Earth

Flooding like that which devastated the North of England last year is set to become a common event across the UK in the next 75 years, new research has shown.

A study by Dr Hayley Fowler, of Newcastle University, predicts that severe storms – the likes of which currently occur every five to 25 years across the UK – will become more common and more severe in a matter of decades.

Looking at 'extreme rainfall events' – where rain falls steadily and heavily for between one and five days – the study predicts how the intensity of these storms may change in the future.

New research indicates that the ocean could rise in the next 100 years to a meter higher than the current sea level – which is three times higher than predictions from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC. The groundbreaking new results from an international collaboration between researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, England and Finland are published in the scientific journal Climate Dynamics.

HIAPER, one of the nation's most advanced research aircraft, is scheduled to embark on an historic mission spanning the globe from the Arctic to the Antarctic.

Starting Jan. 7, 2008, the HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) mission will cover more than 24,000 miles as an international team of scientists makes a series of five flights over the next three years sampling the atmosphere in some of the most inaccessible regions of the world.

HICKORY CORNERS, Mich. --- Smooth, dark buildings, vehicles and even roads can be mistaken by insects and other creatures for water, according to a Michigan State University researcher, creating "ecological traps" that jeopardize animal populations and fragile ecosystems.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Mercury pollution has already spurred public health officials to advise eating less fish, but it could become a more pressing concern in a warmer world.

So suggests a paper that appears in a recent issue of the journal Oecologia.

Washington, D.C.—Asteroids are hunks of rock that orbit in the outer reaches of space, and scientists have generally assumed that their small size limited the types of rock that could form in their crusts. But two newly discovered meteorites may rewrite the book on how some asteroids form and evolve. Researchers from the Carnegie Institution, the University of Maryland, and the University of Tennessee report in the January 8th edition of Nature that these meteorites are ancient asteroid fragments consisting of feldspar-rich rock called andesite.

MADISON — Economists use leading indicators — the drivers of economic performance – to take the temperature of the economy and predict the future.

Now, in a new study, scientists take a page from the social science handbook and use leading indicators of the environment to presage the potential collapse of ecosystems. The study, published today (Jan. 5) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by two ecologists and an economist, suggests it may be possible to use nature's leading indicators to avert environmental disaster.

Climate researchers have shown that big volcanic eruptions over the past 450 years have temporarily cooled weather in the tropics—but suggest that such effects may have been masked in the 20th century by rising global temperatures. Their paper, which shows that higher latitudes can be even more sensitive to volcanism, appears in the current issue of Nature Geoscience.

PORTLAND, Ore. January 5, 2009. A recent study shows that shade trees on the west and south sides of a house in California can reduce a homeowner's summertime electric bill by about $25.00 a year. The study, conducted last year on 460 single-family homes in Sacramento, is the first large-scale study to use utility billing data to show that trees can reduce energy consumption.