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Environment - 13.03.2024
Small rivers tell the story of thawing permafrost
What effect does climate change have on Arctic permafrost? Earth scientist Niek Speetjens conducted research in Canada and discovered that the small river systems provide a lot of insight into the thaw of permafrost. Permafrost, permanently frozen soil, is thawing due to climate change. This has consequences for water and carbon transport through river systems that flow into the sea from areas with permafrost.

Health - Environment - 12.03.2024
Chronic stress and inflammation linked to societal and environmental impacts in new study
Scientists, including Paul Verschure at Radboud University, hypothesize that as-yet unrecognized inflammatory stress is spreading among people at unprecedented rates and affecting our cognitive ability to address climate change, war, and other critical issues. From anxiety about the state of the world to ongoing waves of Covid-19, the stresses we face can seem relentless and even overwhelming.

Environment - 07.03.2024
Publication in Science: Loss of ecosystems incurs higher costs than previously estimated
Across the globe, animal and plant species along with their habitats are disappearing. With this loss, we also lose the 'services' they provide, such as water filtration or crop pollination. An international research team, including Sjak Smulders from Tilburg University, has proposed a new calculation approach to capture these future 'benefits' of nature.

Environment - 15.02.2024
Tropical rainforests are losing their resilience worldwide
Tropical rainforests are losing their resilience worldwide
Tropical rainforests hold a wealth of biodiversity but are globally approaching a critical point. The drastic decline is happening faster than expected, concludes an international research team. The team includes biologist Hans ter Steege, affiliated with Utrecht University and the Naturalis Biodiversity Center.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 09.02.2024
Potential collapse of the Atlantic Ocean Circulation strongly affects European climate
Potential collapse of the Atlantic Ocean Circulation strongly affects European climate
Researchers from Utrecht University have successfully simulated the collapse of the large-scale ocean circulation in the Atlantic Ocean using a complex climate model, revealing severe global climate repercussions with Europe bearing the brunt. They published their findings in the scientific journal Science Advances today.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 26.01.2024
Destabilising interactions in the climate system: How tipping elements interact
Beyond 2°C of global warming, the risk of one climate tipping element triggering other tipping elements in the Earth's climate system strongly increases. Furthermore, most of these interactions are destabilising. This is the result of a new study by an international team of scientists, led by Anna von der Heydt from Utrecht University and Nico Wunderling from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Chemistry - Environment - 22.01.2024
New sensor detects chemicals that impair thyroid gland
In a study conducted at the University of Twente, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the Open University of Israel, researchers have developed a novel approach to address the environmental challenges posed by perchlorate salts, which have been identified as persistent pollutants with potential impacts on human health.

Environment - Agronomy / Food Science - 17.01.2024
Costs of scaring grass-eating barnacle geese often outweigh the benefits
Costs of scaring grass-eating barnacle geese often outweigh the benefits
At the current population sizes, the practice of scaring geese off pastures in the province of Friesland probably ends up costing more than it saves. Utrecht University ecologist Monique de Jager and colleagues from Wageningen University and Research, the University of Amsterdam, and the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) conclude this based on a model study , that was conducted as part of the Dutch contribution to European goose management.

Environment - 15.01.2024
As water becomes scarce, its quality often deteriorates
Drought and heatwaves result in severe economic losses. To reduce water scarcity, hydrologist  Michelle van Vliet  argues for a better understanding of the interplay between water use and water quality. Water scarcity is more than simply a physical lack of water. Water scarcity intensifies due to three main causes: reduced availability of water, increased water use, and deterioration of water quality which makes it unsuitable for certain applications or functions.

Environment - 11.01.2024
Biomaterials contribute substantially to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions but are not yet climate neutral
Biomaterials contribute substantially to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions but are not yet climate neutral
On average, bio-based products emit 45% less greenhouse gas emissions than the fossil materials they replace, according to research conducted by Radboud University, published in Nature Communications. At the same time, there is a large variation between individual bio-based products and more efforts are required to achieve climate neutrality.

Environment - 09.01.2024
Many devastating extremes in 2023 were amplified by global warming
2023 was an extraordinary year for climate: each month from June onward was warmer than the corresponding month in any previous year. In this last half year temperatures exceeded 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels (1850-1900), with some days even exceeding 2.0°C. Throughout the year, extreme weather hit nations around the world including heatwaves, droughts, floods and wildfires.

Environment - Chemistry - 09.01.2024
This is how Professor René Janssen paves the way to better solar cells
This is how Professor René Janssen paves the way to better solar cells
A professor at TU/e and colleagues have found a way to improve perovskite solar cells. An electric car, heat pump, or robotic lawn mower: the world is electrifying, and so more and more roofs are full of solar panels. The Netherlands is even among the European leaders when it comes to generating solar energy.

Environment - 08.01.2024
When water becomes scarce, its quality often deteriorates
When water becomes scarce, its quality often deteriorates
Droughts and heat waves cause great economic damage. To reduce water scarcity, hydrologist Michelle van Vliet advocates a better understanding of the interaction between water quality and water use. Water scarcity is more than just a physical lack of water. Growing water scarcity has three causes: decreasing water availability, increasing water use and deteriorating water quality, making it unsuitable for certain uses or functions.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 18.12.2023
Utrecht University's Earth Sciences for the First Time Ever in the Guinness Book of World Records
Utrecht University’s Earth Sciences for the First Time Ever in the Guinness Book of World Records
For the first time ever, research led by one of Utrecht University's earth scientists - Dr  Dan Palcu - has earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. His fascinating research shows the immense proportions of the largest lake the Earth has ever seen: the Paratethys. Guinness World Records published a whole page about the 'Largest lake ever' on their website, as well as a highlight in the print edition.

Life Sciences - Environment - 07.12.2023
Methane emissions from canals underestimated
Researchers have so far underestimated methane emissions from canals in five major Dutch cities. That is the conclusion of microbiologist Koen Pelsma, who will defend his PhD thesis on this topic at Radboud University on 13 December. In calculations of methane emissions from water, far too little is known about emissions from urban waters such as canals, says researcher Koen Pelsma.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 06.12.2023
Largest ever study on tipping points presented at COP28
A major, international research report is released today at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai: the Global Tipping Points Report. The report shows that crucial tipping points in the Earth's climate system are getting closer. These tipping points occur when a small change triggers an irreversible transformation.

Environment - Campus - 29.11.2023
2.45 million for research into solving PFAS at Utrecht Science Park
2.45 million for research into solving PFAS at Utrecht Science Park
Utrecht University's PFAS Remediation Living Lab recently received funding of 2.45 million from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water to research a PFAS-contaminated field at Utrecht University and other locations. Worldwide, large tracts of land are contaminated with PFAS. Instead of the classic "dig and dump" method, the university wants to explore the possibilities of sustainable remediation.

Environment - 15.11.2023
Clearing mangroves makes 'muddification' worse
Clearing mangroves makes ’muddification’ worse
Mangroves have been cut down in some parts of New Zealand, with the aim of reducing mud build-up and exposing the mud to currents and tides that can wash it out to sea. Widespread deforestation and farming was begun by European settlers in the late 19 Century in New Zealand, increasing the amount of sediment in rivers.

Chemistry - Environment - 15.11.2023
More efficient electrodes for CO2 recycling
More efficient electrodes for CO2 recycling
With the ever-increasing interest in renewable energy, scientists are continuously searching for new technologies to store energy. CO2 electrolysis is a promising way to store energy whilst recycling carbon dioxide. By applying electricity, CO2 and water react and produce more complex molecules. A study published in Nature Communications lead by Hugo van Montfort at TU Delft has presented a new design of electrodes that improves the efficiency of CO2 electrolysis.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 31.10.2023
Science and citizens collaborate to understand natural methane removal
How does Saharan dust remove the powerful greenhouse gas methane from the atmosphere above the Atlantic Ocean? Recently, Utrecht University and other institutes started a research project in collaboration with the shipping industry to answer this question. Once every month, boxes of flasks arrive on the sixth floor of the Buys Ballot building at Utrecht University.