Tag Archives: american geophysical union

Hard rock life

Scientists are digging deep into the Earth’s surface collecting census data on the microbial denizens of the hardened rocks. What they’re finding is that, even miles deep and halfway across the globe, many of these communities are somehow quite similar.

The results, which were presented at the American Geophysical Union conference Dec. 8, suggest that these communities may be connected, said Matthew Schrenk, Michigan State University geomicrobiologist. (more…)

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Post-Sandy Survey Shows a Polluted but Generally Intact Barrier System off Long Island

AUSTIN, Texas — As coastal communities continue to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, scientists at last week’s annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union offer some encouraging news: The storm did not seriously damage the offshore barrier system that controls erosion on Long Island. Long-term concerns remain about the effects on the region of sea-level rise, pollutants churned up by the storm within back-barrier estuaries, and the damage closer to shore, but in the near-term, Long Island residents can rebuild knowing that Hurricane Sandy did not significantly alter the offshore barrier systems that control coastal erosion on the island. (more…)

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Seeing Stars, Finding Nukes: Radio Telescopes Can Spot Clandestine Nuclear Tests

SAN FRANCISCO — In the search for rogue nukes, researchers have discovered an unlikely tool: astronomical radio telescopes.

Ohio State University researchers previously demonstrated another unlikely tool, when they showed that South Korean GPS stations detected telltale atmospheric disturbances from North Korea’s 2009 nuclear test.

Both techniques were born out of the discovery that underground nuclear explosions leave their mark—on the outer reaches of Earth’s atmosphere. (more…)

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2010 Spike in Greenland Ice Loss Lifted Bedrock, GPS Reveals

SAN FRANCISCO – An unusually hot melting season in 2010 accelerated ice loss in southern Greenland by 100 billion tons – and large portions of the island’s bedrock rose an additional quarter of an inch in response.

That’s the finding from a network of nearly 50 GPS stations planted along the Greenland coast to measure the bedrock’s natural response to the ever-diminishing weight of ice above it.

Every year as the Greenland Ice Sheet melts, the rocky coast rises, explained Michael Bevis, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Geodynamics and professor in the School of Earth Sciences at Ohio State University.  Some GPS stations around Greenland routinely detect uplift of 15 mm (0.59 inches) or more, year after year. But a temperature spike in 2010 lifted the bedrock a detectably higher amount over a short five-month period – as high as 20 mm (0.79 inches) in some locations. (more…)

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Arctic Ice Melt Could Pause in Coming Decades

*Researchers find unexpected results in study of ice cover in the Arctic*

Despite the rapid retreat of Arctic sea ice in recent years, the ice may temporarily stabilize or somewhat expand at times over the next few decades, new research indicates.

Results of a study by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) appear this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), published by the American Geophysical Union.

The National Science Foundation (NSF), NCAR’s sponsor, funded the work. (more…)

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US West Coast Erosion Spiked In Winter 2009-10, Previewing Likely Future As Climate Changes

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – Knowing that the U.S. west coast was battered during the winter before last by a climatic pattern expected more often in the future, scientists have now pieced together a San Diego-to-Seattle assessment of the damage wrought by that winter’s extreme waves and higher-than-usual water levels. Getting a better understanding of how the 2009-10 conditions tore away and reshaped shorelines will help coastal experts better predict future changes that may be in store for the Pacific coast, the researchers say.

“The stormy conditions of the 2009-10 El Niño winter eroded the beaches to often unprecedented levels at sites throughout California and vulnerable sites in the Pacific Northwest,” said Patrick Barnard, USGS coastal geologist. In California, for example, winter wave energy was 20 percent above average for the years dating back to 1997, resulting in shoreline erosion that exceeded the average by 36 percent, he and his colleagues found. (more…)

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Ordinary Soot Key to Saving Arctic Sea Ice

WASHINGTON — The quickest, best way to slow the rapid melting of Arctic sea ice is to reduce soot emissions from the burning of fossil fuel, wood and dung, according to a new study.

(more…)

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Whether Glaciers Float May Affect Sea-Level Rise

WASHINGTON — Glaciers that detach from the seafloor and begin floating create larger icebergs than glaciers that stay on the sea floor, researchers have found. Floating glaciers also produce icebergs more erratically.  

These new observations may help researchers better understand and predict iceberg production from glaciers and ice sheets, improving estimates of sea-level rise due to climate change.

(more…)

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