Environment

Two million-year-old ice cores provide first direct observations of an ancient climate
Nov. 21, 2019
Author
Written by Morgan Kelly, Princeton Environmental Institute

Princeton University-led researchers have extracted 2 million-year-old ice cores from Antarctica that provide the first direct observations of Earth’s climate at a time when the furred early ancestors of modern humans still roamed.

Gas bubbles trapped in the cores — which are the oldest yet recovered — contain pristine samples of…

Boosting wind farmers, global winds reverse decades of slowing and pick up speed
Nov. 18, 2019
Author
Written by Molly Sharlach, Office of Engineering Communications

In a boon to wind farms, average daily wind speeds are picking up across much of the globe after about 30 years of gradual slowing. Research led by a team at Princeton University shows that wind speeds in northern mid-latitude regions have increased by roughly 7% since 2010.

The findings mark…

Achieving climate goals requires setting a price on carbon, experts say at Andlinger Center meeting
Nov. 15, 2019
Author
Written by Molly Seltzer, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

Cutting carbon emissions quickly requires a price on carbon, experts from industry, government and academia said at the annual meeting of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment last week. A carbon fee would provide a…

Researchers find nature’s backup plan for converting nitrogen into plant nutrients
Nov. 14, 2019
Author
Written by Joseph Albanese for the Princeton Environmental Institute

Although nitrogen is essential for all living organisms — it makes up 3% of the human body — and comprises 78% of Earth’s atmosphere, it’s almost ironically difficult for plants and natural systems to access it.

Atmospheric nitrogen is not directly usable by most living things. In nature, specialized microbes in soils and bodies of…

Geyman’s published senior thesis research offers new thoughts on how carbonates record global carbon cycle
Nov. 8, 2019
Author
Written by Tom Garlinghouse, Office of Communications

When scientists want to study Earth’s very ancient geological past — typically greater than 100 million years ago — they often turn to rocks called carbonates.

Calcium carbonates, the most ubiquitous forms of carbonate, are minerals that precipitate from seawater and form layered sedimentary deposits on the seafloor. They are commonly…

Study of African animals illuminates links between environment, diet and gut microbiome
Nov. 8, 2019
Author
Written by The Office of Communications

In recent years, the field of microbiome research has grown rapidly, providing newfound knowledge — and newfound questions — about the microbes that inhabit human and animal bodies. A new study adds to that foundation of knowledge by using DNA analysis to examine the relationship between diet, the environment and the microbiome.

Princeton researchers receive $2.5 million to advance the science of urban food sustainability
Nov. 6, 2019
Author
Written by Morgan Kelly, Princeton Environmental Institute

Princeton University researchers have received a $2.5 million federal grant to lead an interdisciplinary effort with academic, city government and nonprofit partners that will develop a scientific process for establishing urban food systems that are less wasteful and environmentally detrimental. The grant will be administered by the Princeton…

Solar and wind energy preserve groundwater for drought, agriculture
Nov. 6, 2019
Author
Written by B. Rose Kelly, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Solar and wind farms are popping up around the country to lower carbon emissions, and these renewables also have another important effect: keeping more water in the ground.

A new Princeton University-led study in Nature Communications is among the first to show that…

Why are big storms bringing so much more rain? Warming, yes, but also winds
Oct. 29, 2019
Author
Written by Molly Sharlach, Office of Engineering Communications

For three hurricane seasons in a row, storms with record-breaking rainfall have caused catastrophic flooding in the southern United States: Harvey in 2017, Florence in 2018 and Imelda in 2019.

A new analysis by Princeton researchers explains why this trend is likely to continue with global…

A world without the Amazon? Safeguarding the Earth’s largest rainforest is focus of Princeton conference
Oct. 23, 2019
Author
Written by Pooja Makhijani, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies

The Amazon is the world’s largest and most diverse tropical forest and the ancestral home of over 1 million indigenous peoples. How to preserve it was the centrally urgent theme at a conference at Princeton on Oct. 17-18.

“Safeguarding the Amazon and its rich bio-social diversity and environmental services for Brazil and the planet is…