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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
Vol. 343 ,
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
- 6 March 2014 1:04 pm , Vol. 343 , #6175
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ScienceShot: Fire Is Blackening 'Earth's Lungs'
6 February 2014 3:00 pm
The vast expanses of rainforest that make up the Amazon Basin have been called the lungs of the planet, as they breathe in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Now, findings from biweekly airplane flights over the jungle show how a severe drought choked these lungs, constricting the uptake of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Worse, fires released tremendous amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, exacerbating global warming. The measurements started in 2010, during a drought year, and showed that the Amazon overall released 480 million metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere, the team reports today in Nature. (Slightly more went up in smoke, but the difference was taken up by the vegetation.) The next year was wet. The plants stored 250 million tons of carbon, just about compensating for the carbon released by forest fires. Scientists are concerned that climate change—with rising temperatures and more droughts—will reduce the rainforest’s storage of carbon and in turn hinder its ability to slow the pace of global warming.