ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: Seasonal patterns of tropical rainfall changes from global warming revealed

Seasonal patterns of tropical rainfall changes from global warming revealed

Posted: 15 Apr 2013 03:25 PM PDT

Projections of rainfall changes from global warming have been very uncertain because scientists could not determine how two different mechanisms will impact rainfall. The two mechanisms turn out to complement each other and together shape the spatial distribution of seasonal rainfall in the tropics, according to a new study.

Plant protein shape puzzle solved by molecular 3-D model

Posted: 15 Apr 2013 03:25 PM PDT

Researchers believe they have solved a puzzle that has long vexed science. The researchers provide the first three-dimensional model of an enzyme that links a simple sugar, glucose, into long-chain cellulose, the basic building block within plant cell walls that gives plants structure. Cellulose is nature’s most abundant renewable biomaterial and an important resource for production of biofuels that represent alternatives to fossil fuels.

Surprising findings on hydrogen production in green algae

Posted: 15 Apr 2013 03:24 PM PDT

New research fuels hope of efficient hydrogen production with green algae may be possible in the future, despite the prevailing scepticism based on previous research.

Shifts in physiological mechanisms let male bats balance the need to feed and the urge to breed

Posted: 15 Apr 2013 02:24 PM PDT

New research reveals shifts in the mechanisms bats use to regulate metabolism throughout their seasonal activity period.

Fish prone to melanoma get DNA decoded

Posted: 15 Apr 2013 12:14 PM PDT

Scientists have decoded the genome of the platyfish, a cousin of the guppy and a popular choice for home aquariums. Among scientists, the fish are meticulously studied for their tendency to develop melanoma and for other attributes more common to mammals, like courting prospective mates and giving birth to live young.

Research aims to settle debate over origin of Yellowstone volcano

Posted: 15 Apr 2013 12:14 PM PDT

A debate among scientists about the geologic formation of the supervolcano encompassing the region around Yellowstone National Park has taken a major step forward, thanks to new evidence.

Invasive kudzu bugs may pose greater threat than previously thought

Posted: 15 Apr 2013 09:49 AM PDT

The invasive kudzu bug has the potential to be a major agricultural pest, causing significant damage to economically important soybean crops. Conventional wisdom has held that the insect pests will be limited to areas in the southern United States, but new research shows that they may be able to expand into other parts of the United States.

Blue tits provide insight into climate change, bird study shows

Posted: 15 Apr 2013 09:45 AM PDT

Researchers believe that the size of birds’ nests created in response to changing weather patterns may be partly to blame for reproductive failures over the last two years.

NASA and JAXA’s GPM mission takes rain measurements global

Posted: 15 Apr 2013 09:40 AM PDT

As anyone who has ever been caught in a sudden and unexpected downpour knows, gaps still exist in our knowledge about the behavior and movement of precipitation, clouds and storms. An upcoming satellite mission from NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) aims to fill in those gaps both in coverage and in scientists’ understanding of precipitation.

Ocean’s future not so bleak? Resilience found in shelled plants exposed to ocean acidification

Posted: 15 Apr 2013 07:09 AM PDT

Marine scientists have long understood the detrimental effect of fossil fuel emissions on marine ecosystems. But a group has found a point of resilience in a microscopic shelled plant with a massive environmental impact, which suggests the future of ocean life may not be so bleak.

Tulip tree reveals mitochondrial genome of ancestral flowering plant

Posted: 15 Apr 2013 07:00 AM PDT

The extraordinary level of conservation of the tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) mitochondrial genome has redefined our interpretation of evolution of the angiosperms (flowering plants). This beautiful ‘molecular fossil’ has a remarkably slow mutation rate meaning that its mitochondrial genome has remained largely unchanged since the dinosaurs were roaming Earth.

The Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident: Two years on, the fallout continues

Posted: 15 Apr 2013 06:48 AM PDT

More than two years after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of Japan, scientists are still trying to quantify the extent of the damage.