3 Scientific Discoveries Since Earth Day 2016

Stephen Serrano, Photojournalist

New things on Earth are discovered every single day. The place we call home is often taken for granted and is still filled with unknown. On April 22, 1970, Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day to raise awareness about our environment and the pollution of it. Now celebrated every year, Earth Day has constantly made an impact on many who care about the resources of Earth. Since there are new findings on Earth every day, there is a lot that we humans have found out since last Earth Day.

  1. The Earth is losing species at a rapid rate.

With the increase in global temperature and pollution increase, many of our beloved wildlife have been going extinct. Giraffe populations have declined 40%  and more than half of primates are going through the path of extinction. As a result, this past year scientists have been in a rush to uncover new species to make up for the losses. At this speed, the animals we know now could be a distant memory in museums.

  1. A new continent has been discovered: Zealandia.

In the same area as New Zealand, Nick Mortimer and a team of geologists have claimed that this area should deserve its own continent, Zealandia. After publishing a paper in February 2017, the scientists pleaded that the geology and land mass of this area is prominently different than its assigned continent, Australia. Zealandia fits the dictionary definition of a continent, making it its own separate entity.

  1. Asperitas, a new cloud form is added to the official cloud atlas.

Scientists have not discovered a new type of cloud since the 19th century. The Cloud Appreciation Society has been studying the Asperitas cloud since 2006. The International Cloud Atlas states an Asperitas cloud “is characterized by localized waves in the cloud base, either smooth or dappled with smaller features, sometimes descending into sharp points as if viewing a roughened sea surface from below.”

As another year of adventure and discovery has passed along since last Earth Day, mankind is still craving the unknown. When asked about the new discoveries, Maddie Cusick (9) states, “I am really surprised at these facts because they are very interesting and make you rethink what you know.” Since the last Earth Day, these discoveries signify that there is so much to learn about our planet.