Exciting change is on the way! Please join us at nsf.gov for the latest news on NSF-funded research. While the NSF Science360 page and daily newsletter have now been retired, there’s much happening at nsf.gov. You’ll find current research news on the homepage and much more to explore throughout the site. Best of all, we’ve begun to build a brand-new website that will bring together news, social media, multimedia and more in a way that offers visitors a rich, rewarding, user-friendly experience.

Want to continue to receive email updates on the latest NSF research news and multimedia content? On September 23rd we’ll begin sending those updates via GovDelivery. If you’d prefer not to receive them, please unsubscribe now from Science360 News and your email address will not be moved into the new system.

Thanks so much for being part of the NSF Science360 News Service community. We hope you’ll stay with us during this transition so that we can continue to share the many ways NSF-funded research is advancing knowledge that transforms our future.

For additional information, please contact us at NewsTravels@nsf.gov

Picture of the Day

Clues found on how soils may respond to climate change

Rock core samples from a period of warming millions of years ago indicate that soils contributed to a rapid rise in atmospheric greenhouse gases and suggest that modern climate models may overestimate Earth's ability to mitigate future warming, according to an international team of scientists. Researchers at Penn State and other institutions discovered a drastic drop in organic material preserved in sections of core samples from the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM, a global warming event 55.5 million years ago that's considered the best analog for modern climate change. The findings, according to the scientists, suggest that ancient soils from a site in modern-day Wyoming acted as a source of atmospheric carbon dioxide, emitting the greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, not a sink (trapping and storing carbon underground). That could mean that global climate models may overstate the ability of terrestrial ecosystems to lessen the impacts of climate change. However, additional studies are needed to see how soils reacted to the PETM in other parts of the world, the researchers said. The cores, drilled in the Bighorn Basin in Wyoming, are the first terrestrial core samples of the PETM. The samples contained less organic matter than expected, but, at the time, the team lacked tools with enough sensitivity to measure specific biomarkers. The researchers spent four years improving the sensitivity of their instruments and, using the new tools, collected the first biomarker record of the PETM from terrestrial core samples.

Visit Website | Image credit: Allison Baczynski/Penn State