Top Stories

2017 U.S. Wildfire Season Off to an Intense Start
March 21, 2017 03:59 PM - Yale Environment 360

Wildfires have consumed more than 2 million acres of U.S. land so far this year, nearly 10 times the long-term average and a punishing start to this year’s wildfire season, according to data from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC).

Futuristic Clock Prepared for Space
March 21, 2017 03:47 PM - Jet Propulsion Laboratory

No one keeps time quite like NASA.

Last month, the space agency's next-generation atomic clock was joined to the spacecraft that will take it into orbit in late 2017.

That instrument, the Deep Space Atomic Clock was developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. On Feb. 17, JPL engineers monitored integration of the clock on to the Surrey Orbital Test Bed spacecraft at Surrey Satellite Technology in Englewood, Colorado.

A new, gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries
March 21, 2017 03:35 PM - Jim Shelton via Yale University

Yale scientists have developed an ultra-thin coating material that has the potential to extend the life and improve the efficiency of lithium-sulfur batteries, one of the most promising areas of energy research today.

In a study published online March 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers describe the new material — a dendrimer-graphene oxide composite film — which can be applied to any sulfur cathode. A cathode is the positive terminal on a battery.

Carnegie Mellon University Launches Carbon Emissions Index
March 21, 2017 03:06 PM - College of Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) today announced the creation of a new index that will measure carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. electrical power generation sector. The Carnegie Mellon Power Sector Carbon Index will track the environmental performance of U.S. power producers and compare current emissions to historical data collected nationwide for more than two decades. A quarterly press release will inform interested parties of power sector carbon emissions performance trends.  In addition, CMU will provide an online resource for a wide variety of power sector emissions data and forecasts.

Boulder scientist teams on study probing implications of ice sheet's demise
March 21, 2017 01:25 PM - Charlie Brennan via University of Colorado at Boulder

Flying over the remote during research at the Barnes Ice Cap on Baffin Island in 2009, a Boulder scientist saw dark where there should have been white.

Closer inspection revealed that what Gifford Miller spotted was the remnants of a 1963 geological camp that had been buried for decades by snow and ice. Long-abandoned tents and snowmobiles were being unveiled by melting of the ice cap, and that helped inspire a study that suggests a disturbing climate change signal.

Spring Outlook: Risk of major flooding in North Dakota, moderate flooding in Idaho
March 21, 2017 08:37 AM - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Northern North Dakota – the Souris River, Devils Lake and the northernmost reaches of the Red River – has the greatest risk of major flooding this spring, while moderate flooding is possible over southern Idaho in the Snake River basin, according to NOAA’s Spring Outlook released today.

"Flying saucer" quantum dots hold secret to brighter, better lasers
March 21, 2017 08:31 AM - University of Toronto

A research team led by University of Toronto's Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering ‘squashes’ the shape of nanoparticles, enabling inexpensive lasers that emit light in a customized rainbow of colours

Dead Zones May Threaten Coral Reefs Worldwide
March 20, 2017 03:38 PM - Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Dead zones affect dozens of coral reefs around the world and threaten hundreds more according to a new study by Smithsonian scientists published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Watching a massive coral reef die-off on the Caribbean coast of Panama, they suspected it was caused by a dead zone—a low-oxygen area that snuffs out marine life—rather than by ocean warming or acidification.

Sustainable Mineral Supply
March 20, 2017 03:32 PM - Karen B. Roberts via University of Delaware

International research team warns of mineral supply constraints as demand increases for green technologies

An international team of researchers, led by the University of Delaware’s Saleem Ali, says global resource governance and sharing of geoscience data is needed to address challenges facing future mineral supply.

Specifically of concern are a range of technology minerals, which are an essential ingredient in everything from laptops and cell phones to hybrid or electric cars to solar panels and copper wiring for homes. However, base metals like copper are also a matter of immense concern.

Parasitic Fish Offer Evolutionary Insights
March 20, 2017 02:26 PM - California Institute of Technology

Lamprey are slimy, parasitic eel-like fish, one of only two existing species of vertebrates that have no jaw. While many would be repulsed by these creatures, lamprey are exciting to biologists because they are so primitive, retaining many characteristics similar to their ancient ancestors and thus offering answers to some of life's biggest evolutionary questions. Now, by studying the lamprey, Caltech researchers have discovered an unexpected mechanism for the evolution of the neurons of the peripheral nervous system—nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord.

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