Stanford University
coral reef

Stanford Earth Matters

Get Stanford Earth Matters stories delivered to your inbox each month.

Subscribe

About Stanford Earth Matters

Small device on ice sheet with sun in background

Solar radio signals could be used to monitor melting ice sheets

A new method for seeing through ice sheets using radio signals from the sun could enable cheap, low-power and widespread monitoring of ice sheet evolution and contribution to sea-level rise.

Neighborhood with several feet of flooding

Sea-level rise may worsen existing Bay Area inequities

Researchers examined the number of households unable to pay for damages from coastal flooding to reveal how sea-level rise could threaten the fabric of Bay Area communities over the next 40 years.

Cornfield

Using nature's miracle bugs to help feed the world

It takes massive energy to make nitrogen fertilizer. Modified bacteria can do it at room temperature.

Muskrat on lake ice

Stanford research shows muskrats are a bellwether for a drying delta

Downstream of hydroelectric dams and Alberta’s oil sands, one of the world’s largest freshwater deltas is drying out. New Stanford University research suggests long-term drying is making it harder for muskrats to recover from massive die-offs. It’s a sign of threats to come for many other species.

Flooded plants

Floods may be nearly as important as droughts for future carbon accounting

In a 34-year global analysis, researchers found that photosynthesis – an important process for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in soil – was controlled by extreme wet events nearly as often as droughts in certain locations.

Monarch tagging

A climate change solution: Invest in environmental education

Governments need to double down on investments and innovation in educating youth and communities about the environment if future generations are to be able to respond effectively and with appropriate urgency to the climate emergency, according to Stanford researchers. (Source: Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Cement plant from above

For a low-carbon cement recipe, Stanford scientists look to Earth’s cauldrons

As the most-used building material on the planet and one of the world’s largest industrial contributors to global warming, concrete has long been a target for reinvention. Stanford scientists say replacing one of concrete’s main ingredients with volcanic rock could slash carbon emissions from manufacture of the material by nearly two-thirds.

Social cost of carbon concept

Stanford explainer: The social cost of carbon

In a Q&A, Stanford economists describe what the social cost of carbon is, how it is calculated and used in policymaking, and how it relates to environmental justice. (Source: Stanford News)

Phytoplankton

Fungus creates a fast track for carbon

New research focused on interactions among microbes in water suggests fungal microparasites play a bigger than expected role in aquatic food webs and the global carbon cycle.

Traffic on the Oakland Bridge

Coastal flooding increases Bay Area traffic delays and accidents

Disruptions from sea level rise and coastal flooding events have significant indirect impacts on urban traffic networks and road safety.

Homes in Nicaragua flooded by Hurricane Eta

How does climate change affect migration?

April 2021 saw a 20-year high in the number of people stopped at the U.S./Mexico border, and President Joe Biden recently raised the cap on annual refugee admissions. Stanford researchers discuss how climate change’s effect on migration will change, how we can prepare for the impacts and what kind of policies could help alleviate the issue.

Aerial view of Hiawatha Glacier

Airborne radar reveals groundwater beneath glacier

Researchers have detected groundwater beneath a glacier in Greenland for the first time using airborne radar data. If applicable to other glaciers and ice sheets, the technique could allow for more accurate predictions of future sea-level rise.

Coral reef fish

Biodiversity loss in warming oceans

A fossil study from Stanford University finds the diversity of life in the world’s oceans declined time and again over the past 145 million years during periods of extreme warming. Temperatures that make it hard for cold-blooded sea creatures to breathe have likely been among the biggest drivers for shifts in the distribution of marine biodiversity.

Road washed away by flooding

Q&A: Why is climate change at the center of a $2.3 trillion federal plan?

In an address to Congress, President Joe Biden pitched a wide-ranging initiative called the American Jobs Plan. Stanford researchers discuss how and why climate change resilience is central to the initiative.

Melt stream on Greenland

Can extreme melt destabilize ice sheets?

Researchers have deciphered a trove of data that shows one season of extreme melt can reduce the Greenland Ice Sheet’s capacity to store future meltwater – and increase the likelihood of future melt raising sea levels.

Brick kiln chimneys in Dhaka, Bangladesh

AI empowers environmental regulators

Monitoring environmental compliance is a particular challenge for governments in poor countries. A new machine learning approach that uses satellite imagery to pinpoint highly polluting brick kilns in Bangladesh could provide a low-cost solution.

Wind turbines at sunset

The science behind decarbonization

A collection of research and insights from Stanford experts who are revealing the stakes of emission cuts, enabling better carbon accounting, predicting the consequences of future emission pathways and mapping out viable solutions.

Homes with rooftop solar panels

How to close the clean-energy divide

An engineer and clean-energy entrepreneur discusses the troubling socio-economic gap in access to sustainable energy and the things we can do now to narrow and, perhaps, close it.

IconsList of icons used on the sitemaillinkedindouble carrot leftarrow leftdouble carrotplayerinstagramclosecarrotquotefacebooktwitterplusminussearchmenuarrowcloudclock