The cherry blossoms are a huge draw for tourists in Washington, D.C. with its National Cherry Blossom Festival that signifies the beginning of spring. The festival began on March 20. However, the unusually high temperatures caused the cherry blossoms and tulips to bloom much earlier than the usual spring equinox arrival, with the trees at peak flowers this week. In fact, all around the country, Spring has sprung early.
Cherry Blossoms in D.C. on March 19, 2012. Credit: afagen/flickr
A green gecko sits on a palm at Vallee de Mai Nature Reserve in the Praslin Island in Seychelles. Conservationists fear that some rare species of the fragile island ecosystem, like the giant tortoise, are at risk due to climate change-related impacts on their habitat, such as shifts in rainfall patterns, severe storms, and sea level rise.
Credit: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images
The number of Monarch butterflies spending their winters in Mexico dropped 28 percent, according to a new report. The reason for the decline in Monarchs flying south is up for debate. Some scientists say that the decline is due to drought conditions in the U.S. and Canada where the butterflies breed and start their journey south. Other experts say it’s the deforestation of fir trees in Mexico’s mountains that’s at the root of the butterflies’ declining numbers.
Credit: Sally Rae Kimmel/flickr
The Greenland ice sheet is melting quicker than anyone previously thought. A new estimate lowers the amount of heat necessary, and thus the time needed, to melt the Greenland ice sheet, according to Nature Climate Change. This is important because the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet causes significant sea level rise. Warming is also expected to affect Antarctica and other ice pockets worldwide causing rising sea levels.
Ice cap in Greenland, near Kangerlussuaq Credit: Ludovic Hirlimann/flickr
Could the Death Valley crater explode again in the near future? California's Ubehebe Crater, which is a mile and a half wide, came to be several thousand years ago, scientists first thought. An eruption sent rocky debris in Death Valley causing the large crater. It was thought that when this happened Death Valley was much wetter than it is today. According to National Geographic, a new study shows that the explosion may have occurred more recently when Death Valley resembles much as it is today. This means that conditions could be favorable for another explosion.
Credit: Gord McKenna