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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Meteotsunamis: How Winds Can Generate Catastrophic Waves

Tsunamis are triggered by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions on the ocean's floor. But other massive waves are caused by wind and can come on suddenly and without warning.

Earth Hits 400 Straight Months of Hot

The evidence is clear: Human activities — like the burning of fossil fuels — are the main driving force behind modern climate change.

Fissures, Quakes and Lava: Explaining Kilauea's Volcanic Crisis

To date 14 massive fissures have opened up near Kilauea, and the Big Island has been rocked by repeated earthquakes. Do these geological events foreshadow a massive volcanic eruption?

Infrasound Can Detect Tornadoes an Hour Before They Form

We may not be able to hear infrasound, but we sure can use it to detect tornadoes.

Scorching Heat in Pakistan May Have Set a World Record

The mercury soared to over 122 degrees Fahrenheit in Nawkwabash, Pakistan. It could be the highest April temp ever recorded on the planet.

Scientists Predict Record-breaking 2018 Hurricane Season

Scientists across the globe attempt to forecast upcoming hurricane seasons in the Atlantic. But how — and are they right?

Scientists Record Volcanic Thunder for the First Time

Volcanic eruptions are loud. Very loud. But nobody's ever been able to capture the roar of the thunder they create. Until now.

Climate Change Threatens the Moai of Easter Island

The danger to the iconic statues is now greater than ever due to erosion and higher-energy wave action caused by climate change.

The Amazing, and Alarming, Science Behind Red Snow

Red snow? Yes. It totally exists. And while it might look cool, it's not exactly what you want to see from Mother Nature.

Why King Tides Are Flooding Coastal Cities More Often

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

Marijuana Farmers Hit Hard by California Wildfires

California cannabis farmers could lose everything in the wildfires.

Centuries of Volcano Death Statistics, Newly Analyzed for Your Reading Pleasure

New research digs into historic volcano fatalities to explore how, where and whom a volcano is most likely to kill.

Lightning Deaths in the US Are Way, Way Down

In the mid-20th century, lightning strikes killed hundreds of Americans each year. Now, that number's dropped to only a few dozen. What's changed?

Why Some People Choose to Shelter In Place

When a major storm is barreling down, the reasons why some people choose to shelter in place are complicated.

Evacuee or Refugee: What Do We Call People Displaced by Natural Disasters?

Words matter when talking about those seeking shelter from the storm. What's the difference between hurricane evacuees and refugees?

Why Is Hurricane Irma So Powerful?

Historic Hurricane Irma is being supercharged by the effects of climate change heating Earth's oceans.

HowStuffWorks Illustrated: Hurricane Categories

Hurricanes can range in strength from Category 1 all the way to Category 5. Learn more about hurricane categories in this HowStuffWorks Illustrated video.

What It’s Like to Experience a Category 5 Hurricane

'You really can't describe to anybody what it's like to sit through a hurricane,' says Ruth Clark, who lived through Hurricanes Camille and Katrina.

What Hurricane Categories Really Mean

Hurricanes are the strongest storms on the planet. How we categorize them has helped save lives.

As Earth's Climate Changes, Is It Time to Redefine the Four Seasons?

The four seasons experienced by Earth's midlatitude regions are being gradually altered by global warming — but a climate expert says they won't completely go away.

Scientists Develop Clearer Idea of How Dino-Killing Asteroid Changed Earth's Environment

A new model describes in more detail how the Chicxulub asteroid affected our planet, from dropping temperatures to pausing photosynthesis, with soot playing an integral part.

Knowing a Tornado's Strength Could Save More Lives Than Knowing Its Exact Path

Researchers studying tornadoes use a common theory of economics to determine casualty rates.

'Pilot's Glory': Why a Rainbow Encircles an Airplane Shadow on Clouds

Very specific atmospheric conditions and just the right perspective are necessary to see the phenomenon.

Weather Patterns Are Getting Stuck as Climate Changes Affect the Jet Stream

Polar temperatures are changing more rapidly than equatorial ones, making the jet stream slower and wider, and extreme events longer-lasting.

Becoming Better Solar Meteorologists, With Help From Some Monster Waves

Explosive solar events are bad news for Earth, so it's good to keep an eye on space weather. Newly discovered "Rossby-like" waves could help them out with that big job.


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