Humans are directly influencing wind and weather over North Atlantic

A new study provides evidence that humans are influencing wind and weather patterns across the eastern United States and western Europe by releasing CO2 and other pollutants into Earth's atmosphere.


Sunlight to solve the world's clean water crisis

Researchers have developed technology that could eliminate water stress for millions of people, including those living in many of the planet's most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.


Alpine plants are losing their white 'protective coat' too early in spring

Snow cover in the Alps has been melting almost three days earlier per decade since the 1960s. This trend is temperature-related and cannot be compensated by heavier snowfall. By the end of the century, snow cover at 2,500 meters could disappear a month earlier than today, as simulations by environmental scientists at the University of Basel demonstrate.


How the humble woodchip is cleaning up water worldwide

Australian pineapple, Danish trout, and Midwestern U.S. corn farmers are not often lumped together under the same agricultural umbrella. But they and many others who raise crops and animals face a common problem: excess nitrogen in drainage water. Whether it flows out to the Great Barrier Reef or the Gulf of Mexico, the nutrient contributes to harmful algal blooms that starve fish and other organisms of oxygen.


From smoky skies to a green horizon: Scientists convert fire-risk wood waste into biofuel

Reliance on petroleum fuels and raging wildfires: Two separate, large-scale challenges that could be addressed by one scientific breakthrough. Researchers have developed a streamlined and efficient process for converting woody plant matter like forest overgrowth and agricultural waste - material that is currently burned either intentionally or unintentionally - into liquid biofuel.


AI pinpoints local pollution hotspots using satellite images

Researchers have developed a method that uses machine learning, satellite imagery and weather data to autonomously find hotspots of heavy air pollution, city block by city block. The technique could be a boon for finding and mitigating sources of hazardous aerosols, studying the effects of air pollution on human health, and making better informed, socially just public policy decisions.


Deciduous trees offset carbon loss from Alaskan boreal fires

More severe and frequent fires in the Alaskan boreal forest are emitting vast stores of carbon, but new research from shows those losses are offset by the fast-growing deciduous trees that replace black spruce forests in the region.


The whitest paint is here -- and it's the coolest. Literally.

In an effort to curb global warming, engineers have created the whitest paint yet. Coating buildings with this paint may one day cool them off enough to reduce the need for air conditioning, the researchers say.


Water purification system engineered from wood, with help from a microwave oven

Researchers have developed a more eco-friendly way to remove heavy metals, dyes and other pollutants from water. The answer lies in filtering wastewater with a gel material taken from plant cellulose and spiked with small carbon dots produced in a microwave oven.


Plastics could see a second life as biodegradable surfactants

Scientists have discovered a chemical process that provides biodegradable, valuable chemicals, which are used as surfactants and detergents in a range of applications, from discarded plastics.


Impacts of coronavirus lockdowns: New study collects data on pollutants in the atmosphere

One consequence of the coronavirus pandemic has been global restrictions on mobility. This, in turn, has had an effect on pollution levels in the atmosphere. Researchers from across the world are using this unique opportunity to take measurements, collect data, and publish studies. An international team has now published a comprehensive review providing an overview of results up to September 2020.


Reliably measuring oxygen deficiency in rivers or lakes

Wastewater carries large quantities of organic substances into the rivers and lakes, leading to heavy growth of bacteria and oxygen deficiency. Measurement methods have so far been incapable of measuring this organic pollution precisely. A new method should provide a clear image of the water conditions in the future.


Ocean temperature reconstructed over the last 700,000 years

Researchers have reconstructed for the first mean ocean temperatures over the last 700,000 years using ice core data. The new knowledge serves to improve our understanding of the climate system.


Air pollution may affect severity and hospitalization in COVID-19 patients

Patients who have preexisting respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and live in areas with high levels of air pollution have a greater chance of hospitalization if they contract COVID-19, according to new research.


Scientists identify severe asthma species, show air pollutant as likely contributor

An epidemiological study has shown that not only is non-Th2 a distinct asthma disease, its likely inducer is early childhood exposure to airborne Benzo[a]pyrene, a byproduct of fossil fuel combustion.


Ocean bacteria release carbon into the atmosphere

Researchers have discovered that deep-sea bacteria dissolve carbon-containing rocks, releasing excess carbon into the ocean and atmosphere. The findings will allow scientists to better estimate the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere, a main driver of global warming.


Scientists discover three liquid phases in aerosol particles

Researchers have discovered three liquid phases in aerosol particles, changing our understanding of air pollutants in the Earth's atmosphere. While aerosol particles were known to contain up to two liquid phases, the discovery of an additional liquid phase may be important to providing more accurate atmospheric models and climate predictions.


Plastic planet: Tracking pervasive microplastics across the globe

Really big systems, like ocean currents and weather, work on really big scales. And so too does your plastic waste, according to new research.


Road salts and other human sources are threatening world's freshwater supplies

When winter storms threaten to make travel dangerous, people often turn to salt to melt snow and ice. Road salt is an important tool for safety, but a new study warns that introducing salt into the environment -- for de-icing roads, fertilizing farmland or other purposes -- releases toxic chemical cocktails that create a serious and growing global threat to our freshwater supply and human health.


Thawing permafrost cools Arctic currents: This might affect fish stocks

A new study finds that thawing permafrost in Alaska causes colder water in smaller rivers and streams. This surprising consequence of climate change could affect the survival of fish species in the Arctic's offshore waters.


Thick sea-ice warms Greenland fjords

A new study shows that thick sea-ice can increase the sensitivity of Greenlandic fjords to climate warming. Understanding the factors that control how fast glaciers move, break up and deposit chunks of ice (icebergs) into the fjords - and eventually the sea - is vital for predicting how the Greenland ice sheet will change under a warming climate and for predicting global rates of sea-level rise.


Volcanic pollution return linked to jump in respiratory disease cases

Respiratory disease increased by almost a quarter after the Holuhraun lava eruption in 2014-2015, one of Iceland's largest volcanic eruptions. Emissions returning in the days immediately following volcanic eruptions impact health and are not factored into responses to the public health threat caused by volcanoes. The study authors recommend government responses take these emissions into account.


Preseismic atmospheric radon anomaly associated with 2018 northern Osaka earthquake

The concentration of the radioactive element radon is known to change in the ground before and after earthquakes. Previous studies have shown elevated radon levels in the atmosphere before the mainshock of a large inland earthquake due to foreshock activity and slow slip.


Even 'safe' ambient carbon monoxide levels may harm health, study finds

Data collected from 337 cities across 18 countries show that even slight increases in ambient carbon monoxide levels from automobiles and other sources are associated with increased mortality.


Sunlight linked with lower COVID-19 deaths, study shows

Sunnier areas are associated with fewer deaths from COVID-19, an observational study suggests. Increased exposure to the sun's rays -- specifically UVA -- could act as a simple public health intervention if further research establishes it causes a reduction in mortality rates, experts say.


Bacteria help plants grow better

A current study by scientists sheds light on an unusual interdependence: Maize can attract special soil bacteria that, in turn, help the plants to grow better. In the long term, the results could be used to breed new varieties that use less fertilizer and therefore have less impact on the environment.


One-third of Antarctic ice shelf area at risk of collapse as planet warms

Study shows highest warming scenario would put 34% of Antarctic's ice shelf area at risk of fracture and collapse from melting and run-off - including 67% of the Antarctic Peninsular ice shelf area. This would allow glaciers to flow freely into the sea causing sea level rise.


Carbon dioxide levels reflect COVID-19 risk

Tracking carbon dioxide levels indoors is an inexpensive and powerful way to monitor the risk of people getting COVID-19, according to new research. In any given indoor environment, when excess carbon dioxide levels double, the risk of transmission also roughly doubles, scientists report.


Houston flooding polluted reefs more than 100 miles offshore

Extreme storm flooding in Houston washed human waste onto coral reefs more than 100 miles offshore. Marine biologists found fecal bacteria on sponges in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary following 2016's Tax Day flood and 2017's Hurricane Harvey.


First air quality profile of two sub-Saharan African cities finds troubling news

The first multi-year air-quality data on the cities of Kinshasa and Brazzaville document rampant levels of sooty particles.


To intervene or not to intervene? That is the future climate question

Experts in climate science and ecology are bringing science to bear on the question and consequences of geoengineering a cooler Earth.


Beef industry can cut emissions with land management, production efficiency

An assessment of 12 different strategies for reducing beef production emissions worldwide found that industry can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 50% in certain regions, with the most potential in the United States and Brazil.


Masks, ventilation stop COVID spread better than social distancing, study shows

A new study suggests that masks and a good ventilation system are more important than social distancing for reducing the airborne spread of COVID-19 in classrooms. The research comes at a critical time when schools and universities are considering returning to more in-person classes in the fall.


Ozone pollution harms maize crops, study finds

A new study has shown that ozone in the lower layers of the atmosphere decreases crop yields in maize and changes the types of chemicals that are found inside the leaves.


Scientists turn to deep learning to improve air quality forecasts

Air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels impacts human health but predicting pollution levels at a given time and place remains challenging, according to a team of scientists who are turning to deep learning to improve air quality estimates. Results of the team's study could be helpful for modelers examining how economic factors like industrial productivity and health factors like hospitalizations change with pollution levels.


New promise of forecasting meteotsunamis

On the afternoon of April 13, 2018, a large wave of water surged across Lake Michigan and flooded the shores of the picturesque beach town of Ludington, Michigan, damaging homes and boat docks, and flooding intake pipes. Thanks to a local citizen's photos and other data, scientists reconstructed the event in models and determined this was the first ever documented meteotsunami in the Great Lakes caused by an atmospheric inertia-gravity wave.


Plants play leading role in cycling toxic mercury through the environment

Researchers studying mercury gas in the atmosphere with the aim of reducing the pollutant worldwide have determined a vast amount of the toxic element is absorbed by plants, leading it to deposit into soils.


Estimating lifetime microplastic exposure

Every day, people are exposed to microplastics from food, water, beverages and air. But it's unclear just how many of these particles accumulate in the human body, and whether they pose health risks. Now, researchers have developed a lifetime microplastic exposure model that accounts for variable levels from different sources and in different populations. The new model indicates a lower average mass of microplastic accumulation than previous estimates.


How Middle East dust intensifies summer monsoons on Indian subcontinent

A new study details how the Indian Summer Monsoon is supercharged by atmospheric dust particles swept up by winds from deserts in the Middle East.


Psychological interventions can reduce engine idling and improve air quality

New research has found that using low-cost psychological interventions can reduce vehicle engine idling and in turn improve air quality, especially when there is increased traffic volume at railway level crossings.


Evidence of DNA collection from air

Researchers have shown that animal DNA shed within the environment can be collected from the air.


A second look at sunlight

Researchers examine one of SARS-CoV-2's well known characteristics -- its vulnerability to sunlight. Their conclusion? It might take more than UV-B rays to explain sunlight inactivation of SARS-CoV-2.


Environmental antimicrobial resistance driven by poorly managed urban wastewater

Pollution in rivers and canals from inadequately managed urban wastewater, rather than aquaculture, is driving environmental antimicrobial resistance, research carried out in Thailand has found.


64% of global agricultural land at risk of pesticide pollution?

A global map of agricultural land across 168 countries has revealed that 64 percent of land used for agriculture and food crops is at risk of pesticide pollution. Almost a third of these areas are considered to be at high-risk.


Air pollution and physical exercise: When to do more or less

Physical activity is important in preventing heart and blood vessel disease in young people so long as they don't undertake very strenuous activity on days when air pollution levels are high, according to a nationwide study of nearly 1.5 million people published in the European Heart Journal.


Probing wet fire smoke in clouds: Can water intensify Earth's warming?

A new instrument that samples smoke from megafires and scans humidity will help researchers better understand the scale and long-term impact of fires -- specifically how far and high the smoke will travel, when and where it will rain, and whether the wet smoke will warm the climate by absorbing sunlight.


Tires turned into graphene that makes stronger concrete

Scientists optimize a process to turn rubber from discarded tires into soluble graphene for composite materials, including cement in more environmentally friendly concrete.


Satellites contribute significant light pollution to night skies

Scientists reported new research results today suggesting that artificial objects in orbit around the Earth are brightening night skies on our planet significantly more than previously understood.


Controlling bubble formation on electrodes

A new study finds the wettability of porous electrode surfaces is key to making efficient water-splitting or carbon-capturing systems.


California's diesel emissions rules reduce air pollution, protect vulnerable communities

Since 1990, California has used its authority under the federal Clean Air Act to enact more aggressive rules on emissions from diesel vehicles and engines compared to the rest of the U.S. Extending these standards to the rest of the U.S. could dramatically improve the nation's air quality and health, particularly in lower income communities of color, finds a new analysis.