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Earth Climate News

Earth Science News. From earthquakes and hurricanes to global warming and energy use, read the latest research news here.

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Rodent ancestors combined portions of blood and venom genes to make pheromones
Experts who study animal pheromones have traced the evolutionary origins of genes that allow mice, rats and other rodents to communicate through smell. The discovery is a clear example of how new genes can evolve through the random chance of molecular tinkering and may make identifying new pheromones easier in future studies. The results represent a genealogy for the exocrine-gland secreting peptide (ESP) gene family.

The ancient Neanderthal hand in severe COVID-19
Genetic variants that leave their carrier more susceptible to severe COVID-19 are inherited from Neanderthals, a new study finds.

New study reveals how reptiles divided up the spoils in ancient seas
While dinosaurs ruled the land in the Mesozoic, the oceans were filled by predators such as crocodiles and giant lizards, but also entirely extinct groups such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs. Now for the first time, researchers have modeled the changing ecologies of these great sea dragons.

Predator-prey interaction study reveals more food does not always mean more consumption
Decades of data allow researchers to look at predator-prey interactions in a different way: among multiple species throughout the water column. They have developed an unusually rich picture of who is eating whom off the Northeastern United States.

Breaking COVID-19's 'clutch' to stop its spread
The virus that causes COVID-19 uses a clutch-like shifter to enable transcription of one RNA string into multiple proteins, and therein lies a vulnerability. A proof-of-concept study shows it's possible to eliminate that shifter with an RNA-binding compound linked to a 'trash this' signal.

Genomes of two millipede species shed light on their evolution, development and physiology
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed complete genomes from two very different millipede species. The study provides important insights into arthropod evolution, and highlights the genetic underpinnings of unique features of millipede physiology.

Many ventilation systems may increase risk of COVID-19 exposure, study suggests
Ventilation systems in many modern office buildings, which are designed to keep temperatures comfortable and increase energy efficiency, may increase the risk of exposure to the coronavirus, particularly during the coming winter, according to new research.

Volcanic ash could help reduce CO2 associated with climate change
Scientists investigating ways of removing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases from our atmosphere believe volcanic ash could play an important role.

Are China's pollution remediation efforts making the planet warmer?
A 10-year effort by China to improve air quality and reduce pollution-related health risks has caused warming in areas across the northern hemisphere, according to new work.

Untapped potential exists for blending hydropower, floating solar panels
Hybrid systems of floating solar panels and hydropower plants may hold the technical potential to produce a significant portion of the electricity generated annually across the globe, according to a new analysis.

The key to lowering CO2 emissions is made of metal
Researchers produce malic acid, which contains 4 carbon atoms, through artificial photosynthesis by simply adding metal ions like aluminum and iron. This solves a problem with current artificial photosynthesis technology of only producing molecules with 1 carbon atom and paves the way to exploring the use of CO2 as a raw material.

Marine biodiversity reshuffles under warmer and sea ice-free Pacific Arctic
Climate warming will alter marine community compositions as species are expected to shift poleward, significantly impacting the Arctic marine ecosystem.

Lessons from a cooling climate
Usually, talk of carbon sequestration focuses on plants: forests storing carbon in the trunks of massive trees, algae blooming and sinking to the seabed, or perhaps peatlands locking carbon away for tens of thousands of years. While it's true that plants take up large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, the rocks themselves mediate a great deal of the carbon cycle over geological timescales. Processes like volcano eruptions, mountain building and erosion are responsible for moving carbon through Earth's atmosphere, surface and mantle.

Study traces the evolution of gill covers
Scientists have identified a key modification to the genome that led to the evolution of gill covers more than 430 million years ago.

How Zika virus degrades essential protein for neurological development via autophagy
Researchers shed new light on how Zika virus hijacks our own cellular machinery to break down an essential protein for neurological development, getting it to 'eat itself'. By triggering this process known as autophagy, Zika virus is able to degrade an important protein, a process that may contribute to the development of neurological or brain deficiencies and congenital birth defects in the newborns of infected pregnant women.

Ancient Adélie penguin colony revealed by snowmelt at Cape Irizar, Ross Sea, Antarctica
Researchers encountered a puzzle at Cape Irizar, a rocky cape located just south of the Drygalski Ice Tongue on the Scott Coast, Ross Sea. He found both ancient and what appeared to be fresh remains of Adelie penguins, mostly of chicks, which frequently die and accumulate at these colonies. However, the 'fresh' remains were puzzling, he says, because there are no records of an active penguin colony at this site.

The Arctic is burning in a whole new way
'Zombie fires' and burning of fire-resistant vegetation are new features driving Arctic fires -- with strong consequences for the global climate -- warn international fire scientists.

Disastrous duo: Heatwaves and droughts
Simultaneous heatwaves and droughts are becoming increasingly common in western parts of the Unites States, according to a new study. Periods of dry and hot weather, which can make wildfires more likely, are becoming larger, more intense, and more frequent because of climate change.

Modern humans reached westernmost Europe 5,000 years earlier than previously known
Modern humans arrived in westernmost Europe 41,000 to 38,000 years ago, about 5,000 years earlier than previously known, according to an international team of researchers that discovered stone tools used by modern humans dated to the earlier time period in a cave near the Atlantic coast of central Portugal. The tools document the presence of modern humans at a time when Neanderthals were thought to be present in the region.

'Insect Armageddon': Low doses of the insecticide, Imidacloprid, cause blindness in insects
New research provides important evidence on the role of insecticides on the longevity of insect population.