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Environment - Earth Sciences - 10.07.2024
Mozambican Woodlands could store more than double the carbon previously estimated
Mozambican Woodlands could store more than double the carbon previously estimated
The capacity of Mozambican woodlands to capture and store carbon is underestimated and potentially undervalued for their protection and restoration, finds new research from an international team of scientists including UCL researchers. The research, led by carbon data provider Sylvera and published in Nature Communications Earth & Environment , found that miombo woodlands, which span large areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, store 1.5 to 2.2 times more carbon than had previously been estimated by standard methods.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 10.07.2024
The Gulf Stream is wind-powered and could weaken from climate change
The Gulf Stream is wind-powered and could weaken from climate change
New evidence of changes to the Gulf Stream during the last ice age could indicate additional sensitivity to future climatic changes, finds a new study led by UCL researchers. The research, published in Nature, found that during the last ice age about 20,000 years ago, the Gulf Stream was stronger than today because of more powerful winds across the subtropical North Atlantic.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 05.07.2024
Repurposed technology used to probe new regions of Mars’ atmosphere
An antenna on ExoMars' Trace Gas Orbiter has been given a new lease of life, helping researchers delve into the Martian atmosphere like never before. Using the repurposed equipment, a team including Imperial College London researchers have measured parts of the Martian atmosphere that were previously impossible to probe.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 27.06.2024
New balloon-borne spectrometer project to revolutionise our understanding of the earliest days of the Cosmos
New balloon-borne spectrometer project to revolutionise our understanding of the earliest days of the Cosmos
A massive balloon, designed to measure the background radiation left over from the 'Big Bang' and help scientists better understand the infancy and evolution of our Universe, has just moved to the next stage of development Thirty years after the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) spectrum was first precisely characterised by NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) mission, a new experiment - known as BISOU (for Balloon Interferometer for Spectral Observations of the Universe) - is expected to significantly advance these measurements, gaining a factor of ~25 in sensitivity.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 20.06.2024
Climate models underestimate carbon cycling through plants
Climate models underestimate carbon cycling through plants
The carbon stored globally by plants is shorter-lived and more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought, according to a new study. The findings have implications for our understanding of the role of nature in mitigating climate change, including the potential for nature-based carbon removal projects such as mass tree-planting.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 13.06.2024
Video analysis of Iceland 2010 eruption could improve volcanic ash forecasts for aviation safety
Video analysis of Iceland 2010 eruption could improve volcanic ash forecasts for aviation safety
Video footage of Iceland's 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption is providing researchers from the University of Cambridge with rare, up-close observations of volcanic ash clouds - information that could help better forecast how far explosive eruptions disperse their hazardous ash particles. When Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010, it ejected roughly 250 million tonnes of volcanic ash into the atmosphere: much of which was blown over Europe and into flight paths.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 28.05.2024
Volcanic ash reveals chaos-causing seaweed's journey
Volcanic ash reveals chaos-causing seaweed’s journey
Scientists have used volcanic ash and ocean models to track the journey of huge mats of seaweed floating across the Atlantic and causing chaos in the Caribbean. They found chemical traces of volcanic ash from the eruption of a volcano on St Vincent, in St Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean, on sargassum seaweed that washed up four months later in Jamaica - 1,700 kilometres away.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 28.05.2024
Global activity of seafloor biodiversity mapped for the first time
Global activity of seafloor biodiversity mapped for the first time
A team of scientists from the USA and UK has used artificial intelligence (AI) to map the activities of seafloor invertebrate animals, such as worms, clams and shrimps, across all the oceans of the world. The research, led by Texas A&M University (USA) with investigators from the University of Southampton (UK) and Yale University (USA), combined large datasets, with machine learning techniques, to reveal the critical factors that support and maintain the health of marine ecosystems.

Earth Sciences - History / Archeology - 22.05.2024
Excavation indicates a major ancient migration to Timor Island
Excavation indicates a major ancient migration to Timor Island
New archaeological evidence indicates that humans first reached the island of Timor in large numbers, challenging scientists' understanding of how ancient people migrated from Southeast Asia to Australia, according to a new study led by a UCL researcher. The study, published in Nature Communications , dated and analysed ancient sediment, artefacts, and animal remains discovered in a large rock overhang in Laili, located in north-central Timor-Leste (East Timor).

Environment - Earth Sciences - 07.05.2024
Study charts how north Africa’s climate changed 5,000 years ago
Climate tipping points can either result from a slow but linear development, or can "flicker" between two stable climatic states that alternate before a final, permanent transition occurs, finds a new study featuring a UCL researcher. The study, published in Nature Communications , confirms this alternating transition for the end of the African Humid Period, a time between about 14,000 and 5,000 years ago when northern Africa was much wetter, as it shifted to the pronounced aridity that is typical today.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 03.05.2024
Ice shelves fracture under weight of meltwater lakes
Ice shelves fracture under weight of meltwater lakes
Heavy pooling meltwater can fracture ice, potentially leading to ice shelf collapse When air temperatures in Antarctica rise and glacier ice melts, water can pool on the surface of floating ice shelves, weighing them down and causing the ice to bend. Now, for the first time in the field, researchers have shown that ice shelves don't just buckle under the weight of meltwater lakes - they fracture.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 22.04.2024
Mystery behind huge opening in Antarctic sea ice solved
Mystery behind huge opening in Antarctic sea ice solved
Researchers have discovered the missing piece of the puzzle behind a rare opening in the sea ice around Antarctica, which was nearly twice the size of Wales and occurred during the winters of 2016 and 2017. A study published today [1 May 2024] in Science Advances reveals a key process that had eluded scientists as to how the opening, called a polynya, was able to form and persist for several weeks.

Earth Sciences - 22.04.2024
Feedback loop that is melting ice shelves in West Antarctica revealed
New research has uncovered a feedback loop that may be accelerating the melting of the floating portions of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, pushing up global sea levels. The study, published in Science Advances , sheds new light on the mechanisms driving the melting of ice shelves beneath the surface of the ocean, which have been unclear until now.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 16.04.2024
New analysis reveals brutal history of Winchcombe meteorite's space journey
New analysis reveals brutal history of Winchcombe meteorite’s space journey
Intensive new nano-analysis of the Winchcombe meteorite has revealed how it was affected by water and repeatedly smashed apart and reassembled on the journey it took through space before landing in an English sheep field in 2021. Researchers from dozens of institutions in the UK, Europe, Australia, and the USA collaborated on the research.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 09.02.2024
Industrial pollution leaves its mark in Mediterranean corals
Industrial pollution leaves its mark in Mediterranean corals
For the first time, pollutants from burning fossil fuels have been found embedded in corals, offering scientists a potential new tool to track the history of pollution, finds a new study led by UCL researchers. The study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment , identified carbon particles emitted by burning fossil fuels embedded in the corals of Illa Grossa Bay, off the Columbretes Islands in the Mediterranean Sea.

History / Archeology - Earth Sciences - 08.02.2024
Ice cores provide first documentation of rapid Antarctic ice loss in the past
Ice cores provide first documentation of rapid Antarctic ice loss in the past
Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the British Antarctic Survey have uncovered the first direct evidence that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet shrunk suddenly and dramatically at the end of the Last Ice Age, around 8,000 years ago. The evidence, contained within an ice core, shows that in one location the ice sheet thinned by 450 metres - that's more than the height of the Empire State Building - in just under 200 years.

Earth Sciences - 05.02.2024
New report into Turkey-Syria earthquakes uncovers deficiencies in building structures and construction shortcuts were the main cause of casualties
The Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team (EEFIT), co-led by Professor Emily So, today publishes its findings and recommendations. Our field work and remote analysis revealed many issues, including the issue of non-compliant buildings with little seismic resilience.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 02.02.2024
Ancient seafloor vents spewed tiny, life-giving minerals into Earth's early oceans
Ancient seafloor vents spewed tiny, life-giving minerals into Earth’s early oceans
Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Western Australia have uncovered the importance of hydrothermal vents, similar to underwater geysers, in supplying minerals that may have been a key ingredient in the emergence of early life. Their study , published in Science Advances , examined 3.5-billion-year-old rocks from western Australia in previously unseen detail and identified large quantities of a mineral called greenalite, which is thought to have played a role in early biological processes.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 17.01.2024
Climate and health impacts of dust inaccurately represented
The source and amounts of different types of mineral dust reaching the Earth's atmosphere needs to be re-evaluated so its effects on human health and climate change can be more accurately understood, scientists claim. The international team, led by Cardiff University, says existing models have over-estimated the role of North Africa as the primary source of global dust emissions for nearly thirty years leading to inaccuracies in our understanding of the impacts on rainforests, oceans and ice.

Earth Sciences - 09.01.2024
Mysterious missing component in the clouds of Venus revealed
Researchers may have identified the missing component in the chemistry of the Venusian clouds that would explain their colour and 'splotchiness' in the UV range, solving a longstanding mystery. What are the clouds of Venus made of? Scientists know they are mainly made of sulfuric acid droplets, with some water, chlorine, and iron.
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