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Environment - 17.05.2019
Satellites yield insight into not so permanent permafrost
Satellites yield insight into not so permanent permafrost
17 May 2019 Ice is without doubt one of the first casualties of climate change, but the effects of our warming world are not only limited to ice melting on Earth's surface. Ground that has been frozen for thousands of years is also thawing, adding to the climate crisis and causing immediate problems for local communities.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 17.05.2019
Mission control 'saves science'
Mission control ’saves science’
17 May 2019 Every minute, ESA's Earth observation satellites gather dozens of gigabytes of data about our planet - enough information to fill the pages on a 100-metre long bookshelf. Flying in low-Earth orbits, these spacecraft are continuously taking the pulse of our planet, but it's teams on the ground at ESA's Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, that keep these explorers afloat.

Environment - 16.05.2019
A quarter of glacier ice in West Antarctica is now unstable
A quarter of glacier ice in West Antarctica is now unstable
16 May 2019 By combining 25 years of ESA satellite data, scientists have discovered that warming ocean waters have caused the ice to thin so rapidly that 24% of the glacier ice in West Antarctica is now affected. A paper published in Geophysical Research Letters describes how the UK Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) used over 800 million measurements of Antarctic ice sheet height recorded by radar altimeter instruments on ESA's ERS-1, ERS-2, Envisat and CryoSat satellite missions between 1992 and 2017.

Environment - 16.05.2019
The air we breathe
The air we breathe
16 May 2019 Air pollution is a global environmental health problem, especially for those living in urban areas. Not only does it negatively impact our ecosystems, it considerably affects our health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 8 million premature deaths per year are linked to air pollution, more than double of previous estimates.

Environment - 15.05.2019
Monitoring Earth's shifting land
Monitoring Earth’s shifting land
15 May 2019 The monitoring of land subsidence is of vital importance for low-lying countries, but also areas which are prone to peculiar ground instability. Land subsidence is the lowering or sinking of the ground's surface, owing to changes that take place underground. Subsidence is usually due to a combination of ground water overexploitation, mining, natural consolidation of sediments and rapid urbanisation.

Environment - Astronomy / Space Science - 15.05.2019
Water cycle wrapped
15 May 2019 As our climate changes, the availability of freshwater is a growing issue for many people around the world. Understanding the water cycle and how the climate and human usage is causing shifts in natural cycling processes is vital to safeguarding supplies. While numerous satellites measure individual components of the water cycle, it has never been described as a whole over a particular region - until now.

Environment - Life Sciences - 15.05.2019
Mapping microbial symbioses in forests
Data collected from over 1 million forest plots reveals patterns of where plant roots form symbiotic relationships with fungi and bacteria. In and around the tangled roots of the forest floor, fungi and bacteria grow with trees, exchanging nutrients for carbon in a vast, global marketplace. A new effort to map the most abundant of these symbiotic relationships - involving more than 1.1 million forest sites and 28,000 tree species - has revealed factors that determine where different types of symbionts will flourish.

Health - Environment - 15.05.2019
How your clothes influence the air you breathe
How your clothes influence the air you breathe
Researchers have taken a critical look at how much we really know about our exposure to particles and chemicals transported by our clothing. His study concludes that further research is needed and opens up new areas of investigation. There is growing evidence that our clothing exposes us to particles and chemicals on a daily basis - and that this exposure could carry significant health risks.

Environment - 14.05.2019
Mapping salty waters
Mapping salty waters
14 May 2019 The length and precision with which climate scientists can track the salinity, or saltiness, of the oceans is set to improve dramatically according to researchers working as part of ESA's Climate Change Initiative. Sea-surface salinity plays an important role in thermohaline ocean circulation.

Environment - 14.05.2019
New potential for tracking severe storms
New potential for tracking severe storms
14 May 2019 Even just within the last couple of months, Cyclones Fani, Idai and Kenneth have brought devastation to millions. With the frequency and severity of extreme weather like this expected to increase against the backdrop of climate change, it is more important than ever to forecast and track events accurately.

Life Sciences - Environment - 14.05.2019
Fascinating microorganisms in perialpine lakes
Fascinating microorganisms in perialpine lakes
The lakes in the perialpine regions of Europe are home to a particular community of cyanobacteria which Marie-Eve Monchamp investigated in connection with her doctoral thesis at Eawag. "We collected sediment cores from ten lakes in Switzerland, Italy and France, and analysed the cyanobacterial DNA extracted from these cores", she explains.

Environment - Astronomy / Space Science - 14.05.2019
EUMETSAT, Japanese space agency to cooperate on greenhouse gas monitoring
EUMETSAT and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) today signed an agreement which will result in the agencies working closely together to monitor greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere. Mr Kazuo Tachi, on behalf of the Direc tor General of JAXA's Space Technology Directorate 1 Ryoichi Imai, and EUMETSAT Director-General Alain Ratier signed the agreement at a ceremony at EUMETSAT's Darmstadt headquarters today.

Environment - 14.05.2019
Jakobshavn Isbrae Glacier bucks the trend
Jakobshavn Isbrae Glacier bucks the trend
14 May 2019 Our planet works in mysterious ways. We are all used to hearing about the world's ice being the first casualty of climate change and, indeed, it is declining fast. However, recent findings show that one glacier is not conforming to the norm - it's actually been flowing more slowly and getting thicker.

Life Sciences - Environment - 14.05.2019
Understanding relationship break-ups to protect the reef
Understanding relationship break-ups to protect the reef
Unravelling the secrets of the relationship between coral and the algae living inside it will help prevent coral bleaching, University of Queensland researchers believe. Bleaching occurs when the symbiotic relationship between coral and algae breaks down - corals under environmental stress disconnect from their algae partners, which means they lose their energy source.

Astronomy / Space Science - Environment - 13.05.2019
Space Station science looking at Earth
Space Station science looking at Earth
13 May 2019 In this edition of our bi-weekly update on European research run on the International Space Station, we're taking our cue from the Living Planet Symposium - the largest conference on Earth Observation taking place this week in Milan, Italy - and focusing on our own planet. Marine traffic Many of the experiments that run on the International Space Station do not require astronaut intervention after the initial setup and periodic check-ups.

Health - Environment - 13.05.2019
Flu virus’ best friend: low humidity
Yale researchers have pinpointed a key reason why people are more likely to get sick and even die from flu during winter months: low humidity. While experts know that cold temperatures and low humidity promote transmission of the flu virus, less is understood about the effect of decreased humidity on the immune system's defenses against flu infection.

Environment - 13.05.2019
Joining forces on Earth science to benefit society
Joining forces on Earth science to benefit society
13 May 2019 With human activity leaving its indelible mark on the landscape and affecting the climate, our natural world is changing faster than at any other time in history. Science is fundamental to understanding environmental change so that these huge challenges can be tackled. To ensure a more efficient approach on Earth-system science and to bring direct benefits to society, ESA and the European Commission are working to join forces.

Environment - 13.05.2019
Green Energy Nudges Come With a Hidden Cost
All across the United States, many households receive energy bills comparing their use to that of similar neighbors to remind them to use less energy. At most companies, employees are automatically enrolled in 401(k) plans unless they choose to opt-out, helping employees easily save for retirement. Such policies aim to "nudge" people toward making better choices, both for their future selves and for others.

Environment - Materials Science - 13.05.2019
Microplastics in freshwaters
Microplastics in freshwaters
Sea birds dying in agony with a belly full of plastic garbage; plastic accumulations as big as islands: Virtually everyone has seen pictures like these today. But there are also plastic particles that are barely visible to the eye - microplastics. The danger posed by these tiny particles has hardly been researched to date.

Health - Environment - 13.05.2019
Daily doses of vitamin D are unreachable during Swiss winter
A study funded by the SNSF shows that in winter, weak sunlight prevents the Swiss population from producing sufficient levels of vitamin D. Too much sun increases the risk of skin cancer. But moderate exposure is required to produce vitamin D. This substance is essential for bone health and may also play a role in preventing respiratory infections, autoimmune diseases and certain types of cancer.
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