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10 October 2018

Smoke from wildfires has cooling effect on water temperatures

Smoke generated by wildfires can cool river and stream water temperatures by reducing solar radiation and cooling air temperatures, according to a new study in California’s Klamath River Basin. A new study published in Water Resources Research, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, suggests smoke-induced cooling has the potential to benefit aquatic species that require cool water to survive because high summer water temperatures are a major factor contributing to population declines, and wildfires are more likely to occur during the warmest and driest time of year.  

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2 October 2018

Tracking exploding ice cracks on Himalayan glaciers

In 2017, Evgeny Podolskiy spent more than a week trekking through the Nepalese Himalayas to test the seismic activity of the Trakarding-Trambau Glacier system. In October, the research team and a group of sherpas and porters traveled to an open, debris-free glacier about five kilometers (3.1 miles) above sea level, in full view of Mount Everest.

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1 October 2018

High CO2 levels thicken plant leaves, which could worsen climate change effects

Plant scientists have observed that when levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rise, most plants do something unusual: They thicken their leaves. And since human activity is raising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, thick-leafed plants appear to be in our future.

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Half-degree of warming could have big impact on water availability

Approximately 117 million more people could face water shortages if global temperatures increase 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels compared to a 1.5-degree Celsius increase in temperatures, a new study suggests. The world’s water cycle, including evaporation and precipitation, is expected to intensify with global warming, according to the study. This could affect the distribution of freshwater and constrain the global water supply, which poses risks to national food security, economic prosperity and societal well-being.

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28 September 2018

Ice age discovery may reveal early migration route of first Americans

Researchers discovered the retreat of an ancient ice sheet from the western coast of Canada occurred earlier than previously thought. Christopher Darvill and his co-authors studied the Cordilleran Ice Sheet in North America – which once covered an area the size of the Greenland Ice Sheet – to improve our understanding of past climate and ancient human migration.

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18 September 2018

Mercury and its depressions

One of the most surprising discoveries of the NASA’s Messenger mission was the presence of unusual, bright, irregular and rimless flat-floored depressions on the surface of Mercury. These depressions, called hollows, are usually found on crater walls, rims, floors and central peaks. Since the hollows appear fresh, they may be actively forming today through a mechanism that could involve the loss of volatile compounds, but understanding how the hollows formed is still a major challenge for scientists.

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Coral skeletons act as archive of desert conditions from Little Ice Age

The Sahara and Arabian deserts did not cool as much as the rest of the Northern Hemisphere during the Little Ice Age, but in fact were drier 200 years ago than they are today, according to a new study. The Little Ice Age was a cool period from around 1450 to 1850. During this time, Europe was very cool and even experienced a “year without a summer” in 1816 due to the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora, a volcano in Indonesia. Scientists knew Europe experienced significant cooling during the Little Ice Age because of historical data but were unsure how other parts of the world were affected, such as the Sahara and Arabian deserts.

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14 September 2018

Mummified penguins tell of past and future deadly weather

New research links the mummified remains of penguin chicks in Antarctica to two massive weather-related calamities that could become more commonplace with climate change.

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13 September 2018

The Blob hides in the deep

Fall is nearly here and, for most of us, that means the end of the summer heatwave. In the waters of British Columbia, however, the seasonal cycle is stuck. A marine heatwave began more than four years ago and new research suggests it won’t be disappearing anytime soon. Marine heatwaves are not new. But heatwaves are getting more intense and more frequent with a changing climate. Over the fall and winter of 2013 and 2014, satellites detected above normal temperatures in the surface waters of the northeast Pacific. At its peak, the mass of warm water—nicknamed “The Blob”—had water temperatures up to 3 °C warmer than normal and covered an area larger than Australia.

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New study: Most fires in Florida go undetected

A new study from Florida State University researchers indicates that common satellite imaging technologies have vastly underestimated the number of fires in Florida. Their report, published in collaboration with researchers from the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy, challenges well-established beliefs about the nature and frequency of fire in the Sunshine State. While there were more fires than expected, researchers said, strategically prescribed burns throughout the state are proving an effective force against the ravages of wildfire.

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