Earth

Biology meets geometry

Biology meets geometry

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) — Architecture imitates life, at least when it comes to those spiral ramps in multistory parking garages. Stacked and connecting parallel levels, the ramps are replications of helical structures found in a ubiquitous membrane structure in the cells of the body.

Twenty-first Eastern Pacific tropical depression born on Oct. 30

Twenty-first Eastern Pacific tropical depression born on Oct. 30

NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured an image of the birth of the Eastern Pacific Ocean's twenty-first tropical depression, located far south of Acapulco, Mexico.

Dartmouth study finds restoring wetlands can lessen soil sinkage, greenhouse gas emissions

Dartmouth study finds restoring wetlands can lessen soil sinkage, greenhouse gas emissions

Restoring wetlands can help reduce or reverse soil subsidence and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to research in California's Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta by Dartmouth College researchers and their colleagues.

The study, which is one of the first to continually measure the fluctuations of both carbon and methane as they cycle through wetlands, appears in the journal by Global Change Biology.

Plump turtles swim better: First models of swimming animals

Plump turtles swim better: First models of swimming animals

MADISON, Wis. — Bigger is better, if you're a leatherback sea turtle.

For the first time, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Florida Atlantic University (FAU), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have measured the forces that act on a swimming animal and the energy the animal must expend to move through the water.

A surprising finding: Longer, slender turtles are less efficient swimmers than more rotund turtles, which get better stroke for their buck.

Urban seismic network detects human sounds

Urban seismic network detects human sounds

This particular dataset consists of a 5,300-geophone network—deployed as part of a hydrocarbon industry survey—covering an area of more than 70 km2. Geophone devices are commonly used to record energy waves reflected by the subsurface geology as a way of mapping out geologic structures or track earthquakes.

"By recording vibrations via geophones spaced roughly every 100 meters (300 feet), we were able to look into activity in Long Beach with a resolution below a typical city block," said Riahi.

NIST 'combs' the atmosphere to measure greenhouse gases

NIST 'combs' the atmosphere to measure greenhouse gases

By remotely "combing" the atmosphere with a custom laser-based instrument, researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in collaboration with researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), have developed a new technique that can accurately measure—over a sizeable distance—amounts of several of the major "greenhouse" gases implicated in climate change.

Does it help conservation to put a price on nature?

Putting a price on the services which a particular ecosystem provides may encourage the adoption of greener policies, but it may come at the price of biodiversity conservation. Writing today (30 October) in the journal Science, Professor Bill Adams of the University's Department of Geography argues that assigning a quantitative value to nature does not automatically lead to the conservation of biodiversity, and may in fact contribute to species loss and conflict.

Researchers track ammonium source in open ocean

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — To understand the extent to which human activities are polluting Earth's atmosphere and oceans, it's important to distinguish human-made pollutants from compounds that occur naturally. A recent study co-authored by a Brown University professor does just that for ammonium, a compound that is produced by human activities like agriculture, as well as by natural processes that occur in the ocean.

New study shows 3 abrupt pulse of CO2 during last deglaciation

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new study shows that the rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide that contributed to the end of the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago did not occur gradually, but was characterized by three "pulses" in which C02 rose abruptly.

Scientists are not sure what caused these abrupt increases, during which C02 levels rose about 10-15 parts per million – or about 5 percent per episode – over a period of 1-2 centuries. It likely was a combination of factors, they say, including ocean circulation, changing wind patterns, and terrestrial processes.

Maasai of Tanzania facing severe food insecurity and chronic child malnourishment

In the first in-depth study of its kind of the Maasai people of Tanzania, research led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine has revealed that the health of Maasai children is very poor compared to other ethnic groups.

The new research, published in PLOS ONE, shows that four out of five Maasai households face severe food insecurity and nearly 60% of Maasai children are chronically malnourished. Maasai children were also more frequently reported to have illnesses such as pneumonia and diarrhoea, and to have inadequate diets.