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Dr. Warren M. Washington (left) and Dr. Michael E. Mann (right). Joshua Yospyn / AAAS

By Marlene Cimons

Warren Washington can trace at least one of the origins of his extraordinary scientific career—more than half a century of groundbreaking advances in computer climate modeling—to a youthful curiosity about the color of egg yolks.

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Ice melt from Greenland, where this iceberg was photographed, could wreak havoc on the global climate this century. posteriori / Getty Images

There's good news and there's bad news. Two new studies focusing on ice melt in Antarctica and Greenland have revised down the worst-case scenario for the amount of sea level rise the world could see by 2100, but say the overall climate impacts of melt water entering the oceans could be devastating.

"The sea-level estimates maybe aren't as bad as we thought, but the climate predictions are worse," lead author of one of the studies and Antarctic Research Center of the University of Victoria, Wellington climate scientist Nick Golledge told National Geographic.

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Power plants like this one need to be retired at the end of their natural life to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. Peter Cade / The Image Bank / Getty Images

It is still possible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a study published Tuesday in Nature Communications found, as long as we act immediately to phase out fossil fuels.

The study used a climate model to determine what would happen if, beginning at the end of 2018, all existing fossil fuel infrastructure—from industrial equipment to cars to planes to ships to power plants—was replaced with renewable alternatives at the end of its design lifetime. The researchers found there would be a 64 percent chance of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, in line with the most ambitious goal of the Paris agreement.

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Researchers have found a way to use microbes living on common seaweed to make plastics. Daniela Dirscherl / Getty Images

The use of traditional plastics poses a major threat to the world's oceans: If current trends continue, plastics will outnumber fish by 2050. But the oceans might also contain the solution to this massive problem, researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) have discovered.

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A sign announces that the National Christmas Tree site is closed due to the government shutdown that began Saturday. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

A partial government shutdown continued for a third day Monday as legislators left the capital for the holidays, CNBC reported Monday. The shutdown is due to an impasse between President Donald Trump and Congress over $5 billion in funding for Trump's border wall, a construction project that would have devastating consequences for wildlife in the region.

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Pothos ivy was modified with rabbit DNA to clean dangerous household chemicals. Sian Irvine / Getty Images

Scientists at the University of Washington (UW) may have found an unexpected way to tackle persistent indoor air pollution: a common houseplant modified with rabbit DNA.

Researchers wanted to find a way to remove the toxic compounds chloroform and benzene from the home, a UW press release explained. Chloroform enters the air through chlorinated water and benzene comes from gasoline and enters the home through showers, the boiling of hot water and fumes from cars or other vehicles stored in garages attached to the home. Both have been linked to cancer, but not much has been done to try and remove them. Until now.

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