Author Archives: Andrea Thompson

NASA Says 2020 Tied for Hottest Year on Record

Meanwhile NOAA put the year just behind 2016 in the charts, but it was remarkably hot by either agency’s measure

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Seven Ways the Election Will Shape the Future of Science, Health and the Environment

Climate change, nuclear arms control, the pandemic and more will be determined by whoever wins the White House and Congress

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Election Science Stakes: Climate

Scientific American’s associate editor for sustainability Andrea Thompson talks about how climate science and policy will be affected by this election.

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Will Taal Volcano Explosively Erupt? Here’s What Scientists Are Watching

The seismic rumblings of the Philippines’ second most active volcano hold clues to what it might do

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Tropical Storm Barry’s Dangers Will Reach Far Inland

Rains from the system will prolong the already historic flooding along the Mississippi

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Minorities Breathe More Than Their Share of Polluted Air

Blacks and Hispanics in the U.S. are exposed to more emissions than whites and consume less from the industries responsible

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This Scientist Chases Wildfires to Better Predict Fire Behavior

To know what a wildfire might do next, researchers need to know how an inferno interacts with the atmosphere

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Microplastics Have Been Found in People’s Poop—What Does It Mean?

Suspicions humans are consuming tiny plastic particles have been confirmed, spurring future work into the possible health impacts

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Indonesian Tsunami Was Powered by a Deadly Combo of Tectonics and Geography

The magnitude 7.5 earthquake that touched off the tsunami occurred amid a complex puzzle of tectonic plates

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Mosquitoes Could Carry Plastic Particles into the Food Chain

Microplastics stay in the insects’ bodies from larva to adulthood

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Extreme Flooding from Florence Likely, Due to Convergence of Threats

Compound flooding can exacerbate the impacts from storm surge and rain

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From Fish to Humans, A Microplastic Invasion May Be Taking a Toll

Tiny bits of plastic have seeped into soil, fish and air, posing a threat to animal and human health

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From Fish to Humans, A Microplastic Invasion May Be Taking a Toll

Tiny bits of plastic have seeped into soil, fish and air, posing a threat to animal and human health

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Plants Dominate the Planet’s Biomass

About 80 percent of Earth’s biomass is plant life, with humans about equal to krill way down the heft chart.    

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Earth Has a Hidden Plastic Problem–Scientists Are Hunting It Down

Trillions of tiny particles generated by our plastic-reliant society are polluting environments worldwide

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Plants Are the World’s Dominant Life-Form

Flora make up the majority of Earth’s biomass, followed by bacteria

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L.A.’s Not Just Sizzling, It’s Sultry: Why California’s July Heat Wave Is So Weird

An unusually early—and humid—heat wave has set all-time records

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Antarctic Quest Seeks to Predict the Fate of a Linchpin Glacier

Adventurer scientists swarm the melting Thwaites Glacier for clues to how fast sea level will rise

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Shock and Thaw–Alaskan Sea Ice Just Took a Steep, Unprecedented Dive

Weather conditions and a boost from global warming led to the stunning record low ice cover in winter 2018

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Slow-Motion Ocean: Atlantic’s Circulation Is Weakest in 1,600 Years

If hemisphere-spanning currents are slowing, greater flooding and extreme weather could be at hand

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Wave of Climate Migration Looms, but It “Doesn’t Have to Be a Crisis”

Slow-onset climate impacts could displace 140 million in their own countries by 2050

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Where Plastic Goes, Coral Disease Follows

An onslaught of bottles, bags and other litter makes reefs 20 times more likely to get sick. Scientists are scrambling to learn why  

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Alaska’s Northernmost Town Warms So Fast, It Fools NOAA Computers

As sea ice grows shockingly low and late, Utqiaġvik’s record warmth stymies algorithms

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Why the Ventura Wildfire Is So Explosive

Dry weather and strong winds this year have left southern California primed for blazes

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Alaska’s Coast Is Vanishing, 1 Storm at a Time

Ordinary storms are chipping away at coastal communities as protective sea ice disappears

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How Did This Weird, Super-Salty Pond Form in Antarctica?

Studying the pond could help scientists better understand similar features on Mars

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"Slightly Crazy" 19th-Century Weathermen Who Braved Formidable Conditions Could Aid Climate Predictions

A new effort aims to recover meteorology data collected by a group of hardy Victorian Scottish scientists

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NASA Satellite Reveals Source of El Niño–Fueled Carbon Dioxide Spike

The OCO 2 mission serendipitously coincided with one of the strongest El Niños on record

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What Old-Fashioned Weather Balloons Foretell about Irma’s Track

Forecasters depend on satellites and flights to track hurricanes—but balloons add crucial precision  

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Climate Change Has Influenced the Timing of Europe’s Floods

Floods are arriving earlier or later due to the interplay with other factors like the timing of snowmelt

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