Investigating Hydrological Processes in Small Catchments

Small catchments provide water to larger streams and are important sources of fresh water for ecosystems. Therefore, understanding the hydrological functioning of small catchments is essential to understand floods, droughts, and the impacts of land use or climate change on water resources.

Environmental tracers can be used to track water along its flow pathways from the input, as precipitation or snowmelt, to the output, as streamflow or plant transpiration. The stable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen are particularly powerful as they are part of the water molecule. Read more.

Reindeer Turn to Seaweed as Winters Warm

The world’s most northerly reindeer turn to seaweed as global warming puts their normal food beyond reach.

Deep in the Arctic Circle, on the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, nature has found a way to outwit climate change: deprived of their normal diet, the world’s most northerly reindeer turn to seaweed.

Strangely, it is not cold and snow that have threatened them with starvation, but rain. In the warmer winter weather rain falls instead of snow, causing a crust of ice too thick for the reindeer to break through and reach the plants beneath which they need to eat to survive. Read more.

Stardust in Antarctic snow

The rare isotope iron-60 is created in massive stellar explosions. Only a very small amount of this isotope reaches the earth from distant stars. Now, a research team with significant involvement from the Technical University of Munich has discovered iron-60 in Antarctic snow for the first time. The scientists suggest that the iron isotope comes from the interstellar neighborhood. Read more.

The ‘Skeleton Lake’ Mystery Deepens after Surprising Results of DNA Tests

On the Indian side of the Himalayas, over 16,000 feet above sea level, lies “Skeleton lake,” where a large group of ancient human bones are scattered about at Roopkund Lake, as it is officially called. The 130-foot-wide, shallow glacial lake found in a valley in the Chamoli district of Uttaranchal is frozen most of the year, but on warmer summer days it reveals its harrowing contents. Read more.