Earth news stories

Carbon uptake by Amazon forests matches region’s emissions
26th February 2017 | leeds.ac.uk | Earth

Carbon emissions across all nine Amazon nations have been fully matched by carbon absorption by mature Amazon forests since the 1980s, new research shows.

Study lead author Professor Oliver Phillips, from the University of Leeds, said: “Since 1980 roughly 430 million tonnes of carbon has been absorbed by pristine Amazon rainforest each year, which is almost four times the UK emissions for 2016.

Dream of energy-collecting windows is one step closer to reality
26th February 2017 twin-cities.umn.edu | Earth, Tech

Researchers at the University of Minnesota and University of Milano-Bicocca are bringing the dream of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy one step closer to reality thanks to high-tech silicon nanoparticles.

Light-driven reaction converts carbon dioxide into fuel
26th February 2017 phys.org | Earth, Tech

Duke University researchers have developed tiny nanoparticles that help convert carbon dioxide into methane using only ultraviolet light as an energy source.

Having found a catalyst that can do this important chemistry using ultraviolet light, the team now hopes to develop a version that would run on natural sunlight, a potential boon to alternative energy.

We’re One Step Closer to Pulling Nuclear Fuel Straight Out of the Ocean
26th February 2017 | sciencealert.com | Earth, Tech

Pulling uranium out of seawater could be a cost-effective way to source nuclear fuel, scientists have found, and the technique could pave the way for coastal countries to switch to nuclear power.

US ‘nuclear sniffer’ plane deployed in Europe amid mysterious spike in radiation
26th February 2017 | independent.co.uk | Earth

A ‘nuclear sniffer’ plane has been sent to monitor radioactivity levels in Europe following the detection of mysterious spikes of radiation across the continent.


Alt: No One Can Figure Out What’s Behind a Mysterious Radiation Spike Across Europe
Related: Unexplained Nuclear Activity Detected in the Arctic

Tipping point: revealing the cities where exercise does more harm than good
26th February 2017 | theguardian.com | Earth, Humans

Who says exercise is always good for you? Cycling to work in certain highly polluted cities could be more dangerous to your health than not doing it at all, according to researchers.

In cities such as Allahabad in India, or Zabol in Iran, the long-term damage from inhaling fine particulates could outweigh the usual health gains of cycling after just 30 minutes.

‘Quartz’ crystals at the Earth’s core power its magnetic field
23rd February 2017 phys.org | Earth, Space

The Earth’s core consists mostly of a huge ball of liquid metal lying at 3000 km beneath its surface, surrounded by a mantle of hot rock. Notably, at such great depths, both the core and mantle are subject to extremely high pressures and temperatures.

New Research Shows How ‘Atmospheric Rivers’ Wreak Havoc Around The Globe
23rd February 2017 | npr.org | Earth

An “atmospheric river” is a colorful term for a sinuous plume of moisture that travels up from the tropics — a single plume can carry more water than the Mississippi River at its mouth. But new research shows that atmospheric rivers are also among the most damaging weather systems around.

6,600 spills from fracking in just four states
23rd February 2017 | sciencedaily.com | Earth

Each year, 2 to 16 percent of hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells spill hydrocarbons, chemical-laden water, hydraulic fracturing fluids and other substances, according to a new study. The analysis identified 6,648 spills reported across Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota and Pennsylvania during a 10-year period.


Related: These Are the Defiant “Water Protectors” of Standing Rock

New Way to Fight Superbugs Found in Noxious Weed
22nd February 2017 news.nationalgeographic.com | Animal Life, Earth, Tech

The invasive Brazilian peppertree contains a substance that keeps drug-resistant bacteria from producing their deadly toxins.


Related: New antibiotic from bacteria found on Kenyan ant could help beat MRSA

Deforestation During Angkor: Looking for Trees in the Dirt
21st February 2017 | cambodiadaily.com | Ancient, Earth

Their motivation may not have been to support a sprawling political patronage network, but when the Khmer dominated the region about 1,000 years or so ago, one necessity of maintaining their empire was steady deforestation.

European City Set to Transform Industrial Site Into Remarkable Vertical Forest
21st February 2017 futurism.com | Earth, Tech

To push the city toward a more eco-friendly future, Brussels is planning to build three vertical structures using recyclable materials, renewable energy sources, and 30,000 plants.

This plan to redefine the urban landscape using nature is one of many being undertaken by cities across the globe, and it could prove very beneficial to the environment.

Energy-Free AC? Heat-Reflecting Wrap Could Cool Without Power
21st February 2017 | livescience.com | Earth, Tech

A heat-reflecting, futuristic supermaterial that looks like a roll of plastic wrap could one day cool both houses and power plants without using any energy, according to a new study.

Eco-friendly concrete created
21st February 2017 | sciencedaily.com | Earth, Tech

In the future, wide-ranging composite materials are expected to be stronger, lighter, cheaper and greener for our planet, thanks to a new invention. Nine years ago, an American researcher invented an energy-efficient technology that harnesses largely low-temperature, water-based reactions.


Related: A small group of scientists are now racing to document rare plant life in these limestone karsts before local companies quarry them to dust and grind them up for production of the cement that is fueling this country’s building boom.

Sound waves could take a tsunami down a few notches
21st February 2017 | sciencenews.org | Earth, Tech

A tsunami’s immense wall of water may not be stoppable. But there may be a way to take the ferocious force of nature down a few notches, using a pair of counterwaves.

If released at the right moment, a type of sound wave known as an acoustic-gravity wave could subdue a tsunami

Massive hurricane-force Atlantic storm to push abnormally mild air toward North Pole
21st February 2017 | washingtonpost.com | Earth

A gigantic, powerhouse winter storm is charging through the North Atlantic and promises to flood the high Arctic with abnormally mild air. Arctic temperatures have blown past previous record highs in recent months, and this surge of (relative) warmth is just the latest in a long series that has amazed scientists.

For the fourth time in just over a year, the North Pole may near the melting point in winter, a previously rare event.


Related: Hidden lakes drain below West Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier

Scientists uncover huge 1.8 million square kilometers reservoir of melting carbon under Western United States
21st February 2017 | sciencedaily.com | Earth

New research describes how scientists have used the world’s largest array of seismic sensors to map a deep-Earth area of melting carbon covering 1.8 million square kilometers. Situated under the Western US, 350km beneath Earth’s surface, the discovered melting region challenges accepted understanding of how much carbon Earth contains — much more than previously understood.


Related: Humans are causing climate to change ‘170 times faster than natural forces’

News stories covering the environment, plant life, and the Earth itself.