Earth in the News

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

  • US ocean observation critical to understanding climate change, but lacks long-term national planning

    Ocean observing systems are important as they provide information essential for monitoring and forecasting changes in Earth's climate on timescales ranging from days to centuries. A new report finds that continuity of ocean observations is vital to gain an accurate understanding of the climate, and calls for a decadal, national plan that is adequately resourced and implemented to ensure critical ocean information is available to understand and predict future changes.

  • Life goes on for marine ecosystems after cataclysmic mass extinction

    One of the largest global mass extinctions did not fundamentally change marine ecosystems, scientists have found.

  • Fossil coral reefs show sea level rose in bursts during last warming

    Scientists have discovered that Earth's sea level did not rise steadily when the planet's glaciers last melted during a period of global warming; rather, sea level rose sharply in punctuated bursts.

  • Arsenic in domestic well water could affect 2 million people in the US

    Clean drinking water can be easy to take for granted if your home taps into treated water sources. But more than 44 million people in the U.S. get their water from private domestic wells, which are largely unregulated. Of those, a new report estimates that about 2 million people could be exposed to high levels of naturally occurring arsenic in their water.

  • Scientists determine source of world's largest mud eruption

    More than 11 years after the Lusi mud volcano first erupted on the Indonesian island of Java, researchers may have figured out why the mudflows haven't stopped: deep underground, Lusi is connected to a nearby volcanic system.

  • Study shows how water could have flowed on 'cold and icy' ancient Mars

    Research by planetary scientists finds that periodic melting of ice sheets on a cold early Mars would have created enough water to carve the ancient valleys and lakebeds seen on the planet today.

  • Dinosaur dung fertilizes planet, new research shows

    Dinosaurs were, and large animals are, important not for the quantity of dung they produce, but for their ability to move long distances across landscapes, effectively mixing the nutrients, outline researchers in a new report.

  • Waves in lakes make waves in the Earth

    Scientists report that small seismic signals in lakes can aid science. As a record of wave motion in a lake, they can reveal when a lake freezes over and when it thaws. And as a small, constant source of seismic energy in the surrounding earth, lake microseisms can shine a light on the geology surrounding a lake.

  • Baltic clams, worms release as much greenhouse gas as 20,000 dairy cows

    Ocean clams and worms are releasing a significant amount of potentially harmful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, scientists have shown.

  • Is it gonna blow? Measuring volcanic emissions from space

    Carbon dioxide measured by a NASA satellite pinpoints sources of the gas from human and volcanic activities, which may help monitor greenhouse gases responsible for climate change.

  • Understanding rare Earth emulsions

    Through a series of theoretical simulations, researchers discovered that surface polarization in mixed media increases attraction among elements.

  • Tropical tree roots represent an underappreciated carbon pool

    Estimates of the carbon stored by tropical forests rarely take tree roots into consideration. Scientists report that almost 30 percent of the total biomass of tropical trees may be in the roots.

  • Satellites map photosynthesis at high resolution

    Life on Earth is impossible without photosynthesis. It provides food and oxygen to all higher life forms and plays an important role in the climate system, since this process regulates the uptake of carbon dioxide from the Earth's atmosphere and its fixation in biomass. However, quantification of photosynthesis at the ecosystem-to-global scale remains uncertain. Now an international team of scientists have made a major step forward.

  • Rainfall trends in arid regions buck commonly held climate change theories

    To explore the links between climatic warming and rainfall in drylands, scientists analysed more than 50 years of detailed rainfall data (measured every minute) from a semi-arid drainage basin in south east Arizona exhibiting an upward trend in temperatures during that period.

  • Carbon dioxide levels lower than thought during super greenhouse period

    Researchers adds to the understanding of Earth's historic hyperthermal events to help explain the planet's current warming trend.

  • New threat to the ozone layer

    'Ozone depletion is a well-known phenomenon and, thanks to the success of the Montreal Protocol, is widely perceived as a problem solved,' say some. But an international team of researchers, has now found an unexpected, growing danger to the ozone layer from substances not regulated by the treaty.

  • Risk of tsunamis in Mediterranean Sea has been overstated, say experts

    A review of geological evidence for tsunamis during the past 4500 years in the Mediterranean Sea has revealed that as many as 90 per cent of these inundation events may have been misinterpreted by scientists and were due to storm activity instead.

  • Rainstorm generator assesses watershed rainfall under climate change simulations

    The Colorado River tumbles through varied landscapes, draining watersheds from seven western states. This 1,450-mile-long system is a critical water supply for agriculture, industry and municipalities from Denver to Tijuana.

  • Better managing plastic waste in a handful of rivers could stem plastics in the ocean

    Massive amounts of plastic bits that are dangerous to aquatic life are washing into the oceans and into even the most pristine waters. But how it all gets there from inland cities has not been fully understood. Now scientists have found that 10 rivers around the world where plastic waste is mismanaged contribute to most of the oceans' total loads that come from rivers.

  • One of planet's largest volcanic eruptions

    Researchers have determined that the Pacific Northwest was home to one of the Earth's largest known volcanic eruptions, a millennia-long spewing of sulfuric gas that blocked out the sun and cooled the planet. Only two other eruptions -- the basalt floods of the Siberian Traps and the Deccan Traps -- were larger, and they led to two of the Earth's great extinctions.