"There will be millions more thirsty, hungry and ill poor people living in high-risk areas of the world by the end of the century," .
Climate Change 'Will Cause Refugee Crisis'
Oct 20, 2006 -Mass movements of people across the world are likely to be one of the most dramatic effects of climate change in the coming century, a study suggests. The report, from the aid agency Tearfund, raises the spectre of hundreds of millions of environmental refugees and says the main reason will be the effects of climate - from droughts and water shortages, from flooding and storm surges and from sea-level rise. The study, "Feeling the Heat", says there are already an estimated 25 million environmental refugees, and this figure is likely to soar as rain patterns continue to change, floods and storms become more frequent and rising tides start to inundate low-lying countries such as Bangladesh or some of the Pacific islands. Tearfund says that without urgent action, world governments will lose the fight to tackle the world water crisis and the growing threat of climate-change refugees in catastrophic numbers.
Read the full story, click Common Dreams

The ozone hole of 2006 is the most severe ozone hole (least amount of ozone) observed to date.

The most severe ozone hole observed to date

Oct 19, 2006 -NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists report this year's ozone hole in the polar region of the Southern Hemisphere has broken records for area and depth. The ozone layer acts to protect life on Earth by blocking harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. The "ozone hole" is a severe depletion of the ozone layer high above Antarctica. It is primarily caused by human-produced compounds that release chlorine and bromine gases in the stratosphere. "From September 21 to 30, the average area of the ozone hole was the largest ever observed, at 10.6 million square miles," said Paul Newman, atmospheric scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. If the stratospheric weather conditions had been normal, the ozone hole would be expected to reach a size of about 8.9 to 9.3 million square miles, about the surface area of North America.
Read the full story, click Filtered Science News

The drought is slashing livestock prices across New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, with farmers selling off record numbers of sheep and cattle to avoid having to feed them.
Australian Drought Driving Farmers To Desperation
Oct 18, 2006 - Australia's worsening drought is driving desperate farmers to suicide and government funds should be used to help them leave increasingly unviable land, scientists and politicans said Tuesday. The side effects of the worst drought in living memory include mental illness, depression and suicide in rural communities, said opposition Labor Party health spokeswoman Julia Gillard. It had been estimated by the mental health organisation Beyond Blue that one Australian farmer commits suicide every four days, she said. "Now, that is a startling statistic and something that the (Prime Minister John) Howard government should be desperately concerned about," she told reporters in Canberra. Howard's own Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Christopher Pyne, warned last week that the drought was putting pressure on rural families and could increase the suicide rate among farmers. Howard announced Monday an extra 350 million dollars (264 million US) ) to bail out struggling farmers, bringing to 1.9 billion dollars the total assistance provided since the drought began to bite in 2001.
Read the full story, click   Terra Daily

An ice shelf is the floating extension of the grounded ice sheet. It is composed of freshwater ice that originally fell as snow, either in situ or inland and brought to the ice shelf by glaciers.

First Direct Evidence That Human Activity Linked To Collapse Of Ice Shelf

oct 17, 2006 - The first direct evidence linking human activity to the collapse of Antarctic ice shelves is published this week in the Journal of Climate. Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, University College London, and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, (Belgium) reveal that stronger westerly winds in the northern Antarctic Peninsula, driven principally by human-induced climate change, are responsible for the marked regional summer warming that led to the retreat and collapse of the northern Larsen Ice Shelf. Global warming and the ozone hole have changed Antarctic weather patterns such that strengthened westerly winds force warm air eastward over the natural barrier created by the Antarctic Peninsula's 2 km-high mountain chain. On days when this happens in summer temperatures in the north-east Peninsula warm by around 5 degrees C, creating the conditions that allowed the drainage of melt-water into crevasses on the Larsen Ice Shelf, a key process that led to its break-up in 2002.
Read the full story, click  Terra Daily


Illustration of Earth

Oct 17, 2006 - Scientists at the Carnegie Institution and Penn State University have discovered evidence showing that microbes adapted to living with oxygen 2.72 billion years ago, at least 300 million years before the rise of oxygen in the atmosphere. The finding is the first concrete validation of a long-held hypothesis that oxygen was being produced and consumed by that time and that the transition to an oxygenated atmosphere was long term.  It is generally believed that before 2.4 billion years ago, Earth's atmosphere was essentially devoid of oxygen. Exactly when and how oxygen-producing photosynthesis evolved and began fueling the atmosphere with the gas that much of life depends on has been hotly debated for some time. Plants, algae, and cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) emit oxygen as a waste product of photosynthesis--the process by which sugar, essential for nutrition, is made from light, water, and carbon dioxide.
Read the full story, click Terra Daily

The global distribution of phytoplankton power generation as measured by satellite. (Courtesy of William Dewar, Florida State University)

Marine Life Stirs Ocean Enough To Affect Climate, Study Say

Oct 06, 2006 - Oceanographers worldwide pay close attention to phytoplankton and with good reason. The microscopic plants that form the vast foundation of the marine food chain generate a staggering amount of power, and now a groundbreaking study led by Florida State University has calculated just how much ---- about five times the annual total power consumption of the human world. Physical and biological oceanographers led by FSU Professor William Dewar put the yearly amount of chemical power stored by phytoplankton in the form of new organic matter at roughly 63 terawatts, and that's a lot of juice: Just one terawatt equals a trillion watts. In 2001, humans collectively consumed a comparatively measly 13.5 terawatts. What's more, their study found that the marine biosphere ---- the chain of sea life anchored by phytoplankton ---- invests around one percent (1 terawatt) of its chemical power fortune in mechanical energy, which is manifested in the swimming motions of hungry ocean swimmers ranging from whales and fish to shrimp and krill. Those swimming motions mix the water much as cream is stirred into coffee by swiping a spoon through it. And the sum of all that phytoplankton-fueled stirring may equal climate control.
Read the full story, click Science Daily

New moorings are deployed from aboard the "Maria S. Merian" in the Fram-Strait. Credit: Ursula Schauer, Alfred-Wegener-Institut

Arctic Fever Getting Hotte

Oct 05, 2006 - Several days ago, the 'Maria S Merian' returned from her second Arctic expedition with data confirming trends of Arctic warming. "Compared to last summer, the water that flows from the Norwegian Sea to the Arctic has been an average 0.8 degrees Celsius warmer this summer," says expedition leader Dr Ursula Schauer of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. "This is in addition to the last two years already having been warmer than the previous 20 from which we have regular measurements. Over the Yermak Plateau, an oceanic ridge, the oceanographers documented water of more than four degrees Celsius moving up to 81 20' northern latitude," according to Schauer. During the expedition, biologists discovered zooplankton species from the Norwegian Sea which were previously unrecorded from the northern latitudes that they had reached via the warm waters.
Read the full story, click Terra Daily

A Landsat satellite image of iceberg B15 in January 2001. The iceberg covered about 11,000 square miles, approximately twice the size of Delaware. Robert Bindschaldler, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Alaskan storm cracks giant iceberg to pieces in faraway Antarctica
Oct 02, 2006 - A severe storm that occurred in the Gulf of Alaska in October 2005 generated an ocean swell that six days later broke apart a giant iceberg floating near the coast of Antarctica, more than 8,300 miles away. A team of scientists led by Professors Douglas MacAyeal at the University of Chicago and Emile Okal at Northwestern University present evidence connecting the two events in the October issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters. “We are reporting on a unique kind of seismological signal picked up by seismometers we deployed on the iceberg, which is generated by sea swell when it rocks the iceberg,” said Okal, professor in geological sciences at Northwestern. Oceanographers have known since the early 1960s that ocean swells can travel half way around the world. But the new study, funded by the National Science Foundation, raises the possibility that an increase in storms driven by climate change could affect far-flung parts of the globe. “One of the things we’re debating in the world right now is whether global warming might increase the storminess in the oceans,” said MacAyeal, professor in geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago.
Read the full story, click The University of Chicago

Scientists offer guidelines for coping with climate change in Alaska
Sep 27, 2006 - Coping with the devastating effects of climate change in Alaska will require institutional nimbleness and a willingness among those living at lower latitudes to “share the pain,” according to the authors of a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The interdisciplinary team of ecologists and social scientists put forward broad strategic guidelines for dealing with dramatically warmer temperatures in Alaska. “Alaska is way ahead of most of the world in the degree to which it’s already experiencing the effects of global warming,” said coauthor Erika Zavaleta, an associate professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “It’s warmer and drier, winter ice melts earlier, and forests are under siege from longer, more severe wildfire seasons,” she said.
Read the full story, click   UC Santa Cruz

This color-coded map shows average temperatures from 2001-2005 compared to a base period of temperatures from 1951-1980. Dark red indicates the greatest warming and purple indicates the greatest cooling. Credit: NASA
Global temperatures are nearing their hottest level in more than 12,000 years
Sep 25, 2006 - A new study by NASA climatologists finds that the world's temperature is reaching a level that has not been seen in thousands of years. The study appears in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, authored by James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, N.Y. and colleagues from Columbia University, Sigma Space Partners, Inc., and the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). The study concludes that, because of a rapid warming trend over the past 30 years, the Earth is now reaching and passing through the warmest levels in the current interglacial period, which has lasted nearly 12,000 years. This warming is forcing a migration of plant and animal species toward the poles. The study includes worldwide instrumental temperature measurements during the past century. These data reveal that the Earth has been warming at the remarkably rapid rate of approximately 0.2° Celsius (.36° Fahrenheit) per decade for the past 30 years.
Read the full story, click  Filtered Science News 

File photo: Image of the ozone layer over the South Pole, 2000.
Antarctic Ozone Hole Close to 2000 and 2003 Records
Sep 22, 2006 - The seasonal ozone hole over Antarctica is reaching a record size previously seen in 2000 and 2003, the World Meteorological Organisation said Friday. "Our latest bulletin shows that the hole in the ozone layer over the Antarctic has beaten that of last year and is rivalling the two largest on record -- 2000 was the largest and 2003 was the second largest," said WMO spokesman Mark Oliver. The hole in the protective layer of gas in the earth's upper atmosphere, which is caused by a specific type of pollution, emerged late in the season and grew faster than expected due to climatic conditions, said WMO ozone expert Dr Geir Braathen. A graph supplied by the WMO indicated that the hole centred over the South Pole -- which is currently well above 27 million square kilometres (10.5 million square miles) in area -- was still forecast to expand in size this month. 
Read the full story, click Terra Daily

With mountains covering around a third of Europe's surface, there were also calls for greater support from European Union authorities.

Mountain Water Resources Under Threat

Sep 22, 2006 - Mountain water resources are under threat from global warming and increased usage of the precious resource by ski resorts, scientists warned at a conference in the French Alps. "Mountains concentrate an important chunk of precipitation. All the great rivers of the world take their source from them. They are the planet's water castles," said Jean-Francois Donzier, director general of the International Office for Water. The United Nations forecast an increase in global temperatures of 1.4-5.8 degrees Celsius (34.5-42.4 degrees Fahrenheit), and implications for mountain water resources could be massive, the experts warned at the four-day conference in the French ski resort of Megeve. The effects are already evident in the reduction in size of glaciers, with close to half of those in France forecast to disappear by the end of the century, according to Pierre Etchevers from the French weather office. "We add eight to 10 meters (26 to 33 feet) of ladder every year to get to the Mer de Glace (glacier) in Chamonix," said Martial Saddier from the French Association of Mountain Water.
Read the full story, click Terra Daily

Recent drastic reduction in the extent of perennial ice.Image credit: NASA/JPL
The Polar Ice is Melting Fast
Sep 14, 2006 - NASA data show that Arctic perennial sea ice, which normally survives the summer melt season and remains year-round, shrunk abruptly by 14 percent between 2004 and 2005. According to researchers, the loss of perennial ice in the East Arctic Ocean was even higher, nearing 50 percent during that time as some of the ice moved from the East Arctic to the West.   The overall decrease in winter Arctic perennial sea ice totals 720,000 square kilometers (280,000 square miles) -- an area the size of Texas. Perennial ice can be 3 or more meters (10 or more feet) thick. It was replaced by new, seasonal ice only about 0.3 to 2 meters (one to seven feet) thick that is more vulnerable to summer melt. The decrease in the perennial ice raises the possibility that Arctic sea ice will retreat to another record low extent this year.
Read the full story, click Filtered Science News

Brightness variations are the result of changes in the amount of the Sun's surface covered by dark sunspots and by bright points called faculae.
Changes In Solar Brightness Too Weak To Explain Global Warming
Sep 13, 2006 - Changes in the Sun's brightness over the past millennium have had only a small effect on Earth's climate, according to a review of existing results and new calculations performed by researchers in the United States, Switzerland, and Germany. The review, led by Peter Foukal (Heliophysics, Inc.), appears in the September 14 issue of Nature. Among the coauthors is Tom Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. NCAR's primary sponsor is the National Science Foundation. "Our results imply that, over the past century, climate change due to human influences must far outweigh the effects of changes in the Sun's brightness," says Wigley. Reconstructions of climate over the past millennium show a warming since the 17th century, which has accelerated dramatically over the past 100 years. Many recent studies have attributed the bulk of 20t-century global warming to an increase in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
Read the full story, click  Terra Daily

Research published during the past year has uncovered evidence of a link between rising ocean temperatures and increases in hurricane intensity.
Human Activities Are Boosting Ocean Temperatures In Areas Where Hurricanes Form
Sep 12, 2006 - Rising ocean temperatures in key hurricane breeding grounds of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans are due primarily to human-caused increases in greenhouse gas concentrations, according to a study published online in the September 11 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Using 22 different computer models of the climate system, Benjamin Santer and six other atmospheric scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, together with Tom Wigley, Gerald Meehl, and Warren Washington from the Boulder-based National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and scientists from eight other research centers, have shown that the warming sea surface temperatures (SSTs) of the tropical Atlantic and Pacific oceans over the last century is linked to human activities.
Read the full story, click  Terra Daily 

Methane bubbles trapped in lake ice during the first few days of ice formation on a Siberian thermokarst lake. Courtesy of Jeff Chanton, FSU Oceanography Department
Greenhouse Gas Bubbling From Melting Permafrost Feeds Climate Warming
Sep 07, 2006 - A study co-authored by a Florida State University scientist and published in the Sept. 7 issue of the journal Nature has found that as the permafrost melts in North Siberia due to climate change, carbon sequestered and buried there since the Pleistocene era is bubbling up to the surface of Siberian thaw lakes and into the atmosphere as methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In turn, that bubbling methane held captive as carbon under the permafrost for more than 40,000 years is accelerating global warming by heating the Earth even more --- exacerbating the entire cycle. The ominous implications of the process grow as the permafrost decomposes further and the resulting lakes continue to expand, according to FSU oceanography Professor Jeff Chanton and study co-authors at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. "This is not good for the quality of human life on Earth," Chanton said.
Read the full story, click Terra Daily

The aftermath of slash and burn farming in the Amazon. Credit: Dr. William Laurance
The Subtleties Of Tropical Forest Demise
Sep 06, 2006 - "It's not just that tropical forests are being rapidly destroyed, but also that most of the remaining forests and nature reserves are being severely degraded," said William Laurance of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, who co-edited the book along with Carlos Peres, a Brazilian biologist with the University of East Anglia, U.K. "It's astonishing how insidious many of the threats are," said Peres. "We rely on satellite images or aerial photos to tell us how fast tropical forests are disappearing, but many of the new and emerging threats are virtually invisible, unless you're on the ground." The editors define four categories of emerging threats to tropical forests: (1) Those that have only recently appeared, such as the virulent chytrid-fungus pathogen that is decimating rainforest amphibians throughout the tropical world. (2) Those that are growing rapidly in importance, such as destructive surface fires in tropical forests.
Read the full story, click Terra Daily

Obsidian, a black glass from volcanoes.
Scientists use obsidian for temperatures
Sep 05, 2006 - Oak Ridge National Laboratory chemical scientists are throwing out their thermometers — at least for studying ancient climates. The researchers, who work at both ORNL and The University of Tennessee, are looking to obsidian glass as a new tool to reconstruct the meteorological conditions of ancient worlds. Lawrence Anovitz, Lee Riciputi, David Cole and Mostafa Fayek, with guidance from the late Michael Elam, have devised a method that reverses the usual data that comes from studying obsidian. Instead of determining the age of the archeological site, the researchers flipped their data. That analysis led them to work out temperature trends occurring in the Mexican Basin from around 1500 years ago — and they found that Basin temperatures have been cooling for the past few centuries.
Read the full story, click The Daily Beac online

Fruit Fly
Evolution of Old World fruit flies on three continents mirrors climate change
Aug 31, 2006 - Fast-warming climate appears to be triggering genetic changes in a species of fruit fly that is native to Europe and was introduced into North and South America about 25 years ago. "This is a clear signal on three different continents that climate change is occurring, and that genetic change is going along with it," said Raymond Huey, a University of Washington biology professor who is co-author of a paper describing the findings, published Aug. 31 in Science Express, the online edition of the journal Science. The research deals with an Old World fruit fly species called Drosophila subobscura, which originally ranged from the Mediterranean Sea to Scandinavia. European biologists who studied the insect's genetic makeup more than 40 years ago noted that sections of chromosomes were inverted, something like taking part of a bar code from a consumer product and flipping it backwards.
For more information, clickPhysOrg

Japanese Drilling Vessel Chikyu
Team To Drill Below Ocean Earthquake Zone
Aug 30, 2006 - Japanese scientists will lead a multi-year international project to place seismographic instruments below the ocean's floor, where earthquakes occur. The project's first step began this month with a shakedown cruise of Japan's state-of-the-art deep-sea drilling ship named Chikyu. The project is a multidisciplinary study of tectonic plates located in southwest Japan, a region that experiences severe earthquakes and earthquake-generated tsunamis. The project's proponents say Chikyu is the first scientific ocean drilling ship capable of drilling as far as 23,000 feet below the ocean floor. University of Missouri-Columbia geologist Michael Underwood, one of a handful of U.S. scientists participating in the shakedown cruise, said scientists plan to drill directly into the plate boundary zone where earthquakes are generated and install instrumentation to measure activity over time.
For more information, clickTerra Daily

This graphic shows the tilting of the Earth that might occur if a dramatic imbalance in the planet's mass distribution ever developed in the Arctic.
Credit: Maloof Laboratory
Planet Earth may have 'tilted' to keep its balance, say scientists
Aug 26, 2006 - Imagine a shift in the Earth so profound that it could force our entire planet to spin on its side after a few million years, tilting it so far that Alaska would sit at the equator. Princeton scientists have now provided the first compelling evidence that this kind of major shift may have happened in our world's distant past. By analyzing the magnetic composition of ancient sediments found in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, Princeton University's Adam Maloof has lent credence to a 140-year-old theory regarding the way the Earth might restore its own balance if an unequal distribution of weight ever developed in its interior or on its surface. The theory, known as true polar wander, postulates that if an object of sufficient weight -- such as a supersized volcano -- ever formed far from the equator, the force of the planet's rotation would gradually pull the heavy object away from the axis the Earth spins around.
For more information, clickPrinceton  and  Astrobiology Magazine

Chilean Volcanoes
Sulfur Stinks Up Oxygen Theories
Aug 25, 2006 - Ancient sediments that once resided on a lake bed and the ocean floor show sulfur isotope ratios unlike those found in other samples from the same time, calling into question accepted ideas about when the Earth's atmosphere began to contain oxygen, according to researchers from the U.S., Canada and Japan. "The popular model is that there was little oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere before about 2.4 billion years ago," says Dr. Hiroshi Ohmoto, professor of geochemistry and director, Penn State Astrobiology Research Center. "Scientists use the ratio of the various sulfur isotopes as their strongest evidence for atmospheric oxygen." All isotopes of sulfur behave the same chemically but have slightly different masses.
For more information, clickTerra Daily

File photo: Satellite image of the Atlantic Ocean
First - Ever Look At Combined Causes Of North Atlantic And Arctic Ocean Freshening
Aug 25, 2006 - A new analysis of 50 years of changes in freshwater inputs to the Arctic Ocean and North Atlantic may help shed light on what's behind the recently observed freshening of the North Atlantic Ocean. In a report, published in the August 25, 2006 issue of the journal, Science, MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) senior scientist Bruce J. Peterson and his colleagues describe a first-of-its-kind effort to create a big-picture view of hydrologic trends in the Arctic. Their analysis reveals that freshwater increases from Arctic Ocean sources appear to be highly linked to a fresher North Atlantic. "The high-latitude freshwater cycle is one of the most sensitive barometers of the impact of changes in climate and broad-scale atmospheric dynamics because of the polar amplification of the global warming signal," says Peterson.
For more information, clickTerra Daily

Hydrothermal vents
Santorini Eruption Much Larger Than Originally Believed
Aug 24, 2006 - An international team of scientists has found that the second largest volcanic eruption in human history, the massive Bronze Age eruption of Thera in Greece, was much larger and more widespread than previously believed. During research expeditions in April and June, the scientists from the University of Rhode Island and the Hellenic Center for Marine Research found deposits of volcanic pumice and ash 10 to 80 meters thick extending out 20 to 30 kilometers in all directions from the Greek island of Santorini. "These deposits have changed our thinking about the total volume of erupted material from the Minoan eruption," said URI volcanologist Haraldur Sigurdsson.
For more information, clickTerra Daily

Satellite Data Reveal Gravity Change From Sumatran Earthquake
Aug 04, 2006 -  For the first time, scientists have been able to use satellite data to detect the changes in Earth's surface caused by a massive earthquake. The discovery, reported in Friday's issue of the journal Science, signifies a new use for the data from NASA's  two GRACE satellites and offers a possible new approach to understanding how earthquakes work. The research paints a clearer picture of how Earth changed after the December, 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake, the 9.1-magnitude temblor in the Indian Ocean, which caused a deadly tsunami killing nearly 230,000 people and displacing more than 1-million.
For more information, click Space Mart

At An Underwater Volcano, Evidence Of Man's Environmental Impact
Aug 02, 2006 -  Scientists studying hydrothermal vents, those underwater geysers that are home to bizarre geological structures and unique marine species, have discovered something all too familiar: pollution. A University of Florida geologist is among a team of geologists that is the first to observe “anthropogenic influence” in hydrothermal deposits, according to an article in the June issue of the journal Marine Geology. Examining deposits retrieved from the site of an underwater volcano near Italy, they discovered lead that did not come from the underlying rocks or from any possible natural source in the nearby region or anywhere in Europe. 
For more information, click Science Daily

When Sun Sets, Heat Stays - Research Shows Nighttime Temps 'Much Above Normal' From 2001-2005
Aug 01, 2006 -  America in recent years has been sweltering through three times more than its normal share of extra-hot summer nights, government weather records show. And that is a particularly dangerous trend. During heat waves, like the one that now has a grip on much of the East, one of the major causes of heat deaths is the lack of night cooling that would normally allow a stressed body to recover, scientists say. Some scientists say the trend is a sign of manmade global warming. A top federal research meteorologist said he "almost fell out of my chair" when he looked over U.S. night minimum temperature records over the past 96 years and saw the skyrocketing trend of hot summer nights. From 2001 to 2005, on average nearly 30 percent of the nation had "much above normal" average summertime minimum temperatures, according to the National Climatic Data in Asheville, N.C.
For more information, click CBC News

Intrepid Explorer
Jul 29, 2006 -  The autonomous underwater vehicle, stuffed to its gills with scientific instruments, motors steadily through the frigid, sunless sea. Sensors on board the 6.8-meter-long craft are constantly on alert, testing the water for minute variations in salinity and temperature. As the vehicle cruises beneath a ceiling of ice hundreds of meters thick, its sonar observes above it a rugged topography of ice unlike any previously seen. Although scientists had previously deployed autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) beneath free-floating ice, until last year they'd never sent an AUV under one of Antarctica's ice shelves.
For more information, click Science News

Cosmic Dust In Ice Cores Sheds Light On Earth's Past Climate
Jul 28, 2006 -  Each year nearly 40,000 tons of cosmic dust fall to Earth from outer space. Now, the first successful chronological study of extraterrestrial dust in Antarctic ice has shown that this amount has remained largely constant over the past 30,000 years, a finding that could help refine efforts to understand the timing and effects of changes in the Earth's past climate. The same study also used an improved analytical technique to show that dust carried to Antarctica from continental sources changed depending on climate. 
For more information, click Terra Daily

New Co2 Data Inverts Current Ice-Age Theory
Jul 25, 2006 -  In the early 20th century, Milutin Milankovitch, a leading astronomer and climatologist of the time, proposed that the Earth's ice-age cycles could be predicted because they correspond directly with routine changes in the Earth's orbit and its tilt over cycles of tens of thousands of years. Because of these changes, there are predictable variations in the amount of solar radiation striking the Earth's surface. Milankovitch argued that low levels of summer radiation permit snow to accumulate as permanent ice, while high levels of solar radiation melt snow and ice. It all seemed so clean and simple... 
For more information, click Terra Daily

Satellite Captures Creation of New Continental Crust
Jul 20, 2006 -  A new sea is forming in the desert of northeastern Ethiopia. Millions of years from now, the pulling apart of the Arabian and Nubian tectonic plates will allow waters to rush in and widen the Red Sea. And thanks to the availability of satellite imagery, scientists have been able to get an unprecedented glimpse of the workings of stretching plates, the rock crust moving across Earth’s surface at up to 12 centimeters per year. Between September and October last year, a 60-kilometer-long stretch of rock spread by as much as eight meters. Magma from adjacent volcanoes filled in the bottom part of the rift, creating new continental crust and a dyke of roughly 2.5 cubic kilometers--twice as much material as erupted from Mount St. Helens--more than two kilometers below the surface.
For more information, click Scientific American