Climate

A pack of two adult wolves and five pups was recently spotted near Mt. Shasta, apparently new arrivals from Oregon. Photo: California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

How Climate Influences Wolf Recovery in California

Some evidence suggests that the glaciers on Mt. Shasta might have something to do with the location of a newly-spotted wolf pack in northern California.

by |August 26, 2015
Scientists documented the first annual tree rings in a native species on Hawai'i in māmane found on the slopes of Mauna Kea. Photo: Scot Nelson/CC-BY-SA-2.0

Tree Rings on Hawai’i Could Hold New Knowledge About El Niño

Annual tree rings are a rare find in the tropical islands of the eastern Pacific. The new discovery of trees with annual rings on a Hawaiian volcano could provide new climate data from a part of the world where much of the variability of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation originates.

by |August 21, 2015
Blue chromis swim over pavona coral in French Polynesia. Photo: Michele Westmoorland.

Can We Save Coral Reefs?

We are losing coral reefs at an alarming rate and scientists believe that with business as usual they will likely be gone by the end of the century. However, better local management, coupled with new research on coral reef resilience and adaptability, may help buy some time for these indispensable ecosystems.

by |August 17, 2015

Corals and Climate Change

Corals are already facing a host of stressors—from pollution and overfishing to tourism and coastal development—but climate change puts corals at risk from rising temperatures and ocean acidification. The decline of coral reefs will have devastating consequences for the ocean, and for us.

Ming paper fig 1 crop

What the World Thinks of Climate Change

We all know that climate change can generate great debate in the United States. But what about the rest of the world?

by |July 27, 2015
Iceberg off Antarctica. Photo: NOAA

A Dire Warning on Rapid Climate Change

Sea level rise from melting ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland threatens catastrophe for coastal cities within decades unless strong measures are taken to reduce CO2 emissions from the use of fossil fuels, argues climate scientist James Hansen.

by |July 24, 2015
A cluster of towering cumulus clouds off the coast of El Salvador. The photograph was taken on May 31, 2002, from the International Space Station. Image courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center, at http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov [Photo ID ISS004-E-12656]

Spontaneous Clumping of Tropical Clouds

If you take a look at nearly any satellite image of clouds in the tropics, you’ll notice that the clouds tend to be organized into clusters. One specific type of cloud organization called “self-aggregation.” Self-aggregation is the tendency of tropical clouds to spontaneously clump together, solely due to interactions between the clouds and the surrounding environment.

by |July 23, 2015
Exhuma, Bahamas, geology

Head for the Hills

While we spent much of our time examining corals and swamps, studying sea level and storms, we became fascinated by a simple question: How did the hills of Exuma form?

by |July 21, 2015
jun_15_sst_anom CROP

The Extreme Pacific Climate Now

The climate over the tropical Pacific is in an extreme state at the moment. That explains some of the extreme anomalies affecting the United States right now. It also gives us a window through which we can glimpse how even more dramatic and long-term climates of the distant past might have worked.

by |July 14, 2015
Svalbard Seed Vault

Don’t Worry About Doomsday, Botanists Have a Plan

A new initiative of the Smithsonian Institution is building a frozen library cataloging snippets of plant tissue from every species on the planet.

by |July 10, 2015