Mangroves Among the Most Carbon-Rich Forests in the Tropics; Coastal Trees Key to Lowering Greenhouse Gases

ScienceDaily (Apr. 4, 2011) — Coastal mangrove forests store more carbon than almost any other forest on Earth, according to a study conducted by a team of U.S. Forest Service and university scientists.

Novel Technique Reveals How Glaciers Sculpted Their Valleys

ScienceDaily (Mar. 31, 2011) — The beautiful and distinctive U-shaped glacial valleys typical of alpine areas from Alaska to New Zealand have fascinated and frustrated geologists for centuries. While it seems obvious that glaciers scoured the bedrock for millions of years, what the landscape looked like before glaciers appeared, and how the glaciers changed that landscape over time, have remained a mystery. The glaciers erased all the evidence.

Wind Can Keep Mountains from Growing

ScienceDaily (Mar. 28, 2011) — Wind is a much more powerful force in the evolution of mountains than previously thought, according to a new report from a University of Arizona-led research team. Bedrock in Central Asia that would have formed mountains instead was sand-blasted into dust, said lead author Paul Kapp.

Uncertain Future for Joshua Trees in US Southwest Projected With Climate Change

ScienceDaily (Mar. 25, 2011) — Temperature increases resulting from climate change in the Southwest will likely eliminate Joshua trees from 90 percent of their current range in 60 to 90 years, according to a new study led by U.S. Geological Survey ecologist Ken Cole.

In the North Atlantic, Oceanic Currents Play a Greater Role in the Absorption of Carbon Than Previously Thought

ScienceDaily (Mar. 9, 2011) — The ocean traps carbon through two principal mechanisms: a biological pump and a physical pump linked to oceanic currents. A team of researchers from CNRS, IRD, the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, UPMC and UBO (1) have managed to quantify the role of these two pumps in an area of the North Atlantic. Contrary to expectations, the physical pump in this region could be nearly 100 times more powerful on average than the biological pump. By pulling down masses of water cooled and enriched with carbon, ocean circulation thus plays a crucial role in deep carbon sequestration in the North Atlantic.

Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Brayton Cycle Turbines Promise Giant Leap in Power Generation

ScienceDaily (Mar. 4, 2011) — Sandia National Laboratories researchers are moving into the demonstration phase of a novel gas turbine system for power generation, with the promise that thermal-to-electric conversion efficiency will be increased to as much as 50 percent -- an improvement of 50 percent for nuclear power stations equipped with steam turbines, or a 40 percent improvement for simple gas turbines. The system is also very compact, meaning that capital costs would be relatively low.

Some Antarctic Ice Is Forming from Bottom

ScienceDaily (Mar. 3, 2011) — Scientists working in the remotest part of Antarctica have discovered that liquid water locked deep under the continent's coat of ice regularly thaws and refreezes to the bottom, creating as much as half the thickness of the ice in places, and actively modifying its structure. The finding, which turns common perceptions of glacial formation upside down, could reshape scientists' understanding of how the ice sheet expands and moves, and how it might react to warming climate, they say.

Bears Uncouple Temperature and Metabolism for Hibernation, New Study Shows

ScienceDaily (Feb. 17, 2011) — Several American black bears, captured by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game after wandering a bit too close to human communities, have given researchers the opportunity to study hibernation in these large mammals like never before. Surprisingly, the new findings show that although black bears only reduce their body temperatures slightly during hibernation, their metabolic activity drops dramatically, slowing to about 25 percent of their normal, active rates.

Ice Cores Yield Rich History of Climate Change

On Friday, Jan. 28 in Antarctica, a research team investigating the last 100,000 years of Earth's climate history reached an important milestone completing the main ice core to a depth of 3,331 meters (10,928 feet) at West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide (WAIS). The project will be completed over the next two years with some additional coring and borehole logging to obtain additional information and samples of the ice for the study of the climate record contained in the core.

Arctic Mercury Mystery: Meterological Conditions in the Spring and Summer to Blame?

More mercury is deposited in the Arctic than anywhere else on the planet. Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) think that one explanation for this may lie in the meteorological conditions in the Arctic spring and summer.