This Ancient Fossil Just Rewrote The History of Human Evolution

Massive Forest Fires Could Be Cooling the Earth

Wait, what? A forest fire may not sound like a great way to cool off, but Earth's climate is a complicated beast. It turns out that some of the world's fiercest blazes are actually lowering our planet's temperatures. » 2/16/15 3:45pm 2/16/15 3:45pm

A Rare Glimpse of Two Volcanic Plumes in Central Africa

From a satellite, the plumes venting from two volcanoes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo look like clouds. Right now, they're just spewing harmless steam and gas. But that could change. » 2/14/15 1:30pm 2/14/15 1:30pm

Why America Has Stronger Forest Fires Than Elsewhere In The World

Forest fires are a danger in many places in the world. But, even when comparing similar forests, North America's fires are still stronger, hotter, smokier, and faster than fires elsewhere. Why? The answer is hidden deep in the forests themselves. » 2/04/15 1:54pm 2/04/15 1:54pm

The Republican SOTU Live-Stream Cut Obama's Remarks On Climate Change

President Barack Obama took climate change deniers to task during his State of the Union Address, mocking the "I'm not a scientist" refrain that has become common among Republicans in recent months. But much of Obama's criticism was cut from the Republican party's official live stream of the speech. » 1/21/15 3:20pm 1/21/15 3:20pm

Even our underwater forests are dying off. Kelp forests have been undergoing huge losses in the last 75 years. So what's causing the disappearance? NASA's Earth Observatory identifies three of the biggest problems as warmer oceans, more intense storms, and invasive species moving into the area. » 1/21/15 7:30am 1/21/15 7:30am

Humanity Is In The Existential Danger Zone, Study Confirms

The Earth's climate has always changed. All species eventually become extinct. But a new study has brought into sharp relief the fact that humans have, in the context of geological timescales, produced near instantaneous planetary-scale disruption. We are sowing the seeds of havoc on the Earth, it suggests, and the… » 1/18/15 11:30am 1/18/15 11:30am

Yep, 2014 Was The Hottest Year In Recorded History

Two independent analyses by NASA and NOAA have both concluded 2014 was the warmest year ever recorded on Earth – hotter, even, than 2010, the previous record-holder in a field of contenders stretching all the way back to 1880. » 1/16/15 3:40pm 1/16/15 3:40pm

An Oil Pipeline Is Suspended Above Alaska's Melting Tundra

This beautiful photograph reveals an oil pipeline hugging the shore of an Alaskan lake. The lake waters are slowly merging with the melting tundra beneath the pipeline, creating dark fissures around puzzle pieces of land. » 1/12/15 5:20pm 1/12/15 5:20pm

Report: Earth's Fossil Fuel Reserves Need To Stay In The Ground

A study published in this week's issue of Nature is the first to identify the quantity and geographical distribution of fossil fuels that must remain unused in order to keep global temperature rise below 2°C. » 1/09/15 9:40am 1/09/15 9:40am

California's Ongoing Drought Is Its Most Severe in 1,200 Years

A recent study published by the American Geophysical Union concludes California's ongoing megadrought is the worst the state has seen in more than a millennium. » 12/04/14 4:30pm 12/04/14 4:30pm

We Lose A Chunk Of Antarctic Ice The Size Of Mt. Everest Every 2 Years

An analysis of the past 21 years of West Antarctica's rapidly dwindling glacier cover has revealed some troubling news: The rate of melting has tripled in the past decade alone. And it's only getting faster. » 12/02/14 1:40pm 12/02/14 1:40pm

A Relentless Blitz Of Small Rocks Obliterated Earth's Early Atmosphere

The Earth went through some tough times after its formation 4.5 billion years ago. Geochemical evidence indicates that its atmosphere was obliterated at least twice. One theory is that a large object from space smashed into our planet's surface, but a new study suggests it was actually thousands of small impacts. » 12/02/14 1:20pm 12/02/14 1:20pm

An "Impenetrable Barrier" Protects The Earth From Killer Electrons

It appears that our planet's built-in force field is much stronger than we thought. Scientists studying the Van Allen belts have discovered the presence of a nearly impenetrable barrier that prevents some of the fastest and most powerful "ultrarelativistic" electrons from reaching the surface. » 11/27/14 1:00pm 11/27/14 1:00pm

Stunning Drone Footage From Beneath The Ice Of Antarctica

Scientists use a range of techniques—from satellite observations to drilling holes—to measure sea ice thickness. Usually, such efforts look down at the sea floor. But, by equipping an underwater drone with upward-looking sonar, researchers were able to create the first high-resolution 3D maps of Antarctic sea ice. » 11/25/14 2:40pm 11/25/14 2:40pm

Why Geoscientists Use Spaceships To Measure Underground

We all rely on our senses to make sense of the world around us – but our senses can only take us so far. To better understand the Earth and its processes, geoscientists rely on a host of strange tools and bizarre research methods to expand the powers of their usual senses. » 11/24/14 8:30am 11/24/14 8:30am

Watch This Gigantic Wall of Snow Engulf Buffalo, New York

This snow storm is so intense that it looks like a thick, dense cloud has blanketed part of the city of Buffalo. And that's what's extraordinary about it. This is an intensely localized storm, which dumped several feet of snow on just one narrow slice of the city. » 11/18/14 3:20pm 11/18/14 3:20pm

This Is the Most Destructive Process on Earth

It reduces boulders to smears of ions. It dissolves and disintegrates the tallest mountains. Geologists call it "weathering." It sounds harmless enough, but weathering is one of the most destructive forces on the face of the planet. » 11/18/14 11:25am 11/18/14 11:25am

Watch Researchers Set Fire to Methane-Filled Ice Bubbles

Lake Abraham, in Canada, is filled with beautiful bubbles that, if they pop, will ruin your day on the ice at least two different ways. First, they'll displace oxygen. Second, if they pop anywhere near sparks or fire, they'll explode. » 11/10/14 11:51am 11/10/14 11:51am

The latest measurements of the hole in the Ozone layer over the Antarctic put it at approximately the size of North America. Though that's certainly still a considerably-sized hole at 9 million square miles, NASA reports that the overall measurement has been holding roughly steady since 2010. » 10/31/14 1:30pm 10/31/14 1:30pm