science

New analysis from the World Health Organization (WHO) links exposure to air pollution to roughly 7 million deaths annually. The report confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest environmental health risk. It estimates 4.3 million people died in 2012—mainly due to cooking inside with coal or wood stoves. Another 3.7 million died from outdoor pollution, including...

A seventh grader sitting at the computer control desk at an observatory in a small Vermont town comments to her fellow student: “I can’t believe I am in charge of this telescope!” The 17-inch PlaneWave reflecting telescope, complete with its supporting state-of-the-art equipment and robotic software, was displaying images of a galaxy 2.3 million light-years...

Last year, carbon dioxide briefly passed the 400 parts per million milestone. Now, says Ralph Keeling of the Scripps Institution for Oceanography, we’re on track to “see values dwelling over 400 in April and May. It’s just a matter of time before it stays over 400 forever.” This pronouncement comes the same week the American Association for the...

Modern-day sloths are tree dwellers, only occasionally venturing down to the ground. But about five to eight million years ago, five sloth species ventured into the sea. Now, new research suggests that these ancient animals went much further into the water than we ever knew. Instead of just living near the ocean and making brief...

Every week, embark with host Boyd Matson on an exploration of the latest discoveries and interviews with some of the most fascinating people on the planet, on National Geographic Weekend. Please check listings near you to find the best way to listen to National Geographic Weekend on radio, or listen below! Hour 1 – Having a partner can help competitors survive...

President Barack Obama unveiled his 2015 budget proposal Tuesday, outlining his spending and policy priorities for the upcoming year. In it, President Obama earmarked funding for both his Climate Action Plan and Climate Resiliency Fund. The budget for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—the agency that released stricter fuel standards this week—represented a $309 million decrease from the current fiscal year budget. The nearly $8 billion...

By Vera Agostini, Senior Marine Scientist, The Nature Conservancy Major hurricanes like Sandy (New Jersey in 2012) and Ivan (Eastern Caribbean in 2004) and Typhoon Haiyan (the Philippines 2013) make global headlines as they hit coastal communities, appropriately drawing attention to the human, financial, and community losses. While some smaller communities may not make global...

One of the world’s largest fishes gets a super-size sanctuary thanks to a decision by the Indonesian government to ban fishing for manta rays within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The move, hailed by conservation organizations and researchers, has resulted in the world’s largest protected area for these migratory animals. Indonesia’s EEZ stretches for...

Fresh snow crackles under my feet as I step out of the airplane onto the cluster of Norwegian islands called Svalbard. It´s slightly past noon but still I am looking up at a black sky full of stars and dancing Northern lights. It is so dark that I can hardly see the outlines of the...

A toad from the Andes mountains that had long been thought extinct and was known only from a single museum specimen collected in 1970 has resurfaced in Ecuador. After the initial discovery of the Tandayapa Andean toad in Ecuador’s Pichincha Province (map) more than four decades ago, scientists searched time and again for more of...

A regular day at the beach led to a surprising scientific discovery for one family in Australia last month—local resident Richard Lim and his family spotted a shockingly large jellyfish at a beach in Howden, a small town in Tasmania. The family did what anyone would do—take photos, of course—but they also shared the images...

Talk about a high-altitude buzz. Bumblebees may be capable of scaling Earth’s tallest peaks, flying higher than Mount Everest, according to new research. It’s difficult for most insects and birds to fly at extremely high altitudes where the air is thin and oxygen is scarce. Flapping wings push against the air to generate lift, and...

While parts of the U.S. bundle up for extreme winter weather, the animals on American Prairie Reserve (APR) have enjoyed several warm weeks in January. Since my last trip to the Reserve earlier this month, our staff and volunteer adventure scientists have spotted bison, mule deer, and large groups of pronghorn moving with ease across the...

For several years now, I have been using electronic tagging to study the movements and behaviors of sharks. You can find out more about this research HERE and watch a video HERE.   I previously wrote about the state of electronic tagging and tracking marine animals. However, recently there have been a lot of myths,...

Yes folks, it’s happened. Someone has finally combined peanut butter and jellyfish for some very interesting results. Staff at the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas, wanted to see what would happen if they fed their young moon jellies a slurry of seawater and peanut butter. “Peanuts in general have quite a bit...