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Saturday, January 23, 2021
Plastic drinking water pipes exposed to high heat can leak hazardous chemicals

Plastic drinking water pipes exposed to high heat can leak hazardous...

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In August, a massive wildfire tore through the San Lorenzo Valley north of Santa Cruz, Calif., destroying almost 1,500 structures and exposing many others to extreme heat. Before the fire was even out, lab tests revealed benzene levels as high as 9.1 parts per billion in residential water samples — nine times higher than the…
Towering fire-fueled thunderclouds can spew as many aerosols as volcanic eruptions

Towering fire-fueled thunderclouds can spew as many aerosols as volcanic eruptions

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A massive tower of smoke generated by Australian wildfires in late 2019 set a new record for the loftiest and largest fire-spawned thunderstorms ever measured. It also may represent a new class of volcanic-scale “pyrocumulonimbus” events, scientists said in an online news conference December 11 at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting. A particularly intense…
In the past 15 years, climate change has transformed the Arctic

In the past 15 years, climate change has transformed the Arctic

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Fifteen years of grading warming’s impact on the Arctic has made one thing abundantly clear: Climate change has drastically altered the Arctic in that short time period. Breaking unfortunate records is “like whack-a-mole,” says Jackie Richter-Menge, a climate scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and an editor of the 2020 Arctic Report Card, released…
An enormous supervolcano may be hiding under Alaskan islands

An enormous supervolcano may be hiding under Alaskan islands

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A mysterious, previously undiscovered supervolcano may be lurking beneath Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. A new study suggests a wide crater, created when the supervolcano exploded, connects at least four existing volcanoes. It’s so big that if the supervolcano erupted during the last few thousand years, it could have disrupted civilizations around the world, says John Power,…
50 years ago, scientists named Earth’s magnetic field as a suspect in extinctions

50 years ago, scientists named Earth’s magnetic field as a suspect...

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Effects of Earth’s magnetic field — Science News, November 21, 1970 Earth’s magnetic field has frequently reversed at intervals of 1 million to 100 million years. A few scientists now suspect that these reversals may have had drastic effects on terrestrial life.… During the past 2.5 million years, eight species of one-cell marine animals called…
Technology and natural hazards clash to create ‘natech’ disasters

Technology and natural hazards clash to create ‘natech’ disasters

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In August, a dry lightning storm over California sparked an intense wildfire that raged through communities in the Santa Cruz mountains. After the CZU Lightning Complex Fire was contained, local officials advised some residents returning to their homes to not use the drinking water. Benzene, a known carcinogen, had been detected in the water supply.…
STEVE may be even less like typical auroras than scientists thought

STEVE may be even less like typical auroras than scientists thought

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The atmospheric light show nicknamed STEVE may be even weirder than skywatchers thought. STEVE, short for Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, is a sky glow that appears south of the northern lights (SN: 3/15/18). STEVE’s main feature is a mauve band of light formed by a stream of plasma flowing westward through the atmosphere —…
With Theta, 2020 sets the record for most named Atlantic storms

With Theta, 2020 sets the record for most named Atlantic storms

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It’s official: 2020 now has the most named storms ever recorded in the Atlantic in a single year. On November 9, a tropical disturbance brewing in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean gained enough strength to become a subtropical storm. With that, Theta became the year’s 29th named storm, topping the 28 that formed in 2005. With…
50 years ago, scientists were looking for ways to predict earthquakes

50 years ago, scientists were looking for ways to predict earthquakes

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Warnings from the wells — Science News, October 10, 1970 Seismologists are studying ways to predict the occurrence of earthquakes…. One possibility … is to monitor subterranean fluid pressures.… Fluctuations in the production rates of oil, gas and water wells are often associated with earthquakes, and sometimes precede them soon enough to provide some warning.…
How to Participate in World Clean-Up Day

How to Participate in World Clean-Up Day

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Photo: Keely Deuschle (Shutterstock)Saturday is World Clean-Up Day, and although we shouldn’t need a specific day designated to encouraging us to pick up the litter in our communities, 2020 has gifted us with a lot of other things to worry about. So not only is a reminder to pick up some garbage at the park…

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