Category: Earth Sciences


Could Dangerous Underwater Volcano in Caribbean Cause a US Tsunami?

PHOTO: View from "Hercules," a 5,000-pound submersible used by Robert Ballard and his team.
Auto Start: On | Off

A team of scientists is exploring the darkest corners of a huge underwater volcano in the Caribbean in hopes of better understanding the mysteries of earthquakes and tsunamis, ultimately saving lives.

Kick’em Jenny is a dangerous and active volcano sitting roughly 6,000 feet below the surface of the Caribbean Sea, and located off the coast of the island of Grenada, south of St. Lucia.

Robert Ballard, famous for discovering the Titanic 12,000 feet below the surface of the icy North Atlantic in 1985, set his sights on exploring the Kick’em Jenny to study its eruption history and learn more about how underwater volcanoes can pose a threat.

Ballard, the president of The Ocean Exploration Trust and the director of the Center for Ocean Exploration at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, said the Kick’em Jenny volcano has a history of explosive eruptions, which could have the potential to trigger tsunamis, the effects from which could be felt as far away as the northeastern United States.

 

Read More Here

Enhanced by Zemanta
About these ads
Reuters

Magma rising in Washington state’s Mount St. Helens volcano: USGS

SEATTLE Thu May 1, 2014 3:35pm EDT

Visitors to the Coldwater Ridge Center look up at Mount St. Helens venting steam October 11, 2004. REUTERS/Andy Clark

Visitors to the Coldwater Ridge Center look up at Mount St. Helens venting steam October 11, 2004.

Credit: Reuters/Andy Clark


(Reuters) – Magma levels are slowly rebuilding inside Mount St. Helens, a volcano in Washington state that erupted in 1980 and killed 57 people, although there was no sign of an impending eruption, U.S. scientists said.

The roughly 8,300-foot volcano erupted in an explosion of hot ash and gas on May 18, 1980, spewing debris over some 230 square miles and causing more than a billion dollars in property damage. Entire forests were crushed and river systems altered in the blast, which began with a 5.2 magnitude earthquake.

“The magma reservoir beneath Mount St. Helens has been slowly re-pressurizing since 2008,” the U.S. Geological Survey said in a statement on Wednesday. “It is likely that re-pressurization is caused by (the) arrival of a small amount of additional magma 4 to 8 km (2.5 to 5 miles) beneath the surface.”

Read More Here

 

…..

Mount St. Helens erupting March 18th, 1980  by  U.S. government

Wikimedia.org

File:Mount St. Helens erupting blue.jpg

U.S. Geological Survey scientist examines pumice blocks at the edge of a pyroclastic flow from the May 18, 1980 eruption.  by  United States Geological Survey  –  Donald A. Swanson

Wikimedia.org

File:Pyroclastic Flow St. Helens.jpg

…..

 

Mount Saint Helens, State of Washington, United-States  7 September 2004  by  TjkFlickr

Wikimedia.org

File:Mount St Helens4.jpg

 

 

Crater / Plume image Mount St. Helens. United States Geological Survey photograph taken at 12:13:01 PDT (19:13:01 GMT) on October 1, 2004, by John Pallister

Wikimedia.org

File:MSH04 crater eruption image 1213PDT 10-01-04.jpg

…..

Mount St. Helens volcano, Washington, USA.  June 7th, 2012  by  Brigitte Werner (werner22brigitte)

Wikimedia.org

File:Mount St Helens USA 20120607.jpg

A panorama of Mount St. Helens  Decenber 18th ,2013  by   Eviatar Bach

Wkimedia.org

File:Panorama of Mount St. Helens.jpg

…..

Enhanced by Zemanta

ScienceDaily: Your source for the latest research news

 

 

 

…..

Tree rings reveal nightmare droughts in Western U.S.

May 1, 2014
Source:
Brigham Young University
Summary:
Scientists extended Utah’s climate record back to 1429 using tree rings. They found Utah’s climate has seen extreme droughts, including one that lasted 16 years. If history is repeated in the rapidly growing Western states, the water supply would run out based on current consumption.

Scientists extended Utah’s climate record back to 1429 using tree rings. They found Utah’s climate has seen extreme droughts, including one that lasted 16 years. Credit: Image courtesy of Brigham Young University

..

If you think the 1930s drought that caused The Dust Bowl was rough, new research looking at tree rings in the Rocky Mountains has news for you: Things can get much worse in the West.

In fact the worst drought of this century barely makes the top 10 of a study that extended Utah’s climate record back to the year 1429.

With sandpaper and microscopes, Brigham Young University professor Matthew Bekker analyzed rings from drought-sensitive tree species. He found several types of scenarios that could make life uncomfortable in what is now the nation’s third-fastest-growing state:

  • Long droughts: The year 1703 kicked off 16 years in a row with below average stream flow.
  • Intense droughts: The Weber River flowed at just 13 percent of normal in 1580 and dropped below 20 percent in three other periods.
  • Consecutive worst-case scenarios: The most severe drought in the record began in 1492, and four of the five worst droughts all happened during Christopher Columbus’ lifetime.

“We’re conservatively estimating the severity of these droughts that hit before the modern record, and we still see some that are kind of scary if they were to happen again,” said Bekker, a geography professor at BYU. “We would really have to change the way we do things here.”

Modern climate and stream flow records only go back about 100 years in this part of the country, so scientists like Bekker turn to Mother Nature’s own record-keeping to see the bigger picture. For this study, the BYU geographer took sample cores from Douglas fir and pinyon pine trees. The thickness of annual growth rings for these species is especially sensitive to water supply.

 

 

Read More Here

Enhanced by Zemanta

Credit DS Pugh / Wikimedia Commons

…..

ScienceDaily: Your source for the latest research news

 

Increased drought portends lower future Midwestern U.S. crop yields

May 1, 2014
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
Increasingly harsh drought conditions in the US Midwest’s Corn Belt may take a serious toll on corn and soybean yields over the next half-century, according to new research. Corn yields could drop by 15 to 30 percent, according to the paper’s estimates.

Increasingly harsh drought conditions in the U.S. Midwest’s Corn Belt may take a serious toll on corn and soybean yields over the next half-century, according to research published today in the journal Science.

Corn yields could drop by 15 to 30 percent, according to the paper’s estimates; soybean yield losses would be less severe.

North Carolina State University’s Roderick Rejesus, associate professor of agricultural and resource economics and a co-author of the Science paper, says that corn and soybean yields show increasing sensitivity to drought, with yields struggling in dry conditions in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana during the 1995 to 2012 study period.

“Yield increases are getting smaller in bad conditions,” Rejesus said. “Agronomic and genetic crop improvements over the years help a lot when growing conditions are good, but have little effect when growing conditions are poor, like during droughts.”

U.S. corn and soybeans account for approximately 40 and 35 percent of global production, respectively, making the results important to the world’s food supply.

 

Read More Here

Enhanced by Zemanta

ScienceDaily: Your source for the latest research news

Undersea warfare: Viruses hijack deep-sea bacteria at hydrothermal vents

Date:
May 1, 2014
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
More than a mile beneath the ocean’s surface, as dark clouds of mineral-rich water billow from seafloor hot springs called hydrothermal vents, unseen armies of viruses and bacteria wage war.

…..

Credit: NOAA

[Click to enlarge image]

More than a mile beneath the ocean’s surface, as dark clouds of mineral-rich water billow from seafloor hot springs called hydrothermal vents, unseen armies of viruses and bacteria wage war.

Like pirates boarding a treasure-laden ship, the viruses infect bacterial cells to get the loot: tiny globules of elemental sulfur stored inside the bacterial cells.

Instead of absconding with their prize, the viruses force the bacteria to burn their valuable sulfur reserves, then use the unleashed energy to replicate.

“Our findings suggest that viruses in the dark oceans indirectly access vast energy sources in the form of elemental sulfur,” said University of Michigan marine microbiologist and oceanographer Gregory Dick, whose team collected DNA from deep-sea microbes in seawater samples from hydrothermal vents in the Western Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California.

“We suspect that these viruses are essentially hijacking bacterial cells and getting them to consume elemental sulfur so the viruses can propagate themselves,” said Karthik Anantharaman of the University of Michigan, first author of a paper on the findings published this week in the journal Science Express.

Similar microbial interactions have been observed in shallow ocean waters between photosynthetic bacteria and the viruses that prey upon them.

But this is the first time such a relationship has been seen in a chemosynthetic system, one in which the microbes rely solely on inorganic compounds, rather than sunlight, as their energy source.

“Viruses play a cardinal role in biogeochemical processes in ocean shallows,” said David Garrison, a program director in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Division of Ocean Sciences, which funded the research. “They may have similar importance in deep-sea thermal vent environments.”

 

Read More Here

Enhanced by Zemanta

Earth Watch Report  –  Snow Storm

Young women cross a snow-covered bridge after a snowstorm in Yekaterinburg. (RIA Novosti/Pavel Lisitsyn)

Young women cross a snow-covered bridge after a snowstorm in Yekaterinburg. (RIA Novosti/Pavel Lisitsyn)

…..

Snow Storm Russia [Asia] Chelyabinsk Oblast, Chelyabinsk Damage level Details

 

…..

RSOE EDIS

Snow Storm in Russia [Asia] on Saturday, 26 April, 2014 at 13:31 (01:31 PM) UTC.

Description
Electricity was cut off to more than 150 residential localities in the Chelyabinsk region hit by a heavy snowstorm on Friday. Electro-transmission lines were covered with snow and torn by strong winds. Electricity supply was resumed to most of the houses overnight, but 13 residential localities of 9,369 people had no electricity on Saturday morning, the Russian Emergencies Ministry’s Chelyabinsk regional department reported. Repairs were planned to be completed at 16:00 Moscow time. Mass cultural events and school classes were cancelled in Chelyabinsk on Saturday, and all services in the city remained on alert because of the severe weather. Emergency services organized work to clear roads of snow and help drivers. Hospitals were ready to receive affected people. The Emergencies Ministry reported that the bad weather with heavy snow and winds of 20-25 m/sec would remain in the region on Saturday.

 

…..

Winter comes again suddenly for Russia’s Urals (PHOTOS)

Published time: April 26, 2014 13:24

Pedestrians cross the street during a heavy blizzard in Chelyabinsk, Russia (RIA Novosti/Aleksandr Kondratuk)

Pedestrians cross the street during a heavy blizzard in Chelyabinsk, Russia (RIA Novosti/Aleksandr Kondratuk)

Russia’s Urals region has been hit with freak winter weather, with severe snowstorms causing massive traffic jams, flight delays, power blackouts and school closures.

Just when everybody in the cities of Ekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk thought they had waved winter good-bye and was anticipating greener spring weather, blizzards dragging the region back to winter.

Having heard the forecast for snow, internet users were taking photos of the frail Urals spring that was proclaimed doomed by meteorologists.

Those would later be used in “before and after” collages with “goodbye summer” hashtags.

We have snow falling the whole day without stopping,” an Instagram user wrote. “It’s sweeping severely, everything’s white. My daughter even wanted to go for a snow-tubing ride.”

Winter struck the region hard, with precipitation twice the monthly average coming as a shock to already burgeoning grass and trees.

Chelyabinsk made headlines across the world last year when a huge meteorite rocked the region. These late April blizzards have led to numerous online jokes over the region’s “misfortune.”

Chelyabinsk’s somewhat harsh,” one Twitter user wrote. “They either have meteorite or snow at the end of spring.”

The sudden return of winter has led to chaos on the region’s highways.

 

…..

 

 

…..

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
OZONE NEWS

Plugging an ozone hole


by Staff Writers
Boston MA (SPX) Apr 17, 2014


File image.

Since the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole, scientists, policymakers, and the public have wondered whether we might someday see a similarly extreme depletion of ozone over the Arctic.

But a new MIT study finds some cause for optimism: Ozone levels in the Arctic haven’t yet sunk to the extreme lows seen in Antarctica, in part because international efforts to limit ozone-depleting chemicals have been successful.

“While there is certainly some depletion of Arctic ozone, the extremes of Antarctica so far are very different from what we find in the Arctic, even in the coldest years,” says Susan Solomon, the Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Science at MIT, and lead author of a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Frigid temperatures can spur ozone loss because they create prime conditions for the formation of polar stratospheric clouds. When sunlight hits these clouds, it sparks a reaction between chlorine from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), human-made chemicals once used for refrigerants, foam blowing, and other applications – ultimately destroying ozone.

A success story of science and policy
After the ozone-attacking properties of CFCs were discovered in the 1980s, countries across the world agreed to phase out their use as part of the 1987 Montreal Protocol treaty. While CFCs are no longer in use, those emitted years ago remain in the atmosphere.

 

Read More Here

 

…..

 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

An aerial view of clouds over a mountain range in Greenland.

Courtesy of Michael Studinger/NASA Earth Observatory

Full Screen

Courtesy of Michael Studinger/NASA Earth Observatory

 

.

An Arctic ozone hole? Not quite

MIT researchers find that the extremes in Antarctic ozone holes have not been matched in the Arctic.

Audrey Resutek | Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change
April 14, 2014

Since the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole, scientists, policymakers, and the public have wondered whether we might someday see a similarly extreme depletion of ozone over the Arctic.

But a new MIT study finds some cause for optimism: Ozone levels in the Arctic haven’t yet sunk to the extreme lows seen in Antarctica, in part because international efforts to limit ozone-depleting chemicals have been successful.

“While there is certainly some depletion of Arctic ozone, the extremes of Antarctica so far are very different from what we find in the Arctic, even in the coldest years,” says Susan Solomon, the Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Science at MIT, and lead author of a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Frigid temperatures can spur ozone loss because they create prime conditions for the formation of polar stratospheric clouds. When sunlight hits these clouds, it sparks a reaction between chlorine from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), human-made chemicals once used for refrigerants, foam blowing, and other applications — ultimately destroying ozone.

‘A success story of science and policy’

After the ozone-attacking properties of CFCs were discovered in the 1980s, countries across the world agreed to phase out their use as part of the 1987 Montreal Protocol treaty. While CFCs are no longer in use, those emitted years ago remain in the atmosphere. As a result, atmospheric concentrations have peaked and are now slowly declining, but it will be several decades before CFCs are totally eliminated from the environment — meaning there is still some risk of ozone depletion caused by CFCs.

 

Read More Here

 

…..

OZONE NEWS

NASA Pinpoints Causes of 2011 Arctic Ozone Hole


by Maria-Jose Vinas for NASA’s Earth Science News
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Mar 13, 2013


Maps of ozone concentrations over the Arctic come from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite. The left image shows March 19, 2010, and the right shows the same date in 2011. March 2010 had relatively high ozone, while March 2011 has low levels. Credit: NASA/Goddard.

A combination of extreme cold temperatures, man-made chemicals and a stagnant atmosphere were behind what became known as the Arctic ozone hole of 2011, a new NASA study finds. Even when both poles of the planet undergo ozone losses during the winter, the Arctic’s ozone depletion tends to be milder and shorter-lived than the Antarctic’s.

This is because the three key ingredients needed for ozone-destroying chemical reactions -chlorine from man-made chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), frigid temperatures and sunlight- are not usually present in the Arctic at the same time: the northernmost latitudes are generally not cold enough when the sun reappears in the sky in early spring. Still, in 2011, ozone concentrations in the Arctic atmosphere were about 20 percent lower than its late winter average.

The new study shows that, while chlorine in the Arctic stratosphere was the ultimate culprit of the severe ozone loss of winter of 2011, unusually cold and persistent temperatures also spurred ozone destruction. Furthermore, uncommon atmospheric conditions blocked wind-driven transport of ozone from the tropics, halting the seasonal ozone resupply until April.

“You can safely say that 2011 was very atypical: In over 30 years of satellite records, we hadn’t seen any time where it was this cold for this long,” said Susan E. Strahan, an atmospheric scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and main author of the new paper, which was recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres.

“Arctic ozone levels were possibly the lowest ever recorded, but they were still significantly higher than the Antarctic’s,” Strahan said. “There was about half as much ozone loss as in the Antarctic and the ozone levels remained well above 220 Dobson units, which is the threshold for calling the ozone loss a ‘hole’ in the Antarctic – so the Arctic ozone loss of 2011 didn’t constitute an ozone hole.”

The majority of ozone depletion in the Arctic happens inside the so-called polar vortex: a region of fast-blowing circular winds that intensify in the fall and isolate the air mass within the vortex, keeping it very cold.

 

Read More Here

 

…..

Enhanced by Zemanta
WOOD PILE

Nutrient-rich forests absorb more carbon


by Staff Writers
Laxenburg, Austria (SPX) Apr 17, 2014


File image.

The ability of forests to sequester carbon from the atmosphere depends on nutrients available in the forest soils, shows new research from an international team of researchers, including IIASA.

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, showed that forests growing in fertile soils with ample nutrients are able to sequester about 30% of the carbon that they take up during photosynthesis. In contrast, forests growing in nutrient-poor soils may retain only 6% of that carbon. The rest is returned to the atmosphere as respiration.

“This paper produces the first evidence that to really understand the carbon cycle, you have to look into issues of nutrient cycling within the soil,” says IIASA Ecosystems Services and Management Program Director Michael Obersteiner, who worked on the study as part of a new international research project sponsored by the European Research Council.

Marcos Fernandez-Martinez, first author of the paper and researcher at the Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF) and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) says, “In general, nutrient-poor forests spend a lot of energy-carbon-through mechanisms to acquire nutrients from the soil, whereas nutrient-rich forests can use that carbon to enhance biomass production.”

 

Read More Here

 

…..

Research: Arid areas absorb unexpected amounts of carbon

By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer

PULLMAN, Wash. – Researchers led by a Washington State University biologist have found that arid areas, among the biggest ecosystems on the planet, take up an unexpectedly large amount of carbon as levels of carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere. The findings give scientists a better handle on the earth’s carbon budget – how much carbon remains in the atmosphere as CO2, contributing to global warming, and how much gets stored in the land or ocean in other carbon-containing forms.


“It has pointed out the importance of these arid ecosystems,” said R. Dave Evans, a WSU professor of biological sciences specializing in ecology and global change. “They are a major sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide, so as CO2 levels go up, they’ll increase their uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere. They’ll help take up some of that excess CO2 going into the atmosphere. They can’t take it all up, but they’ll help.”

Published in Nature Climate Change

The findings, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, come after a novel 10-year experiment in which researchers exposed plots in the Mojave Desert to elevated carbon-dioxide levels similar to those expected in 2050. The researchers then removed soil and plants down to a meter deep and measured how much carbon was absorbed.

“We just dug up the whole site and measured everything,” said Evans.

The idea for the experiment originated with scientists at Nevada’s universities in Reno and Las Vegas and the Desert Research Institute. Evans was brought in for his expertise in nutrient cycling and deserts, while researchers at the University of Idaho, Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University and Colorado State University also contributed.

Funding came from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Terrestrial Carbon Processes Program and the National Science Foundation’s Ecosystem Studies Program.

Vast lands play significant role

The work addresses one of the big unknowns of global warming: the degree to which land-based ecosystems absorb or release carbon dioxide as it increases in the atmosphere.

Receiving less than 10 inches of rain a year, arid areas run in a wide band at 30 degrees north and south latitude. Along with semi-arid areas, which receive less than 20 inches of rain a year, they account for nearly half the earth’s land surface.

 

Read More Here

…..

Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

 

04 Mar 2014: Analysis

Soil as Carbon Storehouse:
New Weapon in Climate Fight?

The degradation of soils from unsustainable agriculture and other development has released billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere. But new research shows how effective land restoration could play a major role in sequestering CO2 and slowing climate change.

by judith d. schwartz

In the 19th century, as land-hungry pioneers steered their wagon trains westward across the United States, they encountered a vast landscape of towering grasses that nurtured deep, fertile soils.

Today, just three percent of North America’s tallgrass prairie remains. Its disappearance has had a dramatic impact on the landscape and ecology of

The world’s cultivated soils have lost 50 to 70 percent of their original carbon stock.

the U.S., but a key consequence of that transformation has largely been overlooked: a massive loss of soil carbon into the atmosphere. The importance of soil carbon — how it is leached from the earth and how that process can be reversed — is the subject of intensifying scientific investigation, with important implications for the effort to slow the rapid rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

According to Rattan Lal, director of Ohio State University’s Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, the world’s cultivated soils have lost between 50 and 70 percent of their original carbon stock, much of which has oxidized upon exposure to air to become CO2. Now, armed with rapidly expanding knowledge about carbon sequestration in soils, researchers are studying how land restoration programs in places like the

polar jet stream

Rattan Lal
Soil in a long-term experiment appears red when depleted of carbon (left) and dark brown when carbon content is high (right).

former North American prairie, the North China Plain, and even the parched interior of Australia might help put carbon back into the soil.

Absent carbon and critical microbes, soil becomes mere dirt, a process of deterioration that’s been rampant around the globe. Many scientists say that regenerative agricultural practices can turn back the carbon clock, reducing atmospheric CO2 while also boosting soil productivity and increasing resilience to floods and drought. Such regenerative techniques include planting fields year-round in crops or other cover, and agroforestry that combines crops, trees, and animal husbandry.

Recognition of the vital role played by soil carbon could mark an important if subtle shift in the discussion about global warming, which has been

A look at soil brings a sharper focus on potential carbon sinks.

heavily focused on curbing emissions of fossil fuels. But a look at soil brings a sharper focus on potential carbon sinks. Reducing emissions is crucial, but soil carbon sequestration needs to be part of the picture as well, says Lal. The top priorities, he says, are restoring degraded and eroded lands, as well as avoiding deforestation and the farming of peatlands, which are a major reservoir of carbon and are easily decomposed upon drainage and cultivation.

He adds that bringing carbon back into soils has to be done not only to offset fossil fuels, but also to feed our growing global population. “We cannot feed people if soil is degraded,” he says.

“Supply-side approaches, centered on CO2 sources, amount to reshuffling the Titanic deck chairs if we overlook demand-side solutions: where that carbon can and should go,” says Thomas J. Goreau, a biogeochemist and expert on carbon and nitrogen cycles who now serves as president of the Global Coral Reef Alliance. Goreau says we need to seek opportunities to increase soil carbon in all ecosystems — from tropical forests to pasture to wetlands — by replanting degraded areas, increased mulching of biomass instead of burning, large-scale use of biochar, improved pasture management, effective erosion control, and restoration of mangroves, salt marshes, and sea grasses.

“CO2 cannot be reduced to safe levels in time to avoid serious long-term impacts unless the other side of atmospheric CO2 balance is included,” Goreau says.

Scientists say that more carbon resides in soil than in the atmosphere and all plant life combined; there are 2,500 billion tons of carbon in soil, compared with 800 billion tons in the atmosphere and 560 billion tons in plant and animal life. And compared to many proposed geoengineering fixes, storing carbon in soil is simple: It’s a matter of returning carbon where it belongs.

Through photosynthesis, a plant draws carbon out of the air to form carbon compounds. What the plant doesn’t need for growth is exuded through the roots to feed soil organisms, whereby the carbon is humified, or rendered stable. Carbon is the main component of soil organic matter and helps give soil its water-retention capacity, its structure, and its fertility. According to Lal, some pools of carbon housed in soil aggregates are so stable that they can last thousands of years. This is in contrast to “active” soil carbon,

‘If we treat soil carbon as a renewable resource, we can change the dynamics,’ says an expert.

which resides in topsoil and is in continual flux between microbial hosts and the atmosphere.

“If we treat soil carbon as a renewable resource, we can change the dynamics,” says Goreau. “When we have erosion, we lose soil, which carries with it organic carbon, into waterways. When soil is exposed, it oxidizes, essentially burning the soil carbon. We can take an alternate trajectory.”

 

Read More Here

 

…..

Enhanced by Zemanta
ICE WORLD

Preglacial landscape found deep under Greenland ice


by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) April 18, 2014

US geologists said Thursday they have uncovered a preglacial tundra landscape preserved for 2.7 million years far below the Greenland ice sheet.

Glaciers are known to scrape everything off any given plot of land — vegetation, soil and even the top layer of bedrock — so scientists expressed great surprise that they had found the landscape in pristine condition below two miles (three kilometers) of ice.

The finding provides strong evidence that the ice sheet has existed for much longer than previously known, and survived numerous global warming episodes, according to the lead researcher, University of Vermont geologist Paul Bierman.

Rather than scraping and sculpting the landscape, the ice sheet has been frozen to the ground, effectively creating “a refrigerator that’s preserved this antique landscape,” Bierman said.

The finding suggests that even during the warmest periods of the ice sheet’s life, the center of Greenland was stable and did not fully melt, allowing the tundra landscape to be sealed without modification through millions of years of changing temperatures.

 

Read More Here

 

…..

Massive canyon discovered buried under Greenland ice

A vast gorge in the Earth on the same scale as the Grand Canyon lies buried under ice in Greenland, scientists have learned.

The massive hidden canyon is at least 466 miles (740km) long and up to 800 metres (2,600ft) deep in places.

The feature, resembling a meandering river channel, is believed to pre-date the ice sheet that has covered Greenland for millions of years.

3D visualisation of the canyon under Greenland's ice sheet.

3D visualisation of the canyon under Greenland’s ice sheet. Photograph: Professor Jonathan Bamber

Prof Jonathan Bamber, from the school of geographical studies at the University of Bristol, said: “With Google Streetview available for many cities around the world and digital maps for everything from population density to happiness, one might assume that the landscape of the Earth has been fully explored and mapped.

“Our research shows there’s still a lot left to discover.”

The canyon was uncovered by airborne radar which can penetrate ice and bounce off the land beneath.

Scientists pieced together radar measurements covering thousands of kilometres collected by Arctic researchers over several decades. They found evidence of a fissure in the bedrock stretching northwards almost from the centre of Greenland.

The canyon ends in a deep fjord connecting it to the Arctic ocean.

 

Read More Here

 

…..

Enhanced by Zemanta

KING 5.com

 

Climate change increasing massive wildfires in West

Climate change increasing massive wildfires in West

Credit: Draysen Brooks Bechard

Wildfire near Wenatchee, 2013.

by Doyle Rice, USA TODAY

Posted on April 19, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Updated today at 11:09 AM

 

Massive wildfires are on the increase in the Western US due to rising temperatures and worsening drought from climate change, and the trend could continue in the decades to come, new research suggests.

Overall, the number of large wildfires increased by a rate of seven fires a year from 1984 to 2011, while the total area damaged by fire increased at a rate of nearly 90,000 acres per year, according to the study, published this week in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

The study comes against the backdrop of what could to be a disastrous year for fires in the West, especially drought-plagued California, which even saw fires in the normally quiet month of January.

Though relatively calm this week, “Expect dry and windy conditions to develop over the Southwest Tuesday and Wednesday,” according to a forecast Friday from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. By May, “Above normal significant fire potential will expand over portions of Southern, Central and Northern California,” the NIFC predicted earlier this month.

 

Read More Here

Enhanced by Zemanta
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,574 other followers