Environment

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New research on oxygen and iron chemistry under the extreme conditions found deep inside the Earth could explain a longstanding seismic mystery called ultralow velocity zones. The findings could have far-reaching implications on our understanding of Earth’s geologic history, including life-altering events such as the Great Oxygenation Event, which occurred 2.4 billion years ago. Sitting
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Major flooding hit Jamaica’s Montego Bay, the capital of Saint James Parish in the country’s northwest, on Wednesday, November 22, 2017. The flooding brought traffic to a standstill, flooded buildings, stranded numerous residents and resulted in severe infrastructural damage. Heavy rains lashed the city for over four hours on Wednesday afternoon, trapping residents in schools and workplaces, and
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A new study, published this week in Nature, shows that thunderstorms can also produce radioactivity by triggering nuclear reactions in the atmosphere. This may sound like the plot of a blockbuster science fiction disaster. But in reality, it’s nothing to worry about. Since the early 20th century, scientists have been aware of ionizing radiation – particles and electromagnetic
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When a human-made disaster like a chemical spill or nuclear accident occurs, it’s not unusual for the land to be ridden off. But there’s an unlikely candidate that could actually be able to survive the harsh terrain and help the area become viable again – Australian native plants.   “It’s a biotechnology called ‘phytoremediation’ and
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The first observation of a super-hydrated phase of the clay mineral kaolinite could improve our understanding of processes that lead to volcanism and affect earthquakes. In high-pressure and high-temperature X-ray measurements that were partly conducted at DESY (German Electron Synchrotron), scientists created conditions similar to those in so-called subduction zones where an oceanic plate dives
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Researchers using NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission (MMS) discovered tornado-like swirls of plasma create a magnetosphere tumultuous enough to let harmful high-energy particles from the Sun slip into near-Earth space. The discovery is important for understanding how the solar wind sometimes enters Earth’s atmosphere. MMS, launched in 2015, uses four identical spacecraft flying in a pyramid formation to
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New activity/unrest was reported for 3 volcanoes between November 15 and 21, 2017. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 11 volcanoes. New activity/unrest: Agung, Bali (Indonesia) | Oraefajokull, Iceland | Sarychev Peak, Matua Island (Russia). Ongoing activity: Aira, Kyushu (Japan) | Bagana, Bougainville (Papua New Guinea) | Cleveland, Chuginadak Island (USA) | Dukono, Halmahera (Indonesia) | Ebeko, Paramushir
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After weeks of silence and denials, Russia has confirmed that it too has detected evidence of a mysterious radiation cloud floating above much of Europe, observing a dramatic radiation spike above Russia’s Ural Mountains. The acknowledgement comes after a number of other European nations suggested Russia was the probable origin of the unexplained radiation surge,
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Russia’s meteorological service Roshydromet confirmed Monday, November 20, 2017 that ‘extremely high’ concentrations of the radioactive isotope Ruthenium 106 (Ru-106) were detected in the southern Urals in late September. Roshydromet reported Monday that it measured ‘extremely high’ concentrations of Ru-106 in the southern Urals between September 25 and October 1, 2017, but then contradicted itself and said that ‘some
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Heavy rain is wreaking havoc across Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, November 21, 2017, stranding drivers on flooded roads and delaying school classes at least until Thursday.  The Centre for Crises and Disasters in Makkah Region closed a number of roads in Jeddah on Tuesday due to heavy thunderstorms accompanied by active winds that limited
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A Co-Rotating Interaction Region (CIR) ahead of isolated positive polarity Coronal Hole High Speed Stream (CH HSS) is affecting our planet today, causing geomagnetic storming.  G1 – Minor geomagnetic storm threshold was reached 05:30 UTC. Over the past 24 hours, solar wind parameters were indicative of a slow solar wind regime followed by onset of a CIR
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It’s the hiatus that never happened: an apparent ‘slowdown’ in rising surface temperatures between 1998 and 2012, which encouraged climate change deniers to label global warming a made-up conspiracy. Even a hoax. To be clear, thanks to the efforts of scientists, this ‘pause’ in global warming has been thoroughly debunked, but new research highlights another
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Two people have been killed and 2 280 directly affected after flash floods hit West Nusa Tenggara province, Indonesia on Sunday, November 19, 2017. According to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of the national disaster agency, dramatic flash floods in East Lombok Regency of West Nusa Tenggara province hit residential areas and agricultural land, affecting 15 villages. The
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According to reports filed by companies to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), 2.6 million kg (5.7 million pounds) of hazardous chemicals were released into the air by chemical plants, oil refineries, and industrial facilities from August 23 to September 25, following Hurricane “Harvey” landfall. 90% of total reported air pollution was released by 13 companies
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There’s no sense in sugar-coating it: the world is facing an epic environmental challenge as our planet breaks temperature records thanks to heavy emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping pollutants.   Which is why it’s so incredibly heartening – despite at least one superpower looking the other way – to see the the
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A Siberian High, also known as Siberian Anticyclone, caused serious temperature anomaly Central Siberia on November 18, 2017, causing average daily temperatures to drop 10 – 12 °C (18 – 21.6 °F) below the climatic norm. Over the past couple of days, extremely low temperatures hit parts of southeastern Evenkia, northern Irkutsk, and neighboring regions of Yakutia, Russia with night
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An isolated severe supercell passed over parts of southern Turkey on Sunday, November 19, 2017, dumping heavy rain and large hailstones, and producing enormous hail accumulations in the port city of Mersin, on the Mediterranean coast. The rain started falling in the city center around 12:00 local time and soon turned into a full-blown severe thunderstorm, catching
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When our Sun erupts with giant explosions—such as bursts of radiation called solar flares—we know they can affect space throughout the solar system as well as near Earth. But monitoring their effects requires having observatories in many places with many perspectives, much the way weather sensors all over Earth can help us monitor what’s happening
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Climate scientists studying three decades of ozone measurements from seven satellites see a positive trend in global recovery after international efforts to curb ozone-depleting substances. The part of Earth’s atmosphere with high concentrations of ozone gas protects life on Earth from the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation. However, pollutants can break down ozone, thinning this ozone layer
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The excess positrons arriving at Earth must have a more exotic origin than nearby pulsars, report researchers. Their results are based on observations from the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) gamma-ray observatory in Mexico, which detects the shower of particles created when high-energy gamma rays smash into Earth’s atmosphere. To date, several cosmic ray detectors have
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Using more than half a century of observations, Japanese astronomers have discovered that the microwaves coming from the Sun at the minimums of the past five solar cycles have been the same each time, despite large differences in the maximums of the cycles. In Japan, continuous four-frequency solar microwave observations (1, 2, 3.75 and 9.4
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Southern Vietnam, hit by devastating floods produced by Typhoon “Damrey” on November 4, is bracing for yet another tropical cyclone landfall this week. Heavy rain, floods and landslides are expected over the weekend. Tropical Storm “Kirogi” formed November 17 in the South China Sea after exiting the Philippines as a tropical depression. Kirogi is the 25th named storm
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This is an excerpt from Macquarie University’s Tackling Global Challenges magazine. Read the full magazine here. Oceans are fundamental to life on Earth: they regulate our climate, support countless marine species and sustain billions of people. They are also surprisingly fragile and unknown, and that’s where Macquarie University is making a splash.   “Students often
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A new ice-cauldron has formed this week within the Öræfajökull volcano caldera, prompting the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) to raise the aviation color code for the volcano to yellow. The last eruptive episode of this volcano started in August 1727 and ended in May 1727. A pilot flying over the area took pictures of the cauldron Friday, November