Earth Sciences

Those working in the Jurassic exposures on Vancouver Island are a determined crew. Most of the sedimentary deposits of the Jurassic are exposed in the hard to reach areas between Nootka Sound and Cape Scott.

Vanishing Arctic sea ice, dogged weather systems over Greenland, far-flung surface ice melting on the massive island - these trends and global sea-level rise are linked by climate change, according to a new paper.

During Greenland summers, melting Arctic sea ice favors stronger and more frequent "blocking-high" pressure systems, which spin clockwise, stay largely in place and can block cold, dry Canadian air from reaching the island. The highs tend to enhance the flow of warm, moist air over Greenland, contributing to increased extreme heat events and surface ice melting, according to the computer models and field measurements 
in the Journal of Climate.


I've been interested in the edible forest garden idea for over twenty years and have planted and designed several myself in Ireland in that time, and visited several others. But they have never lived up to my expectations and were largely unproductive, despite sourcing as many perennial vegetables and other interesting edible plants as I could. Here I review the claims made for them and what evidence there is to support the idea- and conclude that, as Permaculture founder Bill Mollison said in the first place, in temperate regions you are far better growing your fruit trees and vegetables separately.

The signatory countries of the Kyoto Protocol and the newer Paris Agreement have committed to reduce global warming, but they can only use estimates and projections to verify whether they are actually achieving the necessary reduction in greenhouse gases.

The uncertainties are considerable and mistakes do happen.

Researchers funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) have developed a method to independently monitor these statistics by making direct measurements of the gases in the atmosphere.

Hardly any natural gas pipeline leaks


Current climate models are too simplistic to really account for all of the factors in climate in the present, much less predict the future, but they are being used by policy makers to anticipate the effects of greenhouse gases as far out as a hundred years so it is important they gradually converge on accuracy before too much money is spent.

Today, at the Microbiology Society's Annual Conference, scientists discussed one missing piece of the puzzle in computer simulations - Arctic microbes that are increasing the rate at which glaciers melt.


Book review: The New Wild: Why invasive species will be nature's salvation by Fred Pearce

Icon Books 2015 new-wild

In 1910  New Zealand's great botanist Leonard Cochayne described the dramatic change in  plant communities which had occurred since the first visit of Captain Cook to the country in 1769 (1). Some 560 new species from Europe, Africa and elsewhere had by become established by then, with half of them common throughout the country from the coasts to the highest mountains:

Today in Science Codex I read this article

Jonathan Lundgren, a US Department of Agriculture currently on leave facing misconduct charges, says the government is suppressing information about the dangers of pesticides, which he believes are endangering the health of bees around the world.

Scientists have developed a mathematical model to derive the probability of extreme waves. This model uses multi-point statistics, the joint statistics of multiple points in time or space, to predict how likely extreme waves are.

The results, published today, Friday 11 March, in the New Journal of Physics, demonstrate that evolution of these probabilities obey a well-known function, greatly reducing the complexity of the results.
"It's common in science and engineering to consider noise and fluctuations as something we need to avoid or eliminate in order to gain the best results" explains Matthias Wächter, an author on the paper. "For us, understanding noise and fluctuations is helpful for understanding complex systems."


Anthocyanins, pigments that give plants their red, blue, or purple hues, are not typically produced in citrus fruits grown under tropical or subtropical conditions.

Now, scientists have genetically engineered a lime that contains anthocyanins, which they say has several potential benefits. Manjul Dutt, Daniel Stanton, and Jude Grosser, from the Citrus Research and Education Center at the University of Florida, say that the discovery will allow the cultivation of new citrus fruits in the major subtropical citrus belt and/or the production of ornamental plants, depending on the cultivar.

The process also creates opportunities for novel fruit, leaf, and flower colors to be produced by regulating anthocyanin biosynthesis.