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  • Wild Things

    Insects may undermine trees’ ability to store carbon

    Trees are often promoted as an important tool for combating climate change. That’s because trees take in carbon dioxide from the air and lock it away in wood and soil for years. But trees may not be as great of carbon sinks as we thought, a...
    03/04/2015 - 11:08 Animals, Climate
  • News in Brief

    Volcanic lightning forges tiny glass balls from airborne ash

    Lightning bolts that flash and clash high above erupting volcanoes can forge flying ash into glass, new research finds. The mechanism could explain the origins of odd microscopic glass beads found embedded in ash deposits, the researchers report online February 27 in Geology.A volcanic eruption can kick...
    03/03/2015 - 14:20 Earth, Climate
  • Science Ticker

    Plant growth patterns changing on much of Earth’s surface

    Patterns in when and how much plants grow have changed markedly over the past 30 years, scientists report March 2 in Nature Climate Change.Researchers looked at satellite data of vegetation on the Earth’s surface from 1981 to 2012. They examined 21 markers of plant growth, including the dates when plants start sprouting and losing...
    03/02/2015 - 15:40 Plants, Climate
  • News in Brief

    Coastal Los Angeles losing fog to urban sprawl

    Morning fog along parts of coastal Southern California is disappearing due to nearby urbanization, new research suggests.Since 1948, fog frequency has plummeted 63 percent in the Los Angeles area, bioclimatologist A. Park Williams of Columbia University and colleagues report in a paper to be published in ...
    02/27/2015 - 08:00 Climate
  • News in Brief

    Beetle RNA makes crops a noxious meal

    To keep pests at bay, try giving them a taste of their own genes. Hungry beetles spurn crops bearing the insects’ genetic material, scientists report in the Feb. 27 Science. When pests munch the engineered plants, beetle RNA in the leaves switches off key genes in the bugs.The Colorado potato beetle is a voracious...
    02/26/2015 - 14:00 Plants, Animals, Agriculture
  • News in Brief

    Scientists confirm amassing CO2 heats Earth’s surface

    For the first time, scientists have witnessed a direct connection between rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and an increase in the amount of thermal radiation striking Earth’s surface. The work affirms a cornerstone of the theory that humans have contributed to worldwide warming in recent decades, the researchers report...
    02/25/2015 - 13:00 Climate
  • Letters to the Editor

    Water's unclear origins, shaky solutions to climate change and more reader feedback

    Water’s origin storyNew evidence suggests that comets may not have delivered water to Earth. Water detected in comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko’s hazy atmosphere isn’t a chemical match for Earth’s oceans, as Ashley Yeager reported in “Ocean water may not be from comets” (...
    02/25/2015 - 10:30 Earth, Planetary Science
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Ocean Worlds’ chronicles the story of water on Earth and across the cosmos

    Ocean Worlds: The Story of Seas on Earth and Other PlanetsJan Zalasiewicz and Mark WilliamsOxford Univ., $29.95The oceans of other worlds might look nothing...
    02/24/2015 - 09:00 Oceans, Planetary Science
  • Science Visualized

    Glassy blue iceberg goes belly up

    Roughly 90 percent of an iceberg’s volume hides beneath the waves. But every so often an iceberg’s underbelly makes an appearance above the waterline.Filmmaker Alex Cornell photographed this recently overturned iceberg jutting about 9 meters skyward in Cierva Cove, Antarctica, in December. It’s a rare sight, says oceanographer Louise Biddle of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England....
    02/24/2015 - 07:00 Oceans
  • News

    Steam bubbles carry gold and sulfur up from Earth’s depths

    Dense mixes of sulfur and metals such as gold and copper can catch a lift to the top of magma reservoirs on the undersides of rising steam bubbles, new research suggests.After heating capsules of materials commonly found in magma, researchers discovered heavy droplets of sulfur and metal stuck to the bottom of floating water vapor bubbles. The mechanism may explain the large amounts of sulfur and...
    02/23/2015 - 11:00 Earth