Environment

Centuries of human exploitation in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest – one of the world’s most important forests – has left it nearly empty, according to new research. More than half of the subtropical forest’s local mammal species have been wiped out since Europeans colonised the region in the 16th century, according to the study published in
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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 are
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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 other
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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 such
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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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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 during
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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 it
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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 discarded.
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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 a
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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 diseases
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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 Japan and eastern
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