The Great Storm: Solar Tempest of 1859 Revealed - In early September in 1859, telegraph wires suddenly shorted out in the United States and Europe, igniting widespread fires. Colorful aurora, normally visible only in polar regions, were seen as far south as Rome and Hawaii. The event 144 years ago was three times more powerful than the strongest space storm in modern memory, one that cut power to an entire Canadian province in 1989. A new account of the 1859 event, from research led by Bruce Tsurutani of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, details the most powerful onslaught of solar energy in recorded history.
China triggers alarm on melting glaciers: Dust and sandstorms are a growing problem, particularly in north China, due to deforestation, drought and the environmental depredations of China’s breakneck economic growth. Beijing has approved programs to reclaim land by planting hardy grasses and shrubs on 30 percent of the country's 700,000 square miles of desert by 2050.