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  • News in Brief

    How wind power could contribute to a warming climate

    Giant wind turbines that generate fossil fuel–free power add a little heat of their own to the planet.

    If the United States sprouted enough wind turbines to meet its entire demand for electricity, the turbines would immediately raise the region’s surface air temperatures by 0.24 degrees Celsius, on average, scientists report online October 4 in Joule. In the short term, that’s not a...

    10/04/2018 - 11:16 Climate
  • News

    Tracking how rainfall morphs Earth’s surface could help forecast flooding

    By mapping how downpours cause Earth’s crust to sag and swell, scientists may one day better forecast floods.

    When Hurricane Harvey struck the southern United States in August 2017, it crushed rainfall records and doused the region with roughly 95 cubic kilometers of water, leaving cities like Houston inundated. Using daily elevation data from 219 GPS stations along Harvey’s path,...

    10/02/2018 - 09:00 Climate, Earth
  • News

    Warm tropical Atlantic waters juiced the 2017 hurricane season

    Very warm waters in the tropical Atlantic Ocean were the primary cause behind the region’s many strong hurricanes last year, including powerhouse storms Harvey and Maria, a new study finds. And that pattern of ocean warming is likely to become more common in the future, fueling more strong hurricanes, the researchers say.  

    Climate scientist Hiroyuki Murakami, now at the at the...

    09/28/2018 - 11:40 Climate, Oceans
  • Feature

    Shahzeen Attari explores the psychology of saving the planet

    Shahzeen Attari, 37Environmental decision makingIndiana University Bloomington

    When Shahzeen Attari was growing up in Dubai, her father ran a machine shop. Her mother, a gregarious people person, worked at a bank.

    “My curiosity about how things work came from my father,” Attari says. “I learned to love getting to know people from my mother.”

    That yin-yang background may help...

    09/26/2018 - 08:35 Psychology, Climate
  • Feature

    Can science build a better burger?

    This isn’t as extreme as if the federal government had decided to regulate time travel. But it’s almost as surprising. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking the first step toward rules for growing nutritious, delicious, juicy meat in labs, not farms.

    The notion of growing, say, just the beef instead of the whole cow has been floating around since at least the 1890s. This sci-fi...

    09/20/2018 - 12:30 Agriculture, Climate, Sustainability, Nutrition
  • News

    Here’s how climate change is fueling Hurricane Florence

    Even as Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolinas, bringing fierce winds and heavy rains, one team of scientists has undertaken a different kind of forecast: Understanding the influence of human-caused climate change on a storm that hasn’t made landfall yet.

    Real-time storm forecasts continuously update as new data become available. But what would happen if, from a single starting...

    09/13/2018 - 18:56 Climate
  • News

    Sea level rise doesn’t necessarily spell doom for coastal wetlands

    Rising sea levels don’t have to spell doom for the world’s coastal wetlands. A new study suggests salt marshes and other wetlands could accumulate soil quickly enough to avoid becoming fully submerged — if humans are willing to give them a little elbow room.

    The new study builds on previous work that suggests rising seas will increase sediment buildup in some parts of coastal wetlands....

    09/12/2018 - 14:06 Earth, Climate
  • Feature

    Wildfires make their own weather, and that matters for fire management

    Wildfires are not known for their restraint. They’ll jump rivers, spew whirling dervishes of flames and double in size overnight.

    Take the Carr Fire — one of California’s most destructive — sparked in mid-July when the rim of a flat tire met pavement. As the blaze grew, it jumped across the Sacramento River and sparked a flaming whirlwind that trapped and killed a firefighter near...

    09/09/2018 - 06:00 Climate
  • News

    As temperatures rise, so do insects’ appetites for corn, rice and wheat

    With temperatures creeping up as the climate warms, those very hungry caterpillars could get even hungrier, and more abundant. Crop losses to pests may grow.

    Insects will be “eating more of our lunch,” says Curtis Deutsch of the University of Washington in Seattle. Based on how heat revs up insect metabolism and reproduction, he and his colleagues estimate that each degree Celsius of...

    08/31/2018 - 12:24 Climate, Agriculture, Animals
  • News

    As algae blooms increase, scientists seek better ways to predict these toxic tides

    The stench of thousands of dead, bloated fish has hung over the beaches of western Florida for months — casualties of an algae bloom that revisits the coastline almost every year. This year’s bloom is particularly intense — and toxic. Called red tides due to the water’s murky reddish tint, the blooms emit a neurotoxin that kills sea creatures, including dolphins and endangered sea turtles, and...

    08/28/2018 - 09:00 Health, Agriculture, Climate