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Along with lower-than-average precipitation, higher-than-average temperatures are predicted to accompany La Niña into the spring, increasing the risk of wildfires in the Southwest.

An unwanted visitor has made her way to the border region, and it's not your irate aunt here to put a damper on the holidays. Continuing into the spring, a moderate-to-strong La Niña is predicted to reign across the United States, meaning lower-than-average precipitation for the Southwest. Read more»

Just how much of the oil spilled in the Gulf is still there? Depends on what the meaning of "is" is. NOAA is hedging some of its estimates, and not in a good way. About three-quarters of the oil that spilled into the Gulf from BP’s ruptured well is still in the environment. Read more»

A map showing the extent of light pollution across the U.S. Credit: P. Cinzano, F. Falchi (University of Padova), C. D. Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder). Copyright Royal Astronomical Society. Reproduced from the Monthly Notices of the RAS by permission of Blackwell Science.

Globe at Night, which promotes the value of dark skies, set a record in 2010 with more than 17,800 measurements of night sky light pollution. The program teaches about the impact of excessive artificial lighting on local environments, and the ongoing loss of a dark night sky as a shared natural resource. Read more»