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E.g., 12/17/2017
E.g., 12/17/2017
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  • News

    These weather events turned extreme thanks to human-driven climate change

    NEW ORLEANS — For the first time, scientists have definitively linked human-caused climate change to extreme weather events.

    A handful of extreme events that occurred in 2016 — including a deadly heat wave that swept across Asia — simply could not have happened due to natural climate variability alone, three new studies find. The studies were part of a special issue of the Bulletin of...

    12/14/2017 - 16:53 Climate, Earth
  • News

    Fracking linked to low birth weight in Pennsylvania babies

    Living near a fracking site appears to be detrimental to infant health, a study eyeing the gas production practice in Pennsylvania suggests.

    Babies of moms living within one kilometer of a hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, site in the state had a 25 percent greater chance of being born underweight than did babies whose moms lived at least three kilometers away, researchers report online...

    12/13/2017 - 17:55 Health, Pollution
  • News in Brief

    Federal maps underestimate flood risk for tens of millions of people, scientists warn

    NEW ORLEANS — National flood maps are underestimating the risk for tens of millions of people in the United States. That’s the conclusion of researchers presenting a new study December 11 at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting.

    The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates that about 13 million people live in a “1-in-100-year” floodplain zone, a region that has a 1...

    12/13/2017 - 15:13 Earth, Climate
  • Year in Review

    The Larsen C ice shelf break has sparked groundbreaking research

    In 2015, glaciologist Daniela Jansen reported that a large rift was rapidly growing across one of the Antarctic Peninsula’s ice shelves, known as Larsen C. When the shelf broke, she and colleagues predicted, it would be the largest calving event in decades.

    It was. In July, a Delaware-sized iceberg split off from Larsen C  (SN: 8/5/17, p. 6). And researchers knew practically the moment...

    12/13/2017 - 08:30 Climate, Ecosystems, Oceans
  • Year in Review

    Worries grow that climate change will quietly steal nutrients from major food crops

    2017 was a good year for worrying about nutrient losses that might come with a changing climate.

    The idea that surging carbon dioxide levels could stealthily render some major crops less nutritious has long been percolating in plant research circles. “It’s literally a 25-year story, but it has come to a head in the last year or so,” says Lewis Ziska, a plant physiologist with the U.S....

    12/13/2017 - 08:27 Nutrition, Climate, Sustainability
  • News in Brief

    Watching this newborn island erode could tell us a lot about Mars

    NEW ORLEANS — Earth’s youngest bit of land is getting a new lease on life. When an erupting volcano birthed an island in the Pacific Ocean in late 2014, scientists thought waves would erode the island away within just a few months. Instead, new data suggest it could stick around for up to 30 years, researchers reported December 11 at a news conference at the American Geophysical Union’s fall...

    12/11/2017 - 17:48 Earth, Oceans, Planetary Science
  • News

    Narwhals react to certain dangers in a really strange way

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    When escaping from humans, narwhals don’t just freeze or flee. They do both.

    These deep-diving marine mammals have similar physiological responses to those of an animal frozen in fear: Their heart rate, breathing and metabolism slow, mimicking a “deer in the headlights” reaction. But narwhals (Monodon monoceros) take this freeze response to extremes. The animals...

    12/07/2017 - 14:41 Animals, Oceans, Physiology
  • Editor's Note

    Would you opt to see the future or decipher the past?

    Wouldn’t it be brilliant if every scientist had a crystal ball? It’s a question that came to me while reading Alexandra Witze’s story “What the Pliocene epoch can teach us about future warming on Earth.” Witze discusses how scientists are studying a warming period some 3 million years ago to try to understand how Earth will handle rising temperatures. The geologic epoch, known as the Pliocene...

    11/29/2017 - 15:45 Science & Society, Climate
  • News

    Most blue whales are ‘righties,’ except for this one move

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    Blue whales, it turns out, are a tad ambidextrous.

    When hunting in deep water, the whales tend to be “right-handed,” lunging at krill while twisting 180 degrees or less onto their right side. But when gobbling up the tiny crustaceans near the surface, the whales tend to be lefties, launching themselves upward while performing a 360-degree barrel roll to the left,...

    11/28/2017 - 14:00 Animals, Oceans, Ecology
  • News in Brief

    In the deep ocean, these bacteria play a key role in trapping carbon

    A mysterious group of microbes may be controlling the fate of carbon in the dark depths of the world’s oceans.

    Nitrospinae bacteria, which use the nitrogen compound nitrite to “fix” inorganic carbon dioxide into sugars and other compounds for food and reproduction, are responsible for 15 to 45 percent of such carbon fixation in the western North Atlantic Ocean, researchers report in the...

    11/28/2017 - 11:00 Oceans, Climate, Microbes