News 2019


Earth Sciences

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Environment - Earth Sciences - 10.12.2019
Scientific advances needed to track progress of methane levels in the atmosphere
Understanding what influences the amount of methane in the atmosphere has been identified by the American Geophysical Union to be one of the foremost challenges in the earth sciences in the coming decades because of methane's hugely important role in meeting climate warming targets. Methane is the second most important human-made greenhouse gas and is rising in the atmosphere more rapidly than predicted for reasons that are not well-understood.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 06.12.2019
The Arctic’s changing landscape: Impact on plants, animals, livelihoods and global temperatures
With 2019 on track to be one of the warmest years on record, a major new study reveals the impact of warming temperatures on Arctic vegetation, animal species, and human communities who rely on the stability of the Arctic food chain to survive. The study, published today in Science Advances by an international team of researchers, reports that the Arctic has warmed by 0.75 Celsius in the last decade.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 05.12.2019
Carbon emissions from volcanic rocks can create global warming - study
Greenhouse gas emissions released directly from the movement of volcanic rocks are capable of creating massive global warming effects - a discovery which could transform the way scientists predict climate change, a new study reveals. Scientists' calculations based on how carbon-based greenhouse gas levels link to movements of magma just below earth's surface suggest that such geological change has caused the largest temporary global warming of the past 65 million years.

Astronomy / Space Science - Earth Sciences - 03.12.2019
Analysis: We may have solved the mystery of how landslides form on Mars
Mars's huge landslides can move at speeds of up to 360 kilometres an hour for up to tens of kilometres. PhD candidate Giulia Magnarini and Dr Tom Mitchell (UCL Earth Sciences) write about how these landslides may have formed. Some landslides on Mars seem to defy an important law of physics. "Long, runout landslides" are formed by huge volumes of rock and soil moving downslope, largely due to the force of gravity.

Earth Sciences - Chemistry - 27.11.2019
Barbequed clams on the menu for ancient Puerto Ricans
Scientists have reconstructed the cooking techniques of the early inhabitants of Puerto Rico by analysing the remains of clams. Led by Philip Staudigel, who conducted the analysis as a graduate student at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School and is now a postdoctoral researcher at Cardiff University, the team has used new chemical analysis techniques to identify the exact cooking temperatures at which clams were cooked over 2500 years ago.

Life Sciences - Earth Sciences - 25.11.2019
Changes in oxygen concentrations in our ocean can disrupt fundamental biological cycles
The nitrogen cycle is essential to all forms of life on Earth - nitrogen is a basic building block of DNA. The marine nitrogen cycle is strongly controlled by biology and small changes in the marine nitrogen cycle have major implications on life. It is thought that the marine nitrogen cycle has stayed relatively stable over geological time due to a range of different feedback mechanisms.

Paleontology - Earth Sciences - 04.11.2019
Discriminating diets of meat-eating dinosaurs
A big problem with dinosaurs is that there seem to be too many meat-eaters. From studies of modern animals, there is a feeding pyramid, with plants at the bottom, then plant-eaters, and then meat-eaters at the top. A new study by scientists at the University of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences , published in the journal Palaeontology, shows that dinosaurian meat-eaters, the theropod dinosaurs, specialised a great deal, and so broadened their food base.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 30.10.2019
Climate models and geology reveal new insights into the East Asian monsoon
A team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, have used climate models and geological records to better understand changes in the East Asian monsoon over long geologic time scales. Their findings, published today in the journal Science Advances , suggest that the monsoon system's development was more sensitive to changes in geography (especially mountain height) rather than carbon dioxide, and that the monsoon came into existence around 40 million years earlier than previously thought.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 25.10.2019
Climate change is affecting the way Europe floods, experts warn
Climate change is disrupting the rhythms of spring growing and river flooding across Europe, which could pose new problems for biodiversity and food security in floodplains, scientists say. New analysis of five decades of European flood and temperature data, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, demonstrates for the first time an increasing overlap between the onset of spring and the highest points of seasonal flooding.

Astronomy / Space Science - Earth Sciences - 24.10.2019
Martian landslides not conclusive evidence of ice
Giant ridges on the surface of landslides on Mars could have formed without ice, challenging their use by some as unequivocal evidence of past ice on the red planet, finds a new UCL-led study using state-of-the-art satellite data. Detailed three-dimensional images of an extensive landslide on Mars, which spans an area more than 55 kilometres wide, have been analysed to understand how the unusually large and long ridges and furrows formed about 400 million years ago.

Astronomy / Space Science - Earth Sciences - 14.10.2019
Q&A: How exploring Venus could unlock our understanding of Earth’s future
As the EnVision mission to Venus is preparing for its planned launch in 2032, we speak to the Imperial researcher who is a part of the Science Team. With its extremely high temperatures and surface veiled by thick clouds, Venus represents an unusual example of planet formation and evolution. Once thought to be a tropical paradise, it was only in the 1960s that scientists were able to observe its hostile environment.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 24.09.2019
’Treasure trove’ of quake clues could be unearthed by wavy new technique
Imperial geologists have improved the mapping of underwater rocks, which could lead to better understanding of earthquakes and tsunami hazards. Their technique combines traditional acoustic mapping with a newer method called 2D waveform inversion. This enhanced their view of rocks along a fault line - a break in the Earth's crust - off the east coast of New Zealand's North Island.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 17.09.2019
Identifies a climate signature in rivers globally
A new study, including scientists from Cardiff University and published today , discovers a clear climatic signature on rivers globally that challenges existing theories. If you walk from a river's source to its mouth, you walk a path that descends in elevation. In some rivers, this path will descend steeply out of the uplands, and then flatten out in the lowlands.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 16.09.2019
Identifies a climate signature in rivers globally
A new study, led by scientists from the University of Bristol and published , discovers a clear climatic signature on rivers globally that challenges existing theories. For decades geoscientists have been trying to detect the influence of climate on the formation of rivers, but up to now there has been no systematic evidence.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 10.09.2019
Europe’s oldest lake traces 1.4 million years of Mediterranean climate
New research by an international team of scientists, led by the University of Cologne and including the University of Bristol, has revealed a lake considered to be the oldest in Europe was first established 1.36 million years ago and has existed continuously ever since. Lake Ohrid, located at the border between the Republics of Albania and North Macedonia, is famous for its exceptional biodiversity, with more than 300 unique (endemic) animal and plant species.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 09.09.2019
First day of dinosaur extinction recorded in rocks at asteroid impact site
Researchers probing the impact that wiped out the dinosaurs find evidence of wildfires and tsunami in the rocks at ground zero. An international team led by University of Texas and including Imperial College London researchers analysed more than 130 metres of rock that had built up over just one day - the day after the asteroid struck.

Astronomy / Space Science - Earth Sciences - 05.09.2019
’Martian CSI’ reveals how asteroid impacts created running water under red planet
Dr Luke Daly, Research Associate in Solar System Science at the University of Glasgow's School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, holding a piece of a Martian nakhlite meteorite. Modern analysis of Martian meteorites has revealed unprecedented details about how asteroid impacts help create temporary sources of running water on the red planet.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 03.09.2019
Vintage film reveals Antarctic glacier melting
Newly available archival film has revealed the eastern ice shelf of Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica is melting faster than previous estimates, suggesting the shelf may collapse sooner than expected.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 02.09.2019
Vintage film of Antarctic glaciers hints at early ice shelf collapse
Digitised archival film has revealed part of Thwaites Glacier is melting faster than thought, suggesting the shelf may collapse sooner than expected. Newly digitised vintage film has doubled how far back scientists can peer into the history of ice in Antarctica, and revealed that an ice shelf on Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica is being thawed by a warming ocean more quickly than previously thought.

Earth Sciences - 27.08.2019
’Surrey swarm’ earthquakes not caused by nearby oil extraction, says study
Imperial College London research has found no evidence that oil extraction caused recent earthquakes known as the 'Surrey swarm' in Surrey and Sussex. The series of 34 small earthquakes between April 2018 and May 2019 occurred within 10 km of two active oil extraction sites at Brockham and Horse Hill in Surrey.
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