Earth news stories

Ecuador has begun drilling for oil in the world’s richest rainforest
22nd January 2017 | | Earth

The country is poised to cash in on one of its most valuable assets. But at what cost?

Related: Expert Warning: Current Conservation Efforts Won’t Save Tropical Forests

Multinationals act on ocean-clogging plastics
22nd January 2017 | | Earth

Forty of the world’s biggest companies assembled in Davos agreed on Monday to come up with cleaner ways to make and consume plastic as waste threatens the global eco-system, especially in oceans.

Why 4.5 billion years of fluctuating global temperatures can’t explain climate change today
22nd January 2017 | | Ancient, Earth

One of the most commonly used arguments against human-caused climate change is that Earth has experienced severe fluctuations in temperature over its 4.5-billion-year lifespan, so it doesn’t make sense to start freaking out about it now.

Alt: Earth Temperature Timeline, XKCD

Global sea ice is at lowest level ever recorded
22nd January 2017 | | Earth

It’s a new low point. The area of the world’s oceans covered by floating sea ice is the smallest recorded since satellite monitoring began in the 1970s. That means it is also probably the lowest it has been for thousands of years.

The latest observations from the US National Snow & Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, show how the ice extent has fallen to a new low this year (bright red trace in the graph below).

Window On Our Climate Future: Ice Sheet 22,000 Years Ago Three Times Greater Than Greenland’s –“Lowered Global Sea Level 120 Meters”
22nd January 2017 | | Ancient, Earth

One of the major questions facing us today is how the present ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will react to climate change. Simply put, the more we understand of the mechanisms that drove ice sheets to collapse in the past, the better we will be able to predict what will happen in the future.

Alt: Inception of the last ice age

A new twist on fusion power could help bring limitless clean energy
20th January 2017 | Earth, Tech

In a world struggling to kick its addiction to fossil fuels and feed its growing appetite for energy, there’s one technology in development that almost sounds too good to be true: nuclear fusion.

Noise pollution from fracking may harm human health
20th January 2017 | Earth, Humans

Fracking creates noise at levels high enough to harm the health of people living nearby, according to the first peer-reviewed study to analyze the potential public health impacts of ambient noise related to fracking.

Environmentally-friendly soy-based filter can capture toxic chemicals that other filters can’t
19th January 2017 | Earth, Tech

Washington State University researchers have developed a soy-based air filter that can capture toxic chemicals, such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, which current air filters can’t.

The research could lead to better air purifiers, particularly in regions of the world that suffer from very poor air quality.

Surf and Earth: How prawn shopping bags could save the planet
19th January 2017 | Animal Life, Earth, Tech

Bioengineers at The University of Nottingham are trialling how to use shrimp shells to make biodegradable shopping bags as a ‘green’ alternative to oil-based plastics, and as a new food packaging material to extend product shelf life.

High-tech agriculture can prevent oncoming global water wars
19th January 2017 | Earth, Tech

Forget about oil or gas – you should be worrying about the less discussed but far more concerning fact that the world is running out of clean, drinkable water.

Modern agriculture cultivates climate change – we must nurture biodiversity
19th January 2017 | | Earth, Tech

As a new year dawns, it is hard not to be dazzled by the current pace of technological change in food and agriculture. Only last month, news emerged of a crop spray with the potential to increase the starch content in wheat grains, allowing for yield gains of up to 20%. This development comes hot on the heels of major breakthroughs in gene-editing technologies – using a powerful tool known as Crispr – over the course of 2016.

Department of Defense Calls for Biodegradable, Seed-Planting Ammo
18th January 2017 | | Earth, Tech

Every year, the U.S. Army uses hundreds of thousands of rounds of bullets for training purposes. That means plenty of metallic waste—refuse that can take centuries to break down. But one day, that training trash could turn into environmental treasure.

As Rains Soak California, Farmers Test How To Store Water Underground
17th January 2017 | | Earth

Six years ago, Don Cameron, the general manager of Terranova Ranch, southwest of Fresno, Calif., did something that seemed kind of crazy.

Earth could get a new ‘mega continent’ called Amasia as America and Asia join together
17th January 2017 | Earth

In the distant future, America and Asia will collide – forming a new ‘mega continent’ called Amasia.

Computer simulations from Yale University researchers suggest that the continent will form in the far future, around 250 million years from now.

Extraordinary images show ‘light pillars’ dancing above houses after sunshine and snow combine to create rare effect
17th January 2017 | | Earth, Weird

Extraordinary images captured in Canada have shown rare light pillars beaming up to the sky above the houses after a combination of sunshine and snow.

The pillars are caused when temperatures plummet so low that water molecules in the air freeze but remain stationary in vertical shafts.

New candidate for ‘missing element’ in Earth’s core
14th January 2017 | | Earth

Japanese scientists believe they have established the identity of a “missing element” within the Earth’s core.

They have been searching for the element for decades, believing it makes up a significant proportion of our planet’s centre, after iron and nickel.

Evidence falls into place for once and future supercontinents
14th January 2017 | | Earth

From Nuna to Amasia, researchers are finding new clues to supercontinent comings and goings

Reconstructing supercontinents is like trying to assemble a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle after you’ve lost a bunch of the pieces and your dog has chewed up others.

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