A new way to take the pulse of carbon emissions could help track how the industrial development of peatlands contributes to climate change, as well as measure their recovery once development ends. A team of researchers led by the University of Glasgow discuss how they have has used carbon-14 dating to determine for the first time the age of carbon dioxide being released from peatland sites. Read more.
Sheep on the Orkney isles have been eating seaweed since animal husbandry was introduced in 3500 BC, new research suggests. The landscape on the islands 5,500 years ago was predominantly treeless, as it remains today, so marine seaweed provided a useful alternative fodder. Read more.
A first-of-its-kind analysis of ‘super-deep’ diamonds from hundreds of kilometres below the Earth’s surface has provided new clues about the material composition of our planet. The study also found new evidence to support the idea of a ‘primordial’ reservoir of molten rock that has been around since, or very soon after, the Earth’s formation. Read more.
Small catchments provide water to larger streams and are important sources of fresh water for ecosystems. Therefore, understanding the hydrological functioning of small catchments is essential to understand floods, droughts, and the impacts of land use or climate change on water resources.
Environmental tracers can be used to track water along its flow pathways from the input, as precipitation or snowmelt, to the output, as streamflow or plant transpiration. The stable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen are particularly powerful as they are part of the water molecule. Read more.
The world’s most northerly reindeer turn to seaweed as global warming puts their normal food beyond reach.
Deep in the Arctic Circle, on the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, nature has found a way to outwit climate change: deprived of their normal diet, the world’s most northerly reindeer turn to seaweed.
Strangely, it is not cold and snow that have threatened them with starvation, but rain. In the warmer winter weather rain falls instead of snow, causing a crust of ice too thick for the reindeer to break through and reach the plants beneath which they need to eat to survive. Read more.