The largest solar flare in the past five years triggered a major geomagnetic storm over Alaska on March 8. The same day, a nanosatellite operated by researchers from SRI International and the University of Michigan took a measurement of naturally occurring auroral turbulence. The data was the first-ever recorded using a nanosatellite radar receiver.
The tiny, plant-like Heterosigma akashiwo is too small to see with the naked eye, but the microscopic algae may pack a big environmental punch. University of Delaware researchers are studying whether the species can neutralize harmful smokestack emissions—and also serve as a source of eco-friendly biofuel.
On a clear night between March 14 and April 4, skywatchers along the East Coast may be able to see a NASA launch five rockets in five minutes from its Wallops Island facility in coastal Virginia. Each rocket will release a chemical leaving a long, milky-white cloud to track the little-understood jet stream winds that circle the Earth at the edge of space.
Determining with precision the carbon balance of North America is complicated, but researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have devised a method that considerably advances the science. In developing their approach, the team took advantage of inventory records from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico that track changes in the amount of carbon in various reservoirs such as plants, soils, and wood.
An accurate new way to measure a potent greenhouse gas emitted during agricultural production will help countries to better manage their environmental impact, thanks to Queensland University of Technology research. This new statistical approach would greatly improve estimates of global nitrous oxide emissions by up to 65%.
A new study from scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has quantitatively demonstrated that black carbon—also known as soot, a pollutant emitted from power plants, diesel engines, and residential cooking and heating, as well as forest fires—reduces the reflectance of snow and ice, an effect that increases the rate of global climate change.
Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists and an international research team have announced discovery of molecular oxygen ions in the upper-most atmosphere of Dione, one of the 62 known moons orbiting the ringed planet. The research was made possible by instruments aboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft, which was launched in 1997.
Using the most robust and longest duration satellite dataset of Arctic sea ice available, researchers at NASA have built one of the most complete pictures of how the Arctic’s supply is changing over time. The study reveals the rate of disappearance of the old and thickest sea ice, which typical survives the cyclical summer melt season.
The frigid McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica are famously dry, yet the sandy soils there are frequently dotted with moist patches in the spring despite a lack of snowmelt and no possibility of rain. A new study has found that that the salty soils in the region actually suck moisture out of the atmosphere, raising the possibility that such a process could take place on Mars or on other planets.
Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are sharing computational resources and expertise to improve the detail and performance of the Community Earth System Model, a scientific application code that is the product of one of the world's largest collaborations of climate researchers.
In 2009, when the United States fell into economic recession, greenhouse gas emissions also fell, by 6.59% relative to 2008. In the power sector, however, the recession was not the main cause. Researchers at Harvard University have shown that the primary explanation for the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from power generation that year was that a decrease in the price of natural gas reduced the industry's reliance on coal.
Drillers require a lot of energy to recover and refine heavy, viscous bitumen from Canada’s oil sands. In the first look at the effect of air pollution from the excavation of oil sands, also called tar sands, scientists used satellites to measure nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide. The effects, they say, are equivalent of a large power plant or a medium-sized city.
According to recent research led by a chemist at the University of California, Irvine, airborne gases settle in smog particles from which they cannot escape. This result could explain why pollution computer models underestimate organic aerosols, the least understood component in climate change calculations.
Extreme summer temperatures are already occurring more frequently in the United States, and will become normal by mid-century if the world continues on a business-as-usual schedule of emitting greenhouse gases, according to a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory study.
The least expensive way for the Western United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to help prevent the worst consequences of global warming is to replace coal with renewable and other sources of energy that may include nuclear power, according to a new study by University of California, Berkeley researchers.
Although China has made substantial progress in cleaning up its air pollution, a new Massachusetts Institute of Technology study shows that the economic impact from ozone and particulates in its air has increased dramatically.
In the last ten years, scientists have shown that it is possible to detect falling snow and measure surface snowpack information from the vantage point of space. But there remains much that is unknown about the fluffy white stuff. A team from NASA and Environment Canada are hoping their Global Precipitation Measurement satellite and ground mission will set new standards and bring global measurements every three hours.
A prolonged solar minimum left the sun's surface nearly free of sunspots from 2005 to 2010. Total solar irradiance declined slightly as a result, but according to a recent NASA study, the Earth continued to absorb more energy than it emitted throughout the minimum.
A team of 19 researchers have reported the results of the broadest worldwide study of ocean acidification to date. They were able to illustrate how parts of the world's oceans currently have different pH levels because of the absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and how they might respond to climate changes in the future.
Caving to public pressure, Beijing environmental authorities started releasing more detailed air quality data Saturday that may better reflect how bad the Chinese capital's air pollution is. But one expert says measurements from the first day were low compared with data U.S. officials have been collecting for years.
An international team of scientists says it's figured out how to slow global warming in the short run and prevent millions of deaths from dirty air: Stop focusing so much on carbon dioxide.
Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories and UK partners have produced measurements of gas-phase Criegee intermediate reactions that they say will substantially existing knowledge of atmospheric chemistry. Criegee intermediates—carbonyl oxides—are pivotal atmospheric reactants whose reaction kinetics were only indirectly known.
More than a dozen studies have been conducted in an effort to track the molecular evolution of life by looking for evidence of that history in present-day protein structures. In one of the latest studies, researchers report they have identified an enzyme that was the first, or among the first, to generate molecular oxygen on Earth.
New research suggests that China's impressive feat of cutting Beijing's pollution up to 50% for the 2008 Summer Olympics had some help from Mother Nature. Rain just at the beginning and wind during the Olympics likely contributed about half of the effort needed to clean up the skies, scientists found. The results also suggest emission controls need to be more widely implemented than in 2008 if pollution levels are to be reduced permanently.
For the first time, the chemical 'fingerprints' of the element mercury have been used by University of Michigan researchers to directly link environmental pollution to a specific coal-burning power plant. This technique provides a tool that will enable researchers to identify specific sources of mercury pollution and determine how much of it is being deposited locally.