Fire on Ice: Arctic wildfires are the new symptom of a warming planet

by Aparna Nathan figures by Sean Wilson Last summer, satellite cameras captured a strange image: a shroud of smoke hovering over the Arctic. But beneath these still, swirling clouds, towers of flames punctuated the bleak expanses. In short, the Arctic was on fire. The summer of 2019 saw record-breaking blazes emerge throughout the dry polar desert—known as tundra— and the surrounding forests. Arctic wildfires aren’t … Continue reading Fire on Ice: Arctic wildfires are the new symptom of a warming planet

Global warming threatens most of the world’s wheat production, and the Paris Agreement cannot prevent it

Study predicts that global warming will affect 60% of the world’s wheat-growing areas by 2100, even if the Paris Agreement’s targets are met. Damage would be global but developing countries and low-income regions likely to suffer most as rising temperatures affect global food production.
Continue reading Global warming threatens most of the world’s wheat production, and the Paris Agreement cannot prevent it

How Kelp Naturally Combats Global Climate Change

by Sylvia Hurlimann figures by Hannah Zucker When we think of kelp, we conjure up images of magical underwater forests. Recent research, however, suggests that in addition to creating beautiful habitats, macroalgae such as kelp play a large role reducing the effects of global warming. Kelp has an incredibly fast growth rate (up to two feet per day) and exports a large portion of its … Continue reading How Kelp Naturally Combats Global Climate Change

Can converting methane into CO2 help reduce climate change?

Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane, contribute to global warming by slowing the rate at which heat energy escapes into space. Although methane is less abundant than CO2, it is several times more potent, absorbing up to 36 times more energy than CO2 over a century. Last year marked the first time that global methane concentrations reached levels 2.5 times greater than … Continue reading Can converting methane into CO2 help reduce climate change?

Flurries of “marine snow” could help keep the planet cool

Far below the ocean’s surface, millions of tiny particles fall through the water like a scene from a snow globe. But this isn’t anything like normal snow; this is “marine snow,” debris from tiny dead organisms like plankton and algae that floats down to the deep sea. Because carbon is one of the main chemical elements in living things, the ocean floor becomes coated in … Continue reading Flurries of “marine snow” could help keep the planet cool

Recycling Carbon Dioxide with Copper Catalysts

The Earth is undergoing climate change due to human activity. One facet of this change is the Greenhouse Effect, where molecules in the atmosphere trap heat, resulting in globally increasing temperatures. Carbon dioxide is a molecule produced in dangerous amounts by activities like farming and burning fossil fuels. Thus far, sustainably converting carbon dioxide to useful chemicals has been difficult, but scientists at the Lawrence … Continue reading Recycling Carbon Dioxide with Copper Catalysts