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- Feb 16 201710 minutes
When Climate Change Starts Wars: Rising temperatures are bringing ethnic tensions to a boil in Central Asia.
The Kyrgyz soldier stepped quietly out of the dark green bushes and swung his Kalashnikov rifle in the direction of our car. Another emerged and did the same. Their checkpoint was a skinny log dragged across a broken asphalt road heading toward an et
- Jan 4 20176 minutes
Earth's Oceans Are Steadily Warming
Another study argues there was no sea-surface slowdown in warming.
- Jan 7 20177 minutes
The Atlantic Ocean and an Actual Debate in Climate Science
Scientists have recently begun to re-examine a scary question: Will a crucial ocean current shut down?
- Dec 12 20162 minutes
Why a Post-Nuclear World Would Look Nothing Like “Mad Max”
Mad Max: Fury Road envisions an embarrassing, nightmarish future. Worldwide droughts have driven humanity to nuclear war over water, destroying modern civilization, and disfiguring the earth into a planet-spanning Sahara. Decrepit old goons control t
- Dec 12 201612 minutes
A Possible Break In One Of Evolution's Biggest Mysteries
Whales have one of the strangest, least-understood histories of any animal—and barnacles might be the key to unlocking their secrets.
- Sep 26 20162 minutes
The Benefits of Protecting the Oceans
Even as more marine tracts are preserved, fishing and conservation can co-exist
- Jan 30 20174 minutes
The Incredible Shrinking State
Trump wants to downplay global warming. Louisiana won’t let him | “We’re not just giving up because they say we have to”
- Oct 31 20161 minute
New Deal on Pollutants Caps Good Year for Climate Action
JUSTIN WORLAND CLIMATE NEGOTIATORS MEETING IN KIGALI, Rwanda, agreed on Oct. 15 to phase out pollutants known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The deal represents crucial progress toward meeting the goal of last year’s landmark Paris Agreement, which s
- Apr 16 201510 minutes
The Hidden Ocean Patch That Broke Climate Records: Why the recent global warming hiatus may have ended.
Nothing has caused climate scientists quite as much recent trouble as the so-called “global warming hiatus.” Not only did this approximately 14-year lull in the rise of global mean (or average) temperatures provide fodder for a variety of misguided c
- Jan 26 20173 minutes
How a Scientist Mapped the Entire Peruvian Amazon by Plane
In August 2011, I climbed onto a small twin-propeller plane, crouching down to avoid smacking my head. The plane took off from Cusco, Peru, and was soon soaring over the Amazon rainforest. From the window, I could see a vast, unbroken layer of trees,
- Sep 19 20161 minute
The Anthropocene Should Bring Awe—and Act as a Warning
JUSTIN WORLAND AS GEOLOGICAL EPOCHS HAVE COME AND gone throughout Earth’s vast history, shifts have often correlated with large-scale global changes like ice ages and mass extinctions. An asteroid hits the planet, wiping out the dinosaurs, and the C
- Oct 30 20161 minute
2 Sleep With the Fishes
A HOUSEBOAT OFF DUBAI WITH AN UNDERWATER BEDROOM.
- Oct 11 20132 minutes
Reading Lines In The Earth Like Lines In A Book
You may not realize it, but all around you lie coded messages about the past. The curve of a hill, the shape of a lake, or the almost dinosaurian spine of that ridge in a nearby state park are signals of dramatic events in your neighborhood, at the r
- Dec 19 20164 minutes
Where Do Schools Close Most Often for Weather?
The forecast has to be more frightful to cancel classes in some states than in others.
- Nov 7 20135 minutes
When Waste Becomes Home: Sea life settles on plastic.
The astounding quantities of discarded plastic that end up in oceans each year tend to concentrate in ring-like swirls of currents called gyres, yet most of it can be hard to spot—not because it’s not there in great quantities, but because it often t
- Jul 18 20163 minutes
111. Miami Is Beating the Sea
SUN-SOAKED MIAMI BEACH is a good place to be optimistic. And while a tax hike to fund infrastructure upgrades is rarely a winning campaign strategy, Philip Levine had a hunch it could work when he ran for mayor three years ago. Streets in the seaside
- Aug 7 20162 minutes
Climate Change Has Produced a New Underwater Sound Superhighway
In March, a team of scientists dragged a blast furnace on a sled across a giant slab of ice in the Beaufort Sea, above the Arctic Circle. With the furnace, the researchers (from the United States Navy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) me
- Dec 7 20165 minutes
Tar Balls, The Beach's Fossil-Fuel Flowers
Globs of black goo occur on beaches both naturally from ocean seeps and artificially from oil spills. An Object Lesson.
- Mar 1 20135 minutes
How Franchises Worked Together After Superstorm Sandy
Franchises played a major recovery role in the wake of Sandy, with corporate parents rallying to get local units running so they could help communities in need. Here's how some companies banded together to weather the storm.
- Jul 21 20152 minutes
6 Places Where Earth Has Gone Color Crazy
The Grand Prismatic Lake in Yellowstone National Park is rightfully famous for the beautiful colors produced by its unique chemistry. But there are also other places where chemistry and geology combine to create vivid natural colors, in hot springs,
- Oct 7 20166 minutes
A Quest to Map the Seafloor by 2030
We know the surface of Mars better than we do the seafloor. Scientists plan to change that.
- Apr 15 20143 minutes
Born of Meteor Dust, Unusual Clouds Appear in the Night Sky
If you look to the darkening sky after the end of a long summer day, you might see tendril-like clouds with a blueish tinge that hang at the edge of space. They appear when conditions are right, generally at latitudes close to the North or South Pole
- Jun 25 20159 minutes
The Beckoning of the Ice Worlds: We’ve been looking for life on Earth-like planets. Will Europa teach us better?
I have seen the future of space exploration, and it looks like a cue ball covered with brown scribbles. I am talking about Europa, the 1,940-mile-wide, nearly white, and exceedingly smooth satellite of Jupiter. It is an enigmatic world that is, in m
- Aug 26 20155 minutes
This Legendary Deep-Sea Fish Sighting Continues to be Debated After 60 Years
Once, while fishing for salmon, I hooked a clam. It fought bravely, and when I finally pulled it from the water I could see that I hadn’t just snagged it, as you might expect, but that it had taken the bait willingly. These are minor points; what mat
- Nov 27 20163 minutes
A New Threat to Oceans: Deep-Sea Mining for Precious Metals
Around 500 miles southeast of the bright turquoise waters at Honolulu Harbor, and two and a half miles down to the dark ocean floor, a massive carpet of potato-sized rocks stretches thousands of miles on the seabed. These rocks, called polymetallic,
- Oct 15 20132 minutes
Ancient Poop Tells Useful Stories—If You Know How to Listen
“Out of sight, out of mind” is the usual attitude about what we flush down the toilet. But in the last century, some chemists have begged to differ: They want to know just where our personal waste products go, and they’ve come up with various measure
- Apr 10 20146 minutes
Why Aliens and Volcanoes Go Together: Life on other planets may rely on plate tectonics.
The novelist William Golding suggested to James Lovelock that he name his now-famous hypothesis after the Greek goddess of the Earth, Gaia. It was a good fit: Lovelock believed that the living and inanimate parts of the Earth formed a single, interac
- Jun 30 20165 minutes
The Ocean Gets Big Data: A new array of cameras, vehicles, and sensors promises to change ocean science.
I think that for some people,” says Peter Girguis, a deep-sea microbial physiologist at Harvard University, “the ocean seems passé—that the days of Jacques Cousteau are behind us.” He begs to differ. Even though space exploration, he says, “seems lik
- Nov 6 20156 minutes
This Floating Contraption Could Scoop Out Absurd Amounts of Ocean Plastic
A 21-year-old named Boyan Slat says he can solve one of the greatest ecological disasters of our age: the build-up of vast amounts of plastic in our oceans. The young Dutchman, often photographed in a t-shirt and shorts, says he’s designed a structur