8/30/2023: Growing animals and crops together to feed the world’s population

Featured research

Growing animals and crops together to feed the world’s population
As human populations grow, farmers need new ways to sustainably feed more people. One potential solution is rice-animal co-culture systems. By introducing animals, such as fish, ducks or crayfish, into rice fields, farmers can increase both animal and crop yields, creating more food and using resources more efficiently than monocultures alone. [Earth and Space Science commentary][Earth’s Future research]

What makes oceans form on planets?
With new space-observing technology such as the James Webb Space Telescope, scientists are taking a closer look at what planets need to form water oceans. A new study finds that early Venus would need just 13% of Earth’s ocean mass for oceans to form, depending on cloud cover and albedo. The model also supports existing ideas that two planets outside of the Solar System are likely to have liquid water. [JGR Planets research]

Mars is significantly less mineralogically diverse than Earth
Mars and Earth are close in age and share some of their mineral formation mechanisms, yet the Red Planet’s mineral diversity pales in comparison to Earth’s. New research suggests that Mars’ limited mineralogy is caused by a lack of plate tectonics and life. Scientists predict that Mars’ mineral diversity is 10 times smaller than that of Earth. [JGR Planets research]

New Australian lake would not create more rainfall
Central Australia has a dry, arid climate and frequently struggles with drought. An Australian engineer in the 1930s proposed a plan to create a permanent inland lake to alleviate local water insecurity, and supporters of this plan have pointed out that the lake could increase precipitation as well. However, a new study finds that the lake’s impacts to rainfall would be negligible. [Geophysical Research Letters research]

Warmer oceans and wind bursts behind 2021’s extreme Atlantic Niño
The Atlantic Niño plays an important role in the development of El Niño and hurricanes near the coast of West Africa. In 2021, the Atlantic experienced the most extreme Atlantic Niño since records began in the 1970s, flooding multiple West African countries. Researchers found that the event was preconditioned by warmer ocean temperatures and finally triggered by a week-long westerly wind burst event. [Geophysical Research Letters research]

It’s too hot for fans in many US cities
Electric fans keep people cool in a warming world. But new research shows there are increasing numbers of hours when, and places where, just using a fan to keep cool won’t cut it. When temperatures rise above 35°C, fans no longer prevent heat-related illnesses, and in the past 2 decades, on average, U.S. residents have experienced roughly twice as many hours when fan use is unsafe compared with 50–70 years ago. [GeoHealth research] [Eos research spotlight]

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