Forces of Nature

We see the destruction that the Earth can unleash in the news on a regular basis. Here you can learn about hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and other forces of nature.

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The effects of wildfire smoke are different than those of other types of air pollution. But just how harmful to humans is it?

By Luke Montrose

Nearly 90 percent of the Western U.S. is gripped by an "apocalyptical" drought that only continues to worsen. Even if you don't live in the area, it affects you — and what you do affects it.

By Joanna Thompson

The truth is your chances of having one of these mega-floods hit are the same every year: 1 percent.

By Robert Mace

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The May 22, 2021 eruption of the Mount Nyiragongo volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo killed at least 32 people and caused tens of thousands to flee the area. Why is this volcano so especially dangerous?

By Paolo Papale

The Atlantic hurricane season is here, and forecasters have predicted a 60 percent chance of an above-normal season using all types of information to make the call. Here's how they do it.

By Kristopher Karnauskas

Iceland? The North Pole? Antarctica? There are a lot of super cold places on this planet, but which one can claim bragging rights as the coldest place on Earth?

By Mark Mancini

In 2014, scientists observed a space hurricane for the first time; they reported their findings this year. But what's a space hurricane — and do we on Earth have to worry about with them?

By Valerie Stimac

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When the wind starts whipping and the weather gets wild, it's important to know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning.

By Carrie Tatro

Dusk is a beautiful time of day. So is twilight. But when does one turn into the other? And did you know there were three versions of each?

By Valerie Stimac

It might seem that the constant rushing of water over a falls would keep it from freezing, but that isn't always the case. Check out the science behind the phenomenon of the frozen waterfall.

By Mark Mancini

These intense snowstorms can come out of nowhere. They may not last long, but their rapid snowfall and whipping winds can make them disastrous.

By John Donovan

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Hygrometers are used by many professionals to monitor levels of humidity in the air. So, do need one in your home?

By Cherise Threewitt

The 1883 Krakatoa eruption was gigantic and deadly, but the advent of modern communications and mass media helped to make it one of the earliest and best-known modern natural catastrophes.

By Patrick J. Kiger

Both are destructive storms that can pack powerful winds and devastating storm surge. So how are they different? Or are they?

By Stephanie Vermillion

Dozens of wildfires have scorched millions of acres in the western U.S. this year. One Oregonian tells what it's like living through the record season and if it's a preview of what's to come.

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

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You probably recognize these right off the bat: Andrew, Katrina, Sandy and Sally. But when and why did we start giving hurricanes names?

By John Donovan

Scientists say the world can expect more grueling heat waves in the future like the one the Pacific Northwest is experiencing. And the one thing we can't do is take these hot temperatures for granted.

By Sarah Gleim

This unusual storm called a derecho can be as frightening as a hurricane or a tornado and can travel hundreds of miles sowing destruction in its path.

By Jesslyn Shields

A single stalk of corn can create its own microclimate. But what is a microclimate, and why do they even matter?

By Mark Mancini

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The fire under the tiny town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, has been burning since at least 1962 and, to this day, nobody knows how to put it out.

By Mark Mancini

These massive clouds form when wildfires give off intense heat and cause smoke and hot air to rise. Though rare, climate change may be making conditions favorable for more to form.

By Jenessa Duncombe

While Australia continues to burn out of control, New Jersey officials are warning that the Garden State is full of the same dense brush fueling the fires down under. Could similar wildfires consume New Jersey?

By Michael Sol Warren

Wildfires have become a frightening reality in California and elsewhere as climate change creates drastically drier conditions. Using goats to eat underbrush and create firebreaks is now a routine part of the firefighting arsenal.

By Patty Rasmussen

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These annual winds blow during Southern California's dangerous dry season, whipping up wildfires that can ravage thousands of acres.

By John Donovan

Is climate change to blame for king tides flooding coastal cities more often? Some scientists say yes.

By John Perritano