• Tree height and leaf size dependent on internal physics

    The tallest trees in the world can grow up around 100 meters (think of a tree climbing the length of an entire football field!) but if a tree has all the necessary sunlight, water, and space what actually stops a tree from growing even taller? According to researchers at Harvard University and the University of California, Davis, the answers lie in the physics of a tree's internal plumbing. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ozone Destruction New Cause

    Large amounts of ozone – around 50% more than predicted by the world’s state-of-the-art climate models – are being destroyed in the lower atmosphere over the tropical Atlantic Ocean. A team of scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Science and the Universities of York and Leeds made the discovery, which is significant because ozone in the lower atmosphere acts as a greenhouse gas and its destruction also leads to the removal of the third most abundant greenhouse gas; methane. >> Read the Full Article
  • Pinwheel Galxy Distortion

    The Pinwheel Galaxy (also known as Messier 101 is a face-on spiral galaxy distanced 21 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. Peering deep into the dim edges of a distorted pinwheel galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major, astronomers at Case Western Reserve University and their colleagues have discovered a faint dwarf galaxy and another possible young dwarf caught before it had a chance to form any stars. Within the faint trails of intergalactic traffic, the researchers also found more evidence pointing to two already known dwarf galaxies as probable forces that pulled the pinwheel-shaped disk galaxy known as M101 out of shape. >> Read the Full Article
  • El Salvador Prioritizes Geothermal Energy Development

    During the last two decades, the global installed capacity for geothermal electricity has nearly doubled. Despite this recent expansion, geothermal energy is not getting the same level of attention as other renewable energy resources, and it remains heavily underutilized. If the world were able to tap just a small portion of the Earth's heat, we could provide everyone with clean and safe energy for centuries. Current estimates of our global potential for geothermal energy range from 35 gigawatts (GW) to 2,000 GW. However, simple technological improvements could greatly increase these projections. >> Read the Full Article
  • 2012 Weather in Review

    From tropical storms and hurricanes like Sandy, to extended heat waves and detrimental summer droughts, to unprecedented wildfire outbreaks in the American West, 2012 marked a historic year for extreme weather events in the United States. In fact, 2012 takes the prize for the warmest and second most extreme year on record for the contiguous US thus allowing the year to break some other climate and weather related records. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center reports the State of the Climate and offers some of last year’s highlights. - 2012 marked the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States with the year consisting of a record warm spring, second warmest summer, fourth warmest winter and a warmer-than-average autumn. The average temperature for 2012 was 55.3°F, 3.2°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above 1998, the previous warmest year. Every state in the contiguous U.S. had an above-average annual temperature for 2012. - The average precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. for 2012 was 26.57 inches, 2.57 inches below average, making it the 15th driest year on record for the nation. This was also the driest year for the nation since 1988. - Each season of 2012 had precipitation totals below the 20th century average. >> Read the Full Article
  • Study suggests magma forms deeper than previously thought

    A group led by Rajdeep Dasgupta, geologist and assistant professor of Earth science at Rice University, put samples of peridotite, a dense igneous rock, under pressure in a Rice University laboratory and found that rock can and will liquefy, as deep as 250 kilometers in the mantle beneath the ocean floor. These recent findings provide new evidence that magma can form at a depth much deeper than scientists once thought. >> Read the Full Article
  • Mercury Contamination Similarities Found Between Birds and People

    Birds aren't that different from people. We learn from our parents, just like zebra finches learn songs from their fathers. We are active and noisy during the day, like birds, and we can also be territorial. Also like birds, we try to attract mates through colorful displays and beautiful songs. Birds are sensitive to pollution in their environment just like we are: harmful elements such as mercury wreak similar havoc on human and bird biology alike. Because our species share so many attributes, studying birds illustrates the connections between them and us. >> Read the Full Article
  • Shoe Stable Fly!

    Swatting at flies is a major aggravation but luckily for us, we can often shoe away these annoying arthropods before that painful bite. But what about cows and other livestock that only have a tail to defend themselves? Besides a quick pinch, stable flies actually have a huge effect on cattle costing the U.S. cattle industry more than $2.4 billion! How might you ask? Animals will often stop grazing and bunch together to minimize the number of bites they're getting. Consequently, this can reduce milk production in dairy cows, decrease weight gain in beef cattle, and reduce feed efficiency. >> Read the Full Article
  • Exocomets

    A comet is an icy small body that, when close enough to the Sun, displays a visible coma (a thin, fuzzy, temporary atmosphere) and sometimes also a tail. These phenomena are both due to the effects of solar radiation and the solar wind upon the nucleus of the comet. Comet nuclei range from a few hundred meters to tens of kilometers across and are composed of loose collections of ice, dust, and small rocky particles. The discovery by astronomers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Clarion University in Pennsylvania of six likely comets around distant stars suggests that comets – dubbed exocomets – are just as common in other stellar systems with planets. >> Read the Full Article
  • Sea Level Rise

    How fast will the seas rise due to global warming? We may never know until after the fact for sure. Future sea level rise due to the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets could be substantially larger than estimated in Climate Change 2007 according to new research from the University of Bristol. The study, published today in Nature Climate Change, is the first of its kind on ice sheet melting to use structured expert elicitation (EE) together with an approach which mathematically pools experts' opinions. EE is already used in a number of other scientific fields such as forecasting volcanic eruptions. >> Read the Full Article