Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

Journal Club: Study of volcanic gases offers new fundamental insights into the Earth’s carbon cycle

To understand how the planet’s climate will evolve and has evolved over geologic time, scientists need to understand the Earth’s carbon cycle. In work recently published  in Science, researchers offer new insights into that cycle, upending calculations about just how … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Antarctic cyanobacteria show no changes due to warming—yet

Captain Robert Scott’s Antarctic Discovery expedition took place over 100 years ago—and yet its participants recently racked up another contribution to science. Thanks to the samples of bacterial mats they collected from polar ponds—samples that were pressed, dried, and stored … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Geometry of Greenland’s glaciers helps predict future ice melt

The changing climate is just one factor contributing to the melting and thinning of the slow-moving rivers of ice that terminate in spots such as Greenland’s fjords. Each glacier’s geometry—including its thickness and how steeply it flows—also makes a difference. … Continue reading

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Journal Club: In some cases, water management practices exacerbated California drought, according to model

Many of California’s reservoirs are now fuller than they’ve been in years thanks to an extraordinarily wet winter. Yet drought conditions are likely to return based on historical cycles, even without accounting for climate change. And California’s depleted groundwater is … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Copper offers novel clues to ancient Earth’s “Great Oxidation Event”

Roughly 2.4 billion years ago, oxygen gas began suffusing Earth’s atmosphere in what scientists call the Great Oxidation Event. Much remains uncertain about this critical moment in history, but now researchers find that copper in ancient sediments could help track … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Record-breaking galaxy offers insight into early universe

A new champion has been crowned in the hunt for the most distant, independently-confirmed galaxy ever observed. Called EGS8p7, the galaxy existed when the universe was a mere 570 million years old, beating the previous frontrunner by almost 100 million … Continue reading

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Lowermost mantle more complex than previously thought

The region of earth’s interior known as the lower mantle may be more chemically heterogeneous than previously thought, suggests new research in PNAS Online Early Edition. The interior of the sphere we call home is a veritable layer cake of … Continue reading

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Idaho’s amphitheater-headed canyons formed by megaflooding

Carved into the volcanic basalt of Idaho’s Malad Gorge State Park are two curiously shaped canyons: Woody’s Cove and Stubby Canyon. Each has high vertical walls that curve at the canyon’s head to form a U-shaped amphitheater whose origin has, … Continue reading

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Earth’s contrasting inner core rotation and magnetic field rotation linked

For more than three centuries, analysis of Earth’s magnetic field has revealed it is drifting westward along with the Earth’s liquid outer core, rotating slower than the rest of the planet. At the same time, seismic probes of the Earth’s … Continue reading

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Effect of stratospheric water on climate

Much of the global warming predicted for the next century is not from direct warming by carbon dioxide, but due to other changes driven by carbon dioxide known as feedbacks. Now researchers have calculated the effects of a previously poorly … Continue reading

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