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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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Archaeological site.

Archaeological site reveals how Neolithic man adapted to climate change

New research shows how early farmers adapted to a well-documented climate shift 8,200 years ago. The results demonstrate the value of using lipid biomarkers to explore ancient societies’ responses to climate change.

Parched Earth

Warming temperatures could increase suicides

By comparing historical temperature and suicide data, researchers found a strong correlation between warm weather and increased suicides.

Children march for climate justice.

Public support for climate policy remains strong

A new study shows Americans support renewable energy and want global warming reduced. But Americans often don’t realize how many others share their beliefs.

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.

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

Stanford researchers discuss what it will take to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, including technology development and political barriers to overcome.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

Charging vehicle

Can utilities afford electric vehicle commitments?

Energy policy expert Michael Wara comments on the decision to approve $768 million in transportation electrification projects and how it could affect utilities, the environment and California ratepayers.

Amazon rainforest

Height matters for tree survival in the Amazon

A new study shows that tall and older Amazonian forests are more resilient to drought than shorter and younger forests, but more vulnerable to the effects of a dry atmosphere and heat.

Fruit bat in Kerala

Nipah: A little-known virus that could become the next global pandemic

An outbreak of Nipah in South India has renewed interest in the deadly virus. Stanford epidemiologist Stephen Luby explains risk factors, potential interventions and how land conversion connects to the emergence of this kind of infection.

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.

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

When did humans start influencing biodiversity? Earlier than we thought

Fossil study finds early human activity — not climate shifts — led to the decline of large animals before the first human migrations out of Africa. The findings add to concerns about continued biodiversity loss.

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.

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