Earth in the News

The latest reports of natural disasters and scientific discoveries about the Earth.

  • Tipping points are real: Gradual changes in CO2 levels can induce abrupt climate changes

    During the last glacial period, within only a few decades the influence of atmospheric CO2 on the North Atlantic circulation resulted in temperature increases of up to 10 degrees Celsius in Greenland -- as indicated by new climate calculations.

  • Satellite data to map endangered monkey populations on Earth

    Using a combination of satellite and ground data, a research team can map multiple indicators of monkey distribution, including human activity zones as inferred from roads and settlements, direct detections from mosquito-derived iDNA, animal sound recordings, plus detections of other species that are usually found when monkeys are present, such as other large vertebrates.

  • The rise of giant viruses

    Giant viruses acquire genes piecemeal from others, researchers have found. The discovery has implications for bioenergy production and environmental cleanup.

  • Ocean predicts future northwestern European and Arctic climate

    There is a clear potential for practical and useful predictions of northwestern European and Arctic climate based on the state of the ocean, new research indicates.

  • Corn better used as food than biofuel, study finds

    Corn is grown not only for food, it is also an important renewable energy source. Renewable biofuels can come with hidden economic and environmental issues, and the question of whether corn is better utilized as food or as a biofuel has persisted since ethanol came into use. For the first time, researchers have quantified and compared these issues in terms of economics of the entire production system to determine if the benefits of biofuel corn outweigh the costs.

  • Making waves with the hot electrons within Earth's radiation belts

    An international team of scientists recently discovered the role that hot electrons may play in the waves and fluctuations detected by satellites. The results are based on data collected by the Van Allen Probes, twin robotic spacecraft launched by NASA in 2012 to help scientists better understand these belt regions.

  • Scientist warns of asteroid danger

    An astrophysicists has warned that an asteroid strike is just a matter of time.

  • Wave beams mix and stir the ocean to create climate

    Waves deep within the ocean play an important role in establishing ocean circulation, arising when tidal currents oscillate over an uneven ocean bottom. The internal waves generated by this process stir and mix the ocean, bringing cold, deep water to the surface to be warmed by the sun. Investigators now explain how to tell which way internal waves will go. The proposed theory unifies several previously understood explanations of wave propagation.

  • Wet and stormy weather lashed California coast... 8,200 years ago

    An analysis of stalagmite records from White Moon Cave in the Santa Cruz Mountains shows that 8200 years ago the California coast underwent 150 years of exceptionally wet and stormy weather. This is the first high resolution record of how the Holocene cold snap affected the California climate.

  • Watching cities grow

    Three million measurement points in one square kilometer: a world record has now been set in information retrieval from satellite data. Thanks to new algorithms, the researchers succeeded in making four-dimensional point clouds of Berlin, Las Vegas, Paris and Washington, D.C. from images stacks of the TerraSAR-X radar satellite. Next the scientists plan to create four-dimensional models of all cities in the world.

  • Volcanic eruptions triggered dawn of the dinosaurs

    Huge pulses of volcanic activity are likely to have played a key role in triggering the end Triassic mass extinction, which set the scene for the rise and age of the dinosaurs, new research has found.

  • Scientists throw light on mysterious ice age temperature jumps

    Scientists believe they have discovered the reason behind mysterious changes to the climate that saw temperatures fluctuate by up to 15°C within just a few decades during the ice age periods.

  • Could renewable 'power-by-wire' help fix China’s air pollution problems?

    Bringing renewable power ‘by wire’ from western China to its power-hungry Eastern cities could have benefits for both local air quality and global climate change, new research has found.

  • Dryland cropping systems research addresses future drought and hunger issues

    The projected world population by 2056 is 10 billion. If researchers succeed in improving the yield potential of 40 percent of global land area under arid and semi-arid conditions, it will lead to a significant contribution to future food security.

  • Seasonal rain and snow trigger small earthquakes on California faults

    California's earthquake faults continually accumulate stress until they fail in an earthquake. Seismologists studied the impact of the flexing of Earth's crust under the load of winter rains and subsequent unloading during summer drought, and found that the up and down movement of the mountains changes the stresses on the state's faults, making them fail slightly more often as the snows melt and the rivers drain in late summer and early fall.

  • Volcanic crystals give a new view of magma

    Volcanologists are gaining a new understanding of what's going on inside the magma reservoir that lies below an active volcano and they're finding a colder, more solid place than previously thought, according to new research.

  • Japanese slow earthquakes could shed light on tsunami generation

    Understanding slow-slip earthquakes in subduction zone areas may help researchers understand large earthquakes and the creation of tsunamis, according to researchers who used data from instruments placed on the seafloor and in boreholes east of the Japanese coast.

  • New map highlights sinking Louisiana coast

    A subsidence map of coastal Louisiana has now been created, putting the rate at which this region is sinking at just over one third of an inch per year.

  • Animal evolution: Hot start, followed by cold shock

    The initial phases of animal evolution proceeded faster than hitherto supposed: New analyses suggest that the first animal phyla emerged in rapid succession -- prior to the global Ice Age that set in around 700 million years ago.

  • Hydroelectric dams may jeopardize the Amazon's future

    Hundreds of built and proposed hydroelectric dams may significantly harm life in and around the Amazon by trapping the flow of rich nutrients and modifying the climate from Central America to the Gulf of Mexico, experts report.