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Iron dissolved by air pollution may increase ocean potential to trap carbon

Iron particles generated by cities and industry are being dissolved by man-made air pollution and washed into the sea – potentially increasing the amount of greenhouse gases that the world’s oceans can absorb, a new study suggests.

Scientists have long believed that acids formed from human-generated pollution and natural emissions dissolve iron in airborne particles - increasing the amount of iron to the ocean – but have lacked direct evidence to prove this theory.

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What Global Climate Change May Mean for Leaf Litter in Streams and Rivers

Rate of leaf litter decay — and release of carbon to the atmosphere — may not accelerate as much as previously predicted as temperatures rise

Carbon emissions to the atmosphere from streams and rivers are expected to increase as warmer water temperatures stimulate faster rates of organic matter breakdown.

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Study: Volkswagen's excess emissions will lead to 1,200 premature deaths in Europe

In September 2015, the German Volkswagen Group, the world’s largest car producer, admitted to having installed “defeat devices” in 11 million diesel cars sold worldwide between 2008 and 2015. The devices were designed to detect and adapt to laboratory tests, making the cars appear to comply with environmental standards when, in fact, they emitted pollutants called nitric oxides, or NOx, at levels that were on average four times the applicable European test-stand limit.

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Brake Dust May Cause More Problems Than Blackened Wheel Covers

Though tailpipe emissions could fall in the years ahead as more zero-emission vehicles hit the streets, one major source of highway air pollution shows no signs of abating: brake and tire dust.

Metals from brakes and other automotive systems are emitted into the air as fine particles, lingering over busy roadways. Now, researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have shown how that cloud of tiny metal particles could wreak havoc on respiratory health.

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Late winter 'heatwave' hits the U.S. in February

It has been warm this winter for much of the country. But even with that said, temperatures recorded during a four-day period in late February 2017 across the central and eastern United States were extraordinary for the end of meteorological winter—December through February.

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Human, Cattle Viruses Detected in Some Great Lakes Tributaries

Human and bovine, or cattle, viruses were detected in a small percentage of some Great Lakes Basin streams, with human viruses more prevalent in urban streams and bovine viruses more common in streams in agricultural areas, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey-led study.

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Taking Earth's Inner Temperature

The temperature of Earth’s interior affects everything from the movement of tectonic plates to the formation of the planet.

A new study led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) suggests the mantle—the mostly solid, rocky part of Earth’s interior that lies between its super-heated core and its outer crustal layer – may be hotter than previously believed. The new finding, published March 3 in the journal Science, could change how scientists think about many issues in Earth science including how ocean basins form.

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NASA Study Improves Forecasts of Summer Arctic Sea Ice

The Arctic has been losing sea ice over the past several decades as Earth warms. However, each year, as the sea ice starts to melt in the spring following its maximum wintertime extent, scientists still struggle to estimate exactly how much ice they expect will disappear through the melt season. Now, a new NASA forecasting model based on satellite measurements is allowing researchers to make better estimates.

Forecasts of how much Arctic sea ice will shrink from spring into fall is valuable information for such communities as shipping companies and native people that depend on sea ice for hunting. Many animal and plant species are impacted directly by changes in the coverage of sea ice across the Arctic. Uncertain weather conditions through spring and summer make the forecasting of Arctic sea ice for a given year extremely challenging.

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Transforming the carbon economy: U.S. Energy Dept. task force recommends research

Most strategies to combat climate change concentrate on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by substituting non-carbon energy sources for fossil fuels, but a task force commissioned in June 2016 by former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz proposed a framework in December 2016 for evaluating research and development on two additional strategies: recycling carbon dioxide and removing large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These strategies were developed under a single framework with the goal to produce an overall emissions reduction for the Earth of at least one billion tons of carbon dioxide per year.

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Climate research needs greater focus on human populations

Climate change research needs a greater focus on changing population structures when assessing future human vulnerability, argue IIASA researchers in a new perspective article in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Climate research has provided a range of scenarios of showing how climate change will affect global temperatures, water resources, agriculture, and many other areas. Yet it remains unclear how all these potential changes could affect future human wellbeing. In particular, the population of the future – in its composition, distribution, and characteristics – will not be the same as the population observed today. That means that assessing likely impacts by relating the climate change projected for the future to today’s societal capabilities can be misleading. In order to understand the impacts of climate change on human beings, says IIASA World Population Program Director Wolfgang Lutz, climate change research needs to explicitly consider forecasting human populations’ capacities to adapt to a changing climate.

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