Earth in the News

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

  • Giant Blobs of Rock, Deep Inside the Earth, Hold Important Clues About Our Planet

    Two massive blob-like structures lie deep within the Earth, roughly on opposite sides of the planet. The two structures, each the size of a continent and 100 times taller than Mount Everest, sit on the core, 1,800 miles deep, and about halfway to the center of the Earth. Researchers suggest these blobs are made of something different from the rest of Earth's mantle, and are determined to figure out what that is.

  • What did Earth's ancient magnetic field look like?

    Earth's ancient magnetic field was significantly different than the present day field, originating from several poles rather than the familiar two, new research suggests. Then, shortly after our planet's core solidified, this work predicts that Earth's magnetic field transitioned to a 'strong,' two-pole one.

  • Hidden values of open ocean

    A team of scientists has for the first time attached a dollar value to several of the leading 'ecosystem services' -- or natural benefits -- provided by the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean, an immense region stretching west from the west coasts of North and South America.

  • Siberian larch forests are still linked to the ice age

    The Siberian permafrost regions include those areas of the Earth, which heat up very quickly in the course of climate change. Nevertheless, biologists are currently observing only a minimal response in forest composition.

  • Volcanoes get quiet before they erupt

    Until now, there has not been a way to forecast eruptions of restless volcanoes because of the constant seismic activity and gas and steam emissions. Volcanologists have shown that periods of seismic quiet occur immediately before eruptions and can be used to forecast an eruption. The duration of the silence can indicate the level of energy that will be released. Longer quiet periods mean a bigger bang.

  • Warning from the past: Future global warming could be even warmer

    Future global warming will not only depend on the amount of emissions from human-made greenhouse gasses, but will also depend on the sensitivity of the climate system and response to feedback mechanisms. By reconstructing past global warming and the carbon cycle on Earth 56 million years ago researchers have used computer modelling to estimate the potential perspective for future global warming, which could be even warmer than previously thought.

  • Explosive renewables development can deliver on Paris

    While some criticize the Paris climate target as impracticable, a team of scholars argues that it is a triumph of realism. First, keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius is necessary in view of the risks that unchecked climate change would pose. The scientists provide for the first time a diagram summarizing the tipping points/temperature issue. Second, implementing the Paris target is feasible through an explosive development of renewables. Third, the target is simple enough to create worldwide political momentum.

  • Scientists find two ways to limit the number of heat-related deaths from climate change

    By the 2080s, as many as 3,331 people could die every year from exposure to heat during the summer months in New York City. The high estimate is based on a new model -- the first to account for variability in future population size, greenhouse gas trajectories, and the extent to which residents adapt to heat through interventions like air conditioning and public cooling centers.

  • Engineers develop new, low-cost way to capture carbon

    A research team reports an unconventional reversible chemical reaction in a confined nanoenvironment. The discovery, a milestone in clarifying the scientific underpinnings of moisture-swing chemical reaction, is critical to understanding how to scrub carbon dioxide from Earth's atmosphere; the researchers have already used it to capture carbon dioxide more efficiently and at a much lower cost than other methods.

  • 94 million-year-old climate change event holds clues for future

    A major climate event millions of years ago that caused substantial change to the ocean’s ecological systems may hold clues as to how the Earth will respond to future climate change, a researcher said.

  • As Alaska warms, methane emissions appear stable

    Analysis of nearly three decades of air samples from Alaska's North Slope shows little change in long-term methane emissions despite significant Arctic warming over that time period, according to new research.

  • Measure greenhouse gases from space

    Space agencies examine the extent of greenhouse gases in the air via prisms and gratings in satellites. New technology now makes it possible to connect both components with each other so that they are suitable for space thus achieving a new level of quality for spectral resolution.

  • Estuaries like Chesapeake Bay could contribute more to global warming than once thought

    Estuaries and coastal systems are thought to be a relatively small source of atmospheric methane, as little as 3 percent. However, a new study has found that the methane building up in the Chesapeake Bay alone, if released, would be equal to the current estimates for all the estuaries in the world combined.

  • Caribbean Sea acts like a whistle and can be 'heard' from space

    A study of the Caribbean Sea has revealed that, in the midst of all the noise of the ocean, this region behaves like a whistle, which blows so loudly that it can be 'heard' from space in the form of oscillations of the Earth's gravity field.

  • Most biodiverse countries spending least on conservation, study finds

    Countries that contain most of the world's species biodiversity are also spending the least on a per-person basis to protect these natural assets, according to scientists. The authors also noted that spending appears to be associated with the country's social and governance organization.

  • Research aims to make water-cycle modeling data more accessible

    Improved publication strategy for authors who use hydrological modeling software will make model data easier for readers to understand and reuse, according to an international team of researchers.

  • Mystery of powerful lightning at sea not solved completely

    The mystery of why most of the most powerful lightning on Earth happens over the oceans isn't solved, but a few of the usual suspects are no longer in custody. It's possible the increased presence of salt in the atmosphere plays a role.

  • New analysis reveals large-scale motion around San Andreas Fault System

    By carefully analyzing the data recorded by the EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory's GPS array researchers discovered nearly 125 mile-wide 'lobes' of uplift and subsidence -- a few millimeters of motion each year -- straddling the San Andreas Fault System. This large scale motion was previously predicted in models but until now had not been documented.

  • Space weather patterns: Plasma in near-Earth space was twice as heavy around 1958 and 1970

    A Japanese team have digitalized magnetogram recordings taken before direct observations by satellites became available. The analog recordings, taken for 72 years since the early 20th century, provide a window onto space weather in the mid-1900s and shed light onto future patterns of plasma movement in near-earth space.

  • Canadian forests a refuge as warming creeps north

    Boreal forests in far-northern latitudes may one day act as a climate refuge for black spruce, the foundational tree for the northwoods ecosystem -- a major source of the world's paper; home to caribou, snowshoe hare, lynx, and sable; and nesting site for dozens of migratory bird species, say researchers.