Earth in the News

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

  • Diving into Earth's interior helps scientists unravel secrets of diamond formation

    Understanding the global carbon cycle provides scientists with vital clues about the planet's habitability.

  • Climate change may affect ecological interactions among species

    Predator-prey equilibria are being disrupted by climate change, according to a new study.

  • Surprising findings on forest fires

    Several years ago, an international team of scientists raised sediments from the bottom of Lake Van in eastern Turkey reflecting the past 600,000 years. Soil scientists and paleobotanists have now evaluated the drill cores for residues of early fires -- with surprising findings. The fires did not mainly occur during particularly dry periods as assumed, but in comparatively humid and warm periods.

  • Coastal waters are unexpected hotspots for nitrogen fixation

    Nitrogen fixation is surprisingly high in the ocean's coastal waters and may play a larger role than expected in carbon dioxide uptake, a new study shows. The findings -- based on thousands of samples collected in the western North Atlantic -- upend prevailing theories about where and when nitrogen fixation occurs, and underscore the need for scientists to revisit the global distribution of marine nitrogen fixation and reevaluate its role in the coastal carbon cycle.

  • Researchers discover a flipping crab feeding on methane seeps

    Researchers have documented a group of tanner crabs vigorously feeding at a methane seep on the seafloor off British Columbia -- one of the first times a commercially harvested species has been seen using this energy source.

  • Fossil fuel combustion is the main contributor to black carbon around Arctic

    Fossil fuel combustion is the main contributor to black carbon collected at five sites around the Arctic, which has implications for global warming, according to a new study.

  • A volcanic binge and its frosty hangover

    A major volcanic event could have triggered one of the largest glaciations in Earth's history -- the Gaskiers glaciation, which turned the Earth into a giant snowball approximately 580 million years ago. Researchers have discovered remnants of such a large igneous province that resulted from vast lava flows.

  • Earth may be 140 years away from reaching carbon levels not seen in 56 million years

    Total human carbon dioxide emissions could match those of Earth's last major greenhouse warming event in fewer than five generations, new research finds. A new study finds humans are pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a rate nine to 10 times higher than the greenhouse gas was emitted during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a global warming event that occurred roughly 56 million years ago.

  • Complete world map of tree diversity

    Researchers have succeeded in constructing, from scattered data, a world map of the diversity of tree species. Climate plays a central role for its global distribution; however, the number of species in a specific region also depends on the spatial scale of the observation, the researchers report. The new approach could help improve conservation.

  • Indecision under pressure

    When compressed, a material typically becomes a better conductor of heat. Not so for the unusual material cubic boron arsenide, which when under pressure shows its conductivity first improves and then deteriorates. The findings not only hint at future applications, but proffer a theory that may offer insights into some of the oldest Earth processes.

  • Fishing and pollution regulations don't help corals cope with climate change

    A new study reports that protecting coral reefs from fishing and pollution does not help coral populations cope with climate change. The study also concludes that ocean warming is the primary cause of the global decline of reef-building corals and that the only effective solution is to immediately and drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Climate change makes summer weather stormier yet more stagnant

    Climate change is shifting the energy in the atmosphere that fuels summertime weather, which may lead to stronger thunderstorms and more stagnant conditions for midlatitude regions of the Northern Hemisphere, including North America, Europe, and Asia, a new study finds.

  • Biodiversity on land is not higher today than in the past, study shows

    The rich levels of biodiversity on land seen across the globe today are not a recent phenomenon: diversity on land has been similar for at least the last 60 million years, since soon after the extinction of the dinosaurs.

  • Virus-infected bacteria could provide help in the fight against climate change

    Understanding the relationship between microbes and viruses is beneficial not only for medical research and practical applications but also in marine biology, say researchers.

  • Understanding carbon cycle feedbacks to predict climate change at large scale

    Researches have identified long-disappeared forests available for restoration across the world. They describe how such an effort, could absorb as much as 135 gigatons of atmospheric carbon.

  • What rising seas mean for local economies

    High-tide flooding resulting from climate change is already disrupting the economy of Annapolis, Md. As sea levels rise, the impacts are expected to get worse for coastal communities.

  • Tiny satellites reveal water dynamics in thousands of northern lakes

    In a finding that has implications for how scientists calculate natural greenhouse gas emissions, a new study finds that water levels in small lakes across northern Canada and Alaska vary during the summer much more than was assumed.

  • Massive Bolivian earthquake reveals mountains 660 kilometers below our feet

    Geophysicists used data from an enormous earthquake in Bolivia to find mountains at the base of the mantle's transition zone, located 660 kilometers below our feet. Their statistical model didn't allow for precise height measurements, but these mountains may be bigger than anything on the surface of the Earth. The researchers also examined the top of the transition zone (410 km down) and did not find similar roughness.

  • Artificial intelligence to boost Earth system science

    A new study shows that artificial intelligence can substantially improve our understanding of the climate and the Earth system.

  • Satellite images reveal interconnected plumbing system that caused Bali volcano to erupt

    A team of scientists has used satellite technology provided by the European Space Agency to uncover why the Agung volcano in Bali erupted in November 2017 after 50 years of dormancy.