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!

Pesticides and industrial pollutants found in snow atop Arctic glaciers

The long journey of these compounds – likely originating in the U.S. and Eurasia – shows the far-reaching impacts of industrial pollution.

Why some rain falls so hard

Some rainstorms drench you in a second, while others drop rain in a nice peaceful drizzle. A meteorologist explains how rainstorms can be so different.

Researchers track slowly splitting ‘dent’ in Earth’s magnetic field

A small but evolving dent in Earth’s magnetic field can cause big headaches for satellites.

A red, glowing structure in the sky, with an intricate, jellyfish-like shape.

What are lightning sprites?

Lightning sprites – aka red sprites – are electrical discharges taking place high in Earth’s atmosphere, above thunderstorms.

2019 State of the Climate Report: Peak greenhouse gases and record heat

2019 ranks among the 3 warmest years in records dating to the mid-1800s. In 2019, greenhouse gases reached their highest levels on record. Both facts are from the 30th annual State of the Climate report, a review of world climate based on contributions from more than 520 scientists in over 60 countries.

A gray butterfly on green leaves.

Insect apocalypse? Not so fast, at least in North America

Recent reports of dramatic declines in insect populations have sparked concern about an ‘insect apocalypse.’ But a new analysis of data from sites across North America suggests the case isn’t proven.

Another intense summer of fires in Siberia

Following an active 2019 season, fires in Siberia in 2020 have again been abundant and widespread, and have produced abnormally large carbon emissions.

A group of penguins huddled together on the ice.

Satellites discover new penguin colonies from space

Satellite images have revealed 11 previously unknown emperor penguin colonies in Antarctica, identified by telltale reddish-brown guano stains the birds leave on the ice.