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Shrinking snowpack projected in western U.S. as rain-snow boundary climbs higher

Gauging the impacts of climate change on future precipitation is challenging, especially in the western U.S., a region with highly variable temperatures, precipitation patterns and terrain. But understanding such impacts in the West — and, in particular, how much precipitation will fall as snow versus rain in the future — is important given the region’s dependence on wintertime snowfall as a freshwater resource. Now, a new study forecasts a broad shift from snow to rain for much of the West — a projection that will require attention from land and water resource managers planning for the future.

24 Apr 2015

Wedge approach proposed to lower water stress

Roughly 30 percent of the global population — or about 2.2 billion people — lives in water-stressed parts of the world, where high freshwater withdrawals endanger ecosystems, agriculture and drinking-water supplies. If current population and water usage trends persist, this fraction could rise to about one-half by the century’s end. In a recent study, researchers — taking a page from the climate-change mitigation literature — have proposed a “wedge” approach to address global water stress, laying out how various tactics could ease the growing problem.

22 Apr 2015

Geoscience on Film: A parting ode to an awe-inspiring land

Doug Prose and his wife, Diane LaMacchia, have produced documentaries showcasing Earth and the geosciences through their nonprofit Earth Images Foundation since 1992. Currently at work on their next project, Prose is blogging for EARTH about the filmmaking process, as well as the work of the scientists they're covering, while on location in India.

10 Apr 2015

Some coral reefs bounce back after bleaching

Ocean temperatures that rise too much or for too long can harm coral reefs, sometimes causing mass die-offs that leave reefs nearly barren of live corals. But scientists don’t know if or under what conditions reefs can recover from such catastrophes. Now, a new study suggests that, given time and the right conditions, even once-decimated reefs can recoup their losses.

09 Apr 2015

Geoscience on Film: Of tides and tigers in the world's largest river delta

Doug Prose and his wife, Diane LaMacchia, have produced documentaries showcasing Earth and the geosciences through their nonprofit Earth Images Foundation since 1992. Currently at work on their next project, Prose is blogging for EARTH about the filmmaking process, as well as the work of the scientists they're covering, while on location in India.

07 Apr 2015

Geoscience on Film: Traversing the contours and culture of an ancient delta

Doug Prose and his wife, Diane LaMacchia, have produced documentaries showcasing Earth and the geosciences through their nonprofit Earth Images Foundation since 1992. Currently at work on their next project, Prose is blogging for EARTH about the filmmaking process, as well as the work of the scientists they're covering, while on location in India.

01 Apr 2015

Geoscience on Film: Setting the scene amid extreme tectonic and sedimentary processes

Doug Prose and his wife, Diane LaMacchia, have produced documentaries showcasing Earth and the geosciences through their nonprofit Earth Images Foundation since 1992. Currently at work on their next project, Prose is blogging for EARTH about the filmmaking process, as well as the work of the scientists they're covering, while on location in India.

26 Mar 2015

Twentieth-century warming linked to Pacific trade winds

Earth’s average atmospheric temperature warmed by about 1.3 degrees Celsius over the course of the 20th century. However, the rate of increase during that time was not constant and scientists have been unable to fully explain the timing and pattern of warming. Now, a recent study has identified a correlation between global temperatures and the strength of Pacific trade winds that may help clear up the some of the confusion.

13 Mar 2015

Bare Earth Elements: Past and present directors dissect the future of USGS

The U.S. Geological Survey, including its employees and leadership, have a penchant for self-assessment and an ambition for pragmatic self-improvement. That was on display Thursday, Dec. 18, in San Francisco in an hour-long panel discussion held in conjunction with the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, and featuring USGS acting director Suzette Kimball along with four of the five most recent past directors and acting directors. The panelists candidly addressed a number of issues, including how USGS has been and should continue adapting to best address its roles in science and public service, as well as internal and external barriers affecting its success in these roles.

22 Dec 2014

High-powered simulation tracks evolution of universe in detail

The universe burst into existence 14.6 billion years ago, and has been expanding ever since. Of course, humans have only been around to glimpse the most recent fraction of stellar history. Now, a new high-powered computer simulation called Illustris, which traces more than 13 billion years of cosmological evolution, is giving scientists and the public alike an armchair view of how things came to look the way they do.

26 Sep 2014

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