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  • Letters to the Editor

    Global warming unpaused, how space affects the brain and more reader feedback

    Space travel vs. the brain

    Getting to Mars may leave a mark on astronauts’ minds. In “Trip to Mars could damage brain cells” (SN...

    07/29/2015 - 15:27 Neuroscience, Climate, Cells
  • Science Visualized

    Encased algae create kaleidoscope of color

    Under a microscope, carefully arranged diatoms form a dazzling display.

    Diatoms are single-celled algae (in the stramenopile supergroup) that live in sunny, wet habitats. The organisms come in many shapes and sport natural pigments of green, gold and brown. To complete their look, diatoms extract silica, a mineral used in glass, from the water and erect intricate outer skeletons. The...

    07/28/2015 - 17:14 Ecology, Oceans
  • News

    Sudden heat spikes did in Ice Age’s mammoth mammals

    Rapid climate change put mega-sized Ice Age mammals on the ropes before ancient humans delivered the final blow, new research indicates.

    During Earth’s last glacial period, around 12,000 to 110,000 years ago, woolly mammoths, sedan-sized armadillos and other massive mammals walked the land. Over time, these megafauna mostly died out. The instigator of these extinctions has become a topic...

    07/23/2015 - 14:27 Paleontology, Climate
  • Science Stats

    Fracking doesn’t always go to great depths

    Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the rock-cracking method to release trapped oil and natural gas, always takes place thousands of meters below Earth’s surface — or so many people assume.

    But a new study, published July 21 in Environmental Science & Technology, reveals that 16 percent of about 44,...

    07/23/2015 - 07:00 Pollution
  • Wild Things

    Sea level rise threatens sea turtles

    Sea levels are rising around the world, and they will continue to do so as glaciers and ice sheets melt and the world’s oceans undergo thermal expansion. How much rise will occur is still unknown — one study published online this week contends it could be as much as three...

    07/22/2015 - 16:00 Animals, Oceans, Climate
  • Wild Things

    Eyewitness account of a dolphin birth takes a dark turn

    It’s easy to think that dolphins aren’t dangerous. They have such a nice smile. They perform on command. And people can even pay a bunch of money to swim with them.

    But in the wild, dolphin life is full of violence. And that violence can start just after birth, a...

    07/21/2015 - 11:17 Animals, Oceans
  • News

    Carbon dating may soon lead to mismatches

    The accuracy of carbon dating may soon be a thing of the past.

    Carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels threaten the method’s ability to definitively pinpoint the age of organic materials, new research suggests. The extra carbon flooding the atmosphere dilutes the relative number of radioactive carbon atoms that are vital to the dating method. By 2050, the age of fresh organic matter...

    07/20/2015 - 15:06 Climate, Chemistry
  • Science Ticker

    Blooming phytoplankton seed clouds in the Southern Ocean

    A plethora of phytoplankton kick up clouds in the Southern Ocean, researchers report July 17 in Science Advances.

    The tiny ocean critters release organic matter and sulfates, which get whipped into the air and seed cloud formation. Those clouds reflect sunlight, helping to cool the planet. Using satellite data and...

    07/17/2015 - 14:00 Oceans, Climate
  • News

    Current El Niño coming on strong

    Climate’s “little boy” is back in a big way.

    El Niño, a weather disruption caused by unusually warm seawater in the eastern Pacific, kicked off in March and could become a whopper, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center reported July 9. The agency...

    07/16/2015 - 11:28 Climate, Oceans
  • Science Stats

    Wildfire seasons have gotten almost 20 percent longer

    Climate change is setting the world on fire. Between 1979 and 2013, the duration of wildfire seasons increased across 25.3 percent of Earth’s vegetated surface, with net gains on every continent except Australia and Antarctica, researchers report online July 14 in Nature Communications.

    Wildfire seasons encompass...

    07/15/2015 - 11:29 Climate