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Inside Science

Inside Science reporter Will Sullivan writes that a new study co-authored by MIT researchers finds that during Covid-19 lockdowns in the spring of 2020 there was a reduction in human activities that release aerosols into the atmosphere, resulting in diminished lightning activity. 

Axios

Axios reporter Miriam Kramer notes that scientists from MIT and other institutions are planning a mission to probe the atmosphere of Venus for any potential signs of life. The probe “will come equipped with a laser designed to help it figure out what kind of chemistry is happening in droplets in Venus' atmosphere during a three-minute flight through the planet's clouds,” writes Kramer.

Reuters

Reuters reporter Andrea Januta writes that using computer models Prof. Kerry Emanuel has found that hurricanes in the North Atlantic have been growing in intensity and frequency as global temperatures have increasing. Emanuel “turned to computer simulations to recreate climate conditions for the last 150 years. Using three different climate models, he then scattered hurricane “seeds,” or conditions that could produce a storm, throughout the models to see how many seeds developed into storms,” writes Januta.

The Washington Post

A new study by Prof. Kerry Emanuel examining the history of hurricanes finds that North Atlantic hurricanes are increasing in frequency and intensity, write Matthew Cappucci and Jason Samenow for The Washington Post. Emanuel “employed a novel approach to evaluate past storm activity,” they write. “Rather than relying on historical observations, which may have gaps, he performed climate modeling to reconstruct a continuous record of hurricane activity over the past 150 years from which to gauge trends.”

Vox

Prof. Sara Seager speaks with Vox podcast host Brian Resnick about the potential of for life on Venus. “So, for Venus, far above the surface, at 50 kilometers or so above the surface, the temperature is actually just right for life,” says Seager.

The Boston Globe

Andy Rivkin ’91 speaks with Boston Globe reporter Andrew Brinker about his work on NASA’s DART mission, which is aimed at testing whether a rocket could be used to help steer an asteroid away from Earth. “I’ve always been interested in stars and space and planets since I was a kid,” said Rivkin. “At MIT, I was in the earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences department, and that’s when I started looking at asteroids. And then as a graduate student, I studied asteroids. And then I ended up doing my dissertation on them. It sort of all started [at MIT].”

HuffPost

HuffPost reporter Mary Papenfuss writes that a team of archeologists and scientists, including Research Scientist Jahandar Ramezani, have uncovered evidence of social behaviors in dinosaurs. “The bones were segregated by age, with eggs in a common nesting ground,” writes Papenfuss. “Juveniles likely were left in ‘schools’ while adults foraged.”

Scientific American

Research scientist Jahandar Ramezani speaks with Scientific American reporter Christopher Intagliata about his new study that provides evidence early dinosaurs exhibited herding behavior. “This is a critical time in the evolution of dinosaurs. This is pretty early on,” says Ramezani. “So the idea is: this type of behavior, this social behavior, may have actually contributed to the evolutionary success of dinosaurs.”

Guardian

Writing for The Guardian, Prof. Daniel Rothman examines the history of Earth’s mass extinctions and how Earth seems to experience “a cascade of disruptions when stressed beyond a tipping point." Rothman writes that: “If we do not significantly cut back CO2 emissions, then we risk passing the threshold before the end of the present century.” He adds, “let us not contribute to the risk of a sixth extinction. Efforts to limit CO2 emissions now may pay dividends further into the future than we can imagine.”

AP- The Associated Press

Prof. Kerry Emanuel speaks with AP reporter Angela Charlton about nuclear power and climate change. “People are beginning to understand the consequences of not going nuclear,” says Emanuel. Amid a “growing awareness of the rise of climate risks around the world, people are beginning to say, ‘that’s a bit more frightening than nuclear power plants.’”

Forbes

Forbes contributor Bruce Dorminey writes that a new study by MIT scientists finds that the surfaces of carbonaceous asteroids may be much more rocky than previously thought. “This news is important for planetary science because we need to sample asteroids to answer fundamental questions such as how the solar system formed and how life came to be on Earth, says postdoctoral fellow Saverio Cambioni.

GBH

Prof. Taylor Perron, a recipient of one of this year’s MacArthur fellowships, speaks with Callie Crossley of GBH’s Under the Radar about his work studying the mechanisms that shape landscapes on Earth and other planets. “We try to figure out how we can look at landscapes and read them, and try to figure out what happened in the past and also anticipate what might happen in the future,” says Perron of his work as a geomorphologist.

Popular Science

Researchers from MIT and other institutions have uncovered evidence that early dinosaurs may have lived in social herds, reports Kate Baggaley for Popular Science. “People have known for a long time that the more advanced dinosaurs, the ones that lived in the late Jurassic and Cretaceous, especially the large sauropods…moved and lived in herds,” explains research scientist Jahandar Ramezani. “But the question has always been, when did this behavior start?”

Forbes

Forbes contributor Michael T. Nietzel spotlights the work of Prof. Taylor Perron, who was awarded a 2021 MacArthur Fellowship. “By using mathematical modeling, computer simulations, and field studies, Perron is able to describe the environmental history of current landscapes and predict how landscapes will respond to future environmental changes," writes Nietzel.

CBS Boston

CBS Boston spotlights how Prof. Taylor Perron has been honored with a 2021 MacArthur Fellowship for his work “unraveling the mechanisms that create landscapes on Earth and other planets.” CBS Boston notes that Perron is “currently studying river networks on Mars and one of Saturn’s moons for clues about the climate history of each celestial body.”