Earth news stories

Pre-Christmas melt? North Pole forecast to warm 50 degrees above normal Thursday
22nd December 2016 | | Earth

It’s not normal, and it’s happening again.

For the second year in a row in late December and for the second time in as many months, temperatures in the high Arctic will be freakishly high compared to normal.

A very unlikely white Christmas! Villagers stunned as snow falls in the Sahara for the first time in 37 years
22nd December 2016 | | Earth

This might not be the first place you’d expect to find a festive snowy scene, but incredible images show the Sahara desert looking particularly chilly.

It is just the second time in living memory that snow has fallen, with the last occasion being in February 1979.

A Potential Global Warming Solution Might Also Block Starlight
21st December 2016 | | Earth, Space

For decades, scientists have theorized that pumping aerosols into the stratosphere could counteract the warming effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It sounds crazy, right? How could pumping more pollution into the air fix a pollution problem?

Is Climate Change Shrinking Glaciers? Likelihood Is 99 Percent
21st December 2016 | | Earth

The lifetime of a glacier — an enormous slow-moving river of ice — can span many thousands of years. And while glaciers are dynamic, changes to their length and volume happen at an extremely sluggish pace.

Earth is overdue for collision with ‘dinosaur-killer’ asteroid, Nasa warns
20th December 2016 | | Earth, Space

Planet Earth is effectively defenceless in the face of a “dinosaur-killer” asteroid strike, a Nasa scientist has warned.

And the planet is overdue for an extinction-level event involving a giant space object – such as an asteroid or comet – following a number of close encounters over the last 20 years, Dr Joseph Nuth said.

Iron ‘jet stream’ detected in Earth’s outer core
20th December 2016 | | Earth

Scientists say they have identified a remarkable new feature in Earth’s molten outer core.

They describe it as a kind of “jet stream” – a fast-flowing river of liquid iron that is surging westwards under Alaska and Siberia.

Sunny Days: Solar is Officially Becoming the Cheapest Form of New Electricity
20th December 2016 | Earth, Tech

The Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that, while coal and gas costs will stay low, renewables will do better and will be the cheapest in many countries between now and 2040.

Solar power is now around half the price of coal and gas, making it cheaper than wind energy, and ultimately the cheapest form of new electricity.

Arctic ice melt ‘already affecting weather patterns where you live right now’
20th December 2016 | | Earth

The dramatic melting of Arctic ice is already driving extreme weather that affects hundreds of millions of people across North America, Europe and Asia, leading climate scientists have told the Guardian.

Big Diamonds Bring Scientists A Message From Superdeep Earth
20th December 2016 | | Earth

Evan Smith wanted to get his hands on the world’s biggest diamonds — the kind that sit atop royal scepters, and the ones that are always the target of elaborate movie heists. But this wasn’t for some nefarious get-rich-quick scheme. It was for science.

Alt: Strange giant diamonds give hints to the inner Earth’s composition

Giant ‘rivers in the sky’ could cause vast, extinction-level floods
18th December 2016 | | Earth

Atmospheric rivers – narrow corridors of concentrated moisture suspended in the atmosphere – were responsible for the mysterious mass die-off of wild Olympia oysters in San Francisco Bay in 2011, scientists have found.

This is the first documented case of these ‘rivers in the sky’ – which can hold 15 times more water than the Mississippi River – directly harming an entire population

Massive Atlantic wave sets record, says World Meteorological Organization
18th December 2016 | | Earth

The highest-ever wave detected by a buoy has been recorded in the North Atlantic ocean, the World Meteorological Organization has said.

The 19-metre (62.3ft) wave happened between Iceland and the United Kingdom, off the Outer Hebrides.

Earth’s driest desert once had lakes
17th December 2016 | | Ancient, Earth

The driest desert on Earth may once have had lakes and wetlands, scientists report.

They have found the remnants of freshwater plants and animals buried in the arid plains of Chile’s Atacama Desert.

This watery period dates to between 9,000 and 17,000 years ago.

Greenland was ice-free. Scientists worry it could be again
17th December 2016 | | Ancient, Earth

For a period about a million years ago Greenland wasn’t covered in ice. Researchers say the discovery suggests it’s possible the ice sheet could go away again.

Before now, scientists didn’t know whether Greenland’s ice sheet was so stable that it would just weather any climate changes, or if there were ever a period in which Greenland was, if not verdant, at least a bit rocky.

Every meal eaten estimated to cost the planet 10 kilos of lost topsoil
17th December 2016 | Earth

Every meal you eat now costs the planet 10 kilos in lost topsoil.

That’s the warning of “Surviving the 21st Century” author Julian Cribb to an international soil science conference in Queenstown, New Zealand on Dec 15, 2016.

“10 kilos of topsoil, 800 litres of water, 1.3 litres of diesel, 0.3g of pesticide and 3.5 kilos of carbon dioxide – that’s what it takes to deliver one meal, for just one person,” Cribb says.

Pesticides stop bees buzzing and releasing pollen, says study
17th December 2016 | | Animal Life, Earth

The world’s most widely used insecticides harm the ability of bees to vibrate flowers and shake out the pollen to fertilise crops, according to preliminary results from a new study.

Monster-wheat grown by Oxford could revolutionise farming
17th December 2016 | | Earth, Tech

A crop spray which can boost farmer’s wheat yields by one fifth, without the need for genetic modification, has been developed by scientists at Oxford University.

Researchers have found a molecule which helps plants make the best use of the sugary fuel that they generate during photosynthesis. And with more fuel, the plants can produce bigger grains.

World’s oldest water gets even older
16th December 2016 | | Ancient, Earth

The world’s oldest water, which is locked deep within the Earth’s crust, just got even older.

The liquid was discovered deep down in a mine in Canada in 2013 and is about 1.5 billion years old.

News stories covering the environment, plant life, and the Earth itself.