Environment

We know that plastic pollution is a major problem for the world’s oceans, but scientists just discovered a new way that discarded microplastics are making their way out of the water and into other food chains – through mosquitoes.   What’s happening is mosquito larvae are ingesting microplastics as water-dwelling larvae, and those plastic particles
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For hundreds of years, geologists have thought the modern-day British mainland was formed by the collision of two ancient land masses, Avalonia and Laurentia. Now, new research suggests a third continent was involved – Armorica, which today makes up the northwestern region of France.   That’s according to some geological detective work that considers, among
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It was called the Storegga Slide: a massive underwater landslide off the coast of Norway, which generated a towering 20-metre-high (66 ft) tsunami sweeping across the UK’s Shetland Islands.   Luckily, that ancient wave of destruction – which also struck mainland Scotland, Norway, and Greenland – happened over 8,000 years ago, leading scientists to think
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Weather reports are usually the mildest parts of a TV news broadcast. But earlier today The Weather Channel put out a forecast with an unexpectedly dark twist. It starts as a regular green screen report, with meteorologist Erika Navarro highlighting areas in North Carolina at risk from Hurricane Florence’s storm surge, which could reach above
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Hurricane season officially peaks today: September 10. It has been a quieter-than-average hurricane season so far, but things are picking up in a big way: three hurricanes are churning in the Atlantic, with Hurricane Florence rapidly approaching the US East Coast.   Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm with 140 miles per hour (225 kilometres
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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
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The aftershocks of a devastating earthquake can often be as horrifying as the main event. Now scientists have developed a system for predicting where such post-quake tremors could take place, and they’ve used an ingenious application of artificial intelligence (AI) to make this happen.   Knowing more about what’s coming next can be a matter
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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During this week 106 years ago, New Zealand was talking about the future of our planet. The predictions weren’t uplifting. On August 14, 1912, a newspaper called the Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette printed a prescient paragraph in its “science notes and news” section.   The brief note warned that Earth’s atmosphere
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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
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The wildfires tearing through California have scorched hundreds of thousands of acres of land, destroyed thousands of structures, and forced evacuations across the state. The Mendocino Complex Fire, currently burning in northern California, is the largest in the state’s history. The Carr Fire is already the sixth-most destructive in the state’s history, having claimed six lives and burned through thousands of structures around
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