Geography News -- ScienceDaily

Geography News -- ScienceDaily

Containing methane and its contribution to global warming

Fri, 28 Feb 2020 12:52:34 EST

Methane is a gas that deserves more attention in the climate debate as it contributes to almost half of human-made global warming in the short-term. A new study shows that it is possible to significantly contribute to reduced global warming through the implementation of available technology that limits methane release to the atmosphere.

A dam right across the North Sea

Fri, 28 Feb 2020 10:22:32 EST

A 475-km-long dam between the north of Scotland and the west of Norway and another one of 160 km between the west point of France and the southwest of England could protect more than 25 million Europeans against the consequences of an expected sea level rise of several meters over the next few centuries.

Deep-sea coral gardens discovered in the submarine canyons off south Western Australia

Fri, 28 Feb 2020 10:22:06 EST

Stunning 'gardens' of deep-sea corals have been discovered in the Bremer Canyon Marine Park by Australian and international scientists during an oceanographic expedition.

Asteroid impact enriches certain elements in seawater

Fri, 28 Feb 2020 10:22:04 EST

Researchers found two processes immediately after the end-Cretaceous asteroid impact that likely supplied chalcophile elements to the ocean, i.e., impact heating and acid rain. The former produced iron oxides/hydroxides and released chalcophile elements from the struck rock. Iron oxides/hydroxides could have carried chalcophile elements to the seafloor. Acid rain could have supplied some chalcophile elements, especially copper and silver to the ocean, where they accumulated in organic matter.

Environmental damage to coral reefs in South China Sea

Thu, 27 Feb 2020 14:43:15 EST

New research reveals the unseen environmental damage being done to coral reefs in the hotly contested South China Sea, as China and other nations jostle for control of the disputed sea lanes.

Antarctic ice walls protect the climate

Thu, 27 Feb 2020 11:45:01 EST

Inland Antarctic ice contains volumes of water that can raise global sea levels by several meters. A new study shows that glacier ice walls are vital for the climate, as they prevent rising ocean temperatures and melting glacier ice.

Freshwater flowing into the North Pacific plays key role in North America's climate

Wed, 26 Feb 2020 14:54:44 EST

Massive freshwater river flows stemming from glacier-fed flooding at the end of the last ice age surged across eastern Washington to the Columbia River and out to the North Pacific Ocean, where they triggered climate changes throughout the northern hemisphere.

Breaking down stubborn molecules in the ocean

Wed, 26 Feb 2020 13:05:21 EST

Seawater is more than just saltwater. The ocean is a veritable soup of chemicals.

Tropical nations worst hit by climate-related fish shifts

Wed, 26 Feb 2020 09:55:14 EST

Policymakers will need to step up to the challenges caused by significant shifts in fish species distributions caused by climate change.

Complex pattern of ancient immigration from Africa, Asia and Europe

Wed, 26 Feb 2020 09:54:26 EST

Anthropologists have found out that prehistoric migration from Africa, Asia and Europe to the Mediterranean islands took place long before the era of the Mediterranean seafaring civilizations. For their analysis they used the DNA of prehistoric individuals from Sicily, Sardinia and the Balearic Islands.

New research sheds light on the unique 'call' of Ross Sea killer whales

Wed, 26 Feb 2020 09:12:29 EST

New research has found that the smallest type of killer whale has 28 different complex calls, comprising a combination of burst-pulse sounds and whistles, which they use to communicate with family members about the changing landscape and habitat.

Shrinking sea ice is creating an ecological trap for polar bears

Tue, 25 Feb 2020 12:50:25 EST

The decision of each individual bear to stay on the ice or to move to land appears to be linked to the energetic cost or benefit of either option, and the potential of having to swim to reach land.

Glacier algae creates dark zone at the margins of the Greenland Ice Sheet

Tue, 25 Feb 2020 11:44:19 EST

New research has revealed new insights into how the microscopic algae that thrives along the edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet causes widespread darkening.

Mangrove forests provide cause for conservation optimism, for now

Tue, 25 Feb 2020 10:49:54 EST

An international team of researchers has found that globally, mangrove loss rates have reduced by almost an order of magnitude between the late 20th and early 21st century -- from what was previously estimated at one to three per cent per year, to about 0.3 to 0.6 per cent per year, thanks in large part to successful mangrove conservation efforts.

Scientists call on government to increase ambition to save our ocean

Tue, 25 Feb 2020 07:51:13 EST

A team of marine scientists from across the UK has called on the Government to increase its ambition to save the oceans by overhauling its approach to marine conservation management.

'Grand Challenge' review stresses global impact of microplastics

Mon, 24 Feb 2020 15:27:13 EST

Microplastics are not just an ocean problem.

Solar storms may leave gray whales 'blind' and stranded

Mon, 24 Feb 2020 11:13:56 EST

A new study offers some of the first evidence that gray whales might depend on a magnetic sense to find their way through the ocean. This evidence comes from the discovery that whales are more likely to strand themselves on days when solar storms disrupt Earth's magnetic field.

A plan to save Earth's oceans

Mon, 24 Feb 2020 10:05:58 EST

At least 26 per cent of our oceans need urgent conservation attention to preserve Earth's marine biodiversity, a new study has found. Experts have said the international community needed to rapidly increase marine conservation efforts to maintain the health of the world's oceans.

Why do whales migrate? They return to the tropics to shed their skin

Fri, 21 Feb 2020 12:51:11 EST

Whales undertake some of the longest migrations on earth, often swimming many thousands of miles, over many months, to breed in the tropics. The question is why? Scientists propose that whales that forage in polar waters migrate to low latitudes to maintain healthy skin.

Old carbon reservoirs unlikely to cause massive greenhouse gas release, study finds

Thu, 20 Feb 2020 14:17:10 EST

As global temperatures rise, permafrost and methane hydrates -- large reservoirs of ancient carbon -- have the potential to break down, releasing enormous quantities of the potent greenhouse gas methane. But would this methane actually reach the atmosphere? Researchers found that even if methane is released from these natural stores in response to warming, very little reaches the atmosphere; therefore, anthropogenic emissions should be more concerning than these natural feedbacks.

Huge stores of Arctic sea ice likely contributed to past climate cooling

Thu, 20 Feb 2020 13:05:11 EST

Climate scientists propose that massive amounts of melting sea ice in the Arctic drained into the North Atlantic and disrupted climate-steering currents, thus playing an important role in causing past abrupt climate change after the last Ice Age, from about 8,000 to 13,000 years ago.

Pacific marine national monuments do not harm fishing industry

Thu, 20 Feb 2020 10:41:15 EST

A research team analyzed observer records of individual fishing events, logbook summary reports and detailed satellite data on vessel movements.

Jet stream not getting 'wavier' despite Arctic warming

Wed, 19 Feb 2020 15:28:55 EST

Rapid Arctic warming has not led to a 'wavier' jet stream around the mid-latitudes in recent decades, pioneering new research has shown.

Could water solve the renewable energy storage challenge?

Wed, 19 Feb 2020 15:28:54 EST

Seasonally pumped hydropower storage could provide an affordable way to store renewable energy over the long-term, filling a much needed gap to support the transition to renewable energy, according to a new study.

Warming oceans are getting louder

Tue, 18 Feb 2020 12:44:11 EST

One of the ocean's loudest creatures is smaller than you'd expect -- and will get even louder and more troublesome to humans and sea life as the ocean warms, according to new research.

Warming, acidic oceans may nearly eliminate coral reef habitats by 2100

Tue, 18 Feb 2020 12:43:58 EST

Rising sea surface temperatures and acidic waters could eliminate nearly all existing coral reef habitats by 2100, suggesting restoration projects in these areas will likely meet serious challenges, according to new research.

Earth's glacial cycles enhanced by Antarctic sea-ice

Tue, 18 Feb 2020 10:47:36 EST

A 784,000 year climate simulation suggests that Southern Ocean sea ice significantly reduces deep ocean ventilation to the atmosphere during glacial periods by reducing both atmospheric exposure of surface waters and vertical mixing of deep ocean waters; in a global carbon cycle model, these effects led to a 40 ppm reduction in atmospheric CO2 during glacial periods relative to pre-industrial level, suggesting how sea ice can drive carbon sequestration early within a glacial cycle.

Mediterranean rainfall immediately affected by greenhouse gas changes

Mon, 17 Feb 2020 16:23:51 EST

Mediterranean-type climates face immediate drops in rainfall when greenhouse gases rise, but this could be interrupted quickly if emissions are cut.

Seeding oceans with iron may not impact climate change

Mon, 17 Feb 2020 16:23:48 EST

A new study suggests that iron fertilization may not have a significant impact on phytoplankton growth, at least on a global scale.

Systems analysis for a new Arctic

Mon, 17 Feb 2020 08:52:21 EST

A major new report highlights new and emerging policy trends in the Arctic, a region on the front lines of climate change, geopolitics, and global governance.

How learning about fish can help us save the Amazon rainforest

Mon, 17 Feb 2020 08:52:17 EST

They might not be as popular as jaguars and parrots, but fish hold the key to lots of the Amazon rainforest's secrets. Studying the different kinds of fish living in the region's lakes and rivers helps scientists understand how rainforest ecosystems are connected. An investigation of fish populations is helping scientists make a case that protecting one tiny corner of the Guiana Shield can help protect rivers and biodiversity across the Amazon.

To help wildlife move, researchers map both natural and legal boundaries

Fri, 14 Feb 2020 18:32:14 EST

Researchers have developed a way to find the path of least resistance in creating wildlife corridors by mapping not only habitat but also the types of legal authority governing the landscape. They demonstrate this by mapping the streams in an entire county in northeastern Washington that stretches from the Rocky Mountain foothills to the Cascades.

Major study shows climate change can cause abrupt impacts on dryland ecosystems

Fri, 14 Feb 2020 16:13:28 EST

A study finds for the first time that as levels of aridity increase due to climate change, abrupt changes are experienced on dryland ecosystems.

Hydropower dams cool rivers in the Mekong River basin, satellites show

Fri, 14 Feb 2020 13:46:57 EST

Using 30 years of satellite data, researchers discovered that within one year of the opening of a major dam in the Mekong River basin, downstream river temperatures during the dry season dropped by up to 3.6 degrees F (2 degrees C).

The Antarctica factor: Model uncertainties reveal upcoming sea level risk

Fri, 14 Feb 2020 08:49:04 EST

Within this century already, due to Antarctica alone global sea level might rise up to three times as much as it did in the last century. This is a finding of an exceptionally comprehensive comparison of state-of-the-art computer models from around the world.

NASA flights detect millions of Arctic methane hotspots

Thu, 13 Feb 2020 19:24:22 EST

In a new study, scientists with NASA's Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) used planes equipped with the Airborne Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer -- Next Generation (AVIRIS -- NG), a highly specialized instrument, to fly over some 20,000 square miles (30,000 square kilometers) of the Arctic landscape in the hope of detecting methane hotspots. The instrument did not disappoint.

Caribbean sharks in need of large marine protected areas

Thu, 13 Feb 2020 17:59:17 EST

Governments must provide larger spatial protections in the Greater Caribbean for threatened, highly migratory species such as sharks, is the call from a diverse group of marine scientists.

Forests bouncing back from beetles, but elk and deer slowing recovery

Thu, 13 Feb 2020 16:01:24 EST

New research reveals that even simultaneous bark beetle outbreaks are not a death sentence to the state's beloved forests. The study found that high-elevation forests in the southern Rocky Mountains actually have a good chance of recovery, even after overlapping outbreaks with different kinds of beetles. One thing that is slowing their recovery down: Foraging elk and deer.

New study shows Deepwater Horizon oil spill larger than previously thought

Wed, 12 Feb 2020 15:02:02 EST

Toxic and invisible oil spread well beyond the known satellite footprint of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to a new study. These new findings have important implications for environmental health during future oil spills.

Extinct giant turtle had horned shell of up to three meters

Wed, 12 Feb 2020 15:02:00 EST

Paleobiologists have discovered exceptional specimens in Venezuela and Colombia of an extinct giant freshwater turtle called Stupendemys. The carapace of this turtle, which is the largest ever known, measured between 2.4 to almost 3 meters. Moreover, the shell of male Stupendemys had horns - a rare feature in turtles.

Climate-driven farming 'frontiers' pose major environmental risks

Wed, 12 Feb 2020 15:01:39 EST

Future farming in regions that were previously unsuitable for agriculture could significantly impact biodiversity, water resources, and greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

Protecting redundancy in the food web helps ensure ecological resilience

Wed, 12 Feb 2020 13:15:05 EST

In 2014, a disease of epidemic proportions gripped the West Coast of the US. You may not have noticed, though, unless you were underwater.

Polar bears in Baffin Bay skinnier, having fewer cubs due to less sea ice

Wed, 12 Feb 2020 10:30:28 EST

Satellite tracking of adult females and visual monitoring of polar bears in Baffin Bay show changes from the 1990s to the period from 2009 to 2015. Bears in Baffin Bay are getting thinner and adult females are having fewer cubs than when sea ice was more available.

Microplastics are new homes for microbes in the Caribbean

Wed, 12 Feb 2020 10:30:24 EST

Only about 1% of marine plastic debris is recovered at the ocean's surface, meaning the other 99% likely either sinks or is consumed by marine organisms.

Ancient Antarctic ice melt increased sea levels by 3+ meters -- and it could happen again

Tue, 11 Feb 2020 16:48:59 EST

Rising ocean temperatures drove the melting of Antarctic ice sheets and caused extreme sea level rise more than 100,000 years ago, a new international study l shows - and the scientists say we're headed in that direction again.

Storm-induced sea level spikes differ in origin on US east, Gulf coasts

Tue, 11 Feb 2020 16:05:14 EST

The Gulf Coast, especially New Orleans, is particularly vulnerable to storm surge. As the climate warms, the region will be even more susceptible to extreme storm surges, according to new research.

Climate change could trigger more landslides in High Mountain Asia

Tue, 11 Feb 2020 12:15:12 EST

More frequent and intense rainfall events due to climate change could cause more landslides in the High Mountain Asia region of China, Tibet and Nepal, according to the first quantitative study of the link between precipitation and landslides in the region.

Scientists show solar system processes control the carbon cycle throughout Earth's history

Mon, 10 Feb 2020 15:33:41 EST

This new work sheds fresh light on the complicated interplay of factors affecting global climate and the carbon cycle -- and on what transpired millions of years ago to spark two of the most devastating extinction events in Earth's history.

New world map of fish genetic diversity

Mon, 10 Feb 2020 10:41:10 EST

An international research team has studied genetic diversity among fish around the world for the first time. Their research produced a map that will serve as a tool in improving the protection of species and genetic diversity in the future. 

New research supports previous studies on global sea level rise

Mon, 10 Feb 2020 09:53:10 EST

Using data from European satellites, a student has demonstrated that the global sea level rise has accelerated over the past four decades.

'Rule breaking' plants may be climate change survivors

Mon, 10 Feb 2020 09:11:57 EST

Plants that break some of the 'rules' of ecology by adapting in unconventional ways may have a higher chance of surviving climate change, according to researchers.

Acid-loving microbe can improve understanding of past climate

Mon, 10 Feb 2020 07:42:44 EST

Study of an 'extremophile' found in the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park can be used to help researchers understand climate change.

Arctic ice melt is changing ocean currents

Fri, 07 Feb 2020 09:57:05 EST

Using 12 years of satellite data, NASA scientists have measured how the influx of cold, fresh water is affecting the Beaufort Gyre, a major Arctic current.

Mystery of marine recycling squad solved

Fri, 07 Feb 2020 07:46:21 EST

Nitrogen cycling in shelf waters is crucial to reduce surplus nutrients, which rivers pour out into the ocean. Yet many of its aspects are poorly understood. Scientists have now succeeded in finding answers to a longstanding mystery in a key process of the nitrogen cycle.

Enjoying the View? How computer games can help evaluate landscapes

Thu, 06 Feb 2020 13:23:35 EST

Geographers are stepping into the virtual world of computer games to develop exciting new ways of assessing landscapes. Researchers have spent years analyzing geographical landscapes and determining what features people from different countries find most appealing. In a bid to engage younger audiences the team created a series of videos depicting dynamic fly-throughs of virtual landscapes.

New global biodiversity study provides unified map of life on land and in the ocean

Wed, 05 Feb 2020 14:33:53 EST

A new study offers the most complete picture available of where life occurs on Earth and what the most critical environmental factors are for determining why it's in specific places. The study's authors envision it providing a way to adapt management practices as climate change disrupts ecosystems across the planet.

Asian hornet invasion spreads to Northern Germany

Wed, 05 Feb 2020 13:23:03 EST

Known to prey on many insects, including honey bees and other beneficiary species, the Asian hornet, which had recently invaded parts of Europe, presents a serious threat to apiculture and even to ecosystems. Scientists now share concerns about this fast invader spreading to the north. In early September 2019, a single specimen was collected alive in Hamburg (Germany), representing the northernmost find of the species so far.

Ocean temperatures impact Central American climate more than once thought

Wed, 05 Feb 2020 13:22:39 EST

Researchers examined the rainfall history of Central America over the last 11,000 years. The results provide context for the development of tropical rainforest ecosystems in the region, and long-sought answers to what has been controlling rainfall in Central America for several millennia.

Global cooling after nuclear war would harm ocean life

Wed, 05 Feb 2020 08:42:01 EST

A nuclear war that cooled Earth could worsen the impact of ocean acidification on corals, clams, oysters and other marine life with shells or skeletons, according to the first study of its kind.

Deep learning accurately forecasts heat waves, cold spells

Tue, 04 Feb 2020 11:25:18 EST

Using an advanced form of deep learning, researchers created a computer system that learned how to accurately predict extreme weather events, like heat waves, up to five days in advance using minimal information about current weather conditions. Ironically, the self-learning 'capsule neural network' uses a method reminiscent of 'analog' weather forecasting, which was made obsolete by computers in the 1950s.