These Stunning 3D Images Reveal How a Massive Greenland Glacier Has Changed

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These Stunning 3D Images Reveal How a Massive Greenland Glacier Has Changed

Watching a glacier

Credit: Jefferson Beck/NASA Goddard

A History of Global Warming, In Just 35 Seconds

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A History of Global Warming, In Just 35 Seconds

This visualization shows the rhythm of global warming for countries around the world.

Credit: climatecentraldotorg/YouTube

Last year, there was the temperature spiral. This year, it’s the temperature circle that’s making the trend of global warming crystal clear.

A new video shows the rhythm of global warming for countries around the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Bars representing each country’s annual average temperature anomaly pulse up and down. It’s like watching a heartbeat on a monitor.

Rather than staying steady like a normal heartbeat, it’s clear that temperatures for more than 100 countries are climbing ever higher on the back of increasing carbon pollution. While there are individual variations in how hot any year is, the signal of climate change is unmistakable.

“There are no single countries that clearly stand out from the graph,” saidAntti Lipponen, a physicist at the Finnish Meteorological Institute who made the graphic. “The warming really is global, not local.”

While the temperature spiral showed the global average temperature, Lipponen’s animation uses NASA data to show individual countries separated by regions. The format invites you to look for your country or the place you took your vacation last year.

But step back to look at the graphic as a whole and it’s clear we’re all in this together. No country is immune from rising temperatures, let alone the other impacts of climate change.

It’s also clear that global warming is accelerating. In the past three decades (which starts around the 14-second mark in the video), the bars start pushing further and further from the center. Cooler-than-normal years start to become more rare and by the 1990s, they’ve almost disappeared completely.

The past three years have been the hottest ones ever recorded. A number of countries were more than 2 degrees Celsius warmer than the 1951-1980 baseline used in the graphic. That puts them well above the warming limitenshrined in the Paris Agreement, serving as a warning of how fast we’re pushing into new territory.

The world itself touched 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels for a few months in 2016. If global warming permanently crosses that threshold, it will likely cause small island states to be swallowed by the sea, coral to die and heat waves to become more common and severe.

Those numbers alone are abstract, though. Even plotted on a line graph, they fail to fully convey the trajectory we’re on.

Lipponen said he made the animation because he wanted a “nice looking, clear, and informative” way to convey that information in a way people can understand. Mission accomplished.

Heartwarming Photos Show a Lion Nursing an Orphaned Leopard Cub

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Heartwarming Photos Show a Lion Nursing an Orphaned Leopard Cub

Photo Courtesy of Joop Van Der Linde / Ndutu Safari Lodge / KopeLion

Earlier this week, a remarkable scene played out at Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conservation Area. An orphaned leopard cub, desperate for a meal, approached a lioness who happened to be lactating. It’s a rare—and extremely precious—example of cross-species nursing in the wild.

A guest staying at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area snapped these photos and shared them with Panthera, an organization devoted to big cat conservation. The pics were taken on Tuesday, and they show a five-year-old lioness nursing a leopard cub estimated to be just three weeks old. Incredibly, the lioness, named Nosikitok, seemed to be okay with the tiny interloper.

“This is a truly unique case,” noted Luke Hunter, the president of Panthera, at the organization’s blog. “I know of no other example of inter-species adoption or nursing like this among big cats in the wild. This lioness is known to have recently given birth to her own cubs, which is a critical factor. She is physiologically primed to take care of baby cats, and the little leopard fits the bill—it is almost exactly the age of her own cubs and physically very similar to them.”

Hunter says Nosikitok, who’s wearing a GPS collar for tracking purposes, wouldn’t be nursing the cub if she “wasn’t already awash with a ferocious maternal drive,” which he says is typical of lionesses.

“Even so, there has never been another case like it, and why it has occurred now is mystifying. It is quite possible she has lost her own cubs, and found the leopard cub in her bereaved state when she would be particularly vulnerable,” he wrote.

It seems like a match made in heaven, except that it probably isn’t. The leopard cub’s future prospects look bleak, according to Hunter. “The natural odds are stacked against this little fellow,” he told AP, saying the cub will likely be killed by other lions who don’t recognize it as one of their own. And in fact, the cub was nowhere to be seen the day after the pictures were taken.

Cross-species nursing among mammals is rare, but it does happen. Examples includesperm whales who adopted a deformed dolphin, a dog who nursed a baby squirrel, apes who treat cats like babies, and a domestic cat that adopted a trio of bobcat kittens.

“In order for the [cross-species] relationship to be sustained, I believe both parties will need to benefit in some way,” said Jill Goldman, an applied animal behaviorist, in aninterview with National Geographic. “How we define benefit is another matter. Social companionship in some cases may actually be enough of a benefit so long as it is not outweighed by competition [or] threat.”

In this case, an orphaned cub being accepted by a potentially grieving lioness, it sure seems possible there’s some “mutual benefit” going on.

[Panthera, Associated Press]

Giant Sea Monster Washes On Shore Because World Is Ending

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Giant Sea Monster Washes On Shore Because World Is Ending

Image: YouTube/Patasiwa Kumbang Amalatu

While many of us envisioned the world going out in a wicked blaze of glory, sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the way things will go. Instead, we have to settle for Ted Cruz, the other horsemen of the apocalypse, and this massive beast that just washed up on the shore of Indonesia’s Maluku province.

In a series of unnerving YouTube videos, local Patasiwa Kumbang Amalatu has detailed the decay of what looks like a liopleurodon wrapped in very old skin. In one of the videos, Amalatu postulates that this is a humpback whale covered in its own decomposing flesh, according to Vice.

“This is a humpback whale,” he said. “These aren’t tusks. This is its mouth, but it’s covered with decomposed skin.”

A Facebook video posted by the Indonesian army, meanwhile, declares the rotting sea creature to be a giant squid. But a museum officer at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum agreed with Amalatu, telling Mashable that the carcass is probably a baleen whale.

In another video, ostensibly taken later, the skin-beast looks darker and more decayed. Obviously, it’s nightmare fuel:

While there’s no official confirmation on what this thing is or who’s going to take it out of the water, one thing’s for sure: as signs of the End Times go, it can’t be worse than this.

[Vice, Mashable]

10 Intriguing Finds Uncovered By Stormy Weather

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10 Intriguing Finds Uncovered By Stormy Weather


Sometimes, the stripping forces of nature remind us how much incredible stuff is still out there. Whether artifacts are deeply under sand or sea or sitting shallow, wild weather can reveal them in one powerful sweep. On occasion, storms raze the landscape and unmask rare, bizarre, or historical finds, saving archaeologists and fossil hunters a lot of time and funds.

10World War II Fat


Photo credit: Scottish Natural Heritage via LiveScience

For decades, lard from a World War II shipwreck has appeared on the beach after heavy storms at St. Cyrus, Scotland. Most recently, four chunks washed up, still retaining the barrel shapes of their long-gone wooden kegs.

The odd war relics started appearing during World War II after a merchant ship was bombed and sunk nearby. It’s believed that the wreck systematically breaks up with each storm, releasing a little bit more of its fatty cargo.

Locals are well familiar with the sight and claim that the fat is good enough to use despite being crusted with barnacles. The large lumps were a godsend during the war when lard was unavailable to most people.


9Baile Sear


Photo credit: The Megalithic Portal

In 2005, a violent storm hit Scotland. Tragically, it killed five members of the same family on Benbecula, but it also swept clean ruins that had been hiding for 2,000 years. Residents have always accepted that there was something old on the shores of Baile Sear, but the cobbles and sand obscured the remains too much to allow identification.

After the storm, people were stunned to find the structures just standing there on the beach. Fearing that the unknown beach ruins might get destroyed in another powerful storm, archaeologists moved in quickly. They identified the site as two roundhouses belonging to the Iron Age.

8Alabama Shipwreck


Photo credit: The Huffington Post

Revealed bit by bit by three different hurricanes, an Alabama ship hull was finally picked clean when Hurricane Isaac hit the coast. With sad-looking bare ribs, the remaining skeleton doesn’t look like much.

However, there are two mysteries swirling around the sagging ship. The first is her identity. Local historians believe that she is a World War I schooner named the Rachel. Others believe that she’s an unknown vessel from before the Civil War.

But if she is the Rachel, then a second mystery can be considered. What exactly was her cargo? She was built to carry lumber, but she operated during Prohibition.

Constructed during the war, the three-mast, 45-meter-long (150 ft) wooden ship was destroyed during a stormy voyage in 1923. Her crew burned her onshore after the cargo (rumored to be illegal booze) was removed.


7The Connacht Storms


Photo credit: The Irish Times

Storms mauled the Irish coastline of Connacht in 2014, resulting in an archaeological tragedy with a silver lining. Valuable historical treasures were damaged or lost while intriguing new ones were unearthed. Two graveyards, which are part of a medieval monastery found in the 1990s, creepily came to the surface. Other discoveries included sunken houses from the 18th and 19th centuries and a 6,000-year-old Neolithic bog.

In this case, however, nature also took away. Middens are shell heaps that are basically ancient kitchen waste. They give us clues about what our ancestors ate and what their lifestyles were like. All the coastal midden deposits from Galway Bay to Dog’s Bay were lost, including the most ancient site dating back to the late Mesolithic period.

6World War II Bombs


Photo credit: Daily Mail

In 2014, unusually heavy storms in the UK caused the flooding of the Thames. It also revealed a sinister scene when tides and winds uncovered the location of 244 World War II bombs. Many of them still live, they littered the one location where travel guides tell you to go and have fun—the beach.

Some were German, and others were from British training sessions. Buried for a long time, the bombs started appearing around mid-December when the weather went werewolf. Nearly every day, phone calls alerted the Royal Navy’s Southern Dive Unit of the discovery of another bomb.

The unit safely disposed of the shells, but there could still be many out there. The previous year, another 108 were removed from British beaches for the public’s safety. The really chilling part is that the longer they remain live under the sand, the more unstable these literal time bombs become.

5Mystery Mill


Photo credit:

A historical piece of South Carolina’s past came to light after floods ravaged Richland County. State archaeologists fell out of the woodwork to examine timber beams and steel nails discovered after the waters withdrew. The discovery is exciting because these are the first real clues to emerge at a known archaeological site.

Until the centuries-old wood was found, the creek was believed to be the location of Garner’s Mill. But the mill is a hazy part of the county’s past. Experts don’t know what it produced, and the early 18th-century community to which it belonged is also a mystery.

The 1-ton beams were uncovered after violent flooding forced them from their resting place under the soil. As to their purpose, they could have been a plank road, one that led as far as Winnsboro or to a long-gone bridge.


4Valuable Ichthyosaur


Photo credit: BBC News

Christmas in Dorset offered a rare gift to fossil hunters. The bones of an ichthyosaur uncovered during a coastal storm in 2014 proved to be exceptional. Depending on how you view it, the ichthyosaur can be adorable or scary.

Reaching a size of 1.5 meters (5 ft), it resembled a dolphin but was actually a predatory marine reptile. Complete remains for this species aren’t common, so this discovery turned into a five-star moment when it became clear that the skeleton was only missing a part of its snout.

But professional fossil hunters realized that the ichthyosaur was in danger of being lost because another powerful storm was approaching. Since fossils need to be painstakingly removed over a period of days or weeks, the eight-hour excavation was almost like emergency surgery. Shortly before the storm was due, the 200-million-year-old predator was lifted to safety.

3The Galway Finds


Photo credit: The Irish Times

After storms lashed the Irish coastline of Galway, a haunting landscape rose from antiquity. Around 7,500 years ago, waters rose so fast that they killed off a large forest of oak, pine, and birch trees. The recent weather revealed the petrified tree stumps, some of which were almost a century old when they died.

A massive blanket of peat—once organic matter from the forest floor—was also revealed. Then a resident found a wooden artifact about 1.5 meters (5 ft) by 1 meter (3 ft) under the peat.

Once examined, it was identified as an oak trackway dating back as far as 4,500 years ago. It was also tantalizing proof that a Neolithic or Bronze Age people lived in the forest before Galway Bay was even formed. This might even be older than the Corlea trackway, an Iron Age construction and the largest of its kind ever found in Europe.

2Underwater Forest


A short distance off the coast of Alabama sits a time capsule. Under oxygen-free sea sediments, a primeval forest has been preserved for a cool 50,000 years. Hurricane Katrina shifted the sands and revealed the stumps of a vast bald cypress landscape.

The remains are truly massive and so well-preserved that one can smell the fresh cypress sap when cutting them. Some trunks are 2 meters (7 ft) wide and hold thousands of years of growth rings. These are invaluable to researchers because they contain thousands of years of weather history for the Gulf of Mexico.

The submerged forest’s wildlife is also somewhat different than it used to be. Fish, crustaceans, and sea anemones are abundant. It is feared that the pristine state of the trees won’t last, not even as long as a few years. Since the forest became an artificial reef, marine life is slowly destroying the wood with its burrowing.

1The Tree Teenager


Photo credit:

After a coastal storm toppled a 215-year-old tree in Ireland, its roots weregripping the skeleton of a murdered medieval teenager. By chance, someone had planted the beech tree on the grave around 1800 and it grew down into the youth’s remains. When the tree crashed, the root system tore off the top half of the body and lifted it from the grave while the rest remained behind.

The bones tell quite a story. Between 17 and 20 years old, the young man ate well enough to have belonged to the upper crust. Yet he already had spinal disease from performing physical labor since a very young age.

He attempted but failed to fight off a violent death. Two nicks to his ribs fit with knife stabs. The strongest evidence that a blade caused the teen’s death was a clear stab wound to his left hand, as if he was trying to ward off his attacker.

What’s the Largest Waterfall in the World?

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What’s the Largest Waterfall in the World?

What's the Largest Waterfall in the World?

Angel Falls is the loftiest falls on land. Buckle up!

Credit: Alice Nerr /

The tallest waterfall in the world is Venezuela’s Angel Falls, which plunges 3,212 feet (979 meters), according to the National Geographic Society. The falls descend over the edge of Auyán-Tepuí, which means Devil’s Mountain, a flat-topped elevated area of land with sheer cliff sides located in Canaima National Park in the Bolivar State of Venezuela.

Angel Falls is named after an American explorer and bush pilot, Jimmy Angel, who crashed his plane on Auyán-Tepuí in 1937. The waterfall is fed by the Churún River, which spills over the edge of the mountain, barely touching the cliff face. The height of the fall is so great that the stream of water atomizes into a cloud of mist, then trickles back together at the bottom of the plunge and continues on through a cascading run of rapids.

Angel Falls’ total height, which is more than a half-mile (almost 1 kilometer), includes both the free-falling plunge and a stretch of steep rapids at its base. But even discounting these rapids, the falls’ long uninterrupted drop of 2,648 feet (807 m) is still a record breaker and is around 15 times the height of North America’s Niagara Falls, according to the World Waterfall Database, a website maintained by waterfall enthusiasts. [See Stunning 360-Degree Views of Spectacular Victoria Falls (Video)]

However, Angel Falls is only the tallest waterfall on land. Technically, the largest known waterfall lies underwater, between Greenland and Iceland. The Denmark Strait cataract is more than three times the height of Angel Falls, dropping water a whopping 11,500 feet (3,505 m).

Photo: Steve Allen/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Denmark Strait (between Greenland and Iceland) in the North Atlantic Ocean

  • The world’s biggest underwater waterfall is located in the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland. Arctic water from the Greenland Sea drops precipitously into the depths of the (slightly less chilly) Irminger Sea.
  • The amazing thing about the Denmark Strait cataract is that it dwarfs anything you’d see above the waves. Its water drops almost 11,500 feet, more than three times the height of Angel Falls in Venezuela, normally considered Earth’s tallest waterfall. And the amount of water it carries is estimated at 175 million cubic feet of water per second. That’s equivalent to almost two thousand Niagaras at their peak flow.

Niagara Falls span the border between the United States and Canada. Though remarkably wide, Niagara is not the tallest or highest-volume waterfall in the world.

Credit: Sayran Dreamstime

The underwater waterfall is formed by the temperature difference between the water on each side of the Denmark Strait. When the colder, denser water from the east meets the warmer, lighter water from the west, the cold water flows down and underneath the warm water.The Denmark Strait cataract is also the the top waterfall in terms of volume, carrying 175 million cubic feet (5.0 million cubic meters) of water. Back on land, pinpointing the largest waterfall is a little trickier because there is no universal standard for designating what counts as a waterfall, according to the World Waterfalls Database.

Some waterfalls consist of a single, sheer drop; others include a gentler cascade over rapids; and still others involve a combination of the two (like Angel Falls).

The World Waterfalls Database lists Inga Falls, an area of rapids on the Congo River, as the waterfall with the largest volume. More than 11 million gallons (46 million liters) of water flow through Inga Falls each second. However, without a significant vertical drop, Inga Falls may not count as a waterfall under other classifications.

Of waterfalls that do include a vertical drop, the waterfall with the greatest volume is the 45-foot-tall (14 meters) Khone Falls, on the border between Laos and Cambodia. Spilling 2.5 million gallons (9.5 million liters) of the Mekong River every second, Khone Falls’ flow is nearly double the volume of Niagara Falls.

This article was first published on Aug. 10, 2010. Live Science writer Kacey Deamer contributed to an update of this article.

Here Are the Trees That Will Start to Vanish Because of Climate Change

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Here Are the Trees That Will Start to Vanish Because of Climate Change

Yesterday 8:30pm

The natural world is changing in significant ways thanks to human-caused climate change. While some species are flourishing, others are already gone forever. Now scientists are looking specifically at how US forests will transform due to the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Bye, Eastern hemlock, it was nice knowing ya.

Researchers at the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) did some modeling to see what the forests of a warmed planet might look like. Studying forests in three different parts of the Appalachians—Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (Pennsylvania and New Jersey), Shenandoah National Park (Virginia), and Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina and Tennessee)—they used current climate models to simulate future conditions, if emissions increase at the rate they’re expected to. It’s not just warmer temperatures that will affect which trees grow, but also an extended growing season and potential for increased drought.

Habitat loss and gain for trees the Great Smokey Mountains

Eastern hemlock and most maples, which like cool weather and moist soils, will lose habitat dramatically, while most hickories, Black cherry, and Blackjack oak will proliferate. There will also be changes in which trees will be found at different elevations, meaning mountains will lose evergreens like firs and spruces which not only help keep temperatures cool, but also are more resistant to wildfire.

There’s also something that humans did many years ago which has already made these forests less resilient in the face of climate shifts—cutting so many of them down. The US has about 30 percent less forested land than it did in 1630, and many of the current forested areas are filled with younger trees, which are far less diverse. “There are hardly any forests in the eastern US that have never been cleared—maybe only a few percent,” said WHRC’s Patrick Jantz, “And younger, re-growing forests tend to have less structural complexity and different species assemblages.”

Who could have guessed that climate change is only partially to blame for changing the habitats of our trees? The fate of our future forests was sealed when pioneers started clearcutting the country so many centuries ago.