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Sea Change

The Looming El Niño Could Cost the World Trillions of Dollars

Warming waters in the Pacific can trigger droughts, wildfires, and extreme rainfall around the world, potentially leading to $3 trillion in losses in the coming years.

Regulations and Solutions

Hippos Are in Trouble. Will ‘Endangered’ Status Save Them?

Animal welfare groups are pushing the US to restrict the import of hippo parts. But experts argue that that policy is limited, and may even cause harm.

Truckers Are Caught on the Front Line of California’s EV Push

By 2024, trucks bought for use in the state’s ports and rail yards must be zero-emission. The struggle to electrify previews what must happen worldwide.

The Far North Is Burning—and Turning Up the Heat on the Planet

Wildfires and human meddling are transforming the Arctic and its surroundings from a carbon sink into a carbon emitter, exacerbating the climate crisis.

At Last, ‘Ugly’ Sea Lampreys Are Getting Some Respect

Fisheries managers are recognizing the ecological importance of the maligned marine suckers and are stepping up efforts to help their populations recover.

Oceans and Waterways

Primitive Asgard Cells Show Life on the Brink of Complexity

As researchers race to cultivate these intriguing cells from the deep seafloor, the few growing in labs are our best glimpses of the forerunners of complex life.

The Weird Way Australia’s Bushfires Influenced a Weirder La Niña

In 2019 and 2020, the out-of-control blazes sent clouds of smoke across the Pacific, where they brightened clouds and cooled the ocean.

Everyone Was Wrong About Reverse Osmosis—Until Now

A new paper showing how water actually travels through a plastic membrane could make desalination more efficient. That’s good news for a thirsty world.

The Harmful Side Effect of Cleaning Up the Ocean

Patches of floating plastic are teeming with life, and cleanup companies hauling trash out of the water risk destroying a marine habitat.

Extreme Heat

Deadly Heat Threatens the Well-Being of 1 Billion People in India

Increasingly severe heat waves will imperil the country’s development goals, slow economic growth, and heighten health risks, new research shows.

Europe Is Drying Up

After unusually low amounts of rain and snow this winter, the continent faces a severe water shortage.

A Looming El Niño Could Dry the Amazon

When a warm band of water develops in the Pacific, drought grips the rainforest. The Amazon, devastated by deforestation and fires, is especially vulnerable.

The Mesopotamian Marshes Are Disappearing, Again

The World Heritage site in southern Iraq survived Saddam Hussein’s campaign to drain the wetlands. Now they’re drying up, and biodiversity is collapsing.