Bird evolution faster than thought, but still 300x too slow to outlive present human-induced extinctions

Doesn’t the Tree of Life make for a beautiful infographic? Shown is bird evolution according to the Hackett backbone tree – one of two studied by the researchers. Using the world’s first family tree linking every known bird species, scientists … Continue reading

GSA meeting tries to define the ‘Geomorphology of the Anthropocene’

How have humans influenced Earth? Can geoscientists measure when human impacts began overtaking those of Earth’s other inhabitants and that of the natural Earth system? Responding to increasing scientific recognition that humans have become the foremost agent of change at … Continue reading

Ticks in Switzerland transmit new bacterial disease to humans

Until now, we knew that ticks primarily transmit two pathogens to humans in Switzerland: the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi – which causes borreliosis – and the early-summer-meningoencephalitis virus, which can cause cerebral inflammation.

Now, microbiologists from the University of Zurich confirm the existence of another tick disease in Switzerland – neoehrlichiosis.

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Arctic solar geoengineering options modeled – feasibility investigated, including seasonal approach

solar geoengineering ArcticScientists are slowly starting to get practical on geoengineering. Cooling the entire planet with stratospheric solar geoengineering could cost only 5 billion dollars per year. And opting for artificial clouds saving the Arctic with geoengineering could be as cheap as 24 million euros.

Now a group including renowned climatologists and leading geoengineering thinkers Ken Caldeira and David Keith tries to investigate ways to alleviate some of the (likely) unwanted side effects of Arctic solar geoengineering.

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Polarity reversal and European super volcano during last ice age – probably unrelated, but does make for easy dating

ice age polarity reversal
The last ice age is known for periods of high climate variability like the period between the Last Glacial Maximum and the Younger Dryas, towards its end. Also about halfway through the ice age temperatures spiked and dipped rapidly. And then about 41,000 years ago suddenly Earth’s magnetic field weakened by some 95%, allowing a bombardment of cosmic rays, and a couple of centuries during which your compass would direct you towards Antarctica. Following this Earth´s northern hemisphere experienced the biggest volcanic eruption of the last 100,000 years, which occured in Italy.

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’2 degrees climate target fails because politicians cannot handle a margin of scientific uncertainty’

The identified critical threshold for dangerous climate change saying that the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius seems not to have helped the climate negotiations so far. New research from the University of Gothenburg and Columbia … Continue reading