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Environment - Earth Sciences - 24.05.2024 - Today
30 million euros for research into climate change feedbacks
30 million euros for research into climate change feedbacks
Climate change can accelerate due to feedback mechanisms: complex phenomena caused by climate change that in turn can further drive climate change. An example is the extra CO2 emissions from thawing permafrost. Research into the influence of feedback mechanisms in the long term has been ongoing, and modern climate change research is obviously happening as well, but the connection between the two has so far been underemphasized.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 22.05.2024
Seaweed forests are an overlooked component of oceanic carbon storage
Seaweed forests are an overlooked component of oceanic carbon storage
A groundbreaking study by an international team of researchers has revealed seaweed forests to be significant contributors to oceanic carbon storage. Their research estimates that the world's seaweed forests transport 56 million tonnes of carbon (between 10 to 170 million tonnes) to deep ocean sinks each year.

Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 14.03.2024
Surprising insights about debris flows on Mars
Surprising insights about debris flows on Mars
The period that liquid water was present on the surface of Mars may have been shorter than previously thought. Channel landforms called gullies, previously thought to be formed exclusively by liquid water, can also be formed by the action of evaporating CO2 ice. That is the conclusion of a new study by Lonneke Roelofs, a planetary researcher at Utrecht University.

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.

Innovation - Earth Sciences - 08.01.2024
Unique permanent coastal observation detects minimal changes
A team of researchers from TU Delft has succeeded in long-term mapping of beach topography to within a few centimetres. The unique dataset provides insights into coastal changes for every hour, for three years. This data is important for dune maintenance and to keep the hinterland well protected. The methodology is also being used to monitor other coastlines and even glaciers.

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.

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.

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.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 21.09.2023
Much potential to reduce methane emissions European energy industry
Much potential to reduce methane emissions European energy industry
The oil industry in Romania has an enormous potential for reducing methane emissions. This has been demonstrated by a team of scientists led by Professor Thomas Röckmann from Utrecht University. In 2019, the amount of methane emitted by the Romanian oil industry was equal to the amount of methane emitted by all other European oil industries combined.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 10.08.2023
Then vs. now: Did the Horn of Africa reach a drought tipping point 11,700 years ago?
Then vs. now: Did the Horn of Africa reach a drought tipping point 11,700 years ago?
'Wet gets wetter, dry gets drier'. That mantra has been used for decennia to predict how global warming will affect the hydrological cycle in different world regions. But if climate models predict that much of tropical Africa will enjoy a future with wetter weather, then why does it keep getting drier in certain parts of the African tropics, like the Horn of Africa? An international team of researchers have found a pre-historic climate tipping point that helps explain the disparity between these model predictions and the intensifying drought conditions in the Horn of Africa.

Earth Sciences - 07.08.2023
Less plastic in the ocean and easier to clean up
Less plastic in the ocean and easier to clean up
Significantly less plastic is estimated to be present in the global ocean than scientists previously thought. This new insight results from calculations with a computer model that includes a record number of measurements and observations of plastic in the ocean. Also, a relatively large proportion of the plastic in the ocean consists of large pieces that are easier to clean up.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 17.05.2023
’That we have enough time is a misconception’
Four Utrecht researchers, each with slightly different areas of expertise and at different stages in their careers. But with one urgent shared concern: climate is changing, ice sheets are melting and sea levels are rising. This concern is crystal clear. But the complex research behind it is far from simple for most people.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 07.04.2023
Past extreme climate warming triggered by tipping points
Past extreme climate warming triggered by tipping points
Can a rapid warming of Earth trigger tipping points in our climate? For decades scientists have debated if today's warming can strongly amplify itself by triggering a catastrophic release of greenhouse gases. New research, published in Science Advances , now presents evidence that such tipping points did occur in Earth's history.

Earth Sciences - Astronomy / Space - 31.03.2023
Rise of oxygen in early ocean due to wobbling Earth's axis
Rise of oxygen in early ocean due to wobbling Earth’s axis
Nearly 2.5 billion years ago, seas on our planet alternately contained more or less oxygen, due to the slow "wobble" of the rotating Earth. So writes an international team of scientists, some affiliated with Utrecht University and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ). "The fact that the Earth eventually became an oxygen-rich planet with a pleasant climate may be partly due to the right astronomical influence at the right time," says Utrecht PhD candidate Margriet Lantink, first author of the article.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 21.03.2023
First direct proof of mega-flood in Mediterranean Sea region
First direct proof of mega-flood in Mediterranean Sea region
Geologists from Utrecht, London and Granada have found the first direct proof of the largest known mega-flood that ever occurred on earth. This mega-flood ended what is known as the ' Messinian Salinity Crisis' , a period around six million years ago when the water level in the Mediterranean Sea sank by around 1.5 km, causing an extreme environmental crisis in the region.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 08.03.2023
How do you make an open and paved urban space climate-proof?
A scorching hot city: not pleasant at all, but an experience we've encountered for several summers. As the planet continues to warm up and climate zones shift further, tropical temperatures, heat waves and drought will put their mark on daily life in the Netherlands on a more regular basis. How can the built environment, where effects of heat are often amplified, be adapted? In field lab the Heat Square on TU Delft Campus, four researchers are working together to find solutions.

Earth Sciences - 20.02.2023
Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria: a Q&A with geophysicist Rob Govers
Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria: a Q&A with geophysicist Rob Govers
Last week, Utrecht University hosted an online lecture on the 6 February 2023 earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 10.02.2023
When the glacier ice is gone, plants get to work
Around the world, retreating glaciers leave vast areas of unstable sediments behind. Researchers from Utrecht University, University of Bayreuth and University of Wuerzburg found that across mountain regions, plants actively aid the stabilisation of these sediments in a similar way, regardless of climate and plant species.

Earth Sciences - 13.12.2022
Cause of puzzling tsunami near Sulawesi unraveled
When tectonic plates collide and thrust over each other and cause an earthquake, a tsunami can occur. That should not happen in an earthquake where the plates slide past each other. And yet that was exactly what happened on 28 September 2018 near Palu Bay (Sulawesi, Indonesia), mere minutes after an earthquake of that second category.