News That Matters

Science

As ice sheet melts, Greenland's fjords become less salty

As ice sheet melts, Greenland's fjords become less salty

Science
Oct. 13 (UPI) -- New data suggests the water around Greenland is becoming less salty as the island's ice sheet melts.Researchers with Denmark's Aarhus University detailed the impact of melting ice on Greenland's coastal waters in a new paper published this week in the journal Scientific Reports.The loss of ice in Greenland is relatively well documented. Over the last two decades, the island's ice has roughly doubled its melt rate. But few studies have looked at how the influx of freshwater is impacting coastal waters.Since 2003, Aarhus scientists have been analyzing water samples collected from Young Sound and from the sea joust outside the sound. Young Sound is located in northeast Greenland. Between 2003 and 2015, researchers recorded a four-fold increase in the amount of fresh water acc...
Penguins die in 'catastrophic' Antarctic breeding season

Penguins die in 'catastrophic' Antarctic breeding season

Science
All but two Adelie penguin chicks have starved to death in their east Antarctic colony, in a breeding season described as "catastrophic" by experts. It was caused by unusually high amounts of ice late in the season, meaning adults had to travel further for food.It is the second bad season in five years after no chicks survived in 2015.Conservation groups are calling for urgent action on a new marine protection area in the east Antarctic to protect the colony of about 36,000.WWF says a ban on krill fishing in the area would eliminate their competition and help to secure the survival of Antarctic species, including the Adelie penguins. WWF have been supporting research with French scientists in the region monitoring penguin numbers since 2010. The protection proposal will be discussed at a m...
Study reveals secrets of planet formation

Study reveals secrets of planet formation

Science
Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Scientists have discovered a new explanation for how young stars and their newborn planets avoid "radial drift," a phenomenon that can rob stellar systems of their planet-forming material.Most planets form as material coalesces in a star's circumstellar disk of dust and debris. But debris disks can also diffuse or be eaten up by their host star, and researchers have struggled to figure out why this doesn't happen more often.Gas in a circumstellar disk should exert a drag force on debris, pulling the dust inward where it is consumed by the host star. The process, called radial drift, can deplete the material a young stellar system needs to form and grow planets.But new images of the debris disk surrounding the star V1247 Orionis has offered scientists insights into how youn...
Nasa carbon space observatory 'watches Earth breathe'

Nasa carbon space observatory 'watches Earth breathe'

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceA Nasa satellite has provided remarkable new insights on how CO2 is moved through the Earth's atmosphere. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) tracked the behaviour of the gas in 2015/2016 - a period when the planet experienced a major El Niño event. This climate phenomenon boosts the amount of CO2 in the air. The US space agency's OCO satellite was able to show how that increase was controlled by the response of tropical forests to heat and drought. The forests' ability to draw down carbon dioxide, some of it produced by human activity, was severely curtailed. The science has significant implications because the kind of conditions associated with El Niños are expected to become much more common under global warming. "If future climate is more l
How do you build the next-generation internet?

How do you build the next-generation internet?

Science
Imagine super-fast computers that can solve problems much quicker than machines today. These "quantum computers" are being developed in laboratories around the world. But scientists have already taken the next step, and are thinking about a light-based quantum internet that will have to be just as fast.It's not easy to develop technology for a device that hasn't technically been invented yet, but quantum communications is an attractive field of research because the technology will enable us to send messages that are much more secure.There are several problems that will need to be solved in order to make a quantum internet possible:Getting quantum computers to talk to each otherMaking communications secure from hackingTransmitting messages over long distances without losing parts of the mes...