In 2018, natural disasters around the world bore the unmistakable fingerprints of human-caused climate change. The federal government’s 1,600-page National Climate Assessment predicted even more extreme events—floods that destroy infrastructure, warming that spreads disease, and deadly record high temperatures. But global carbon emissions set a new record this year, and experts say that humanity is nowhere close to meeting its goal of limiting total temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius.
It was also a red-letter year for space missions. NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe to get a closer look at the sun’s corona. And after nine years of detecting exoplanets, the Kepler Space Telescope finally ran out of fuel. In the world of medicine, scientists grappled with the ethical questions concerning human gene editing, many of which are still unanswered.
Sarah Kaplan, science reporter for the Washington Post, and Rachel Feltman, science editor with Popular Science, join Ira to discuss the year in science news.
Plus, we check back in with a few of the State of Science stories from this year including conservation projects in Wyoming, lead levels in Chicago drinking water, and the algae blooms that formed off the coast of Florida.