Earth’s global average surface temperature in 2020 tied with 2016 for the warmest year on record, according to an analysis by NASA. The bar chart below shows this year in the context of the past 140 years in the modern temperature record. Tracking global temperature trends provides a critical indicator of the impact of human activities—specifically, greenhouse gas emissions—on our planet. Scientists from Europe’s Copernicus program also have 2020 tying 2016 as the warmest year on record, while the UK Met Office ranked 2020 as the second-warmest. NASA’s full 2020 surface temperature data set and the complete methodology used to make the temperature calculations are available online.
Robert Ballard, Ocean ExplorerRobert D. Ballard is Founder and President of the Ocean Exploration Trust; Director of the Center for Ocean Exploration and Professor of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. He is an Explorer-At-Large at the National Geographic Society, Commissioner for the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, and a Research Scholar at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He served in the U.S. Navy for more than 30 years and continues to work with the Office of Naval Research. He has also discovered hydrothermal vents and “black smokers” in the Galapagos Rift and East Pacific Rise in 1977 and 1979. His honors include 22 Honorary Doctorates, National Geographic’s highest award, the Hubbard Medal, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Medal.
Two years after the Brunt Ice Shelf seemed poised to produce a berg twice the size of New York City, the ice is still hanging on. The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired this image of the Brunt Ice Shelf on January 12, 2021. These areas are stretched thin, and can be melted from above or below, making them more prone to forming rifts and eventually breaking away. The Brunt Ice Shelf appears to be in a period of instability, with cracks spreading across its surface. The detailed view shows the new rift growing away from an area known as the McDonald Ice Rumples.
The culprit was a phenomenon known as an atmospheric river. Atmospheric rivers are long, narrow bands of moisture that move like a river in the sky, carrying water vapor from the equator toward the poles. The animation above shows the signature of atmospheric rivers, including a particularly potent event that doused parts of Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. By the end of the animation (January 18), an atmospheric river system appeared to connect British Columbia and southeastern Alaska to Hawaii. Research has shown that more than 80 percent of western U.S. flood damage over a 40-year period was due to atmospheric rivers.
Surrounded by arid and barren land in east Africa, Lake Turkana is the largest permanent desert lake in the world. The image above shows Lake Turkana (formerly Lake Rudolf) on December 10, 2020, as observed by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Like many desert lakes, Lake Turkana is a salty, closed basin. Many intact fossils have been found on Lake Turkana’s eastern shore around Koobi Fora Ridge. Today, the area around Lake Turkana is sparsely populated by people due to its isolated location and inadequate fresh water.
Picture StoryThe light of a winter dawn illuminates Mount Olstind on the Lofoten Isles with the pretty village of Reine in the foreground. We had arrived in Reine the previous evening after a long and arduous journey. Three flights with three different airlines, and then a long drive over snow covered roads to our accommodation. A short walk along the road took us to a viewpoint where we set up for this shot. Create your own portfolio page and let us share it monthly to over 700,000 members and followers.
Picture StoryOne calm, crisp cold morning, I found myself basking in the quiet of Yosemite Valley. I had been in Yosemite National Park for a few days to take advantage of the Sierra winter storm for some moodier photography opportunities. The scene before me was wondrous: Yosemite's majestic Half Dome, peeking through the snow-covered valley, completely sun-kissed, golden, and luminous, reflecting gently on the half-frozen water below. This is why Yosemite continues to be one of the most incredible National Parks. Create your own portfolio page and let us share it monthly to over 700,000 members and followers.
It was taken near Podersdorf on the shore of Lake Neusiedl, a steppe lake in the eastern part of Austria, close to the Hungarian border. After a period of heavy frost the whole lake was frozen. On this day we had minus 10 degrees Celsius and an icy wind from north-west which made for rather inhospitable weather conditions. In summer, this place is a popular recreational area, well known for windsurfing and stand up paddling. Create your own portfolio page and let us share it monthly to over 700,000 members and followers.
I was chasing the northern lights, so I brought all my gear and expectations! Unfortunately, no forecasts could indicate any movements in that sense, so long northern lights. Anyway, I had a lot of fun capturing the magic of the snow and the perfect white landscapes. No regrets at all, on the contrary, I spent 12 awesome days of pure relaxation! Create your own portfolio page and let us share it monthly to over 700,000 members and followers.
Picture StoryThe coldest day since about 4 years! This morning we had -17°C and my fingers froze within seconds when I took my gloves off to change the lens. Hey VisitorDid you know that now we offer a VIP membership? Create your personal portfolio page and let us share it monthly to over 400,000 members and followers. Benefits of VIP membership:• Your personal portfolio page – click here to see sample• We promote your portfolio monthly to over 400,000 followers• Download 12 new issues of the magazine every year• Download ALL back issues• Download 2 premium eBooks worth £19.45.
Picture StoryThis image was taken in Biei, Hokkaido, Japan. This is probably the most famous lone tree in Hokkaido. I braved the -20 degrees Celsius during the morning of February 7, 2020 to scout around and look for possible foregrounds. One of the best times to visit Biei, Hokkaido is during summer where there are a lot of flowers making the scene vivid and colorful. Create your personal portfolio page and let us share it monthly to over 400,000 members and followers.
Picture StoryIt was my second attempt to cross Sarek National Park, also known as Europe’s last wilderness. I enjoyed my last incursion so much that I repeated the same autumn dates in order to photograph the reddish and yellow tones on the plants. We walked over the taiga and tundra, made some harsh river crossings, ate some blueberries and photographed reindeer herds and nice landscape views. Everything was so nice until suddenly my partner and I found ourselves trapped in the middle of a windstorm. Create your personal portfolio page and let us share it monthly to over 400,000 members and followers.
There is nothing particularly unusual about Mount Etna flinging lava, volcanic ash, or molten rocks into the air. Yet even experienced Etna watchers have been wowed by the intensity of the volcano’s unrest in February 2021. Southeast Crater is one of four summit craters on the volcano and the youngest; it formed in 1971. At times, lava fountains soared as high as 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles), about 3 times the height of One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the United States. Paroxysms of similar intensity have occurred at Mount Etna at least four times since 1989, and the volcano has produced roughly 250 paroxysms of various strengths since 1977, said Boris Behncke, also with INGV.
This measure to protect public health from sulphur oxide emissions led to the oil industry developing a wide range of very low sulphur fuel oils (VLSFOs). “The dolphins, whales and porpoises that died – it’s still not been explained whether it was caused by sulphur fuel. “Any petroleum-based fuel oil has potential safety risks. “Knowledge about this spill could help us inform how things may play out in Mauritius,” Reddy told Climate Home News. Based on experience, it changed a little [compared to] the spilled fuel oil.” Reddy told Climate Home News.
But comparatively little attention has been paid to the multiplier effect these nutrients have on ocean acidification in those same water bodies. A new report from the state Commission on Ocean Acidification, released Tuesday, said an increasingly acidic ocean threatens the state's $400-million-a-year shellfish industry, and could devastate coastal waters where nutrient loading adds to already elevated ocean acidity. More:Grants offer needed relief for shellfish harvesters“It’s clear we need to establish a broad ocean monitoring system,” said state Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro. Ocean acidification occurs when carbon dioxide in the air is absorbed at a rate and quantity that lowers the pH, a measure of how acidic or alkaline a liquid is. The legislation will also amend appropriate existing laws to account for ocean acidification.
Picture StoryFrom my home at sea level in Vancouver, British Columbia I look up at Mount Seymour in the North Shore Mountains. While it rarely snows in the city, the mountain peaks display their snowy summits throughout the winter. A good road zig-zags up Mount Seymour to provide winter access to a trail head used by back-country skiers and snow-shoe hikers. After climbing 45 Minutes, well before sunrise, I no longer need the headlamp as the eastern sky began to brighten. Create your personal portfolio page and let us share it monthly to over 400,000 members and followers.
I poured through different models, and almost every one of them showed one thing - another blue sky day. As we drove towards this spot that morning, there was nothing in the sky. I expected another blue sky morning and began to think about what kind of abstract or intimate photography I could attempt where we were going. As we got closer to the mountain, though, a small cloud began to bank itself up against the mountain. Create your personal portfolio page and let us share it monthly to over 400,000 members and followers.
Picture StoryThe Environment Canada had issued warnings for heavy snowfall and a strong wind gust of 70-80 KM/H for portions of Central Ontario for the weekend. I had been waiting for an opportunity like this to shoot something different in winter. The plan was to head north towards Grey County and drive around the sideroads of Highway 10. With Optical Image Stabilisation on, manually focused and pressed the shutter at 1/1250s in burst mode to get a sharp image. Create your personal portfolio page and let us share it monthly to over 400,000 members and followers.
Picture StoryI have seen Antelope Canyon several times in the popular daytime - complete with crowds and noise. In fact, this magical slot canyon is well known for its mid-day shafts of light that creatively penetrate through the curvy sandstone. In this completely dark corner of Upper Antelope slot canyon, I softly light painted strategic areas of the canyon with small red LED lights. Now this sounds like a place in hell for most people, but I couldn't be more grateful for the night hike experiences into Antelope Canyon. Create your personal portfolio page and let us share it monthly to over 400,000 members and followers.
Picture StoryA Japanese Maple lights up like a lantern as the morning light bursts through an opening in the canopy of the small tree by a pond. It is a wonderful experience to get under a Japanese Maple and explore with a ultrawide angle lens different composition possibilities. Small movements left or right, up or down, can make major differences in the look and feel of the composition. Hey VisitorDid you know that now we offer a VIP membership? Create your personal portfolio page and let us share it monthly to over 400,000 members and followers.