Global Warming

Enticed by a sweet treat, a cow learns to use the "MooLoo," a latrine for cattle, where excrement can be collected. The only question is: can this technique work on a larger scale?

Researchers Potty Trained Young Cows, a Promising Measure to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

One cow pees up to eight gallons a day; training them is easy, and capturing and treating the waste could make a difference

Orca will be able to capture the equivalent of the annual emissions made by 790 cars.

Innovation for Good

World's Largest Carbon Capture Plant Opens in Iceland

'Orca' will use geothermal energy to pull thousands of metric tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and pump it underground

Smooth pearls in the shape of orbs and ovals are usually created by bivalves, like mussels, in pearl farms. As with all gems, the less blemishes they have, the more valuable they are.

Smithsonian Voices

The True Story Behind How Pearls Are Made

Mollusks create these shiny gems, but that biological process could change as Earth’s waters warm

The fungus Hemileia vastatrix strikes a plant on a coffee farm in Aquires, Costa Rica.

New Study Shows Climate Change May Increase the Spread of Plant Pathogens

Models suggest that higher latitude crops will experience higher infection rates and a greater number of threats

From the surface, the havoc caused on a coral reef by a layer of low-oxygen water was barely evident.

Smithsonian Voices

Watch What Happens When a Coral Reef Can't Get Enough Oxygen

In September 2017, divers observed a massive "dead zone" rising to envelop Caribbean coral reefs in Bocas del Toro, Panama

Hurricane Elsa before downgrading to a tropical storm near Barbados

Hurricane Elsa's Early Arrival Could Mean a Busier-Than-Usual Storm Season in the Atlantic

Following Elsa, the fifth hurricane so far, experts now forecast at least 20 named tropical storms and nine named hurricanes in total

A healthy crop of mussels lines the coast, exposed during low tide. Mussels will split open when they overheat, such as in June's heat wave.

Pacific Northwest and Canada's Crushing Heat Wave Cooks Millions of Sea Creatures

The estimated death toll could be more than a billion

Oluwaseyi at a Movie screening hosted by her organization in commemoration of Global Recycling Day 2021.

Smithsonian Voices

How Nigeria's Oluwaseyi Moejoh's Conservation Activism Is Spreading Across Africa and Beyond

The founder of U-recycle Initiative Africa, current law student, and all-around force for positive change is a powerful advocate for a sustainable planet

A photo of the Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory in Hawaii where scientists measure atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

New Research

Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Reaches New High Despite Pandemic Emissions Reduction

Global carbon emissions in 2020 were lower than they were in 2019, but those reductions would need to be sustained for years to slow the climate crisis

Firefighters in helicopters battle a 1,300 acre brush fire in Pacific Palisades on May 17. The California fire season started early this year.

United Nations Report Shows That Climate Change Is Accelerating

Scientists say there is a 90 percent chance that one of the next five years will be the hottest on record

As  the NASA aircraft DC-8 flew into the storm and collected data after each lightning flash, the researchers found that the concentrations of hydroxyl and hydroperoxyl produced by visible lightning and other regions that were electrically charged soared up to thousands of parts per trillion.

Lightning May Wash Pollution Out of the Air With a Chemical Dubbed 'Detergent of the Atmosphere'

The oxidizing chemicals hydroxyl and hydroperoxyl may clean the skies of harmful pollutants by reacting with them

The tasty fungi are naturally found deep within the roots of various trees, like oaks, hazels, spruces, and pines, because of the two organisms share a symbiotic relationship.

In Central Europe, Climate Change Could Boost Truffle Cultivation by 2050

Fancy fungi grown in the Czech Republic may benefit from global warming

Warming waters cause the sharks to hatch early and underdeveloped, making them vulnerable to predation.

Ocean Warming Threatens Baby Sharks in the Great Barrier Reef

Researchers found the hatchlings of the egg-laying epaulette shark are weakened by rising sea temperatures

Los Angeles County is the most at risk for climate-related disasters out of 3,000 counties analyzed in the United States.

Los Angeles Rated Most Susceptible to Natural Disasters, According to FEMA Data

The report explains how damaging hypothetical, extreme weather scenarios would be and does not represent how frequently devastation actually occurs

Pakistan, home of Deosai National Park, is one of the countries whose leaders signed the pledge to protect 30 percent of land and water.

These Conservation Stories Prove 2020 Was Not All Bad News

From the Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism team, comes a surprising list of successful efforts making a difference

Satellite records show a 13 percent decrease in sea ice per decade since the 1980s.

Arctic Sea Ice Fails to Refreeze by Late October, Setting a New Record

At this rate, the Arctic will experience its first ice-free summer as early as 2035

Bat ticks (Ornithodoros) under a microscope. These parasites primarily feed on bats and were collected from bats roosting beneath a Mayan Temple in Belize. Very little is known about these ticks and many species are unknown to science.

Smithsonian Voices

Why We Need to Save the Parasites

Extinction will have lasting and far-reaching consequences for biodiversity, and subsequently for humans

A visual representation of global methane from January 26, 2018. Red areas indicate higher concentrations of methane swirling in the atmosphere.

New Research

World Methane Emissions Hit New High

Agriculture and fossil fuels drive a surge in global emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas

A fire in the Yakutia region of Siberia in early June seen from the air. A June heat wave saw temperatures in Verkhoyansk, a town in Yakutia, hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Earth Could Hit Critical Climate Threshold in Next Five Years

Report: 20 percent chance that one of the next five years will see annual global temperatures rise to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels

A forest fire in central Yakutia (Sakha Republic).

The Far-Reaching Consequences of Siberia's Climate-Change-Driven Wildfires

Smoke from the blazes is now reaching the West Coast of the United States