Microbes fueled by wind-blown mineral dust melt the Greenland ice sheet

Science Daily  January 25, 2021 Melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet is a leading cause of land-ice mass loss and cryosphere-attributed sea level rise. Blooms of pigmented glacier ice algae lower ice albedo and accelerate surface melting in the ice sheet’s southwest sector. Although glacier ice algae cause up to 13% of the surface melting in this region, the controls on bloom development remain poorly understood. An international team of researchers (US, Canada, Germany, Denmark) has shown a direct link between mineral phosphorus in surface ice and glacier ice algae biomass through the quantification of solid and fluid phase phosphorus […]

Sea-level rise will have complex consequences

Science Daily  November 4, 2020 According to an international team of researchers (UK, Canada, Hong Kong, the Netherlands) while the change from land to sea represents a dramatic and permanent shift for preexisting human populations, the process of change is driven by a complex set of physical and cultural processes with long transitional phases of landscape and socioeconomic change. The team used reconstructions of prehistoric sea-level rise, paleogeographies, terrestrial landscape change, and human population dynamics to show how the gradual inundation of an island archipelago resulted in decidedly nonlinear landscape and cultural responses to rising sea levels. Interpretation of past […]

A controllable membrane to pull carbon dioxide out of exhaust streams

MIT News  October 16, 2020 Researchers at MIT have developed a gas gating mechanism driven by reversible electrochemical metal deposition/dissolution on a conductive membrane, which can continuously modulate the interfacial gas permeability over two orders of magnitude with high efficiency and short response time. The gating mechanism involves neither moving parts nor dead volume and can therefore enable various engineering processes. An electrochemically mediated carbon dioxide concentrator demonstrates proof of concept by integrating the gating membranes with redox-active sorbents, where gating effectively prevented the crosstalk between feed and product gas streams for high-efficiency, directional carbon dioxide pumping. The system could […]

Atmospheric dust levels are rising in the Great Plains

Science Daily  October 13, 2020 In the 1920s Midwestern farmers had converted vast tracts of grassland into farmland using mechanical plows. When the crops failed in the drought the open areas of land that used to be covered by grass, which held soil tightly in place, were now bare dirt, vulnerable to wind erosion. In a study covering years from 1988 to 2018 a team of researchers in the US (University of Utah, University of Colorado) found that atmospheric dust levels are rising across the Great Plains at a rate of up to 5% per year. The trend of rising […]

Antarctica’s ‘Doomsday Glacier’ Is in Serious Danger, New Research Confirms

Science Alert  September 17, 2020 The Thwaites, a Britain-sized glacier in western Antarctica, is melting at an alarming rate: It is retreating by about half a mile per year. Scientists estimate the glacier will lose all its ice in about 200 to 600 years. When it does, it will raise sea levels by about 1.6-2 feet. Right now, the glacier acts as a buffer between the warming sea and other glaciers. Its collapse could bring neighbouring ice masses in western Antarctica down with it. Added up, that process would raise sea levels by nearly 10 feet, permanently submerging many coastal […]

Giant Gaping Void Emerges in Siberia, The Latest in a Dramatic Ongoing Phenomenon

Science Alert  September 2, 2020 A bubble of methane gas, swelling beneath Siberia’s melting permafrost for who knows how long, has burst open to form an impressive 50-metre-deep (164-foot-deep) crater throwing chunks of ice and rock hundreds of metres away from the epicentre. It is not clear when the hole formed, or if climate change played a role. The giant holes are thought to result from the sudden collapse of hills, or swellings of tundra, which themselves form when melting permafrost causes a build-up of methane beneath the surface. Methane is 84 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than […]

The Locust Plague in East Africa Is Sending Us a Message, And It’s Not Good News

Science Alert  July 3, 2020 Swarming in the trillions, voracious insects are destroying precious pastures and crops in what is considered the worst regional locust plague in decades, from Kenya through Ethiopia and Yemen, reaching as far as parts of northern India. According to researchers in Kenya and Germany the first major swarms emerged late last year, after unusually warm and wet weather, and they numbered in the hundreds of billions. Come April, the next generation hit the skies, this time in the trillions. The third generation is expected to take off this July in even larger numbers. Treating huge […]

Scientists Discover The South Pole Is Warming 3x Faster Than The Rest of The Planet

Science Alert  June 30, 2020 An international team of researchers (New Zealand, USA – Ohio University, Rutgers University, UK) used an ensemble of climate model experiments to show that the recent warming lies within the upper bounds of the simulated range of natural variability. According to the study the warming resulted from a strong cyclonic anomaly in the Weddell Sea caused by increasing sea surface temperatures in the western tropical Pacific. This circulation advected warm and moist air from the South Atlantic into the Antarctic interior. The results underscore the intimate linkage of interior Antarctic climate to tropical variability. The […]

Scientists Recommend These 4 ‘Weapons’ in Our War Against Climate Change

Science Alert  March 16, 2020 In 1896, Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius explored whether Earth’s temperatures were influenced by the presence of heat-absorbing gases in the atmosphere. He calculated that if carbon dioxide concentrations doubled, global temperatures would rise by 5°C – even more at the poles. According to a team of researchers in Australia the world is on track to fulfilling Arrhenius’ prediction. If we continue the current trajectory, Earth will warm up to 4.8°C above pre-industrial times by 2100. They examine four fronts to battle the climate change: Plant a lot more trees, Turn carbon dioxide into rock, Make […]

Modified plants to curb climate change

Science Daily  January 21, 2020 Plants are capable of taking in nearly 123 gigatonnes through photosynthesis in a year. But humans release another ten gigatonnes of carbon dioxide into this cycle, mainly by burning fossil fuels such as crude oil and natural gas per year. By performing complex calculations an international team of researchers (Abu Dhabi, Germany) found by combining two different methods to modulate the metabolism of the plant cell it can be made to absorb five times more carbon dioxide than in the normal state. They plan to experiment with tobacco plants and thale cress which are both […]