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climate science

An ice sheet stretching into the distance.
Abstractions blog

How Earth’s Climate Changes Naturally (and Why Things Are Different Now)

July 21, 2020

Earth’s climate has fluctuated through deep time, pushed by these 10 different causes. Here’s how each compares with modern climate change.

A man standing in the Arctic tundra holds up a large photo of a swamp.

Sudden Ancient Global Warming Event Traced to Magma Flood

March 19, 2020

A study has cemented the link between an intense global warming episode 56 million years ago and volcanism in the North Atlantic, with implications for modern climate change.

The Polarstern icebreaker in sea ice.
climate science

The Voyage to the End of Ice

January 16, 2020

Summer sea ice could vanish later this decade, with disastrous consequences. It all depends on the physics of ice.

Art for "Quanta’s Year in Physics (2019)"
2019 in Review

The Year in Physics

December 23, 2019

Physicists saw a black hole for the first time, debated the expansion rate of the universe, pondered the origin of time and modeled the end of clouds.

Art for "A World Without Clouds"
climate science

A World Without Clouds

February 25, 2019

A state-of-the-art supercomputer simulation indicates that a feedback loop between global warming and cloud loss can push Earth’s climate past a disastrous tipping point in as little as a century.

Art for "How Nearby Stellar Explosions Could Have Killed Off Large Animals"
Abstractions blog

How Nearby Stellar Explosions Could Have Killed Off Large Animals

January 15, 2019

Subatomic particles called muons are thought to have streamed through the atmosphere and irradiated megafauna like the monster shark megalodon.

Art for "Forests Emerge as a Major Overlooked Climate Factor"
climate science

Forests Emerge as a Major Overlooked Climate Factor

October 9, 2018

New work at the intersection of atmospheric science and ecology is finding that forests can influence rainfall and climate from across a continent.


Cores From Coral Reefs Hold Secrets of the Seas’ Past and Future

May 29, 2018

Layered deposits of coral skeletons hold vast stores of environmental data from thousands of years ago, including annual records of ocean temperatures, water pollution and storm activity.

Art for "A Thermodynamic Answer to Why Birds Migrate"

A Thermodynamic Answer to Why Birds Migrate

May 7, 2018

New modeling studies suggest that birds migrate to strike a favorable balance between their input and output of energy.