Earth science research and news. Read science articles on air quality, geology, meteorology, oceanography, paleontology and science and the environment.
Better method for forecasting hurricane season
A better method for predicting the number of hurricanes in an upcoming season has been developed by atmospheric scientists. The team's new model improves the accuracy of seasonal hurricane forecasts for the North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico by 23 percent.
Model helps city planners prepare to weather large storms
Researchers have developed a modeling tool to help local communities better understand their vulnerabilities to large storms stoked by climate change.
Soil organic matter susceptible to climate change
Soil organic matter, long thought to be a semi-permanent storehouse for ancient carbon, may be much more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought. Scientists have found that the common root secretion, oxalic acid, can promote soil carbon loss by an unconventional mechanism -- freeing organic compounds from protective associations with minerals.
Bacteria play an important role in long term storage of carbon in the ocean
The ocean is a large reservoir of dissolved organic molecules, and many of these molecules are stable against microbial utilization for hundreds to thousands of years. They contain a similar amount of carbon as compared to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Researchers found answers to questions about the origin of these persistent molecules in a recent study.
Can 'ghosts' cause bad air? Poor indoor air quality and 'sightings'
A team of researchers is studying possible links between reported hauntings and indoor air quality. It is known that some fungi, such as rye ergot fungus, may cause severe psychosis in humans.
Researchers map seasonal greening in US forests, fields, and urban areas
Using the assessment tool ForWarn, US Forest Service researchers can monitor the growth and development of vegetation that signals winter's end and the awakening of a new growing season. Now these researchers have devised a way to more precisely characterize the beginning of seasonal greening, or 'greenup,' and compare its timing with that of the 14 previous years. Such information helps land managers anticipate and plan for the impacts of disturbances such as weather events and insect pests.
Scientists discover elusive secret of how continents formed
Geoscientists have revealed information about how continents were generated on Earth more than 2.5 billion years ago -- and how those processes have continued within the last 70 million years to profoundly affect the planet's life and climate.
Keeping hungry elephants at bay
Until now electric fences and trenches have proved to be the most effective way of protecting farms and villages from night time raids by hungry elephants. But researchers think they may have come up with another solution – the recorded sound of angry predators.
200th anniversary of Tambora eruption a reminder of volcanic perils
The volcanologist Stephen Self, an expert on super-eruptions, was the first modern-day scientist to visit Tambora in Indonesia, the site of the largest volcanic eruption in 1,000 years. On the 200th anniversary of its eruption in 1815, Self and others warn of the ever-present dangers of volcanoes like Tambora. Globally dispersed clouds of sulfate aerosols could lead to cooling, crop failures and famine, as happened in the 'year without a summer' of 1816.
Travelling pollution: East Asian human activities affect air quality in remote tropical forests
Researchers have detected a human fingerprint deep in the Borneo rainforest in Southeast Asia. Cold winds blowing from the north carry industrial pollutants from East Asia to the equator, with implications for air quality in the region. Once there, the pollutants can travel higher into the atmosphere and impact the ozone layer.