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A Moving Target: What You Need to Know About Drone Regulations

Drone models currently being used by the authors for instruction and research include the fixed-wing 3D Robotics Aero M (back) and (front, left to right) the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, DJI Inspire 2 and DJI Inspire 1. Credit: William C. Johnson.

With 2.5 million drones sold in the U.S. in 2016 and annual drone sales expected to reach 7 million by 2020, the laws and rules that govern unmanned aerial systems (UASs) could one day be as important to know as your local tax code. In the July issue of EARTH, University of Kansas Professor William C. Johnson and graduate student Dakota J. Burt write an introduction to drone regulations, highlighting the ever-shifting legal landscape, which has implications for hobbyists, commercial drone pilots, and geoscientists.

Burying the Sky: Turning Carbon Dioxide Into Rock

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been an energy industry practice for decades, originating as a mechanism to enhance oil and gas recovery. But carbon dioxide gas is tricky to capture, and even trickier to store: Without airtight sealants and careful monitoring, the gas seeps up through cracks in the subsurface and quickly reenters the atmosphere. But what if the carbon dioxide could be instead stored as rock?

The Origins of Plate Tectonics

Plate tectonics has been a centerpiece of earth science for decades, but Earth didn't always have tectonic plates. As the planet coalesced from cosmic dust approximately 4.6 billion years ago, it had a single, unbroken lithosphere. So how and when did the plates break apart and begin their seemingly never-ending round of musical chairs?

EARTH Interviews NHC Director During Hurricane Awareness Week

On May 9, EARTH News Editor Timothy Oleson went to check out the National Hurricane Awareness Tour's stop in Washington, D.C., at Ronald Reagan National Airport, where he sat down with National Hurricane Center (NHC) director Rick Knabb to learn more about the tour and efforts to track and forecast tropical storms.

Prominent Pesticides Escape Into the Environment

A silent spring and a summer without honey? Current events have renewed interest in science that informs us about the health of our environment. In EARTH Magazine's May cover story, read about efforts to track where and how certain pesticides are making their way offsite, staying in the environment for longer than previously thought, and potentially endangering beneficial species like honey bees and aquatic invertebrates.

New in EARTH Magazine: Crazy Times in the Arctic

Arctic sea ice extent for March 24, 2016, was the lowest on record. Credit: NSIDC
Over the past several decades, the Arctic has warmed roughly twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Record low sea-ice extents, thawing permafrost, and accelerated melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet are consequences of this uneven warming, according to Mark C. Serreze, the director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. In the March issue of EARTH Magazine, Serreze brings insight and context to the latest Arctic measurements.
 

Downgrading the Great Dying

It makes for a dramatic narrative: Roughly 252 million years ago, a mass extinction event killed up to 96 percent of marine life, earning an infamous name in the geologic record, "the Great Dying." However, a new study suggests that this cataclysmic event has been overestimated. In the February issue of EARTH Magazine, read how a University of Hawaii paleontologist is improving our understanding of mass extinction events by exploring the effects of natural variability on background extinction levels, revealing a clearer signal in the noise.
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