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Environment

  • Arctic sea ice ‘smallest size ever’

    Arctic sea ice ‘smallest size ever’

    Arctic sea ice this year is the smallest in winter since satellite records began in 1979, in a new sign of long-term climate change, US data showed. The ice floating on the Arctic Ocean around the North Pole reached its maximum annual extent of...

  • Action over polluted Paris skies

    Action over polluted Paris skies

    Paris officials are seeking drastic measures to combat an alarming spike in air pollution that has turned the city’s skies a murky grey. Mayor Anne Hidalgo called on the government to implement an emergency ban on around half of the car and truck...

  • Bay laurel

    Bay laurel

    There is no doubt that the bay laurel is a Maltese indigenous tree. Fossilised imprints of its leaves have been found in Pleistocene deposits, that is, rock formations from the Ice Age period, which formed thousands of years before the first...

  • Natural treasure

    Natural treasure

    Australia yesterday detailed how it will ban dumping of all dredge soil in the Great Barrier Reef as it looks to step up protection of the world’s largest reef and avoid having it listed by Unesco as “in danger”. Unesco’s World Heritage Committee...

  • Debating renewables

    Debating renewables

    There could well be more than enough rooftops in Malta to produce energy from the sun using photovoltaic (PV) panels. Does this mean we can get by without a solar farm taking up even more precious space on our crowded island? This and several...

  • Endangered species trust launches appeal to survive

    Endangered species trust launches appeal to survive

    In the golden desert of Namibia on the way to the famous Etosha National Park, one finds the Rare and Endangered Species Trust (Rest), which has grabbed the attention of the media, including giants such as National Geographic, Animal Planet and...

  • World oceans yield morethan 1,000 new creatures

    World oceans yield morethan 1,000 new creatures

    More than 1,000 new-to-science sea fish have been described in the past eight years − an average of more than 10 a month, experts have revealed. The new fish species include 122 sharks and rays, 131 members of the goby family, and a Mediterranean...

  • Fossil ‘lobster’ was as big as a human

    Fossil ‘lobster’ was as big as a human

    A filter-feeding ‘lobster’ as big as a human took the place of whales 480 million years ago, a fossil find has shown. The two-metre prehistoric creature, whose remains were unearthed in Morocco, lived at a distant time when life was just starting...

  • A new spring

    A new spring

    This year it seems that spring will be coming late. At this time of the year the sun normally shines much more often and the temperature is higher on average. When spring finally arrives, it will no doubt be welcomed with open arms. This spring...

  • Darwin’s Galapagos birds share rare taste for flowers

    Darwin’s Galapagos birds share rare taste for flowers

    Scientists have for the first time discovered a general shift in diets across an entire group of animals while studying birds on the Galapagos islands that once helped inspire Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. The Spanish-led team observed 19...

  • Magnet test shows flies’ mastery

    Magnet test shows flies’ mastery

    A bizarre experiment in which fruit flies carrying tiny magnets are forced to roll in the air has demonstrated the insects’ ability as ‘fly-by-wire’ master aviators. Scientists wanted to study how the flies manage to fly so well when their small...

  • Blue chameleons?

    Blue chameleons?

    Chameleons use futuristic nanotechnology more advanced than anything humans possess to carry out their extraordinary colour changes, scientists have learned. The process involves the active tuning of a lattice of microscopic crystals in skin cells...

  • Setting a higher standard for (environmental) journalism

    Setting a higher standard for (environmental) journalism

    Let me start this article with a proviso. Being a resident academic at University and penning this fortnightly column for the past 13 years means I have a foot in both academia and journalism. Academics are usually wary or coy, to say the least,...

  • Quake Watch

    Quake Watch

    Two weak earthquakes of 2.6 and 2.4 magnitude were recorded in the early morning of February 9. These two earthquakes had the same epicentre and, al­though low on the Richter scale, occurred very close to the Maltese islands, several kilometres...

  • Seismic Monitoring and Research Unit purchases state-of-the art equipment

    Seismic Monitoring and Research Unit purchases state-of-the art equipment

    State-of-the-art seismographs have been purchased by the Seis­mic Monitoring and Research Unit at the University of Malta’s Depart­ment of Physics. These instruments will be used to establish the Malta Seismic Network, and also comple­ment the...

  • Mellieħa Bay surface sea currents being monitored as part of project to predict spread of jellyfish

    Mellieħa Bay surface sea currents being monitored as part of project to predict spread of jellyfish

    The direction and strength of sea surface currents and temperature at various distances from the mouth of Mellieħa Bay are being surveyed to obtain data to validate models that can simulate the spread of jellyfish blooms and predict their presence...

  • Nepal tells Mount Everest litterbugs to take out the trash

    Nepal tells Mount Everest litterbugs to take out the trash

    Six decades after the first conquest of the world’s highest peak, tons of rubbish and human waste abandoned by hundreds of Mount Everest climbers is starting to raise a stink. Nepal is cracking down on the mountaineers who seek to emulate the 1953...

  • Mediterranean painted frog

    Mediterranean painted frog

    February seemed to be wetter than usual. It rained most days and, by the end of the month, I was hearing a lot of people complaining that they were fed up of the rain even though they all knew that in this country we should welcome every drop of...

  • Private life of hairy Hoff crab exposed

    Private life of hairy Hoff crab exposed

    Males of a species of crab nicknamed after David Hasselhoff because of their hairy chests spend largely separate lives from the females, according to research. In a study looking at the private life of the deep-sea crab known as the Hoff have...

  • Syria’s civil war linked, in part, to global warming

    Syria’s civil war linked, in part, to global warming

    A record-breaking drought may have helped push Syria into all-out civil war, according to research. Parts of the country were ravaged by the worst ever dry spell to hit the region between 2006 and 2010 and this may have been a factor in propelling...

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