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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Global Warming at Your Doorstep
30 April 2013 1:35 pm
When it comes to reducing carbon footprints, many Americans need look no further than their front yards. The soil beneath those perfectly manicured carpets of green grass—the pride of many suburban homeowners—is pumping surprising amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. That's according to a study published this month in the Soil Science Society of America Journal, which concludes that the amount of carbon rising from the soil of residential lawns is significantly greater than that from the soil of agricultural land—in this case, irrigated fields of corn. Researchers (inset) at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania measured weekly carbon emissions from nearby residential lawns and commercial cornfields from October to December 2011. They found that carbon emissions from the soil in suburban lawns were as much as twice as high as those from cornfields. Carbon is naturally deposited into soil by dead plant matter. When those plants begin to decompose, it is released back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, where it contributes to climate change. But don't trade in your lawnmower just yet. Moisture, along with warmer temperatures, increases the amount of carbon released from the soil, and the authors say that their findings are due—at least in part—to higher soil temperatures in the lawns rather than the grass itself. Warmer soil temperatures are an unavoidable consequence of urban development, leaving little the typical suburban or urban homeowner can do to reduce the amount of carbon emanating from their lawn. However, trees and other vegetation remove those gases from the atmosphere, so lush landscaping is the best way to mitigate the effects of human warming and achieve a carbon neutral yard.
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