Earth in the News

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

  • Increasing tornado outbreaks: Is climate change responsible?

    In a new study, researchers looked at increasing trends in the severity of tornado outbreaks where they measured severity by the number of tornadoes per outbreak. They found that these trends are increasing fastest for the most extreme outbreaks. While they saw changes in meteorological quantities that are consistent with these upward trends, the meteorological trends were not the ones expected under climate change.

  • New study describes 200 million years of geological evolution

    200 million years of geological evolution of a fault in Earth’s crust has recently been dated. These new findings may be used to shed light on poorly understood pathways for methane release from the heart of our planet.

  • Physics, photosynthesis and solar cells

    Researchers have combined quantum physics and photosynthesis to make discovery that could lead to highly efficient, green solar cells, outlines a new report.

  • Cloud in a box: Mixing aerosols and turbulence

    Cleaner clouds also have a much wider variability in droplet size, new research indicates. And the way those droplets form could have serious implications for weather and climate change.

  • 6,000 years ago the Sahara Desert was tropical, so what happened?

    As little as 6,000 years ago, the vast Sahara Desert was covered in grassland that received plenty of rainfall, but shifts in the world's weather patterns abruptly transformed the vegetated region into some of the driest land on Earth. Now a researcher is trying to uncover the clues responsible for this enormous climate transformation -- and the findings could lead to better rainfall predictions worldwide.

  • Permafrost loss changes Yukon River chemistry with global implications

    Permafrost loss due to a rapidly warming Alaska is leading to significant changes in the freshwater chemistry and hydrology of Alaska's Yukon River Basin with potential global climate implications, report scientists.

  • Earth's 'technosphere' now weighs 30 trillion tons

    The planet's technosphere now weighs some 30 trillion tons -- a mass of more than 50 kilos for every square meter of the Earth's surface, report investigators. Additionally, the numbers of technofossil 'species' now outnumber numbers of biotic species on planet Earth. The definition of the term technosphere includes physical human-made structures such as houses, factories, smartphones, computers and landfill.

  • Groundwater helium level could signal potential risk of earthquake

    A relationship between helium levels in groundwater and the amount of stress exerted on inner rock layers of the earth, found at locations near the epicenter of the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake, has now been revealed by researchers. The scientists hope the finding will lead to the development of a monitoring system that catches stress changes that could foreshadow a big earthquake.

  • Ancient rocks hold evidence for life before oxygen

    Somewhere between Earth's creation and where we are today, scientists have demonstrated that some early life forms existed just fine without any oxygen. The 2.52 billion-year-old sulfur-oxidizing bacteria are exceptionally large, spherical-shaped, smooth-walled microscopic structures much larger than most modern bacteria, but similar to some modern single-celled organisms that live in deepwater sulfur-rich ocean settings today, where even now there are almost no traces of oxygen.

  • NASA's ISS-RapidScat Earth science mission ends

    NASA's International Space Station Rapid Scatterometer (ISS-RapidScat) Earth science instrument has ended operations following a successful two-year mission aboard the space station. The mission launched Sept. 21, 2014, and had recently passed its original decommissioning date.

  • Marine incentives programs may replace 'doom and gloom' with hope

    Incentives that are designed to enable smarter use of the ocean while also protecting marine ecosystems can and do work, and offer significant hope to help address the multiple environmental threats facing the world’s oceans, researchers conclude in a new analysis.

  • What's up with Madagascar?

    The island of Madagascar off the coast of Africa was largely unexplored seismically until recently. The first broadband seismic images of the island help solve a longstanding mystery: why are there volcanoes far from any tectonic boundary?

  • Biggest exposed fault on Earth discovered

    Geologists have for the first time seen and documented the Banda Detachment fault in eastern Indonesia and have worked out how it formed.

  • The ancient atmosphere and carbon and nitrogen in Earth's crust

    Carbon and nitrogen are central to life on Earth – life cannot exist without them, but an overabundance in the atmosphere imperils the life we have. So how much carbon and nitrogen is there on planet Earth? And how much was in the ancient atmosphere? Actually, no one is really sure.

  • West Antarctic Ice Shelf Breaking Up From the Inside Out

    A key glacier in Antarctica is breaking apart from the inside out, suggesting that the ocean is weakening ice on the edges of the continent.

  • Fault curvature may control where big earthquakes occur

    The geometry of large faults has been the focus of recent research, which has found that the big earthquakes occur where faults are mostly flat.

  • Defining conservation priorities in tropical and biodiversity rich countries

    Rich in biodiversity, with a rapidly growing economy, Malaysia exemplifies the tension between conservation and economic development faced by many tropical countries.

  • Gulfstream may strengthen with more precipitation in the far north

    Using a new theory, a researcher shows that more freshwater in the Arctic may strengthen the Gulfstream’s extension into the polar regions – the opposite of what has generally been anticipated with future climate change.

  • Huge reduction in African dust plume impacted climate 11,000 years ago

    Scientists have discovered a huge reduction in an African dust plume that led to more Saharan monsoons 11,000 years ago, suggests a new report.

  • Hurricane risk to Northeast USA coast increasing, research warns

    The Northeastern coast of the USA could be struck by more frequent and more powerful hurricanes in the future due to shifting weather patterns, according to new research.