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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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Meltwater stream on glacier in Greenland

Scientists find missing piece in glacier melt predictions

A new method for observing water within ice has revealed stored meltwater that may explain the complex flow behavior of some Greenland glaciers, an important component for predicting sea-level rise in a changing climate.

broken glass

The impact of climate change on human behavior

Obscured behind the better-known impacts of climate change are a host of potentially more serious effects global leaders have yet to reckon with.

Ocean wind

Searching the sea for climate solutions

A new study examines how renewable energy, marine protected areas, carbon storage in marine plants, and other ocean-based solutions could help to combat climate change and its effects on marine ecosystems.

Hollywood Freeway

California's vehicle emissions fight continues a 50-year struggle

California’s resistance to federal plans loosening vehicle emissions standards is nothing new. Over the decades, the state has fought repeatedly to stay in the forefront of pollution controls.

Forest

Diverse forests are stronger against drought

Diversity reigns when water gets scarce. New research suggests the most resilient forests are made up of trees that have a wider variety of rates for water moving up from the soil.

Oil field

Cash, carbon, crude: How to make oil fields bury emissions

A new analysis looks at what it would take for oil companies to start pumping millions of tons of carbon dioxide into their wells to boost crude production – and what it would mean for the climate.

Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence: The science behind the storm

Atmospheric scientist Morgan O’Neill discusses what’s driving Florence, why it’s unusual, and how it could be connected to climate change and other storms brewing in the Atlantic.   

Suburban fire

Q&A: How does climate change affect human health?

Stanford experts discuss the linkages between climate change and health, an area that will be a focus of Stanford-led events at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

Destroyed beach home.

Transparency may improve U.S. home buyout programs

New research finds government buyouts of homes in floodplains have often lacked transparency. This could deter residents from participating in managed retreat, one of the main strategies for adapting to areas becoming more flood-prone, Stanford researcher suggests.

Snake

Drought predictive of decrease in snakebites

Rattlesnake bites, contrary to public opinion, increase after periods of high rainfall, not drought, according to a Stanford-led study that examined 20 years of snakebite history in California.

Whale in ocean.

Melting ice: Fleeting ecological advantage, sustained threat

As glaciers melt, nutrients they contain run into the ocean and fertilize local algal blooms. Although these food oases feed local animals, they don’t make up for global challenges produced by melting ice sheets.

Wheat farming

Climate change projected to boost insect activity and crop loss

A new study co-authored by Earth System Science professor Rosamond Naylor projects insect pest damage to crops will rise sharply as temperatures continue to climb.

Oil emissions

Measuring crude oil's carbon footprint

Some oil fields are cleaner than others. But together, they show natural gas management drives more emissions than scientists thought. A new study highlights a path to shrink crude oil's climate impact.

Goat

How Neolithic man adapted to climate change

New research shows early farmers in southern Anatolia, Turkey turned to drought-resistant sheep and goats during a well-documented climate shift 8,200 years ago.

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.

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