Earth & Environment

The "third rock from the Sun"—Earth. With an orbit neither too close nor too far from the Sun, it occupies a unique position in the Solar System. It's the only planet known to man with the right conditions for the origin and evolution of life. During Earth's 4.5 billion-year history, a combination of processes has transformed it into a watery blue, living planet. The Earth's ecosystems involve complex interactions between the biological (living) and physical (non-living) worlds. Scientific research helps us comprehend our effects on the environment and how the environment in turn responds to impacts of our activities.

Battling wildfires with data-driven knowledge

San Diego Supercomputer Center's chief data science officer Ilkay Altintas describes a National Science Foundation-funded project that uses data-driven knowledge and predictive tools to battle wildfires, such as those that destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in 2017

Heavy nitrogen molecules reveal planetary-scale tug-of-war

Rice University scientist Laurence Yeung, along with scientists at University of California Los Angeles, Michigan State University and the University of New Mexico, counted rare molecules in the atmosphere that contain only heavy isotopes of nitrogen, and discovered a planetary-scale tug-of-war between life, the deep Earth and the upper atmosphere

A close-up look at a rare underwater eruption

In 2015, scientists from the University of Tasmania, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the University of California Berkeley, the University of Otago in New Zealand and others traveled to the site of an underwater volcanic eruption, the Havre Volcano in the Southwest Pacific Ocean

The beginning of a new species

The direct observation of the origin of a new species occurred during field work carried out over the last four decades by a wife-and-husband team of scientists from Princeton University on the small island of Daphne Major in the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean

Bumblebees in peril!

Researchers have discovered that climate change, warmer temperatures and earlier snow melt are causing flowers to bloom earlier, affecting bumblebees