Environmental contaminants alter gut microbiome, health

The microbes that inhabit our bodies are influenced by what we eat, drink, breathe and absorb through our skin, and most of us are chronically exposed to natural and human-made environmental contaminants. Scientists review the research linking dozens of environmental chemicals to changes in the gut microbiome and associated health challenges.


Scientists find evidence of link between diesel exhaust, risk of Parkinson's

A new study in zebrafish identified the process by which air pollution can damage brain cells, potentially contributing to Parkinson's disease.


Ancient ocean oxygen levels associated with changing atmospheric carbon dioxide

Why do carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere wax and wane in conjunction with the warm and cold periods of Earth's past? Scientists have been trying to answer this question for many years, and thanks to chemical clues left in sediment cores extracted from deep in the ocean floor, they are starting to put together the pieces of that puzzle.


In China, quarantine improves air and prevents thousands of premature deaths

A new study finds that China's countrywide ban on traffic mobility from February 10 to March 14, 2020 greatly limited automobile emissions and sharply reduced the country's often severe air pollution. The improved air quality, in turn, prevented thousands of pollution-related deaths.


Spring rains are a surprising source of pollen

Spring rains washes away some pollen, but not all. Researchers have found tree pollen fragments can remain airborne for hours after a storm. The tiny pollen particles can exacerbate allergies because they can reach deep in the lungs.


Microplastics found in Florida's birds of prey for first time

A new study has confirmed and quantified, for the first time, the presence of microplastics in terrestrial and aquatic birds of prey in Florida, including hawks, ospreys and owls. The research is important because birds of prey are critical to a functioning ecosystem. The accumulation of microplastics in their digestive systems could lead to poisoning, starvation and death.


Great potential in regulating plant greenhouse gas emissions

New discoveries on the regulation of plant emissions of isoprenoids can help in fighting climate change - and can become key to the production of valuable green chemicals.


But it's a dry heat: Climate change and the aridification of North America

Discussions of drought often center on the lack of precipitation. But among climate scientists, the focus is shifting to include the growing role that warming temperatures are playing as potent drivers of greater aridity and drought intensification.


The same few industrial facilities emit majority of toxic pollution year after year

Call them 'super polluters' -- the handful of industrial facilities that emit unusually high levels of toxic chemical pollution year after year. There are only a few of them, but together they account for the majority of annual industrial pollution.


Aggressive carbon taxation could help US meet targets in Paris agreement

A new study looked at US tax policy as it relates to carbon dioxide (CO2), from 2015 through 2030. The study found only limited short-term opportunities for decarbonization (reducing greenhouse gas emissions) outside the electricity sector. The result is substantial CO2 tax revenue. The findings shed light on future tax policy decisions.


COVID-19 crisis causes 17 percent drop in global carbon emissions

The COVID-19 global lockdown has had an 'extreme' effect on daily carbon emissions, but it is unlikely to last, according to a new analysis.


How climate killed corals

A squad of climate-related factors is responsible for the massive Australian coral bleaching event of 2016. If we're counting culprits: it's two by sea, one by land.


South Asia faces increased threat of extreme heat, extreme pollution, study shows

Scientists know that extreme heat has a negative impact on the human body -- causing distress in the respiratory and cardiovascular systems -- and they know that extreme air pollution can also have serious effects. But as climate change impacts continue globally, how often will humans be threatened by both of those extremes when they occur simultaneously?


Eavesdropping crickets drop from the sky to evade capture by bats

Researchers have uncovered the highly efficient strategy used by a group of crickets to distinguish the calls of predatory bats from the incessant noises of the nocturnal jungle. The findings reveal the crickets eavesdrop on the vocalizations of bats to help them escape their grasp when hunted.


Mussel reefs heighten risk of microplastic exposure and consumption

In the first study of its kind, scientists found that when mussels were clumped together forming reefs -- as they do in nature -- the reef structure resulted in a three-fold rise in the amount of ingested plastic.


Climate change threatens progress in cancer control

Climate change threatens prospects for further progress in cancer prevention and control, increasing exposure to cancer risk factors and impacting access to cancer care, according to a new commentary.


Modern sea-level rise linked to human activities

New research reaffirms that modern sea-level rise is linked to human activities and not to changes in Earth's orbit. Surprisingly, the Earth had nearly ice-free conditions with carbon dioxide levels not much higher than today and had glacial periods in times previously believed to be ice-free over the last 66 million years, according to a new article.


CFC replacements are a source of persistent organic pollution in the Arctic

Substances used to replace ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) may be just as problematic as their predecessors, a new study shows.


The revolt of the plants: The Arctic melts when plants stop breathing

Researchers have identifies a physiologic mechanism in vegetation as cause for Arctic warming.


The exposome: When our environment drives health and disease

The exposome is the sum of all the environmental drivers of health and diseases: a combination of external factors such as chemicals contained in the air, water or food, and of internal components produced by our organism in response to various stress factors. This very complex set of elements is continually evolving, and to map it fully is a challenging undertaking.


How particulate matter arises from pollutant gases

When winter smog takes over Asian mega-cities, more particulate matter is measured in the streets than expected. An international team has now discovered that nitric acid and ammonia contribute to the formation of additional particulate matter. Nitric acid and ammonia arise in city centers predominantly from car exhaust. Experiments show that the high local concentration of the vapors in narrow and enclosed city streets accelerates the growth of tiny nanoparticles into stabile aerosol particles.


New, rapid mechanism for atmospheric particle formation

Researchers have discovered a previously unknown mechanism that allows atmospheric particles to very rapidly form under certain conditions. The research could aid efforts to model climate change and reduce particle pollution in cities.


Cold War nuke tests changed rainfall

Historic records from weather stations show that rainfall patterns in Scotland were affected by charge in the atmosphere released by radiation from nuclear bomb tests carried out in the 1950s and '60s.


Street smarts required in heat mitigation

Researchers investigated how solar reflective coatings on select Los Angeles city streets affected radiant heat and, in turn, pedestrians' comfort on a typical summer day. The idea is, if you coat a street with a lighter color than traditional pavement black, it will actually lower the surrounding temperatures. But researchers wanted to measure what effect reflective coating had on pedestrians.


Photosynthesis in a droplet

For hundreds of millions of years plants have had the ability to harness carbon dioxide from the air using solar energy. The research network is on the trail of building artificial cells as sustainable green bioreactors. A research team has now succeeded in developing a platform for the automated construction of cell-sized photosynthesis modules. The artificial chloroplasts are capable of binding and converting the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide using light energy.


COVID-19 lockdowns significantly impacting global air quality

Levels of two major air pollutants have been drastically reduced since lockdowns began in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but a secondary pollutant -- ground-level ozone -- has increased in China, according to new research.


Water loss in northern peatlands threatens to intensify fires, global warming

Scientists have uncovered new information about the distinct effects of climate change on boreal forests and peatlands, which threaten to worsen wildfires and accelerate global warming.


Potentially fatal combinations of humidity and heat are emerging across the globe

A new study has identified thousands of incidents of previously rare or unprecedented extreme heat/humidity combinations in parts of Asia, Africa, Australia, South America and North America, including in the U.S. Gulf Coast region.


Human-driven pollution alters the environment even underground

The Monte Conca cave system in Sicily is showing signs of being altered by pollution from above.


A radar for plastic: High-resolution map of 1 kilometer grids to track plastic emissions in seas

Plastic waste often ends up in river bodies and oceans, posing a serious threat to the marine ecosystem. To prevent the accumulation of plastic debris, we must find out where plastic emission is prevalent. To this end, scientists have come up with a new method to track plastic emissions from inland areas to sea. This method is useful to identify the ''hotspots'' of plastic emission and can even help to implement appropriate measures to avoid plastic pollution.


Cold air with water vapor rises: What that means for earth's climate

In the tropical atmosphere, cold air rises due to an overlooked effect -- the lightness of water vapor. This effect helps to stabilize tropical climates, and the impacts of a warming climate would be much worse without it.


Simulations forecast US nationwide increase in human exposure to extreme climate events

Using the now-decommissioned Titan supercomputer, a team of researchers estimated the combined consequences of many different extreme climate events at the county level, a unique approach that provided unprecedented regional and national climate projections that identified the areas most likely to face climate-related challenges.


Surf and turf: Green new deal should be a 'teal new deal'

Incorporating the oceans into climate policy is essential, scientists say in a new article.


Saving energy and lives: How a solar chimney can boost fire safety

Built as part of the sustainable features of a new Australian building, the specially-designed solar chimney radically boosts safe evacuation time in a fire - from 2 minutes to over 14 minutes.


Climate change has been influencing where tropical cyclones rage

While the global average number of tropical cyclones each year has not budged from 86 over the last four decades, climate change has been influencing the locations of where these deadly storms occur, according to new research.


Pacific oysters may not contain as many microplastics as previously thought

Researchers have discovered that the abundance of tiny microplastic contaminants in Pacific oysters from the Salish Sea is much lower than previously thought.


Scientists take a step closer to heat-tolerant wheat

Researchers working on molecular-level responses in crops have taken a step closer to their goal of producing heat-tolerant wheat.


Window to another world: Life is bubbling up to seafloor with petroleum from deep below

Microbial life is bubbling up to the ocean floor along with fluids from deeply buried petroleum reservoirs, reports a team of scientists.


Capturing CO2 with new self-forming membrane

A new class of self-forming membrane has been developed. Capturing the carbon dioxide which can then be processed, the membrane dramatically reduced the demand for silver and the cost.


CO2 emissions from dry inland waters globally underestimated

Inland waters play an important role in the global carbon cycle. Calculations that scale up the carbon dioxide emissions from land and water surface areas do not take account of inland waters that dry out intermittently. This means that the actual emissions from inland waters have been significantly underestimated -- as shown by the results of a recent international research project.


Naked mole-rats need carbon dioxide to avoid seizures and here's why

African naked mole-rats are sometimes referred to as animal superheroes. They resist cancer, tolerate pain, and live a remarkably long time. They're also known for their ability to handle high levels of carbon dioxide and can go for several minutes without oxygen. But researchers say they may have found the mole-rats' kryptonite: they need high levels of carbon dioxide to function.


Shrinking instead of growing: How shrews survive the winter

Even at sub-zero temperatures, common shrews do not need to increase their metabolism.


Long-term consequences of coastal development as bad as an oil spill on coral reefs

Oil pollution is known to cause lethal and sublethal responses on coral communities in the short-term, but its long-term effects have not been widely studied. The Bahia Las Minas oil spill, which contaminated about 40 square kilometers (about 15 square miles) near the Smithsonian's Galeta Point Marine Laboratory in Colon and became the largest recorded near coastal habitats in Panama, served as an opportunity to understand how coral reefs in tropical ecosystems recover from acute contamination over time.


Upcycling spongy plastic foams from shoes, mattresses and insulation

Researchers have developed a new method for upcycling polyurethane foams, the spongy material found in mattresses, insulation, furniture cushions and shoes.


Plastic pollution reaching the Antarctic

Food wrapping, fishing gear and plastic waste continue to reach the Antarctic. Two new studies detail how plastic debris is reaching sub-Antarctic islands.


Simulating borehole ballooning helps ensure safe drilling of deep-water oil, gas

A device which simulates borehole ballooning, a detrimental side effect of deep-water drilling operations, is expected to ensure safe and efficient operations. If not prevented, borehole ballooning can lead to irreversible damage and serious drilling accidents, which can result in reservoir pollution and huge economic loss. In Review of Scientific Instruments, researchers present a device that can simulate this dangerous phenomenon in the hopes of preventing it.


Honey bees could help monitor fertility loss in insects due to climate change

New research could help scientists track how climate change is impacting the birds and the bees... of honey bees.


Catalyst opens door to more efficient, environmentally friendly ethylene production

Researchers have engineered a new catalyst that can more efficiently convert ethane into ethylene, which is used in a variety of manufacturing processes. The discovery could be used in a conversion process to drastically reduce ethylene production costs and cut related carbon dioxide emissions by up to 87%.


Falling visibility shows African cities suffering major air pollution increases

Falling visibility in three major African cities reveals that air pollution has increased significantly over the last 45 years - leaving citizens facing further short-term increases in human-made pollution due to increasing urbanization and economic development, a new study reveals.


Digital agriculture paves the road to agricultural sustainability

Researchers outline how to develop a more sustainable land management system through data collection and stakeholder buy-in.