New lessons from the worst oil spill disaster ever

Ten years ago, the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico killed eleven men and resulted in the largest accidental oil spill in history. Years of investigations concluded that the drilling crew missed critical warning signals that would have stopped the problem. A new analysis suggests that wasn’t the case.

WITH VIDEO

A tiny arctic shrub reveals secrets of plant growth on Svalbard

It’s not easy being a tiny willow on the wind-and snow-blasted islands of the Norwegian territory of Svalbard. It turns out that Salix polaris, the polar willow, handles these tough conditions by growing as best it can in response to July temperatures — a response that researchers recorded all over the archipelago.

From coronavirus to a greener society?

Governments across the globe are funding record-breaking crisis packages to cope with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Is this the time to fund greener, more climate-friendly industries and investments?

Global supply chains as a way to curb carbon emissions

The coronavirus outbreak raised everyone’s awareness of the significance of global supply chains to modern economies. But global supply chains also play an important role in greenhouse gas emissions. How they are managed can either increase or decrease carbon emissions, new research shows.

Abandoned cropland helps make Europe cooler

As nations prepare to mitigate climate change, decision makers need to understand how land use fits into the climate equation. A new study looked at land use changes over two decades and found a major shift from cropland to forests.  That change made western Europe cooler.

More people and fewer wild fish lead to an omega-3 supply gap

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential components of healthy diets for both humans and fish. The dramatic increase in fish farming worldwide has boosted the demand for omega-3 fatty acids so much that today’s supply can’t meet demand. Reducing waste and finding new sources can help.

Your plane travel destroys polar bear habitat

A group of polar bear researchers wants you to do more than worry about the fate of these beautiful animals. They’ve calculated how much summer sea ice is melted per metric tonne of CO2 emissions. Then you can decide if the flight you’re planning to take is worth destroying polar bear habitat.

New mechanism allows the immune system to detect and respond to HIV

Nearly 40 million people were living with HIV in 2017, the UN says, with just over half taking antiretroviral therapy. These drugs have cut AIDS-related deaths by more than half since the 2004 peak, but the disease cannot be cured. A new mechanism uncovered by a Norwegian research group could improve the chances of developing one.

Gaming their way to sustainable development

Researchers wanted to involve local people living around Kenya and Tanzania’s Serengeti-Mara parks in developing a sustainable future for them and the parks. They developed a board game to get people talking to the researchers — and to each other. That game has now won an international award.

WITH PHOTO COLLECTION

Svalbard reindeer populations rebounding from centuries of hunting

As reindeer go, the animals living on Svalbard might not be Santa’s first choice. They’re a smaller subspecies of their common mainland relatives, and to save energy they basically never run. But because they were nearly exterminated from Svalbard around 1900 — and were then protected in 1925 — the animals provide unique insights into how conservation can help species thrive.

Buy less, be happier and build a healthy planet

You may feel like you can’t do anything to stop climate change. But climate activists who joined in grassroots movements managed to cut their carbon footprints and were still happier than their non-activist peers, new research shows.

Turning waste heat into hydrogen fuel

Hydrogen as an energy carrier can help us move away from fossil fuels, but only if it is created efficiently. One way to improve efficiency is to use waste heat that’s left over from other industrial processes.

Cholesterol crystals play an active role in stroke, heart attacks

Cholesterol crystals form from “bad” cholesterol and are found in plaques that line blood vessels. When these plaques rupture, they can cause heart attacks or strokes. New research suggests that cholesterol crystals in plaques can actually trigger strokes and heart attacks.

Super-strong magnetic supercrystals can assemble themselves

Materials scientists who work with nano-sized components have developed ways of working with their vanishingly small materials. But what if you could get your components to assemble themselves into different structures without actually handling them at all?

Tracing the journey of microplastics in the Arctic

By now it’s well established that microplastics are a problem in the environment, even in the remotest parts of the planet. But where do different microplastics come from and how they get there, especially in the Arctic?

Six years into the ice — and beyond

The Arctic’s once impenetrable ice cap is melting away, with profound consequences for everything from ocean circulation patterns to fish numbers and diversity. The Nansen Legacy Project, including NTNU biologists, chemists and engineers, is working to better understand what these changes mean for the Barents Sea and the Arctic Basin

Conflicting consequences of climate change for Arctic geese

Climate change is the big wild card when it comes to the survival of many Arctic species. A new study shows that climate change will be both good and bad for Svalbard barnacle geese populations — although the balance may tip depending upon the severity of future temperature increases and how other species react.

Fewer cows, more trees and bioenergy

Combatting global warming will require major changes in land use, a new climate change report says. One important change could be decreasing the amount of land used to produce livestock — which means that people would have to eat less meat.

A whistleblower’s tale

The American whistleblower Edward Snowden paints a frightening vision of the world we live in, where abuses of power extend far beyond the reaches of law and affect us all.

Planting the seeds for a bioliterate tropical country

Ecologist Daniel H. Janzen has spent virtually all of his half-century career trying to catalogue and understand the creatures in a patch of dry tropical forest in northwestern Costa Rica. Little did he realize his efforts would evolve into building a sea-to-summit conservation area — and a drive to inventory all million species in the country in partnership with the Costa Rican government.

The magic behind the medals

The most successful winter Olympian ever opened nearly two decades of training logs to researchers to shed light on how she achieved her goals. Now researchers have looked at two methods she used for her high-intensity training sessions to see how they compare.

Reindeer adapt to climate change by eating seaweed

The arctic archipelago of Svalbard is already experiencing dramatic effects from climate change. A new study shows how these changes can force wild reindeer to graze on seaweed, a strategy that increases their likelihood of survival— and is recorded in their poop.

Finding ways to use less salt on snowy roads

It’s springtime in much of the northern hemisphere, although spring snowstorms are still possible. When that happens, salt trucks and ploughs help make roads safe. But road salt can be bad for the environment, and can rust cars, bicycles and other metal. New research shows that salt use can be safely — and substantially — cut in certain circumstances.

When the extreme becomes the norm: Svalbard reindeer cope with dramatic climate change

Climate change is increasing the likelihood of extreme winter rain events in the Arctic. These kinds of winter storms on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago can cause a thick cap of ice to cover the forage that reindeer eat. You’d think that more frequent rain-on-snow events would spell the end for these arctic animals — but you’d be wrong.