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

By Jesslyn Shields

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 most of the rest of the world has switched to Celsius, the U.S. continues to use the Fahrenheit temperature scale, apparently out of simple inertia.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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Spaghetti models plot the potential tracks of tropical storms and hurricanes from different meteorological organizations onto one map. The resulting visual helps project how likely the forecast track will be.

By Patrick J. Kiger

The San Andreas is one of the most famous and closely watched fault lines in the world because of the fear that it is overdue for the next big quake.

By Patrick J. Kiger

You may never see it happen live, but if you do, consider yourself lucky. Because this meteorological phenomenon doesn't happen very often.

By Mark Mancini

NOAA is expecting widespread flooding throughout the United States this spring. Are you ready?

By Oisin Curran

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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

Every time disaster strikes, one man's name arises alongside the obsessive news coverage: Nostradamus. According to some folks, the famed French seer has predicted many of the planet's gloomy twists and turns. What did he have to say about 2012?

By Alia Hoyt & Jonathan Atteberry

Without question, nature can produce beautiful light shows. Add wind, rain and hail, and you have an awe-inspiring event. But thunderstorms are not to be taken lightly. Here's how to stay safe as Mother Nature displays her strength.

By Sara Elliott

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

By Jesslyn Shields

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

By Mark Mancini

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

By Mark Mancini

Both dry and over-saturated soil can contribute to flash flooding. Can anything be done to prevent them from becoming catastrophic?

By Mark Mancini

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

By Amanda Onion

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It's sometimes easy to confuse the two, but weather and climate are very different things.

By Patrick J. Kiger

A fire can burn for years, yes years, in a swamp. What's the deal?

By Mark Mancini

What happens when the rains cease and water levels dry up precipitously? Everything from abundant grasses to apex predators suffers the consequences.

By Robert Lamb

Researchers from Montreal's Concordia University have figured out why the air inside a tornado vortex is cooler and less dense than the surrounding air.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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

By Patrick J. Kiger

Smartphone cameras enable us to take striking pictures of strange atmospheric phenomena—though we don’t always know what we’re seeing.

By Patrick J. Kiger

It's every evil mad scientist's dream. Could it ever be a reality?

By Julia Layton

Inject heat, ash and fire into a spinning mass of air. Watch as a funnel of flames leaps from the ground, reaches for the heavens and then races forward to consume everything in its path. Is such a phenomenon possible?

By William Harris

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The Americas have been hit with some major hurricanes throughout the decades. But which were the worst ones in history?

By Chris Opfer & Sarah Gleim

It sounds simple enough. A wildfire is burning in your immediate area, so you turn from it and run. But getting away from a fire on foot may not be as easy as you think.

By Alison Cooper