During the week of May 13th, the CO2 level at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii topped 400 ppm repeatedly. Daily levels of CO2 can vary due to weather, and there are seasonal trends as well. The level of atmospheric greenhouse gases continues to increase, now over 120 ppm since the Industrial Revolution began. For more on the Keeling Curve, see http://keelingcurve.ucsd.edu/. Find out more about greenhouse gases and warming.
The week of May 19 brings dozens of tornadoes to Tornado Alley in the states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. On May 20th, a massive tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma, devastating communities - destroying over 100 homes and hitting two elementary schools and a hospital - with many casualties and deaths. Our thoughts are with our friends and colleagues suffering from these storms. For more on the May 20th storms, see the NOAA Storm Prediction Center Storm Report.
Jupiter's atmospheric environment is one of powerful winds, going 250 miles per hour, and temperatures from -270 degrees to +32 degrees (freezing temperature). These winds make it hard for life forms to...more
In July, 1996 a team of scientists said that they had discovered possible fossils of bacteria in a meteorite named ALH84001 that came from Mars. It was found in Antarctica in 1984 after having landed there...more
Saturn's atmospheric environment is one of powerful winds, going 250 miles per hour, and temperatures from -270 degrees to +80 degrees. With winds like these, it is hard to have peace and quiet. The region...more
The air of Titan is a lot like the Earth's, except that it is very cold, from -330 degrees to -290 degrees! Like the Earth, there is a lot of Nitrogen and other complex molecules. There also may be an...more
Organisms that are able to "make their own food" are called autotrophs, meaning "self-feeders". Some examples of autotrophs are plants and algae (shown in the picture). Both plants and algae use photosynthesis...more
In the warm early ocean, large molecules came together into a form called *coacervates*. Molecules such as these will form coacervates in the same way that beads of vinegar in oil come together. These...more
Over a very long time, gradual changes in the earliest cells gave rise to new life forms. These new cells were very different from earlier cells because they were able to get their energy from a different...more