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Friday, November 21, 2014

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

ScienceDaily: Top Environment News

Time-lapse photos and synched weather data unlock Antarctic secrets

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 03:36 PM PST

Researchers are using time-lapse photography, linked to weather data, to study climate and geological change in the Antarctic Dry Valleys.

Nuclear reactor fuel behavior during a severe event

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 03:34 PM PST

A new discovery about the atomic structure of uranium dioxide will help scientists select the best computational model to simulate severe nuclear reactor accidents.

Deep-earth carbon offers clues on origin of life on Earth: new organic carbon species linked to formation of diamonds -- and life itself

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 03:33 PM PST

Scientists reveal details about carbon deep beneath the Earth's surface and suggest ways it might have influenced the history of life on the planet.

Geologists discover ancient buried canyon in South Tibet

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 11:17 AM PST

Scientists have discovered an ancient, deep canyon buried along the Yarlung Tsangpo River in south Tibet, north of the eastern end of the Himalayas. The geologists say that the ancient canyon -- thousands of feet deep in places -- effectively rules out a popular model used to explain how the massive and picturesque gorges of the Himalayas became so steep, so fast.

Dizzying heights: Prehistoric farming on the 'roof of the world'

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 11:17 AM PST

Archaeological findings pose questions about genetic resistance in humans to altitude sickness and genetic response in crop plants to flowering times and ultraviolet radiation tolerance. Archaeological discoveries from the 'roof of the world' on the Tibetan Plateau indicate that from 3,600 years ago, crop growing and the raising of livestock was taking place year-round at hitherto unprecedented altitudes.

China's new 'Great Wall' not so great, experts say

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 11:17 AM PST

China's second great wall, a vast seawall covering more than half of the country's mainland coastline, is a foundation for financial gain -- and also a dyke holding a swelling rush of ecological woes, experts report in a new article.

Biomarker could provide early warning of kidney disease in cats

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 10:34 AM PST

A new biomarker called 'SDMA' has been developed that can provide earlier identification of chronic kidney disease in cats, which is one of the leading causes of their death. When a test is commercialized, it could help pet owners add months or years to the life of their cat.

Salinity counts when it comes to sea level

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 10:34 AM PST

Using ocean observations and a large suite of climate models, scientists have found that long-term salinity changes have a stronger influence on regional sea level changes than previously thought.

Quantum mechanical calculations reveal the hidden states of enzyme active sites

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 10:34 AM PST

Enzymes carry out fundamental biological processes such as photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation and respiration, with the help of clusters of metal atoms as 'active' sites. But scientists lack basic information about their function because the states thought to be critical to their chemical abilities cannot be experimentally observed. Now, researchers have reported the first direct observation of the electronic states of iron-sulfur clusters, common to many enzyme active sites.

Darwin 2.0: New theory on speciation, diversity

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:32 AM PST

It has long been thought that dramatic changes in a landscape like the formation of the Andes Mountain range or the Amazon River is the main driver that initiates species to diverge. However, a recent study shows that speciation occurred much later than these dramatic geographical changes. Researchers have found that time and a species' ability to move play greater parts in the process of speciation.

Nitrogen sensor widespread in the plant kingdom

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:30 AM PST

Quantitatively, nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients for the growth of plant organisms – from simple green algae to highly developed flowering plants. Nitrogen supply is essential for the development of all cell components, and as a good supply results in faster plant growth, it is commonly used as a fertiliser in agriculture.

Unwinding the mysteries of the cellular clock

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 09:30 AM PST

Underlying circadian rhythms is a clock built of transcription factors that control the oscillation of genes, serving as the wheels and springs of the clock. But, how does a single clock keep time in multiple phases at once? A genome-wide survey found that circadian genes and regulatory elements called enhancers oscillate daily in phase with nearby genes – both the enhancer and gene activity peak at the same time each day.

Mediterranean meteorological tide has increased by over a millimeter a year since 1989

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 08:26 AM PST

A new database provides data on sea level variation due to atmospheric changes in the south of Europe between 1948 and 2009. Over the last two decades sea levels have increased in the Mediterranean basin.

Permafrost soil: Possible source of abrupt rise in greenhouse gases at end of last ice age

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:23 AM PST

Scientists have identified a possible source of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that were abruptly released to the atmosphere in large quantities around 14,600 years ago.

Laser from a plane discovers Roman goldmines in Spain

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:21 AM PST

Hidden under the vegetation and crops of the Eria Valley, in León (Spain), there is a gold mining network created by the Romans two thousand years ago, as well as complex hydraulic works, such as river diversions, to divert water to the mines of the precious metal. Researchers made the discovery from the air with an airborne laser teledetection system.

Flu virus key machine: First complete view of structure revealed

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:21 AM PST

Scientists looking to understand – and potentially thwart – the influenza virus now have a much more encompassing view, thanks to the first complete structure of one of the flu virus' key machines. Knowing the structure allows researchers to finally understand how the machine works as a whole, and could prove instrumental in designing new drugs to treat serious flu infections and combat flu pandemics.

Oat oil preparation makes you feel fuller

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:19 AM PST

Oats contain more fat than other cereals, and oat oil has a unique composition. Researchers have now outlined why oat oil supplement makes you feel fuller.

New computer model predicts gut metabolites to better understand gastrointestinal disease

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:17 AM PST

The first research to use computational modeling to predict and identify the metabolic products of gastrointestinal (GI) tract microorganisms has been published by researchers. Understanding these metabolic products, or metabolites, could influence how clinicians diagnose and treat GI diseases, as well as many other metabolic and neurological diseases increasingly associated with compromised GI function.

Out of India: Finding the origins of horses, rhinos

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:17 AM PST

Working at the edge of a coal mine in India, a team of researchers has filled in a major gap in science's understanding of the evolution of a group of animals that includes horses and rhinos. That group likely originated on the subcontinent when it was still an island headed swiftly for collision with Asia, the researchers report.

Bacterial slime: It's what's for dinner

Posted: 20 Nov 2014 05:17 AM PST

If natural or humanmade disaster strikes, causing global crop failures, the world won't starve -- providing they are willing to eat bacterial slime and bugs. "People have been doing catastrophic risk research for a while. But most of what's been done is dark, apocalyptic and dismal. It hasn't provided any real solutions," says the author of a new book that provides a more optimistic outlook.

Wild weather in the Arctic causes problems for people and wildlife

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 05:45 PM PST

The residents of Longyearbyen, the largest town on the Norwegian arctic island archipelago of Svalbard, remember it as the week that the weather gods caused trouble.  Temperatures were ridiculously warm – and reached a maximum of nearly +8 degrees C in one location at a time when mean temperatures are normally -15 degrees C. It rained in record amounts.

Little Ice Age was global: Implications for current global warming

Posted: 19 Nov 2014 05:45 PM PST

Researchers have shed new light on the climate of the Little Ice Age, and rekindled debate over the role of the sun in climate change. The new study, which involved detailed scientific examination of a peat bog in southern South America, indicates that the most extreme climate episodes of the Little Ice Age were felt not just in Europe and North America, which is well known, but apparently globally. The research has implications for current concerns over 'Global Warming'.

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