Earth just had its hottest September on record

September 2020 was our planet’s hottest September since 1880. With 3 months left, 2020 could rank among the top 3 warmest years on record for the globe.

Worsening rifts and fractures spotted at 2 important Antarctic glaciers

Satellite imagery has revealed that 2 of the fastest-changing glaciers in Antarctica – Pine Island and Thwaites – are fracturing and weakening faster than ever, a step towards the glaciers’ disintegrating and causing sea levels to rise dramatically.

Ancient microbial life used arsenic to thrive in a world without oxygen

Today, most life on Earth is supported by oxygen. But ancient microbial mats existed for a billion years before oxygen was present in the atmosphere. So what did life use instead?

Inside the secret lives of synchronous fireflies

In the Smoky Mountains, thousands of fireflies flash in unison. Researchers want to know how.

How to see anticrepuscular rays

Next time you see crepuscular rays – sunrays – at sunrise or sunset, turn around.

Is Iceland’s most active volcano about to erupt?

The ice-covered Grímsvötn volcano produced an unusually large and powerful eruption in 2011. Now, says this volcanologist, there are clear signs that Grímsvötn is getting ready to erupt again.

Did this mass extinction event trigger dawn of the dinosaurs?

New research suggests that a series of huge volcanic eruptions, 233 million years ago, led to a mass extinction event that heralded the dawn of the dinosaurs.

Which insects have the worst stings?

Some of the most painful stings come from tarantula hawk wasps, warrior wasps, and bullet ants.

2020 Arctic sea ice minimum 2nd lowest on record

On September 15, 2020, Arctic sea ice reached its annual minimum extent, the 2nd-lowest on record. The Arctic region in general is warming 3 times faster than the rest of the planet.

A Chinese perspective on autumn

In Chinese thought, autumn is with the direction west, considered to be the direction of dreams and visions.

Why Earth has 4 seasons

Some assume our planet’s changing distance from the sun causes the change in the seasons. That’s logical, but not the case for Earth.

What is a hurricane storm surge?

Of all the hazards that hurricanes bring, storm surge is the greatest threat to life and property along the coast.

Satellite map showing route of ascent of Mount Everest, from the Nepalese side.

Satellite data helps climbers ascend Mt. Everest

Data from ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite help climbers negotiate a treacherous glacier on the route to Mt. Everest’s summit.

Earth’s glaciers and ice sheets are melting

Several new studies released in recent weeks paint a dire picture of the ongoing melting of Earth’s freshwater ice sheets and glaciers, 99% of which are found in Greenland and Antarctica.

Northern Hemisphere just had its hottest summer on record

Not only was August 2020 the 2nd-warmest August on record, but the Northern Hemisphere had its warmest summer on record, and the globe as a whole had its 3rd-hottest 3-month season.

Red skies behind a bridge.

Why are skies so red over the U.S. West this week?

Perhaps you’ve seen the photos of the eerie red skies over San Francisco and other cities in the U.S. West this week as massive ongoing wildfires rage. But why red exactly?

What is a fogbow?

Fogbows are rainbows’ cousins – made by much the same process – but with the small water droplets inside a fog instead of larger raindrops.

5 myths about lightning debunked

NOAA debunks some popular myths about lightning.

Hurricane Hanna shrinks Gulf of Mexico dead zone

The Gulf of Mexico dead zone is much smaller than usual this year because Hurricane Hanna stirred up the area of low-oxygen water.


What are cloud streets?

Cloud streets are a manifestation of Earth’s atmosphere in motion. They’re mostly seen by satellites looking down on Earth, but people sometimes catch them from the ground, too. Check out these cool images!