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.

  • Retracing Antarctica's glacial past
    on September 25, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    More than 26,000 years ago, sea level was much lower than it is today partly because the ice sheets that jut out from the continent of Antarctica were enormous and covered by grounded ice -- ice that was fully attached to the seafloor. As the planet warmed, the ice sheets melted and contracted, and sea level began to rise. Researchers have discovered new information that illuminates how and when this global phenomenon occurred. […]

  • Weathering rates for mined lands exponentially higher than unmined sites
    on September 25, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    A new study found a dramatic increase in the chemical weathering rates of mined landscapes, which are melting away bedrock up to 45 times faster than unmined areas. The weathering has global consequences for the cycling of sulfur, a key nutrient for all life forms. […]

  • Astronomers use Earth's natural history as guide to spot vegetation on new worlds
    on September 24, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    By looking at Earth's full natural history and evolution, astronomers may have found a template for vegetation fingerprints -- borrowing from epochs of changing flora -- to determine the age of habitable exoplanets. […]

  • Ocean acidification may reduce sea scallop fisheries
    on September 21, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    Each year, fishermen harvest more than $500 million worth of Atlantic sea scallops from the waters off the east coast of the United States. A new model, however, predicts that those fisheries may potentially be in danger. […]

  • Extra Arctic observations can improve predictability of tropical cyclones
    on September 21, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Scientists have found that additional weather observations in the Arctic can help predict the track and intensity of tropical and mid-latitude cyclones more accurately, improving weather forecasting of extreme weather events. […]

  • Land-based bird populations are at risk of local extinction
    on September 21, 2018 at 12:32 am

    A new report finds that land-based bird populations are becoming confined to nature reserves in some parts of the world -- raising the risk of global extinction -- due to the loss of suitable habitat. […]

  • Fat from 558 million years ago reveals earliest known animal
    on September 20, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    Scientists have discovered molecules of fat in an ancient fossil to reveal the earliest confirmed animal in the geological record that lived on Earth 558 million years ago. […]

  • NASA balloon mission captures electric blue clouds
    on September 20, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Scientists share mesmerizing new images of electric blue clouds from NASA's PMC Turbo balloon mission that flew in over the Arctic in July 2018. […]

  • Scientists identify three causes of Earth's spin axis drift
    on September 19, 2018 at 11:59 pm

    Using observational and model-based data spanning the entire 20th century, scientists have for the first time have identified three broadly-categorized processes responsible for Earth's spin axis drift -- contemporary mass loss primarily in Greenland, glacial rebound, and mantle convection. […]

  • From crystals to climate: 'Gold standard' timeline links flood basalts to climate change
    on September 19, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    Princeton geologists used tiny zircon crystals found in volcanic ash to rewrite the timeline for the eruptions of the Columbia River flood basalts, a series of massive lava flows that coincided with an ancient global warming period 16 million years ago. […]

  • Unprecedented ice loss in Russian ice cap
    on September 19, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    In the last few years, the Vavilov Ice Cap in the Russian High Arctic has dramatically accelerated, sliding as much as 82 feet a day in 2015, according to a new multi-national, multi-institute study. That dwarfs the ice's previous average speed of about 2 inches per day and has challenged scientists' assumptions about the stability of the cold ice caps dotting Earth's high latitudes. […]

  • Moderate warming could melt East Antarctic Ice Sheet
    on September 19, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    Parts of the world's largest ice sheet would melt if Antarctic warming of just 2°C is sustained for millennia, according to international research. Scientists used evidence from warm periods in Earth's history to see how the East Antarctic Ice Sheet might react to a warming climate. […]

  • Wave-particle interactions allow collision-free energy transfer in space plasma
    on September 19, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    A team finds evidence of collisionless energy transfer occurring in the plasma of Earth's magnetosphere. […]

  • How slick water and black shale in fracking combine to produce radioactive waste
    on September 18, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    Study explains how radioactive radium transfers to wastewater in the widely-used method to extract oil and gas. […]

  • Cash, carbon, crude: How to make oil fields bury emissions
    on September 18, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    A new analysis looks at what it would take for oil companies to start pumping millions of tons of carbon dioxide into their wells to boost crude production -- and what it would mean for the climate. […]

  • Geoscientists find unexpected 'deep creep' near San Andreas, San Jacinto faults
    on September 18, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    A new analysis of thousands of very small earthquakes in the San Bernardino basin suggests that the unusual deformation of some may be due to 'deep creep' 10 km below the Earth's surface, say geoscientists. They say scientists should not use the information recorded by these small earthquakes to predict loading of the nearby San Andreas and San Jacinto faults. […]

  • Eelgrass wasting disease has new enemies: Drones and artificial intelligence
    on September 18, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Every year, the world loses an estimated 7 percent of its seagrasses. While the reasons are manifold, one culprit has long confounded scientists: eelgrass wasting disease. This September a team of biologists is zeroing in on the problem, in the first study of the disease to stretch along the Pacific Coast from southern California to Alaska. […]

  • A key to climate stabilization could be buried deep in the mud
    on September 18, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    While scientists fear that rising temperatures could unleash a 'bomb' of carbon from Earth's soil carbon reservoirs, a new study suggests these reservoirs might actually be more stable than predicted. […]

  • Natural climate oscillations in north Atlantic linked to Greenland ice sheet melt
    on September 18, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Scientists have known for years that warming global climate is melting the Greenland Ice Sheet, the second largest ice sheet in the world. A new study, however, shows that the rate of melting might be temporarily increased or decreased by two existing climate patterns: the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). […]

  • Catastrophic construction: Storms can build reef islands in atoll regions
    on September 17, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Many coral reef islands, or atolls, are created by water moving sand and gravel, piling it up into consecutive ridged layers. However, new research has uncovered a different type of island construction: storm-deposited boulders. […]

  • More ships and more clouds mean cooling in the arctic
    on September 17, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Researchers recently modeled the future of trans-Arctic shipping routes and found that the accompanying increase in emissions may offset some of the overall warming trend in that region. Though the researchers stress this is in no way an endorsement to trans-Arctic shipping or a means to mitigate climate change, the results illustrate the complexities in understanding how human activities impact the climate. […]

  • Tropics are widening as predicted by climate models, research finds
    on September 17, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Scientists have observed for years that Earth's tropics are widening in connection with complex changes in climate and weather patterns. But in recent years, it appeared the widening was outpacing what models predicted, suggesting other factors were at work. But a new paper finds that the most up-to-date models and the best data match up reasonably well. […]

  • Roadmap for measuring animal, plant traits to meet biodiversity goals
    on September 17, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    An international team of researchers has outlined a plan for how to measure changes in key traits of animals and plants and provide these data to policymakers to improve natural resource management and keep nations on track to meet global biodiversity and sustainability goals. […]

  • Geologists reveal ancient connection between England and France
    on September 14, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    The British mainland was formed from the collision of not two, but three ancient continental land masses, according to new research. […]

  • Famous theory of the living Earth upgraded to 'Gaia 2.0'
    on September 13, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    A new twist has been given to the 'Gaia' theory that aims to explain why conditions on Earth have remained stable enough for life to evolve over billions of years. […]

  • Most fire in Florida goes undetected
    on September 13, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    A new study indicates that common satellite imaging technologies have vastly underestimated the number of fires in Florida, detecting only 25 percent of burned area. […]

  • Climate-induced soil changes may cause more erosion and flash flooding
    on September 13, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    A new study predicts a climate-induced reduction in large soil pores, which may intensify the water cycle and contribute to more flash flooding and soil erosion by the end of the 21st century. […]

  • Global coastal wetlands need to move inland in fight against climate change
    on September 12, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    Up to 30 per cent of coastal wetlands could be lost globally by the year 2100 with a dramatic effect on global warming and coastal flooding, if action is not taken to protect them, new research warns. […]

  • The world needs death and decomposition
    on September 12, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    Thanks to a new study, scientists now have a better way to investigate decomposing plants' and animals' contributions to the ecosystem. […]

  • Halting biodiversity loss: Political actions are required, not additional scientific knowledge
    on September 12, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    Over 15 years, almost 13,000 scientific papers have been published in the leading conservation science journals. Yet biodiversity remains threatened at a global scale. Researchers have now focused on this worrisome paradox by taking a deeper look at this large volume of literature. One of the major problems is that decisions are usually more favorable to human activities than to nature protection. […]