Earth

Austin, TX September 3, 2008 — University of Texas professor Constantine Caramanis and colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are working on a air traffic decision-making system that rapidly adapts its flight recommendations without human input based on thousands of changing variables. The computer model Caramanis, lead researcher Cynthia Barnhart, and other colleagues from MIT are developing will monitor weather conditions as well as current airplane locations and probable routes.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The theory that global warming may be contributing to stronger hurricanes in the Atlantic over the past 30 years is bolstered by a new study led by a Florida State University researcher. The study will be published in the Sept. 4 edition of the journal Nature.

Amidst the semi-arid stretches of Phoenix, a visitor might blink twice at the sight of a sailboat cutting across the horizon. Tempe Town Lake, on the northern edge of Arizona State University (ASU), is just one of a multitude of lakes, small ponds, canals and dams combining flood control, water delivery, recreational opportunities and aesthetics, and altering perception of water availability and economics in the area.

Washington, D.C.— Nitrogen atoms like to travel in pairs, hooked together by one of the strongest chemical bonds in nature. By subjecting nitrogen molecules to extreme temperatures and pressures scientists are getting a new understanding of not only nitrogen but other similar molecules, including hydrogen.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Permafrost blanketing the northern hemisphere contains more than twice the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, making it a potentially mammoth contributor to global climate change depending on how quickly it thaws.

So concludes a group of nearly two dozen scientists in a paper appearing this week in the journal Bioscience. The lead author is Ted Schuur, an associate professor of ecology at the University of Florida.

A scientific expedition this fall will map the unexplored Arctic seafloor where the U.S. and Canada may have sovereign rights over natural resources such as oil and gas and control over activities such as mining.

Both countries will use the resulting data to establish the outer limits of the continental shelf, according to the criteria set out in the Convention on the Law of the Sea. The extended continental shelf, the seafloor and subsoil beyond 200 nautical miles from shore that meet those criteria, is an area of great scientific interest and potential economic development.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A team of scientists is studying the complex ocean upwelling process by mimicking nature – pumping cold, nutrient-rich water from deep within the Pacific Ocean and releasing it into surface waters near Hawaii that lack the nitrogen and phosphorous necessary to support high biological production.

The thawing of permafrost in northern latitudes, which greatly increases microbial decomposition of carbon compounds in soil, will dominate other effects of warming in the region and could become a major force promoting the release of carbon dioxide and thus further warming, according to a new assessment in the September 2008 issue of BioScience.

MADISON — If the lessons being learned by scientists about the demise of the last great North American ice sheet are correct, estimates of global sea level rise from a melting Greenland ice sheet may be seriously underestimated.

Writing this week (Aug. 31) in the journal Nature Geoscience, a team of researchers led by University of Wisconsin-Madison geologist Anders Carlson reports that sea level rise from greenhouse-induced warming of the Greenland ice sheet could be double or triple current estimates over the next century.