Earth Science News

MIT Study Predicts Frequency of Heavy Precipitation with Global Warming

January 3, 2017

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New Technique Predicts Frequency of Heavy Precipitation with Global Warming

Researchers from MIT reveal that extreme precipitation events should become more frequent as the Earth’s climate warms over this century. On December 11, 2014, a freight train of a storm steamed through much of California, deluging the San Francisco Bay Area with three inches of rain in just one hour. The storm was fueled by […]

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NASA’s New Global View of CO2, Critical Step for Carbon-Cycle Science

December 13, 2016

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Eye-Popping View of CO2, Critical Step for Carbon-Cycle Science

NASA’s new global view of carbon dioxide builds on the agency’s previous satellite measurements of carbon dioxide and combines them with a sophisticated Earth system model to provide one of the most realistic views yet of how this critical greenhouse gas moves through the atmosphere. Scientists have tracked the rising concentration of heat-trapping carbon dioxide […]

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AIM Spacecraft Observes Early Noctilucent Ice Clouds Over Antarctica

December 2, 2016

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NASA Observes Early Noctilucent Ice Clouds Over Antarctica

Data from NASA’s Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere spacecraft shows the sky over Antarctica is glowing electric blue due to the start of noctilucent, or night-shining, cloud season in the Southern Hemisphere – and an early one at that. Noctilucent clouds are Earth’s highest clouds, sandwiched between Earth and space 50 miles above the […]

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NASA Shows Arctic Sea Ice Is Losing Its Bulwark Against Warming Summers

October 31, 2016

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How Arctic Sea Ice Is Losing Its Bulwark Against Warming Summers

New research shows that the Arctic sea ice has been hit with a double whammy over the past decades: as its extent shrunk, the oldest and thickest ice has either thinned or melted away, leaving the sea ice cap more vulnerable to the warming ocean and atmosphere. “What we’ve seen over the years is that […]

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NASA GRAIL Mission Provides Insights into Moon Impacts

October 28, 2016

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New Research on Lunar Impacts

Astronomers are using data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory mission to provide new insights into the huge impacts that dominated the early history of Earth’s moon and other solid worlds, like Earth, Mars, and the satellites of the outer solar system. In two papers, published this week in the journal Science, researchers examine […]

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10 Years of Revolutionary Solar Views from NASA’s STEREO Mission

October 25, 2016

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STEREO 10 Years of Revolutionary Solar Views

Ten years ago the twin STEREO spacecraft joined a fleet of NASA spacecraft monitoring the sun and its influence on Earth and space – and they provided a new and unique perspective. Launched 10 years ago, on October 25, 2006, the twin spacecraft of NASA’s STEREO mission – short for Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory […]

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‘Marsquakes’ Provide a Potential Microbial Energy Source on Mars

September 19, 2016

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Evidence for a Potential Microbial Energy Source on Earth and Mars

New research from Yale University shows that rocks formed by the grinding together of other rocks during earthquakes are rich in trapped hydrogen — a finding that suggests similar seismic activity on Mars may produce enough hydrogen to support life. Researchers from Yale, the University of Aberdeen, and Brock University studied rock formations around active […]

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New Study Shows ‘Smoke Waves’ Will Affect Millions in the Coming Decades

August 23, 2016

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US Counties Risk Exposure to Pollution from Wildfires

Newly published research identifies the western U.S. counties with the highest risk of exposure to pollution from wildfires. Wildfires threaten more than land and homes. The smoke they produce contains fine particles (PM2.5) that can poison the air for hundreds of miles. Air pollution from the 2016 Fort McMurray fire in northern Alberta, Canada, sent […]

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Van Allen Probes View Supercharged Radiation Belt

August 16, 2016

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Van Allen Probes Catch Rare Glimpse of Supercharged Radiation Belt

New research details how a shockwave created by the driving force of a coronal mass ejection from the sun – struck the outermost radiation belt, triggering the greatest geomagnetic storm of the preceding decade. Our planet is nestled in the center of two immense, concentric doughnuts of powerful radiation: the Van Allen radiation belts, which […]

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Is Life on Earth Premature from a Cosmic Perspective?

August 3, 2016

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Is Life on Our Planet Premature from a Cosmic Perspective?

New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics examines the possibility that present-day life is actually premature from a cosmic perspective. The universe is 13.8 billion years old, while our planet formed just 4.5 billion years ago. Some scientists think this time gap means that life on other planets could be billions of years older […]

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NASA Study Reveals That Historical Records Miss a Fifth of Global Warming

July 22, 2016

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New NASA Study Shows Historical Records Miss a Fifth of Global Warming

New research led by NASA scientists reveals that almost one-fifth of the global warming that has occurred in the past 150 years has been missed by historical records due to quirks in how global temperatures were recorded. The study explains why projections of future climate based solely on historical records estimate lower rates of warming […]

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Antarctic Ozone Layer Shows Signs of Healing

July 1, 2016

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MIT Scientists Observe First Signs of Healing in the Antarctic Ozone Layer

New research details the “first fingerprints of healing” of the Antarctic ozone layer. Scientists found that the September ozone hole has shrunk by more than 4 million square kilometers — about half the area of the contiguous United States — since 2000, when ozone depletion was at its peak. The team also showed for the […]

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Astronomers Track the Source of Slow Solar Wind

May 11, 2016

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Implications of L1 Observations for Slow Solar Wind

Using newly processed observations, astronomers spot tell-tale signs that the slow solar wind passing Earth originated from a magnetic phenomenon known as magnetic reconnection. From our vantage point on the ground, the sun seems like a still ball of light, but in reality, it teems with activity. Eruptions called solar flares and coronal mass ejections […]

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New Study Traces the Impact of Volcanic Activity on Climate Change

April 25, 2016

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New Research Traces the Impact of Volcanic Activity on Climate Change

A newly published study shows that for the majority of Earth’s history, continental arc volcanism has been the main driver of long-term climate variability. A geology-based analysis of Earth’s climate history over the past 700 million years provides evidence that climate change has occurred traditionally through slow shifts in the release of carbon dioxide — […]

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Climate Change Threatens Boreal Coniferous Forests

February 22, 2016

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Climate Change Threatens Dark Taiga

New research from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry reveals that Boreal coniferous forests could see increased occurrences of fire as a result of global warming, with deciduous trees becoming more dominant in the future. Climate change is transforming the Earth, particularly in high-latitude regions. The boreal coniferous forests of the northern hemisphere will witness […]

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New Research Shows Long-Term Global Warming Needs External Drivers

February 9, 2016

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New Study Shows Long-Term Global Warming Needs External Drivers

New research from NASA and Duke University provides new evidence that natural cycles alone aren’t sufficient to explain the global atmospheric warming observed over the last century. A study by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, shows, in detail, the reason why global temperatures remain […]

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Asteroid 2013 TX68 to Pass Earth on March 5

February 3, 2016

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Small Asteroid 2013 TX68 to Pass Close to Earth March 5

Asteroid 2013 TX68 (which flew past Earth at a comfortable distance of about 1.3 million miles two years ago) will safely fly by our planet again in a few weeks, though this time it may be much closer. During the upcoming March 5 flyby, asteroid 2013 TX68 could fly past Earth as far out as […]

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MIT Study Shows Tiny Plankton Have a Big Effect on the Ocean’s Carbon Storage

February 2, 2016

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Tiny Plankton May Have a Big Effect on the Ocean’s Carbon Storage

New research from MIT and Bristol University reveal that microscopic, mixotrophic organisms may have a large impact on the ocean’s food web and the global carbon cycle. How do you find your food? Most animal species, whether they rummage through a refrigerator or stalk prey in the wild, obtain nutrients by consuming living organisms. Plants, […]

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