Highway travelers view much of the Midwest as little more than barren flatlands. The formation of the region and its rich soils, especially tall grass areas that seemingly should support diverse forests, however, have long fascinated scientists. Newly available, long-term climate data now say the area is the product of weather extremes.
Compared with adjacent regions, the tall-grass area of the plains endures more frequent periods of severe drought, more lightning strikes and subsequent fires from frequent winter thunderstorms, dryer cold weather and more rapid plant and soil moisture evaporation, a team of researchers from the Illinois State Water Survey and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign says in the current issue of the journal Physical Geography.
"Beyond the 100 years of scientific curiosity is that these extremes of weather and their frequency or their non-frequency that we have found to be critical factors for the plains are actually very important issues as we face global climate change," said Stanley A. Changnon, a water survey scientist and professor of geography. "The long-term data weve gathered and are analyzing can provide us with very useful guidance as we talk about potential changes to our agricultural systems and to the way we as people live in general."
Jim Barlow | UIUC
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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.
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The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
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The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
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