Stanford UniversitySchool Resources
coral reef

Stanford Earth Matters

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

Get free monthly e-alerts to the latest Stanford Earth Matters stories

Subscribe

About Stanford Earth Matters magazine

city heatwave

Climate mitigation could yield trillions in economic benefits

Stanford scientists found that the global economy is likely to benefit from ambitious global warming limits agreed to in the United Nations Paris Agreement.

brown algae

How an overlooked process in bacteria could shed light on ancient environments

Geologists assume when they find molecules called sterols in soils or rocks they indicate the presence of plants, animals or fungi in ancient environments. But discovering how some bacteria also produce and modify sterols could change those interpretations.

sage grouse

Judge rules sage grouse was wrongly denied protection

A federal court has ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service improperly ignored its own best science when it made an abrupt about-face and decided not to offer endangered species protections to the bi-state sage grouse.

bicycle silhouette

How our brains learn the look of greener products

A new study suggests people can quickly, if unwittingly, learn visual cues for environmental friendliness. Designers could use the insight to try to trigger thoughts about sustainability when people are shopping. 

fresh water stream

Wastewater project harnesses anaerobic bacteria to save energy

A wastewater treatment plant under construction in Redwood Shores will be the largest to test a technology that significantly reduces the cost of cleaning water. The key: bacteria that eschew oxygen while producing burnable methane.

Lava lake

Understanding Kilauea: A different flavor of volcano

Geophysicist and volcanologist Paul Segall describes Hawaii's most active volcano and the science behind the latest eruptions.

Coral reef

Editing coral DNA in search for keys to survival

Stanford scientists and their colleagues have used the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing system to modify genes in coral, a key step toward pinpointing natural gene variants that may help corals survive in warmer waters.

Mammoth tooth fossil

Influence of early humans on mammal biodiversity occurred earlier than previously thought

Fossil study finds early human activity — not climate shifts — led to the systematic decline of large animals around the globe that predated human migration out of Africa. The findings add to concerns about continued biodiversity loss and the impact on ecosystems.

Biorefinery at sunset

A way for carbon capture at biorefineries to pay off

A new paper maps out how tax credits and possible incentives from state fuel standards could allow ethanol producers to profit from removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

krill

Swarms of tiny organisms churn ocean waters

Zooplankton may have an outsize influence on their environment, creating enough turbulence to influence global nutrient cycles and climate models.

Belcher ice bridge

Scientists discover first subglacial lakes in Canadian Arctic

Super salty water beneath ice may be analogue for habitat for life on other planets

exhaust from car

EPA's proposed rollbacks of mileage standards are a terrible idea

Rob Jackson argues that proposed EPA mileage rollbacks are shortsighted and a matter of human health as well as economics.

Traffic

Potential impacts of emissions rule rollback

An economist and climate policy expert discuss the possible consequences to fuel efficiency regulation changes.

Smoke Stack drawing

A precedent for climate change litigation?

A trial takes surprising turns and could reshape the legal landscape around climate-change related damages.

Mother and baby sperm whales

Stanford researchers learn why aquatic mammals need to be big, but not too big

Examining body sizes of ancient and modern aquatic mammals and their terrestrial counterparts reveals that life in water restricts mammals to a narrow range of body sizes – big enough to stay warm, but not so big they can’t find enough food.

fire and pellets

Negative-emissions systems to protect climate

New study examines the potential for biomass growing sites, CO2 storage sites, and co-location. In the near term, the technology could remove up to 110 million tons of CO2, or 1.5% of total U.S. emissions annually. 

surfers with oil rig in background

Stanford law and water quality experts discuss possible offshore oil expansion

If federal plans move ahead, most U.S. coastal waters would be open to offshore oil drilling. Stanford professors look at the issues from California's perspective.

Summit of Villarica volcano

Stanford scientists eavesdrop on volcanic rumblings to forecast eruptions

Sound waves generated by burbling lakes of lava atop some volcanoes point to greater odds of magmatic outbursts. This finding could provide advance warning to people who live near active volcanoes.

oil wells against a sunset

New map profiles induced earthquake risk for West Texas, New Mexico

A seismic stress map created by Stanford geophysicists can help predict which parts of West Texas and New Mexico may be at risk of fracking-induced earthquakes. The map could guide oil discovery efforts in the region.

maillinkedindouble carrot leftarrow leftdouble carrotplayerinstagramclosecarrotquotefacebooktwitterplusminussearchmenuarrowcloudclock