Earth

Shopping locally may not be as good for the environment as having food delivered, according to new research by the University of Exeter (UK). Published in the journal Food Policy, the study shows that, on average, lower carbon emissions result from delivering a vegetable box than making a trip to a local farm shop.

A team of researchers at Monash University has released a new analysis of precipitation records from the long-term cloud seeding operation in Tasmania that shows a promising increase in rainfall during periods of seeding.

The team worked with Hydro Tasmania analysing the cloud seeding activity over the hydroelectric catchment area in central Tasmania for more than four decades – from 1960 – 2005.

An experiment to study the effects of naturally deposited iron in the Southern Ocean has filled in a key piece of the puzzle surrounding iron's role in locking atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in the ocean. The research, conducted by an international team led by Raymond Pollard of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, and included Matthew Charette, a marine chemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), found that natural iron fertilization enhanced the export of carbon to the deep ocean. The research was published January 29, 2009, in the journal Nature.

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Knowledge gaps continue to hobble scientists' assessments of the environment, a Michigan State University researcher and colleagues warn. Their warning follows sobering conclusions drawn from what they do know and could help set the global agenda for research funding in the years to come.

Followers are just as important to good leadership as are the leaders themselves, reveals a new study of stickleback fish published online on January 29th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

By randomly pairing fish of varying degrees of "boldness," the researchers showed that each member of a pair adopts the role of leader or follower. More importantly, they found, the behavior of each member of the pair is strongly influenced by its partner.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Snow that blows and drifts across roadways has long troubled road maintenance crews and commuters alike, creating treacherous driving conditions and requiring additional maintenance resources to mitigate the problem.

Now, a University at Buffalo engineer has led the development of "SnowMan," a user-friendly, desktop software package that puts cost-effective solutions to the snow drift problem at the fingertips of highway designers and road maintenance personnel.

Glaciers around the globe continue to melt at high rates. Tentative figures for the year 2007, of the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, indicate a further loss of average ice thickness of roughly 0.67 meter water equivalent (m w.e.). Some glaciers in the European Alps lost up to 2.5 m w.e.

Making bales with 30 percent of global crop residues – the stalks and such left after harvesting – and then sinking the bales into the deep ocean could reduce the build up of global carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by up to 15 percent a year, according to just published calculations.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--Picture this: an accurate map of a large underground oil reservoir that can guide engineers' efforts to coax the oil from the vast rocky subsurface into wells where it can be pumped out for storage or transport.

Researchers in MIT's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering have developed technology that can generate such a map, which has the potential to significantly increase the amount of oil extracted from reservoirs.

Rocks formed only under the extreme heat and friction during earthquakes, called pseudotachylytes, may be more abundant than previously reported, according to new research focused on eight faults found in the Sierra Nevada. The research appears in the February issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.