Earth news stories

Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts
28th May 2017 | theguardian.com | Earth

It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel.

Is Antarctica Gaining or Losing Ice? Nature May Have Just Settled The Debate
28th May 2017 blogs.discovermagazine.com | Earth

For years, scientists have debated whether heavy inland snowfall on the vast East Antarctic Ice Sheet — Earth’s largest — balances out the rapid melting in West Antarctica.

Given enough snowfall, the continent might not yet be contributing to sea level rise.

Climate change is turning Antarctica green, say researchers
28th May 2017 | theguardian.com | Earth

Antarctica may conjure up an image of a pristine white landscape, but researchers say climate change is turning the continent green.

Scientists studying banks of moss in Antarctica have found that the quantity of moss, and the rate of plant growth, has shot up in the past 50 years, suggesting the continent may have a verdant future.

‘Those are our Eiffel Towers, our pyramids’: Why Standing Rock is about much more than oil
28th May 2017 | theguardian.com | Earth

Standing Rock is cast as an environmental protest, but the Native American Water Protectors are part of a religious tradition that predates Christianity


Related: Trump Made It a Lot Easier for Oil Companies to Drill in National Parks

Extra layer of tectonic plates discovered within Earth’s mantle, scientists say
27th May 2017 | theguardian.com | Earth

Scientists say they have found a possible layer of tectonic plates within the Earth’s mantle which could explain a mysterious series of earthquakes in the Pacific.

Mount Everest’s famous Hillary Step destroyed, mountaineers confirm
27th May 2017 | bbc.com | Earth

A famous feature of Mount Everest has collapsed, potentially making the world’s highest peak even more dangerous to climbers.

Scientists are spelunking for cave gunk to fight superbugs
27th May 2017 | popsci.com | Animal Life, Earth, Tech

Caves are dark, dank, isolated, and home to very few plants or animals. At first glance they might seem devoid of life. But caves are full of microscopic creatures, bacteria and fungi at home in the gloom. These microbes, scientists are discovering, may be an untapped reservoir of new medicines to fight antibiotic-resistant germs.

Traffic-related air pollution linked to DNA damage in children
26th May 2017 | sciencedaily.com | Earth, Humans

Children and teens exposed to high levels of traffic-related air pollution have evidence of a specific type of DNA damage called telomere shortening, reports a new study.


Related: Farmworkers get sick after Trump’s EPA reverses Obama and approves poison that damages kids’ brains

Beaver dams keeps streams cool and protect sensitive fish
25th May 2017 | newscientist.com | Animal Life, Earth

Dam, what a find! Beaver dams could lower maximum water temperatures in streams – keeping temperature-sensitive fish safe from dangerous highs.

Previous studies suggested that beaver dams warm up the water, for example by expanding the water’s surface area, cutting the speed of water flow and removing shade by felling trees.

Salt from icy roads is contaminating North America’s lakes
25th May 2017 | washingtonpost.com | Earth

In the 1940s, Americans found a new way to love salt. Not simply for sprinkling on food — we’d acquired a taste for the mineral long before that — but for spreading on roads and sidewalks. Salt became a go-to method to de-ice frozen pavement.

California Grid Smashes Record – Getting 67% of Energy From Renewables
25th May 2017 | sciencealert.com | Earth

On 13 May 2017, California smashed through another renewable energy milestone as its largest grid, controlled by the California Independent System Operator (CISO), got 67.2 percent of its energy from renewables – not including hydropower or rooftop solar arrays.

China claims breakthrough in mining ‘flammable ice’
25th May 2017 | bbc.com | Earth

China has for the first time extracted gas from an ice-like substance under the South China Sea considered key to future global energy supply.

Chinese authorities have described the success as a major breakthrough.

The World’s Largest Wind Turbines Have Started Generating Power in England
25th May 2017 | technologyreview.com | Earth

A single revolution of a turbine’s blades can power a home for 29 hours.

The new wind farm, actually an addition to an older facility installed a decade ago, comprises 32 of the gargantuan new turbines.


Related: EU nations set to wipe out forests and not account for emissions

Swiss to vote on gradual nuclear phaseout, energy makeover
25th May 2017 phys.org | Earth

The Swiss will vote in a referendum Sunday on a planned overhaul of the country’s energy system by gradually replacing the power from its ageing nuclear reactors with renewable sources.

The new energy strategy has been in the making since shortly after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant was destroyed in the March 2011 tsunami disaster, when the Swiss government decided to gradually close its nuclear plants.

Norway to boost protection of Arctic seed vault from climate change
24th May 2017 | bbc.com | Earth

Norway is boosting the flood defences of its Global Seed Vault on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard after water entered the entrance tunnel last year.

The storage facility, deep inside a mountain, is designed to preserve the world’s crops from future disasters.

Migratory birds bumped off schedule as climate change shifts spring
24th May 2017 | eurekalert.org | Animal Life, Earth

New research shows climate change is altering the delicate seasonal clock that North American migratory songbirds rely on to successfully mate and raise healthy offspring, setting in motion a domino effect that could threaten the survival of many familiar backyard bird species.


Related: Handstanding Skunks’ DNA Shaped by Ancient Climate Change

How Thousand-Year-Old Trees Became the New Ivory
24th May 2017 | smithsonianmag.com | Earth

Ancient trees are disappearing from protected national forests around the world. A look inside $100 billion market for stolen wood

It was a local hiker who noticed, during a backwoods stroll in May 2012, the remains of the body. The victim in question: an 800-year-old cedar tree.

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