Top Stories

Harsh winter in Eastern US result of warming Arctic and shifting jet stream
February 18, 2015 07:32 AM - Kirk Moore, Rutgers University

Prolonged cold snaps on the East Coast, California drought and frozen mornings in the South all have something in common – the atmospheric jet stream which transports weather systems that’s  taken to meandering all over North America.

Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis and colleagues link that wavy jet stream to a warming Arctic, where climate changes near the top of the world are happening faster than in Earth’s middle latitudes.

A new study from Francis and University of Wisconsin-Madison scientist Stephen Vavrus, published in IOPscience, backs up that theory, with evidence linking regional and seasonal conditions in the Arctic to deeper north-south jet stream waves which will lead to more extreme weather across the country.

Harsh winter in Eastern US result of warming Arctic and shifting jet stream
February 18, 2015 07:32 AM - Kirk Moore, Rutgers University

Prolonged cold snaps on the East Coast, California drought and frozen mornings in the South all have something in common – the atmospheric jet stream which transports weather systems that’s  taken to meandering all over North America.

Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis and colleagues link that wavy jet stream to a warming Arctic, where climate changes near the top of the world are happening faster than in Earth’s middle latitudes.

A new study from Francis and University of Wisconsin-Madison scientist Stephen Vavrus, published in IOPscience, backs up that theory, with evidence linking regional and seasonal conditions in the Arctic to deeper north-south jet stream waves which will lead to more extreme weather across the country.

Climate change may affect tick life cycles, Lyme disease
February 17, 2015 01:51 PM - Oregon State University

A new study suggests that changing climate patterns may be altering the life cycles of blacklegged ticks in the northeastern United States, which could increase transmission among animals – and ultimately humans – of certain pathogens, including the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Other colder regions of the country that have sufficient populations of blacklegged ticks – particularly Wisconsin and Minnesota – may also experience a higher risk of Lyme disease. However, the changing life cycles of the ticks may result in a less-likely probability of transmitting a more deadly pathogen that results in Powassan encephalitis, the researchers say.

New ozone-destroying gases on the rise
February 17, 2015 08:07 AM - University of Leeds

Scientists report that chemicals that are not controlled by a United Nations treaty designed to protect the Ozone Layer are contributing to ozone depletion. In the new study, published today in Nature Geoscience, the scientists also report the atmospheric abundance of one of these ‘very short-lived substances’ (VSLS) is growing rapidly.

New ozone-destroying gases on the rise
February 17, 2015 08:07 AM - University of Leeds

Scientists report that chemicals that are not controlled by a United Nations treaty designed to protect the Ozone Layer are contributing to ozone depletion. In the new study, published today in Nature Geoscience, the scientists also report the atmospheric abundance of one of these ‘very short-lived substances’ (VSLS) is growing rapidly.

'Hidden Order' Physics Mystery getting less mysterious thanks to Rutgers scientists
February 17, 2015 07:33 AM - Rutgers University

A new explanation for a type of order, or symmetry, in an exotic material made with uranium may lead to enhanced computer displays and data storage systems, and more powerful superconducting magnets for medical imaging and levitating high-speed trains, according to a Rutgers-led team of research physicists.

The team’s findings are a major step toward explaining a puzzle that physicists worldwide have been struggling with for 30 years, when scientists first noticed a change in the material’s electrical and magnetic properties but were unable to describe it fully. This subtle change occurs when the material is cooled to 17.5 degrees above absolute zero or lower (a bone-chilling minus 428 degrees Fahrenheit).

'Hidden Order' Physics Mystery getting less mysterious thanks to Rutgers scientists
February 17, 2015 07:33 AM - Rutgers University

A new explanation for a type of order, or symmetry, in an exotic material made with uranium may lead to enhanced computer displays and data storage systems, and more powerful superconducting magnets for medical imaging and levitating high-speed trains, according to a Rutgers-led team of research physicists.

The team’s findings are a major step toward explaining a puzzle that physicists worldwide have been struggling with for 30 years, when scientists first noticed a change in the material’s electrical and magnetic properties but were unable to describe it fully. This subtle change occurs when the material is cooled to 17.5 degrees above absolute zero or lower (a bone-chilling minus 428 degrees Fahrenheit).

Component in olive oil kills cancer cells
February 16, 2015 08:52 AM - Rutgers University

A Rutgers nutritional scientist and two cancer biologists at New York City’s Hunter College have found that an ingredient in extra-virgin olive oil kills a variety of human cancer cells without harming healthy cells.

The ingredient is oleocanthal, a compound that ruptures a part of the cancerous cell, releasing enzymes that cause cell death.

Paul Breslin, professor of nutritional sciences in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, and David Foster and Onica LeGendre of Hunter College, report that oleocanthal kills cancerous cells in the laboratory by rupturing vesicles that store the cell’s waste.

Geoengineering - blessing or curse?
February 15, 2015 10:20 AM - Clive Hamilton, the Ecologist

The geoengineering genie should remain firmly stopped up in its bottle until a robust case is made for letting it out, writes Clive Hamilton - and that's something the NRC's new report signally fails to achieve, providing no rationale for deploying the technology, or even experimenting with it.

An essential mistake of the report is the unwillingness to recognise that field experiments that do not change the physical environment can radically change the social and political environment.

A Valentine's Day gift to us all from NASA
February 14, 2015 06:03 AM - JPL/NASA

Valentine's Day is special for NASA's Voyager mission. It was on Feb. 14, 1990, that the Voyager 1 spacecraft looked back at our solar system and snapped the first-ever pictures of the planets from its perch at that time beyond Neptune. 

This "family portrait" captures Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, Earth and Venus from Voyager 1's unique vantage point. A few key members did not make it in: Mars had little sunlight, Mercury was too close to the sun, and dwarf planet Pluto turned out too dim. 

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