Menopausal Mother Nature

News about Climate Change and our Planet

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Even short-lived solar panels can be economically viable

A new study shows that, contrary to widespread belief within the solar power industry, new kinds of solar cells and panels don’t necessarily have to last for 25 to 30 years in order to be economically viable in today’s market.

Are Saturn’s rings young or old?

Cassini data suggested that Saturn’s rings were only 10 to 100 million years old. A new study suggests that a “ring rain” onto Saturn makes the rings look younger than they really are, and that in fact Saturn’s rings date back billions of years.

Climate change expected to accelerate spread of sometimes-fatal fungal infection

(American Geophysical Union) Valley fever is endemic to hot and dry regions like the southwestern United States and California’s San Joaquin Valley, but a new study predicts climate change will cause the fungal infection’s range to more than double in size this century, reaching previously unaffected areas across the western U.S.

Antibiotic resistance surges in dolphins, mirroring humans

Scientists obtained a total of 733 pathogen isolates from 171 individual wild Bottlenose dolphins in Florida and found that the overall prevalence of resistance to at least one antibiotic for the 733 isolates was 88.2%. Resistance was highest to erythromycin, followed by ampicillin. It is likely that these isolates from dolphins originated from a source where antibiotics are regularly used, potentially entering the marine environment through human activities or discharges from terrestrial sources.

‘Fire inversions’ lock smoke in valleys

(University of Utah) There’s an atmospheric feedback loop, says University of Utah atmospheric scientist Adam Kochanski, that can lock smoke in valleys in much the same way that temperature inversions lock the smog and gunk in the Salt Lake Valley each winter. But understanding this loop, Kochanski says, can help scientists predict how smoke will impact air quality in valleys, hopefully helping both residents and firefighters alike.

Climate change may cut soil’s ability to absorb water

Coasts, oceans, ecosystems, weather and human health all face impacts from climate change, and now valuable soils may also be affected. Climate change may reduce the ability of soils to absorb water in many parts of the world, according to a new study. And that could have serious implications for groundwater supplies, food production and security, stormwater runoff, biodiversity and ecosystems.

Climate change: A dirt-y business

(University of California – Riverside) Groundwater is essential for growing crops, but new research shows climate change is making it harder for soil to absorb water from rainfall. While the idea that soil particles rearrange in response to environmental conditions is not new, scientists once thought these shifts happened slowly. Not anymore. New research shows increased rainfall reduces the rate water moves into soil, and that this change only takes a few years or decades, not centuries as previously assumed.