Earth science research and news. Read science articles on air quality, geology, meteorology, oceanography, paleontology and science and the environment.
Cataclysmic event of a certain age
At the end of the Pleistocene period, approximately 12,800 years ago — give or take a few centuries — a cosmic impact triggered an abrupt cooling episode that earth scientists refer to as the Younger Dryas. New research has narrowed the date to a 100-year range, sometime between 12,835 and 12,735 years ago.
Closing roads to save tigers
A logging company has agreed to begin dismantling abandoned logging roads currently being used by poachers to access prime Amur (Siberian) tiger habitat in the Russian Far East.
Greenhouse gas source underestimated from the US Corn Belt, study shows
Estimates of how much nitrous oxide, a significant greenhouse gas and stratospheric ozone-depleting substance, is being emitted in the central United States have been too low by as much as 40 percent, a new study shows.
Predictors of climate change awareness, risk perception vary around the globe
Using data from the largest cross-sectional survey of climate change perceptions ever conducted, researchers report the first global assessment of factors underlying climate change awareness and risk perception. They say results indicate that to be most effective, climate-related messages must be tailored to public awareness and perceptions specific to each nation.
Researchers find reasons behind increases in urban flooding
While rising sea levels are the main driver for increasing flood risk to American cities, storm surges caused by weather patterns that favor high precipitation exacerbates 'compound flooding' potential. With nearly 40 percent of the US population residing in coastal areas, compound flooding can have devastating impacts for low-lying, densely populated and heavily developed regions when strong storm surge and high rainfall amounts occur together.
Twin volcanic chains above a single hotspot with distinct roots
Many processes inside the earth are still enigmatic. One of the open questions is how neighboring chains of volcanoes, supplied by the same volcanic hotspot, can emit material of distinct geochemical composition over tens of millions of years?
Mechanism of an enzyme for biofuel production
Missing link in microbial cellulose decomposition
Why the Y in polar bears matters: For the first time, essential parts of the polar bear Y chromosome have been decoded
For the first time, scientists have reconstructed part of the male chromosome in polar bears. The scientists were able to assign 1.9 million base pairs specifically to the polar bear Y chromosome.They now show that more than 100,000 years ago, the male polar bear lineages split and developed in two separate genetic groups.
Drivers of temporal changes in temperate forest plant diversity
Climate change, environmental pollution or land use changes – there are numerous influences threatening biodiversity in forests around the globe. The resulting decrease in biodiversity is a matter of common knowledge today – amongst scientists as well as amongst the general public.
Study is first to quantify global population growth compared to energy use
As global population grew from about 500 million in 1560 to more than 7 billion, energy usage outpaced population growth. This in effect increased the world's carrying capacity and allowed population to grow exponentially. Since 1963, however, the ratio between energy increases and population growth has narrowed. This change could restrict future population growth.