Alaskan Megathrust Earthquakes: Sedimentary records provide new data and a look 2000 years into the past

In 1964, a historically unprecedented magnitude 9.2 earthquake struck the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. The earthquake prompted scientists to figure out that the Aleutians lie along a unique form of fault, now known as a “megathrust” fault. During a megathrust earthquake, large swaths of land suddenly rise or sink, depending on their location relative to the fault rupture. Over long periods of time, as tectonic plates slide under one another, compression causes the top plate to buckle and rise up along the coast. When enough energy is accumulated, a slip eventually occurs. In places that were being uplifted, the land suddenly falls a few meters as the strain is released, otherwise known as an earthquake. It has been thought that areas of uplift and subsidence remain constant, always rising or falling in exactly the same place with every earthquake. However, a recent study suggests that these areas are not constant, further complicating our understanding of how “megathrust” earthquakes occur.

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Certified coffee farmers are environmentally friendly and compensated for their efforts: Imagination or reality?

Do you go to the grocery store and look for the Fair Trade™ or Rainforest Alliance™ certified coffee? Many consumers prefer to buy certified coffee because they believe there is an economic benefit to the farmer, environmental benefits, or both. However, do these certifications actually improve farmer income and/or protect important environmental services? A recent study conducted in Uganda suggests that farms that are double or triple certified for coffee production suffer trade-offs between economic and environmental benefits.

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津波: The Story of the Wave

If you’re lucky, there are five minutes between when a tsunami alarm sounds and when the wave hits. Too often those five minutes are not enough, and the fate of a coastline is at the tsunami’s mercy. Understanding tsunami cause and occurrence is vital for coastal communities. Read on to learn more about tsunami records and how they play a role in shaping natural disaster planning.

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What’s driving changes in cod spawning grounds: climate or fishing?

Northeast Arctic Cod perform seasonal migrations from their feeding grounds to their spawning grounds. Recent evidence suggests that the distribution of cod between spawning grounds is changing. Two hypotheses have been proposed to explain why fish spawning grounds are changing: climate and fishing pressure. In order to determine which of these hypotheses may be the driving force in changing Northeast Arctic Cod populations, a team of scientist from Europe investigated fishery data from 2008-2016. Their results suggests that climate is driving changes in the distribution of Northeast Arctic cod spawning grounds.

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Is climate change increasing the number of hurricanes we get and will we continue seeing more hurricane damage?

Recent climate change science has shown that since 500 AD the current levels of storm activity are the most active. The increased activity combined with rising sea levels has the potential to cause more damage than ever before. Although Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest ever recorded storm, stronger than Sandy and Katrina combined, occurred in the Pacific, the Atlantic can see events similar in the future.

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Sea-Level Rise & the State of Sinking: A Brief Discussion of Land Subsidence Factors in the US

What’s scarier than sea level rise? How about sea level rise in a sinking city? Land levels are slowly lowering due to a combination of natural and man-made processes across many US cities. This sinking is known as land subsidence. Read on to learn how land subsidence contributes to sea level rise conflicts across the United States.

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Soil in the Succotash Marsh, Rhode Island: Coring for clues to past coastal storms

When you think of a saltmarsh, what comes to mind? Maybe a place that smells bad and you prefer to avoid? A place to fish? Turns out, salt marshes hold clues to the past. Scientists along the East Coast of the United States, for example, can use the information in salt marsh soils to reconstruct past storms and determine the past sea levels. As scientists in Rhode Island, we were able to easily try and replicate the findings of a previously published study from the Succotash Marsh also located in Rhode Island.

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Climate change could make your beer dear

Apart from being popular beverages in the world, do you know what the common link between beer and coffee is? Both may be affected by climate change. While we already know that climate change will impact coffee, a new study published in Nature Plants has established that beer is also under threat. Rising temperature and drought due to climate change can hit the beer supply hard all over the world and make beer more expensive.

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Timing is Everything: Sockeye Salmon Migration on the Skeena River

For most salmon to complete their life cycle, juveniles must migrate out to the ocean as “smolts”. They are then able to grow quickly by taking advantage of marine food sources, before they return as adults to spawn in the river where they were born. With climate change affecting environmental cues and conditions, the timing of their migration might not match up to the availability of crucial food resources, which could reduce smolt survival. Will this phenomenon affect the Skeena River populations of Sockeye Salmon? Read on to learn more!

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