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  • News

    Reef fish act drunk in carbon dioxide–rich ocean waters

    Carbon dioxide can really mess with fishes’ heads. Dissolved in ocean water, the acidic chemical turns timid young reef fish into tipsy little daredevils, researchers report April 13 in Nature Climate Change.The findings are the first to show that carbon dioxide makes fish in the wild act just as crazy as fish dosed with the greenhouse...
    04/14/2014 - 16:17 Climate, Oceans, Animals
  • News

    Ocean bacteria may have shut off ancient global warming

    Ocean-dwelling bacteria may have vacuumed up carbon and halted a period of extreme warmth some 56 million years ago, according to a study published April 13 in Nature Geoscience.The finding suggests how Earth might once have rapidly reversed a runaway greenhouse effect. However, rapidity is relative: The bacteria would be far too...
    04/14/2014 - 13:48 Climate, Oceans, Microbes
  • News

    IPCC calls for swift switch to alternative power

    The best scenario for slowing global warming by 2100 requires the world to triple or quadruple by 2050 its use of renewable energy and sources of energy that emit only low amounts of greenhouse gases.The recommendation comes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its third and final report of its fifth...
    04/13/2014 - 19:49 Climate
  • Science Ticker

    World unprepared for changing climate, IPCC says

    Guest post by Beth MoleEvery corner of the planet is now feeling the effects of climate change, according to the second of three segments of the fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, released...
    04/01/2014 - 11:10 Climate
  • Science Ticker

    Microbes indicted in ancient mass extinction

    About 252 million years ago an estimated 96 percent of all species were wiped from Earth, and now scientists have a new suspect in the killing — methane-belching microbes.The archaea Methanosarcina got faster at making methane by acquiring a gene from another microbe and then reproducing quickly, fueled by nickel spewing from Siberian volcanoes. The extra methane would have made the...
    03/31/2014 - 17:58 Paleontology, Microbes, Climate
  • Wild Things

    As their homes warm, salamanders shrink

    Animals can respond to climate change in a variety of ways. They can move to a habitat more like the one they’re used to. They can adapt their physiology or behavior to the new conditions they’re experiencing. Or they can fail to do either, which might lead to extirpation or extinction.Salamanders in the southern Appalachians are...
    03/29/2014 - 09:00 Animals, Climate
  • Science Ticker

    Natural climate shifts affect sea level rise

    Guest post by Beth MoleA recent dip in the rate of sea level rise may be due to natural climate variability.Between 2003 and 2011, the oceans’ waters rose around 2.4 millimeters per year, a 30 percent slowdown from the previous decade.However, when researchers accounted for natural variability, including the El Niño–Southern Oscillation, the dip disappeared. The...
    03/23/2014 - 14:00 Climate
  • News

    Kangaroo gut microbes make eco-friendly farts

    When kangaroos let one rip, the gas may be offensive to the nose but easy on the planet.Marsupial toots and burps contain little or no methane, a potent greenhouse gas. A new study suggests that the scanty emissions are thanks to the distinct mix of microbes in the kangaroos’ gut. The study appears March 13 in...
    03/21/2014 - 14:04 Climate
  • News in Brief

    Climate change may spread Lyme disease

    Global warming may be a boon for the ticks that transmit Lyme disease.In the last few decades, the deer tick Ixodes scapularis has fanned out across the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada, with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease in tow. The first cluster of disease was recognized in Connecticut in the mid-1970s; health experts estimate that there are now around 300,000...
    03/19/2014 - 17:22 Climate, Health
  • Science Ticker

    Warm, wet weather may have helped Genghis Khan rule

    Wet, mild weather — not drought — may have helped Genghis Khan expand the Mongolian empire to the largest in human history.Rings in trees in the mountains of central Mongolia show that at the same time the empire began to grow in the 13th century, the weather of central Asia became uncommonly wet. The moist climate could have boosted the region’s grasslands, giving Khan and his people more food...
    03/10/2014 - 15:31 Climate