Environmental research news
Melting ice sheets caused sea levels to rise up to 18 metres
Research led by our geography department has found that previous ice loss events caused sea-levels to rise around 3.6 metres per century, offering vital clues as to what lies ahead should climate change continue.
Did dogs join us in settling the Americas?
Dogs are regarded as our best friend and now our researchers say the first people to settle in the Americas brought their canines with them.
(26 Jan 2021) » More about Did dogs join us in settling the Americas?
Investigating impact of human activity on birds
Our scientists have shown where bird species would exist in the absence of human activity under research that could provide a new approach to setting conservation priorities.
(25 Jan 2021) » More about Investigating impact of human activity on birds
More than a million barriers on Europe’s rivers
Fresh water ecosystems can be adversely affected by barriers to the flow of water and a new study suggests that Europe’s river system is particularly badly affected.
(17 Dec 2020) » More about More than a million barriers on Europe’s rivers
Heating our homes with hydrogen
Our research is supporting a new project that could see hydrogen become the future heat source for homes and provide green energy to industry.
(2 Dec 2020) » More about Heating our homes with hydrogen
Easier way to create biodiesel developed
Our researchers have developed a new way to turn the rubbish we throw away into chemicals that can help make fuel, medicines, fertilisers and biodegradable packaging.
(4 Nov 2020) » More about Easier way to create biodiesel developed
Tackling floods and water waste
We need to look to nature for help so new homes are resilient to climate change according to a new report to MPs and policymakers.
(20 Oct 2020) » More about Tackling floods and water waste
Insects provide strategy for sustainable food production
Did you know that each year 1.3billion tonnes of food are wasted?
Changing attitudes to soil health
Future generations need to be educated about the crucial role that healthy soil plays in tackling climate change, according to new research.
(14 Oct 2020) » More about Changing attitudes to soil health
£4.5m to help us futureproof crops
Our research into how crops could be ‘future-proofed’ against climate change to avoid food shortages has been boosted by a major funding award.
(2 Oct 2020) » More about £4.5m to help us futureproof crops
Mapping our wasted heat
Have you ever thought about all the wasted heat that’s released into our atmosphere from large factories and power stations?
(17 Sep 2020) » More about Mapping our wasted heat
Understanding past warming can limit climate change effects
Evidence from Earth’s past warming events should be built into forecasts showing how today’s climate change could affect different species and ecosystems.
Migrating bird populations affected by climate and land changes
Changes in climate and habitat on the breeding and non-breeding grounds of migratory birds are both playing an important part in driving their long-term population changes.
Decarbonising heat research receives over £4 million in funding
We’ve won major funding for three new research projects to decarbonise heat which will significantly reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions.
Largest amount of microplastics found on ocean floor
Our researchers have helped record the highest level of microplastics ever found on the ocean floor – with up to 1.9 million pieces in an area of just one square metre.
(30 Apr 2020) » More about Largest amount of microplastics found on ocean floor
Research helps transform coal mine into geothermal heat source
Our research is being used to transform coal mines into multi-million pound renewable energy systems.
CO₂ emissions are plummeting – here’s how to keep them down
A positive result of the world’s response to Coronavirus, means that CO₂ emissions have been slashed. Professor Simone Abram looks at how we can maintain this environmental benefit.
Animal spotting project helps double children’s mammal knowledge
A citizen science project we ran in schools has dramatically increased children’s knowledge of UK wild mammals.
India’s National Academy of Sciences honours Durham researcher
One of our leading researchers is to be honoured by India’s oldest science academy.
National Energy Champion award for geothermal researcher
Research into the potential of using geothermal energy as a low-carbon heat source has won a national award for one of our leading researchers.
Durham geothermal energy expertise at UK Conservative Party conference
Delegates at the UK Conservative Party annual conference have heard how Durham’s research could provide a long-term, sustainable source of low-carbon energy.
Durham UK lead on hydrogen fuel research
We’re leading a national research project to decarbonise transport through hydrogen-fuelled vehicles and technology.
(30 Sep 2019) » More about Durham UK lead on hydrogen fuel research
Thousands of meltwater lakes mapped on East Antarctic Ice Sheet
More than 65,000 meltwater lakes have been discovered on the edge of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet by our researchers.
Developing cheaper and more efficient solar power
Our scientists have helped to solve a puzzle that could lead to cheaper and more efficient solar power.
(16 Sep 2019) » More about Developing cheaper and more efficient solar power
Five cool things about our environmental research
From decarbonising heat to food security and water sustainability, we’re working to bring about improvements that will benefit nature and the well-being of the planet.
(5 Sep 2019) » More about Five cool things about our environmental research
Smart surfaces as a solution to global challenges
Professor Jas Pal Badyal, a Fellow of the Royal Society, is widely considered a leader in the field of surface science. Here he talks about the students in his team, their inventions and tackling global challenges.
(22 Aug 2019) » More about smart surfaces as a solution to global challenges
Keeping Africa moving in a changing climate
Durham’s engineers are working with partners in Africa to find ways to use cheaper and more sustainable local materials to build all-weather, low-traffic roads and railway lines.
(21 Aug 2019) » More about Keeping Africa moving in a changing climate
Prestigious fellowships awarded to two academics
We’re celebrating after two of our academics were awarded Fellowships by the British Academy, the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences.
(23 Jul 2019) » More about Prestigious fellowships awarded to two academics
How a tiny bug inspires surfaces that don’t get wet
A tiny bug is the inspiration for research that could one day provide clean water or help ships sail more efficiently.
Giving women a voice in disaster risk reduction
Women in Nepal are having a say in how to reduce the risk of disasters like fires and landslides.
(3 Jul 2019) » More about Giving women a voice in disaster risk reduction
Reducing the plastic mountain
Every single minute, a truck load of plastic ends up in our oceans, killing millions of animals every year. This is only going to get worse unless we do something about it.
(26 Jun 2019) » More about Reducing the plastic mountain
US military bigger polluter than most countries
Surprised by the headline? No wonder when discussions about greenhouse gas emissions tend to focus on statistics for countries, not institutions. But research from our Department of Geography, in partnership with Lancaster University, found that the US military’s carbon footprint is so big it out ranks that of most countries in the world.
(19 Jun 2019) » More about US military bigger polluter than most countries
New PhD opportunities in science and engineering
Smart surfaces, recyclable plastics and new medicines are some of the subjects students will be able to study and research, thanks to a £5.3 million funding boost.
(5 Feb 2019) » More about New PhD opportunities in science and engineering