Environment

NASA's Greenland Mission Still Surprises in Year Four

NASA's Greenland Mission Still Surprises in Year Four

Only seven months after NASA's Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) mission wrapped its last field campaign on the world's largest island, an OMG crew is back in Greenland to collect more data. With two or three field projects a year since 2016, no wonder OMG has made the most comprehensive measurements yet of how ocean water lapping at the undersides of Greenland's melting glaciers affects them. All that data has answered a lot of existing questions — and it's raised plenty of new ones.

Salt doesn’t melt ice – here’s how it actually makes winter streets safe

 Salt doesn’t melt ice – here’s how it actually makes winter streets safe

Brrr … it’s cold out there! Children are flocking to the television in hopes of hearing there will be a snow day; the bread and milk aisles at grocery stores are empty because of an impending snow storm; and utility trucks are out spraying salt or salt water on the roads.

Huge Cavity in Antarctic Glacier Signals Rapid Decay

Huge Cavity in Antarctic Glacier Signals Rapid Decay

A gigantic cavity — two-thirds the area of Manhattan and almost 1,000 feet (300 meters) tall — growing at the bottom of Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica is one of several disturbing discoveries reported in a new NASA-led study of the disintegrating glacier. The findings highlight the need for detailed observations of Antarctic glaciers' undersides in calculating how fast global sea levels will rise in response to climate change.

Can genetic engineering save disappearing forests?

Can genetic engineering save disappearing forests?

Compared to gene-edited babies in China and ambitious projects to rescue woolly mammoths from extinction, biotech trees might sound pretty tame. But releasing genetically engineered trees into forests to counter threats to forest health represents a new frontier in biotechnology.

Coffee: 60% of wild species are at risk of extinction due to climate change

Coffee: 60% of wild species are at risk of extinction due to climate change

Is your morning coffee an espresso or a skinny latte? Is it from a darkly roasted French or Italian blend? If it’s a high quality brew, it’s almost certainly made with beans from the Arabica species (Coffea arabica), which is known for its finer flavours. Examples would be Javan coffees, Ethiopian sidamo, and the expensive Jamaican blue mountain.

How to feed a growing population healthy food without ruining the planet

How to feed a growing population healthy food without ruining the planet

If we’re serious about feeding the world’s growing population healthy food, and not ruining the planet, we need to get used to a new style of eating. This includes cutting our Western meat and sugar intakes by around 50%, and doubling the amount of nuts, fruits, vegetables and legumes we consume.

The global race for groundwater speeds up to feed agriculture’s growing needs

The global race for groundwater speeds up to feed agriculture’s growing needs

Water is becoming a scarce resource in many parts of the world. Water tables have been falling in many regions for decades, particularly in areas with intensive agriculture. Wells are going dry and there are few long-term solutions available — a common stopgap has been to drill deeper wells.

What is ‘green’ dry cleaning? A toxics expert explains

What is ‘green’ dry cleaning? A toxics expert explains

The winter holidays are a busy time for many businesses, including retail stores, grocers, liquor stores – and dry cleaners. People pull out special-occasion clothes made of silk, satin or other fabrics that don’t launder well in soap and water. Then there are all those specialty items, from stained tablecloths to ugly holiday sweaters.

Improved crops can double agricultural production, providing future generation with food and resources

Improved crops can double agricultural production, providing future generation with food and resources

Wageningen University & Research is working on a road-map to future-proof crops as part of EU-project CropBooster-P. Future crop yields will increase with optimal use of water and minerals. In addition to that nutritional value and crop quality are high on the list of targets. To feed a future population of 10 billion people and alleviate climate change these new crops need to eventually double the total world wilde food production. The great news that has been scientifically proven to be possible.

Air pollution may be making us less intelligent

Air pollution may be making us less intelligent

Not only is air pollution bad for our lungs and heart, it turns out it could actually be making us less intelligent, too. A recent study found that in elderly people living in China, long-term exposure to air pollution may hinder cognitive performance (things like our ability to pay attention, to recall past knowledge and generate new information) in verbal and maths tests. As people age, the link between air pollution and their mental decline becomes stronger. The study also found men and less educated people were especially at risk, though the reason why is currently unknown.

If you recycled all the plastic garbage in the world, you could buy the NFL, Apple and Microsoft

If you recycled all the plastic garbage in the world, you could buy the NFL, Apple and Microsoft

Much like Oxford English Dictionary’s “Word of the Year” competition, the international statistic is meant to capture the zeitgeist of this year. The judging panel accepted nominations from the statistical community and the public at large for a statistic they feel shines a light on today’s most pressing issues.