Author Archives: Environment

How Volcanoes Starved Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt was the most powerful civilization in the world for a time. The monuments built by laborers to honor pharaohs stand to this day, testament to the vast resources at their command.

But the architectural excess hid a crippling weakness. … Continue reading

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An Autumn Bounty of Citizen Science

Season Spotter

Birds and monarchs are migrating and leaves are changing color. Fall is in full swing! Unfortunately, hurricanes are forming and flu season is here too.

Help scientists document nature and health changes near yo… Continue reading

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Coal Almost Turned Earth into a Giant Ball of Ice

Coal, it’s the sooty fossil fuel that’s heated our homes and generated electricity for centuries, but millions of years ago its formation could’ve frozen the planet.

Coal deposits formed from dead trees and plants roughly 300 million years ago durin… Continue reading

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Dirty Birds Are Refining Climate Models

Enterprising researchers working at the Field Museum in Chicago dusted off a collection of Horned Larks to get a better look at the dirt trapped in their wings.

That’s because these birds, some more than a century in age, together form a unique, phy… Continue reading

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What’s in your water?

World Water Monitoring

Our dependency on clean water is something we all have in common.

In celebration of the Clean Water Act’s 45th anniversary (October 18), we’ve selected six citizen science opportunities to monitor the v… Continue reading

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How Vulnerable Are Societies to Collapse?

Along the cottonwood-lined rivers of southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona, the Mimbres people did something unique: By the year 1000, these farmers were producing stunning ceramics decorated with naturalistic images of fish, people, and r… Continue reading

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Bracing for Mother Nature’s Wrath

How new technologies are helping us prepare for the upredictable. Continue reading

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Lake Michigan Itself Is the Greatest Asian Carp Deterrent

For years, people have been freaking out that Asian carp are about to invade the Great Lakes.

That concern seemed more real than ever this summer after an Illinois fisherman caught a carp in June less than 10 miles from Lake Michigan — beyond the … Continue reading

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Scotland’s Oldest Snow Patch May Not See Another Sunrise

Resting beneath the 1,000-foot cliffs of Scotland’s Aonach’s Beag mountain range, The Sphinx –one of the country’s proudest snowcaps—is on its deathbed.

“It’s a very sorry sight,” says Iain Cameron, a leading snow expert and arguably… Continue reading

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Ancient Asteroid Generated the Hottest Temp Ever Recorded on Earth

When an asteroid smashes into the Earth things get pretty toasty.

A 17 mile-wide crater in Canada was home to what scientists say is the hottest temperature ever recorded in Earth’s crustal rock, a whopping 4,300 degrees Fahrenheit. They didn’t ju… Continue reading

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Tool-wielding Macaques Are Wiping Out Shellfish Populations

The advent of tools was a big deal for humanity. It made it far easier to manipulate our environment and mold the planet to serve our own interests—from the folsom point to the iPhone X.

Some animals use tools too, like the macaques of Thailand, w… Continue reading

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A Grim Future For Earth’s ‘Third Pole’

One-third of Asia’s high mountain glaciers will melt — even if the Paris Agreement succeeds.

There’s so much ice packed into the high mountains of Asia that scientists call it Earth’s “Third Pole.” The Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau … Continue reading

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To Save Australia’s Biodiversity, Put Kangaroo on the Menu

In Australia, a question lingers: Do we shoot the kangaroos?

The proposition sounds a bit inhumane at first blush, after all, the kangaroo stands proudly on the Australian coat of arms. The bouncing beasts are a fixture of the outback. But in recent… Continue reading

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We’re All a Little Plastic on the Inside

You’re made of water, bone, blood, muscle and fat; you’re also a few parts plastic.

That is, if you prefer sea salt on your meal. Or honey, shellfish, beer or tap water. Recent studies have found microplastics, tiny shards of degraded plastic, in t… Continue reading

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How Effective Are Turbines?

It depends on where the wind blows. Continue reading

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The Great Takeover

Exotic mussels have pilfered the Great Lakes’ food supply, creating a vast aquatic desert. Continue reading

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Mystery of the Vanishing Eels

Tackling a migration enigma, scientists are getting a grip on where these slithery fishes call home. Continue reading

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To Study Global Warming, Researchers Heated the Ocean Themselves

A perennial problem for climate science is that much of it lies in the realm of abstraction. Various models and forecasts compete for relevance, based on arcane statistical formulations that appear as so much gibberish to science reporters and rea… Continue reading

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12,000 Tons of Orange Peels Bring a Jungle Back to Life

Twenty years ago, a pasture in Costa Rica was nearly barren farmland, choked by invasive grasses. Today, it blooms anew with a rich tangle of jungle plants. The magic ingredient for this resurgence? Oranges.

In the mid-1990s, Del Oro, a newly establ… Continue reading

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Pikas Are Disappearing from California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains

According to a survey from Yale University’s Program on Climate Change Communication, 70 percent of Americans think global warming is happening, but only 40 percent believe it will harm them personally.

But what if those same people who believe th… Continue reading

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A Russian Tanker Completes First Solo Trip Through the Arctic Ocean

A Russian tanker ship has traversed the Arctic Ocean without the help of a separate icebreaker, marking a first for the Northern Sea Route.

The Christophe de Margerie made the journey from Norway to South Korea in 23 days carrying a shipment of liqu… Continue reading

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Nearly 100 Volcanoes Discovered Beneath Antarctica’s Ice

You could say Antarctica sings a song of fire and ice.

The continent’s frigid reputation is well known, but researchers from the University of Edinburgh analyzed radar scans of the West Antarctic Rift System and found 138 volcanoes hiding under the … Continue reading

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Canadians Are First to Sample Genetically Modified Salmon

After a protracted fight, salmon have become the first genetically modified animal to be sold in stores.

The salmon, implanted with genes that boost their growth, come from the U.S.-based biotech firm AquaBounty Technologies, which has been attempt… Continue reading

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A New Take on the Biodegradable Car

A concept car in the Netherlands is constructed almost entirely of materials the grow in the soil.

Called “Lina,” the biodegradable car is the work of students at Eindhoven University of Technology and is composed mainly of sugar beet resin and fla… Continue reading

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Marijuana: An Environmental Buzzkill

Pot growers have turned public lands into industrial agricultural sites. And the ecosystem effects are alarming. Continue reading

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The Original Brexit

How Britain and France broke up. Continue reading

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That Word You Heard: Pingo

Cold to the core. Continue reading

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How Scientists Are Saving The Dodo’s Pink Cousin

“Voldemort outlived Harry Potter,” Christelle Ferriere tells me as we walk around the small, uninhabited island of Ile aux Aigrettes, off the east coast of Mauritius. “Whoever bands them gets to name them,” she explains. Ferriere is a bird ex… Continue reading

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Love Monarchs? Participate in the Monarch Monitoring Blitz This Week!

By Cora Lund Preston, Communication Specialist for Monarch Joint Venture

The Monarch Monitoring Blitz has begun! Grab your hats, sunscreen and clipboards and join fellow citizen scientists for some fresh air and an international monarch monitoring bli… Continue reading

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Welcome to ‘The Frozone’

The changing Arctic revealed through key scientific outposts and technologies. Continue reading

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