Earth in the News

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

  • Mapping global biodiversity change

    A new study which focuses on mapping biodiversity change in marine and land ecosystems shows that loss of biodiversity is most prevalent in the tropic, with changes in marine ecosystems outpacing those on land.

  • Analysis of recent Ridgecrest, California earthquake sequence reveals complex, damaging fault systems

    Geophysicists complete their analysis of a well-documented seismic event that held many surprises.

  • Fingerprints of Earth's original building blocks discovered in diamond-bearing rocks

    Scientists have detected primordial chemical signatures preserved within modern kimberlites, according to new research. The results provide critical insight for understanding the formation of Earth.

  • What happens under the Yellowstone Volcano?

    A recent study helps to better explain the processes in the Earth's interior beneath the Yellowstone supervolcano.

  • Tiny particles lead to brighter clouds in the tropics

    When clouds loft tropical air masses higher in the atmosphere, that air can carry up gases that form into tiny particles, starting a process that may end up brightening lower-level clouds, according to a new study. Clouds alter Earth's radiative balance, and ultimately climate, depending on how bright they are. The new paper describes a process that may occur over 40% of the Earth's surface.

  • Climate change increases risk of mercury contamination

    As global temperatures continue to rise, the thawing of permafrost is accelerated and mercury trapped in the frozen ground is now being released. The mercury is transforming into more mobile and potentially toxic forms that can lead to environmental and health concerns for wildlife, the fishing industry and people in the Arctic and beyond.

  • Galapagos study highlights importance of biodiversity in the face of climate change

    Study of wave turbulence suggests that highly mobile species and more diverse ecological communities may be more resilient to the effects of changing environmental conditions.

  • Are we underestimating the benefits of investing in renewable energy?

    Scientists have estimated the emissions intensity of carbon dioxide and other air pollutants from a major electricity distributor and highlighted key consequences - essential information for policymakers shaping decisions to reduce electricity system emissions.

  • Last year's extreme snowfall wiped out breeding of Arctic animals and plants

    In 2018, vast amounts of snow were spread across most of the Arctic region and did not melt fully until late summer, if at all. Researchers documented the consequences of this extreme weather event at Zackenberg, Northeast Greenland by extensively monitoring all components of the local ecosystem for more than 20 years, allowing them to compare life in the extreme year of 2018 to other, more 'normal,' years.

  • Strong storms generating earthquake-like seismic activity

    Researcher have uncovered a new geophysical phenomenon where a hurricane or other strong storm can spark seismic events in the nearby ocean as strong as a 3.5 magnitude earthquake.

  • Lakes worldwide are experiencing more severe algal blooms

    The intensity of summer algal blooms has increased over the past three decades, according to a first-ever global survey of dozens of large, freshwater lakes. Researchers used 30 years of data from the Landsat 5 near-Earth satellite and created a partnership with Google Earth Engine to reveal long-term trends in summer algal blooms in 71 large lakes in 33 countries on six continents.

  • CO2 emissions cause lost labor productivity

    Extreme high temperatures caused by CO2 emissions could lead to losses in labor productivity. The authors found that every trillion tons of CO2 emitted could cause global GDP losses of about half a percent. They add that we may already be seeing economic losses of as much as 2% of global GDP as a result of what we have already emitted.

  • Sharing data for improved forest protection and monitoring

    Although the mapping of aboveground biomass is now possible with satellite remote sensing, these maps still have to be calibrated and validated using on-site data gathered by researchers across the world.

  • Solution to Ice Age ocean chemistry puzzle

    New research into the chemistry of the oceans during ice ages is helping to solve a puzzle that has engaged scientists for more than two decades. At issue is how much of the CO2 that entered the ocean during ice ages can be attributed to the 'biological pump', where atmospheric carbon is absorbed by phytoplankton and sequestered to the seafloor as organisms die and sink.

  • Infectious disease in marine life linked to decades of ocean warming

    New research shows that long-term changes in diseases in ocean species coincides with decades of widespread environmental change.

  • Warm ocean water attacking edges of Antarctica's ice shelves

    Upside-down 'rivers' of warm ocean water are eroding the fractured edges of thick, floating Antarctic ice shelves from below, helping to create conditions that lead to ice-shelf breakup and sea-level rise, according to a new study. The findings describe a new process important to the future of Antarctica's ice and the continent's contribution to rising seas. Models and forecasts do not yet account for the newly understood and troubling scenario, which is already underway.

  • Chemical evolution -- One-pot wonder

    Before life, there was RNA: Scientists show how the four different letters of this genetic alphabet could be created from simple precursor molecules on early Earth -- under the same environmental conditions.

  • Liquifying a rocky exoplanet

    A hot, molten Earth would be around 5% larger than its solid counterpart. The difference between molten and solid rocky planets is important for the search of Earth-like worlds beyond our Solar System and the understanding of Earth itself.

  • Using machine learning to understand climate change

    Methane is a potent greenhouse gas added to the atmosphere through both natural and human activities. To predict the impacts of human emissions, researchers need a complete picture of the methane cycle. Researchers used data science to determine how much methane is emitted from the ocean into the atmosphere each year. Their results fill a longstanding gap in methane cycle research and will help climate scientists assess the extent of human perturbations.

  • Rice irrigation worsened landslides in deadliest earthquake of 2018

    Irrigation significantly exacerbated the earthquake-triggered landslides in Palu, on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, in 2018, according to an international study.