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The Environment on Earth

Phys.org provides the latest news on the environment, environmental issues, earth science and space exploration.
  1. How do you feed a city? It is one of the great questions of our time. After all, for a species that ultimately depends on plants to feed ourselves, we do tend to cram ourselves into places that are rather unfriendly towards them. Our cities are built around cars, offices and perhaps the odd park—not fields of crops.
  2. The world's deep oceans are warming at a slower rate than the surface, but it's still not good news for deep-sea creatures according to an international study.
  3. Many Germans have difficulty gauging the negative impact of weather conditions such as ground frost, heat, or UV radiation. This is one of the key results of a representative survey conducted by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, published in Weather, Climate, and Society. The study's authors advocate new impact forecasts that predict not only what the weather will be, but also what it will do.
  4. Bullet trains are back on the political agenda. As the major parties look for ways to stimulate the economy after the COVID-19 crisis, Labor is again spruiking its vision of linking Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane with high-speed trains similar to the Eurostar, France's TGV or Japan's Shinkansen.
  5. The National Science Foundation should invest in new initiatives, partnerships and infrastructure to answer 12 priority research questions relevant to society in the next decade, according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. A Vision for NSF Earth Sciences 2020-2030: Earth in Time says that a scientifically and demographically diverse group of researchers will be required to answer the questions.
  6. Today, as we celebrate International Day of Biodiversity, the global community is called to re-examine our relationship to the natural world. We celebrate this day in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that is severely impacting people and organizations around the world, and highlighting the fragility of so much of what we hold dear. We stand in solidarity with all those who are suffering at the hands of this global crisis.
  7. We live, work, and play at the coast.
  8. Most studies on stratosphere and troposphere exchange (STE) are carried out using model simulations. A new study conducted by Chinese researchers directly revealed the phenomenon through in-situ-measured high-precision profiles. The study was published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.
  9. Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have surveyed the amount of gadolinium found in river water in Tokyo. Gadolinium is contained in contrast agents given to patients undergoing medical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and it has been shown in labs to become toxic when exposed to ultraviolet rays. The researchers found significantly elevated levels, particularly near water treatment plants, highlighting the need for new public policy and removal technologies as MRI become even more commonplace.
  10. Authorities began clearing roads and assessing damage on Friday after Cyclone Amphan barreled through coastal communities in eastern India and neighboring Bangladesh, killing more than 100 people and leaving millions displaced.
  11. Given the present-day rate of global sea-level rise, remaining marshes in the Mississippi Delta are likely to drown, according to a new Tulane University study.
  12. NASA's Aqua satellite used infrared light to provide forecasters with a look at the temperatures of the cloud tops in Tropical Storm Mangga.
  13. A new study by researchers at Duke University and RTI International finds that reusing oilfield water that's been mixed with surface water to irrigate farms in the Cawelo Water District of California's Kern County does not pose major health risks, as some opponents of the practice have feared.
  14. University of California, San Diego researchers have confirmed that climate change helped produce the historic 43-day ocean heat wave that drew big crowds to San Diego beaches during the summer of 2018.
  15. At least 106 people died in the fiercest cyclone to hit Bangladesh and eastern India since 1999, officials said Friday as aerial footage revealed immense flooding in coastal areas.
  16. The COVID-19 pandemic is not only affecting almost every aspect of our daily lives, but also the environment. A German team, led by the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), now wants to find out how strong these effects are on the atmosphere. Over the next two weeks, as part of the Bluesky research programme, scientists will measure concentrations of trace gases and pollutants in the air over European urban areas and in the flight corridor to North America. The aim of these research missions is to investigate how reduced emissions from industry and transport are changing atmospheric chemistry and physics.
  17. Estimating the amount of seasonal snow is important for understanding the water cycle and Earth's climate system, but establishing a clear and coherent picture of change has proven difficult. New research from ESA's Climate Change Initiative has helped to produce the first reliable estimate of snow mass change and has helped to identify different continental trends.
  18. In recent decades, urban populations in China's cities have grown substantially, and rising incomes have led to a rapid expansion of car ownership. Indeed, China is now the world's largest market for automobiles. The combination of urbanization and motorization has led to an urgent need for transportation policies to address urban problems such as congestion, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.
  19. Modern sustainability practices often encourage resource and energy efficiencies across separate sectors, such as food production or biofuels, but this siloed approach could actually lead to ongoing environmental decay, according to a recent commentary by researchers in the University of Georgia College of Engineering.
  20. A pair of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology has created a global map that highlights areas where there are likely dangerous levels of arsenic in groundwater. In their paper published in the journal Science, Joel Podgorski and Michael Berg describe combining data from a variety of sources to train a machine learning algorithm to highlight possible hot spots on a global map. Yan Zheng, with Southern University of Science and Technology has published a Perspective piece outlining the work by the research pair in the same journal issue.
  21. A species of river bird is swallowing hundreds of plastic fibers every day via their insect prey, research by Cardiff University and the Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter has shown.
  22. Wide swaths of coastal India and Bangladesh were flooded and millions were without power Thursday as Cyclone Amphan, the most powerful storm to hit the region in more than a decade, killed over 80 people and cut a path of destruction that is still being assessed.
  23. As spring and summer temperatures return to the Northern Hemisphere, winter's snow is melting, releasing precious fresh water into Earth's streams, rivers and oceans. This annual change provides liquid water for drinking, agriculture and hydropower for more than one billion people around the world. In the future, NASA plans to use a satellite mission to measure how much water the world's winter snowpack contains, and to do that, they need to know what combination of instruments and techniques will efficiently measure this information from space.
  24. High-intensity fires can destroy peat bogs and cause them to emit huge amounts of their stored carbon into the atmosphere as greenhouse gases, but a new Duke University study finds low-severity fires spark the opposite outcome.
  25. Tropical forests face an uncertain future under climate change, but new research published in Science suggests they can continue to store large amounts of carbon in a warmer world, if countries limit greenhouse gas emissions.
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