When we think of coastal pollution, we tend to picture dirty water and garbage drifting down river into the sea. But deep underground, our filth reaches the beach by a more secretive route: groundwater channels. A first-of-its-kind mapping analysis has now revealed that a fifth of US coastlines are susceptible to…
A new study done by Canadian researchers takes a look at nitrates in ground water in the Mississippi Basin and finds bad news. If we stop using nitrogen fertilizers today, there will still be a three-decade legacy of excess nitrogen in water—and there’s a lawsuit right now that will decide who will foot the bill.
Long ago, a clan of hardy microbes called cyanobacteria helped terraform the lifeless Earth into a vibrant biosphere. Today, the very same critters could be the key to colonizing Mars.
Phytoplankton may be microscopic, but that doesn’t mean we can’t see them. Just look up: These little critters are brightening up cloudy days around the world.
None of us would be alive today without plants, and if humans want to survive beyond Earth long-term, we’ll need to bring our leafy greens with us. Eventually, astronauts are going to have to become space farmers.
The image you’re looking at is a glimpse into our future. Welcome to July 2099, according to 21 different climate models. CO2 concentrations have topped 900 parts per million, comprising nearly 0.1 percent of our atmosphere. (In early 2015, we hit 400).
We know the drill. Cities are gray pollution farms and forests are verdant planetary saviors. We also know it’s more complicated than that. Here’s an interesting way a seemingly “green” forest can be a source of pollution.
This presentation from Berkeley Lab scientist Javier Ceja-Navarro hints at a strange new future for agriculture and energy production. I’m willing to bet it’s like nothing that you ever imagined.
Nature doesn't end at the borders of a city — it's just transformed. That's why scientists are finding new animal species in urban areas, where the ecosystems favor scavengers, hardy weeds, and junk-eaters. It probably comes as no surprise that the sprawling city of Los Angeles is home to its own unique fly species.
If humans are actually going to live on other planets or space stations one day, we're going to need more than rocket fuel and futuristic propulsion systems. We're going to need environmental science. Here are some fundamental reasons why.
Tons of plastic floats in the oceans, and it's covered in microscopic life. But a new study reveals plastic-loving species that have never been seen before, and ecosystems entirely new to science. Say hello to life in the 'plastisphere.'
Whales can live longer than humans do, but often there is only one way for researchers to find out the age of a particular whale. They have to go deep inside the whales' ears.
Over the past decade, bee populations have been dropping, partly as a result of a disease called colony collapse disorder. This is very bad news for humans, because bees are a crucial part of the reproductive cycle of many of our favorite foods, including apples, onions, avocados, and more. This incredible data…
We grow up hearing about acid rain, but what about other forms of acidic precipitation — do they even exist?
The science of dendrochronology observes changes in the pattern of tree rings in an attempt to create a time line and infer climate changes. Using tree ring data, it is possible to link the past 11,000 years in parts of Germany & Northern Ireland, but only the past few centuries in other parts of the world.
If the world needs a new field of science, can you simply create one from scratch? That's the question of a group of researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The scientists recently chronicled the twenty-five year journey of sustainability science, a newly coined field with the goal of advancing society…
Though science fiction often mangles scientific truths, it is nevertheless a genre that is highly influenced by the latest trends in scientific thought and research. Here are some of the scientific (and semi-scientific) ideas that have influenced SF the most.
After five years of drilling through 1.6 miles of solid ice, scientists finally hit Greenland's bedrock last week. The buried rock holds secrets to how Earth's climate changed 100,000 years ago, and what it means for today's climate upheaval.
A gamma ray burst hitting Earth would seriously harm the plankton that are responsible for a significant fraction of photosynthesis. That would cause a massive spike in carbon dioxide levels, potentially causing a mass extinction...and it's quite possibly already happened.
Researchers put a bit of old folk wisdom to the test by investigating whether water droplets on the top of leaves actually can focus the sun's rays and burn them. The result? Score one for folk wisdom.