Humidity changes color of birds' feathers, biologists discover
Tree swallows' iridescent feathers change from blue-green to muted yellow when exposed to humidity. The plumage reverses to previous color tones as humidity decreases.
An engineered directional nanofilm mimics nature's curious feats
(PhysOrg.com) -- In nature, textured surfaces provide some plants the ability to trap insects and pollen, certain insects the ability to walk on water, and the gecko the ability to climb walls. Being able ...
Asteroid strike into ocean could deplete ozone layer
Carbon dioxide controls Earth's temperature
(PhysOrg.com) -- Water vapor and clouds are the major contributors to Earth's greenhouse effect, but a new atmosphere-ocean climate modeling study shows that the planet's temperature ultimately depends on ...
A hot new look at working fuel cells
Measuring a fuel cell's overall performance is relatively easy, but measuring its components individually as they work together is a challenge. That's because one of the best experimental techniques for investigating ...
A low-cost catalyst prepares to take on power-plant emissions
(PhysOrg.com) -- Materials scientists develop clean nanoparticle-based catalysts that convert nitrogen oxides to nitrogen and water vapor.
Tracing the Big Picture of Mars' Atmosphere
(PhysOrg.com) -- One of the instruments on a 2016 mission to orbit Mars will provide daily profiles of the changing structure of the planet's atmosphere.
NASA's 3-D animation of Typhoon Conson's heavy rainfall and strong thunderstorms (w/ Video)
Imagine seeing a typhoon from space, and seeing it in three dimensions. That's what the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite can do with any typhoon, and just did with Typhoon Conson. TRMM's 3-D look at tropical ...
Plant 'breathing' mechanism discovered
A tiny, little-understood plant pore has enormous implications for weather forecasting, climate change, agriculture, hydrology, and more. A study by scientists at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology, with ...
Strange Martian Spirals Explained
Almost 40 years ago, NASA's Mariner 9 spacecraft relayed to Earth the first video images of Mars' northern polar ice cap, revealing a strange pattern of spiral swirls that has puzzled scientists ever since. ...
The Chance for Life on Io
Jupiter’s moon Io is the most volcanically active body in the solar system. Could it also be a habitat for life?
NASA's SOFIA Observatory Obtains 'First Light' Imagery
(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, successfully obtained its first in-flight, nighttime celestial observations during its “First Light” mission early Wednesday ...
Cassini Measures Tug of Enceladus
(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Cassini spacecraft will be gliding low over Saturn's moon Enceladus for a gravity experiment designed to probe the moon's interior composition.
Explained: Climate sensitivity
Climate sensitivity is the term used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to express the relationship between the human-caused emissions that add to the Earth's greenhouse effect -- carbon ...