Earth & Environment

Climate change economics: A net cost analysis of the Paris Agreement targets

Global warming will not only interfere with the earth’s environmental systems but will also cause economic disruption. One recent study suggested the cost of global warming will be dramatically higher than original estimates. Dr Patrick Brown, of San José State University, undertook a net cost analysis to find out when the benefits of meeting the Paris Agreement targets will begin […]

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Earth & Environment

What can COVID-19 shutdowns teach us about reducing air pollution?

The impact of COVID-19 on manufacturing, travel and the associated pollutant production has proved an unexpected opportunity for a global experiment for atmospheric scientists. Drs Jenny Stavrakou and Maite Bauwens at the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy are experts in atmospheric modelling and interpretation of satellite measurements of air pollution. They have been exploring how COVID-related changes have affected […]

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Earth & Environment

Asthenospheric flow and plate tectonics in the Antarctic

New geophysical research has provided evidence to support a 40-year-old theory about the effects of the split in the Earth’s tectonic plates which separated South America and Antarctica. In studies carried out by Manuel Catalán for the Spanish Royal Naval Observatory and Yasmina M. Martos, for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and the University of Maryland (UMD) in the […]

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Earth & Environment

Soil chronosequences shed light on the silicon soil-plant cycle

As soils age, geochemical weathering becomes less important for supplying silicon to the biosphere while terrestrial vegetation plays a greater role. Félix de Tombeur and Jean-Thomas Cornelis of the University of Liege (Belgium) visited the University of Western Australia to study two rare dune soil chronosequences spanning 2 million years. The impoverished soils of these dunes support biodiverse ecosystems. Their […]

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Earth & Environment

Urban water and sanitation reforms in Sub-Saharan Africa

Many countries in the developing world have undertaken ambitious reforms of their urban water and sanitation. Unfortunately, few have achieved excellent, sustainable results. In his recent book, Empty Buckets and Overflowing Pits, Dr Roland Werchota describes his research into urban water and sanitation sector reforms in four Sub-Saharan African countries, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia, and explains why these […]

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Earth & Environment

Soil and groundwater contamination: An old and new issue needs to be solved

Dr Ming Zhang is an innovation coordinator at Geological Survey of Japan, AIST. Alongside his research group, he is advocating the importance of using interdisciplinary tools for sustainable remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater. Their research has shown that cost-effective and environment-friendly technologies such as the use of microorganisms to degrade organic contaminants and the use of minerals to immobilise […]

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Earth & Environment

ENACTS: Risk, Resilience, and the Revitalisation of Climate Services in the Developing World

To build resilience and national capacity to manage climate variability and adapt to change, governments and other bodies need robust and decision-relevant climate information at different levels. In many places, however, including most African countries, collection of climate data has been seriously inadequate, and even when available, poorly accessible. The Enhancing National Climate Services (ENACTS) initiative, led by Dr Tufa […]

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Earth & Environment

Planetary Protection Policy: For sustainable space exploration and to safeguard our biosphere

The search for the origin of life amongst the planetary bodies in our solar system is a driving factor in space research. However, the simple act of sending a spacecraft to explore in situ solar system objects can potentially compromise their environments and cause harmful contamination when returning to Earth. Avoiding such biological contamination of planetary bodies (forward contamination) is […]

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Earth & Environment

Predicting post-seismic liquefaction through geological response analysis

During liquefaction, solid sandy ground behaves like a liquid, posing a significant threat in earthquake-prone regions. Seismic waves cause water-saturated sandy sediments to flow, resulting in ground subsidence and flooding. To address gaps in our understanding, Prof Yukitake Shioi from the Hachinohe Institute of Technology in Japan applied a finite element method model to observations from the 1994 Far-Off Sanriku […]

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Earth & Environment

Protein as a Unifying Metric for Carbon Footprinting Livestock

Agriculture and livestock production contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. To reduce these emissions, some environmental groups advocate reducing the amount of red meat that we consume. James Dyer and Raymond Desjardins, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), were interested in the impact that reducing red meat, diversifying meat consumption and changing cattle diets could potentially have on […]

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