Study finds body size of marine plankton, currents keys to dispersal in ocean

When it comes to marine plankton, the smaller you are the farther you travel. A new international study found that the size of plankton, and the strength and direction of currents, are key to how they are dispersed in the ocean – much more so than physical conditions including differences in temperature, salinity and nutrient availability.

Researchers Use 'Global Thermometer' to Track Temperature Extremes, Droughts and Melting Ice

Large areas of the Earth’s surface are experiencing rising maximum temperatures, which affect virtually every ecosystem on the planet, including ice sheets and tropical forests that play major roles in regulating the biosphere, scientists have reported.

Complex, Old-Growth Forests May Protect Some Bird Species in a Warming Climate

Old forests that contain large trees and a diversity of tree sizes and species may offer refuge to some types of birds facing threats in a warming climate, scientists have found.

Researchers Model Optimal Amount of Rainfall for Plants

Researchers have determined what could be considered a “Goldilocks” climate for rainfall use by plants: not too wet and not too dry. 

Sunlight and the right microbes convert Arctic carbon into carbon dioxide

Nearly half of the organic carbon stored in soil around the world is contained in Arctic permafrost, which has experienced rapid melting, and that organic material could be converted to greenhouse gases that would exacerbate global warming.

New assessment identifies global hotspots for water conflict

More than 1,400 new dams or water diversion projects are planned or already under construction and many of them are on rivers flowing through multiple nations, fueling the potential for increased water conflict between some countries.A new analysis commissioned by the United Nations uses a comprehensive combination of social, economic, political and environmental factors to identify areas around the world most at-risk for “hydro-political” strife. This river basins study was part of the U.N.’s Transboundary Waters Assessment Program.

Scientists: Warming temperatures could trigger starvation, extinctions in deep oceans by 2100

Researchers from 20 of the world’s leading oceanographic research centers today warned that the world’s largest habitat – the deep ocean floor – may face starvation and sweeping ecological change by the year 2100.

Globe-trotting pollutants raise some cancer risks four times higher than predicted

A new way of looking at how pollutants ride through the atmosphere has quadrupled the estimate of global lung cancer risk from a pollutant caused by combustion, to a level that is now double the allowable limit recommended by the World Health Organization.The findings, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition online, showed that tiny floating particles can grow semi-solid around pollutants, allowing them to last longer and travel much farther than what previous global climate models predicted.

West Coast record low snowpack in 2015 influenced by high temperatures

The western-most region of the continental United States set records for low snowpack levels in 2015 and scientists, through a new study, point the finger at high temperatures, not the low precipitation characteristic of past “snow drought” years.The study suggests greenhouse gases were a major contributor to the high temperatures, which doesn’t bode well for the future, according to authors of a new study published today in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. 

Toxic blue-green algae pose increasing threat to nation's drinking, recreational water

A report concludes that blooms of toxic cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, are a poorly monitored and underappreciated risk to recreational and drinking water quality in the United States, and may increasingly pose a global health threat.