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.
Western Hemisphere Gets Front-row Seat for Lunar Eclipse
North and South America, get ready for the first eclipse of the year.
Next Tuesday morning, April 15, 2014, the moon will be eclipsed by Earth’s shadow. This total lunar eclipse will be visible across the Western Hemisphere. The total phase will last 78 minutes, beginning at 3:06 a.m. EDT and ending at 4:24 a.m. EDT.
Using satellite imagery to monitor which volcanoes are deforming provides statistical evidence of their eruption potential, according to a new study led by the Univ. of Bristol published in Nature Communications.
ESA’s Sentinel satellite, launched this week, should allow scientists to test this link in greater detail and eventually develop a forecast system for all volcanoes, including those that are remote and inaccessible.
An international team of planetary scientists determined that the Moon formed nearly 100 million years after the start of the solar system, according to a paper published today in Nature. This conclusion is based on measurements from the interior of the Earth combined with computer simulations of the protoplanetary disk from which the Earth and other terrestrial planets formed.
The team of researchers from France, Germany and the U.S. simulated the growth of the terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars) from a disk of thousands of planetary building blocks orbiting the Sun. By analyzing the growth history of the Earth-like planets from 259 simulations, the scientists discovered a relationship between the time the Earth was impacted by a Mars-sized object to create the Moon and the amount of material added to the Earth after that impact.
The Arctic has been undergoing significant changes in recent years. Average temperatures are rising twice as fast as they are elsewhere in the world. The extent and thickness of sea ice is rapidly declining. Such changes may have an impact on atmospheric conditions outside the region. Several hypotheses for how Arctic warming may be influencing mid-latitude weather patterns have been proposed recently. For example, Arctic warming could lead to a weakened jet stream resulting in more persistent weather patterns in the mid-latitudes. Or Arctic sea ice loss could lead to an increase of snow on high-latitude land, which in turn impacts the jet stream resulting in cold Eurasian and North American winters. These and other potential connections between a warming Arctic and mid-latitude weather are the subject of active research.
By the time you finish reading this story, you’ll be about 1,000 km closer to the planet Mars.
Earth and Mars are converging for a close encounter. As March gives way to April, the distance between the two planets is shrinking by about 300 km every minute. When the convergence ends in mid-April, the gulf between Earth and Mars will have narrowed to only 92 million km — a small number on the vast scale of the solar system.
Researchers from Princeton Univ. and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have confirmed that, during the last ice age, iron fertilization caused plankton to thrive in a region of the Southern Ocean.
The study published in Science confirms a longstanding hypothesis that wind-borne dust carried iron to the region of the globe north of Antarctica, driving plankton growth and eventually leading to the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Image of the Week: False-color Image of Earth Shows Plant Growth
On Aug. 3, 2004, NASA’s Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft began a seven-year journey, spiraling through the inner solar system to Mercury. One year after launch, the spacecraft zipped around Earth, getting an orbit correction from Earth’s gravity and getting a chance to test its instruments by observing its home planet.
Oldest Part of Crust Firms Up Idea of a Cool Early Earth
With the help of a tiny fragment of zircon extracted from a remote rock outcrop in Australia, the picture of how our planet became habitable to life about 4.4 billion years ago is coming into sharper focus.
Writing this week in the journal Nature Geoscience, an international team of researchers led by Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison geoscience Prof. John Valley reveals data that confirm the Earth’s crust first formed at least 4.4 billion years ago, just 160 million years after the formation of our solar system. The work shows, Valley says, that the time when our planet was a fiery ball covered in a magma ocean came earlier.
Every Thursday, Laboratory Equipment features a Scientist of the Week, chosen from the science industry’s latest headlines. This week’s scientist is Robert Hazen from the Carnegie Institution for Science. Hazen compiled a list of every plausible mineral species on the early Earth and concluded that no more than 420 different minerals would have been present at or near Earth’s surface.
An international team of researchers led by Ralf Tappert, Univ. of Innsbruck, reconstructed the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere of the last 220 million years by analyzing modern and fossil plant resins. The results suggest that atmospheric oxygen was considerably lower in the Earth’s geological past than previously assumed.
Scientists encounter big challenges when reconstructing atmospheric compositions in the Earth’s geological past because of the lack of useable sample material. One of the few organic materials that may preserve reliable data of the Earth’s geological history over millions of years are fossil resins (e.g. amber).
NASA, Amazon Bring Earth Science ‘Big Data’ to the Cloud
NASA and Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) of Seattle, Wash., are making a large collection of NASA climate and Earth science satellite data available to research and educational users through the AWS cloud.
The system enhances research and educational opportunities for the U.S. geoscience community by promoting community-driven research, innovation and collaboration.
Find Challenges Assumptions about Makeup of Earth’s Mantle
A new discovery by researchers from the Univ. of Notre Dame’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences could change prevailing assumptions about the chemical makeup of the Earth’s mantle.
Antonio Simonetti, an associate professor in the department, and his doctoral student Wei Chen worked in cooperation with Vadim Kamenetsky of the Univ. of Tasmania to learn the art of conducting chemical and mineralogical analyses of melt inclusions within crystals of the mineral magnetite (Fe3O4).
Close to 01:00 CET on Monday November 11, ESA’s GOCE satellite reentered Earth’s atmosphere on a descending orbit pass that extended across Siberia, the western Pacific Ocean, the eastern Indian Ocean and Antarctica. As expected, the satellite disintegrated in the high atmosphere and no damage to property has been reported.
Launched in March 2009, the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer – GOCE – has mapped variations in Earth’s gravity with unrivalled precision. The result is the most accurate shape of the “geoid” – a hypothetical global ocean at rest – ever produced, which is being used to understand ocean circulation, sea level, ice dynamics and Earth’s interior.
Have you ever wondered which places on Earth most resemble other planets? For some of us, imagining the landscape of other worlds might just be for fun, but scientists and engineers wonder about what the otherworldly places on Earth can tell us about neighbors like the Moon and Mars.
Working in the most unusual places on Earth can help us to prepare for human flights, robotic missions and the search for life beyond our own planet. These analogues are chosen because they are similar in one way or another to particular planetary environments. They can be used for technical tests and research before the effort and expense of a launch into space.