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  • News

    Tranquil ecosystems may explain wild swings in carbon dioxide stashing

    Placid prairies and austere scrublands may be key ecosystems for explaining mysterious year-to-year swings in the amount of carbon dioxide sucked out of the atmosphere.

    The unassuming landscapes are responsible for up to 50 percent of the yearly variation in how much of the greenhouse gas is stashed on land, ...

    05/21/2015 - 15:02 Climate, Ecosystems
  • Science Ticker

    Once-stable Antarctic glaciers are now melting rapidly

    A once-steadfast group of Antarctic glaciers has nosedived into rapid decline.

    Glaciers along the Southern Antarctic Peninsula remained roughly stable between 2003 and 2009. New satellite observations reveal that the region suddenly destabilized in 2009 and is now shedding around 56 billion metric tons of ice each year, enough water to raise sea levels by roughly 0.16 millimeters.


    05/21/2015 - 14:00 Climate, Earth
  • Wild Things

    Rising temperatures may cause problems for cold-blooded critters

    Last year in the pages of Science News, I tried to answer a question: Will the world’s plants, animals and other organisms be able to adapt to climate change? There wasn’t an easy answer to that question, in part because the effects of climate change are varied (they include rising...

    05/20/2015 - 15:00 Animals, Climate
  • News in Brief

    Flood planners should not forget beavers

    MONTREAL — Busy beavers can curtail rising floodwaters, new research shows. The work suggests that beaver dams can provide natural flood protection and that officials should consider encouraging beaver construction projects as part of flood prevention plans, the researchers say.

    Beavers construct dams from twigs and mud to create large, relatively calm pools of water to live in....

    05/08/2015 - 08:00 Climate, Animals
  • News

    Rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide rise unprecedented

    MONTREAL — Humans are dumping extra carbon into the atmosphere at a rate unprecedented since at least the time the dinosaurs went extinct about 66 million years ago, new research suggests.

    Previously, a massive outpouring of carbon about 56 million years ago had been proposed as faster than the current rate of net increase in atmospheric carbon. But researchers comparing data collected...

    05/07/2015 - 15:00 Climate, Oceans
  • Letters to the Editor

    Wandering planets, the smell of rain and more reader feedback

    Free-range planets

    Astronomers are puzzling over some space oddities: planets that don’t orbit stars. In “Wandering worlds” (SN: 4/4/15...

    05/06/2015 - 12:02 Exoplanets, Archaeology, Climate
  • News in Brief

    Scientists take first picture of thunder

    View the video

    MONTREAL — For the first time, scientists have precisely captured a map of the boisterous bang radiating from a lightning strike. The work could reveal the energies involved in powering some of nature’s flashiest light shows.

    As electric current rapidly flows from a negatively charged cloud to the ground below, the lightning rapidly heats and...

    05/05/2015 - 17:32 Physics, Climate
  • Science Stats

    Just 1 percent of Amazon’s trees hold half of its carbon

    The Amazon rainforest holds more carbon than any other ecosystem, but only a handful of tree species do most of the work of keeping carbon out of the air. Surveying 530 areas throughout the rainforest, researchers found that roughly 1 percent of Amazonian tree species handle half of the forest’s carbon storage.

    The Amazon...

    04/28/2015 - 11:00 Ecology, Climate
  • News

    Warming’s role in extreme weather quantified

    Scientists have long suspected that some surges in extreme weather — from devastating droughts to thrashing superstorms — are caused by global warming. And now scientists have numbers to support that idea.

    About 75 percent of extreme heat spikes and 18 percent of extreme precipitation over land worldwide can be blamed on this largely human-driven climate change, researchers...

    04/27/2015 - 11:00 Climate
  • Editor's Note

    Driving Curiosity to discovery

    Clara Ma, who in 2009 won an essay contest to name NASA’s new Mars rover, named it Curiosity. “Curiosity,” the young student wrote, “is an everlasting flame that burns in everyone’s mind....

    04/22/2015 - 09:00 Astrobiology, Climate, Genetics, Earth