November 20, 2019

    Waterbirds are disappearing from the Great Basin in the American west due to climate change
    Climate change threatens waterbirds in the American west - climate short science news

    A clear link has been found between increasing temperatures, and decreasing number of migrating and breeding waterbirds in the Great Basin in the American west.

    With increasing temperatures, especially over the last few decades, melted snow water arrives earlier in the Basin, and summers are warmer, dryer, and longer. As a consequence, availability of fresh water diminishes, and the remaining water becomes more salty. This is especially bad news for hatchlings, as they have still to develop their salt glands and do not support higher salinity.

    Thus, climate change has already a visible impact on wetland ecosystems in the west of the USA.

    Read the full story: Oregon State University
    Scientific publication: Scientific Reports


    A woman of local ancestry buried together with a men that had very recent ancestors from central Europe. The grave dates back tot he Bronze Age. Image: University of Huddersfield
    Ancient DNA analysis reveals early human history of Spain and Portugal - human history short science news

    The analysis of the DNA of the remains of ancient inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) shows an influx of Russian men around 4,500 BC.

    They came from a steppe region north of the Black Sea, and replaced the male Iberian population in about 500 years.

    This phenomenon of only male newcomers replacing the original male population is known as sex-bias, which had previously been found in India, where men from the very same region in Russia arrived at roughly the same time as they did in Spain and Portugal.

    Read the full story: University of Huddersfield
    Scientific publication: Science


    Researchers used computer models to understand how ichthyosaurs moved millions of years ago. Credit: Susana Gutarra, University of Bristol
    Virtual simulations help understand how ichthyosaurs swam - latest scientific news and research

    The ichthyosaurs, sea monsters of the Mesozoic era, changed their body shape during evolution in order to swim more efficiently. To better understand how this happened, a team of scientists used computer simulations and virtual environments.

    They created 3D models of several ichthyosaurs, but also of the bottlenose dolphin, a species that we know very well. This helped the researchers to understand that the bigger, more evolved animals moved more efficiently by beating their tails instead of using body movements as the earlier species did.

    The results offer precious insights into the ecology of the ichthyosaurs and enhance our understanding of their motion.

    Read the full story: University of Bristol
    Scientific publication: Proceedings of the Royal Society B


    Moros intrepidus, the earliest known Tyrannosaur in North America living 96 million years ago. Image: Jorge Gonzalez
    Tiny Tyrannosaur discovered, the earliest in North America - dinosaur short science news

    In what is now Utah, scientists have found the fossil remains of a small tyrannosaur who lived about 96 million years ago.

    This new species, named Moros intrepidus, was up to four feet tall at the hip, and despite its relatively small size, must have been a formidable predator.

    When placing Moros in the Tyrannosaur family tree, scientists found that they are mostly related to Asian dinosaurs that migrated to North America. Also, the newly discovered species fills a gap in fossil records of 70 million years preceding the rise to power of Tyrannosaurs that apparently took less than 15 million years.

    Read the full story: North Carolina State University
    Scientific publication: Communications Biology


    An asteroid might not be the only responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs. Volcanic eruptions could have played a role too.
    The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs triggered one million years of volcanic eruptions - latest scientific news and research

    New data, just released by scientists, suggests that an asteroid impact 66 million years ago reignited massive volcanic eruptions in India. At a geological scale, the two events are almost simultaneous and they coincide with the mass extinction that removed the dinosaurs from Earth.

    The researchers concluded that volcanic activity continued for about one million years. Interestingly, most of the lava erupted after the asteroid impact, which contradicts previous studies.

    However, it is still unclear how the asteroid impact and the massive eruptions share the responsibility for the mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs and many other life forms.

    Read the full story: University of California, Los Angeles
    Scientific publication: Science


    Fossil fuel burning is the main source of black carbon dispositions in the Arctic
    Black carbon in the Arctic mostly coming from fossil fuel combustion - climate change short science news

    A study in the Arctic of Canada, Sweden, Norway and Russia has show that 60% of the annual black carbon disposition is derived from fossil fuel combustion.

    Biomass burning, like wildfires, are more important in the summer.

    Black carbon absorbs sunlight and heat the atmosphere, and thus contributes to the increase of temperatures at the Arctic.

    Read the full story: Baylor
    Scientific publication: Science Advances


    This is the Stonehenge quarry. Image: UCL
    Quarrying of Stonehenge bluestones dated to 3000 BC - human history short science news

    While it was already known that two quarryies in Wales were the origin of the Stonehenge bluestones, now scientists have discovered the exact location of the quarries, and could date these to 3000 BC.

    Also, it appeared that the stones have likely been transported over land and not by sea as had been presumed before.

    This and the findings of tools take us one step closer to unravelling Stonehenge’s greatest mystery of why the stones came from so far (180 miles) away.

    Read the full story: UCL
    Scientific publication: Antiquity


    This leaf absorbs 10 times more CO2
    Artificial leaves to grab more CO2 more- interesting science news

    Artificial leaves work in the lab by mimicking how natural leaves work, they use water and CO2 from air to produce carbohydrates in the presence of sunlight. But there was one major drawback. These artificial leaves could use only pure pressurized CO2 from the tanks.

    Now, researchers have made a new artificial leaf, which is 10 times more efficient than natural leaves to use CO2. More importantly these artificial leaves work in real world conditions and not only in the labs.

    They could do this by encapsulating the older artificial leaves in a transparent capsule made of semi-permeable ammonium resin filled with water. The water as it evaporates makes way for CO2 to be pulled in. Could this help in our battle against the increasing level of CO2?

    Read the full story: University of Illinois at Chicago
    Scientific publication: ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering


    Under current high emissions the average urban dweller is going to have to drive more than 500 miles to the south to find a climate similar to their home city by 2080. Image: Matthew Fitzpatrick/University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
    Making climate change visible with climate mapping - climate short science news

    Climate mapping shows that climates of North American cities will change dramatically in essentially one generation, such that New York will have the current climate of northern Arkansas, and Washington DC that of northern Mississippi in 2080.

    The climates of western cities are expected to become more like those of the current climates of the desert Southwest or southern California.

    The study not only takes temperature changes into account, but also other parameters such as expected rainfall. The results are presented in an app, so that the impact of climate change is easily visible.

    Read the full story: University of Maryland
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    Earth's long-term warming trend, showing how the planet's temperatures are changing over time, compared to a baseline average from 1951 to 1980. Image: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio/Kathryn Mersmann
    2018 fourth warmest year in continued warming trend - climate short science news

    Earth’s global temperature in 2018 was the fourth warmest since 1880, according to NASA and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    Global temperatures were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.83 degrees Celcius) higher than the 1951-1980 mean. The past five years were collectively the warmest in the modern temperature record.

    Temperatures are being measured across 6,300 weather stations worldwide, and together they clearly show that the warming trend continues, although some regional differences due to local weather dynamics exist.

    Read the full story: NASA


    Eruption column of Mount Pinatubo on Luzon Island in the Philippines on June 12, 1991. The eruption, the largest on Earth in the past 100 years, ejected particles into the stratosphere, and temporarily influenced temperatures on Earth. Image: Dave Harlow/USGS
    History of big, climate-altering volcanic eruptions rewritten - Earth short science news

    By applying a new method to measure sulfur isotopes in Antarctic icesheets, scientists have identified the largest of volcanic eruptions up to 2,600 years ago that had ejected particles into the stratosphere, before settling on, and being trapped in, the icesheets.

    The study confirmed previously reported eruptions, but also disqualified other reports, and added new eruptions.

    These large eruptions temporarily cool down the Earth due to the ejection of particles in the stratosphere, and are thus phenomena important enough to be included in climate change models, researchers say.

    Read the full story: University of Maryland
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    Color changes of oceans, due to climate change, may not be visible to the human eye, but satellites can measure hue and provide an early warning sign of the consequences of climate change in marine ecosystems
    Ocean’s color will change by the end of this century due to climate change - climate short science news

    By the year 2100, the blue parts of the oceans will be a bit bluer and the green parts will be a bit greener. Scientists predict this on the basis of a new model describing absorption of light by phytoplankton in the oceans.

    Populations of phytoplankton will change with climate change. In the subtropics, phytoplankton will become less abundant so that not much color will be reflected, except for blue that is reflected by water. At the poles and the equator, more phytoplankton will start to bloom, which will reflect more green color.

    Scientists say that satellites could monitor changes in hue of the oceans, and use this as an early warning sign of climate change in marine environments.

    Read the full story: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    Fearsome dinosaur-like animal liked eating the bones of its prey. Credit: Jakub Kowalski
    This Triassic T-rex like monster ate bones for breakfast - science news articles

    New evidence suggests that the archosaur Smok wawelski, that looked similar to the more popular T rex, had the habit of eating the bones of its prey. This dinosaur-like animal was 5-6 meters long and it lived 210 million years ago, in Late Triassic.

    Scientists studied the fossilized excrements (coprolites) of Smok walwelski and discovered that they contained up to 50% bones from prey animals. Very likely, this predator ate bones for their content in salt and marrow, a behavior often seen in mammals.

    Interestingly, the coprolites also contained several crouched teeth, probably belonging to the predator itself. This means that occasionally their teeth were crushed against the hard food and later replaced by new ones.

    Read the full story: Uppsala University
    Scientific publication: Scientific Reports


    A melting glacier in Antarctica is sounding the death knell for us
    A big cavity in Antarctica glacier detected - interesting science news

    A new NASA led study has shown disturbing evidence of a huge cavity at the bottom of the Thwaites Glacier in the West Antarctica. This cavity is about 2/3rd the size of Manhattan and about 1000 feet tall indicating that the glacier is disintegrating.

    The researchers used a very high-resolution technique called radar interferometry to identify the ground surface below the ice sheets of the glacier.

    The Thwaites Glacier is responsible for 4% of the total sea level rise and has the capacity to raise the world ocean level to more than 2 feet if it melts altogether. The problem now is, as more heat and water will get under the glacier, it will start melting at an accelerated rate.

    Read the full story: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
    Scientific publication: Sciences Advances


    Plastic particles can already be found in many sea and ocean animals
    Plastic found in dolphins, seals, and whales - top science news stories

    A research study provided scientists with a shocking discovery: microplastics were found in all the marine animals involved in the study!

    The scientists investigated dolphins, seals, and whales, from British waters, in total 50 different animals. All of them contained plastic particles in their bodies. The sources of the contaminants include clothes, fishing nets, toothbrushes, food packaging, and plastic bottles.

    “We don’t yet know what effects the microplastics, or the chemicals on and in them, might have on marine mammals,” the researchers said. However, one thing is certain: we must take action to reduce the amount of plastic waste released to our seas and maintain clean, oceans for future generations.

    Read the full story: University of Exeter
    Scientific publication: Scientific Reports


    Extreme rainfalls are connected across continents
    Extreme rainfalls are connected across continents - climate short science news

    Using a new method to analyze satellite data, scientists have found that extreme rainfalls across continents, place that are thousands of miles away, are linked, probably by jetstreams.

    Knowing that such a global connection pattern of extreme rainfall exists could help to forecast weather much better.

    Also, as extreme rainfall is likely to occur more frequently in the future as a consequence of human-caused climate change, this new insight in rainfall connection across the globe is extremely important.

    Read the full story: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
    Scientific publication: Nature


    Melting ice - a now common sight in the Arctic
    Extreme ice melting in the Canadian Arctic - climate short science news

    Rapidly receding glaciers in the Canadian Antarctic reveal landscapes that had been covered by ice for at least 40,000 years, a new study shows.

    Scientists dated plants and stones that are now ice-free with radiocarbon measurements from Baffin Island, west of Greenland.

    Further analysis revealed that modern temperatures represent the warmest century for Baffin Island in 115,000 years.

    Read the full story: University of Colorado – Boulder
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    The loss of vegetation is pushing the limits of climate change faster than espected
    The tipping point of climate change is here - interesting science news

    The world’s carbon emission is at a all time high and there seems to be no slowing down. However, at present the ocean, forests and savannas are absorbing approximately 50% of these emissions which explains the bleaching of coral reefs, ocean acidification and higher carbon storage in forests.

    The problem now is, due to continued loss of vegetation, earth might not be able to abate the effects of higher carbon emission by humans. The scientists were able to assess the effects of variations in the long-term soil moisture trend as well as short-term variability like floods and droughts to come to this conclusion.

    The researchers predict that this will result in increased frequency and intensity of extreme climatic events like rainfalls and hurricanes.

    Read the full story: Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science
    Scientific publication: Nature


    We might have underestimated the cooling effect and this means that global warming could be worse
    Rethinking global warming - interesting science news

    We all know that the man-made emissions like the greenhouse gases is the cause of global warming and the global cooling happens by air pollution through aerosols.

    However, researchers now state that the degree to which the aerosols cause the global cooling has been majorly underestimated and this requires a reinterpretation of the climate change models to more correctly predict the pace of global warming.

    They used a new method including satellite imagery to independently calculate vertical winds and cloud droplet number and hence calculated more accurately the effect of this cooling effect on Earth. So, this could mean that the effects of greenhouse gases is much higher than we previously thought and indicates a much worse situation.

    Read the full story: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    Scientific publication: Science


    A new technique to identify endangered species is much more sensitive
    More species under extinction threat - interesting science news

    The Red List of Threatened Species, which is the gold standard for such a classification, wrongly categorizes approximately 600 species as non-threatened. A new comprehensive approach categorizes these and another 100 species, which were not assessed before on the extinction list.

    While previous method employed used a limited amount of data to categorize the species on the Red List, this newly designed method provides additional independent information, which helps in better species assessment.

    This new information is then coupled with statistical modelling to assess other parameters like a species ability to move through a fragmented landscape and then decide whether it could go on the endangered list.

    Read the full story: Radboud University Nijmegen
    Scientific publication: Conservative Biology


    Gazelle bones from Northeast Jordan displaying evidence for having been in the digestive tract of a carnivore. Image: University of Copenhagen
    Men and dogs: old friends that may have hunted together already 11,500 years ago - human history short science news

    11,500 years old bones of animals found in Northeast Jordan suggest that dogs may have assisted humans in the hunt of small prey, like gazelles, hares and foxes. The bones show signs of having passed through the digestive system of carnivores, most likely dogs.

    The site where the bones were found appears to have been occupied year round, suggesting that the dogs were living together with humans.

    The scientists who found the bones suggest that dogs have been instrumental in changing human hunting from large to smaller prey.

    Read the full story: University of Copenhagen
    Scientific publication: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology


    Science misinformation campaigns should be combatted on the basis of recent research to be most effective
    Research provides strategies to combat science misinformation campaigns - climate change short science news

    Recent research on large-scale misinformation campaigns to undermine the science of climate change, financed by organizations that have a lot to lose in the transition to a low-carbon economy, has led scientists to formulate four key domains in a strategy to combat science misinformation.

    These are public inoculation, legal strategies, political mechanisms, and financial transparency.

    Activities in these domains should be coordinated in order to be effective. At its very essence, these activities should ultimately go to the root of the problem, which is the huge imbalance in spending between climate change opponents and those lobbying for new solutions, scientists conclude.

    Read the full story: Yale University
    Scientific publication: Nature Climate Change


    An accelerated melting of ice detected due to climate change
    Antarctica losing ice at a scary pace - interesting science news

    Researchers discovered that Antarctica showed a six-fold increase in ice mass loss between 1979 and 2017. This accelerated melting raised the sea levels by more than half an inch during this time.

    Between this period Antarctica lost 40 gigatons of ice annually. However, between 1979 to 2001 the average loss was 48 gigatons per year which increased to 134 gigatons per year from 2001 to 2017.

    This research data comes from 176 basins over 18 different regions and spanning over four decades. This will continue for several years unless we take urgent action.

    Read the full story: University of California - Irvine
    Scientific publication: PNAS


    Dental calculus on the lower jaw of a medieval woman entrapped lapis lazuli pigment. Image: Christina Warinner
    Women were involved in the creation of Medieval manuscripts - human history short science news

    The creation of richly illustrated manuscripts in the Middle Ages was the work of monks. Now, the discovery of pigment (lapis lazuli) used for illustration in the dental calculus of a woman buried at a 12th-century German monastery suggests that women were also involved in illustrating religious manuscripts.

    The presence of the extremely expensive blue pigment in the woman’s mouth is most likely explained by her licking the tip of the brush while painting.

    As illustrations were not signed by the artist in the Middle Ages, the contribution of women to the creation of medieval manuscripts has always remained hidden, until now.

    Read the full story: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
    Scientific publication: Science Advances


    Cold waters that sank in polar regions hundreds of years ago during the Little Ice Age are still impacting deep Pacific Ocean temperature trends. Image: Larry Madin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    Deep Pacific Ocean is still cooling because of the Little Ice Age - Earth short science news

    Deep Pacific Ocean is still cooling because of the Little Ice Age that occurred in the 16th century.

    This surprising conclusion was reached by modelling of sea water temperatures and currents, and further confirmed by comparison with temperature recordings in the 1870s and recent ones.

    Thus, the cooling or warming (as is happening now) of the ocean’s surface has a long-term impact on temperatures at greater depths, and even influences how much the climate is heating up today.

    Read the full story: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    Scientific publication: Science


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