Applying a coat of paint on the walls of a house may soon help to heat it, saving energy and reducing CO2 emissions. It could also clean the air that we breathe, breaking down chemicals and pollutants, and eliminating harmful pathogens.
Facing the death of a loved one, being given a life-threatening diagnosis, or living through a natural disaster is difficult enough. But those who get through these traumatic life events often face further ill effects.
Scientists may have solved a 25-year-old puzzle about the mysterious behaviour of certain glaciers in High Mountain Asia. In most of this region, they are shrinking; but in the northwest, they are growing.
Trees and insects may play a significant role in the emission of methane – a potent greenhouse gas – and improving our understanding of exactly how this happens could help in targeting more effective ways to fight global warming.
We need to understand how glaciers are shrinking in order to better adapt to climate change impacts such as changes to water supply, landslides and avalanches, says Professor Andreas Kääb, a glacier expert from the University of Oslo in Norway.
Declaring a global planetary emergency, improving sub-volcanic imaging to predict eruptions and developing artificial intelligence that works for humans are some of the urgent actions and research that experts in different fields want to see in 2020.
Breeding together corals that have naturally high heat tolerance and planting them on coral reefs could increase the reefs’ resilience to climate change and reduce the impact of bleaching events, according to Dr James Guest, a coral reef ecologist from Newcastle University, UK. He is studying this ‘assisted evolution’ approach to coral conservation and examining the risks associated with it.
Earthquakes are sudden and their shaking can be devastating. But about 20 years ago, a new type of earthquake was discovered. We cannot feel them, and geologists still know very little about them, such as how often they occur.
Earth is not the only place in our solar system that shakes with seismic activity.
Dr Sabine Oertelt-Prigione on a ‘moment of awakening’ for medical research.
Dr Kate Rychert studies ocean plate structures.