Roads are the first insult to pristine natural areas — and a key to agricultural productivity in places where farming makes sense. Here’s a proposal to decide where roads make sense, and where they make mayhem.
Synopsis: To view neutrinos from distant explosions, astrophysicists have set up thousands of detectors in pure ice at the South Pole. What are neutrinos, and what do these scientists hope to learning from them? Find the article: Chasing Neutrinos at the South Pole Illustration: The Why Files IceCube sees both cosmic rays and neutrinos from [...]
Synopsis: Native American agriculture was often a sophisticated response to a challenging environment. What were the secrets of permaculture, companion cropping and corn farming? Could these techniques contribute to modern farming? Find the article: Farming: Native American style Courtesy Eve Emshwiller, University of Wisconsin-Madison A woman in Peru’s highlands harvests oca, the white tubers in [...]
Synopsis: Hurricanes, the most powerful and dangerous storms of all, get their energy from the difference in temperature between a warm ocean and a cooler atmosphere. A century ago, hurricanes blew in with almost no warning; now they are tracked from the sky and space, and every year, warnings get a bit more useful. How [...]
How do hurricanes form? How do we predict their paths? How can we improve predictions?
Conservation and fracking will help United States reach energy independence by 2030. How will cheap natural gas affect renewable energy? How will a one-third increase in fossil fuel use affect greenhouse warming? Are we about to be locked into a 3.6ºC of global warming?
Vast deposits of a strong greenhouse gas are frozen under the ocean. As the ocean warms, this methane is releasing. How much more methane is on the way, and how will it affect climate?
Using at least 20 sources of data, scientists have modeled releases of carbon dioxide from Indianapolis. The new view will help cities map reductions in greenhouse warming, and help people understand that the climate warming problem belongs to everybody.
The first ocean wave energy-capturing device with a permit to connect back to a public power grid will enter the Pacific next month. How much power could the U.S. potentially harness from the waves crashing into its the coastline? According to researchers, wave energy might be one of our best renewable resources.
A long debate about these giant ice streams has gyrated wildly. Now, satellite data show a moderate loss of mass for a recent six-year period. For inaccessible glaciers, satellites may be the best thing since the ice axe!
Deforestation, fires, mining and agriculture outside a nature reserve can have as much impact as the same activities inside the reserve, says a new study. If a line on a map cannot protect nature, what can?
Most water pollution originates in polluted runoff. After a near-record number of beach closures, could green infrastructure convert stormwater from liability to asset? Rain gardens, rain barrels, infiltration ponds, green roofs, buffer strips all trap sediments and nutrients while reducing the load on sewer systems. Is green infrastructure oversold?
A chemical from plastics “looks” like estrogen to the body. If it makes female fish more likely to flirt with males of a different species, could endocrine disruptors cause cross-breeding, and a decline in native fish after invaders enter their rivers?
Classroom Activity Page: Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a high-pressure technique for cracking rocks and allowing natural gas to reach wells. Amid a boom in U.S. natural gas production, industry promises that fracking will bring Americans jobs and low-cost energy for decades. Opponents warn that the drilling-and-fracking process threatens to pollute air, surface water, and most importantly, groundwater. Will these concerns stymie an ongoing boom in natural gas production? Should they?
As colony collapse disorder continues to attack honeybee hives, a new study shows that a common insecticide interferes with their return flights. Although the disorder probably has many causes, agricultural chemicals have long been key suspects, and this study adds to the suspicion!