can somehow anticipate it. A research team employed computer models to assess the future of the geese and their young.

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Prescribed forest fire frequency should be based on land management goals

Researchers have studied forests subjected to different frequencies of fires to determine what effects fire can have on oak forests over long periods of time. They found that the frequency of prescribed forest fires should be determined based on the long-term goals of land managers.

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Tracking down water pollution through DNA of algae

The degree of pollution of rivers resulting from human activities is assessed using different biotic indices. The latter reflect the ecological status of a river based on the quantity and diversity of organisms selected as bioindicators, due to their ecological preferences and tolerance to pollution. This is the case of diatoms, algae consisting of a single cell surrounded by a silica skeleton, recommended by researchers as one of the ideal bioindicators for rivers and lakes.

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Study on impact of climate change on snowpack loss in Western U.S.

There has been up to 20 percent loss in the annual maximum amount of water contained in the Western United States’ mountain snowpack in the last three decades is due to human influences, an international team of scientists has found.

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Arctic river ice deposits rapidly disappearing

Climate change is causing thick ice deposits that form along Arctic rivers to melt nearly a month earlier than they did 15 years ago, a new study finds.

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Birds sing shorter songs in response to traffic noise

Birds sing differently in response to traffic noise, which potentially affects their ability to attract mates and defend their territory, according to research published in Bioacoustics.

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Air pollution may directly cause those year-round runny noses, according to a mouse study

Although human population studies have linked air pollution to chronic inflammation of nasal and sinus tissues, direct biological and molecular evidence for cause and effect has been scant. Now, researchers report that experiments in mice continually exposed to dirty air have revealed that direct biological effect.

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New era of Western wildfire demands new ways of protecting people, ecosystems

Current wildfire policy can’t adequately protect people, homes and ecosystems from the longer, hotter fire seasons climate change is causing, according to a new article.

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Banned industrial solvent sheds new light on methane mystery

Since 2007, scientists have been searching to find the cause of a sudden and unexpected global rise in atmospheric methane, a potent greenhouse gas, following almost a decade in which concentrations had stayed relatively constant. A new paper investigates one possibility: a rise and fall in the concentration of the substance that destroys methane in the atmosphere, the hydroxyl radical.

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New many-toothed clingfish discovered with help of digital scans

Scientists have discovered and named a new genus and species of clingfish after stumbling upon a specimen preserved in a jar dating back to the 1970s. High-resolution scans and 3-D printing helped the researchers make their discovery.

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Lessons from Parkfield help predict continued fault movements after earthquakes

A new study shows that the San Andreas Fault continued to slip gradually for six to 12 years after the 2004 magnitude 6.0 Parkfield, Calif., earthquake, raising the issue of continued damage to structures built across fault zones after damaging earthquakes.

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Behind the iron curtain: How methane-making microbes kept the early Earth warm

Using mud pulled from the bottom of a tropical lake, researchers at have gained a new grasp of how ancient microbes made methane in the complex iron chemistry of the early Earth.

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Migration from sea-level rise could reshape cities inland

Researchers estimate that approximately 13.1 million people could be displaced by rising ocean waters, with Atlanta, Houston and Phoenix as top destinations for those forced to relocate.

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Retreating Yukon glacier caused a river to disappear

A postmortem of the first known case of ‘river piracy’ in modern times outlines how a retreating glacier in the Yukon diverted water from one river to another, leading to many downstream effects.

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Glacier shape influences susceptibility to thinning

Researchers have identified glaciers in West Greenland that are most susceptible to thinning in the coming decades by analyzing how they’re shaped. The research could help predict how much the Greenland Ice Sheet will contribute to future sea-level rise during the next century, a number that currently ranges from inches to feet.

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Glacier shape influences susceptibility to thinning

Researchers have identified glaciers in West Greenland that are most susceptible to thinning in the coming decades by analyzing how they’re shaped. The research could help predict how much the Greenland Ice Sheet will contribute to future sea-level rise during the next century, a number that currently ranges from inches to feet.

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Researchers design coatings to prevent pipeline clogging

A new coating could prevent methane clathrate clogs and blowouts in oil pipelines, potentially stopping a buildup of hydrate ices that slow or block oil and gas flow.

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Device pulls water from dry air, powered only by the sun

While it’s easy to condense water from humid air, machines that harvest water from drier air require energy. Researchers have created the first water harvester that uses only ambient sunlight. The key component is an extremely porous material called a metal-organic framework that absorbs 20 percent of its weight in water from low-humidity air. Sunlight heats the MOF, releasing the water vapor, which condenses to produce liters of water per day.

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Methane seeps in the Canadian high Arctic

Cretaceous climate warming led to a significant methane release from the seafloor, indicating potential for similar destabilization of gas hydrates under modern global warming. A field campaign on the remote Ellef Ringnes Island, Canadian High Arctic, discovered an astounding number of methane seep mounds in Cretaceous age sediments.

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With magnetic map, young eels catch a ‘free ride’ to Europe

Each year, young European eels make their way from breeding grounds in the Sargasso Sea to coastal and freshwater habitats from North Africa to Scandinavia, where they live for several years before returning to the Sargasso Sea to spawn and then die, beginning the cycle again. Now, researchers have gained new insight into how the young eels make such a remarkable journey.

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Citizen scientists help identify shorebird extinction threat

A major contributor to the dramatic decline of migratory shorebird populations in Australia has been identified by researchers. Australian shorebirds were under threat due to the degradation and destruction of mudflats thousands of kilometers away in north-east Asia, they say.

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New study emphasizes the relative scarcity of lake water

What is the volume of water in lakes on Earth? Using a mathematical analysis, researchers now suggest that the mean depth of lakes is 30 per cent lower than previously estimated. Shallower lakes implies less fresh water and has consequences for our understanding of climate change and the carbon cycle.

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Nearly two billion people depend on imported food

Researchers show empirically: when population pressure increases, food is imported. The big issue, say authors of a new report, is that people may not even be aware that they have chosen dependency on imports over further investment in local production or curbing demand.

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Algal residue: Alternative carbon resource for pharmaceuticals and polyesters

Algal residue, the leftover material after extracting oil from algae for biofuel, can be used to produce key industrial chemicals, researchers have determined.

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Polar glaciers may be home to previously undiscovered carbon cycle

Microbes in streams flowing on the surface of glaciers in the Arctic and Antarctic may represent a previously underestimated source of organic material and be part of an as yet undiscovered ‘dynamic local carbon cycle,’ according to a new paper.

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Technology to improve rockfall analysis on cliffs could save money, lives

Researchers have developed a new, automated technology to analyze the potential for rockfalls from cliffs onto roads and areas below, which should speed and improve this type of risk evaluation, help protect public safety and ultimately save money and lives.

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