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Environment - New Scientist

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Aerial photographs reveal odd and beautiful glimpses of our planet

Corners of unexpected planetary beauty are revealed in these stunning images on display in The Elevated Eye at Forest Lawn Museum, California

Volcanoes and Wine: Why a match made in hell tastes like heaven

From Etna to Vesuvius, Santorini to Stromboli, volcanoes have long been linked to excellent wines. New book Volcanoes and Wine explores this unlikely terroir

We've totted up all Earth's carbon - and 99 per cent is underground

An epic project has worked out how much carbon there is on Earth. The answer is 1.85 billion billion tonnes – and most of it is underground

Fossilised microbes from 3.5 billion years ago are oldest yet found

Preserved microorganisms have been found encased in 3.5-billion-year-old rocks, confirming that single-celled life was thriving early in Earth’s history

Giving nature human rights could be the best way to protect the planet

Rivers, lakes and forests around the world are being recognised as if they were legal persons. It sounds strange, but could it effectively protect the planet?

Meltwater from Greenland could raise sea level an extra 7 centimetres

Melting and refreezing is turning the absorbent surface snow of Greenland into solid ice, an effect that could contribute to sea level rises

Planet Earth has 9 safety limits and we’ve already exceeded 4 of them

A decade ago, Johan Rockström identified the limits to Earth's life support systems. From chemical pollution to climate change, we're veering into the danger zone - so why is he (cautiously) optimistic about the future?

Inside the powerful fire clouds that pack a volcanic punch

This rare image shows massive pyrocumulonimbus clouds that form above fires and can funnel as much smoke into the lower stratosphere as moderate volcanic eruptions

Military now controls Myanmar’s scientifically important amber mines

Hundreds of scientifically priceless fossils are extracted in horrendous conditions in Myanmar’s amber mines and smuggled over the border for sale in China

Bacteria fly into the Atacama Desert every afternoon on the wind

The Atacama Desert is one of the most hostile places on Earth, but new microbes arrive there every day on dust grains carried by the wind

Volcano behind huge eruption that kick-started mini ice age identified

A mini ice age that lasted 125 years started in the 6th century. Now we may have identified the volcano that kicked it all off

Fossils of the earliest animals seen outside China for the first time

How did animal life begin? A must-see exhibition in Oxford brings together the world's best fossils from the Cambrian explosion to tell the story

Super-deep diamonds contain traces of a pristine chunk of early Earth

Diamonds that formed twice as deep as normal contain evidence of a pristine hunk of original Earth rock hiding deep underground

Radioactive dust in Antarctic ice could help map interstellar clouds

Interstellar dust has been found in Antarctic snow samples. The discovery could provide a way of mapping the clouds of dust Earth has passed through in space

Earth's magnetic poles probably won't flip within our lifetime

Contrary to recent reports, new research suggests the next reversal of Earth’s magnetic pole won’t happen in a human lifetime and could take tens of thousands of years

Plate tectonics began nearly 2 billion years before we thought

Earth’s continents may have been shifting for 2.5 billion years, according to a study of ancient rocks that finds plate tectonics evolved far earlier than we thought

The Amazon rainforest depends on fires in Africa for a vital nutrient

We thought the Amazon got the essential nutrient phosphorus from Saharan dust. Now it appears it mainly comes from forest fires and people burning wood

Huge hidden canyon under Greenland ice sheet may have flowing water

A valley longer than the Grand Canyon hidden beneath the Greenland ice sheet may carry running water. How quickly it flows may affect how the ice melts

James Lovelock at 100: The creator of Gaia theory on humanity's future

The influential scientist talks about his Earth-as-superorganism hypothesis and predicts a new era for humanity, unfettered by the constraints of our bodies

Today's global warming is unparalleled in the past 2000 years

We now know that past periods when Earth cooled and warmed were only regional. The finding rebuffs the myth that today's planet-wide warming is a natural blip

New prime minister Boris Johnson’s climate change record

Boris Johnson has become the new prime minister of the UK after winning the Conservative party leadership campaign. Here's what Johnson has said and done about climate change

Earth's helium is running out and it has dire consequences for science

Helium's essential for party balloons, but also for MRI scanners, physics experiments and space rockets. But supplies on Earth are getting dangerously low, warns Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Ancient Earth reveals terrifying consequences of future global warming

Lessons from the deep past reveal that human-induced warming could create more extreme conditions than Earth has ever experienced

The mysterious diseases killing starfish, sea fans and shellfish

Ocean Outbreak unveils the little-known diseases wreaking havoc in the seas and the book does a first-rate job of inspiring readers at the same time

The north pole is moving and if it flips, life on Earth is in trouble

The magnetic north pole is racing towards Siberia - but why? It's a mystery with huge implications, and to solve it, we're building an explosive model of the planet's core

Want to stop climate change? Jared Diamond says nations need therapy

In his new book Upheaval, polymath Jared Diamond says nations need a special kind of therapy to solve big problems like climate change, Brexit and nuclear proliferation

The oceans are very slowly draining into the rock below Earth's crust

Ever since the breakup of the supercontinent Pangaea, sea water has been flowing deep into the planet, causing sea levels to fall over millions of years

Cannabis plant evolved super high (on the Tibetan Plateau)

An analysis of pollen suggests cannabis evolved on the Tibetan Plateau, not far from a cave that was frequented by our ancient Denisovan cousins

Could geoengineering really help us solve the climate crisis?

With increasing public concern over climate change, interest is turning to geoengineering again. Is it time to take a serious look at engineering our climate?

Underland is a profound journey into the mirror world of the dead

An emotional and intellectual voyage into an underground mythical world imagined by the Sami people reveals truths about our collective future

The hidden cities revealed by lasers

Through the jungle, airborne lasers have spotted ruins of long-lost ancient civilisations in Asia. Archaeologist Damian Evans reveals all.

Zombieland: The vast world of hidden microbes miles beneath your feet

No matter how deep we dig, life has always found a way to survive. The remarkable story of these impossible microbes can teach us about how life evolved

Extreme flooding leads to deaths in Indonesia and Mozambique

Dozens of people have died in Indonesia and Mozambique as a result of storms and flooding, possibly driven by climate change

Surprising ways the changing Earth shaped human evolution and society

From the development of our remarkable brains to the geographic divides in the way we vote, our shape-shifting planet has guided the path of humanity

Don’t miss: Earth from space, asteroid workouts and nature’s giants

Watch a new series charting our planet from above, read all about the biggest living things, fend off space rocks for fun, plus more picks for your diary

Climate change means nearly all glaciers in the Alps may disappear

A study of what will happen to glaciers in the Alps under various climate scenarios suggests they will almost completely disappear if we keep pumping out carbon dioxide

Antarctica team to search world's oldest ice for climate change clues

Scientists are setting out to drill for the world’s oldest ice, in a bid to shed light on a dramatic tipping point in the world’s climate 900,000 years ago

The Northern Lights make a mysterious noise and now we might know why

For 30 years, one man has been obsessed with the whisperings of the aurora borealis. His search for its origins may finally be over

Landslides have increased by 6000 per cent on an Arctic island

The landscape of Banks Island in the far north of Canada is being reshaped by global warming-triggered land slumps, and the situation is set to get much worse

We've discovered a massive dinosaur-era river delta under the sea

Some of the first dinosaurs may have lived and hunted on the largest delta plain ever discovered, which was 10 times the size of the Amazon river delta

Gaia rebooted: New version of idea explains how Earth evolved for life

The controversial Gaia hypothesis sees Earth as a superorganism adapted to be perfect for life. A weird type of evolution may finally show how that actually happens

Dead whale found with 40 kilograms of plastic in its stomach

A dead whale found in the Philippines with 40 kilograms of plastic inside its body is the latest example of the problem of plastic pollution

Don't miss: A chance for gamers to plot their own robot revolution

Check out new books charting the state of our planet, see a movie thriller with a quantum physics twist, and launch your own robot uprising against humankind

Scientists chasing waterfalls discovered something they aren't used to

We often think waterfalls indicate ancient tectonic or glacial activity – but it turns out they can form all by themselves without these external influences

Brexit, 10,000 BC: The untold story of how Britain first left Europe

Megafloods, broken backstops and retreating ice sheets combine in a geological epic: the dramatic story of Britain's protracted original exit from Europe

Dark matter secrets could lie buried in ancient rocks on Earth

Fossil traces hidden deep underground may solve the mystery of dark matter, the elusive substance that makes up 80 per cent of the universe

Don't panic about The Uninhabitable Earth, a new book predicting chaos

If you read a book painting the very worst-case scenarios about what global warming means for human life you could easily panic. Here’s why you shouldn’t

Dinosaur extinction lines up closely with timing of volcanic eruptions

Many people assume an asteroid triggered the mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs, but geologists say massive volcanic eruptions occurred at the same time

Coastal catastrophe looms larger as sea level forecasts creep upwards

Sea level rise estimates are moving upwards. There could be at least a 1.3 metre rise by 2100, which would spell disaster for coastal communities

How Earth's changing ecosystems may have driven human evolution

The most detailed ever look at Earth's prehistoric climate suggests many habitats changed in the past 800,000 years – and this may be why we evolved big brains

From the archives: Does dowsing really help you find water?

The ancient practice of water divining is still used across the world to locate water sources. Forty years ago, we wondered whether it might actually work

How the stunning Earthrise became the world’s most famous photograph

On Christmas Eve 1968, Apollo 8 became the first crewed spacecraft to circle the moon. Emerging from its dark side, one astronaut reached for his camera

Dan Holdsworth captures a vanishing landscape in a point-cloud

Armed with drones, helicopters and military-grade software, a British photographer has developed a new way to remember glaciers

Fossil blubber shows ichthyosaurs were warm blooded reptiles

A fossil so well preserved that its skin is still flexible is revealing much more about the marine reptiles called ichthyosaurs that swam in the sea during the age of dinosaurs

North Pole and Polar Worlds review – why Inuit don't worry about north

Exciting tales of heroic polar explorers make a great exhibition, but a book on the North Pole shows that times are too changed not to seek deeper narratives

Shallow Mexican seabed traps tsunamis so they strike land repeatedly

A tsunami kept pinging back and forth for three days after being triggered by the 8 September 2017 Mexico earthquake, posing even more risk to human life

Anthropocene review – tough film makes case for human-created epoch

From Kenyan children picking through plastic waste to swathes of Germany laid waste for coal mining, a film shows why we are in a new, human-created epoch

Timefulness review – our impulsive and pugnacious age needs geology

If you want to save Earth, argues a new book, quit sitting around in the present hoping for the best and learn to think really long term, like a geologist

Huge 30-kilometre wide meteorite crater found under Greenland glacier

Radar surveys have revealed a crater left when a kilometre-wide asteroid hit Greenland – and the impact could explain a climate mystery

Why Earth's water could be older than Earth itself

How did water survive Earth's searingly hot birth? A radical new answer turns planetary history on its head – and could revolutionise the search for alien life

Quakes prompt UK fracking operations to pause several times

A rash of recent earthquakes in Lancashire, UK has prompted fracking operations to halt temporarily on six separate occasions

Weird rocks in Australia are a missing piece of the Grand Canyon

Some rocks in Tasmania, Australia, look out of place. Now an analysis suggests they were once part of the rocks that form the Grand Canyon in the US

Supercharged geothermal energy could power the planet

The next generation of geothermal plants will unlock more of Earth's bountiful, underground energy and could allow the technology to finally fulfil its promise

Huge fossil-like scars of the Anthropocene mark walls of Russian mine

Vast machines have left the subterranean world of a potash mine in the Urals with ammonite-like whorls, photographed for a project to highlight lasting human impacts on the planet.

Falling rocks can explode so hard that only nuclear weapons beat them

If big rocks fall far enough they can explode with more energy than any non-nuclear bomb – and the ensuing shockwave can snap large trees half a kilometre away

Front-runner in Brazil’s election wants to pull out of climate treaty

The far-right winner of the first round of Brazil's presidential election wants to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and cut down the Amazon rainforest

Dramatic pictures of the storm damage from Florence and Mangkhut

Extreme storms Hurricane Florence and Typhoon Mangkhut have caused destruction and taken lives across the globe this week, forcing millions to evacuate their homes

Earliest known animal was a half-billion-year-old underwater blob

The weird ‘Ediacaran’ fossils have stumped scientists for decades - now fatty molecules found inside some of them confirm they are the most ancient animals we know

Photography: heating up the climate campaign

At Unseen Amsterdam, striking images of a melting glacier are stirring visitors to action

Global warming is melting glaciers and that means more tsunamis

Mountainsides are becoming less stable as glaciers retreat, leading to more landslides that can trigger massive - but localised - tsunamis

Special report: The new megaprojects changing the face of our planet

Across the world, new roads, railways, dams and power lines are encroaching on previously virgin territory – with untold consequences for Earth’s wildlife

Biodiversity in crisis: Earth’s giant construction projects mapped out

The planet’s largest areas of undisturbed wilderness in Siberia and tropical rainforests are under threat from huge waves of development. Here’s what it looks like

How a janitor wowed Darwin by solving the ice age mystery

Self-educated ice sage James Croll cracked the conundrum of why Earth periodically freezes over. He was feted in his time, so why did the world forget him?

New world map is a more accurate Earth and shows Africa's full size

The “Equal Earth” projection shows the true area of continents such as Africa without greatly distorting their shapes and is already being adopted by NASA

NASA’s deep-space mission to a $10 quintillion all-metal world

The unique metal asteroid Psyche may be a space miner's fantasy – but there are better reasons to want to visit it, says mission leader Lindy Elkins-Tanton

Life may have begun on Earth 100 million years earlier than we thought

A new timeline of early evolution suggests life on Earth began 100 million years earlier than we thought, while meteorites were still pummelling the planet

Corals on old North Sea oil rigs could help natural reefs recover

Not only are deep-sea coral ecosystems thriving on oil and gas rigs in the North Sea, their larvae may be helping repopulate damaged natural reefs

Asteroid strike may have forged the oldest rocks ever found on Earth

The oldest rocks ever found are over four billion years old and we don’t know how they formed – but a massive asteroid bombardment may be responsible

The Meg: Real Megalodon shark would eat Jason Statham for breakfast

Jason Statham’s new film The Meg looks gloriously silly and good luck to it, but it got us thinking about what its giant prehistoric shark was really like and why it died out

Don’t give up, we can survive even a Hothouse Earth

Bad news on the climate should lead neither to despair nor unfounded optimism. Instead, we need to roll up our sleeves and prepare for life on a drastically changing planet

California's worst wildfire in history is now the size of Los Angeles

Firefighters are battling high winds and extreme heat as they try to slow the spread of the biggest wildfire ever recorded in California

Global warming may become unstoppable even if we stick to Paris target

There could be a planetary threshold beyond which the earth will keep warming even if we stop pumping out more fossil fuels - the so-called 'Hothouse Earth' scenario

A weird Pacific cycle could make the Arctic warm up even faster

The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is cyclical, switching from warm to cold phases every 20 years or so. When it switches again it could speed up Arctic warming

Did ancient Mayan civilisation collapse because of a sudden drought?

We have the best evidence yet that there was a prolonged drought at the time of the demise of the classic Mayan civilisation - and could explain why it collapsed

Extreme heat: Why its origins could lie deep in the Atlantic

Swathes of the northern hemisphere are smashing temperature records. Could it be because we’ve broken the ocean currents that stabilise our weather?

Earth Overshoot Day – what to make of this moment of reckoning?

Earth Overshoot Day is a hugely popular way to highlight our global environmental impact. Here are two views on it...

Mass graves found on Scottish islands may be ancient tsunami victims

A rare tsunami may have struck the islands of Shetland and Orkney off the UK’s north coast 5500 years ago, killing dozens of people who had to be hastily buried

Weird 'wind drought' means Britain's turbines are at a standstill

Britain is experiencing a prolonged “wind drought” that has slowed or halted the blades on turbines around the country

Stone Age bakers made first bread thousands of years before farming

Evidence of the first early bread suggests humans were baking with wheat and oats thousands of years before they began farming the cereals

Globetrotting film sends scientists on "relay race" of inquiry

A documentary called The Most Unknown uses a global game of science “tag” as a cute way to frame humanity’s big questions – but it can all get a bit earnest

Record temperatures mean ancient forts become visible in fields

When the ground is baked by days of sun, markings that indicate the location of ancient settlements begin to emerge in the parched terrain

The tiny oasis spared wrath of Hawaii's volcano

A tiny stretch of road has escaped the lava flows from the latest eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, which is still menacing a corner of Big Island two months after it began

UK is not on track to meet its own climate targets, says report

The UK is not on course to meet its own targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the 2020s and 2030s, says the UK’s Climate Change Committee

Fire crews prepare 'heavy attack' on massive moorland wildfire

Pockets of fire continue to burn across a six-kilometre area of Saddleworth Moor today as 50 firefighters worked to contain the situation

Illegal Chinese refrigerator factories are selling banned CFCs

Last month it was revealed that someone somewhere was still manufacturing banned CFCs. Now it appears that illegal factories in China are the source

Capitalism broke the planet. Here’s how it’s going to fix things

The environment and high finance are strange bedfellows – but a new movement is raising billions to fight climate change. A breakthrough – or green hogwash?

An entire Arctic ecosystem could vanish within the next decade

The Barents Sea, home to a diverse array of wildlife, could be completely gone in just a few years – perhaps the most dramatic impact of climate change yet seen

Cambridge’s Museum of Zoology: Bobby the whale and Attenborough

Bobby the fin whale presides over the reopening of Cambridge University’s zoology museum – with David Attenborough putting the final specimen in place

Cocaine in the water makes eels hyperactive and damages muscles

There are low levels of cocaine and other drugs in many rivers, and lab studies suggest that European eels are suffering muscle damage as a result

The first Americans had pet dogs 1000 years earlier than thought

There were domestic dogs in North America 10,200 years ago, according to a re-examination of an ancient dog skeleton that looks like a small English setter