Top Stories World 

The good news about the ozone hole is even better than you think

Get the Mach newsletter. SUBSCRIBE From shrinking sea ice to deadly air pollution, it seems there’s never a shortage of bad news about the environment. But now comes some very good news — in the form of satellite data showing that the worrisome ozone hole in the atmosphere over Antarctica is slowly healing. The data, from NASA’s Earth-orbiting Aura satellite, indicate that depletion of the protective ozone layer over Antarctica was about 20 percent lower during the 2016 Antarctic winter (early July to mid-September) than during the same period in…

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Space 

What happened to the 2007 Earth science decadal survey missions?

SAN FRANCISCO — Ten years after the National Academies published the first Earth science decadal survey, NASA has flown one of the 15 recommended missions with two more scheduled to launch in 2018. The first decadal survey mission to reach orbit was Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP), a campaign to measure water in topsoil that has been in orbit since 2015. SMAP’s L-band radiometer continues to function, but its onboard radar quit after less than six months due to a faulty amplifier. Next up are the twin satellites of the U.S.-German…

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Science 

Tackle UK’s killer toxic air before waging war on ocean plastic

Levels of air pollution are dangerously high in many UK citiesGuy Bell/Alamy Stock Photo Two things are almost certain to happen soon. UK environment secretary Michael Gove, moved to urgent action, will publish a plan to tackle plastic pollution. At about the same time, the annual limits on toxic air will be passed in at least one part of London – even though it’s only January – and be largely ignored by government. In the first case, a staggering 8 million tonnes of plastic waste enters the oceans every year,…

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Science 

Climate Scientists Exiled by Trump Form Panel to Continue Work

The Trump administration disbanded a federal advisory committee on climate change last year but the scientists on the panel won’t be deterred. They’re taking their research elsewhere. Columbia University’s Earth Institute has hired one of the committee’s researchers, Richard Moss of the University of Maryland, who will reconvene most of the former panel members and produce the same report. The shadow panel, announced on Thursday, is the latest example of how President Donald Trump’s antipathy toward climate change research and policy is pushing scientists into internal exile. As a visiting scientist,…

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Lifestyle 

Is silence the best way to a stress-free life?

GETTY Stay peaceful by taking some quiet time out We all know how vital it is to get a little peace and quiet at times but how often do we actually manage to achieve that? From pinging mobiles to the thump of music escaping from headphones, loudly spinning washing machines and rowdy neighbours, we are surrounded by excessive and unwanted sounds. I was once in the Post Office, where staff and customers had to endure a high-pitched, constant beeping from a door alert which was painful to the ear. This…

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Top Stories World 

Fireworks and flag-waving: World welcomes 2018 with huge New Year’s Eve celebrations

Samoa was the first country to welcome 2018 with celebrations including fireworks, dancing and juggling. The South Pacific island has been the first to see the New Year since 2011 when it moved from the eastern side of the international date line to the west side. Auckland in New Zealand followed soon. An estimated 1.6 million people then gathered to see the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House lit up by one of the world’s most technologically advanced fireworks displays.  In Japan, revellers welcomed the Year of the Rat…

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Science 

Delhi rolls out 'anti-smog' mist cannon in trial run

India’s new weapon against smog is put through its paces (AFP Photo/ SAJJAD HUSSAIN) More New Delhi (AFP) – India on Wednesday unveiled a new weapon against air pollution — an “anti-smog gun” which authorities hope will clear the skies above New Delhi but which environmentalists say amounts to a band-aid solution. The cannon’s Indian manufacturers say the fine droplets of water it ejects at high speed can flush out deadly airborne pollutants in one of the world’s smoggiest capitals. The giant mister — shaped like a hair dryer and…

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Science 

North America's Tallest Mountains Have Twice as Much Snow This Year Due to Warming Oceans

The tallest peaks of North America are getting twice as much snow since the mid-1800s—and it’s due to warmer oceans hundreds of miles away. It may sound surprising—even contradictory—that warmer oceans result in more snow in some parts of the world. But there’s an explanation. A new study, published Tuesday in Scientific Reports, details how snowfall has doubled on Mt. Hunter, known as “Denali’s Child,” since the mid-1800s.  “We were shocked when we first saw how much snowfall has increased,” Erich Osterberg, earth sciences professor at Dartmouth College and principal investigator, said…

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Top Stories World 

In the Arizona desert, coal era burns out for Navajo

BLACK MESA, Ariz. — Tradition has it that the spiritual forerunners of the Navajo people picked this spot — the high mesa land of the American Southwest — and assured the Navajo they had reached a kind of promised land. The Diné, or “children of the Holy People,” as the Navajo call themselves, were taught not to stray from the land bracketed by four sacred mountains, where they would never know the earthquakes, tornadoes and other calamities that beset their neighbors. The Navajo scratched out a living from the sparse…

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