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Sunday, March 29, 2020
Fed by human-caused erosion, many river deltas are growing

Fed by human-caused erosion, many river deltas are growing

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River deltas, the fans of sediment sweeping out from the mouths of rivers, are gaining ground. Globally, delta land area increased by 54 square kilometers per year from 1985 to 2015, scientists report January 23 in Nature. A quarter of that gain is due to deforestation freeing soil from the grip of tree roots, allowing…
A 2.2-billion-year-old crater is Earth’s oldest recorded meteorite impact

A 2.2-billion-year-old crater is Earth’s oldest recorded meteorite impact

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A 70-kilometer-wide crater in Western Australia has officially earned the title of Earth’s oldest known recorded impact. Yarrabubba crater is a spry 2.2 billion years old, plus or minus 5 million years, researchers report January 21 in Nature Communications.    Moving tectonic plates along with erosion have wiped away much of the evidence for many…
Volcanic gas bursts probably didn’t kill off the dinosaurs

Volcanic gas bursts probably didn’t kill off the dinosaurs

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Massive gas bursts emitted by volcanoes about 66 million years ago probably couldn’t have caused a mass extinction event that spelled doom for all nonbird dinosaurs, new research suggests. Data on ancient temperatures, combined with simulations of the shifting carbon cycle in the ocean, lend support to the hypothesis that a giant asteroid impact —…
2019 was the second-warmest year on record

2019 was the second-warmest year on record

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The year 2019 is officially the second warmest in the 140-year record of modern temperatures compiled by both NASA and the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, scientists said January 15. The five warmest years on record have all occurred since 2014 — making 2019 the end to the hottest decade ever recorded. The more…
Wildfires could flip parts of the Amazon from a carbon sponge to a source by 2050

Wildfires could flip parts of the Amazon from a carbon sponge...

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A double whammy of climate change and deforestation could double the area burned by wildfires in the southern Brazilian Amazon forest, simulations suggest. That increase in fires could burn up to 16 percent of the region by 2050 and release enough carbon dioxide to flip parts of the forest from carbon dioxide sponge to source…
Here’s how climate change may make Australia’s wildfires more common

Here’s how climate change may make Australia’s wildfires more common

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Australia’s fire season normally peaks in late January — but as of January 2020, wildfires have already been raging in the country for four months, especially in the east. So far, the fires have destroyed more than 1,300 homes, burned about 6 million hectares and killed at least 24 people. Those wildfires are being fueled…
Climate change is bringing earlier springs, which may trigger drier summers

Climate change is bringing earlier springs, which may trigger drier summers

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The early arrival of spring is often cause for celebration in northern climates. But it may come at the cost of drier, hotter days in some areas in summer. As winter wanes and leaves start to peek out from branches, trees increasingly draw water from the soil and move it into the sky — a…
Debate over signs of early life inspires dueling teams to go to Greenland — together

Debate over signs of early life inspires dueling teams to go...

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Deep in the heart of Greenland, in an area recently laid bare by melting ice, lies a controversy: A rocky outcrop that some scientists say contains the oldest known signs of life on Earth. Others disagree. So a handful of scientists recently headed to the site to study it together. It’s not easy to identify…
Climate change may be why birds are migrating earlier across the United States

Climate change may be why birds are migrating earlier across the...

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A large-scale analysis of bird migrations in the contiguous United States confirms what ornithologists and amateur birders already suspected: Overall, birds’ seasonal long-distance flights are happening earlier than they did a quarter of a century ago. This shift is probably due to higher temperatures, which have risen on average around half a degree Celsius per…
Flooding Earth’s atmosphere with oxygen may not have needed a triggering event

Flooding Earth’s atmosphere with oxygen may not have needed a triggering...

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SAN FRANCISCO — Maybe the trigger for the rise of oxygen on Earth was nothing special. Maybe that oxidation didn’t need large tectonic shifts or the evolution of land plants. Instead, the circulation of carbon dioxide, oxygen and phosphorus between Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, rocks and the simplest of photosynthesizing life forms is sufficient to produce…

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