Earth in the News

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

  • Earth-air heat exchanger best way to protect farm animals in livestock buildings against the effects of climate change

    Without countermeasures, climate change will negatively impact animals in pig and poultry production. Beside the health and wellbeing of the animals, heat stress also affects performance and, as a result, profitability. As the animals are predominantly kept in confined livestock buildings equipped with mechanical ventilation systems, researchers examined the inlet air temperature of several air cooling systems. The best solution, they found, is the use of the earth for heat storage via an earth-air heat exchanger (EAHE). An EAHE cools in the summer, and warms up the inlet air during wintertime.

  • Climate change could increase volcano eruptions

    Shrinking glacier cover could lead to increased volcanic activity in Iceland, warn scientists in a new report.

  • Ocean floor mud reveals secrets of past European climate

    Samples of sediment taken from the ocean floor of the North Atlantic Ocean have given researchers an unprecedented insight into the reasons why Europe's climate has changed over the past 3,000 years.

  • By saving cost and energy, the lighting revolution may increase light pollution

    Municipalities, enterprises, and households are switching to LED lights in order to save energy. But these savings might be lost if their neighbors install new or brighter lamps. Scientists fear that this 'rebound effect' might partially or totally cancel out the savings of individual lighting retrofit projects, and make skies over cities considerably brighter.

  • Mysterious deep-Earth seismic signature explained

    New research on oxygen and iron chemistry under the extreme conditions found deep inside the Earth could explain a longstanding seismic mystery called ultralow velocity zones. The findings could have far-reaching implications on our understanding of Earth's geologic history, including life-altering events such as the Great Oxygenation Event, which occurred 2.4 billion years ago.

  • How Earth stops high-energy neutrinos in their tracks

    For the first time, a science experiment has measured Earth's ability to absorb neutrinos -- the smaller-than-an-atom particles that zoom throughout space and through us by the trillions every second at nearly the speed of light. The experiment was achieved with the IceCube detector, an array of 5,160 basketball-sized sensors frozen deep within a cubic kilometer of very clear ice near the South Pole.

  • Water cooling for the Earth's crust

    How deep can seawater penetrate through cracks and fissures into the seafloor? By applying a new analysis method, an international team of researchers has now discovered that the water can penetrate to depths of more than 10 kilometers below the seafloor. This result suggests a stronger cooling effect on the hot mantle.

  • 'Brazil nut effect' helps explain how rivers resist erosion

    Geophysicists have found that granular segregation helps explain the tendency of riverbeds to be lined by, or 'armored' with, a layer of relatively larger particles.

  • Seafloor sediments appear to enhance Earthquake and Tsunami danger in Pacific Northwest

    The Cascadia Subduction Zone off the coast of the Pacific Northwest has all the ingredients for making powerful earthquakes -- and according to the geological record, the region is due for its next 'big one.' A new study has found that the occurrence of these big, destructive quakes and associated devastating tsunamis may be linked to compact sediments along large portions of the subduction zone.

  • One source of potent greenhouse gas pinned down

    Researchers have discovered the first known methane-producing microbe that is active in an oxygen-rich environment -- a finding that suggests today's global climate models may be misjudging the amount of methane being released into the atmosphere.

  • Clay mineral waters Earth's mantle from the inside

    The first observation of a super-hydrated phase of the clay mineral kaolinite could improve our understanding of processes leading to volcanism and affecting earthquakes. In the lab, scientists created conditions similar to those in subduction zones where an oceanic plate dives under the continental crust. Transport of water with subducting plates causes volcanic activity, according to new research.

  • Added Arctic data shows global warming didn't pause

    Missing Arctic temperature data, not Mother Nature, created the seeming slowdown of global warming from 1998 to 2012, according to a new study.

  • Hydrological implications of rapid global warming

    Researchers studying a rapid global warming event, around 56 million years ago, have shown evidence of major changes in the intensity of rainfall and flood events. The findings indicate some of the likely implications should current trends of rising carbon dioxide and global warming continue.

  • What makes soil, soil? Researchers find hidden clues in DNA

    Ever wondered what makes a soil, soil? And could soil from the Amazon rainforest really be the same as soil from your garden?

  • Rise in oxygen levels links to ancient explosion of life, researchers find

    Scientists have found that oxygen levels appear to increase by roughly 80 percent at about the same time as a three-fold increase in biodiversity during the Ordovician Period, between 445 and 485 million years ago.

  • Space dust may transport life between worlds, research suggests

    Life on Earth might have originated from tiny organisms brought to our planet in streams of fast-moving space dust, according to a new study.

  • A sub-desert savanna spread across Madrid 14 million years ago

    The current landscape of Madrid city and its vicinity was really different 14 million years ago. A semi-desert savanna has been inferred for the center of the Iberian Peninsula in the middle Miocene. This ecosystem was characterized by a very arid tropical climatic regime with up to ten months of drought per year, according to a recent paper. Scientists reached such conclusions after comparing mammal fauna with Africa and Asia ones.

  • Heavy nitrogen molecules reveal planetary-scale tug-of-war

    Researchers have discovered a planetary-scale tug-of-war between life, deep Earth and the upper atmosphere that is expressed in atmospheric nitrogen.

  • Plant respiration could become a bigger feedback on climate than expected

    New research suggests that plant respiration is a larger source of carbon emissions than previously thought, and warns that as the world warms, this may reduce the ability of Earth's land surface to absorb emissions due to fossil fuel burning.

  • A popular tool to trace Earth's oxygen history can give false positives

    If someone cries 'Eureka!' because it looks like oxygen appeared in Earth's ancient atmosphere long before the body of evidence indicated, be careful. If it was a chromium isotope system reading that caused the enthusiasm, it might need to be curbed.