In a new study published today in Nature, researchers from UCL, University of Cambridge and University of Louvain have combined existing ideas to solve the problem of which solar energy peaks in the last 2.6 million years led to the melting of the ice sheets and the start of a warm period.
Located along the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula is the Larsen Ice Shelf. Named after the Norwegian Captain who explored the ice front back in 1893, this ice shelf has been monitored for decades due to its close connection with rising global temperatures. Essentially, since the 1990s, the shelf has been breaking apart, causing collapses of considerable intensity.
Standard advice about preparing for disasters focuses on building shelters and stockpiling things like food, water and batteries. But resilience - the ability to recover from shocks, including natural disasters - comes from our connections to others, and not from physical infrastructure or disaster kits.
Our Earth has unimaginable diversity, from seascapes 8,000 meters below the ocean’s surface to landscapes 8,000 meters above it. Its physical beauty comes in inconceivable living varieties. Some mammals lay eggs; some lizards are legless. Bats catch fish. Birds catch bats. Wood frogs in Alaska survive through winter even as two-thirds of their body tissues turn to ice.
In North America when the leaves start to fall and the days get shorter, many birds head south for warmer weather. Only a small number of species stick it out for the winter. If you’re out in the woods in a typical February, it’s a pretty quiet place.
Silk is a high performance protein-baed fibre that is naturally produced by invertebrates. The most well-known is the domesticated silk moth (Bombyx mori), whose silk has been used in fabrics for more than 4,000 years.
When hearing the words “greenhouse gas,” most people think immediately of carbon dioxide. This is indeed the greenhouse gas that is currently producing the greatest impact on the Earth’s rapidly changing climate. But it is far from the only one making its mark, and for mitigating climate change it’s important to be able to compare the effects of the various gases that contribute to warming the planet
A simple chemistry method could vastly enhance how scientists search for signs of life on other planets. The test uses a liquid-based technique known as capillary electrophoresis to separate a mixture of organic molecules into its components. It was designed specifically to analyze for amino acids, the structural building blocks of all life on Earth
People collapse, buildings collapse, economies collapse and even entire human civilizations collapse. Collapse is also common in the natural world – animal populations and ecosystems collapse. These collapses have the greatest impact on us when they affect resources our industries depend on, leaving ecosystems in tatters and sometimes ruining local economies.
The top 2 inches of topsoil on all of Earth’s landmasses contains an infinitesimal fraction of the planet’s water — less than one-thousandth of a percent. Yet because of its position at the interface between the land and the atmosphere, that tiny amount plays a crucial role in everything from agriculture to weather and climate, and even the spread of disease.
When a virus infects a living cell, it hijacks and reprograms the cell to turn it into a virus-producing factory. Now scientists at the University of California have for the first time discovered just how extensive that reprogramming can be, effectively turning bacterial cells into animal or plant-like cells. This might even be how the cells of more complex organisms evolved in the first place.
Dogs are special. Every dog owner knows that. And most dog owners feel their dog understands every word they say and every move they make. Research over the last two decades shows dogs really can understand human communication in ways no other species can. But a new study confirms that if you want to train your new puppy, you should be speaking to it in a certain way to maximise the chances that it follows what you’re saying.
For centuries drought has come and gone across northern sub-Saharan Africa. In recent years, water shortages have been most severe in the Sahel—a band of semi-arid land situated just south of the Sahara Desert and stretching coast-to-coast across the continent, from Senegal and Mauritania in the west to Sudan and Eritrea in the east. Drought struck the Sahel most recently in 2012, triggering food shortages for millions of people due to crop failure and soaring food prices.
In recent years, alternative energy has been the subject of intense interest and debate. Thanks to the threat of Climate Change, and the fact that average global temperatures continue to rise year after year, the drive to find forms of energy that will reduce humanity’s reliance on fossil fuels, coal, and other polluting methods has naturally intensified.
The term “fossil fuels” is thrown about quite a lot these days. More often than not, it comes up in the context of environmental issues, Climate Change, or the so-called “energy crisis”. In addition to be a major source of pollution, humanity’s dependence on fossil fuels has led to a fair bit of anxiety in recent decades, and fueled demands for alternatives.
Perhaps you’ve seen them while driving through the countryside. Or maybe you saw them just off the coast, looming large on the horizon with their spinning blades. Then again, you may have seen them on someone’s roof, or as part of a small-scale urban operation. Regardless of the location, wind turbines and wind power are becoming an increasingly common feature in the modern world.
Scientists have known for some time that the Earth goes through cycles of climatic change. Owing to changes in Earth’s orbit, geological factors, and/or changes in Solar output, Earth occasionally experiences significant reductions in its surface and atmospheric temperatures. This results in long-term periods of glaciation, or what is more colloquially known as an “ice age”.
A new species of dinosaur is described, on average, every ten days. As many as 31 species have already been reported this year and we can expect a few more before 2016 is over. Of course, figuring out what counts as a distinct species is a tricky problem. Palaeontologists are argumentative by nature, so getting any two of them to agree on a definitive list of species is probably impossible. But by anyone’s count, there were a lot of them – 700 or 800 that we know of, probably thousands in total. So how did the dinosaurs become so diverse?
Over the last two and a half million years the Earth has undergone more than 50 major ice ages, each having a profound effect on our planet’s climate. But what causes them and how do we predict when the next big ice age will hit?
Every year, trade winds over the Sahara Desert sweep up huge plumes of mineral dust, transporting hundreds of teragrams — enough to fill 10 million dump trucks — across North Africa and over the Atlantic Ocean. This dust can be blown for thousands of kilometers and settle in places as far away as Florida and the Bahamas.