Author Archives: Environment

Persistent, Deadly Heat at the Equator Could Be the Norm by 2100

Tuesday in Phoenix, Arizona, the temperature kept some planes grounded.

Phoenix was projected to reach of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, a near-record for the desert city, and hot enough that small planes cannot generate enough lift to fly. Phoenix and oth… Continue reading

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Australian Scientists Dredged the Deep Seafloor — Here’s What they Found

In a dark world of crushing pressures and barren landscapes, creatures we’ve never seen before, and, likely, couldn’t even imagine, are swimming.

The ocean’s abyssal zone begins over two miles beneath surface; it’s so deep that light never touches i… Continue reading

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Everything Worth Knowing About … Auroras

Colorful shape-shifters of the heavens. Continue reading

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Participate in Citizen Science to Celebrate World Oceans Day

This article was originally posted on August 21, 2013 but we thought this project provided a great way to celebrate World Oceans Day even if you can’t make it to the beach!

Calling all citizen scientists! It doesn’t matter where you are. You can sti… Continue reading

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Don’t Drain That Swamp! Accidental Wetlands Are Good for Cities

What’s so bad about wetlands? These mucky, sometimes mosquito-ridden landscapes have a bad reputation, but they offer benefits to their neighborhoods too. Researchers say “accidental” wetlands—pockets of cities that have turned into swamps through fl… Continue reading

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Blustery Winds Push European Energy Prices…Negative

Recent weather conditions in Europe have been a boon to the renewable energy grid there, pushing prices briefly negative overnight as high winds forced turbines into overdrive.

Energy prices in the U.K. dipped into the negatives for five hours on J… Continue reading

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The Mother of All Apples Is Disappearing

In the wilds of Kazakhstan, there’s an unassuming tree that bears an unassuming fruit. Like many plant species, development encroaches on its usual territory while climate change makes it harder for the tree to thrive and bear healthy yields of fru… Continue reading

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Diary of a Changing Planet

Federally funded long-term ecological research sites chronicle a planet in flux. Continue reading

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Retreating Ice Sheet Spurred Massive Methane Blowouts on the Seafloor

A massive reserve of methane — a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide — is trapped deep within the seafloor.

In northern latitudes, thick ice sheets act as a lid sequestering gases at the right temperature and pressure. But when that i… Continue reading

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Cities Are Bad for Bumblebees—Except Detroit

For bumblebees, big cities are a bummer. Layers of asphalt, concrete, brick and metal add up to fewer places for the insects to nest. But one big city—Detroit—reverses that trend. That means shrinking cities might be a growing opportunity for a… Continue reading

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With Improvements, Humanity’s ‘Doomsday’ Seed Vault Is Safe, Probably

Just nine years after its official opening, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway is undergoing renovations to protect it from climate change.

The work was prompted by accidental flooding that took place last week, as melting permafrost seeped in… Continue reading

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Is Antarctica Gaining or Losing Ice? Nature May Have Just Settled The Debate

For years, scientists have debated whether heavy inland snowfall on the vast East Antarctic Ice Sheet — Earth’s largest — balances out the rapid melting in West Antarctica.

Given enough snowfall, the continent might not yet be contributing to … Continue reading

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The Coral Microbiome May Offer Protection in Warming Seas

Ofu Island – a speck of land emerging from the southwest Pacific Ocean – is a textbook paradise. Jagged, forest-covered peaks rise steeply from palm-fringed white sand beaches, as colorful birds sound off in the distance.

But beneath the waves, … Continue reading

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Meltdown: On the Front Lines of Climate Change

After watching over Earth’s poles for decades, NASA aviators see new warnings of the chaos to come. Continue reading

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After Mosquitos, Moths Are the Next Target For Genetic Engineering

Though genetically modified crops may steal the spotlight, similarly reprogrammed insects may have just as big an effect on the agricultural industry.

Biotechnology company Oxitec is moving forward with plans to develop genetically engineered diamo… Continue reading

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20 Things You Didn’t Know About … Swamps

Wetlands aren’t just full of mosquitoes and cattails. They also store carbon, act as storm buffers and boast carnivorous plants. Continue reading

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If the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Collapsed…

Antarctica is a desolate, far-away place, but what happens there could reshape life along the coasts. Continue reading

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The Final Act of Larsen C?

The Antarctic Peninsula’s largest ice shelf has a 70-mile-long crack in it; scientists are watching closely. Continue reading

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Scientists Race to Understand Why Ice Shelves Collapse

An 80-mile crack is spreading across the Antarctic Peninsula’s Larsen C ice shelf. And once that crack reaches the ocean, it will calve an iceberg the size of Delaware. The chunk looked like it could break off a few months ago, but it’s still cli… Continue reading

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A Brief History of the Hand-standing Skunk

As the climate changes, many species are finding that areas they once called home are becoming less and less hospitable.

These kinds of ecological shifts are natural, but they usually happen over much longer time scales, giving animals time to adapt… Continue reading

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Listen to Baby Humpback Whales Whisper to Their Mothers

Humpback whale babies don’t scream for their mothers’ attention — they whisper.

Researchers who listened in on communications between humpback whale mothers and their calves believe they recorded what amounts to a whale whisper. Using detachable… Continue reading

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Uncovering the Secrets of Blood Falls

In the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica, pristine glaciers are marred in one spot by a striking feature: a crimson stain on the white cliffs, looking not unlike a gaping wound in the ice.

The five-story gash goes by the unnerving name of Blood Fal… Continue reading

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River Keeping in New Mexico

River Keeper. Watershed Keeper. There’s something poetic—maybe a bit Celtic—about these terms, which in the world of citizen science refer to someone monitoring a waterway for soil erosion, contaminants, and loss of biodiversity. Across the Uni… Continue reading

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There’s no place like home

A visual celebration of the home planet, starting with a view from Earth as seen from Saturn — 870 million miles away — and zooming in close

On the morning of the first Earth Day, on April 20th, 1970, a friend and I boarded the IRT subway line i… Continue reading

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Giant Virus Found in Sewage Blurs the Line Between Life and Non-Life

In most biology textbooks, there’s a clear separation between the three domains of cellular organisms – Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukaryotes – and viruses. This fault line is also typically accepted as the divider between life and non-life: since … Continue reading

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"The First Green": Ancient Life Inspires Modern Art

Every morning at Hamelin Pool, in Western Australia, the first rays of sunshine illuminate knobby reef-like structures, submerged or peeking just above the gentle waves, depending on the tide. On the crudely rounded surfaces of these rocks, microorga… Continue reading

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“Stream Selfies” Bridge Information Gap on Stream Health

Izaak Walton League Celebrates Citizen Science Month With Project To Document Streams Across America
By Danielle Donkersloot, Izaak Walton League Clean Water Program Director

Every American has the right to know whether the streams running through th… Continue reading

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Deception Island Keeps Deceiving Gentoo Penguins

Over the past 7,000 years, as mighty civilizations rose and crumbled, another saga was playing out in the southern reaches of the world.

Just off the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, a colony of gentoo penguins have long made tiny Ardley Island thei… Continue reading

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20 Things You Didn’t Know About … Earthquakes

Even though technology has helped measure strength and flag strike zones, earthquakes still have a few mysteries that rattle experts. Continue reading

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My First Visit to the Seafloor

A researcher’s first excursion to the bottom of the ocean leaves a lasting impression. Continue reading

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