· Most CO2 from Australia’s megafires has been offset by algal blooms Formed by ash that settled in the ocean. When 715 million metric tons of carbon dioxide was coughed up into the atmosphere from the massive 2019-20 wildfires in Australia, scientists feared global warming had just been given a steroid shot. New research, however, reminds us of just how cyclical everything on our Earth is. Algal blooms in the ocean have been found to be feasting on the remains of the fire, soaking up 80% of the CO2 fumes emitted. The scorched ground left behind from the fires also creates ideal conditions for future plant regrowth which creates another carbon neutral environment as plant life grows back. However, when fires are larger than ever, droughts last longer, and temperatures are hotter, it’s not clear anymore that plant regrowth can last long enough or return densely enough to recapture what was lost in the blaze. Fortunately for terrestrial ecosystems, aquatic ones can help make up the difference.
· A magnetic field reversal 42,000 years ago may have contributed to mass extinctions. A flip-flop of Earth’s magnetic poles between 42,000 and 41,000 years ago briefly but dramatically shrank the magnetic field’s strength — and may have triggered a cascade of environmental crises on Earth, a new study suggests. During a reversal, Earth’s protective magnetic field, which shields the planet from a barrage of charged particles streaming from the sun, can lose strength. The team that conducted the study simulated how this major reversal could affect the Earth’s ecosystems in total. They found that a reversal of the magnetic field could cause a large increase in ozone consuming elements, therefore reducing ultraviolet radiation protection, and causing massive changes in weather conditions/patterns. Therefore, it is conceivable that the discovered magnetic reversal could have caused an ice ago 41,000 to 42,000 years ago.
· Scientists have found a material that protects people from both biological and chemical threats. A Northwestern University research team has developed a versatile composite fabric that can deactivate both biological threats, such as the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and chemical threats, such as those used in chemical warfare. The material also is reusable. It can be restored to its original state after the fabric has been exposed to threats by a simple bleach treatment. The material was found to destroy many kinds of biological disease such as Covid-19 and E-coli as well as chemical compounds such as mustard gas and chemical stimulants. When incorporated into a facemask, the material should be able to work both ways: protecting the mask wearer from virus in his or her vicinity as well as protecting individuals who come into contact with an infected person wearing the mask.