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Latest and Breaking Earth Science News

Do biofuel policies seek to cut emissions by cutting food?
(Princeton University) A study published in the journal Science found that government biofuel policies rely on reductions in food consumption to generate greenhouse gas savings.

Saudi Arabia's role in global energy markets is changing, new Baker Institute paper finds
(Rice University) Saudi Arabia's role in global energy markets is changing, according to a new paper from an energy expert at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy. The researcher found that the kingdom is reshaping itself as a supplier of refined petroleum products while moving beyond its long-held role as a simple exporter of crude oil.

Climate change does not cause extreme winters
(ETH Zurich) Cold snaps like the ones that hit the eastern United States in the past winters are not a consequence of climate change. Scientists at ETH Zurich and the California Institute of Technology have shown that global warming actually tends to reduce temperature variability.

More evidence for groundwater on Mars
(Geological Society of America) Monica Pondrelli and colleagues investigated the Equatorial Layered Deposits (ELDs) of Arabia Terra in Firsoff crater area, Mars, to understand their formation and potential habitability. On the plateau, ELDs consist of rare mounds, flat-lying deposits, and cross-bedded dune fields. Pondrelli and colleagues interpret the mounds as smaller spring deposits, the flat-lying deposits as playa, and the cross-bedded dune fields as aeolian. They write that groundwater fluctuations appear to be the major factor controlling ELD deposition.

Greener industry if environmental authorities change strategy
(University of Gothenburg) Fewer industrial firms would violate environmental legislation and a higher number would adopt cleaner technologies if environmental authorities would focus their monitoring efforts on companies with the most environmentally damaging technology. At a societal level, such a strategy would mean less pollution at the same or a lower cost of monitoring, according to a new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg.

A long-standing mystery in membrane traffic was solved
(The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)) In a recent issue of Science, published on March 27, 2015, a research team, led by Tae-Young Yoon of the Department of Physics at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Reinhard Jahn of the Department of Neurobiology of the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, reports that NSF/α-SNAP disassemble a single SNARE complex using various single-molecule biophysical methods that allow them to monitor and manipulate individual protein complexes.

Evolutionary novelties in vision
(Uppsala University) A new study from SciLifeLab at Uppsala University published in PLOS ONE shows that genes crucial for vision were multiplied in the early stages of vertebrate evolution and acquired distinct functions leading to the sophisticated mechanisms of vertebrate eyes.

Metals used in high-tech products face future supply risks
(Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies ) Yale researchers have assessed the 'criticality' of all 62 metals on the Periodic Table of Elements, providing key insights into which materials might become more difficult to find in the coming decades, which ones will exact the highest environmental costs -- and which ones simply cannot be replaced as components of vital technologies.

Study takes aim at mitigating the human impact on the Central Valley
(Arizona State University) Study of California's Central Valley shows that as temperature-mitigating technologies are deployed, other environmental factors like pollution become a concern.

A peek at the secret life of pandas
(Michigan State University) The world is fascinated by the reclusive giant pandas, yet precious little is known about how they spend their time in the Chinese bamboo forests. Until now.A team of Michigan State University (MSU) researchers who have been electronically stalking five pandas in the wild, courtesy of rare GPS collars, have finished crunching months of data and has published some panda surprises in this month's Journal of Mammalogy.

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