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Latest Carbon cycle Stories

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2011-04-05 09:30:00

Patrick Lynch, NASA's Earth Science News Team Mary Cleave left the NASA astronaut corps in the early 1990s to make a rare jump from human spaceflight to Earth science. She was going to work on an upcoming mission to measure gradations in ocean color "“ something she had actually seen from low-Earth orbit with her own eyes. From space, differing densities of phytoplankton and algae and floating bits of plant life reveal themselves as so many blues and greens. For Cleave, a former...

2011-02-22 14:17:03

Research published today reveals the previously unidentified role that fish play in the production of sediments in the world's oceans, and specifically of the carbonate sediments that contain critical records of changes in ocean chemistry and climate shifts in the geological past. The discovery, made by a team of scientists from the UK and US, helps explain the origins of a key component of marine sediments "“ the fine-grained carbonates, the origins of which are often problematic to...

2011-01-20 21:58:56

Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes had an impact on the global carbon cycle as big as today's annual demand for gasoline. The Black Death, on the other hand, came and went too quickly for it to cause much of a blip in the global carbon budget. Dwarfing both of these events, however, has been the historical trend towards increasing deforestation, which over centuries has released vast amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, as crop and pasture lands expanded to feed growing human...

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2011-01-17 13:14:52

Science have probed the climate secrets of the Marianas Trench in the western Pacific Ocean. The international team used a submersible, designed to withstand immense pressures, to study the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean. The scientist early results reveal that ocean trenches are acting as carbon sinks. This suggests that they play a larger role in regulating the Earth's chemistry and climate than what was previously thought. Although explorers Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh...

2011-01-07 11:13:09

Most college students in the United States do not grasp the scientific basis of the carbon cycle "“ an essential skill in understanding the causes and consequences of climate change, according to research published in the January issue of BioScience. The study, whose authors include several current and former researchers from Michigan State University, calls for a new way of teaching "“ and, ultimately, comprehending "“ fundamental scientific principles such as the...

2011-01-06 17:15:06

An international team of scientists has released data indicating that greenhouse gas uptake by continents is less than previously thought because of methane emissions from freshwater areas. John Downing, an Iowa State University professor in the ecology, evolution and organismal biology department, is part of an international team that concluded that methane release from inland waters is higher than previous estimates. The study, published in the journal Science, indicates that methane gas...

2010-12-08 02:24:13

Researchers have found compelling evidence for an extensive biological community living in porous rock deep beneath the seafloor. The microbes in this hidden world appear to be an important source of dissolved organic matter in deep ocean water, a finding that could dramatically change ideas about the ocean carbon cycle. Matthew McCarthy, associate professor of ocean sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, led a team of researchers from several institutions who analyzed the...

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2010-11-17 11:52:12

By Shelley Littin, NASA Space Grant intern, University of Arizona New University of Arizona research indicates that leaf vein patterns correlate with functions such as carbon intake and water use "“ knowledge that could help scientists better understand the complex carbon cycle that is at the heart of global climate warming. "Leaves have very different networks of veins. They have different shapes, different sizes, different thicknesses," said Benjamin Blonder, a doctoral student in the...

2010-10-26 02:47:46

New University of Florida research puts to rest the mystery of where old carbon was stored during the last glacial period. It turns out it ended up in the icy waters of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica. The findings have implications for modern-day global warming, said Ellen Martin, a UF geological sciences professor and an author of the paper, which is published in this week's journal Nature Geoscience. "It helps us understand how the carbon cycle works, which is important for...

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2010-10-07 08:37:47

It just got easier to pinpoint biological hot spots in the world's oceans where some inhabitants are smaller than, well, a pinpoint. Microscopic algae are called phytoplankton and range from one to hundreds of microns in size "“ the smallest being 1/100th the size of a human hair. But as tiny as they may be, communities of the phytoplankton south of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, are big players when it comes to carbon: They take up 50 percent of the carbon dioxide going from the...