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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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Information theory as a forensics tool for investigating climate mysteries
During Earth's last glacial period, temperatures on the planet periodically spiked dramatically and rapidly. A new article suggests that mathematics from information theory could offer a powerful tool for analyzing and understanding these mysterious events.

Ants inhibit at least 14 different plant diseases
New research shows that ants inhibit at least 14 different plant diseases. The small insects secrete antibiotics from glands in the body. On their legs and body, they also host colonies of bacteria that secrete antibiotics. It is probably these substances that inhibit a number of different diseases and researchers now hope to find biological pesticides that may conquer resistant plant diseases.

A secret in saliva: Food and germs helped humans evolve into unique member of great apes
Researchers discovered that the human diet -- a result of increased meat consumption, cooking and agriculture -- has led to stark differences in the saliva of humans compared to that of other primates.

Study helps pinpoint what makes species vulnerable to environmental change
Researchers have reported that a bird species' ability to adapt to seasonal temperature changes may be one factor in whether it can better withstand environmental disruption. The researchers studied 135 bird species in the Himalayas and found that species living in the seasonal western Himalayas adapted to the conversion of forests to agricultural land better than birds native to the tropical eastern Himalayas. Results such as these could help conservationists better determine where to focus their efforts.

Scientists find early humans moved through Mediterranean earlier than believed
An international research team led by scientists from McMaster University has unearthed new evidence in Greece proving that the island of Naxos was inhabited by Neanderthals and earlier humans at least 200,000 years ago, tens of thousands of years earlier than previously believed.

Respiratory diseases linked with high blood pressure in lungs
Pulmonary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure that affects the lungs of both animals and people. When tiny vessels in the lungs become narrowed or blocked, it becomes harder for blood to flow through and can cause the heart to weaken or fail.

Huge dinosaurs evolved different cooling systems to combat heat stroke
Different dinosaur groups independently evolved gigantic body sizes, but they all faced the same problems of overheating and damaging their brains.

Clingfish biology inspires better suction cup
A team of engineers and marine biologists built a better suction cup inspired by the mechanism that allows the clingfish to adhere to both smooth and rough surfaces. Researchers reverse engineered the clingfish's suction disk and developed devices that cling well to wet and dry objects both in an out of water. The devices can hold up to hundreds of times their own weight.

Scientists discover skin keeps time independent of the brain
A study has now found that a type of opsin known as neuropsin is expressed in the hair follicles of mice and synchronize the skin's circadian clock to the light-dark cycle, independent of the eyes or brain. Researchers now want to see if skin heals better if it's exposed to certain types of light.

Tiny particles lead to brighter clouds in the tropics
When clouds loft tropical air masses higher in the atmosphere, that air can carry up gases that form into tiny particles, starting a process that may end up brightening lower-level clouds, according to a new study. Clouds alter Earth's radiative balance, and ultimately climate, depending on how bright they are. The new paper describes a process that may occur over 40% of the Earth's surface.

How human brain development diverged from that of great apes
Researchers present new insights into the development of the human brain and differences in this process compared to other great apes. The study reveals features of brain development that are unique to humans, and outlines how these processes have diverged from those in other primates.

Scientists work toward a rapid point-of-care diagnostic test for Lyme disease
A study describes a new rapid assay for Lyme disease that could lead to a practical test for use by healthcare providers. The researchers found the assay, which uses several biomarkers to detect Lyme disease infection, was more sensitive than current laboratory-based tests when diagnosing Lyme disease early after suspected infection.

3-D printed coral could help endangered reefs
Threats to coral reefs are everywhere -- rising water temperatures, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, fishing and other human activities. But new research shows that 3-D printed coral can provide a structural starter kit for reef organisms and can become part of the landscape as fish and coral build their homes around the artificial coral.

AcaĆ­ berry extracts fight malaria in mice
Despite humanity's best efforts to eradicate malaria, the disease struck more than 200 million people in 2017, according to the World Health Organization. Worse yet, the parasite that causes malaria is developing resistance to many antimalarial drugs, including the mainstay, chloroquine. Researchers are actively searching for new treatments, and now, a group have found that acaĆ­ berry extracts can reduce parasites in the blood and prolong the survival of infected mice.

The moon determines when migratory birds head south
A new study shows that the presence or absence of moonlight has a considerable bearing on when migratory birds take flight in the autumn.

Surveying solar storms by ancient Assyrian astronomers
Researcher finds evidence of ancient solar magnetic storms based on cuneiform astrological records and carbon-14 dating. This work may help with our understanding of intense solar activity that can threaten modern electronics.

Warmer nights prompt forest birds to lay eggs earlier in spring
Rising night-time temperatures are causing woodland birds to build nests and lay eggs earlier in springtime, research shows.

Newly identified compounds could help give fire ants their sting
Native to South America, imported fire ants have now spread to parts of North America and elsewhere around the world. These invasive pests have painful stings that, in some cases, can cause serious medical problems, such as hypersensitivity reactions, infections and even kidney failure. Now, researchers have identified pyridine alkaloids that, along with other venom components, could contribute to these conditions.

New paper-based technology allows reliable, low-cost sensing of iron levels in fortified foods
Researchers have developed an affordable, reliable paper-based sensor that works with a cellphone app to detect levels of iron in fortified food products.

Climate change increases risk of mercury contamination
As global temperatures continue to rise, the thawing of permafrost is accelerated and mercury trapped in the frozen ground is now being released. The mercury is transforming into more mobile and potentially toxic forms that can lead to environmental and health concerns for wildlife, the fishing industry and people in the Arctic and beyond.