Earth

A wild fungus has been found to produce a variety of hydrocarbon components of diesel fuel. The harmless, microscopic fungus, known as Gliocladium roseum (NRRL 50073), lives quietly within ulmo trees in the Patagonian rainforest.

Gary Strobel of Montana State University has found that the fungus produces many energy-rich hydrocarbons, and that the particular diesel components produced can be varied by changing the growing medium and environment of the fungus. The fungus even performs under low-oxygen conditions like those found deep underground.

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) –– A study reported in today's issue of Nature disputes a longstanding picture of how ice sheets influence ocean circulation during glacial periods.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Sea snakes may slither in saltwater, but they sip the sweet stuff.

So concludes a University of Florida zoologist in a paper appearing this month in the online edition of the November/December issue of the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology.

Earth scientists are attempting to predict the future impacts of climate change by reconstructing the past behavior of Arctic climate and ocean circulation. In a November special issue of the journal Ecology, a group of scientists report that if current patterns of change in the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans continue, alterations of ocean circulation could occur on a global scale, with potentially dramatic implications for the world's climate and biosphere.

ITHACA, N.Y. – While Earth has experienced numerous changes in climate over the past 65 million years, recent decades have experienced the most significant climate change since the beginning of human civilized societies about 5,000 years ago, says a new Cornell University study.

A NASA-led research team has used satellite data to make the most precise measurements to date of changes in the mass of mountain glaciers in the Gulf of Alaska, a region expected to be a significant contributor to global sea level rise over the next 50-100 years.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 6, 2008 -- Billions of tons of carbon sequestered in the world's peat bogs could be released into the atmosphere in the coming decades as a result of global warming, according to a new analysis of the interplay between peat bogs, water tables, and climate change.

Scientists say that a type of rock found at or near the surface in the Mideast nation of Oman and other areas around the world could be harnessed to soak up huge quantities of globe-warming carbon dioxide. Their studies show that the rock, known as peridotite, reacts naturally at surprisingly high rates with CO2 to form solid minerals—and that the process could be speeded a million times or more with simple drilling and injection methods. The study appears in this week's early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Bayreuth/Leipzig. Extreme weather events have a greater effect on flora than previously presumed. A one-month drought postpones the time of flowering of grassland and heathland plants in Central Europe by an average of 4 days. With this a so-called 100-year drought event equates to approx. a decade of global warming. The flowering period of an important early flowerer, the common Birds-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) was even shortened by more than a month due to heavy rain and started flowering early by almost one month.

The research done at the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences has shown that after geochemical experiments, the porosity of crystalline rocks in the middle crust increases sharply due to water-rock interaction (see ref.). This research further shows the increased porosity facilitates natural gas concentrations in top of the mid-crust to form some large gas reservoirs, which can be detected using the three-component seismic method. The results are reported in Science in China Ser. D 2008 (No.9 in Chinese and No.12 in English).