Earth Sciences

The Geology of the Terrestrial Planets: Perspectives on the Earth

The dynamic nature of the Earth (erosion and plate tectonics) has largely destroyed the record of the formative years of our own Home Planet.  Revealed on the other Earth-like planetary bodies (Moon, Mercury, Mars, and Venus) are startling and diverse landscapes recording the geological record of this early history, the very chapters that are missing from Earth. Results from the first half-century of solar system exploration have unveiled a vision of our formative years, where we have been, and indeed, where we may be going in the future.

Climate Change: What's Going On With the Sun?

Throughout the past century, while greenhouse gas (GHG) abundances have been steadily increasing and influencing Earth’s climate, the Sun has remained relatively bright and quiescent. Solar cycles have been steadily active, with instantaneous sunspot numbers at solar maximum exceeding 100 in every cycle since 1893 (Cycle 13). The climate warming we have experienced since the beginning of the modern industrial era cannot be attributed to the Sun.

Neutrinos from Hell: the Dawn of Neutrino Geophysics

Seismic waves have been for long time the only messenger reporting on the conditions deep inside the Earth. While global seismology provides amazing details about the structure of our planet, it is only sensitive to the mechanical properties of rocks and not to their chemical composition. In the last few years KamLAND and Borexino have started measuring anti-neutrinos produced by Uranium and Thorium inside the Earth.

How evolution shapes virus diversity: lessons learned from mosquitoes and shrews

In today's age of rapid environmental and human-wrought change, questions arise with respect to how biodiversity loss will affect the emergence of pathogens. SARS, avian influenza, and swine flu are high-profile examples of viruses whose distribution and diversity has changed in recent years to impact human health.

Dr. Bennett will demonstrate how the evolutionary ecology of mosquito-borne and zoonotic viruses drives their ongoing diversification in humans and other animals, with specific reference to dengue and hantaviruses.

Past Climate Change from the Tropics to the Poles: New Information from Corals and Sediment Cores

Much of what we know about the precise nature of "natural climate variability" comes from the study of geological and cryospheric archives of past climate. Cores from large coral colonies reveal sub-monthly changes in ocean conditions extending back several centuries while sediment cores from Antarctic waters tell us about past rapid changes in the Antarctic ice sheet. I'll provide an update on what is new in the world of past climate analysis and its relevance to the global warming debate.

Scott, Amundsen and Science: A 100th Anniversary Retrospective on Antarctic Science

Marking the 100th anniversary of teams led by Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott reaching the South Pole, science historian Edward Larson will reexamine their so-called Race to the Pole in light of their objectives. Amundsen and his men focused exclusively on reaching the pole and succeeded brilliantly. Scott and his men had multiple objectives, which included conducting a broad array of scientific research by teams of researchers that fanned out across the region. Larson will retell the story of these expeditions in context and contrast it with the conventional wisdom about them.

Earth science collaborative for ecological forecasting

There is increasing pressure on the science community not only to understand how recent and projected changes in climate are likely to impact our global environment and the natural resources on which we depend, but also to design solutions to mitigate or cope with the likely impacts. Responding to this multi-dimensional challenge requires new tools and research frameworks that assist scientists in collaborating to rapidly investigate complex, interdisciplinary science questions of critical societal importance.

Past Climate In Antarctica: Looking Back to Our Future

Carbon dioxide levels are predicted to rise during this century to levels not seen in 25 to 50 million years. Back during this time, the Earth changed from a generally ice-free ‘greenhouse world’ to a more much colder and heavily glaciated ‘icehouse world’. Dr. Pekar will provide an overview of Antarctic climate changes when CO2 levels were similar to what is predicted for this century and also provide some of early results from IODP Wilkes Land Expedition.

Living with a Star - dangerously

The sun “talks” to the Earth.  One channel, still poorly understood, involves the ionosphere. The ionosphere interacts magnetically with the solid Earth, reaching deep into the crust, generating forces that can trigger earthquakes. Before major earthquakes, the crust “talks” back to the ionosphere, causing perturbations. 

Construction on the 10,000 Year Clock Begins

20 years ago computer scientist Danny Hillis thought up a monument scale slow moving mechanical clock to serve as an icon to long-term thinking. 10 years ago a first prototype was completed and put into the Science Museum of London. 5 years ago the full size clock project began design. A few months ago that project began construction. Project manager Alexander Rose will discuss the process and methods underway in the Clock of the Long Now.


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