Earth's Systems

  1. Earth

    Here’s how lightning may help clean the air

    Airplane observations show that storm clouds can generate huge quantities of air-cleansing chemicals known as oxidants.

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  2. Space

    Raindrops on alien worlds will obey Earth-like rules

    Their size will be similar no matter what they’re made of or on which planet they fall, a new analysis finds.

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  3. Plants

    Dinosaur-killing asteroid radically changed Earth’s tropical forests

    The asteroid collision initially reduced the diversity in what had been sunny tropical rainforests. In time, the forests would become permanently darker.

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  4. Physics

    Light levitation might help explore Earth’s ‘ignorosphere’

    A toy called a light mill inspired researchers to invent a new way to fly. They’re using light to levitate small nanotube-coated discs.

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  5. Climate

    Surfing the winds would make future jet travel greener

    Simple route changes could drastically cut fuel use and greenhouse-gas emissions, a new study finds.

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  6. Environment

    COVID-19 cut pollution in 2020, warming the atmosphere

    Pandemic-related lockdowns briefly warmed the planet. The reason: The cleaner air carried fewer planet-cooling aerosols.

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  7. Earth

    Fin whales could help scientists map what lies below the seafloor

    Fin-whale calls are loud enough to penetrate into Earth’s crust, offering scientists a new way to study the properties of the ocean floor.

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  8. Earth

    Rock rising from below the Atlantic may drive continents apart

    Molten rock rising from the deep mantle at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge may drive plate tectonics there more than had been expected.

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  9. Environment

    What you can do to improve soils

    Soils are the life-sustaining structures under our feet. Here are some tips for keeping soils healthy. First rule of thumb: Give more than you take.

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  10. Agriculture

    Healthy soils are life-giving black gold

    Scientists explain why everyone needs to value the soils beneath our feet — and why we should not view them as dirt.

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  11. Chemistry

    Extreme pressure? Diamonds can take it

    Diamond retains its structure even at extreme pressures, which could reveal how carbon behaves in the cores of some exoplanets.

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  12. Earth

    Explainer: What are aerosols?

    We may not see them, but tiny particles and droplets cloud the air, affecting its properties. Some may be pollutants, others all-natural products.

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