Taxonomy term

july 2010

Comment: Volcanic versus anthropogenic carbon dioxide: The missing science

“Volcanoes add far more carbon dioxide to the oceans and atmosphere than humans.” So says geologist Ian Plimer of the University of Adelaide in his 2009 best seller “Heaven and Earth: Global Warming — the Missing Science.” With this assertion, Plimer brings volcanic carbon dioxide degassing front and center in the climate change debate, reviving and reinforcing this wildly mistaken notion.

30 Jul 2010

Map reveals height of the world's forests

Satellite maps can show everything from city blocks to inaccessible mountain peaks from the comfort of our living rooms. Now, they can show us yet another dimension of the natural world: the heights of the world’s forests.

Michael Lefsky, an expert in remote sensing from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, used NASA satellites to compile a map that displays the height of all the world’s forest canopies. “The goal [of the research] was two-fold: to create a map that would allow us to map above-ground biomass, and simply to show that it can be done,” Lefsky says.

27 Jul 2010

Where on Earth? - July 2010

Clues for July 2010:
1. This long ridge of tilted sandstone marks the eastern edge of a great mountain range. Many different sections of the ridge have their own names: The broken, tilted rocks and sharp edges of the portion of the ridge pictured here earned this portion a sinister name.

Paleo Patrol: Primates of the Caribbean

The only monkeys you’ll find on the islands of the Caribbean today were brought there (intentionally or not) by people. But just a few thousand years ago, thriving populations of primates existed across the Caribbean. The discovery of exceptionally well-preserved monkey bones in the Dominican Republic is helping researchers better understand the evolutionary history of these now-extinct primates.

22 Jul 2010

The thrill to drill in the chill

Nearly 3.6 million years ago, a large asteroid slammed into Earth in what is today northeastern Russia. Within minutes, the impact formed an 18-kilometer-wide hole in the ground that then filled with water.

20 Jul 2010

Benchmarks: July 11, 1997: Neanderthal DNA unraveled

On July 11, 1997, six scientists announced they had sequenced DNA from a Neanderthal fossil. It was the first time anyone had analyzed the genetics of an extinct hominin, and the findings gave paleoanthropologists a new perspective on Neanderthals’ place in the human family tree.
The team, led by Svante Pääbo, then at the University of Munich in Germany, recovered the DNA from an upper arm bone. The bone was part of a collection of fossils discovered in 1856. Quarrymen working in the Feldhofer Cave in Germany’s Neander Valley found 16 bone fragments — including a skullcap, ribs, arms, legs and part of a hip — from several different individuals. The bones resembled human bones, but there were some striking differences: The skull had pronounced brow ridges and a low, sloping forehead, and the limb bones were extraordinarily thick.
11 Jul 2010

Local coastal impacts underestimated from sea-level rise

Most studies indicate that sea levels will rise over the next century due to melting glaciers, more ice breaking off the Antarctic ice sheet and thermal expansion — and there is great variation in how much scientists estimate seas will rise. But that’s not even the most important question, according to a new study. Instead, researchers should be looking at relative sea-level rise — how much rising seas will affect individual regions. And when you break it down by region, the study suggests, the outlook isn’t promising.

09 Jul 2010

Baja quake sheds light on liquefaction

Data collected by a unique array of instruments located near the epicenter of the magnitude-7.2 earthquake that struck Baja California April 4 are providing scientists with new insight into the phenomenon of liquefaction, a potentially dangerous side effect of major earthquakes.

09 Jul 2010

Hazardous Living: Climategate climatologists cleared of wrongdoing

Last November, a thousand private e-mails between prominent climatologists were hacked, resulting in a brouhaha that threatened to discredit the work presented in the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report.

08 Jul 2010