Earth in the News

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

  • X-raying the Earth with waves from stormy weather 'bombs'

    Using a detection network based in Japan, scientists have uncovered a rare type of deep-earth tremor that they attribute to a distant North Atlantic storm called a 'weather bomb.' The discovery marks the first time scientists have observed this particular tremor, known as an S wave microseism.

  • Solar activity has a direct impact on Earth's cloud cover

    Solar variations affect the abundance of clouds in our atmosphere, a new study suggests. Large eruptions on the surface of the Sun can temporarily shield Earth from so-called cosmic rays which now appear to affect cloud formation.

  • Scientists solve puzzle of converting gaseous carbon dioxide to fuel

    Every year, humans advance climate change and global warming by injecting about 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Scientists believe they've found a way to convert all these emissions into energy-rich fuel in a carbon-neutral cycle that uses a very abundant natural resource: silicon. Readily available in sand, it's the seventh most-abundant element in the universe and the second most-abundant element in the earth's crust.

  • Positioning exact to the millimeter: Geodetic reference system enables highly accurate positioning

    How many millimeters has the sea level risen? How fast are the continents moving? In order to answer these questions, measurements are being made around the clock at more than 1,700 globally distributed observing stations. These data are then evaluated by researchers. Their new realization of the global reference system that has now been published, is so exact that it even allows to detect seasonal variations.

  • New map shows alarming growth of the human footprint

    Scientists says a new map of the ecological footprint of humankind shows 97 percent of the most species-rich places on Earth have been seriously altered.

  • Global climate models do not easily downscale for regional predictions

    One size does not always fit all, especially when it comes to global climate models, according to climate researchers who caution users of climate model projections to take into account the increased uncertainties in assessing local climate scenarios.

  • Humans have caused climate change for 180 years

    An international research project has found human activity has been causing global warming for almost two centuries, proving human-induced climate change is not just a 20th century phenomenon.

  • Arctic gives clues on worst mass extinction of life

    Extreme global warming 252 million years ago caused a severe mass extinction of life on Earth. It took life up to 9 million years to recover. New study finds clues in the Arctic as to why this recovery took so long.

  • Human footprint surprisingly outpaced by population and economic growth

    The global impact of human activities on the natural environment is extensive, but those impacts are expanding at a slower rate than the rate of economic and population growth.

  • New insights into the relationship between erosion and tectonics in the Himalayas

    Earth's climate interacts with so called surface processes -- such as landslides or river erosion -- and tectonics to shape the landscape that we see. In some regions, the sheer force of these processes has led scientists to believe that they may even influence the development of tectonics. Scientists have now disproved this assumption.

  • Reef castaways: Can coral make it across Darwin's 'impassable' barrier?

    An international team of researchers have shown that vulnerable coral populations in the eastern tropical Pacific have been completely isolated from the rest of the Pacific Ocean for at least the past two decades.

  • Ancient air pockets changing the history of Earth’s oxygen

    Geologists are using new direct methods to measure the Earth's oxygenation. They identified, for the first time, exactly how much oxygen was in Earth's atmosphere 813 million years ago -- 10.9 percent. This finding, they say, demonstrates that oxygenation on Earth occurred 300 million years earlier than previously concluded from indirect measurements.

  • Better understanding seismic hazards

    The April 2015 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal killed more than 8,000 people and injured more than 21,000. With a magnitude of 7.8, it was the worst natural disaster to strike Nepal since the 1934 Nepal-Bihar earthquake. Researchers have now discovered complex relationship between major earthquake faulting and mountain building in the Himalayas.

  • Climate change may extend ozone season in the Southeastern US

    Extreme weather conditions associated with climate change may extend the ozone season in the Southeastern United States as drought-stressed trees emit more of the precursor compound that helps form the health-threatening pollutant. July and August have traditionally been peak ozone months, but a new study suggests those peaks could extend well into the fall as weather becomes warmer and drier.

  • Antarctica's past shows region's vulnerability to climate change

    Fresh understanding of West Antarctica has revealed how the region's ice sheet could become unstable in a warming world.

  • 2014 Napa earthquake continued to creep, weeks after main shock

    On August 24, 2014, just south of Napa, California, a fault in Earth suddenly slipped, violently shifting and splitting huge blocks of solid rock, 6 miles below the surface. The underground upheaval generated severe shaking at the surface, lasting 10 to 20 seconds. When the shaking subsided, the magnitude 6.0 earthquake left in its wake crumpled building facades, ruptured water mains, and fractured roadways. Scientists now report that this earthquake continued to creep, weeks after the main shock.

  • NASA monitors the 'new normal' of sea ice

    This year's melt season in the Arctic Ocean and surrounding seas started with a bang, with a record low maximum extent in March and relatively rapid ice loss through May. One NASA sea ice scientist describes this as 'the new normal.'

  • Pacific sea level predicts global temperature changes

    Sea level changes in the Pacific Ocean can be used to estimate future global surface temperatures, according to a new paper. Scientists knew both the rate at which global surface temperature is rising and sea level in the Pacific varied, but had not connected the two phenomena. The researchers estimate by the end of 2016, average surface temperature will increase up to 0.5 F (0.28 C) more than in 2014.

  • Scientists combine satellite data, machine learning to map poverty

    The availability of accurate and reliable information on the location of impoverished zones is surprisingly lacking for much of the world. Applying machine learning to satellite images could identify impoverished regions in Africa, say researchers.

  • Mussel flexing: Bivalve save drought-stricken marshes, research finds

    As coastal ecosystems feel the heat of climate change worldwide, new research shows the humble mussel and marsh grass form an intimate interaction known as mutualism that benefits both partner species and may be critical to helping these ecosystems bounce back from extreme climatic events such as drought.