Smoke billowing from tall chimneys

Atmospheric CO2 hits record high in May 2019

NOAA reports that carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere continued its rapid rise in 2019, reaching the highest recorded levels in 61 years of observation last month.

All you need to know: June solstice 2019

This is solstice week. Longest day ahead for the Northern Hemisphere. Shortest day ahead for the Southern Hemisphere. Details here.

Amazing June for noctilucent clouds

For the northern part of Earth, the season for seeing noctilucent clouds – clouds that shine at night – typically begins in June. This June has been particularly fine for seeing these electric-blue clouds. Photos and video here.

The undark nights of summer

Guy Ottewell lives in England. His illustrations of 3-dimensional space are illuminating. Long summer twilights, explained.

Series of images showing bright balls of light ascending.

Has the ball lightning mystery been solved?

What is ball lightning? Scientists have been trying to figure that out for hundreds of years, and now it seems they may finally be close to solving one of Earth’s most intriguing natural mysteries.

Iridescent cloud? Or circumhorizon arc?

It’s easy to confuse these 2 elusive, colorful, beautiful daytime sky phenomena. How can you tell the difference?

Video: Perpetual ocean

In honor of World Ocean Day on June 8, a beautiful video visualization of ocean currents around the world.

Going to the beach? Watch this video

Rip currents – sometimes called by the misnomer rip tide – flow outward from beaches, sometimes faster than humans can swim. Here’s what to do if you get caught in one.

Sea sponges collect DNA from fish, penguins, seals

A new study reports that sponges, which can filter 10,000 liters of water daily, catch DNA in their tissues as they filter-feed.

Scuba diver under water.

How to celebrate World Oceans Day 2019

World Oceans Day is Saturday, June 8. Celebrate! Plan or find an event. Participate on social media. Or … just go to the beach. Some ideas for participating here.

Snow-capped mountains and white swirling snow.

Melting small glaciers could add 10 inches to sea level by 2100

A new analysis of 200,000 glaciers worldwide paints a picture of a future planet with a lot less ice and a lot more water.

Lake Baikal: Earth’s deepest, oldest lake

Lake Baikal in southern Siberia is 25 million years old and more than 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) deep. More than 2,500 plant and animal species have been documented in the lake, most found nowhere else. Controversy surrounds construction of hydropower stations on a river that feeds the lake.

View from space of ice-covered Great Slave Lake.

View from space: North America’s deepest lake

Roughly the same size of Belgium, Canada’s Great Slave Lake runs nearly 2,000 feet (600 meters) deep. This article from NASA Earth Observatory describes the lake and conditions around it in 2019.

Black-and-white animation of high, wispy, illuminated clouds in a night sky.

Curiosity sees noctilucent clouds shining in Mars’ sky

Late last month, the Curiosity rover picked up wonderful images of noctilucent – or “night-shining” – clouds in the Martian sky. Plus – if you’re at a high latitude on Earth now – it’s time to start looking for these clouds.

Purple silhouettes of a modern beaver, a human, and a giant beaver.

Why super-sized beavers went extinct

Super-sized beavers were as big as black bears. They suddenly became extinct 10,000 years ago, while small modern beavers survived. Now scientists know why.

Crushed boat and wood debris at the edge of a bay under a blue sky.

It’s hurricane season: 4 things to know

Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30. Here’s how forecasters make predictions, whether to stay or evacuate, what kinds of risks extend inland, and how your social networks can help or hurt you.

Photo showing the eyewall of Hurricane Michael

How do hurricanes get their names?

The World Meteorological Organization manages the formal system by which hurricanes receive their names. Find hurricane names for 2019 here.

April 2019 2nd hottest on record for globe

April 2019 was the 2nd-hottest April in the climate record, dating back to 1880, and the period from January-April was the 3rd-hottest year-to-date on record. In the Arctic, sea ice coverage shrunk to a record April low.

Photo of an unfolding leaf.

Springtime in northern Europe starting earlier and earlier

New analyses of satellite data show that the start of the spring growing season in northern Europe has advanced by 0.3 days per year from 2000 to 2016.

Rainbow-like halo around the shadow of a man, in a mountainous setting.

What is the Brocken Spectre?

The Brocken Spectre is your own shadow, cast on mists below you, when you are mountain climbing. The shadow may appear enormous and has a ring around it.