Wildfire season

The 2018 Camp Fire north of Sacramento burned everything in its path: cars, power lines, and buildings – and contaminated local drinking water. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Wildfires can poison drinking water – here’s how communities can be better prepared

Buildings aren't the only things at risk in wildfires. Recent disasters in California have left local water system contaminated with toxic chemicals afterward, slowing return and recovery.

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Analysis and Comment

Fresno, California and the surrounding San Joaquin Valley have some of the nation’s highest levels of fine particle air pollution. AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian

Fine-particle air pollution has decreased across the US, but poor and minority communities are still the most polluted

A new study shows that while fine particle air pollution has declined nationwide over the past 40 years, the health and environmental benefits haven't been shared evenly.

Why do onions make you cry?

Like many plants, onions have defenses to ward off creatures that may want to eat them. Their secret weapon is a kind of natural tear gas.

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Research and News

We use satellites to measure water scarcity

Climate change threatens the water supply of nations around the world. But it's difficult to measure whether a region has sufficient water to satisfy the people who live there. Could satellites help?

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Climate change

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Plastics

Plastic waste from Australia in Port Klang, Malaysia. Malaysia says it will send back some 3,300 tons of nonrecyclable plastic waste to countries including the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia. AP Photo/Vincent Thian

As more developing countries reject plastic waste exports, wealthy nations seek solutions at home

A year after China stopped accepting most scrap material exports, other Asian countries are following Beijing's lead, forcing wealthy nations to find domestic solutions for managing their wastes.

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Under the sea

Climate change could further stress species such as Atlantic cod that already are threatened by overfishing. Vladimir Wrangel/Shutterstock

How is climate change affecting fishes? There are clues inside their ears

Tiny calcified formations inside fishes' ears can be used to trace a fish's life history – and potentially, how climate change has affected its growth and development.

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Politics and the environment

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Most Read past week

  1. Marie Tharp pioneered mapping the bottom of the ocean 6 decades ago – scientists are still learning about Earth’s last frontier
  2. What are Asian giant hornets, and are they really dangerous? 5 questions answered
  3. Wildfires can poison drinking water – here’s how communities can be better prepared
  4. Energy is a basic need, and many Americans are struggling to afford it in the COVID-19 recession
  5. Fine-particle air pollution has decreased across the US, but poor and minority communities are still the most polluted

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