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coral reef

Stanford Earth Matters

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

Lava lake

Understanding Kilauea: A different flavor of volcano

Geophysicist and volcanologist Paul Segall describes Hawaii's most active volcano and the science behind the latest eruptions.

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.

Belcher ice bridge

Scientists discover first subglacial lakes in Canadian Arctic

Super salty water beneath ice may be analogue for habitat for life on other planets

exhaust from car

EPA's proposed rollbacks of mileage standards are a terrible idea

Rob Jackson argues in Scientific American that proposed EPA mileage rollbacks are shortsighted and a matter of human health as well as economics.

Traffic

Potential impacts of emissions rule rollback

An economist and climate policy expert discuss the possible consequences to fuel efficiency regulation changes.

Smoke Stack drawing

A precedent for climate change litigation?

A trial takes surprising turns and could reshape the legal landscape around climate-change related damages.

Mother and baby sperm whales

Stanford researchers learn why aquatic mammals need to be big, but not too big

Examining body sizes of ancient and modern aquatic mammals and their terrestrial counterparts reveals that life in water restricts mammals to a narrow range of body sizes – big enough to stay warm, but not so big they can’t find enough food.

fire and pellets

Negative-emissions systems to protect climate

New study examines the potential for biomass growing sites, CO2 storage sites, and co-location. In the near term, the technology could remove up to 110 million tons of CO2, or 1.5% of total U.S. emissions annually. 

surfers with oil rig in background

Stanford law and water quality experts discuss possible offshore oil expansion

If federal plans move ahead, most U.S. coastal waters would be open to offshore oil drilling. Stanford professors look at the issues from California's perspective.

Rusty Water cap

Inadequate regulations threaten groundwater

Inconsistent or vague definitions in oil and gas regs leave water supply vulnerable

shiny metal

Tiny Diamond Anvils Trigger Chemical Reactions

Experiments with 'molecular anvils' mark an important advance for mechanochemistry, which has the potential to make chemistry greener and more precise

Two stacks

Exploring an effective, low-cost and fair U.S. climate policy

Economist Larry Goulder discusses tradeoffs of policy options and finds ways to enhance societal and economic benefits

Great Salt Lake, Utah

Extinct Lakes of the American West

Extinct lake landforms provide clues of climate change over millions of years and inform our understanding of rainfall patterns and water management in the arid American West.

Summit of Villarica volcano

Stanford scientists eavesdrop on volcanic rumblings to forecast eruptions

Sound waves generated by burbling lakes of lava atop some volcanoes point to greater odds of magmatic outbursts. This finding could provide advance warning to people who live near active volcanoes.

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.

oil wells against a sunset

New map profiles induced earthquake risk for West Texas, New Mexico

A seismic stress map created by Stanford geophysicists can help predict which parts of West Texas and New Mexico may be at risk of fracking-induced earthquakes. The map could guide oil discovery efforts in the region.

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