Longer growing season does not yield growth increase for trees and shrubs

As the earth's temperatures rise, some have speculated that trees and shrubs in the colder climates might experience and increase in growth as a result of the extended growing season. "Not so," says a recent study authored by a University of Washington biology and applied mathematics postdoctoral student. Her study demonstrates that bushes achieve less yearly growth when cold winter temperatures are interrupted by warm spurts that trigger growth.

Alarming data on Arctic Ice Loss

The Antarctic ice sheet has lost ice twice as quickly in the past three years as when it was last surveyed between 2005 and 2010, say scientists. Results from the CryoSat-2 satellite mission, published today in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, say the largest ice sheet on Earth is now losing 159 billion tonnes of ice each year.

Canyons in Greenland hold a lot more glacial ice than thought

Greenland is now mostly white. Snow and ice and glaciers abound, but are shrinking as the climate warms. Turns out that some of the glaciers are found in canyons and the canyons are deeper than previously thought. Scientists at NASA and the University of California, Irvine (UCI), have found that canyons under Greenland's ocean-feeding glaciers are deeper and longer than previously thought, increasing the amount of Greenland's estimated contribution to future sea level rise. "The glaciers of Greenland are likely to retreat faster and farther inland than anticipated, and for much longer, according to this very different topography we have discovered," said Mathieu Morlighem, a UCI associate project scientist who is lead author of the new research paper. The results were published Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Fighting air pollution with innovation and technology

Air pollution has become one of the world's biggest threats to the future of our planet. Chronic air pollution shortens our lives and the lives of the ecologies around us. In parts of Asia, where air pollution is most pervasive, food crops and other plants are exhibiting signs of stress due to low air quality.

Greenland will be far greater contributor to sea rise than expected

Greenland's icy reaches are far more vulnerable to warm ocean waters from climate change than had been thought, according to new research by UC Irvine and NASA glaciologists. The work, published today in Nature Geoscience, shows previously uncharted deep valleys stretching for dozens of miles under the Greenland Ice Sheet. The bedrock canyons sit well below sea level, meaning that as subtropical Atlantic waters hit the fronts of hundreds of glaciers, those edges will erode much further than had been assumed and release far greater amounts of water.

Climate Change on JUPITER

We are very concerned with the changing climate on Earth. The climate on other planets is more difficult to study, and direct observations are impossible, save some observations from the Mars rovers. Jupiter has an atmosphere that is very different from Earth's. The prominent Giant Red Spot, a swirling anti-cyclonic storm larger than Earth, appears to be a permanent fixture of the planet's atmosphere, and has been remarkably stable for decades. Now the Great Red Spot has shrunk to its smallest size ever measured. According to Amy Simon of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, recent NASA Hubble Space Telescope observations confirm the Great Red Spot now is approximately 10,250 miles across, less than half the size of some historical measurements. Astronomers have followed this downsizing since the 1930s.

Antarctica, Australia and Climate Change

Rising greenhouse gas levels are causing stronger winds over the Southern Ocean. It's good news for Antarctica, writes Tim Radford, as the circumpolar winds are keeping its ice caps cold. But Australia is getting hotter and drier - and its problems will only increase. The answer to one of the enduring puzzles of global warming - the apparently sluggish response of the Antarctic continent to rising greenhouse gas levels - may have been settled by Australian scientists.

A Greener Future For National Parks

Yellowstone National Park leaders in 2010 established a five-year plan to elevate Yellowstone as a world leader in environmental stewardship. In other words, lead by example by being one of the greenest parks in the world.

Scientists discover giant sperm fossilized in bat guano

In a cave in Australia, researchers from the University of New South Wales discovered giant fossilized sperm. The sperm were produced 17 million years ago by a group of tiny, shelled crustaceans called ostracods, making them the oldest fossilized sperm ever found. The results were published recently in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The fossils were excavated in 1988, but it wasn't known they contained sperm until they were studied in detail by an ostracod expert last year.

10,000-Gallons of Crude Oil Spilled in L.A.

Yesterday morning, black oil sprayed nearly 20 feet into the air in Atwater Village, a neighborhood in Los Angeles, California after a "valve malfunction" caused the oil to leak. The LA Fire Department (LAFD) estimates that 10,000 gallons have spilled and while much cleanup progress has been made, it will will take a few days to clean up all contamination. Crude oil was spilled across a half-mile area, according to an LAFD alert. The oil spill had created a pool approximately 40-feet wide and was knee-high in some areas.