Taxonomy term

methane

Pluto's surprising dunes

Images and data sent back by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft during its flyby mission to Pluto (and beyond) show a series of regularly spaced linear ridges sandwiched between a mountain range and Sputnik Planitia, a vast plain of nitrogen, carbon monoxide and methane ice. “When we first saw the New Horizons images, we thought instantly that these were dunes, but it was really surprising because we know there is not much of an atmosphere [on Pluto],” said Jani Radebaugh, a planetary scientist at Brigham Young University and co-author of a study in Science announcing the findings, in a statement.

10 Oct 2018

Methane emissions offset some blue carbon burial benefits

Wetlands are prolific sinks for atmospheric carbon. They pull carbon dioxide out of the air and sequester the carbon in plants, soils and sediments. But there’s a catch: Wetlands also emit methane, an even more potent, albeit far less abundant, greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Two new studies, one measuring methane emissions from a rehabilitated freshwater peatland in California and the other looking at emissions from tropical mangrove forests in Australia, are revealing that these so-called “blue carbon” sinks may emit much more methane than previously thought.

03 Oct 2018

Red Planet Roundup: August 2018

With two rovers patrol­ling the surface of Mars, six spacecraft orbiting above it, and scientists here on Earth studying the Red Planet from afar, new findings are announced often. 

13 Aug 2018

Comment: Could NASA find evidence of extraterrestrial life by 2050?

Two upcoming missions will provide the first systematic approach to searching the atmospheres of exoplanets for signs of life — and they could find it in the next several decades.

04 Jun 2018

Red Planet Roundup: February 2018

With two rovers patrolling the surface of Mars, six spacecraft orbiting above it, and scientists here on Earth studying the Red Planet from afar, new findings are announced often. Here are a few of the latest updates.

09 Feb 2018

Reconstructing ancient oxidant levels and their climatic effects

Oxidants in the troposphere, such as ozone and hydroxyl radicals, influence the life spans of other atmospheric components, including pollutants and greenhouse gases like carbon monoxide and methane. But how the abundance of tropospheric oxidants varies as climate changes is poorly understood. Part of the challenge is that these oxidants are too reactive to be preserved in paleo-records, such as ice cores.

29 Aug 2017

Red Planet Roundup: November 2015

With two rovers patrolling the surface of Mars, five spacecraft orbiting above it, and scientists here on Earth studying the Red Planet from afar, new findings are announced often. Here are a few of the latest updates.
 
14 Nov 2015

One-two punch of past warming may hold lessons

Geologists are fond of the saying, “The past is key to the future.” Unfortunately, the past has been a poor guide when it comes to understanding modern climate change. Now, however, a new study suggests that one episode — a spike in global temperatures that occurred about 55 million years ago — may be a better analog than previously thought, and could yield insights into the planet’s future.

 
09 Apr 2015

Methane be dammed!

Beavers were nearly killed off in the 19th century as trappers hunted them for their soft pelts. A successful conservation effort over the past 100 years brought the dam-builders back from the brink, but a new study published in the journal AMBIO has found that all those beaver-built ponds may be producing significant amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas.

 
05 Apr 2015

Red Planet Roundup: March 2015

NASA’s Curiosity rover found evidence that one or more large and long-lasting lakes probably filled Gale Crater in the planet’s warmer and wetter early history. While investigating the lower slopes of Mount Sharp recently at an outcrop called the Murray Formation, the rover photographed thick rock stacks featuring numerous layers of lithified sediment. Such stacks are typical of lake environments, where sediments slowly settle to the bottom and transform into rock over time.

15 Mar 2015

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