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Mass Animal Die-Offs Are on Rise, Killing Billions and Raising Questions

National Geographic: We're not talking about a few dead fish littering your local beach. Mass die-offs are individual events that kill at least a billion animals, wipe out over 90 percent of a population, or destroy 700 million tons-the equivalent weight of roughly 1,900 Empire State Buildings-worth of animals. And according to new research, such die-offs are on the rise. The study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to examine whether mass die-offs have increased...

Greenland Glacier Races to Ocean at Record Speed

National Geographic: A Greenland glacier named Jakobshavn Isbrae, which many believe spawned the iceberg that sank the Titanic, has hit record speeds in its race to the ocean. Some may be tempted to call it the king of the glacier world, but this speedy river of ice is nothing to crow about. A new study published February 3 in the journal Cryosphere finds that Jakobshavn's averaged annual speed in 2012 and 2013 was nearly three times its rate in the 1990s. Its flow rate during the summer months was even faster. "We...

Finding the Reasons for the 2012 Drought

National Geographic: Last year's drought smothered the central Great Plains from Colorado to Illinois in bone-dry heat, resulting in blasted fields, dried-up watering holes, and raging wildfires. The period from May to August was the driest four months the United States has experienced since 1895, according to an analysis released April 11 led by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). A drought as severe as last year's happens only once every couple of hundred years, said Martin Hoerling,...