2020 ties for hottest year on record, says NASA and NOAA

In a joint briefing at the 101st American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting, NASA and NOAA revealed 2020's scorching climate data.

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  • 2020 is tied with 2016 for being globally the hottest year on record.
  • The year's hotspot included the Arctic, which is warming at three times the global mean.
  • The United States endured a record-breaking year for billion-dollar natural disasters.
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    Four scenarios for the next supercontinent

    The arc of geological history is long, but it bends towards supercontinents – so, what will the next one look like?

    Credit: Pilgrim-Ivanhoe, reproduced with kind permission
    • We're halfway through a 'supercontinent cycle'.
    • The next one is due in 200-300 million years.
    • Here are four plausible scenarios of what it will look like.
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    Study finds surprising link between the Moon and methane leaks in the Arctic

    Researchers from Norway discover that the Moon's tides influence the release of methane from the ocean floor.

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    • Sensitive instruments reveal methane beneath the Arctic Ocean for the first time.
    • The gas is released in cycles that correspond to the tides.
    • Rising warming oceans may help to contain the greenhouse gas.
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    NOAA discovers a new, beautifully weird sea creature

    Exceptionally high-quality videos allow scientists to formally introduce a remarkable new comb jelly.

    • Gorgeous simplicity characterizes the comb jelly recently discovered by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries.
    • The small denizen of the deep was spotted three times beneath the waters off Puerto Rico.
    • Though it's unusual to formally identify an animal strictly based on video observations, the quality of NOAA's video made it possible in a case where there's no better alternative.
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    Isolated island group is now one of the world's largest animal sanctuaries

    One of the world's most isolated island groups has just been made one of the world's largest ocean reserves.

    Credit: RICHARD A. BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)
    • The small island group of Tristan da Cunha has created one of the world's largest ocean sanctuaries.
    • Neither fishing nor extractive activities will be allowed in the area, which is three times the size of the United Kingdom.
    • Animals protected by this zone include penguins, sharks, and many seabirds.
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