11/22/2023: Plague-carrying gerbils to spread in Central Asia with climate change

The great gerbil can carry plague throughout central Asia. Its range, along with other plague-carrying rodents, is expanding due to climate change, increasing the risk of plague spread and outbreaks, according to new research published in GeoHealth. Credit: wikimedia

AGU News

Ocean Sciences Meeting 2024 scientific program online
The scientific program for #OSM24, held 18-23 February in New Orleans, is now available online. Browse nearly 5,000 abstracts on all things ocean science and register today! [OSM24 scientific program][OSM24 press registration]

Climate engagement at AGU23: open dialogue, open minds, open science
On the heels of the National Climate Assessment and looking ahead to COP28, a letter from AGU’s President, Dr. Lisa J. Graumlich, outlines AGU23 Annual Meeting sessions and events at the intersection of climate science and action. [From the Prow post][AGU23 press registration]

Featured Research

Plague-carrying gerbils to spread in Central Asia with climate change
Researchers confirm more than 3,000 cases of plague-infected rodents, including the great gerbil and yellow ground squirrel, between 2000 and 2020 in the Zhambyl region of Southern Kazakhstan. Rising temperatures will only bolster the rodent population, expanding their range northeast toward the Qaragandy and Almaty regions by the year 2100 and increasing the likelihood of an outbreak. [GeoHealth research]

Greener forests can help track volcanic activity
In Yellowstone National Park, scientists observed greener forests associated with volcanic CO₂ emissions. Scientists can use this greening to remotely track the emissions, which are often a precursor to eruptions. The method is a safe and effective way to gauge potential volcanic hazards. [Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems research]

Volcanic origin for ringed Venus structures
The formation of coronae, semi-circular structures on the surface of Venus, may be a result of surface and subsurface volcanism, as suggested by new observations of lava flows which appear to have flowed upslope. But subsurface volcanic activity likely tilted the topography, explaining the curious lava flows and concentric features. [JGR Planets research]

Oysters create more resilient coastlines as sea levels rise
Oyster reefs grow with sea level rise and self-repair after extreme events, making them highly adaptive coastal barriers. When paired with submerged breakwaters, they can reduce wave impacts by up to 75% over a hundred-year period and increase crucial  along sheltered coastlines. [JGR Earth Surface research]

The first slow-slip events seen off southern Costa Rica
Five events observed off the Osa Peninsula shed new light on the role that these small, slow earthquakes can play in strain accumulation and tsunami hazards along subduction zones. [Geophysical Research Letters research] [Eos research spotlight | Spanish translation]

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