Top Stories

Low snowpacks of 2014, 2015 may become increasingly common with warmer conditions
February 23, 2017 10:10 AM - Oregon State University

Oregon experienced very low snowpack levels in 2014 and historically low snowpack levels in 2015; now a new study suggests that these occurrences may not be anomalous in the future and could become much more common if average temperatures warm just two degrees (Celsius).

The low snowpack levels were linked to warmer temperatures and not a lack of precipitation, the researchers say. Based on simulations of previous and predicted snowpack, the study suggests that by mid-century, years like 2015 may happen about once a decade, while snowpack levels similar to 2014 will take place every 4-5 years.

Study Targets Warm Water Rings that Fuel Hurricane Intensification in the Caribbean Sea
February 23, 2017 10:05 AM - Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

Last year’s devastating category-5 hurricane—Matthew—may be one of many past examples of a tropical storm fueled by massive rings of warm water that exist in the upper reaches of the Caribbean Sea.

Cavefish May Help Humans Evolve to Require Very Little Sleep
February 23, 2017 09:53 AM - Florida Atlantic University

We all do it; we all need it – humans and animals alike. Sleep is an essential behavior shared by nearly all animals and disruption of this process is associated with an array of physiological and behavioral deficits. Although there are so many factors contributing to sleep loss, very little is known about the neural basis for interactions between sleep and sensory processing. 

Sugar's 'tipping point' link to Alzheimer's disease revealed
February 23, 2017 09:44 AM - University of Bath

For the first time a “tipping point” molecular link between the blood sugar glucose and Alzheimer’s disease has been established by scientists, who have shown that excess glucose damages a vital enzyme involved with inflammation response to the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

What, You Can't Tell Two Lemurs Apart? Computers Can
February 23, 2017 09:39 AM - Megan Molteni via Wired

The Centre Valbio research station, a modern building of stone and glass set in the jungled hills at the edge of Madagascar’s Ranomafana National Park, was starting to look like the third season of The Wire. Big tackboards lined the walls, each one covered with dozens of pinned-up photographs. Some images were grouped together in families, while others floated alone, unconnected. It was 2012, and Rachel Jacobs was using Detective McNulty-style tactics to sort out the associations in a very different kind of crew: the park’s population of red-bellied lemurs.

Oil and Gas Wastewater Spills, including Fracking Wastewater, Alter Microbes in West Virginia Waters
February 23, 2017 08:46 AM - Todd B. Bate via Rutgers University

Wastewater from oil and gas operations – including fracking for shale gas – at a West Virginia site altered microbes downstream, according to a Rutgers-led study.

The study, published recently in Science of the Total Environment, showed that wastewater releases, including briny water that contained petroleum and other pollutants, altered the diversity, numbers and functions of microbes. The shifts in the microbial community indicated changes in their respiration and nutrient cycling, along with signs of stress.

Fishing for bacteria in New Zealand
February 23, 2017 08:25 AM - University of Manitoba

If you asked Richard Sparling, what he did during his sabbatical early last year, he’d probably say “fishing in New Zealand.”

But this ambiguous answer by the department of microbiology associate professor does not tell the whole story.

Sediment Flows into Galveston Bay Studied to Help Understand Health of Watershed
February 23, 2017 08:14 AM - United States Geological Survey (USGS)

A better understanding of sediment and freshwater flow into Galveston Bay is now available from a new U.S. Geological Survey report, done in cooperation with the Texas Water Development Board, and the Galveston Bay Estuary Program.

India Using Coal Tax Money to Fund Renewable Energy Projects
February 22, 2017 03:44 PM - Yale Environment 360

India has a goal of quadrupling the amount of electricity it generates from renewable sources to 175 gigawatts by 2022. 

Serendipity Uncovers Borophene's Potential
February 22, 2017 03:35 PM - Amanda Morris

Almost one year ago, borophene didn’t even exist. Now, just months after a Northwestern Engineering and Argonne National Laboratory team discovered the material, another team led by Mark Hersam is already making strides toward understanding its complicated chemistry and realizing its electronic potential.

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