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  • News

    A new map reveals the causes of forest loss worldwide

    If a tree falls in the forest, will another replace it?

    Of the roughly 3 million square kilometers of forest lost worldwide from 2001 to 2015, a new analysis suggests that 27 percent of that loss was permanent — the result of land being converted for industrial agriculture to meet global demand for products such as soy, timber, beef and palm oil. The other 73 percent of deforestation...

    09/13/2018 - 16:47 Earth, Earth, Agriculture
  • News

    Sea level rise doesn’t necessarily spell doom for coastal wetlands

    Rising sea levels don’t have to spell doom for the world’s coastal wetlands. A new study suggests salt marshes and other wetlands could accumulate soil quickly enough to avoid becoming fully submerged — if humans are willing to give them a little elbow room.

    The new study builds on previous work that suggests rising seas will increase sediment buildup in some parts of coastal wetlands....

    09/12/2018 - 14:06 Earth, Climate
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers’ interest piqued by Parker Solar Probe, general relativity and more

    Sunny-side up

    NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is on its way to “touch” the sun. Maria Temming reported on the mission before the August 12 launch in “NASA’s Parker probe is about to get up close and personal with the sun” (SN: 7/21/18, p. 12).

    Astronomy writer Lisa Grossman, who wrote a follow-up story, answered readers’ questions about the probe on Reddit.

    Reddit user Gildolen...

    09/06/2018 - 06:15 Astronomy, Physics, Earth
  • News

    Artificial intelligence could improve predictions for where quake aftershocks will hit

    A new artificial intelligence is turning its big brain to mapping earthquake aftershocks.

    Scientists trained an artificial neural network to study the spatial relationships between more than 130,000 main earthquakes and their aftershocks. In tests, the AI was much better at predicting the locations of aftershocks than traditional methods that many seismologists use, the team reports in...

    08/29/2018 - 13:00 Earth
  • News

    Scientists create a mineral in the lab that captures carbon dioxide

    Scientists are one step closer to a long-sought way to store carbon dioxide in rocks.

    A new technique speeds up the formation of a mineral called magnesite that, in nature, captures and stores large amounts of the greenhouse gas CO2. And the process can be done at room temperature in the lab, researchers reported August 14 at the Goldschmidt geochemistry conference, held in Boston. If...

    08/22/2018 - 12:14 Earth, Climate
  • News

    Beaked whales may frequent a seabed spot marked for mining

    Whales may have made their mark on the seafloor in a part of the Pacific Ocean designated for future deep-sea mining.

    Thousands of grooves found carved into the seabed could be the first evidence that large marine mammals visit this little-explored region, researchers report August 22 in Royal Society Open Science. If deep-diving whales are indeed using the region for foraging or other...

    08/21/2018 - 19:05 Oceans, Earth
  • Feature

    A freshwater, saltwater tug-of-war is eating away at the Everglades

    The boardwalk at Pa-hay-okee Overlook is a brief, winding path into a dreamworld in Everglades National Park. Beyond the wooden slats, an expanse of gently waving saw grass stretches to the horizon, where it meets an iron-gray sky. Hardwood tree islands — patches of higher, drier ground called hammocks — rise up from the prairie like surfacing swimmers. The rhythmic singing of cricket frogs is...

    08/20/2018 - 09:00 Ecosystems, Earth
  • In 1968, scientists tried taming hurricanes

    Stormfury: Calming the Eyewall

    Since man cannot muster anything approaching the energy of a hurricane, and so has no hope of overcoming the storm by force, Stormfury attempts to use the giant’s own energy against it…. Last week, Project Stormfury began its 1968 season. — Science News, August 17, 1968.

    Update  

    The goal of the U.S. government’s Project Stormfury, which began in...

    08/16/2018 - 12:00 Earth, Climate
  • Feature

    More than 2 billion people lack safe drinking water. That number will only grow.

    Freshwater is crucial for drinking, washing, growing food, producing energy and just about every other aspect of modern life. Yet more than 2 billion of Earth’s 7.6 billion inhabitants lack clean drinking water at home, available on demand.

    A major United Nations report, released in June, shows that the world is not on track to meet a U.N. goal: to bring safe water and sanitation to...

    08/16/2018 - 07:00 Conservation, Climate, Earth
  • Feature

    Why sea level rise varies from place to place

    In the 20th century, ocean levels rose by a global average of about 14 centimeters, mainly due to melting ice and warming waters. Some coastal areas saw more sea level rise than others. Here’s why:  

    Expanding seawater

    As water heats up, its molecules take up more space, contributing to global sea level rise. Local weather systems can influence that effect. In 2017 scientists reported in...

    08/15/2018 - 09:30 Earth, Oceans, Climate