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.
While it is possible to chemically scrub carbon dioxide from Earth's atmosphere in order to lessen the severity of global warming, the process is prohibitively expensive for now. Best to focus on controls for coal-burning power plants, say researchers from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
With an almost biblical onslaught of twisters, floods, snow, drought, heat, and wildfire, the U.S. in 2011 has seen more weather catastrophes that caused at least $1 billion in damage than it did in all of the 1980s, even after the dollar figures from back then are adjusted for inflation.
Since most of the world's governments have not yet enacted regulations to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, some experts have advocated the development of technologies to remove carbon dioxide directly from the air. But a new Massachusetts Institute of Technology study shows that, at least for the foreseeable future, such proposals are not realistic because their costs would vastly exceed those of blocking emissions right at the source, such as at the powerplants that burn fossil fuels.
The sharp decrease in global carbon dioxide emissions attributed to the worldwide financial crisis in 2009 quickly rebounded in 2010, according to research supported by the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
After a obtaining a series of cores deep in the wilds of Russia, researchers have concluded that the appearance of oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere probably did not occur as a single event, but as a long series of starts and stops. The finding refutes previous theories on the appearance of this gas in our atmosphere.
A report released late Thursday in London and discussed Friday at the U.N. climate conference in South Africa said that—in theory—reflecting a small amount of sunlight back into space before it strikes the Earth's surface would have an immediate and dramatic effect. But no one knows what the side effects would be.
A team of scientists have used the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura satellite to confirm major reductions in the levels of a key air pollutant generated by coal power plants in the eastern United States. The pollutant, sulfur dioxide, contributes to the formation of acid rain and can cause serious health problems.
A drop in carbon dioxide appears to be the driving force that led to the Antarctic ice sheet's formation, according to a recent study led by scientists at Yale and Purdue universities of molecules from ancient algae found in deep-sea core samples.
The appearance of oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere probably did not occur as a single event, but as a long series of starts and stops, according to an international team of researchers who investigated rock cores from the FAR DEEP project.
Scientists are now warning that 45 billion metric tons of carbon from methane and carbon dioxide trapped below thawing permafrost will likely seep into the air over the next several decades. The trend, they say, will accelerate and amplify global warming.
A new study suggests that the rate of global warming from doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide may be less than the most dire estimates of some previous studies—and, in fact, may be less severe than projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in 2007.
Carbon dioxide levels for 2010 have recently been release by the World Meteorological Organization. They show that CO 2 levels are now at 389 parts per million, up from about 280 parts per million 250 years ago. Also, levels are up 2.3 parts per million from 2009.
While the causes of the end-Permian extinction are unknown, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-led team of researchers has now established that the catastrophe was extremely rapid, triggering massive die-outs both in the oceans and on land in less than 20,000 years.
About 252 million years ago, a wave of cataclysmic vulcanism commenced the Great Dying, which wiped out three-quarters of life on Earth. A new study based on a digs in China has greatly shortened the period of death to less than 100,000 years, and revealed details on how much the climate changed during that period.
In terms of emissions, just one pound of sulfur hexafluoride, a nontoxic gas used in electric insulation, is equivalent to about 11 tons of carbon dioxide. Energy Department experts are hunting down this and other fugitive carbon emissions and have already prevented the release of 600,000 metric tons of carbon equivalent.
U.S. scientists have developed a new, integrated, ten-year science plan to better understand the details of Earth's carbon cycle and people's role in it. Understanding the carbon cycle is central for mitigating climate change and developing a sustainable future.
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science researchers have climate scientists rethinking a commonly held theory about the ocean's role in the global climate system. The new findings can aid scientists in better understanding and predicting changes in the Pacific climate and its impacts around the globe.
Increases in air pollution and other particulate matter in the atmosphere can strongly affect cloud development in ways that reduce precipitation in dry regions or seasons, while increasing rain, snowfall, and the intensity of severe storms in wet regions or seasons, says a new study by a University of Maryland-led team of researchers.
For the past 100 years, the Haber-Bosch process has been used to convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, which is essential in the manufacture of fertilizer. Despite the longstanding reliability of the process, scientists have had little understanding of how it actually works. Until now.
According to scientists, carbon monoxide is not only a danger to the environment, but also highly toxic to human beings. Now, in a surprising twist, a Tel Aviv University professor has discovered that low levels of the poisonous gas can have a narcotic effect that helps city dwellers cope with other harmful environmental factors of an urban environment, such as off-the-chart noise levels.
The release of massive amounts of carbon from methane hydrate frozen under the seafloor 56 million years ago has been linked to the greatest change in global climate since a dinosaur-killing asteroid presumably hit Earth 9 million years earlier. New calculations by researchers at Rice University show that this long-controversial scenario is quite possible.
The world pumped about 564 million more tons of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009. This represents an increase of 6%, and is more carbon emissions than the worst scenario figures offered by climatologists four years ago.