Ecology articlesWhat happens once global warming is at full power?
One trend in pollution has been diminishing the effects of another, but as particulate emissions are contained, their disappearance from the atmosphere will unmask the true impact of global warming.
'Big burps' of seafloor methane probably had little to do with large methane concetration increases during abrupt climate change
Research never before attempted indicates that wetlands and plants probably explain spikes of methane associated with rapid global warming.
Microbe fixes nitrogen at a blistering 92 C
A heat-loving archaeon capable of fixing nitrogen at a surprisingly hot 92 degrees Celsius, or 198 Fahrenheit, may represent Earth's earliest lineages of organisms capable of nitrogen fixation, perhaps even preceding the kinds of bacteria today's plants and animals rely on to fix nitrogen.
New study links western U.S. wildfires to Atlantic Ocean surface temperatures
Western U.S. wildfires are likely to increase in the coming decades, according to a new tree-ring study led by the University of Comahue in Argentina and involving the University of Colorado at Boulder that links episodic fire outbreaks in the past five centuries with periods of warming sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic.
Barnacle busters: tackling a shipping industry headache
Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have devised a potentially ingenious solution to the multi-million dollar problem known as "biofouling," a chronic headache that has plagued the shipping world for centuries.
Study finds the air rich with bacteria
Want biodiversity? Look no further than the air around you. It could be teeming with more than 1,800 types of bacteria, according to a first-of-its-kind census of airborne microbes recently conducted by scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).
Scientists predict carbon dioxide emissions will reduce density of Earth's outermost atmosphere by 2017
Carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels will produce a 3 percent reduction in the density of Earth's outermost atmosphere by 2017, according to a team of scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Pennsylvania State University (PSU).
Risks of exploiting low-quality sources of oil
Soaring oil prices and demands for energy security are boosting the attractiveness of low-quality sources of petroleum, such as tar sands and coal, at the risk of causing significant environmental damage and increasing emissions of greenhouse gases, according to a new study.
New instrument reveals raindrop formation in warm clouds
How do raindrops form? It's a simple question, but the answer is far from elementary. Tiny water droplets somehow merge to become full-sized raindrops, but the details remain a mystery.
Brazilian rainforest depends on african dust
More than half of the dust needed for fertilizing the Brazilian rainforest is supplied by a valley in northern Chad, according to an international research team headed by Dr. Ilan Koren of the Institute's Environmental Sciences and Energy Research Department. In a study published recently in Environmental Research Letters, the scientists have explained how the Bodélé valley's unique features might be responsible for making it such a major dust provider.
How trees manage water in arid environments?
Water scarcity is slowly becoming a fact of life in increasingly large areas. The summer of 2006 was the second warmest in the continental United States since records began in 1895, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Moderate to extreme drought conditions were evident in about 40 percent of the country.
Avian flu virus study
A close relative of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (H5N1) can be eliminated by waste and drinking water treatments, including chlorination, ultraviolet (UV) radiation and bacterial digesters. The virus is harmless to humans but provides a study case of the pathways by which the influenza could spread to human populations.
Molecular anatomy of influenza virus detailed
Scientists at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville have succeeded in imaging, in unprecedented detail, the virus that causes influenza.
Ancient climate change may portend toasty future
Scientists, including Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology, have found that the Earth's global warming, 55 million years ago, may have resulted from the climate's high sensitivity to a long-term release of carbon. This finding contradicts the position held by many climate-change skeptics that the Earth system is resilient to such emissions.
Hotspots or not? Isotopes score one for traditional theory
One great beauty of plate tectonics theory is that it explains so many geological phenomena at one time. But plate tectonics could not explain the location of many volcanic islands – Hawaii, the Azores or the Galapagos Islands, often called "hotspots" – far from the edge of tectonic plates. To deal with those observations, geologists invoked the concept of "plumes" – areas where buoyant sections of mantle material rose, melted and developed into concentrated upwellings of magma, forming seamounts and island chains.
Plant a tree and save the Earth?
Can planting a tree stop the sea level from rising, the ice caps from melting and hurricanes from intensifying?
Midges send undeniable message: planet is warming
Small insects that inhabit some of the most remote parts of the United States are sending a strong message about climate change. New research suggests that changes in midge communities in some of these areas provide additional evidence that the globe is indeed getting warmer.
Usgs examines environmental impacts of aircraft de-icers
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been examining the relative toxicity to aquatic life from a variety of formulations used to remove or prevent dangerous ice buildup on aircraft. A recent study has confirmed that proprietary additives are responsible for the observed toxicity.
Soil nutrients shape tropical forests
Tropical forests are among the most diverse plant communities on earth, and scientists have labored for decades to identify the ecological and evolutionary processes that created and maintain them. A key question is whether all tree species are equivalent in their use of resources – water, light and nutrients – or whether each species has its own niche.
Scientists find potential 'off-switch' for hiv
While there is no cure for lingering viral infections such as HIV and herpes, a recent study at Princeton University suggests it may be possible to deactivate such viruses indefinitely with the flick of a genetic switch.