Tag Archives: polar regions

Antarctic and Arctic Insects Use Different Genetic Mechanisms to Cope With Lack of Water

Genomic techniques facilitate discovery that gene expression causes disparity

Although they live in similarly extreme ecosystems at opposite ends of the world, Antarctic insects appear to employ entirely different methods at the genetic level to cope with extremely dry conditions than their counterparts that live north of the Arctic Circle, according to National Science Foundation- (NSF) funded researchers.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers concluded, “Polar arthropods have developed distinct… mechanisms to cope with similar desiccating conditions.” (more…)

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Environmental Issues: How True the Climate Changes Affecting Biodiversity

A changing climate has implications on biodiversity without any doubt. Species in the past have been sensitive to changes in the climate; that has been proved time and again by the fossilized remains and pollen distribution studies. It has been seen or can be concluded safely that climate changes have led to extinction of species in one area and colonization in another.

It is improbable that all species can or will be able to adapt to changing conditions specially the sudden changes. This leads to impact in ecosystem dynamics and also on community composition. (more…)

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In Blown-Down Forests, a Story of Survival

To preserve forest health, the best management decision may be to do nothing

In newscasts after intense wind and ice storms, damaged trees stand out: snapped limbs, uprooted trunks, entire forests blown nearly flat.

In a storm’s wake, landowners, municipalities and state agencies are faced with important financial and environmental decisions.

A study by Harvard University researchers, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and published in the journal Ecology, yields a surprising result: when it comes to the health of forests, native plants and wildlife, the best management decision may be to do nothing. (more…)

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Extreme Space Weather at Mercury Blasts the Planet’s Poles

ANN ARBOR, Mich.— The solar wind sandblasts the surface of planet Mercury at its poles, according to new data from a University of Michigan instrument on board NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft.

The sodium and oxygen particles the blistering solar wind kicks up are the primary components of Mercury’s wispy atmosphere, or “exosphere,” the new findings assert. Through interacting with the solar wind, they become charged in a mechanism that’s similar to the one that generates the Aurora Borealis on Earth. (more…)

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Significant Role of Oceans in Onset of Ancient Global Cooling

*Evidence that early Antarctic Circumpolar Current development affected global climate*

Thirty-eight million years ago, tropical jungles thrived in what are now the cornfields of the American Midwest and furry marsupials wandered temperate forests in what is now the frozen Antarctic.

The temperature differences of that era, known as the late Eocene, between the equator and Antarctica were half what they are today. (more…)

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NASA Mission Will Observe Earth’s Salty Seas

PASADENA, Calif. – Final preparations are under way for the June 9 launch of the international Aquarius/SAC-D observatory. The mission’s primary instrument, Aquarius, will study interactions between ocean circulation, the water cycle and climate by measuring ocean surface salinity.

Engineers at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California are performing final tests before mating Aquarius/SAC-D to its Delta II rocket. The mission is a collaboration between NASA and Argentina’s space agency, Comision Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE), with participation from Brazil, Canada, France and Italy. SAC stands for Satelite de Applicaciones Cientificas. Aquarius was built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. (more…)

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Greenland’s Glaciers Double in Speed

The contribution of Greenland to global sea level change and the mapping of previously unknown basins and mountains beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet are highlighted in a new film released by Cambridge University this morning.

The work of glaciologist Professor Julian Dowdeswell, Director of Cambridge University’s Scott Polar Research Institute, is the focus of This Icy World, the latest film in the University’s Cambridge Ideas series. (more…)

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Earth’s Hot Past: Prologue to Future Climate?

*Study of Earth’s deep past leads to look into the future*

 The magnitude of climate change during Earth’s deep past suggests that future temperatures may eventually rise far more than projected if society continues its pace of emitting greenhouse gases, a new analysis concludes.

The study, by National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) scientist Jeffrey Kiehl, will appear as a “Perspectives” article in this week’s issue of the journal Science. (more…)

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