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  • Santa Rita Experimental Range dates from 1903
    Friday, July 6, 2012

    The Santa Rita Experimental Range, established in 1903 to scientifically measure the carrying capacity of rangeland in Southern Arizona, was born of dire necessity.

    In the 1890s, drought and overgrazing had produced "a disaster of biblical proportions," said historian Thomas E. Sheridan.

    "Cattle died like flies all over the Territory, but the losses were greatest in Southern Arizona, where 50 to 75 percent of all animals perished," Sheridan wrote in "...

  • Chemist brought polymer technology to UA
    Friday, July 6, 2012

    Carl Shipp Marvel, known as "Speed" to his colleagues and friends, had an illustrious career in polymer chemistry before his so-called "retirement" to Tucson in 1961.

    Marvel played a critical role in developing synthetic rubber when supplies of the real thing were cut off before World War II.

    As a consultant to DuPont and a mentor to its scientists, he helped his friend Wallace Carothers develop the chemical processes to make giant molecules that mimicked...

  • This summer is 'what global warming looks like'
    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

    Is it just freakish weather or something more? Climate scientists suggest that if you want a glimpse of some of the worst of global warming, take a look at U.S. weather in recent weeks.

    Horrendous wildfires. Oppressive heat waves. Devastating droughts. Flooding from giant deluges. And a powerful freak wind storm called a derecho.

    These are the kinds of extremes experts have predicted will come with climate change, although it's far too early to say that is the cause. Nor...

  • Photosynthesis found in ocean depths
    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

    We all know sunlight is an essential ingredient for photosynthesis, the process by which plants and organisms create energy.

    We would be wrong about that in one instance - ever since 2005 when scientists, including Bob Blankenship of Arizona State University, published evidence of photosynthetic organisms living in the black depths of the Pacific Ocean off Mexico - 8,000 feet down, where the sun's rays can't penetrate.

    Ten years before that paper, Blankenship had...

  • Evidence of 'God particle' found
    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

    Physicists say they have all but proven that the "God particle" exists. They have a footprint and a shadow, and the only thing left is to see for themselves the elusive subatomic particle believed to give all matter in the universe size and shape.

    Scientists at the world's biggest atom smasher plan to announce Wednesday that they have nearly confirmed the primary plank of a theory that could restructure the understanding of why matter has mass, which combines with...

  • Pioneering Botanical Lab created on Tumamoc Hill
    Monday, July 2, 2012

    Tumamoc Hill, today owned by the University of Arizona, is often considered the birthplace of ecology and boasts the oldest continuous studies of plants in the world.

    The Desert Botanical Laboratory was created on Tumamoc Hill west of Tucson in 1902.It was one of the first creations of Andrew Carnegie's newly formed Carnegie Institution. The site was chosen by botanists Frederick V. Coville and Daniel T. MacDougal to investigate how plants manage to survive in hot, semi-arid...

  • Pennies from heaven: Rebate set for rainwater harvesting
    Sunday, July 1, 2012

    Call it the rainfall rebate.

    Tucson Water is offering its single-family-residential customers a rebate of up to $2,000 for harvesting and storing rainwater.

    "Rainfall is a resource available to everybody," and the rebate program helps people take advantage of that liquid asset at a reduced cost, said Fernando Molina, a spokesman for Tucson Water.

    HOW IT WORKS

    Water customers may choose from a two-tiered plan.

    "The basic...

  • Humans Have Love-Hate Relationship With the Environment
    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

    Human/environment interactions have a history as long as the existence of our species on the planet.

    Hominid ancestors began polluting their environment nearly 700,000 years ago with the control of fire, and humans have not looked back since.

    The modern phenomenon of global warming is very likely the direct result of human pollution and destruction of the environment, said ...

  • Ciénega de Santa Clara Unchanged After Pilot Run of Yuma Desalting Plant
    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

    Mexico's Ciénega de Santa Clara has not changed since the 2010-11 pilot run of the Yuma Desalting Plant, according to a new report from a University of Arizona-led binational team of researchers.

    The 15,000-acre ciénega, the largest wetland in the Colorado River Delta, is home to several endangered species and is a major stopover for birds migrating north and south...

  • The 2012 Monsoon Forecast: A Case for Optimism
    Monday, June 25, 2012

    The North American monsoon, the fickle phenomenon that is the summer rainy season in the Southwest, is forecast to be more vigorous than average, with a strong beginning and end. 

    During most years, the July through September rainy season forecast for Arizona and New Mexico is no better than a coin flip. But not this summer, when increasing confidence has caused forecasters to paint a more optimistic picture – good news for a region that has been caught in the throes of...