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Stanford Earth Matters

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

Eiffel Tower illustration

Risk of extreme weather events higher if Paris Agreement goals aren’t met

The Paris Agreement has aspirational goals of limiting temperature rise that won’t be met by current commitments. That difference could make the world another degree warmer and considerably more prone to extreme weather.

Student snorkeling among coral reefs.

Learning through fieldwork on Pacific coral reefs

Stanford undergraduates study links between human and natural systems through an interdisciplinary seminar in Palau.

Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica

Interacting Antarctic glaciers may cause faster melt and sea level contributions

Two of the most rapidly changing glaciers in Antarctica, which are leading contributors to sea-level rise, may behave as an interacting system rather than separate entities, according to a new analysis of radar data.

Leafy green vegetables in a growing facility.

Grocery store program improves farmers’ adoption of environmental practices

In one of the first analyses of a company-led sustainability program in the food and agriculture space, Stanford researchers found a major grocery chain fostered increased adoption of environmental practices at the farm level.

The front of Antarctica's Getz Ice Shelf. Photo credit: Jeremy Harbeck/NASA

New Study Reveals Strong El Niño Events Cause Large Changes in Antarctic Ice Shelves

Matthew Siegfried, a postdoctoral researcher working with Dustin Schroeder in the Stanford Radio Glaciology Group, co-authored a study showing oscillations of water temperature in the tropical Pacific Ocean can induce rapid melting of Antarctic ice shelves.

Satellite image of first light from NASA's Aqua satellite.

Scientists Probe Water Inside Leaves via Satellite

Earth System Science professor Alexandra Konings and postdoctoral researcher Mostafa Momen help improve satellite-based analysis of vegetation optical depth, a critical indicator for regional and global climate.

2017

Top 10 Stanford Earth research stories of 2017

From laying the groundwork for a billion-sensor quake network to finding lithium deposits around supervolcanoes, these were our favorite research stories of 2017.

military c-130 plane in Antarctica

Vintage film provides Stanford scientists new insights about Antarctica

Applying modern film scanning technology and machine learning to a rare trove of historical airborne radar measurements could provide new insights about how Antarctica’s ice sheets will change in a warming world.

fire in a conifer-dominated forest

More frequent fires slow plant regrowth

Long-term effects of repeated fires on soils found to have significant impacts on carbon storage not previously considered in global greenhouse gas estimates.

soil and grass cliff

Disrupting sensitive soils

Global warming and land use practices, such as farming, could change the environment for microbes living in the soil and alter the amount of greenhouse gases they release into the atmosphere.

Steel industry in Benxi, China.

After years of nearly flat growth, global fossil fuel emissions are inching up

An international research team reports that the increase in global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels has resumed after a 3-year respite and may increase again next year. Despite the findings, improved energy efficiency and a booming renewables market provide signs of hope.

Secretary Kerry Addresses Delegates Before Signing the COP21 Climate Change Agreement on Earth Day in New York.

Best-case scenario for international climate talks

Stanford researchers, including some who helped provide scientific information underlying the Paris climate accord, discuss their hopes for the current talks at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany.

rising sea levels illustration

​Jenny Suckale: A Better Plan B for Managing Disasters

Stanford’s Russ Altman and Jenny Suckale explore how society can better prepare for a future with more frequent and more dangerous storms.
farm tractor

Soil holds potential to slow global warming

The land under our feet and the plant matter it contains could offset a significant amount of carbon emissions if managed properly.

Q&A with Stanford experts on the president’s Paris climate agreement decision

The president announced that the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. Four Stanford scholars discuss the implications of this decision.

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Greenland’s summer ocean bloom likely fueled by iron

Iron-rich meltwater from Greenland’s glaciers are helping fuel a summer bloom of phytoplankton.

Ugandan forest

Paying Farmers Not to Cut Down Trees in Uganda Helps Fight Climate Change

A new study demonstrates a cost-effective strategy to combat climate change by paying farmers in Uganda to conserve and plant trees.

Introducing the Mobile Monitoring Challenge

The competition will provide a level and controlled playing field for testing remote technologies to monitor methane leaks from the oil and gas industry.

California waterway

Visualizing California’s drought

A new web portal puts four years of California drought data into an interactive format, showing where regions met or missed water conservation goals. The idea is to motivate awareness and conservation.

 Wadi Rum desert

Jordan faces more frequent long and severe droughts

A new analysis of regional drought and land-use changes in Syria suggests water conditions in downstream Jordan could get significantly worse.

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