Environment

Ocean Circulation Has Slowed Down Dramatically, And It Can’t Be Explained by Climate Change

Global warming isn’t the cause of slowdown in a huge circulation pattern in the Atlantic Ocean, which is, in fact, part of regular, decades-long cycle that will affect temperatures in coming decades, according to a new study.   Oceanographers are concerned about the long-term stability of the Atlantic Ocean circulation, and previous studies show that it has slowed dramatically in …


Environment

The Wild Idea of Introducing Rhinos to Australia Is Not as Insane as It Sounds

Rhinos in Australia might seem like an insane proposition – after all, we’ve had historically bad luck with introduced species. But on reflection it’s not quite as crazy as it sounds.   There are five species of rhinoceros in the world: two in Africa and three in Asia. The world of all five species is being rapidly destroyed and shredded, …


The First Known Baby Snake Fossil Has Been Discovered in a Lump of Amber

This brand-new baby snake wouldn’t have been on this world long when it died in the Cretaceous period. But in an interesting twist of fate, it was encased in resin and found by humans 99 million years later in Myanmar.   The snake fossil is tiny – missing a head and with about 97 bones all up, the minuscule specimen …

Here’s The Science Behind The Magical Colours of Sunsets And Sunrises

“A red sky at night is a shepherd’s delight! A red sky in the morning is a shepherd’s warning.” Perhaps this saying came to mind if you caught a spectacular sunrise or sunset recently.   Since biblical times and probably before, proverbs and folklore such as this developed as a way for societies to understand and foretell prevailing weather conditions. …

A Rare And Epic ‘Firenado’ Was Caught on Video Over The Weekend. Here’s How They Form

A brush fire turned into a “firenado” along the Colorado River on Saturday as shocked bystanders filmed the horrifying blaze. An Arizona couple was driving near the state border of Blythe, California on Saturday when they came across the flames.   What started out as a brush fire turned into a “firenado,” or a fire tornado, before it spun across …

White Tropical Beaches Like Hawaii Actually Harbour a Dirty Secret in The Sand

We have some bad news. Those amazing white sandy beaches in Hawaii and similar places are not just finely milled pieces of rock. Instead, that beautiful sand is at least partially made up of fish poop. Lots and lots of fish poop.   The species responsible are parrotfish – large and colourful tropical fish that live in coral reefs and near rocky …

Critical Parts of The Internet Never Designed to Be Underwater Will Drown in a Few Years

We only have fifteen years. That’s how long experts say it will be before thousands of miles of American internet cables will be submerged by rising seas. A new analysis has overlaid sea level incursion projections on top of maps of critical internet infrastructure in the US, to discover that ‘locked in’ climate change by 2033 will submerge some 4,000 …

An Ancient Mystery Henge Has Appeared in ‘Once in a Lifetime’ Discovery in Ireland

It materialised out of almost nowhere. Thousands of years after disappearing from human sight and knowledge, an ancient ‘henge’ site has been discovered hidden within the archaeological landscape of Ireland’s Brú na Bóinne.   To reveal this long-forgotten structure, it took a chance intersection between an aerial drone flight and a brutal hot streak that’s been slowly roasting the UK …

Hawaii’s Volcano Has Destroyed a Boat With a Lava Bomb, Injuring People

Hawaii’s continuously erupting Kīlauea has been pretty busy this week, creating short-lived islands and hurling lava bombs at unsuspecting tourists over the last few days. On Monday morning, a lava bomb (a flying chunk of molten rock) hit a tour boat, injuring 23 people, and damaging the boat roof and railing.   According to officials, 13 passengers are being treated …

A Humble Seaweed Just Changed What We Know About Antarctica as The ‘Isolated Continent’

Large algae seaweeds known as kelp have been able to float some 20,000 kilometres (12,427 miles) from the southernmost reaches of the Indian and Atlantic oceans all the way to the shores of Antarctica – a trip previously thought to be impossible.   Not only is it an incredible journey, it’s the first hard proof that Antarctica isn’t as isolated …

A Monster Iceberg Looms Over a Tiny Village in Greenland, Prompting Tsunami Fears

An 11 million-ton iceberg is parked precariously close to the tiny village of Innaarsuit — a glacial faceoff that pits 169 residents of Greenland against the biggest iceberg many have ever seen.   Their fate could be entirely dependent on the weather forecast. If a strong enough wind blows at the right time, the berg could be dislodged from the …

There’s One Simple Thing You Should Do if You Really Want to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

If you’re the type who fusses over recycling and using cold water to save the planet, boy do we have some news for you. Research shows that the best ways to cut down on your carbon footprint are actually not the ones typically recommended by governments and textbooks. And there’s one life choice in particular that makes the most radical …

Scientists May Have Figured Out a Historic Climate Puzzle

Thirteen thousand years ago, an ice age was ending, the Earth was warming, the oceans were rising. Then something strange happened – the Northern Hemisphere suddenly became much colder, and stayed that way for more than a thousand years.   For some time, scientists have been debating how this major climatic event – called the “Younger Dryas” – happened. The …

An Endangered Blue Whale Has Been Slaughtered by Icelandic Whalers, Reports Claim

Photos of what might be a dead juvenile blue whale have recently surfaced online, allegedly showing the catch of Icelandic whalers. It’s a species that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says hasn’t been deliberately killed since 1978.   If confirmed, this will cause serious problems for the whalers in question, as it’s illegal to deliberately kill …

This Video of a Massive Iceberg Breaking Off Greenland Is Relaxing And Scary All at Once

Want to see something really amazing? Well, you can enjoy this video of an iceberg breaking off Helheim Glacier in eastern Greenland. Filmed by scientists on June 22, it shows an absolutely huge 6.4-kilometre (4-mile) chunk of ice making a break for the sea.   Iceberg calving, as it is known, is not unusual. It’s a natural consequence of the …

Brutal Heat in The UK Is Revealing Hidden Footprints of Historic Civilisations

For weeks, the UK has been gripped by a punishing, record-breaking heatwave. While conditions on the ground may be unprecedented, what’s happening underneath it comes as an even bigger shock.   Aerial archaeologists combing the wilted Welsh countryside have discovered a transforming landscape revealing a forgotten legacy of ancient monuments – a faded map of centuries-old structures laid bare, at …

A Deadly Air Conditioning Problem Could Strike Us All by 2050

As the world warms up, millions of us turn up the air conditioning, and that dependence on cooling technology could be causing hundreds of deaths by 2050. That’s the conclusion of researchers studying the impact of air con that relies on coal, gas, and oil for its power. More power for more cold air means more polluting particulate matter in …

1 Year On, That Huge Antarctic Iceberg Is Still Out There

One of the largest icebergs ever documented is still mostly intact one year after it broke off Antarctica, despite losing a big chunk and having its northern flank smashed to bits.   The huge ice block, called A68 or A68a, calved from the Larsen C ice shelf in July 2017. It’s hard to say exactly when A68 was born due …

Earth’s Species Are Now Going Extinct 1,000 Times Faster Than The Natural Rate

When Sudan the white rhino was put down by his carers earlier this year, it confirmed the extinction of one of the savannah’s most iconic subspecies. Despite decades of effort from conservationists, including a fake Tinder profile for the animal dubbed “the most eligible bachelor in the world”, Sudan proved an unwilling mate and died – the last male of …

It’s Hot Out There. Here’s How to Keep Your Plants Alive, According to Science

When the warmer weather strikes, our gardens and outdoor spaces become a perfect oasis for rest and relaxation. But as nice as the hot weather might be, extreme conditions and record-breaking temperatures can wreak havoc on your plants.   There’s of course no question, that when it’s hot, plants will need watering, but knowing when’s the best time to do …

Scientists Discover a Volcanic Heat Source Beneath Antarctic’s Most Vulnerable Glacier

The Pine Island Glacier is known to be the fastest-melting glacier in Antarctica, responsible for around a quarter of the continent’s ice loss. According to new research though, a warming planet isn’t the only reason the glacier is losing ice.   Based on an analysis of the water surrounding the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which the Pine Island Glacier is …

Guys, Our Planet Is on Fire. Here Are The All-Time Heat Records Set Worldwide This Week

From the normally mild summer climes of Ireland, Scotland and Canada to the scorching Middle East, numerous locations in the Northern Hemisphere have witnessed their hottest weather ever recorded over the past week.   Large areas of heat pressure or heat domes scattered around the hemisphere led to the sweltering temperatures. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports the heat is to …

This Daring Plan Could Rescue The Trapped Boys From Thailand’s Cave Without Any Diving

Authorities have been able to drain some of the water from the cave where a Thai soccer team has been trapped for 12 days, which may allow the team to avoid using diving equipment and almost walk out.   Rescuers can now enter the cave up until the third chamber located about 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) from the cave’s entrance …

These Scientists Have a Tantalising New Answer to The Mysterious ‘Gaia Puzzle’

We will likely never know how life on Earth started. Perhaps in a shallow sunlit pool. Or in the crushing ocean depths miles beneath the surface near fissures in the Earth’s crust that spewed out hot mineral-rich soup. While there is good evidence for life at least 3.7 billion years ago, we don’t know precisely when it started.   But …

IVF Embryo Breakthrough Could Save The Nearly Extinct Northern White Rhino

A 28-year-old rhinoceros named Najin and her daughter, Fatu, are the only northern white rhinos on the planet. They live at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya under constant armed guard.   Both animals are infertile. In March, veterinarians euthanized Sudan, Najin’s father and the last male rhino of their kind. Once Najin and Fatu die, so goes their subspecies. But …

In Case of a Nuclear Emergency, This New AI Shows Where Radioactive Fallout Will Spread

One of the areas where artificial intelligence really excels is in working out scenarios with a huge number of complex variables – like how radiation might spread after an accident at a nuclear power plant.   This is the focus of a new AI system developed in Japan, and it’s showing us more accurately than ever before where the safest …

We Finally Know How Koalas Can Survive on Their Extremely Toxic Eucalyptus Diet

News is out today that the entire genome of the koala has been sequenced. This means we now have a complete read-out of the genes and other DNA sequences of this iconic marsupial mammal.   Knowing the full set of koala genes deepens our knowledge of koalas (and other Australian mammals) in many ways. Now we can understand how koalas …

Seattle Just Made History With Plastic Straw Ban

In one fell sip, Seattle on Sunday became the first major US city to ban drinking straws, an environmentally friendly move that leaders hope will spark a nationwide conversation about small, everyday changes that people can make to protect the planet.   A decade ago, the city adopted an ordinance requiring that all one-time-use food-service items be compostable or recyclable, …

Photos of an Incredible Secret Rainforest Hidden in The Heart of Africa

Atop Mount Lico in northern Mozambique is a site that few have had the pleasure of seeing – a hidden rainforest, protected by a steep circle of rock. Though the mountain was known to locals, the forest itself remained a secret until six years ago, when Professor Julian Bayliss spotted it on satellite imagery. It wasn’t until last year, however, …

Sprawling Marijuana Farms Are Driving This Adorable Little Creature to Extinction

The broad legalisation of marijuana in California might be a big win for trade, tax, and lovers of a toke, but it could be a serious threat to one bushy-tailed little predator.   Populations of Humboldt martens (Martes americana humboldtensis) have already been struck down thanks to years of shrinking habitat. But it’s taken the proliferation of marijuana farms for …

Our Planet Lost 40 Football Fields of Tree Cover Every Single Minute in 2017

Last year, 39 million acres of forest cover was lost from the world’s tropics. The good news is that this figure is a little lower than the record amounts of canopy destroyed in 2016. But that’s pretty much the only silver lining here. A less generous interpretation of the data suggests there’s no sign of the trend reversing.   Data …

The Coldest Place on Earth Is Nearing The Ultimate Limits of Our Planet

Just how cold can it get on Earth? Colder than we thought, apparently. A new study of satellite data reports that valleys in Antarctica’s ice sheets can reach close to minus 100 degrees Celsius (or minus 148 degrees Fahrenheit).   Very chilly then, and significantly below the previous record of minus 93 degrees Celsius (minus 135 degrees Fahrenheit) observed in …

The New York Times May Have Cracked The Biggest Environmental Detective Case of The Year

It’s the biggest environmental whodunit of the year, and after following a trail of clues, The New York Times may have cracked the case on why ozone-destroying chemicals are once again polluting our atmosphere.   The unexpected and mysterious surge in illegal chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) appears to be coming from Xingfu, a rural industrial town in China’s Shandong province. Last …

A Giant Blob of Hot Rock Is Building Up Under America’s Northeast

A vast mass of hot rock is welling up underneath Vermont and extending into other subterranean regions below New England, new research shows. Scientists used a network of thousands of seismic measurement devices in the largest geological study of its kind, detecting the enormous blob upwelling under Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts – and possibly elsewhere.   “The upwelling we …

Endangered Eels Are Getting High on Cocaine Pollution, And It’s Actually Not Funny

The presence of illicit drugs and their metabolites in river water is a new and growing type of environmental hazard – and, according to new research, is putting at further risk an already critically endangered species of eel.   The European eel spends its life living in waterways across Europe, migrating to the ocean to breed and then die. The …

‘Slow Earthquakes’ People Can’t Even Feel Could Be Building Up to a Major San Andreas Disaster

The central section of the San Andreas Fault in California is moving in an unexpected way, scientists say, creating a series of ‘slow earthquakes’ that increase the likelihood of a major quake striking in the future.   It was previously thought that slow and steady movements in this area were safely releasing pent-up energy along the faultline, but the new research …

Everest Is Covered in a Giant Trash Pile, And Humanity Doesn’t Deserve This Planet

The world’s highest mountain has, in the last few decades, turned into the world’s highest-altitude rubbish dump, thanks to wealthy tourists who mindlessly leave a trail of disgusting refuse in their wake.   Since explorer Sir Edmund Hillary reached the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) peak of Everest – known as Chomolungma in Tibet and Sagarmatha in Nepal – in 1953, thousands more …

All Signs Indicate Antarctica Is Melting Faster Than Anyone Thought

In the future, seas will rise far higher than they are today. The question is whether it happens quickly or slowly. There’s enough ice stacked on top of Antarctica to raise seas around the globe by almost 200 feet. While it takes time for major changes to occur with that much ice, Antarctica is melting faster than we thought, according …

These Penguins Appear to Be Living on an Island of Plastic, But The Truth Is Kinda Worse

We know. We’ve been told. The plastic waste that has been piling up in our oceans is out of control. But sometimes, when the problem is so far away, we can lose track of how dire the situation truly is.   A viral video from researchers in the South Pacific has put the consequences of our actions front and center. The …

Antarctica Has Lost 3 Trillion Tonnes of Ice Since 1992, And It’s Speeding Up

The most complete analysis to date measuring ice sheet changes in Antarctica reveals Earth’s southernmost continent has lost some 3 trillion tonnes of ice over the past quarter-century.   A collective effort by over 80 scientists across the world used satellite data to determine estimates of ice-sheet mass balance between 1992 and 2017, ultimately calculating that global sea level increased …

Africa’s Ancient ‘Trees of Life’ Are Suddenly Dying, And Scientists Don’t Know Why

For centuries – millennia even – they’ve towered over the savannah like giants from another world, but their long, almost immortal watch is at last beginning to fade. The African baobab, the largest and longest-living tree among all angiosperm (flowering) plants, is in the midst of a deadly crisis, with new research finding several of these ancient trees have recently …

This Tree Is So Toxic, You Can’t Stand Under It When It Rains

In 1999, radiologist Nicola Strickland went on a holiday to the Caribbean island of Tobago, a tropical paradise complete with idyllic, deserted beaches. On her first morning there, she went foraging for shells and corals in the white sand, when the holiday quickly took a turn for the worse.   Scattered amongst the coconuts and mangoes on the beach, Strickland …

It’s Official, Plastic Pollution Has Now Reached Our Last Unspoilt Wilderness

Scientists have reported finding traces of plastic and hazardous chemicals in Antarctica, which before now was the last part of the planet that remained mostly untouched by the damaging effects of human activity.   Samples of water and snow, collected over a three-month period earlier this year, paint a sorry picture of the environmental consequences of our modern way of …

This Mindblowing Video of The Moon Coming Down to Earth Is Totally Real

One minute, you’re chilling on a mountain. The next you’re being dwarfed by the biggest Moon you’ve ever seen – one that seems to be coming right down to rest on Earth’s surface.   That’s what appears to be happening in this video on NASA’s Astronomy Picture of The Day (APOD) site for 4 June 2018. Of course, we all …

Decades of Satellite Data Reveal Devastating Land Changes in The Largest US State

They call Alaska the last frontier, but as the largest American state grapples with global warming happening twice as fast as anywhere else in the US, nobody knows for sure where its vast, changing landscape is headed.   Our best guess comes in the form of a new analysis sourced from over 30 years of satellite and climate data, which …

Antarctica Is Being Rumbled by Hidden Earthquakes We Never Even Knew Existed

It was an unprecedented blip out of nowhere in 1982. For the first time, scientists confirmed the first earthquake in Antarctica – but it wouldn’t be the last. As the decades passed, researchers detected eight more seismic events in East Antarctica. And then all hell seemingly broke loose, with sensors picking up 27 earthquakes in 2009 alone, tripling the total …

Here’s Why The Fuego Volcano in Guatemala Is So Deadly

Dozens of people have been killed, and with many more missing, after Volcán de Fuego (Fuego) in Guatemala erupted on 3 June 2018. In recent years, Fuego has regularly ejected small gas and ash eruptions, which hold little risk to surrounding populations. But Fuego also has a reputation for producing larger explosive eruptions.   These larger eruptions have two main …

Whale Dead in Thailand With a Shocking Number of Plastic Bags in Its Stomach

Rescuers cradled it in a shallow canal, their arms wrapped around its slick, shuddering body. It could not eat and struggled to swim and breathe. Red umbrellas were opened above it to block the harsh sun.   It was a race against time to save the male pilot whale, slowly dying after it was discovered Monday in Thailand near the …