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  • News in Brief

    The first Americans could have taken a coastal route into the New World

    Ancient colonizers of the Americas could have traveled down Alaska’s Pacific coast in canoes or other sea vessels around 17,000 years ago, a new study finds.

    At that time, toward the end of the last ice age, glaciers had just receded from a cluster of southern Alaskan islands, say geologist Alia Lesnek of the University at Buffalo in New York and colleagues. Life-supporting habitats...

    05/30/2018 - 14:00 Climate, Ecosystems, Anthropology
  • News

    The Chicxulub asteroid impact might have set off 100,000 years of global warming

    After a giant asteroid hit Earth about 66 million years ago, the planet’s climate went on a roller coaster ride.

    The space rock’s impact set off tsunamis and wildfires before climate-chilling clouds of sulfur gas engulfed the planet for decades, wiping out most life (SN: 11/25/17, p. 14). As these clouds dissipated, billions of tons of carbon dioxide, which spewed into the atmosphere...

    05/24/2018 - 15:13 Paleontology, Oceans, Climate
  • News in Brief

    As CO2 increases, rice loses B vitamins and other nutrients

    By the end of this century, rice may not deliver the same B vitamin levels that it does today. Protein and certain minerals will dwindle, too, new data suggest.

    Testing higher carbon dioxide concentrations in experimental rice paddies in China predicts losses in four vitamins — B1, B2, B5 and B9 — an international team reports May 23 in Science Advances. Adding results from similar...

    05/23/2018 - 16:17 Climate, Agriculture
  • News

    Keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees C helps most species hold their ground

    Limiting global warming this century to just 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial temperatures would be a boon to the planet’s biodiversity. This lower warming threshold, compared with warming of 2 degrees C, will preserve much larger swaths of the geographic ranges of tens of thousands of land-based species of plants, vertebrates and insects living on the planet, a new study suggests.

    ...
    05/17/2018 - 14:21 Earth, Climate, Animals, Ecology
  • It's Alive

    These caterpillars march. They fluff. They scare London.

    Of course the guy’s wearing a full-body protective suit with face mask and goggles good and snug. He’s about to confront a nest of little fluffy caterpillars.

    Insect control can get surreal in the London area’s springtime battle against the young of oak processionary moths (Thaumetopoea processionea).  The species, native to southern Europe, probably hitchhiked into England as eggs on...

    05/11/2018 - 08:00 Animals, Health, Climate
  • Science Stats

    Globetrotting tourists are leaving a giant carbon footprint on the Earth

    Going green may mean staying at home.

    Global tourism contributes about 8 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere, researchers report May 7 in Nature Climate Change. That carbon footprint is about three times as large as tourism-related emissions estimated by previous studies.

    The jump is largely because the new study doesn’t just tally up emissions from the...

    05/07/2018 - 11:00 Climate, Earth
  • News

    Bull sharks and bottlenose dolphins are moving north as the ocean warms

    Far from their usual tropical waters, some 200 bottlenose dolphins and about 70 false killer whales have been spotted off the western coast of Canada’s Vancouver Island. Over on the Atlantic coast, bull sharks have turned a North Carolina estuary into a nursery — a sight more familiar in Florida, until now.

    Two new studies highlight the unusual northern sightings of these three ocean...

    05/02/2018 - 11:52 Climate, Oceans, Animals, Ecosystems
  • News

    Heat waves are roasting reefs, but some corals may be resilient

    It’s no secret that warming ocean waters have devastated many of the world’s coral reefs. For instance, a 2016 marine heat wave killed 30 percent of coral in the Great Barrier Reef, a study published online April 18 in Nature reports. But some coral species may be able to adapt and survive in warmer waters for another century, or even two, a second team reports April 19 in PLOS Genetics. And...

    04/20/2018 - 11:07 Climate, Evolution, Ecosystems
  • News

    Rising CO2 levels might not be as good for plants as we thought

    Two major groups of plants have shown a surprising reversal of fortunes in the face of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    During a 20-year field experiment in Minnesota, a widespread group of plants that initially grew faster when fed more CO2  stopped doing so after 12 years, researchers report in the April 20 Science. Meanwhile, the extra CO2 began to stimulate the...

    04/19/2018 - 14:00 Climate, Plants, Ecosystems
  • News

    Cargo ships must cut their emissions in half by 2050

    A new, hard-fought international deal will set limits on greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping for the first time.

    Delegates to the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization, or IMO, met for a week in London to hash out the details of the plan. On April 13, more than 170 states agreed to the new road map, which aims to reduce shipping emissions at least 50...

    04/13/2018 - 17:47 Climate, Oceans