Earth

  1. East Troublesome Fire
    Climate

    Wildfires, heat waves and hurricanes broke all kinds of records in 2020

    Climate change did not take a break during the pandemic.

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  2. big cloud of smoke hovering over the top of the hill tops
    Earth

    Towering fire-fueled thunderclouds can spew as many aerosols as volcanic eruptions

    A massive plume of smoke lofted into the stratosphere during Australia’s fires may represent a new class of “volcanic-scale” pyrocumulonimbus clouds.

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  3. dromedary camels eating trash
    Animals

    Plastic waste forms huge, deadly masses in camel guts

    Eating plastic isn’t just a sea animal problem. Researchers found suitcase-sized masses of plastic in dromedaries’ guts in the United Arab Emirates.

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  4. remote sensing instruments in the Arctic
    Earth

    In the past 15 years, climate change has transformed the Arctic

    Accumulating evidence and new tools have helped scientists better understand how the Arctic is changing, but the pace has been faster than expected.

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  5. Lava tube in New Mexico
    Archaeology

    Ancient people may have survived desert droughts by melting ice in lava tubes

    Bands of charcoal from fires lit long ago, found in an ice core from a New Mexico cave, correspond to five periods of drought over 800 years.

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  6. Islands of the Four Mountains
    Earth

    An enormous supervolcano may be hiding under Alaskan islands

    A geologic game of connect the dots reveals hints that Mount Cleveland, the Aleutians’ most active volcano, may sit on a giant undersea crater.

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  7. dugout canoe crafted using axes modeled off of Japanese artifacts
    Humans

    Ancient humans may have deliberately voyaged to Japan’s Ryukyu Islands

    Satellite-tracked buoys suggest that long ago, a remote Japanese archipelago was reached by explorers on purpose, not accidentally.

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  8. Brown dog tick close-up
    Life

    Dog ticks may get more of a taste for human blood as the climate changes

    At high temperatures, some brown dog ticks that can carry the bacteria that causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever seem to prefer humans over dogs.

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  9. Mount Everest
    Environment

    Plastics are showing up in the world’s most remote places, including Mount Everest

    From the snow on Mount Everest to the guts of critters in the Mariana Trench, tiny fragments called microplastics are almost everywhere.

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  10. a microscopic image showing several radiolarians
    Earth

    50 years ago, scientists named Earth’s magnetic field as a suspect in extinctions

    In 1970, researchers saw a link between magnetic pole reversals and extinctions. Fifty years later, scientists have uncovered more suggestive examples but no strong evidence of a direct link.lamb

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  11. firefighter in California wildfires
    Earth

    Technology and natural hazards clash to create ‘natech’ disasters

    Hurricanes, wildfires and nature’s other extreme events are increasingly causing damage to infrastructure crucial for safety and communication.

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  12. a photo of clouds
    Microbes

    50 years ago, scientists suspected microbes flourished in clouds

    In 1970, scientists presented early evidence that microbes in clouds may be alive and kicking.

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