Earth

Alexandria, VA – The American Geological Institute (AGI) Workforce Program has released the second chapter, entitled Trends in Geoscience Education at Four Year Institutions, of the Status of the Geoscience Workforce report. Chapters 1 and 2 of this report are now available through the AGI website at http://www.agiweb.org/workforce/.

Coastal erosion has more than doubled in Alaska – up to 45 feet per year – in a 5-year period between 2002 and 2007 along a 40-mile stretch of the Beaufort Sea.

Globally, tropical trees in undisturbed forest are absorbing nearly a fifth of the CO2 released by burning fossil fuels.

The researchers show that remaining tropical forests remove a massive 4.8 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions from the atmosphere each year. This includes a previously unknown carbon sink in Africa, mopping up 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 each year.

Skyrocketing coastal erosion occurred in Alaska between 2002 and 2007 along a 64 kilometer (40 mile) stretch of the Beaufort Sea, a new study finds. The surge of erosion in recent years, averaging more than double historical rates, is threatening coastal towns and destroying Alaskan cultural relics.

Aerosols may have a greater impact on patterns of Australian rainfall and future climate change than previously thought, according to leading atmospheric scientist, CSIRO's Dr Leon Rotstayn.

"We have identified that the extensive pollution haze emanating from Asia may be re-shaping rainfall patterns in northern Australia but we wonder what impact natural and human-generated aerosols are having across the rest of the country," Dr Rotstayn said.

A unique study by a scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has provided fresh evidence of fishing's impact on marine ecosystems. Scripps Oceanography graduate student researcher Loren McClenachan accessed archival photographs spanning more than five decades to analyze and calculate a drastic decline of so-called "trophy fish" caught around coral reefs surrounding Key West, Florida.

SEOUL, KOREA—The toxic gas formaldehyde is contained in building materials including carpeting, curtains, plywood, and adhesives. As it is emitted from these sources, it deteriorates the air quality, which can lead to "multiple chemical sensitivity" and "sick building syndrome", medical conditions with symptoms such as allergies, asthma, and headaches. The prevalence of formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOC) is greater in new construction.

TUCSON, AZ—Capillary mats are popular in the retail nursery industry and with many home gardeners. The uniquely designed mats provide automated irrigation to a variety of plants, conserve water, and reduce the need for labor-intensive hand-watering.

Made with absorbent fabric lined with polyethylene film on the bottom and covered on top with perforated polyethylene or similar material, the mats help minimize evaporation while allowing water to move from the bottom of the mat up into the containers on top.

MADISON, WI, February 16, 2009 -- Grasslands in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in the United States may be increasingly converted to growing bioenergy grain crops. Questions abound regarding the fate of carbon sequestered in the soil during the CRP program by perennial grasses if the land is converted to grain crop production and the potential effectiveness of no-till production systems to conserve the sequestered soil organic carbon (SOC).

15.02.2009 | Potsdam: In the current issue of the Scientific Journal Nature Geoscience a group of Norwegian, Swiss and German geoscientists prove that before the set-in of the Holocene very rapid climate changes already existed. The transition from the stable cold period took place about 12 150 to 11 700 years ago with very rapid fluctations up to the temperatur-threshold at which the Holocene began.