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How the Pacific Ocean influences long-term drought in the Southwestern US

Cracked mud along the shoreline of the Great Salt Lake outside Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Luke Parsons The Southwest has always faced periods of drought. Most recently, from late 2011 to 2017, California experienced years of lower-than-normal rainfall. El Niño is known to influence rain in the Southwest, but it’s not a perfect match. […]

Expert warns of climate change aggravating land degradation

Credit: CC0 Public Domain Land degradation is hindering progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development goals, warns Professor Jane Rickson—as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this week (8 August) publishes its Special Report on climate change and land management. Already, 75% of earth’s land areas have been affected, with the figure predicted to rise […]

How wildfires trap carbon for centuries to millennia

Credit: CC0 Public Domain Charcoal produced by wildfires could trap carbon for hundreds of years and help mitigate climate change, according to new research published today. The extensive and unprecedented outbreak of wildfires in the arctic and the vast amounts of CO2 they are emitting have been hitting the headlines across the world. But a […]

Ancient plankton help researchers predict near-future climate

Credit: CC0 Public Domain The Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawai’i recently recorded the highest concentration of carbon dioxide, or CO2, levels in human history. In fact, the last time CO2 levels surpassed 400 parts per million was during the Pliocene, a geological epoch between two and five million years ago, when oceans surged 50 feet […]

Ancient drop of water rewrites Earth’s history

Credit: Wits University The remains of a microscopic drop of ancient seawater has assisted in rewriting the history of Earth’s evolution when it was used to re-establish the time that plate tectonics started on the planet. Plate tectonics is Earth’s vital—and unique—continuous recycling process that directly or indirectly controls almost every function of the planet, […]

Study provides new insight into the origin of Canary Islands caldera

View of the western part of the Las Cañadas caldera as seen from the Teide volcanic edifice. Credit: Joan Martí (ICTJA-CSIC) Las Cañadas caldera at Tenerife, Canary Islands, is the result of different episodes of caldera collapses, associated to large explosive eruptions that triggered several landslides that modified the shape of the walls of the […]

Researchers solve ‘hot spot’ debate

Satellite composition of the Hawaiian islands. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center photo Volcanic hot spots such as the ones that created the Hawaiian Islands have long been considered stationary points, created by processes deep within the earth’s interior. Using new paleomagnetic data and analyses, researchers John Tarduno, a professor of earth and environmental sciences at […]

Research cruise explores carbon cycle in deep ocean in Atlantic

Credit: CC0 Public Domain A University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science-led research cruise leaves for the deep Atlantic Ocean 50 miles southeast of Bermuda on Monday for a week of science at sea aboard the 171-foot R/V Atlantic Explorer. Scientists will be sampling the depths of the ocean and analyzing bacterial diversity and function […]