Solar panels in Sahara could boost renewable energy but damage the global climate – here's why

In a bid to ditch fossil fuels, some countries are considering carpeting deserts with solar panels.

Benjamin Smith, Director of Research, Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University • conversation
Feb. 11, 2021 ~7 min

Reductions in CFC-11 emissions put ozone recovery back on track

Scientists observe reduction in emissions of banned ozone-depleting chemical after unexpected spike.

Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office • mit
Feb. 10, 2021 ~7 min

Mars missions from China and UAE are set to go into orbit – here's what they could discover

If China succeeds, it will be the first country ever to visit and land on Mars on its first try.

Daniel Brown, Lecturer in Astronomy, Nottingham Trent University • conversation
Feb. 5, 2021 ~7 min

Geologists produce new timeline of Earth’s Paleozoic climate changes

The record shows ancient temperature variations coinciding with shifts in the planet’s biodiversity.

Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office • mit
Feb. 1, 2021 ~8 min

Why does it take longer to fly from east to west on an airplane?

When planes fly from east to west, they are flying against a river of air called a jet stream. These air currents can make your flight longer or shorter, depending on which way you are going.

Skip Bailey, Aviation Institute Flight Training Coordinator and Instructor, University of Nebraska Omaha • conversation
Jan. 25, 2021 ~5 min

Astronomers discover first cloudless, Jupiter-like planet

The first Jupiter-like planet without clouds has been detected by astronomers at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian. Unlike our Jupiter, which takes nearly 12 years to orbit the sun, WASP-62b completes a rotation in just four-and-a-half days.

Nadia Whitehead • harvard
Jan. 22, 2021 ~3 min

Beast from the East 2? What 'sudden stratospheric warming' involves and why it can cause freezing surface weather

Sudden warming more than 10 km above the north pole can mean sudden freezing down here.

Richard Hall, Research Associate, Climate Dynamics Group, University of Bristol • conversation
Jan. 11, 2021 ~6 min

Aerosols from pollution, desert storms, and forest fires may intensify thunderstorms

Researchers identify a mechanism by which small particles in the atmosphere can generate more frequent thunderstorms.

Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office • mit
Dec. 31, 2020 ~7 min

Wildfire smoke changes dramatically as it ages, and that matters for downwind air quality – here's what we learned flying through smoke plumes

Thousands of chemical compounds in wildfire smoke are interacting with each other and sunlight as the smoke travels. For people downwind, it can become more toxic over time.

Brett B. Palm, Postdoctoral Researcher in Atmospheric Chemistry, University of Washington • conversation
Dec. 17, 2020 ~8 min

Why snow days are becoming increasingly rare in the UK

Since 1979, the average number of snow days has fallen by about five per decade.

Eunice Lo, Research Associate in Climate Science, University of Bristol • conversation
Dec. 17, 2020 ~5 min