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

Nature study: population growth and ecological crises drive Earth to tipping point

Nature population growth ecological tipping point EarthA group of scientists from around the world is warning that population growth, widespread destruction of natural ecosystems, and climate change may be driving Earth toward an irreversible change in the biosphere, a planet-wide tipping point that would have destructive consequences absent adequate preparation and mitigation.

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Largest known sea level rise took less than 350 years

Ocean level rise is known as one of the most disquieting effects of global warming, with more than three billion people living on the coast or less than 200 kilometres land inward and one tenth of the world population living … Continue reading

Urban areas have more plant species than rural areas but they die younger

Singapore skylineCities in both, the US and Europe harbour more plant species than rural areas. However, plant species of urban areas are closer related to each other and often share similar functions. Consequently, urban ecosystems should be more sensitive towards environmental impacts than rural ecosystems.

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Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum caused by thawing permafrost?

In a new study reported in Nature, climate scientist Rob DeConto of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and colleagues elsewhere propose a simple new mechanism to explain the source of carbon that fed a series of extreme warming events about 55 million years ago, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), and a sequence of similar, smaller warming events afterward.

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Carbon dioxide’s climate effects confirmed: temperatures followed rising CO2 levels during last deglaciation

There has been much speculation about what exactly caused the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago. Some say the Earth’s orbital changes were the cause, others say it was an increase in atmospheric CO2. But although a … Continue reading