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Boundary layer
The boundary layer traps the pollution in the basin of Mexico City. View animation

Carbon cycle imbalance
Natural processes cycle carbon dioxide through the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels increases the concentration of carbon dioxide above historic levels. View animation

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
Carbon dioxide is a "greenhouse gas" that helps to regulate the Earth's temperature. An increase in levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide results in higher global temperatures. View animation

Change in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels
Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere increased overall from 1955-2005, but levels fluctuate between seasons and during the day. View animation

Changes in forest biomass
Plots within 100 meters of a rain forest edge lost up to 36% of their biomass of old growth tree species within the first 10-17 years of fragmentation. View animation

Children exposed to pesticides
Babies with the highest levels of the insecticide chlorpyfiros had significantly lower weight and length at birth and significantly poorer mental and motor development at age three. View animation

Climate change costs
Not addressing the risks of climate change is likely to have a far higher cost to the economy than addressing them. View animation

Clues to oxygen formation
Banded iron formations around the world offer important clues to oxygen formation. View animation

Common vs. rare tree species
On the rainforest plot of Barro Colorado Island, common tree species account for only 15% of the total tree population compared with 80% of the total tree population in a typical New England forest. View animation

Deep rock carbon dioxide sequestration
Carbon dioxide, in a liquid state, can be stored underground by being injected through deep rock layers into saltwater reservoirs. View animation

Ecological footprint
As personal incomes rise in developed and developing nations, each person's footprint on the environment increases as well. View animation

Encroaching edges
Vines start to smother trees near the forest edge and kill them. View animation

Enzymes used in sugar chain
At the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, one particular enzyme is used to break apart the sugar chains in cellulose. Another "processive" enzyme is used to release the sugars from the chain. View animation

Ethanol production from cellulosic material
The basic constituents of biomass are lignen, cellulose, and hemicellulose. Biomass is treated with acid and heated in the first stages of cellulosic ethanol production. View animation

Fish per hook
In a period of 25 to 30 years in the entire global ocean, the catch was depleted from 10 fish per hundred hooks to one fish per hundred hooks. View animation

Fishing reserves
Sites designated as marine reserves had the greatest levels in total fish biomass compared to sites that had been historically overfished. View animation

Flow rate
Ongoing research will explore the importance of mine seepage and chat pile run-off as sources of metal into Tar Creek. View animation

Forest fragments
Destruction or habitat loss has broken large rainforests up into many smaller habitat fragments. View animation

Fossil timeline
The fossil record provides direct evidence that Earth's first animals emerged approximately 600 million years ago. View animation

Future CO2 levels
Carbon dioxide is predicted to reach 760 parts per million by the year 2100, twice the levels of today. View animation

Global population growth
Global population is increasing by one billion people every 12 to 15 years. View animation

Ice cores
Alternating wet and dry layers in the ice cores, representing seasons, provide precise annual records. View animation

Jasper Ridge plots
The Jasper Ridge experiment consists of 128 different treatment areas, manipulating the 4 factors predicted in climate change models: carbon dioxide, heat, water, and nitrogen. View animation

Karst geology
Because of the karst geology of the Suwannee River Basin, water and dissolved nutrients move quickly to the aquifer with little chance for remediation View animation

Lead poisoning
Lead inhibits the action of calcium, which plays an important role in the conduction of nerve impulses vital to normal brain function. View animation

London fog
The worst air pollution disaster on record occurred in London in 1952. View animation

Melting glaciers
Glaciers are disappearing and are giving us a very strong signal that the planet is warming. View animation

NOAA's nighttime lights of the world data set
The Nighttime Lights of the World data set, compiled by NOAA in 1994 and 1995, is a globally consistent data set which can be used by demographers to compare urban boundaries. View animation

Normal Pacific Ocean conditions
During non-El Niño conditions trade winds blow across the Pacific Ocean from west to east. View animation

Nutrient remediation
Because of the karst geology of the Suwannee River Basin, water and dissolved nutrients move quickly to the aquifer with little chance for remediation. View animation

Ocean conditions that create El Niño
Every 4-7 years, conditions in the Pacific Ocean create El Niño, a phenomenon in which normal trade wind patterns are reversed. View animation

Oceanic carbon cycling
Atmospheric organic carbon dioxide is processed through the marine food web. It is returned to the atmosphere and to the ocean floor where it can remain for a thousand or more years. View animation

The ozone layer protects the earth from harmful ultraviolet rays, but ground level ozone can cause irritation of the respiratory system, permanently scarring lung tissue. View animation

Ozone production
When pollutants interact in the presence of sunlight, they can cause a vicious cycle of ground level ozone production. View animation

Pesticides affect natural predators
Numbers of natural herbivore predators are greatly reduced with pesticide use, allowing the pest population to grow at tremendous rates. View animation

Polar ice cores
Ice cores taken from the polar regions, measuring Earth's climate history 650,000 years into the past, indicate each rise in carbon dioxide level is accompanied by a rise in temperature. View animation

Pumping water near streams
The pumping of groundwater directly affects the quantity of water in nearby rivers or streams. View animation

Rainforests cover only 6% of the planet but are home to over half of the Earth's plant and animal species. View animation

Results of decreasing pesticide use
Pesticide use was dramatically decreased in the 1990s but overall rice production yields did not decrease. View animation

Return of the wolf
Since the return of the wolf, the elk population has drastically decreased from 20,000 in the 1990s to less than 10,000 today. View animation

Scientific evidence for a "Snowball Earth"
The "Snowball Earth" hypothesis proposes that the Earth was entirely covered by ice for long periods, hundreds of millions of years ago. View animation

Shifting baseline syndrome
The baseline created by fisheries biologists 30 years ago was 10 percent of the baseline of fisheries biologists from the generation before. View animation

Surface water, groundwater, and aquifers
Almost all of the natural surface water in Arizona has been developed, leaving only ground water available for human consumption. View animation

Temperature variations in the Pacific Ocean
Winds are responsible for large temperature variations across the tropical Pacific, even though both ends of the ocean receive about the same amount of energy from sunlight. View animation

The effect of pesticides on trophic levels
Pesticide use kills organisms at all trophic levels, except the eggs of pests, resulting in a pest population explosion. View animation

The effects of "greenhouse gas"
"Greenhouse gases" help to regulate the Earth's temperature. When out of natural balance, they restrict the reflection of infrared energy back into space, trapping heat in the atmosphere. View animation

The maximum velocity of tropical cyclones (hurricanes)
The maximum velocity of hurricanes is restricted by natural limits of vertical temperature gradient, evaporation, friction, and heat transfer of sea spray. View animation

The rise of oxygen
Oxygen became abundant on Earth when complex animal life started to appear. View animation

The rise of slime
Overfishing completely changes an ecosystem from one that is healthy and diverse to one that is only attractive to bacteria and jellyfish. View animation

The world's population in Texas
One social scientist has calculated that all 6.5 billion people in the world could be sustained in the state of Texas. View animation

Three critical levels for the water table
There are three critical points related to plant survival in the height of the water table. View animation

Understanding transpiration rates
Gathering data about the transpiration process is important in creating accurate models of groundwater flow. View animation

Water contamination from mines
Hundreds of miles of abandoned mines are filled with contaminated water bubbling up to the surface. View animation

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