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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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Christchurch

After the Big One: Understanding aftershock risk

Geophysicist Gregory Beroza discusses the culprits behind destructive aftershocks and why scientists are harnessing artificial intelligence to gain new insights into earthquake risks.

Forest

Diverse forests are stronger against drought

Diversity reigns when water gets scarce. New research suggests the most resilient forests are made up of trees that have a wider variety of rates for water moving up from the soil.

Oil field

Cash, carbon, crude: How to make oil fields bury emissions

A new analysis looks at what it would take for oil companies to start pumping millions of tons of carbon dioxide into their wells to boost crude production – and what it would mean for the climate.

Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence: The science behind the storm

Atmospheric scientist Morgan O’Neill discusses what’s driving Florence, why it’s unusual, and how it could be connected to climate change and other storms brewing in the Atlantic.   

Image credit: SD-Pictures

Q&A: How does climate change affect human health?

Stanford experts discuss the linkages between climate change and health, an area that will be a focus of Stanford-led events at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

Destroyed beach home.

Transparency may improve U.S. home buyout programs

New research finds government buyouts of homes in floodplains have often lacked transparency. This could deter residents from participating in managed retreat, one of the main strategies for adapting to areas becoming more flood-prone, Stanford researcher suggests.

Snake

Drought predictive of decrease in snakebites

Rattlesnake bites, contrary to public opinion, increase after periods of high rainfall, not drought, according to a Stanford-led study that examined 20 years of snakebite history in California.

Whale in ocean.

Melting ice: Fleeting ecological advantage, sustained threat

As glaciers melt, nutrients they contain run into the ocean and fertilize local algal blooms. Although these food oases feed local animals, they don’t make up for global challenges produced by melting ice sheets.

Northern elephant seal

Tracking migration patterns of marine predators yields geopolitical challenges

Understanding the movements of migratory marine animals through different countries' waters and in the open ocean beyond is vital to their management and conservation.

Wheat farming

Climate change projected to boost insect activity and crop loss

A new study co-authored by Earth System Science professor Rosamond Naylor projects insect pest damage to crops will rise sharply as temperatures continue to climb.

Oil emissions

Measuring crude oil's carbon footprint

Some oil fields are cleaner than others. But together, they show natural gas management drives more emissions than scientists thought. A new study highlights a path to shrink crude oil's climate impact.

Wind turbines

Mining the cleantech boom and bust for investment lessons

The boom and bust in clean energy investments starting in 2008 produced some lessons to guide future government policy and investment strategies for the next cycle of investment in a sustainable energy future.

Goat

How Neolithic man adapted to climate change

New research shows early farmers in southern Anatolia, Turkey turned to drought-resistant sheep and goats during a well-documented climate shift 8,200 years ago.

Coral reef

Mapping coral reefs with drones

A new approach to underwater mapping could help scientists predict what sorts of underwater flows, wave action and temperatures may help preserve healthy reefs and prevent coral bleaching.

Coachella Valley

Who owns the aquifer?

A Stanford study reveals the changing scope of Native American groundwater rights – and opportunities for better freshwater management.

Adriatic

Trawling ban did not hurt fishing communities

New research shows fishers who complied with a moratorium in the Adriatic Sea maintained catch levels by fishing in other areas. The findings help justify extending regional protection and provide insight for ocean management elsewhere.

water

New technique brings clean hydrogen fuel one step closer

A new method could pave the way to producing hydrogen fuel in large quantities at dramatically lower costs compared to current processes that rely on platinum.

Bighorn sheep

How would a border wall affect wildlife?

Federal plans to complete a continuous wall along the U.S.-Mexico boundary would threaten the existence of numerous plant and animal species. Stanford’s Paul Ehrlich and Rodolfo Dirzo look at the region’s unique natural ecosystems, and what they have to lose.

Drinking water

Natural chromium sources threaten California groundwater

A study shows natural sources of hexavalent chromium are affecting more people and wells in California than industrial sources. But groundwater pumping may accelerate release of this carcinogen.

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