Earthzine Writing ClubScience writing is challenging and rewarding. With a Writing Club for college students and young professionals, Earthzine hopes to encourage and develop aspiring writers who are interested in Earth observation and scientific communication. Read More +
From Space to Earth with John MatherNobel Laureate John Mather describes how technological investment in astronomy and cosmology can be used to answer questions central to all of science. Read More +
OSGeo: Mapping the World of Open Source Geospatial SoftwareThe Open Source Geospatial Foundation looks to assist the next generation of cartographers by helping them navigate the world of free and open source geospatial software. Read More +
The Ethics of Traditional Knowledge Exchange in Climate Change Initiatives
An essay exploring the ethical philosophy behind Guidelines for Considering Traditional Knowledges in Climate Change Initiatives.
This article is a part of Earthzine's Indigenous Perspectives on Environmental Change Theme. For more articles in this category, click here
IntroductionClimate scientists, policymakers and the growing community of citizens engaged in observing global change are increasingly turning to traditional knowledges of indigenous peoples to improve understanding of and strategies for adaptation and mitigation. Indigenous peoples are also recognizing the value of methods and information from western climate science, such as models, risk and vulnerability assessments and monitoring strategies. Unfortunately, policymakers who design and implement climate change initiatives frequently overlook indigenous peoples. While they call for access to traditional knowledge to help inform choices for preparation, adaptation or mitigation in response to climate change, they have little awareness of real risks of harm when indigenous peoples share their traditional knowledges. Currently, there are few protections to… Read More +
Book Review: Elizabeth Kolbert’s ’The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History’
“The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” is a book about extinction and the impact of humanity on a living planet. This article is a part of this month's mini-theme, Extinction. For more articles in this theme, click here.Over the past 500 million years, dramatic and catastrophic worldwide changes have completely reshaped the order of life. Five major episodes of mass extinction are known to have taken place. The most recent and most familiar of these events occurred 66 million years ago, spelling the demise of the dinosaurs, among others. Scientists today conclude that we have entered a sixth mass extinction period, with humans as the driving factor. Elizabeth Kolbert places this sixth extinction in the context of life’s history, as we know it, which… Read More +
Montana’s Sunburst Sensors Wins Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE Tackling Ocean Acidification
A small team of scientists and engineers from Missoula, Montana, were awarded $1.5 million for breakthrough ocean pH sensors.What’s better motivation than a big prize? That’s the thinking of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a global competition that offered $2 million to teams of scientists and engineers to create innovative, affordable, and accurate technology to improve our understanding of a serious ecological problem: the changing chemistry of the ocean. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, surface ocean water has become approximately 30 percent more acidic. Ocean acidification (a recent Earthzine theme) is occurring because high amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are being absorbed by seawater, forming carbonic acid. This is a big problem for shellfish, corals, other calcifying organisms, and humans. The Ocean Health XPRIZE, seeking to catalyze the invention of better pH sensors to study ocean acidification, kicked off in September 2013. After 22 months of development and multiple phases of rigorous testing, from the lab to the deep sea, winners of the… Read More +
Big Data Flows: Water, Outsourcing, and the Flood of Data
Big Data is booming, and water utilities are beginning to be able to take advantage by leveraging the skills of those who already know how to collect and manage data.
This article is a part of the Water for Agriculture Theme. For more articles in this category, click here.Floods like those in Texas in May make it seem like water is something out of human control. However, for the water industry, whose very purpose is to control the flow of water to homes and businesses, even better control may come with another flood: one of vast amounts of data. Water metrology (the science of measurement) has been developing for more than 100 years. Recently, that development has brought water into the era of “Big Data.” Even though utilities aren’t… Read More +
L-band Sensing Satellites Suffer Setbacks
Two recent setbacks to L-band microwave sensing missions have hindered our ability to study soil moisture and ocean salinity.The study of Earth science using microwave sensing, specifically L-band instruments, has taken a hit in the past two months as two satellite missions carrying L-band sensing equipment have experienced critical failures. The failures occurred with the Aquarius/SAC-D power and altitude control and the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) radar. The missions, respectively, have sought to provide measurements on ocean salinity and soil moisture content. Both missions use microwave sensing of the L-band, a band of frequencies from 1 to 2 GHz. L-band frequencies are particularly sensitive to changes in ocean salinity and soil moisture, and the atmosphere is mostly transparent to the L-band allowing for measurements to be taken regardless of… Read More +