Earth

Researchers in Australia are developing diversionary tactics to fool disease-causing bacteria in the gut. Many bacteria, including those responsible for major gut infections, such as cholera, produce toxins that damage human tissues when they bind to complex sugar receptors displayed on the surface of cells in the host's intestine.

TURIN, ITALY—Peat, or semi-decayed vegetation matter, has been used by commercial growers and amateur gardeners since the middle of the 20th century. Peat is added to potting soil to help retain moisture and provide additional nutrients. As the demand for peat grew, acres of peat bogs were being drained and destroyed. Now, concerns about the environmental impact of extracting peat from wetlands are mounting. And as peat supplies are reduced, the cost naturally increases.

September 3rd, 2009, Tokyo - The Deep-sea Drilling Vessel CHIKYU successfully completed riser drilling operations on Aug. 31, for IODP Expedition 319, Stage 2 of the Nankai Trough Seismogenic Zone Experiment (NanTroSEIZE). The CHIKYU is operated by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) in partnership with the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program. The expedition began with drilling operations at the Kumano Basin, off the Kii Peninsula on May 10, 2009.

Berlin, 2 September 2009 - Investing in restoration and maintenance of the Earth's multi-trillion dollar ecosystems - from forests and mangroves to wetlands and river basins - can have a key role in countering climate change and climate-proofing vulnerable economies.

Warming from greenhouse gases has trumped the Arctic's millennia-long natural cooling cycle, suggests new research. Although the Arctic has been receiving less energy from the summer sun for the past 8,000 years, Arctic summer temperatures began climbing in 1900 and accelerated after 1950.

The decade from 1999 to 2008 was the warmest in the Arctic in two millennia, scientists report in the journal Science. Arctic temperatures are now 2.2 F (1.2 C) warmer than in 1900.

(Flagstaff, Ariz. Sept. 4, 2009) —A clearer picture of climate change is emerging from the sediment drawn from the bottom of Arctic lakes.

An international team of scientists, led by Darrell Kaufman, a Northern Arizona University professor of geology and environmental science, recently completed a five-year study that places the recent warming in the context of long-term climate change.

Hanns-Christoph Naegerl's research group has investigated how ultracold quantum gases behave in lower spatial dimensions. They successfully realized an exotic state, where, due to the laws of quantum mechanics, atoms align along a one-dimensional structure. A stable many-body phase with new quantum mechanical states is thereby produced even though the atoms are usually strongly attracted which would cause the system to collapse. The scientists report on their findings in the leading scientific journal Science.

A new study indicates that Arctic temperatures suddenly increased during the last 50 years of the period from 1 AD to the year 2000. Because this warming occurred abruptly during the 20th Century while atmospheric greenhouse gases were accumulating, these findings provide additional evidence that humans are influencing climate.

RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 1, 2009) – An international team of researchers has designed a new graphite-based, magnetic nano-material that acts as a semiconductor and could help material scientists create the next generation of electronic devices like microchips.

RICHLAND, Wash. -- Scientists have long known that molecules dance about as the temperature rises, but now researchers know the exact steps that water takes with a certain molecule. Results with small, electrically charged cyanide ions and water molecules reveal that water zips around ions to a greater extent than expected. The findings improve our understanding of a chemical interaction important in environmental and atmospheric sciences.

Trichoderma reesei's change from moldy best to industrial staple is due, in part, to scientific explorations that led to the development of mutant fungal strains that produce large quantities of biomass-degrading enzymes.

After more than a decade of inquiry, a Princeton-led team of scientists has turned the tables on a long-standing controversy to re-establish an old truth about nitrogen mixing in the oceans.

For decades, scientists thought they had a handle on the workings of an intricate natural mechanism known as the nitrogen cycle, essential to maintaining life on Earth. This process, one of nature's most elegant sleights-of-hand, shuttles nitrogen from the soils to the oceans to the atmosphere and back.

Ruben Juanes, MIT explains that some of the naturally occurring underground methane exists not as gas but as methane hydrate. In the hydrate phase, a methane gas molecule is locked inside a crystalline cage of frozen water molecules. These hydrates exist in a layer of underground rock or oceanic sediments called the hydrate stability zone or HSZ. Methane hydrates will remain stable as long as the external pressure remains high and the temperature low.

Persistent winds and a weakened current in the Mid-Atlantic contributed to higher than normal sea levels along the Eastern Seaboard in June and July, according to a new NOAA technical report.

After observing water levels six inches to two feet higher than originally predicted, NOAA scientists began analyzing data from select tide stations and buoys from Maine to Florida and found that a weakening of the Florida Current Transport—an oceanic current that feeds into the Gulf Stream—in addition to steady and persistent Northeast winds, contributed to this anomaly.

The team, led by scientists from the University of Edinburgh, says that the new method, which uses data collected from earthquakes, potentially allows the Earth's seismic activity to be mapped more comprehensively.

Scientists currently monitor underground movements, such as earthquakes and nuclear tests, using seismometers – instruments that measure the motion of those events at the Earth's surface. This helps to indicate where they took place.