Earth Science

Earth Science News -- ScienceDaily Earth science research and news. Read science articles on air quality, geology, meteorology, oceanography, paleontology and science and the environment.

  • Antarctic ice sheet is melting, but rising bedrock below could slow it down
    on June 21, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    An international team of researchers has found that the bedrock below the remote West Antarctic Ice Sheet is rising much more rapidly than previously thought, in response to ongoing ice melt. […]

  • New World Atlas of Desertification shows unprecedented pressure on planet's resources
    on June 21, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    The World Desertification Atlas by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre provides the first comprehensive, evidence-based assessment of land degradation at a global level and highlights the urgency to adopt corrective measures. […]

  • Learning about the Himalayas using Mars technology
    on June 20, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    he Himalayan Range includes some of the youngest and most spectacular mountains on Earth, but the rugged landscape that lends it the striking beauty for which it is known can also keep scientists from fully understanding how these mountains formed. […]

  • Better model of water under extreme conditions could aid understanding of Earth's mantle
    on June 20, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    A team of scientists ran quantum simulations to develop a new model of the behavior of water at extremely high temperatures and pressures. The computational measurements should help scientists understand water's role in the makeup of the mantle and potentially in other planets. […]

  • The sounds of climate change
    on June 20, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    Researchers describe a way to quickly sift through thousands of hours of field recordings to estimate when songbirds arrive at their Arctic breeding grounds. Their research could be applied to any dataset of animal vocalizations to understand how migratory animals are responding to climate change. […]

  • Short-term responses to climate change-mediated disasters can be maladaptive in long-term
    on June 20, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Short-term management responses to climate change-mediated disasters can be maladaptive in the long-term. […]

  • Climate change to overtake land use as major threat to global biodiversity
    on June 20, 2018 at 3:08 am

    Climate change will have a rapidly increasing effect on the structure of global ecological communities over the next few decades, with amphibians and reptiles being significantly more affected than birds and mammals, a new report finds. […]

  • Machine learning may be a game-changer for climate prediction
    on June 19, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    New research demonstrates that machine-learning techniques can be used to accurately represent clouds and their atmospheric heating and moistening, and better represent clouds in coarse resolution climate models, with the potential to narrow the range of climate prediction. This could be a major advance in accurate predictions of global warming in response to increased greenhouse gas concentrations that are essential for policy-makers (e.g. the Paris climate agreement). […]

  • Political leaning influences city water policies as strongly as climate
    on June 19, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    Researchers examined city water policies over the course of four years to create a database of water conservation policies. They also developed an associated index of the number of different categories of policies each city adopted and gathered data on the climate, water sources, population, economy and political leanings of each city and its surrounding metropolitan statistical area -- as reflected in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. […]

  • Ocean's heat cycle shows that atmospheric carbon may be headed elsewhere
    on June 19, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    A new study examined the global carbon cycle and suggests that scientists may have misgauged how carbon is distributed around the world, particularly between the northern and southern hemispheres. The results could change projections of how, when and where the currently massive levels of atmospheric carbon will result in environmental changes such as ocean acidification. […]

  • Climate action can limit Asia's growing water shortages
    on June 19, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    Even 'modest' action to limit climate change could help prevent the most extreme water-shortage scenarios facing Asia by the year 2050, according to a new study. […]

  • Bolder targets needed to protect nature for people's sake
    on June 18, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Researchers argue that the world needs more diverse, ambitious and area-specific targets for retaining important natural systems to safeguard humanity. […]

  • 'Slow earthquakes' on San Andreas Fault increase risk of large quakes
    on June 18, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    A detailed study of the California fault has discovered a new kind of movement that isn't accounted for in earthquake forecasting. […]

  • Better be safe than sorry: Economic optimization risks tipping of Earth system elements
    on June 15, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Optimizing economic welfare without constraints might put human well-being at risk, a new climate study argues. While being successful in bringing down costs of greenhouse gas reductions for instance, the concept of profit maximization alone does not suffice to avoid the tipping of critical elements in the Earth system which could lead to dramatic changes of our lifelihood. The scientists use mathematical experiments to compare economic optimization to the governance concepts of sustainability and the more recent approach of a safe operating space for humanity. All of these turn out to have their benefits and deficits, yet the profit-maximizing approach shows the greatest likelihood of producing outcomes that harm people or the environment. […]

  • Land-based portion of massive East Antarctic ice sheet retreated little during past eight million...
    on June 15, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Large parts of the massive East Antarctic Ice Sheet did not retreat significantly during a time when atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were similar to today's levels. […]

  • Dry riverbeds are contributing to climate change more than previously thought
    on June 15, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    A massive world-wide study of dry riverbeds has found they're contributing more carbon emissions than previously thought, and this could help scientists better understand how to fight climate change. […]

  • Leading Antarctic experts offer two possible views of continent's future
    on June 15, 2018 at 1:38 am

    The next 10 years will be critical for the future of Antarctica, and choices made will have long-lasting consequences, says an international group of Antarctic research scientists. It lays out two different plausible future scenarios for the continent and its Southern Ocean over the next 50 years. […]

  • What saved the West Antarctic Ice Sheet 10,000 years ago will not save it today
    on June 14, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    The retreat of the West Antarctic ice masses after the last Ice Age was reversed surprisingly about 10,000 years ago, scientists found. The reason for the rebound is that, relieved from the weight of the retreating ice, the Earth crust lifted. This made the ice re-advance towards the ocean. Unfortunately, this mechanism is much to slow to prevent dangerous sea-level rise caused by West Antarctica's ice-loss in the present and near future. […]

  • True origin of ancient turquoise
    on June 14, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    New research overturns more than a century of claims that the source of turquoise used and revered by ancient civilizations in Mexico, such as the Aztecs, came from the Southwestern US Geochemical analyses show the origin of the turquoise is Mesoamerica (Central Mexico to Central America). […]

  • Decades of satellite monitoring reveal Antarctic ice loss
    on June 13, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Scientists have reviewed decades of satellite measurements to reveal how and why Antarctica's glaciers, ice shelves and sea ice are changing. Their report explains how ice shelf thinning and collapse have triggered an increase in the continent's contribution to sea level rise. […]

  • Antarctica ramps up sea level rise
    on June 13, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Ice losses from Antarctica have increased global sea levels by 7.6 mm since 1992, with two fifths of this rise (3.0 mm) coming in the last five years alone. The findings are from a major climate assessment known as the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE). It is the most complete picture of Antarctic ice sheet change to date -- 84 scientists from 44 international organizations combined 24 satellite surveys to produce the assessment. […]

  • Ancient agricultural activity caused lasting environmental changes
    on June 13, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Agricultural activity by humans more than 2,000 years ago had a more significant and lasting impact on the environment than previously thought. […]

  • Ammonia distribution in Earth's upper atmosphere
    on June 13, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    A new study helps clarify how ammonia is present in Earth's upper atmosphere. Using computer modeling, the researchers found ammonia molecules trapped in liquid cloud droplets are released during convection where these particles freeze and subsequently collide in the upper atmosphere. […]

  • Old Man River's unique chemical signature
    on June 13, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    Human activity greatly impacts the natural chemistry of the largest river in North America -- the Mississippi River. In a new, large-scale study, geologists have identified a unique chemical signature in the river. […]

  • Painted lady's roundtrip migratory flight is the longest recorded in butterflies
    on June 13, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Researchers found that painted lady butterflies return from the Afrotropical region to recolonize the Mediterranean in early spring, traveling an annual distance of 12,000 km across the Sahara Desert. […]

  • Simple chemical process that may have led to the origin of life on Earth
    on June 13, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Research has shown that reactions of alpha-hydroxy acids, similar to the alpha-amino acids that make up modern proteins, form large polymers easily under conditions presumed prevalent on early Earth. These alpha-hydroxy acid polymers may have aided in the formation of living systems on early Earth. […]

  • New technology has bright prospects for understanding plant biodiversity
    on June 12, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    Biologists get a new look at plant biodiversity and function with new imaging technology. […]

  • Researchers investigate the correlation between wind and wave height in the Arctic Ocean
    on June 12, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    An international research team has found an increase in high waves and winds in the ice-free waters of the Arctic Ocean, a potentially dangerous navigational tipping point for the 'new and unusual' state of the waters. […]

  • Volcanic activity, declining ocean oxygen triggered mass extinction of ancient organisms
    on June 11, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Global climate change, fueled by skyrocketing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, is siphoning oxygen from today's oceans at an alarming pace -- so fast that scientists aren't entirely sure how the planet will respond. […]

  • Further drivers of ocean deoxygenation identified
    on June 11, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    Measurements as well as model calculations equally show that the oxygen inventory of the oceans is decreasing. However, the models underestimate this decrease significantly making projections into the future problematic. […]