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Transpire Locally, Cool Globally

As plants grow, they transpire, releasing water into the atmosphere.  During the summer in a city, trees help to cool the immediate surroundings through transpiration. New research from Carnegie’s Global Ecology department, published last month in Environmental Research Letters, concludes that transpiration has a global effect as well. How does this happen?  Water vapor is […]

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Irrigation and Climate Change

What does irrigation have to do with climate change?  Possibly a lot. According to a new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, irrigation has increased agricultural productivity by an amount roughly equivalent to the entire agricultural output of the United States.  That’s a lot of increased productivity! All of those growing plants take up more […]

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Good Science/Bad Science

How can you tell when a scientific claim is bad? Look at the results.  Compare the results from the models with what happened in real life. An August 2010 study published in Science claimed that drought induced a decline in global plant productivity during the past decade, posing a threat to global food security.  Zhao […]

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Harvesting Planets

On September 12, 2011, a team of scientists announced that the HARPS telescope has identified more than 50 new planets; this is the largest number of planets ever announced at once. The HARPS telescope works by detecting the movement of stars.  A star with an orbiting planet will be pulled towards the planet as it […]

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Raising the water table the natural way

Today’s Wall Street Journal ran a story about using beavers to raise the water table and rehabilitate natural areas.  Beavers?  How can beavers do this? Photo by Walter Siegmund Beaver dam of Hat Lake and Hat Creek in foreground.  Bridge over Hat Creek on highway 89, Lassen Volcanic National Park. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BeaverDam_8409.jpg Beavers are rodents that live […]

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