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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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Barb fish in river

Community conservation reserves protect fish diversity in tropical rivers

Freshwater ecosystems across the world have experienced rapid species declines compared to ecosystems on land or in the ocean. New research shows that small, community-based reserves in Thailand’s Salween River Basin are serving as critical refuges for fish diversity.

Bats

Lessons for handling COVID-19 from another animal virus

Stanford epidemiologist Stephen Luby discusses surprising results of a recent study on Nipah virus, a disease with no vaccine and a mortality rate of up to 70 percent.

Mask hanging from bicycle handlebar

Which mask works? Researchers find confusion over mask use for wildfire, COVID-19 crises

Drawing from studies on human behavior and responses to past epidemics and wildfire smoke, researchers outline recommendations for communicating correct mask use and suggest areas for further research.

Penguins on ice

Counting penguins with autonomous drones

A new multi-drone imaging system was put to the test in Antarctica. The task? Documenting a colony of roughly 1 million Adélie penguins.

Carbon capture

Roadmap for carbon capture and storage in California

A new study outlines how capturing and permanently storing carbon dioxide from power plants, oil refineries and other facilities could help California meet its climate goals.

Earthquake concept

The science behind earthquakes

A collection of research and insights from Stanford experts on where and how earthquakes happen, why prediction remains elusive, advances in detection and monitoring, links to human activities, how to prepare for "The Big One," and more.

Health clinic care

Accessible healthcare as climate solution

Making high-quality care accessible to local and Indigenous communities was correlated with a 70 percent reduction of deforestation in an Indonesian national park. By offsetting healthcare costs, the community-designed program reduced incentives for illegal logging.

Tottori skyline

AI detects hidden earthquakes

Tiny movements in Earth’s outermost layer may provide a Rosetta Stone for deciphering the physics and warning signs of big quakes. New algorithms that work a little like human vision are now detecting these long-hidden microquakes in the growing mountain of seismic data.

Indian village school

How extreme heat affects learning

Extremely hot days may directly affect students’ capacity to learn and teachers’ capacity to teach, especially in schools without air conditioning, according to a new study. Worsening climate change is likely to deepen educational inequities.

Thomas Fire, 2017

The science behind the West Coast fires

A collection of research and insights from Stanford experts on wildfires' links to climate change, the health impacts of smoke, and promising strategies for preventing huge blazes and mitigating risks.

Wildfire and smoke

Predicting wildfires with CAT scans

Engineers at Stanford have used X-ray CT scans, more common in hospital labs, to study how wood catches fire. They’ve now turned that knowledge into a computer simulation to predict where fires will strike and spread.

Santa Clara Unit Lightning Complex Fire

Does experiencing wildfires create political consensus on resilience measures?

Though partisanship makes it difficult to enact policy to deal with climate change, research shows that experience with wildfires might diminish the partisan gap.

Mosquitoes

Mosquito-borne disease threat

A warming climate and urbanization will likely lower rates of malaria, while increasing rates of other mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue fever, in Sub-Saharan Africa. Public health strategies must adapt to avoid a public health crisis.

Woodward Fire

Wildfire weather

Unusual lightning strikes sparked the massive wildfires burning across California. Stanford climate and wildfire experts discuss extreme weather’s role in current and future wildfires, as well as ways to combat the trend toward bigger, more intense conflagrations.

Wildfire smoke over Sunnyvale

Wildfires' health impacts

California’s massive wildfires bring a host of health concerns for vulnerable populations, firefighters and others. Stanford researchers discuss related threats, preparedness and ongoing research.

Mixed herd

Evolutionary theory of economic decisions

When survival over generations is the end game, researchers say it makes sense to undervalue long shots that could be profitable and overestimate the likelihood of rare bad outcomes.

Flooded road

Bay Area coastal flooding triggers regionwide commute disruptions

Researchers have modeled how coastal flooding will impact commutes in the Bay Area over the next 20 years. Regions with sparse road networks will have some of the worst commute delays, regardless of their distances from the coast.

Masked farmer

COVID-19 opportunities

Researchers hypothesize outcomes of the pandemic’s unprecedented socioeconomic disruption, and outline research priorities for advancing our understanding of humans’ impact on the environment.

Logging

Q&A: Upscaling sustainability

Stanford scientists discuss obstacles for large-scale green initiatives and what it takes for sustainability efforts to deliver lasting benefits across borders, sectors and communities.

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