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A polar bear stands on the ice in the Franklin Strait in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Saturday, July 22, 2017.
David Goldman/AP
Environment

The 24 Most Stunning Nature Photos of 2017

When an iceberg floated next to a grassy hill in Newfoundland, Canada, earlier in the year, it looked straight out of a cartoon, a pop-up natural phenomenon that mixed wonder with fear. Mobs of tourists visited the hunk of ice to take pictures, while scientists warned of the Arctic's disintegration. 

In a lot of ways, the big iceberg was emblematic of 2017, a year filled with both visual splendor and obvious evocations of climate change.

Hurricanes, floods, droughts, and more caused enormous damage everywhere from Puerto Rico to India, creating global scenes of despair. 

At the same time, the moon briefly swelled into a lovely red orb. The aurura borealis danced above northern skies. And US citizens became newly acquainted with the vast expanses of national monuments as they came under attack from the Trump administration.  

Take Action: Stand Up for the Arctic

Here are some of our favorite environmental scenes of 2017.


Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-01.jpgImage: Robert F. Bukaty/AP

1) United States National Monuments: A kid explores the Penobscot River's East Branch at the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument near Patten, Maine on Aug. 8, 2017.

Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-02.jpgImage: Maria-Jose Viñas/NASA

2) Polar Ice: Heart-shaped calving front of a glacier is pictured in northwest Greenland during an Operation IceBridge flight on Mar. 27, 2017. NASA's Operation IceBridge is a program that is analyzing Earth's polar ice to understand its greater connection to the global climate. According to NASA, IceBridge studies changes in the thickness of ice, glaciers and ice sheets. 

Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-03.jpgImage: Firdia Lisnawati/AP

3) Mount Agung Volcano: Clouds of ash from Mount Agung volcano are lit with warm sunset light in Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia on Nov. 30, 2017.

Read More: 12 Natural Disasters That Broke Our Hearts in 2017

Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-04.jpgImage: Jae C. Hong/AP

4) California Wildfires: Homes stand along the beach as the sun is visible through thick smoke from a wildfire, Dec. 6, 2017, in Ventura, Calif.

Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-05.jpgImage: Bill Ingalls/NASA

5) Supermoon: The supermoon is seen as is rises on Dec. 3, 2017 in Washington, D.C. This full moon is the first of three consecutive supermoons. The other two will occur on Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2018. A supermoon occurs when the moon’s orbit is closest  Earth at the same time it is full.

Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-06.jpgImage: Gerald Herbert/AP

6) Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria: Evan Mandino, right, sits with neighbors on a couch outside their destroyed homes as sun sets in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, Sept. 26, 2017. 

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7) Meteor Shower: Perseid meteors named as 'Orinoid' streak across the sky over Kula town of Manisa, Turkey on October 21, 2017.

Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-07.jpgImage: Armando Franca/AP

8) Portugal Wildfires: Portuguese National Republican Guard firefighters work to stop a forest fire from reaching the village of Avelar, central Portugal, at sunrise, June 18, 2017.

Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-20.jpgImage: Brett Monroe Garner/Greenpeace

9) Great Barrier Reef: Bleached coral is photographed on Australia's Great Barrier Reef near Port Douglas, February 20, 2017 in this handout image from Greenpeace. The damage is the result of 12 months of above sea temperatures across the reef. 

Read More: 17 Moments That Made Us Say Yesss in 2017

Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-08.jpgImage: David Goldman/AP

10) Arctic Wildlife: A polar bear stands on the ice in the Franklin Strait in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, July 22, 2017.

Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-09.jpgImage: Petros Giannakouris/AP

11) Heatwave in Greece: Children cool themselves in a fountain in a park, in Athens on Monday, Aug. 5, 2017.

Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-10.jpgImage: K.M. Chaudary/AP

12) Air Pollution in Pakistan: Children ride swings in a playground engulfed by smog in Lahore, Pakistan, Nov. 11, 2017. Officials said smog has enveloped much of the country, causing highway accidents and respiratory problems, and forcing many residents to stay home.

Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-11.jpgImage: Andrew Medichini/AP

13) Italy Water Shortage: A view of the shore of Lake Bracciano, northwest of Rome, on July 27, 2017. Rome area’s governor ordered no more water drawn from Lake Bracciano, which supplies much of the Italian capital, raising risk for staggered water supply shutdowns as long as eight hours daily in alternating neighborhoods. Scarce rain and chronically leaky aqueducts have combined this summer to hurt farmers in much of Italy and put Romans at risk for drastic water rationing.

Read More: Here Are the 9 Biggest Global Health Moments From 2017

Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-12.jpgImage: Jack Fischer/NASA

14) Northern Lights: NASA astronaut Jack Fischer posted this image on his Twitter account, writing: "One of my favorite things to do in my free time is watch the Aurora—it’s almost alive, as it slathers up the sky in awesome sauce." 

15) Hurricane Irma, Saint Martin: View of the aftermath of Hurricane Irma on Sint Maarten Dutch part of Saint Martin island in the Caribbean September 6, 2017.

Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-13.jpgImage: David Goldman/AP

16) Hurricane Irma, Florida: An American flag is torn as Hurricane Irma passes through Naples, Fla., Sept. 10, 2017.

Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-14.jpgImage: Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin/UNICEF

17) South Sudan Farmland: Women walk across parched farmland on the outskirts of Aweil, South Sudan, on March 11, 2017. Increasingly unpredictable and shorter rainy seasons are contributing to decreased agricultural yields and reducing people's access to clean water.

Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-15.jpgImage: Anupam Nath/AP

18) Flooding in India: Flood victims on makeshift banana rafts collect biscuit packets distributed by government officials in Pokoria village, east of Gauhati, north eastern Assam state, India, Aug. 14, 2017. Heavy monsoon rains have unleashed landslides and floods that killed dozens of people in recent days and displaced millions more across northern India, southern Nepal and Bangladesh.

Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-16.jpgImage: Aaron Favila/AP

19) Heavy Rain in the Philippines: Girls play along a flooded street during heavy rains brought on by tropical storm "Nesat" on the outskirts of Manila, Philippines on July 27, 2017.

Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-17.jpgImage: David J. Phillip/AP

20) Tropical Storm Harvey, Texas: A man helps a woman in floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey, Aug. 27, 2017, in Houston, Texas. 

21) Iceberg Ally: Residents view the first iceberg of the season as it passes the South Shore, also known as “Iceberg Alley”, near Ferryland Newfoundland, Canada April 16, 2017. 

Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-18.jpgImage: Mark Dixon/Flickr

22) Climate March, Washington DC: People march in the streets as part of the "Peoples Climate March" in Washington, DC on April 29, 2017. 

A man walks over a natural bridge at Butler Wash in Bears Ears National Monument near Blanding, Utah, U.S., October 27, 2017. President Donald Trump’s announcement last week that he intends to reduce the size of two national monuments covering millions of acres of Utah wilderness has stoked local divisions over land use, with all sides anticipating a protracted battle over the move. On one side, Native American groups and environmentalists expressed anger and are ready to sue the U.S. government. On the other, conservative-leaning residents welcomed the decision, seeing it as a reversal of government overreach and a boost for traditional industries like drilling, mining and grazing. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen #reuters #reutersphotos #bearsears #utah #nature

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23) Bears Ears National Monument: A man walks over a natural bridge at Butler Wash in Bears Ears National Monument near Blanding, Utah, U.S., October 27, 2017.

Read More: Experts Say Arctic Drilling Makes Little Sense. So Why Is It Being Pushed?

Environmental-Photos-Of-The-Year-19.jpgImage: NASA

24) Tropical Storm Harvey from Space: Astronaut Randy Bresnik took this photo of Tropical Storm Harvey from the International Space Station on Aug. 28, 2017.