From soybeans and sunflowers in North Dakota to cotton and winter wheat in Texas, large stretches of croplands in the U.S. Great Plains rely exclusively on rain. Those croplands are likely to face longer dry spells by mid-century.
Strong evidence suggests that mountain areas are warming more quickly than lower elevations—with serious consequences for water supplies. But historical weather observations from mountain ranges are limited, leaving scientists with plenty of questions.
In northern Alaska, ponds are shrinking and disappearing as the frozen ground beneath them thaws. The loss may have serious consequences for migratory birds and the subsistence hunters that depend on them.
After a surprisingly rough summer for coral reefs in 2014, NOAA scientists are warning that warm ocean temperatures in the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans could set the stage for a global outbreak of coral bleaching—the loss of corals’ food-producing algae—in 2015.
Restoring a healthy balance between sea otters and their sea urchin prey comes with a modest but meaningful bonus: halting the overgrazing of kelp forests and increasing their ability to remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Already a threat to fish, mussels, and other marine creatures, low-oxygen “dead zones” are expected to increase in both size and number as greenhouse gas concentrations and global temperatures continue to rise.
Fish nursery. Bird sanctuary. Storm surge blocker. Maryland’s Blackwater Marsh Wildlife Refuge is all those things and more. And it could be completely underwater by the end of this century. A team of ecologists and climate experts is determined to find and conserve migration corridors for the critical wetland ecosystem.
April snow extent was record low across Europe and Asia, and in June, the entire Northern Hemisphere was below average for the tenth year in a row. Spring snow is disappearing even more rapidly than Arctic sea ice in summer.