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Earth in the News

The latest reports of natural disasters and scientific discoveries about the Earth.

  • Historian mapping out a new view of the Medieval world

    Maps show us the way and identify major landmarks – rivers, towns, roads and hills. For centuries, they also offered a perspective on how societies viewed themselves in comparison to the rest of the world. New research looks at maps from the medieval and early-modern Muslim world.

  • Severe ozone depletion avoided

    We are already reaping the rewards of the Montreal Protocol, researchers say, with the ozone layer in much better shape than it would have been without the UN treaty. Although the Montreal Protocol came into force in 1987 and restricted the use of ozone-depleting substances, atmospheric concentrations of these harmful substances continued to rise as they can survive in the atmosphere for many years. Concentrations peaked in 1993 and have subsequently declined, the researchers say.

  • Location matters in the lowland Amazon

    You know the old saying: Location, location, location? It turns out that it applies to the Amazon rainforest, too. New work illustrates a hidden tapestry of chemical variation across the lowland Peruvian Amazon, with plants in different areas producing an array of chemicals that changes across the region's topography.

  • Biodiversity: Eleven new species come to light in Madagascar

    Madagascar is home to extraordinary biodiversity, but in the past few decades, the island's forests and associated biodiversity have been under greater attack than ever. Rapid deforestation is affecting the biotopes of hundreds of species, including the panther chameleon, a species with spectacular intra-specific colour variation. A new study reveals that this charismatic reptilian species, which is only found in Madagascar, is actually composed of eleven different species.

  • Deciphering clues to prehistoric climate changes locked in cave deposits

    It turns out that the steady dripping of water deep underground can reveal a surprising amount of information about the constantly changing cycles of heat and cold, precipitation and drought in the turbulent atmosphere above. The analysis of a stalagmite from a cave in north east India can detect the link between El Nino conditions in the Pacific Ocean and the Indian monsoon, a new study has found.

  • How meteorological partnership between US, Cuba was created over 20 years

    The two-decade-long process to form an active meteorological partnership between the United States and Cuba has been described in a new article. While the U.S. and Cuba have shared meteorological information and data relating to hurricanes and other tropical storms starting as early as the mid-1800's, this is the first time a partnership of this level has been created; it included the shipping and installation of sensitive GPS monitoring equipment, something that would normally not be allowed by either government.

  • 3D geological tour of the Guadalquivir basin using Google Earth

    A research team has developed a tool that allows a 3D journey in ten sites of geological and palaeontological interest in the Guadalquivir basin (Huelva, Spain). In the virtual tour, developed with Google Earth, you can visit and explore treasures of this area, such as records of the opening of the Atlantic Ocean, using tablets and smartphones.

  • Savannahs slow climate change, experts say

    Tropical rainforests have long been considered the Earth's lungs, sequestering large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and thereby slowing down the increasing greenhouse effect and associated human-made climate change. Scientists in a global research project now show that the vast extensions of semi-arid landscapes occupying the transition zone between rainforest and desert dominate the ongoing increase in carbon sequestration by ecosystems globally, as well as large fluctuations between wet and dry years. This is a major rearrangement of planetary functions.

  • Seismic signals used to track above-ground explosions

    Researchers have determined that a tunnel bomb explosion by Syrian rebels was less than 60 tons as claimed by sources. Using seismic stations in Turkey, the scientists created a method to determine source characteristics of near earth surface explosions. They found the above-ground tunnel bomb blast under the Wadi al-Deif Army Base near Aleppo last spring was likely not as large as originally estimated and was closer to 40 tons.

  • Tara Oceans expedition yields treasure trove of plankton data

    A multinational team of researchers who spent three and a half years sampling the ocean's sunlit upper layers aboard the schooner Tara unveil the first officially reported global analyses of the Tara Oceans consortium.

  • New insights into global ocean microbe-virus interactions, drivers of Earth's ecosystems

    Ocean microbes are vital to the Earth's ecosystems, and their interactions with ocean viruses can have dramatic effects on processes ranging from oxygen production to food supply. Marine biologists have now uncovered new information about the way marine viruses and microbes interact on a global scale, which may allow researchers to predictively model their complex interactions.

  • Sudden onset of ice loss in Antarctica so large it affects Earth's gravity field

    Scientists have observed a sudden increase of ice loss in a previously stable region of Antarctica. The ice loss in the region is so large that it causes small changes in the gravity field of the Earth.

  • Surviving harsh environments becomes a death-trap for specialist corals

    The success of corals that adapt to survive in the world's hottest sea could contribute to their demise through global warming, according to new research.

  • Peat moss, a necessary bane

    The temperature balance on Earth may be dependent on a conspicuous creation that sours life for everyone around, guzzles more than a sponge and produces lots of offspring that behave likewise. And you thought your neighbors were bad.

  • Scientists tackle mystery of thunderstorms that strike at night

    From June 1 through July 15, researchers from across North America will fan out each evening across the Great Plains to study the mysterious phenomenon of nighttime thunderstorms.

  • Severe weather may be linked to Arctic warming

    New evidence has linked Arctic warming with severe weather in countries including the UK and US. The studies are adding to the growing weight of evidence linking increased Arctic temperatures with changes in mid-latitude weather patterns.

  • Air quality effects of natural gas extraction detected in PA's Marcellus Shale region

    Environmental engineers have taken a closer look at the air quality effects of natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania. The group used a mobile air quality monitoring vehicle to survey regional air quality and pollutant emissions at 13 sites including wells, drilling rigs, compressor stations and processing areas. Their work establishes baseline measurements for this relatively new area of extraction.

  • Study highlights ways to boost weather, climate predictions

    Long range weather forecasts and climate change projections could be significantly boosted by advances in our understanding of the relationship between layers of the Earth's atmosphere -- the stratosphere and troposphere.

  • Common mechanism for shallow and deep earthquakes proposed

    Geologists report that a universal sliding mechanism operates for earthquakes of all depths -- from the deep ones all the way up to the crustal ones. The physics of the sliding is the self-lubrication of the earthquake fault by flow of a new material consisting of tiny new crystals, the study reports.

  • Climate change altering frequency, intensity of hurricanes

    Climate change may be the driving force behind fewer, yet more powerful hurricanes and tropical storms, says a geography professor.