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Stanford Earth Matters

Science and insights for people who care about Earth, its resources and its environment

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About Stanford Earth Matters

What drove the collapse of Mexico’s jumbo squid fishery?

Stanford-led research has identified a perfect storm of warming waters and reduced food to blame in the collapse of the once-lucrative jumbo squid fishery off Baja California.

A new way to grow crops in marginal soils could help feed the world

The discovery of an eco-friendly form of genetic engineering for plants has the potential to open up more farmland for food production.

Landscape near water

How the weathering of rocks cooled the Earth

Earth’s climate entered a long phase of cooling 15 million years ago, resulting in an ice age. A team of researchers has now found new indications as to what initiated this cooling and kept it going.

Steering wind power in a new direction: How to improve production

On a working wind farm, Stanford researchers have shown that angling turbines slightly away from the wind can boost energy produced overall and even out the otherwise variable supply.

2015 Nepal earthquake offers clues about hazards

Stanford geophysicist Simon Klemperer discusses how the 2015 Gorkha earthquake that shook Kathmandu, Nepal gave researchers new information about where, why and how earthquakes occur.

Energy

Goodbye, Clean Power Plan: Stanford researchers discuss the new energy rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency replaced the Obama-era Clean Power Plan this week with one that focuses on efficiency improvements at generating stations. Stanford experts discuss potential impacts.

California coast

Atmospheric rivers getting warmer along U.S. West Coast

New research shows that atmospheric rivers – plumes of moisture that deliver much of the west’s precipitation – have gotten warmer over the past 36 years.

Computer image of Earth's layers

Modeling Earth’s chemistry: Making the invisible visible

Kate Maher discusses how researchers use computer modeling to better understand the chemical reactions in Earth’s subsurface that impact water supplies, energy waste storage, climate change and more.

Woolsey wildfire in 2018

What to expect from wildfire season this year and in the future

The new normal for Western wildfires is abnormal, with increasingly bigger and more destructive blazes. Understanding the risks can help communities avert disaster.

Does climate change cause armed conflict?

As global temperatures climb, the risk of armed conflict is expected to increase substantially. Extreme weather and related disasters can damage economies, lower farming production and intensify inequality.

Drone

Finding and fixing natural gas leaks quickly and economically

Natural gas leaks claim lives, damage the climate and waste money. Research teams at Stanford are working on better ways to find and fix gas leaks quickly and inexpensively.

Hydrothermal

How deep-ocean vents fuel massive phytoplankton blooms

A new study suggests vents in the seafloor may affect life near the ocean’s surface and the global carbon cycle more than previously thought. 

Soil

New process rinses heavy metals from toxic soils

An experimental chemical bath and electrochemical filter could now extract heavy metals from the soil and leave fields safe.

Recharge

Can California better use winter storms to refill its aquifers?

With new rules for groundwater management coming into effect, engineers are looking to harness an unconventional and unwieldy source of water: the torrential storms that sometimes soak California.

Wildfire

Wildfire smoke worse for kids' health than smoke from controlled burns

Immune markers and pollutant levels in the blood indicate wildfire smoke may be more harmful to children’s health than smoke from a controlled burn, Stanford researchers found.

Tomatoes

When food waste becomes a pollutant

Forty percent of food produced for consumption never gets eaten. Instead, it fills landfills and releases greenhouse gases. California now aims to drastically reduce the amount of food that ends up in the ground.

Geothermal

Lessons from Pohang: Solving geothermal energy's earthquake problem

A geothermal project triggered a damaging earthquake in 2017. A new analysis suggests flaws in some of the most common ways of trying to minimize the risk of such quakes when harnessing the Earth's heat for energy.

Energy

When 100% renewable energy doesn't mean zero carbon

As power grids move away from fossil fuels, companies seeking to cut out carbon emissions will have to go beyond commitments to renewables. The type and timing of renewable energy used can have a big effect on envir

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