Earth

A new study, co-funded by NASA, has identified a link between a warming Indian Ocean and less rainfall in eastern and southern Africa. Computer models and observations show a decline in rainfall, with implications for the region's food security.

National Science Foundation-funded scientists working in an ice-free region of Antarctica have discovered the last traces of tundra--in the form of fossilized plants and insects--on the interior of the southernmost continent before temperatures began a relentless drop millions of years ago.

Environmental conservation efforts have traditionally focused on protecting individual species or natural resources. Scientists are discovering, however, that preserving the benefits that whole ecosystems provide to people is more economically and environmentally valuable. At the Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA), ecologists will explore the application of ecosystem services approaches to conservation.

A better understanding of climate variations at planetary scale is one of climate scientists' crucial concerns. Stable water isotope analysis, the chemistry of ice cores taken from the Arctic and Antarctic polar ice caps and of air bubbles trapped in them now allow a chronology to be drawn up of the climate changes that took place over the past 800 000 years. However, those data, collected at extreme latitudes, are not enough for understanding climatic interactions operating at the scale of the whole Earth or of the most densely populated regions.

Scientists have long pointed to physical changes in the Earth and its atmosphere, such as melting polar ice caps, sea level rise and violent storms, as indicators of global climate change. But changes in climate can wreak havoc in more subtle ways, such as the loss of habitat for plant and animal species. In a series of talks at the Ecological Society of America (ESA) 93rd Annual Meeting, climate change scientists will discuss how temperature-induced habitat loss can spell disaster for many living things.

01.08.2008 | Potsdam: In an article in the scientific magazine Nature – Geosciences, the geoscientists Achim Brauer, Peter Dulski and Jörg Negendank, (emeritus Professor) from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Gerald Haug from the DFG-Leibniz Center for Surface Processes and Climate Studies at the University of Potsdam and the ETH in Zurich, and Daniel Sigman from the Princeton University prove, for the first time, an extremely fast climate change in Western Europe.

If someone is charged up, the color of their face might change, but they don't immediately pull off one of their arms, only to reattach it as a third leg. With some molecules, however, the situation is quite different - for example, in a gold cluster with seven atoms. In a charged state, the atoms arrange themselves differently than when they are uncharged.

DURHAM, N.C. –- As microbes in the soil break down fallen plant matter, a diet "balanced" in nutrients appears to help control soil fertility and the normal release of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

When plants drop their leaves, stems and twigs, this organic matter slowly becomes part of the soil as a result of decomposition, which is facilitated by bacteria and other microbes. This process adds plant nutrients to the soil and releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

DURHAM, N.H. – University of New Hampshire researchers have tagged one male and two female leatherback turtles off Cape Cod. They are the first free-swimming leatherbacks ever tagged in New England.

The 700 – 800-pound leatherback turtles, an endangered species, were tagged July 17, 26 and 29 with GPS-linked satellite tags that transmit nearly real-time tracking data, allowing scientists to better understand these elusive, highly migratory giants to enhance their survivability.

Have you ever wondered what our world would look like stripped bare of all plants, soils, water and man-made structures? Well wonder no longer; images of the Earth as never seen before have been unveiled in what is the world's biggest geological mapping project ever.