Earth in the News

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

  • Baltic clams, worms release as much greenhouse gas as 20,000 dairy cows

    Ocean clams and worms are releasing a significant amount of potentially harmful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, scientists have shown.

  • Is it gonna blow? Measuring volcanic emissions from space

    Carbon dioxide measured by a NASA satellite pinpoints sources of the gas from human and volcanic activities, which may help monitor greenhouse gases responsible for climate change.

  • Understanding rare Earth emulsions

    Through a series of theoretical simulations, researchers discovered that surface polarization in mixed media increases attraction among elements.

  • Tropical tree roots represent an underappreciated carbon pool

    Estimates of the carbon stored by tropical forests rarely take tree roots into consideration. Scientists report that almost 30 percent of the total biomass of tropical trees may be in the roots.

  • Satellites map photosynthesis at high resolution

    Life on Earth is impossible without photosynthesis. It provides food and oxygen to all higher life forms and plays an important role in the climate system, since this process regulates the uptake of carbon dioxide from the Earth's atmosphere and its fixation in biomass. However, quantification of photosynthesis at the ecosystem-to-global scale remains uncertain. Now an international team of scientists have made a major step forward.

  • Rainfall trends in arid regions buck commonly held climate change theories

    To explore the links between climatic warming and rainfall in drylands, scientists analysed more than 50 years of detailed rainfall data (measured every minute) from a semi-arid drainage basin in south east Arizona exhibiting an upward trend in temperatures during that period.

  • Carbon dioxide levels lower than thought during super greenhouse period

    Researchers adds to the understanding of Earth's historic hyperthermal events to help explain the planet's current warming trend.

  • New threat to the ozone layer

    'Ozone depletion is a well-known phenomenon and, thanks to the success of the Montreal Protocol, is widely perceived as a problem solved,' say some. But an international team of researchers, has now found an unexpected, growing danger to the ozone layer from substances not regulated by the treaty.

  • Risk of tsunamis in Mediterranean Sea has been overstated, say experts

    A review of geological evidence for tsunamis during the past 4500 years in the Mediterranean Sea has revealed that as many as 90 per cent of these inundation events may have been misinterpreted by scientists and were due to storm activity instead.

  • Rainstorm generator assesses watershed rainfall under climate change simulations

    The Colorado River tumbles through varied landscapes, draining watersheds from seven western states. This 1,450-mile-long system is a critical water supply for agriculture, industry and municipalities from Denver to Tijuana.

  • Better managing plastic waste in a handful of rivers could stem plastics in the ocean

    Massive amounts of plastic bits that are dangerous to aquatic life are washing into the oceans and into even the most pristine waters. But how it all gets there from inland cities has not been fully understood. Now scientists have found that 10 rivers around the world where plastic waste is mismanaged contribute to most of the oceans' total loads that come from rivers.

  • One of planet's largest volcanic eruptions

    Researchers have determined that the Pacific Northwest was home to one of the Earth's largest known volcanic eruptions, a millennia-long spewing of sulfuric gas that blocked out the sun and cooled the planet. Only two other eruptions -- the basalt floods of the Siberian Traps and the Deccan Traps -- were larger, and they led to two of the Earth's great extinctions.

  • Illegal use of natural resources in the protected Brazilian Amazon mapped

    New research uses law enforcement data collected from 2010 to 2015 to understand the geographical distribution of the illegal use of natural resources across the region's protected area network. In the study, a total of 4,243 reports of illegal use of natural resources were evaluated and mapped. These reports generated US $224.6 million in fines.

  • Formation of coal almost turned our planet into a snowball

    While burning coal today causes Earth to overheat, about 300 million years ago the formation of that same coal brought our planet close to global glaciation. For the first time, scientists show the massive effect in a new study.

  • Scientists complete conservation puzzle, shaping understanding of life on Earth

    An international team of scientists has completed the 'atlas of life' -- the first global review and map of every vertebrate on Earth. The 39 scientists have produced a catalogue and atlas of the world's reptiles. By linking this atlas with existing maps for birds, mammals and amphibians, the team have found many new areas where conservation action is vital.

  • Mars study yields clues to possible cradle of life

    The discovery of evidence for ancient sea-floor hydrothermal deposits on Mars identifies an area on the planet that may offer clues about the origin of life on Earth. The research offers evidence that these deposits were formed by heated water from a volcanically active part of the planet's crust entering the bottom of a large sea long ago.

  • Microbes dictate regime shifts causing anoxia in lakes and seas

    Gradual environmental changes due to eutrophication and global warming can cause a rapid depletion of oxygen levels in lakes and coastal waters. A new study shows that microorganisms play a key role in these disastrous regime shifts.

  • Old Faithful's geological heart revealed

    Scientists have mapped the near-surface geology around Old Faithful, revealing the reservoir of heated water that feeds the geyser's surface vent and how the ground shaking behaves in between eruptions.

  • Do earthquakes have a 'tell'?

    Data scientists and seismologists could potentially forecast strong earthquakes through algorithms designed to detect and monitor 'deep tremor.'

  • Decision to rescind Waters of the United States rule (WOTUS) based on flawed analysis

    New evidence suggests that the Trump Administration's proposal to rescind the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule that would limit the scope of the Clean Water Act inappropriately overlooks wetlands-related values.