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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. A common message in use to convey the seriousness of climate change to the public is: "Carbon dioxide levels are higher today than they have been for the past one million years!" This new study by Brian Schubert (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) and coauthors Ying Cui and A. Hope Jahren used a novel method to conclude that today's carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are actually higher than they have been for the past 23 million years.
  2. Researchers from NOAA and the University of Colorado have devised a breakthrough method for estimating national emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels using ambient air samples and a well-known isotope of carbon that scientists have relied on for decades to date archaeological sites.
  3. Engineering the climate can help lower temperatures and reduce climate change impacts. New research shows that when accounting for human behavior, climate engineering leads to significant economic and social risks. In a first-of-its-kind laboratory experiment, researchers found that both rational and irrational factors in the decision to fix the climate leads to welfare losses and increased inequality. The paper, published in the journal PNAS, casts new doubts over the feasibility of large-scale climate interventions.
  4. The melting of glaciers and ice caps in places as diverse as the Himalayas and Andes mountain ranges, the Svalbard island group and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago has the dual effect of raising global sea levels and depleting freshwater resources that serve millions of people around the world.
  5. Rains from Tropical Storm Amanda left at least 17 dead and seven missing while causing extensive damage across El Salvador and Guatemala that pushed thousands of people into shelters amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  6. Tropical Storm Amanda, the first of the Eastern Pacific Ocean hurricane season, formed on Sunday, May 31, along the coast of Guatemala and quickly moved inland. NASA's Aqua satellite provided a look at the storm as it was developing.
  7. Man's best friend may also be man's best bet for figuring out how environmental chemicals could impact our health. Researchers from North Carolina State University and Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment used silicone dog tags as passive environmental samplers to collect information about everyday chemical exposures, and found that dogs could be an important sentinel species for the long term effects of environmental chemicals.
  8. Britain's national weather agency has confirmed what most people cooped up at home during the coronavirus lockdown may have guessed—May was the sunniest month on record.
  9. Warming ocean temperatures and acidification drastically reduce the skeletal strength and filter-feeding capacity of glass sponges, according to new UBC research.
  10. While carbon dioxide is more abundant in the atmosphere and therefore more commonly associated with global warming, methane is around 30 times more potent as a heat-trapping gas. Given its importance, Canadian company GHGSat have worked in collaboration with the Sentinel-5P team at SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research to investigate hotspots of methane emissions during COVID-19.
  11. The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was scheduled to be held in Glasgow, Scotland in November 2020, and was expected to gather thousands of negotiators, policymakers, researchers, journalists and campaigners.
  12. Plants drink up much of the water that falls to Earth. They take what they need before releasing it through tiny holes on the underside of their leaves, just as people release water vapor with every exhale.
  13. The multinational team on the biggest Arctic research mission ever undertaken were prepared for problems from polar bear attacks to major snowstorms or even issues with building a runway on ice.
  14. Urbanization could cause 26 percent more rain to fall over Jeddah city than over the surrounding desert during storms.
  15. Among the Earth's biggest allies in the fight against global warming are the world's oceans. Since the industrial revolution, the burning of fossil fuels has caused carbon dioxide, the dominant greenhouse gas, to be released into the atmosphere. Approximately 25% of that carbon dioxide is taken each year from the atmosphere by the world's oceans—without which, the earth's atmosphere would have a higher greenhouse gas concentration and temperature.
  16. Tropical forests can develop resistance to a warmer climate, but 71 percent will come under threat in the next decade if global average temperatures reach two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a new study warns.
  17. The Earth's ionosphere, extending about 80 to 1,000 km above the Earth's surface, connects outer space and the middle atmosphere. It's an important part and key layer in the whole Sun-Earth system.
  18. Two drifting wave buoys deployed along the coast of Western Australia by researchers at The University of Western Australia have highlighted the significance of Perth's recent super storm, recording massive waves along 1000km of WA's coastline.
  19. Three poultry farmers in northern Ghana have found a new way to keep their eggs warm—by keeping them in a fridge.
  20. June 1 is the start of hurricane season in the Atlantic, and with 2020 predicted to be particularly active, residents in coastal regions are keeping watchful eyes on the weather. Flooding is often the most damaging effect of tropical storms, and it can disproportionately affect vulnerable people and ecosystems. Now, in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology, researchers study water quality impacts of two recent hurricanes in North Carolina and suggest interventions to protect susceptible areas.
  21. COVID-19 has put the world's economies on pace for the most dramatic contraction since the Great Depression. With the world's major economies on track for the largest quarterly decline in history, Canadian farmland is an increasingly stable and resilient investment.
  22. Pollution from human and agriculture waste spilling into the seas off Rome has decreased 30% during Italy's coronavirus lockdown, preliminary results from a nationwide survey of seawater quality indicate.
  23. By studying sewage at a New Haven wastewater treatment facility, a team of Yale researchers has determined that genetic code embedded in feces could be used as an early warning sign of COVID-19 outbreaks.
  24. Hurricanes. Earthquakes. COVID-19.
  25. Land use choices can have a significant impact on climate change mitigation and help meet the increased ambition foreseen by the "European Green Deal." It is time to step up efforts to quantify the land sector's carbon emissions and removals. A study, which includes the CMCC Foundation's participation analyzes the EU regulations in force on the subject, which to date still place limits on the contribution that the land use sector can make to achieving the Union's climate objectives.
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