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Articles written by Seth Borenstein

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New theory: Earth's longer days kick-started oxygen growth

Scientists have a new idea for how Earth got its oxygen: It's because the planet slowed down and days got longer. A study published Monday proposes and puts to the test the theory that longer, continuous daylight kick-started weird bacteria into prod...

 

Bug experts seeking new name for destructive gypsy moths

Bug experts are dropping the common name of a destructive insect because it's considered an ethnic slur: the gypsy moth. The Entomological Society of America, which oversees the common names of bugs, is getting rid of the common name of that critter...

 

Can ET see us? Study finds many stars with prime Earth view

Feeling like you are being watched? It could be from a lot farther away than you think. Astronomers took a technique used to look for life on other planets and flipped it around — so instead of looking to see what's out there, they tried to see...

 

Ice shelf protecting Antarctic glacier is breaking up faster

A critical Antarctic glacier is looking more vulnerable as satellite images show the ice shelf that blocks it from collapsing into the sea is breaking up much faster than before and spawning huge icebergs, a new study says. The Pine Island Glacier's...

 

Carbon dioxide levels hit 50% higher than preindustrial time

The annual peak of global heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air has reached another dangerous milestone: 50% higher than when the industrial age began. And the average rate of increase is faster than ever, scientists reported Monday. The National...

 

Study blames climate change for 37% of global heat deaths

More than one-third of the world's heat deaths each year are due directly to global warming, according to the latest study to calculate the human cost of climate change. But scientists say that's only a sliver of climate's overall toll — even more...

 

Grim western fire season starts much drier than record 2020

As bad as last year's record-shattering fire season was, the western U.S. starts this year's in even worse shape. The soil in the West is record dry for this time of year. In much of the region, plants that fuel fires are also the driest scientists...

 

Study: Climate change added $8 billion to Sandy's damages

Climate change-triggered sea level rise added $8 billion in damage during 2012's Superstorm Sandy, one of nation's costliest weather disasters, a new study said. During Sandy — a late fall freak combination of a hurricane and other storms that...

 

Satellites show world's glaciers melting faster than ever

Glaciers are melting faster, losing 31% more snow and ice per year than they did 15 years earlier, according to three-dimensional satellite measurements of all the world's mountain glaciers. Scientists blame human-caused climate change. Using 20 year...

 

Forecast for spring: Nasty drought worsens for much of US

With nearly two-thirds of the United States abnormally dry or worse, the government's spring forecast offers little hope for relief, especially in the West where a devastating megadrought has taken root and worsened. Weather service and agriculture...

 

Back in Paris pact, US faces tougher climate steps ahead

WASHINGTON (AP) — World leaders welcomed the United States' official return to the Paris climate accord Friday, but politically trickier steps lie just ahead for President Joe Biden, including setting a tough national target in coming months for...

 

Scientists decry death by 1,000 cuts for world's insects

The world's vital insect kingdom is undergoing "death by a thousand cuts," the world's top bug experts said. Climate change, insecticides, herbicides, light pollution, invasive species and changes in agriculture and land use are causing Earth to...

 

Study: Warming already baked in will blow past climate goals

The amount of baked-in global warming, from carbon pollution already in the air, is enough to blow past international agreed upon goals to limit climate change, a new study finds. But it's not game over because, while that amount of warming may be...

 

World carbon dioxide emissions drop 7% in pandemic-hit 2020

A locked-down pandemic-struck world cut its carbon dioxide emissions this year by 7%, the biggest drop ever, new preliminary figures show. The Global Carbon Project, an authoritative group of dozens of international scientists who track emissions,...

 

Study: Fix to food climate problem doesn't require veganism

The world likely can't keep global warming to a relatively safe minimum unless we change how we grow, eat and throw away our food, but we don't need to all go vegan, a new study says. Researchers looked at five types of broad fixes to the food...

 

US vote to shape how world warms as climate pact exit looms

What happens on election day will to some degree determine how much hotter and nastier the world's climate will likely get, experts say. The day after the presidential election, the United States formally leaves the 2015 Paris agreement to fight...

 

Study: 1 to 2 million tons of US plastic trash go astray

More than a million tons a year of America's plastic trash isn't ending up where it should. The equivalent of as many as 1,300 plastic grocery bags per person is landing in places such as oceans and roadways, according to a new study of U.S. plastic...

 

Forecasters: Drought more likely than blizzards this winter

Don't expect much of a winter wallop this year, except for the pain of worsening drought, U.S. government forecasters said Thursday. Two-thirds of the United States should get a warmer than normal winter, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric...

 

Earth breaks September heat record, may reach warmest year

Earth sweltered to a record hot September last month, with U.S. climate officials saying there's nearly a two-to-one chance that 2020 will end up as the globe's hottest year on record. Boosted by human-caused climate change, global temperatures avera...

 

World isn't meeting biodiversity goals, UN report finds

A decade-long global effort to save Earth's disappearing species and declining ecosystems has mostly stumbled, with fragile habitats like coral reefs and tropical forests in more trouble than ever, researchers said in a report Tuesday. In 2010, more...

 

Astronomers see possible hints of life in Venus's clouds

Astronomers have found a potential sign of life high in the atmosphere of neighboring Venus: hints there may be bizarre microbes living in the sulfuric acid-laden clouds of the hothouse planet. Two telescopes in Hawaii and Chile spotted in the thick...

 

Think 2020's disasters are wild? Experts see worse in future

A record amount of California is burning, spurred by a nearly 20-year mega-drought. To the north, parts of Oregon that don't usually catch fire are in flames. Meanwhile, the Atlantic's 16th and 17th named tropical storms are swirling, a record...

 

2 tropical storms heading for double blow to US Gulf Coast

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Two tropical storms advanced across the Caribbean on Saturday night as potentially historic threats to the U.S. Gulf Coast, one dumping rain on Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands while the other was pushing through the...

 

Residents flee as Gulf Coast sees possible tandem hurricanes

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Gulf Coast braced Sunday for a potentially devastating hit from twin hurricanes as two strong storms swirled toward the U.S from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Officials feared a history-making onslaught of...

 

Record melt: Greenland lost 586 billion tons of ice in 2019

Greenland lost a record amount of ice during an extra warm 2019, with the melt massive enough to cover California in more than four feet (1.25 meters) of water, a new study said. After two years when summer ice melt had been minimal, last summer...

 

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