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Earth Sciences

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Earth Sciences - 31.12.2021
Leftovers of Earth's dramatic formation
Leftovers of Earth’s dramatic formation
Researchers have uncovered the most detail ever of the mysterious structures laying between the Earth's mantle and core, also providing the strongest evidence yet they started life as an ocean of molten magma that eventually sunk. The team of international researchers, including scientists from The Australian National University (ANU), used thousands of computer-modelled seismic waves to examine Ultra-Low Velocity Zones (ULVZs) beneath the Coral Sea between Australia and New Zealand.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 23.12.2021
Controlled burning of natural environments could help offset our carbon emissions
Planting trees and suppressing wildfires do not necessarily maximise the carbon storage of natural ecosystems. A new study has found that prescribed burning can actually lock in or increase carbon in the soils of temperate forests, savannahs and grasslands. When managed properly, fire can be good - both for maintaining biodiversity and for carbon storage Adam Pellegrini The finding points to a new method of manipulating the world's natural capacity for carbon capture and storage, which can also help to maintain natural ecosystem processes.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 22.12.2021
Safer carbon capture and storage
Safer carbon capture and storage
Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels have increased significantly over the last 50 years, resulting in higher global temperatures and abrupt changes to Earth's climate. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is one of the new technologies that scientists hope will play an important role in tackling the climate crisis.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 21.12.2021
Microplastic discovered in 'pristine' Pyrenees mountain air
Microplastic discovered in ’pristine’ Pyrenees mountain air
Previously detected in rivers, oceans, and snow, 1 microplastic has now been found in the high-altitude air surrounding the Pic du Midi (2,877 m)-by an international research team including scientists from the CNRS, Université Grenoble Alpes, 2 and the University of Strathclyde (Scotland). After analysing the composition of 10,000 m3 of air captured weekly by a pump installed at the Pic du Midi Observatory, 3 the researchers report a microplastic concentration of approximately one particle per 4 m3.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 20.12.2021
Could life be making its own habitable environment in the clouds of Venus?
Scientists have proposed a new theory which suggests that possible lifeforms in the clouds of Venus could be setting off a cascade of chemical reactions that is making the environment much more habitable. This self-sustaining chain of events could also explain many of the strange anomalies present in the planet's upper atmosphere that have been puzzling scientists for decades.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 17.12.2021
The climate system relies on microscopic particles
Scientists from EPFL and the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography (MIO) have discovered a new source of organic phosphorus that is fertilizing remote marine ecosystems via atmospheric particles. This finding could help researchers better understand how marine ecosystems respond to climate change.

Earth Sciences - 15.12.2021
Swaying mountains
Swaying mountains
The Matterhorn appears as an immovable, massive mountain that has towered over the landscape near Zermatt for thousands of years. A study now shows that this impression is wrong. An international research team has proven that the Matterhorn is instead constantly in motion, swaying gently back and forth about once every two seconds.

Earth Sciences - Physics - 13.12.2021
Plastic snowfall in the Alps
Plastic snowfall in the Alps
In a large-scale fundraising campaign, popular YouTubers like Mister Beast and Mark Rober are currently trying to rid the oceans of almost 14,000 tonnes of plastic waste. That's about 0.15 per cent of the amount that ends up in the oceans every year. But it's not just our waters that are full of plastic.

Earth Sciences - 13.12.2021
Spice world - Earth’s early oceans may have been heavy on the salt
Yale scientists say Earth's ancient oceans likely were much saltier than they are today - a finding that may spice up our understanding of how life, atmosphere, and climate evolved on the planet. In a new study, Yale professor of Earth & planetary sciences Jun Korenaga and graduate student Meng Guo suggest that for the first 500 million years of Earth's existence, its oceans may have contained a salt level as high as 7.5%.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 07.12.2021
Belgian research cracks mangrove puzzle
Belgian research cracks mangrove puzzle
VUB research uncovers factors that prevent mangroves from spreading in South America Mangrove ecosystems are distributed around the world, along tropical and subtropical coastlines. However, they do not extend beyond certain latitudes, even though the sites seem suitable for them. VUB researcher Ari Ximenes, with researchers from ULB and UCLouvain, has now cracked this question among mangrove bio-geographers, by studying sites off the eastern coast of South America.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 30.11.2021
Summer rains in American Southwest are not your typical monsoon
The core of the annual North American monsoon is centered over western Mexico (blue oval) and transports water vapor northward into the southwestern U.S., as illustrated by the arrows. Colors represent average summer rainfall in centimeters/day. (UC Berkeley graphic by William Boos) The months-long rainy season, or monsoon, that drenches northwestern Mexico each summer, reaching into Arizona and New Mexico and often as far north as Colorado and Northern California, is unlike any monsoon in the world, according to a new analysis by an earth scientist from the University of California, Berkeley.

Earth Sciences - Computer Science - 29.11.2021
Artificial intelligence could be used to accurately predict tsunamis
A reliable early warning system to detect tsunamis could be a step closer thanks to research from Cardiff University. Researchers say their analysis of ocean soundwaves triggered by underwater earthquakes has enabled them to develop artificial intelligence (AI) that allow prediction of when a tsunami might occur.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 24.11.2021
Network records Europe's greenhouse gas emissions
Network records Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions
An article in the scientific journal "Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society" describes for the first time how the European ICOS network ("Integrated Carbon Observation System") helps to better understand the function of carbon sinks and to assess the effects of climate change on them. Half of the carbon emissions released to the atmosphere by fossil fuel use are re-captured by the ocean and land ecosystems.

Earth Sciences - Astronomy / Space Science - 23.11.2021
Analysis of Mars’s wind-induced vibrations sheds light on the planet’s subsurface properties
Seismic data collected in Elysium Planitia, the second largest volcanic region on Mars, suggest the presence of a shallow sedimentary layer sandwiched between lava flows beneath the planet's surface. These findings were gained in the framework of NASA's InSight mission (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport), in which several international research partners, including the University of Cologne, collaborate.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 23.11.2021
Evidence of a warming planet high in the Earth's atmosphere
Evidence of a warming planet high in the Earth’s atmosphere
An international team of scientists has provided further evidence of climate change by measuring the expansion of the troposphere - the lowest layer of the Earth's atmosphere - which is being driven by rising temperatures. The researchers tracked the altitude of the upper limit of the troposphere, called the tropopause, from 1980 to 2020.

Earth Sciences - 19.11.2021
Behold - the bendability of tectonic plates
Behold - the bendability of tectonic plates
A new study introduces a novel way for tectonic plates - massive sheets of rock that jostle for position in the Earth's crust and upper mantle - to bend and sink. It's a bit of planetary Pilates that may solve the longstanding mystery of "subduction," the process by which tectonic plates plunge deep into the Earth's interior.

Earth Sciences - Physics - 10.11.2021
Crushed resistance
Crushed resistance
Geophysicists can use a new model to explain the behaviour of a tectonic plate sinking into a subduction zone in the Earth's mantle: the plate becomes weak and thus more deformable when mineral grains on its underside are shrunk in size. The Earth's surface consists of a few large plates and numerous smaller ones that are continuously moving either away from or towards each other at an extremely slow pace.

Astronomy / Space Science - Earth Sciences - 09.11.2021
'Eyes' of Mars rover get test run on Earth
’Eyes’ of Mars rover get test run on Earth
The capabilities of a UCL-led panoramic camera system that will guide the search for life on Mars atop the European Space Agency's Rosalind Franklin rover are being tested ahead of the rover's launch next year. A replica of the rover and the Panoramic Camera suite known as PanCam are being used to test the wide range of photo settings - from panoramas to close-ups, from 3D maps to wheel selfies - that will deliver the greatest science possible during the ExoMars mission on the Red Planet.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 04.11.2021
Increasingly frequent wildfires linked to human-caused climate change, UCLA-led study finds
Research by scientists from UCLA and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory strengthens the case that climate change has been the main cause of the growing amount of land in the western U.S. that has been destroyed by large wildfires over the past two decades. Rong Fu, a UCLA professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences and the study's corresponding author, said the trend is likely to worsen in the years ahead.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 03.11.2021
Revealing ecological risks of climate change on global river basins
Rising global temperatures will impact major river basins differently around the world, with rivers in South America, southern Africa and Australia among those most at risk of extreme ecological changes, a new study led by UCL has found. For the first time, researchers from UCL Geography, the University of Nottingham and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology combined large datasets with an environmental flow approach to predict how changes of between 1-3°C in the Earth's temperature would impact 321 of the world's biggest river basins.
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