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Last week the hottest in recorded world history, U.N. agency says

Hotest week in world history

Last week was the hottest ever recorded across the world — and an oncoming El Niño is likely to keep upward pressure on global temperatures, the World Meteorological Organization said Monday.

Global average surface temperatures were not the only records broken last week, the United Nations’ weather and climate agency said, citing preliminary data. It noted sea surface temperatures also hit “unprecedented” highs and that Antarctic sea ice coverage is at a record low.

The WMO said climate change and the developing El Niño are expected to push land and ocean temperatures higher. But that El Niño system has yet to take full effect, meaning temperature records are likely to be reached again later this year.


Backlash builds as Japan prepares to release wastewater from Fukushima nuclear plant

Japan to release wastewater from Fujiyama nuclear plantSouth Korean opposition lawmakers sharply criticized the head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog on Sunday for its approval of Japanese plans to release treated wastewater from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant.

They met with Rafael Grossi in a tense meeting in Seoul that took place while protesters screamed outside the door.

Grossi, the International Atomic Energy Agency's director general, arrived in South Korea over the weekend to engage with government officials and critics and help reduce public concerns about food safety.

The IAEA last week approved the Japanese discharge plans, saying the process would meet international safety standards and pose negligible environmental and health impacts. South Korea's government has also endorsed the safety of the Japanese plans.


Nearly half of nation's tap water contains PFAS, a new study finds. Americans living in urban areas are most at risk.

PFAS testing

Nearly half of the tap water in the United States is estimated to have at least one type of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance, or PFAS, a national study from the U.S. Geological Survey shows.

The group of chemicals, commonly used in consumer products like nonstick cookware and linings of fast-food boxes, have been linked to human illnesses like cancer, low birth weight and thyroid disease. The agency claims it's the first comprehensive study of its kind on unregulated private wells – giving average consumers information about the risks of PFAS when they grab a glass of water from their kitchen sink, said Kelly Smalling, the study’s lead author and research hydrologist.


Brazil soccer star Neymar fined $3.5 mln for environmental offense

Soccer star NeymarBrazilian authorities said on Monday that soccer star Neymar was fined 16 million reais ($3.33 million) for breaching environmental rules during the construction of his coastal mansion in southeastern Brazil.

The luxury project violated rules regarding the use and movement of freshwater sources, rock and sand, local authorities first alleged late last month and confirmed on Monday.

A spokesperson for Neymar declined to comment on the matter.

His residence is located in the town of Mangaratiba on the southern coast of Brazil's Rio de Janeiro state.

Mangaratiba's environmental body said in a statement on Monday that environmental infractions were made "in the construction of an artificial lake at the mansion."


At least 14 deaths reported as brutal heat wave hits millions in south-central US

Heat kills 14 in southern USAlong with the dismal air quality across the upper Midwest, the main weather story across the nation Wednesday was the deadly, record-breaking heat wave scorching the south-central U.S. over the past couple of weeks, killing at least 14 people. Temperatures Wednesday were forecast to approach or surpass 100 degrees from New Mexico to Mississippi.

“These are unprecedented temperatures,” Webb County, Texas, medical examiner Corine Stern said this week. Eleven people have died in Webb County, Stern said. Two others died in Texas while hiking in extreme heat at Big Bend National Park. One person died last week in Louisiana.

And as of midday Wednesday, more than 87 million Americans were under some level of heat alert from the National Weather Service.


Saved by seaweed: nuns and Native women heal polluted New York waters using kelp

Saved by seaweed

Early on a January morning, a dozen nuns hopped on a Zoom call and waited patiently for their turn to speak softly, sweetly to plants.

One of the sisters sang a song; another played the flute; several recited poetry and prayers. The intended audience of their kind words were dozens of kelp seedlings, which had a big task: grow big and healthy enough to be planted in the waters off the shores of Long Island, New York.

The sisters are a part of a unique collaboration: situated on the edge of a bay, they have helped a group of women from the Shinnecock, a local Indigenous tribe, start a kelp farm in the hopes of cleaning up the pollution in their shared backyard.

“When we started our hatchery, we were doing a lot of research for ways to give our kelp the best start in life,” said tribal member Danielle Hopson Begun. “Studies have shown that plants respond well to high-frequency tones.”


Canadian wildfire emissions hit record high as smoke reaches Europe

Canadian firesWildfires burning through large swathes of eastern and western Canada have released a record 160 million tonnes of carbon, the EU's Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service said on Tuesday.

This year's wildfire season is the worst on record in Canada, with some 76,000 square kilometres (29,000 square miles) burning across eastern and western Canada. That's greater than the combined area burned in 2016, 2019, 2020 and 2022, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre.

As of June 26, the annual emissions from the fires are now the largest for Canada since satellite monitoring began in 2003, surpassing 2014 at 140 million tonnes.

"The difference is eastern Canada fires driving this growth in the emissions more than just western Canada," said Copernicus senior scientist Mark Parrington. Emissions from just Alberta and British Columbia, he said, are far from setting any record.


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