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Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life
Wildfires within the Arctic Circle in Alaska on June 4, 2020. Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data processed by Pierre Markuse. CC BY 2.0

By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.

Earth had its second-warmest year on record in 2020, just 0.02 degrees Celsius (0.04°F) behind the record set in 2016, and 0.98 degrees Celsius (1.76°F) above the 20th-century average, NOAA reported January 14.

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The Charley Fire northeast of Phoenix, Arizona was started by a lightning strike in 2012. Nic Leister / Moment / Getty Images

As the planet's temperature warms, the frequency of lightning strikes is expected to grow with it, Environmental Journal reported.

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Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.

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A polar bar in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Sylvain CORDIER / Gamma-Rapho / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

"The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge faces its biggest threat yet."

That's the warning issued by the National Audubon Society on Tuesday — a day before the Trump administration is set to sell oil and gas leasing rights in the refuge's coastal plain, a biodiversity hotspot of critical importance to the Gwich'in people and dubbed America's Serengeti.

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Plaintiffs in the Norwegian climate lawsuit assemble following a press conference on the Supreme Court's decision on Dec. 22, 2020. Ric Francis / Greenpeace

By Dana Drugmand

Norway's Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled not to overturn the Norwegian government's approval of new licenses for offshore oil drilling in the fragile Arctic region.

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Bowhead whale populations are nearing pre-commercial whaling numbers in U.S. waters. CoreyFord / Getty Images

In good news that has scientists excited, bowhead whale populations are nearing pre-commercial whaling numbers in U.S. waters.

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The moon over the Svalbard Islands, Norway, and the Arctic Ocean, where a study has linked tidal rhythms to methane release. MB Photography / Moment / Getty Images

The moon helps to control the release of methane from the Arctic Ocean.

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The Arctic is becoming "warmer, less frozen, and biologically changed in ways that are scarcely imaginable even a generation ago," according to NOAA's annual Arctic report card. NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory/ YouTube

Global warming is rapidly changing the Arctic into a region that is, "warmer, less frozen, and biologically changed in ways that are scarcely imaginable even a generation ago," according to NOAA's annual Arctic report card, released Tuesday.

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A polar bear greeting photographed from a small boat in the Beaufort Sea on the northeast coast of Alaska on Sept. 22, 2015. Arthur T. LaBar / Flickr

By Jessica Corbett

Climate action advocates and wildlife defenders celebrated Monday after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected the Trump administration's approval of Liberty, a proposed offshore oil-drilling project in federal Arctic waters that opponents warned would endanger local communities, animals, and the environment.

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Polar bears are seen in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Alan D. Wilson / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

After ongoing pressure from environmental groups and Indigenous communities, Bank of America has said it will not finance any oil and gas exploration in the Arctic, making it the last major U.S. financial institution to do so.

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For the first time on record, the main nursery of Arctic sea ice in Siberia has yet to start freezing by late October. Euronews / YouTube

By Sharon Guynup

At this time of year, in Russia's far north Laptev Sea, the sun hovers near the horizon during the day, generating little warmth, as the region heads towards months of polar night. By late September or early October, the sea's shallow waters should be a vast, frozen expanse.

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Researchers say they have observed methane being released along a wide swath of the slope of the Laptev Sea. Aerohod / CC BY-SA 4.0

Arctic Ocean sediments are full of frozen gases known as hydrates, and scientists have long been concerned about what will happen when and if the climate crisis induces them to thaw. That is because one of them is methane, a greenhouse gas that has 80 times the warming impact of carbon dioxide over a 20 year period. In fact, the U.S. Geological Survey has listed Arctic hydrate destabilization as one of the four most serious triggers for even more rapid climate change.

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The Polarstern research vessel returns from a year-long drift across the Arctic on Oct. 12, 2020 in Bremerhaven, Germany. David Hecker / Getty Images

The largest Arctic research expedition in history returned to Germany Monday after 13 months in the Arctic, including several months with its ship deliberately trapped by sea ice, according to The New York Times.

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