National Geographic News


3 Advances in Hurricane Science Could Make Us Safer

National Geographic News

In 1992, forecasters tried to project a hurricane's likely track three days in advance. The new computer models allow forecasters to predict the hurricane's track five days in advance. Phil Klotzbach, a researcher at Colorado State University, said the three-day forecast accuracy has "improved dramatically" since 1992, when the average forecast error was about 270 miles. "Last year, the average (three-day) forecast track error was about 90 miles," he said.


Shark 'Feeding Frenzy' Seen in Incredible Aerial View

National Geographic News

A massive school of fish in the ocean forms a fascinating natural sight. A vacationer with a drone camera captured a scene fit for a horror movie: a group of sharks, also known as a shiver, feasting on a school of menhaden fish off the coast of New York's Hamptons, one of the most famous vacation spots in the United States. "Sharks' travel patterns in the area are well documented, and include regularly feeding on large schools of fish," he said. Skomal points out that through the use of drones to document shark feeding, we get a look at these creatures in a new way.



Your Greens Might Soon Be Grown in Warehouses

National Geographic News

Bowery Farms grows hydroponic crops out of a warehouse in Kearny, New Jersey, using LED lights. Here, Bowery Farms co-founder and CEO Irving Fain talks about the future of urban farming and why it's important. Bowery vertically stacks its plants to maximize growing space. Of course, the idea of growing food indoors isn't really new--what's changed?


New Jersey-Size 'Dead Zone' Is Largest Ever in Gulf of Mexico

National Geographic News

This year's large size is mainly due to heavy stream flows in May, Rabalais continued, which were about 34 percent above the long-term average and carried higher-than-average amounts of nutrients through Midwest waterways and into the Gulf. In its action plan for the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone, the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force recently extended the deadline until 2035 for achieving the goal of a 1,950-square-mile dead zone, which would be roughly the size of Delaware. Shrinking the annual Gulf of Mexico dead zone down to that size, however, will require a much higher 59 percent reduction in the amount of nitrogen runoff that flows down the Mississippi River, according to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "The bottom line is that we will never reach the action plan's goal of 1,950 square miles until more serious actions are taken to reduce the loss of Midwest fertilizers into the Mississippi River system," says University of Michigan aquatic ecologist Don Scavia, lead author of the paper.


Why This Man Spent 40 Years Alone in the Woods Collecting Weather Data

National Geographic News

But it's his staggering trove of weather data that has brought billy widespread attention. Cited in numerous academic publications, in recent years billy's data has proved especially useful for those studying the effects of climate change. What motivated you to start recording weather data? He put all that together in a scientific manner, and then passed it on to others, people who are looking at mammal stuff, plant stuff.


See the Stunning Waterfalls Created by Historic Floods

National Geographic News

Seen from overhead, this large body of water with cascading waterfalls might appear to be a remote lake. By July 13, the river had reached a historic high of 16.5 feet. Lakes often form when water fills natural basins created by receding glaciers, tectonic activity, volcanic eruptions, or dammed rivers. Echo Lake Dam just north of Burlington was opened several inches to relieve pressure on the affected areas, and water will likely stop gushing into the quarry soon, allowing it to drain.


We Knew Ravens Are Smart. But Not This Smart

National Geographic News

New research shows ravens are as skilled as humans as planning and bartering. "Monkeys have not been able to solve tasks like this," Osvath says, noting the birds are actually more skilled than human children. The researchers also set up an experiment to test the birds' bartering skills. "It is really surprising to see ravens were better at solving two planning tasks than great apes and children presented with similar problems," says Alex Taylor, an animal cognition expert University of Auckland in New Zealand who was not involved in the new study.


manta-rays-swimming-hawaii-video-spd

National Geographic News

Even though these huge fish are 12 feet across, the social behavior of the reef manta ray has generally remained secretive--until now. In rare drone footage captured off the coast of Oahu in Hawaii by Mark Merkley, the unique and graceful feeding behavior of the reef manta ray is captured in great detail. Manta ray individuals "stack" behind one another while feeding. The social groupings of manta rays are intriguing in part because they aren't necessarily family groups.


Giant 'Mirror' Planets Found in First-of-Its-Kind Experiment

National Geographic News

Plus, several planets--including a transiting hot Jupiter in the Kepler field--do indeed reflect their star's light. So, using thousands of synthetic data sets, as well as observations from those known planets, Millholland and Laughlin trained an algorithm to sift through the massive Kepler data set and search for shiny planets. Millholland ran the program on 142,630 Kepler stars, looking for large, non-transiting worlds that orbit their stars in less than one Earth-week. One way to answer that question is to look for hot Jupiters using Millholland's method in systems where smaller worlds have been detected orbiting rather far from their stars.