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Fracking operations

New study: Fracking prompts global spike in atmospheric methane

  • Press release
  • 14 August 2019

As methane concentrations increase in the Earth’s atmosphere, chemical fingerprints point to a probable source: shale oil and gas, according to new Cornell University research published today in Biogeosciences, a journal of the European Geosciences Union.

Participants of the GIFT workshop at the 2015 General Assembly

Higher education teaching of geoscience: how can the EGU help?

  • EGU news
  • 8 July 2019

EGU’s Committee on Education aims to provide support for higher education, from organising workshops to providing networking opportunities for all those teaching geoscience in higher education. We invite PhD students, postgraduates, research fellows, academic staff and any others teaching geoscience in higher education to fill in a short survey to help us understand the role EGU could play in further supporting higher education.

Airplane contrails

Climate impact of clouds made from airplane contrails may triple by 2050

  • Press release
  • 27 June 2019

In the right conditions, airplane contrails can linger in the sky as contrail cirrus – ice clouds that can trap heat inside the Earth’s atmosphere. Their climate impact has been largely neglected in global schemes to offset aviation emissions, even though contrail cirrus have contributed more to warming the atmosphere than all CO2 emitted by aircraft since the start of aviation. A new study published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics has found that, due to air traffic activity, the climate impact of contrail cirrus will be even more significant in the future, tripling by 2050.

Highlight articles

Annales Geophysicae

Hybrid-Vlasov modelling of nightside auroral proton precipitation during southward interplanetary magnetic field conditions

When the terrestrial magnetic field is disturbed, particles from the near-Earth space can precipitate into the upper atmosphere. This work presents, for the first time, numerical simulations of proton precipitation in the energy range associated with the production of aurora (∼1–30 keV) using a global kinetic model of the near-Earth space: Vlasiator. We find that nightside proton precipitation can be regulated by the transition region between stretched and dipolar geomagnetic field lines.

Solid Earth

How can geologic decision-making under uncertainty be improved?

In this paper, we outline the key insights from decision-making research about how, when faced with uncertainty, humans constrain decisions through the use of heuristics (rules of thumb), making them vulnerable to systematic and suboptimal decision biases. We also review existing strategies to debias decision-making that have applicability in the geosciences, giving special attention to strategies that make use of information technology and artificial intelligence.

Geoscientific Model Development

Improved methodologies for Earth system modelling of atmospheric soluble iron and observation comparisons using the Mechanism of Intermediate complexity for Modelling Iron (MIMI v1.0)

MIMI v1.0 was designed for use within Earth system models to simulate the 3-D emission, atmospheric processing, and deposition of iron and its soluble fraction. Understanding the iron cycle is important due to its role as an essential micronutrient for ocean phytoplankton; its supply limits primary productivity in many of the world’s oceans. Human activity has perturbed the iron cycle, and MIMI is capable of diagnosing many of these impacts; hence, it is important for future climate studies.

Ocean Science

CO2 effects on diatoms: a synthesis of more than a decade of ocean acidification experiments with natural communities

Diatoms are a group of phytoplankton species responsible for ~ 25% of primary production on Earth. Ocean acidification (OA) could influence diatoms but the key question is if they become more or less important within marine food webs. We synthesize OA experiments with natural communities and found that diatoms are more likely to be positively than negatively affected by high CO2 and larger species may profit in particular. This has important implications for ecosystem services diatoms provide.

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