Predicting the future by looking to the past: Determining Rates and Magnitudes of Sea-Level Change from Sediment Cores

With sea levels rising at an alarming rate, coastal communities have one thing on their mind: how much will sea levels rise, and how soon? The rate at which sea level rises is unique to each coastline and reliant on many factors. However, many scientists believe projecting future sea-level rise rates is dependent on understanding a coastline’s past. This summary explores past research on the secrets of sea-level rise in marine sediments.

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When Fire and Water Collide: Looking to Lakes to Understand Fire’s Deep Past

As I woke up this morning, I learned that a wildfire raging in our local forest had grown to nearly 70,000 acres. A mixture of emotions subsequently flooded in, combining thoughts of concern with questions about how climate change is altering wildfire patterns. In order for scientists and land managers to better predict wildfire outbreaks and to understand the role that climate plays in their behavior, they must first examine the fire history of an area over a long period of time—longer than recorded history. Charcoal and pollen deposits in lake sediments may be able to provide answers to the mysteries of fire’s deep past. Read on to hear about this interesting approach and how one study of lake sediments mapped out 1.5 million years of fire history in China.

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The Soil, Sand, and Sea: The Journey of Microplastics

As we approach the start of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development in 2021, it is time we face our unseen but ubiquitous problem: microplastics. What do we know about them, where can we find them, and what does the science say on its impacts on our hydrosphere and biosphere?

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The invasive Kentucky bluegrass

The grass species known as Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) – contrary to its name – is not native to Kentucky nor is it blue (spoiler: it’s green). It is originally from Europe and northern Asia and is the most popular lawn grass in the Unites States. Unfortunately, it has also become a huge invasive problem in natural grassland environments.

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Earth’s largest water reservoir could be 1,800 miles beneath the surface

When Jules Verne first published his story “Journey to the Center of the Earth”, it was fantasy that one could sail across a vast ocean deep below the surface of the earth, but many became fascinated by what could exist thousands of miles beneath our feet. These fantasies remain even today as we are unable to study the innermost layers of our planet directly, but new research techniques reveal the Earth’s core may be more like Verne’s version after all.

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