In The News

Study uses advanced GPS collars to track elk migrations in and around Yellowstone National Park

Arthur Middleton has studied migrating populations since his grad school days, but he knows it doesn’t take a PhD to recognize why Wyoming attracts a certain kind of person. They’re nature-lovers, he says, outdoor enthusiasts who value unspoiled wilderness -- and want to live next door to the ineffable Yellowstone National Park. But the elk that roam Wyoming are a little harder to pin down. That’s why Middleton, an ecologist at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Science, helped lead a study to map the migration patterns of nine major elk herds throughout Yellowstone and across the state. Using GPS technology, Middleton and University of Wyoming researchers collared and tracked elk to determine how their movements impact the surrounding ecosystem.

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New data challenges long-held theory of ice ages

It was a well-established belief in the scientific community that ice ages are caused by cyclic changes in the Earth’s orbit. According to a recent press release from researchers at Dartmouth College , however, data from an international collaboration of climate scientists suggests that only the northern hemisphere was influenced primarily by perturbations in the Earth’s orbit. The southern hemisphere seemed largely influenced instead by sea surface temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. The established theory on the formation of ice ages holds that the movement of Earth’s ice fields results from expansions and contractions following changes in solar radiation intensity due to orbital changes.

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Plant to pipe ocean water to reverse climate change may actually do the opposite

Researchers say a proposed geoengineering solution to climate change might actually make it worse, according to a Carnegie Institution press release . One geoengineering strategy proposes using upright pipes in the ocean pipes to draw cold bottom water to the top to cool the surface. Carnegie scientists created a model to test the strategy. They found that placing pipes in the ocean would have excellent short-term benefits that would vanish over time. In just five decades, the seawater's vertical movement would decrease clouds over the ocean, increase ice melting and actually raise global temperatures. Although ocean pipes may not be the best solution for fighting climate change, the researchers say they may be useful for smaller projects.

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