Top Stories

Icy air reveals human-made methane levels higher than previously believed

In 2011 a team of researchers led by Vasilii Petrenko, an assistant professor of Earth and environmental sciences at the University of Rochester, spent seven weeks in Antarctica collecting and studying 2,000-pound samples of glacial ice cores that date back nearly 12,000 years. The ancient air trapped within the ice revealed surprising new data about methane that may help inform today’s policymakers as they consider ways to reduce global warming.

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Recipe for Safer Batteries — Just Add Diamonds

While lithium-ion batteries, widely used in mobile devices from cell phones to laptops, have one of the longest lifespans of commercial batteries today, they also have been behind a number of recent meltdowns and fires due to short-circuiting in mobile devices. In hopes of preventing more of these hazardous malfunctions researchers at Drexel University have developed a recipe that can turn electrolyte solution — a key component of most batteries — into a safeguard against the chemical process that leads to battery-related disasters. 

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NASA Look at Tropical Storm Pakhar in Infrared Light

NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Storm Pakhar and gathered temperature data to determine the location of the most powerful storms within. Pakhar has triggered a number of warnings throughout the Philippines as the storm moves closer.

Philippines warnings include Public storm warning signal #1 for the Luzon provinces of Cagayan including Babuyan group of islands, Apayao, Ilocos Norte, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Northern Quezon including Polillo island, and Camarines Norte. Public storm warning signal #2 is in effect for the Luzon provinces of Isabela, Aurora, Quirino, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Ilocos Sur, Benguet, Abra, La Union and Nueva Vizcaya.

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New wrapping material enables high quality bioimaging

A nanosheet made of organic polymers has been developed to prevent the drying and deforming of biological samples, thus enabling high-quality imaging under microscopes.

Be it cosmology or biology, the advancement of science largely relies on the advancement of measuring instruments and methodology. In the past couple of decades, scientists’ passion to see the invisible has vastly improved microscopes and other equipment resulting in high-resolution images, three-dimensional images, and longer recording times of biological samples. However, current setups do not prevent them from drying and deforming during observations, resulting in blurred images.

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Arctic Ice Cores Document Climate Change in Past 300 Years

Ice cores from arctic mountain glaciers show a dramatic climate change that began nearly 300 years ago, documenting an unprecedented increase in the intensity and duration of winter storms. Drilled by a Dartmouth-led team, the cores show striking changes in weather patterns that may have reached as far as Florida.

“We attribute these changes to a warming of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific,” says Erich Osterberg, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth. “The North Pacific is very sensitive to what happens in the tropics. It is more stormy in Alaska now than at any time in the last 1,200 years, and that is driven by tropical ocean warming.”

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Drones relay RFID signals for inventory control

Radio frequency ID tags were supposed to revolutionize supply chain management. The dirt-cheap, battery-free tags, which receive power wirelessly from scanners and then broadcast identifying numbers, enable warehouse managers to log inventory much more efficiently than they could by reading box numbers and recording them manually.

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Icebergs: Mathematical model calculates the collapse of shelf ice

Shelf ice, as found in Antarctica, refers to giant floating ice sheets that can span thousands of square kilometres. Pieces break off at their edges which form icebergs in the ocean. In order to more effectively predict these break-offs, in a process known as calving, Julia Christmann from the University of Kaiserslautern (TU) has developed mathematical models in cooperation with the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI). On the basis of physical factors, it is claimed that these models can be used to predict when and where the ice may collapse. This is important particularly for research teams situated on the ice shelf.

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NASA Gets an In-Depth Look at Intensifying Hurricane Harvey

As Hurricane Harvey continued to strengthen, NASA analyzed the storm’s rainfall, cloud heights and cloud top temperatures. NASA’s GPM and Aqua satellite provided information while an animation of GOES-East satellite imagery showed Harvey’s progression toward the Texas coast. 

Harvey's intensification has been aided by movement through an environment that includes low vertical wind shear and the warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

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A Galápagos seabird's population expected to shrink with ocean warming

Within the next century, rising ocean temperatures around the Galápagos Islands are expected to make the water too warm for a key prey species, sardines, to tolerate. A new study by Wake Forest University biologists, published in PLOS One Aug. 23, uses decades of data on the diet and breeding of a tropical seabird, the Nazca booby, to understand how the future absence of sardines may affect the booby population.

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Researchers identify cheaper, greener biofuels processing catalyst

Fuels that are produced from nonpetroleum-based biological sources may become greener and more affordable, thanks to research performed at the University of Illinois’ Prairie Research Institutethat examines the use of a processing catalyst made from palladium metal and bacteria.

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