Ecology articlesCold and ice, and heat, episodically gripped tropical regions 300 million years ago
Geoscientists have long presumed that, like today, the tropics remained warm throughout Earth's last major glaciation 300 million years ago. New evidence, however, indicates that cold temperatures in fact episodically gripped these equatorial latitudes at that time.
Microbe diet key to carbon dioxide release
As microbes in the soil break down fallen plant matter, a diet "balanced" in nutrients appears to help control soil fertility and the normal release of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
NASA data show some african drought linked to warmer indian ocean
A new study, co-funded by NASA, has identified a link between a warming Indian Ocean and less rainfall in eastern and southern Africa. Computer models and observations show a decline in rainfall, with implications for the region's food security.
A novel bacterial species is found trapped in 120,000-year-old ice
A team of Penn State scientists has discovered a new ultra-small species of bacteria that has survived for more than 120,000 years within the ice of a Greenland glacier at a depth of nearly two miles.
Extinction threat growing for mankind's closest relatives
Mankind's closest relatives - the world's monkeys, apes and other primates - are disappearing from the face of the Earth, with some literally being eaten into extinction.
Robot vehicle surveys deep sea off Pacific Northwest
The first scientific mission with Sentry, a newly developed robot capable of diving as deep as 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) into the ocean, has been successfully completed by scientists and engineers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the University of Washington (UW).
Oceans on the precipice
Human activities are cumulatively driving the health of the world's oceans down a rapid spiral, and only prompt and wholesale changes will slow or perhaps ultimately reverse the catastrophic problems they are facing.
Antarctic climate: short-term spikes, long-term warming linked to tropical pacific
Dramatic year-to-year temperature swings and a century-long warming trend across West Antarctica are linked to conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean, according to a new analysis of ice cores conducted by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Washington (UW). The findings show the connection of the world's coldest continent to global warming, as well as to periodic events such as El Niño.
X-rays use diamonds as a window to the centre of the Earth
Diamonds from Brazil have provided the answers to a question that Earth scientists have been trying to understand for many years: how is oceanic crust that has been subducted deep into the Earth recycled back into volcanic rocks?
New clues to air circulation in the atmosphere
Air circulates above the Earth in four distinct cells, with two either side of the equator, says new research out today (21 August) in Science.
Greenland ice core reveals history of pollution in the Arctic
New research, reported in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that coal burning, primarily in North America and Europe, contaminated the Arctic and potentially affected human health and ecosystems in and around Earth's polar regions.
New insights into centre of the earth
A new observation of the very deepest part of the Earth, the solid inner core, has been reported in Nature. The team from the University of Bristol also observed intriguing evidence of a 'texture' in the solid iron that may reflect the patterns left as the swirling liquid iron of the outer core freezes to form the inner core.
'Virtual archaeologist' reconnects fragments of an ancient civilization
For several decades, archaeologists in Greece have been painstakingly attempting to reconstruct wall paintings that hold valuable clues to the ancient culture of Thera, an island civilization that was buried under volcanic ash more than 3,500 years ago.
New climate record shows century-long droughts in eastern north america
A stalagmite in a West Virginia cave has yielded the most detailed geological record to date on climate cycles in eastern North America over the past 7,000 years. The new study confirms that during periods when Earth received less solar radiation, the Atlantic Ocean cooled, icebergs increased and precipitation fell, creating a series of century-long droughts.
Climate change could be impetus for wars, other conflicts
Hurricane season has arrived, sparking renewed debate regarding possible links between global warming and the frequency and severity of hurricanes, heat waves and other extreme weather events.
Protection zones in the wrong place to prevent coral reef collapse
Conservation zones are in the wrong place to protect vulnerable coral reefs from the effects of global warming, an international team of scientists warned recently.
MIT zooms in on malaria-infected cells
In work that could lead to new ways of detecting and treating malaria, MIT researchers have used two advanced microscopy techniques to show in unprecedented detail how the malaria parasite attacks red blood cells.
Unique animal species can survive in space
Water bears (tardigrades) are the first animals in the world to have survived exposure to the vacuum and radiation of space. This has been established by Ingemar Jönsson, a researcher at Kristianstad University in Sweden.
As Andean glacier retreats, tiny life forms swiftly move in
A University of Colorado at Boulder team working at 16,400 feet in the Peruvian Andes has discovered how barren soils uncovered by retreating glacier ice can swiftly establish a thriving community of microbes, setting the table for lichens, mosses and alpine plants.
Moderate quantities of dirt make more rain
Drought or deluge - scientists working with Meinrat O. Andreae, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, have now discovered how aerosols affect the when, where and how much of rainfall.