“It’s like the discovery of a new large river being piped out of the corn belt,” said Pete Raymond, lead author of the study and associate professor of ecosystem ecology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. “Agricultural practices have significantly changed the hydrology and chemistry of the Mississippi River.”
The researchers tracked changes in the levels of water and bicarbonate, which forms when carbon dioxide in soil water dissolves rock minerals. Bicarbonate plays an important, long-term role in absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Oceans then absorb the excess carbon dioxide and become more acidic in the process. “Ocean acidification makes it more difficult for organisms to form hard shells in coral reefs,” said R. Eugene Turner, a co-author of the study and a professor at the Coastal Ecology Institute at Louisiana State University.
The researchers concluded that farming practices, such as liming, changes in tile drainage and crop type and rotation, are responsible for the majority of the increase in water and carbon dioxide in the Mississippi River, which is North America’s largest river.
Raymond said that the research team analyzed 100-year-old data on the Mississippi River, warehoused at two New Orleans water treatment plants, along with data on precipitation and water export. “A notable finding is that changes in farming practices are more important than changes in precipitation to the increase in water being discharged into the river,” he said.
The researchers used their data to demonstrate the effects of excess water on the carbon content of the river, and to argue that nutrients and pollution in the water are altering the chemistry of the Gulf of Mexico.
Janet Rettig Emanuel | EurekAlert!
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
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Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
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