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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 magazine

Solar panels and wind turbines.

Stanford scientists advance new way to store wind and solar electricity on a large scale, affordably and at room temperature

A new type of flow battery that involves a liquid metal more than doubled the maximum voltage of conventional flow batteries and could lead to affordable storage of renewable power.

Children march for climate justice.

Public support for climate policy remains strong, according to new poll

A new study shows that Americans overwhelmingly want a reduction in global warming and support renewable energy development. But according to the data, Americans don’t realize how many people share their beliefs.

Strawberries

Strawberry fields forever? Thirsty Baja turning to seawater to grow lucrative crop

An arid region 180 miles south of Tijuana is the crossroads where strawberries, economics, and groundwater meet. Strawberries grown for export have become so valuable, farmers keep trying to grow more, and are allowed to use more groundwater than nature replenishes.

Arctic

Finding the pulse of the polar vortex

A new analysis of how air moves between two layers of Earth’s atmosphere reveals a deep system that could enable long-term weather forecasts and better climate models.

Fishing boat

Expanding social responsibility in fisheries

Egregious human rights abuses in the global fishing industry gained international attention two years ago. Where do we stand now? And what will it take to prioritize human wellbeing as much as environmental responsibility in sustainable seafood?

Nuclear cooling tower

Nuclear waste costs Americans billions every year

Nuclear waste is accumulating at sites across the country. Nuclear security expert Rodney C. Ewing discusses how the United States' failure to implement a permanent solution for nuclear waste storage and disposal is costing Americans billions of dollars per year. 

Mount Sinabung

Learning through sound

The audible world contains vast amounts of information about the world around us. Scholars from across Stanford are exploring this invisible landscape as a research tool and as a way of understanding each other.

Wind energy

Q&A: Getting to Net-Zero Emissions

In order to halt climate change, major infrastructure critical to the global economy will have to change. Stanford researchers discuss what it will take to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, including promising technologies in need of development and political barriers that must be overcome.

Florida beach

Unintended consequences in a new era for U.S. ocean policies

The federal government rescinded the Obama-era National Ocean Policy and replaced it with new policies intended to promote jobs and national security. Stanford experts examine potential unintended implications.

traffic

Are driverless cars bad for the environment?

Four experts at the 2018 Silicon Valley Energy Summit debated whether autonomous vehicles will hurt the natural and human environment.

Seaside book

Summer reading: Illuminating our relationship with the planet

Faculty at Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences recommend these 31 books for your summer reading. 

Lagos

Air pollution a major cause of infant deaths in sub-Saharan Africa

Satellite measurements of air quality across sub-Saharan Africa revealed small improvements in air quality could be one of the most effective interventions to curb infant mortality rates.

Port Arthur

Bracing for sea level rise to boost national security

Storm season is upon us, the federal flood insurance plan is broken and sea level rise continues unabated. Stanford climate and policy experts Alice Hill and Katharine Mach look at issues related to rising seas with an eye toward increasing resilience and security.

Dunes

Purifier creates disinfectant from water and sunlight

The system could one day be adapted into solar-powered water purification stations for use in developing regions where fresh water is a precious commodity.

Gas torch

U.S. oil and gas methane emissions are 60 percent higher than EPA reports

A new study shows leakage equals $2 billion dollars in wasted natural gas — enough to supply 10 million households — and provides a roadmap for future emissions research.

Fuego Volcano

Beyond lava and ash: What makes volcanoes dangerous?

Recent eruptions offer reminders that lava, ash and size don’t fully explain how volcanoes become deadly. Geologists Gail Mahood and Donald Lowe describe some of the science and mysteries behind volcanic hazards. 

Yunnan Province

Overuse of fertilizers and pesticides in China linked to farm size

A new study finds chemicals are often used inefficiently on small farms in China. Land and migration policies may help explain why the country uses 30 percent of the world's fertilizers and pesticides on 9 percent of global cropland.

Corn stalks

Warmer climate will dramatically increase the volatility of global corn crops

A new study co-authored by Earth System Science professor Rosamond Naylor looks at what climate change will mean for global yields of corn, or maize, the most widely grown crop in the world. The study shows dramatic increases in the variability of annual corn yields, which could lead to price hikes and global shortages. 

Hummingbird

Nectar research reveals how species coexist

Different species almost always coexist – whether it’s big animals on the plains, bugs in a jungle or yeasts in flower nectar – but how that works is complicated. Now, Stanford researchers have teased apart competing theories of how species live together.

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