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First Comprehensive 3D Map of Layers Deep Inside the Greenland Ice Sheet

January 23, 2015

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Greenland's Ice Layers Mapped in 3D

Using ice-penetrating radar data and data collected from earlier airborne campaigns, scientists have built the first-ever comprehensive map of layers deep inside the Greenland Ice Sheet. Peering into the thousands of frozen layers inside Greenland’s ice sheet is like looking back in time. Each layer provides a record of what Earth’s climate was like at […]

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NASA Data Reveal Subglacial Lakes Refilling in Greenland

January 22, 2015

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Subglacial Lakes Seen Refilling in Greenland

New research found evidence of a drained and refilled subglacial lake in Greenland, revealing that surface meltwater can be trapped and stored at the bed of an ice sheet. Sensible and latent heat released by this trapped meltwater could soften nearby colder basal ice and alter downstream ice dynamics. Scientists using satellite images and data […]

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MIT Research Reveals Natural Impediment to Long-Term Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide

January 21, 2015

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Study Finds Natural Impediment to Long-Term Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide

A new study reveals a natural impediment to the long-term sequestration of carbon dioxide, showing that as carbon dioxide works its way underground only a small fraction of the gas turns to rock. The remainder of the gas stays in a more tenuous form. Carbon sequestration promises to address greenhouse-gas emissions by capturing carbon dioxide […]

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Geophysicists Find Source Behind “Sudden” Tectonic Plate Movements

January 20, 2015

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Geophysicists Reveal the Details Behind Sudden Tectonic Plate Movements

Geophysicists from Yale University reveal that the combination of crustal plugs with weakening causes abrupt slab detachment in a few million years, which can account for observed precipitous changes in plate tectonic motion and rapid continental uplift. Yale-led research may have solved one of the biggest mysteries in geology — namely, why do tectonic plates […]

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Global Temperature Analysis Finds 2014 as Warmest Year in Modern Record

January 16, 2015

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2014 Warmest Year in Modern Record

According to a global temperature analysis by NASA, nine of the 10 warmest years since modern records began have now occurred since 2000 with 2014 ranking as the warmest on record since 1880. The year 2014 now ranks as the warmest on record since 1880, according to an analysis by NASA scientists. Image Credit: NASA’s […]

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MIT Study Shows Rainfall Releases Aerosols on Impact

January 14, 2015

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High-Speed Imaging Shows Raindrops Releasing Clouds of Aerosols on Impact

MIT scientists use high-speed cameras to show that when a raindrop hits a surface it traps tiny air bubbles at the point of contact and releases aerosols into the environment. Ever notice an earthy smell in the air after a light rain? Now scientists at MIT believe they may have identified the mechanism that releases […]

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Rivers of Glacial Meltwater Contribute to Rising Sea Levels

January 13, 2015

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Rivers of Glacial Meltwater Are Draining Greenland Quickly

Using satellite and field work after an extreme melt event in Greenland, new research shows that melt-prone areas on the ice sheet develop a remarkably efficient drainage system of streams and rivers that carry meltwater into moulins (sinkholes) and ultimately the ocean. As the largest single chunk of melting snow and ice in the world, […]

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Warming Hiatus Caused in Part by Small Volcanic Eruptions

January 12, 2015

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Small Volcanic Eruptions Explain Warming Hiatus

Researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory show that the “warming hiatus” that has occurred over the last 15 years has been caused in part by small volcanic eruptions. Scientists have long known that volcanoes cool the atmosphere because of the sulfur dioxide that is expelled during eruptions. Droplets of sulfuric acid that form when […]

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Study Identifies Which Fossil Fuels Must Remain in the Ground to Limit Global Warming

January 8, 2015

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Some Fossil Fuels Must Remain in the Ground to Limit Global Warming

New research led by the University College London shows that a third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves and over 80% of current coal reserves globally should remain in the ground and not be used before 2050 if global warming is to stay below the 2°C target agreed by policy makers. The study funded […]

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Tropical Forests May Be Absorbing More Carbon Dioxide Than Previously Thought

December 30, 2014

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Study Shows Tropical Forests Absorbing More Carbon Dioxide

A newly published study from NASA scientists shows that tropical forests, like the one pictured above, absorb more atmospheric carbon dioxide than boreal forests. A new NASA-led study shows that tropical forests may be absorbing far more carbon dioxide than many scientists thought, in response to rising atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas. The study […]

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Fermi Helps Study Gamma-ray Thunderstorms

December 18, 2014

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Scientists Study Gamma-ray Thunderstorms

A short video details how scientists merged data on high-energy bursts seen on Earth by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope with data from ground-based radar and lightning detectors to complete the most detailed analysis to date of the types of thunderstorms producing terrestrial gamma-ray flashes. New research merging Fermi data with information from ground-based radar […]

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NASA Satellites Show Arctic Ocean is Absorbing More of the Sun’s Energy

December 18, 2014

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Satellites Measure Increase of Sun’s Energy Absorbed in the Arctic

Using data from NASA satellite instruments, astronomers have observed a marked increase in solar radiation absorbed in the Arctic since the year 2000 – a trend that aligns with the steady decrease in Arctic sea ice during the same period. While sea ice is mostly white and reflects the sun’s rays, ocean water is dark […]

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NASA Data Reveal New Insight into the Hidden Movements of the Greenland Ice Sheet

December 16, 2014

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New Insight Into Hidden Movements of Greenland Ice Sheet

Using NASA satellite data and airborne remote sensing instruments, a newly published study reveals new insights into the movement of melt water flowing through the Greenland Ice Sheet. This animation (from March 2014) portrays the changes occurring in the surface elevation of the Greenland Ice Sheet since 2003 in three drainage areas: the southeast, the […]

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Intense Volcanism May Have Played a Role in Dinosaurs Extinction

December 12, 2014

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What Really Killed the Dinosaurs

MIT scientists used precisely dated rocks from the Deccan Traps to reveal evidence that a major volcanic eruption began just before the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs, possibly playing a role in the extinction. Sixty-six million years ago, an asteroid more than five miles wide smashed into the Earth at 70,000 miles per […]

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Millions of Tons of Seafloor Methane Could Be Released

December 10, 2014

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Warmer Pacific Ocean Could Release Seafloor Methane

A new study published in Geophysical Research Letters reveals that warmer Pacific Ocean temperatures could release millions of tons of seafloor methane. Off the West Coast of the United States, methane gas is trapped in frozen layers below the seafloor. New research from the University of Washington shows that water at intermediate depths is warming […]

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Climate Models Help Reconstruct the African Humid Period

December 8, 2014

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Researchers Reconstruct the African Humid Period

Using complex modeling systems, researchers have figured out the forces that drove the dramatic increase in rainfall at the end of the last ice age and marked the beginning of the African Humid Period. Providence, Rhode Island (Brown University) — During the end of the last ice age, there were dramatic changes in rainfall across […]

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Small Volcanoes Underestimated in Climate Models

December 3, 2014

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Small Volcanoes Make a Difference in Global Warming

A new study from MIT shows that the effects of smaller eruptions have been underestimated in climate models, revealing that relatively small volcanic eruptions can increase aerosol particles in the atmosphere, temporarily mitigating the global warming caused by greenhouse gases. The impact of such smaller eruptions has been underestimated in climate models, the researchers say, […]

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Small Impacts Likely Erased Much of Earth’s Primordial Atmosphere

December 2, 2014

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Small Impacts Likely Erased Much of the Earth’s Primordial Atmosphere

A newly published study reveals that small space rocks, or planetesimals, may have bombarded Earth around the time the moon was formed, kicking up clouds of gas with enough force to permanently eject small portions of the atmosphere into space. Today’s atmosphere likely bears little trace of its primordial self: Geochemical evidence suggests that Earth’s […]

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