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Thursday, Nov 23rd

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North Dakota boomtown becomes a fracking mess

ND fracky party is overThe fracking party is over, and a quiet desperation has descended on the state's once-booming communities and the thousands of people who were drawn to them.

Dave Van Assche didn't fret too much when oil prices started to slide in late 2014. The postal services business he had built over three short years was thriving, catering to the tens of thousands of people who, like him, had streamed into North Dakota to strike it rich during an unprecedented oil boom.

But the price drop quickened, due in part to a supply glut from the 1.2 million barrels of oil North Dakota was pumping each day. Within a year, oil prices were down more than 70 percent, and North Dakota's oil rush stalled. The daily take at Van Assche's business has sunk from a peak of $2,500 to at best $600 now.

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Last Month Was The Warmest April Ever Recorded, Continuing 7-Month Hot Streak

global warmingSound like something you’ve heard before? It’s probably because you have.

Based on NASA data, April was the seventh month in a row that global temperatures set a new record high. It was also the third consecutive month that the record was broken by the largest margin ever.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has yet to reveal its analysis of April temperatures, but if their findings line up with NASA’s, that’ll mean one full year of record-hot months. (The two agencies use slightly different dates to determine the long-term temperature average.)

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We Just Had Our Fourth Record-Breaking Hottest Month In A Row

hottest four months in a row (2015)A record fire-storm in Canada fueled by record warmth. Record ice-melt in Greenland and the Arctic sea, driven by off-the-charts warmth in the far north. And, NASA reported Friday, we’ve just been through the hottest April and the hottest January-April on record — by far.

How big a jump was April 2016 compared to the historical record? In an email, Stefan Rahmstorf, Head of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, notes that “The margin by which April beats the previous record April is three times larger (0.24 °C) than the margin of any previous record April (biggest was 0.08 °C).”

Also, this has easily been the hottest January-April on record, which isn’t a surprise given that last month’s record was hot on the heels of the hottest March on record by far, which followed the hottest February on record by far, and hottest January on record by far.

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Australia's "biggest ever environmental disaster"

Great Barrier Reef bleachingThe massive bleaching hitting the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia is likely that country's "biggest ever environmental disaster," says Dr. Justin Marshall, who has studied the reef for three decades.

Only 7 percent of the reef has escaped bleaching, according to researchers at the ARC Center of Excellence. Marshall, a professor at the University of Queensland, says the destructive phenomenon is happening in an area the size of Scotland.

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World's carbon dioxide concentration teetering on the point of no return

CO2 concentration The world is hurtling towards an era when global concentrations of carbon dioxide never again dip below the 400 parts per million (ppm) milestone, as two important measuring stations sit on the point of no return.

The news comes as one important atmospheric measuring station at Cape Grim in Australia is poised on the verge of 400ppm for the first time. Sitting in a region with stable CO2 concentrations, once that happens, it will never get a reading below 400ppm.

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Rising sea levels: five Solomon Islands have disappeared underwater

Solomon Islands disappea due to rising sea levelsFive islands have disappeared in the Pacific's Solomon Islands due to rising sea levels and coastal erosion, according to an Australian study that scientists said Saturday could provide valuable insights for future research.

A further six reef islands have been severely eroded in the remote area of the Solomons, the study said, with one experiencing some 10 houses being swept into the sea between 2011 and 2014.

"At least 11 islands across the northern Solomon Islands have either totally disappeared over recent decades or are currently experiencing severe erosion," the study published in Environmental Research Letters said.

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March 2016 Smashes Another Monthly Global Warmth Record

Global warmingEarth's global temperatures in March 2016 set another monthly record, continuing an almost year-long streak of records shattered, according to three recent independent analyes.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) calculated the global mean March 2016 temperature was 0.62 degrees Celsius (about 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit) above the March 30-year average from 1981-2010.

A second analysis released Friday from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies also concluded March anomalies were the highest in their period of record dating to 1880, a whopping 1.28 degrees Celsius above the 1951-1980 average period.

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