Environment

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From rainfall to wildfires, 2017 was a record-breaking year for natural disasters. In August and September, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria left behind a high death toll, drowned homes, and destroyed power lines. Hundreds of people died in earthquakes around the world, from Mexico to the Iran-Iraq border, and nearly 1,400 people were killed during
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In presentations of global warming, sometimes watching maps morph from blue (cold) to red (hot) grows tiresome. Talented data visualizers are finding new and creative ways to illustrate the warming of the planet. The latest visualization of Earth heating up was built by Antti Lipponen, a research scientist at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, and it
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Cigarette butts are among the most abundant types of human-produced garbage in the world’s oceans. Most of the roughly 5.5 trillion cigarettes manufactured globally every year contain a plastic-based filter, made of cellulose acetate, according to the Cigarette Butt Pollution Project. Those filters can take decades to decompose after the cigarette butt has been discarded.
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As Europe wilts in the sweltering, record-breaking harshness of summer 2018, strange things are happening. Mysterious outlines of ancient societies have revealed themselves across the seared landscape, but it’s not just traces of ghostly architecture resurfacing. So too are grim words of warning. Inscribed boulders known as ‘hunger stones’ are reappearing in Czechia after a
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Two years ago, 323 reindeer in southeast Norway were struck by lightning and died. Many of the animals were found on top of each other on a remote mountain plateau. Norwegian officials said they had never seen a case like it before. Authorities flew in to remove the dead reindeer’s heads for a study on diseases
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They’re the vilest, most unthinkable horrors you could ever imagine lurking in the sewers underneath our cities. Even Pennywise is terrified of them. They’re called fatbergs: vast deposits of congealed fat and grease stuck together with soiled diapers, condoms, tampons, wet wipes, you name it. But these stomach-churning accumulations that clog up sewer systems could
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The Arctic permafrost really should stay frozen. In many places it’s been frozen for tens of thousands of years, locking away greenhouse gasses and ancient diseases. Unfortunately, our planet’s changing climate is denting permafrosts around the world. And now NASA-funded research has confirmed that the expected gradual thawing of the Arctic permafrost is being dramatically
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The headlines of record-crushing heat in the Northern Hemisphere began in June and haven’t stopped midway through August. Scores of locations on every continent north of the equator have witnessed their hottest weather in recorded history. The swelter has intensified raging wildfires in western North America, Scandinavia and Siberia, while leading to heat-related deaths in Japan and eastern
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The heat wave that has swept Europe over the summer may not be very pleasant for the human population, but rare pink tropical birds at a nature reserve in southwest England sure seem excited. Officials at Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) Slimbridge, a wetland wildlife reserve in Gloucestershire, said in a statement Thursday that six Andean flamingos laid
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Hopes for fewer large wildfires in 2018, after last year’s disastrous fire season, are rapidly disappearing across the West. Six deaths have been reported in Northern California’s Carr Fire, including two firefighters. Fires have scorched Yosemite, Yellowstone, Crater Lake, Sequoia and Grand Canyon national parks. A blaze in June forced Colorado to shut down the
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The mantle beneath Tibet has been torn into four massive pieces, according to a new computer model that gives an unprecedented glimpse at what’s going on under the surface our planet. Determining exactly what’s happening so far underground isn’t always easy, but can help in everything from predicting earthquakes to understanding how terrain evolves over