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Sat, 16 Oct 2021
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Deforestation behind loss of Mount Kilimanjaro snow

A scientific theory has linked the loss of snow on Mount Kilimanjaro to deforestation and dismissed suggestions that the dwindling of glaciers on Africa's highest peak was due to global warming.

The theory is highlighted in a recent study report compiled by two researchers from Britain's Portsmouth University, Nicholas Pepin and Martin Schaefer, who surveyed the mountain's glaciers for 11 days.

Mt Kilimanjaro
©Unknown

The researchers, who revealed their findings at a news conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday, said the mountain's glacier surface had shrunk from 20 km in 1880 to a mere two kilometres in 2000.

They said the development was caused more by local than regional factors, with Pepin suggesting that deforestation mainly due to extensive farming as the major cause.

''Deforestation of the mountain's foothills is the most likely culprit because without forests there is too much evaporation of humidity into outer space.

Bizarro Earth

Oceanic Dead Zones Continue to Spread

Fertilizer runoff and fossil-fuel use lead to massive areas in the ocean with scant or no oxygen, killing large swaths of sea life and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage

Image
©Science/AAAS
Dead Zone: Waters with little or no oxygen continue to form in coastal areas worldwide thanks to fertilizer washing off agricultural fields and fossil fuel burning.

More bad news for the world's oceans: Dead zones - areas of bottom waters too oxygen depleted to support most ocean life - are spreading, dotting nearly the entire east and south coasts of the U.S. as well as several west coast river outlets.

According to a new study in Science, the rest of the world fares no better - there are now 405 identified dead zones worldwide, up from 49 in the 1960s - and the world's largest dead zone remains the Baltic Sea, whose bottom waters now lack oxygen year-round.

Cloud Lightning

Resilient storm Fay could hit Florida a third time

MIAMI - Tropical Storm Fay swept into Florida from the Gulf of Mexico and soaked the state on Tuesday while growing strong enough that forecasters said it could become a hurricane before smacking Florida a third time.

Info

Magpies are no bird-brains, mirror test shows

LONDON - Magpies can recognize themselves in a mirror, highlighting the mental skills of some birds and confounding the notion that self-awareness is the exclusive preserve of humans and a few higher mammals.

Magpie
©Prior H., Schwarz A., Güntürkün O., PLoS Biology
Magpie with yellow mark.

It had been thought only chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants shared the human ability to recognize their own bodies in a mirror.

But German scientists reported on Tuesday that magpies -- a species with a brain structure very different from mammals -- could also identify themselves.

"It shows that the line leading to humans is not as special as many thought," lead researcher Helmut Prior of the Institute of Psychology at Goethe University in Frankfurt told Reuters.

Snowman

New Zealand: Ski resort claims deepest snow base ever

Mt Ruapehu is claiming the biggest snow base ever recorded for a New Zealand skifield with over 4.5m of snow on the ground.

Snowman

60 - 80 year "little ice age" coming

An expert from the National Autonomous University of Mexico predicted that in about ten years the Earth will enter a "little ice age" which will last from 60 to 80 years and may be caused by the decrease in solar activity.

Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the UNAM, presented his argument during a conference that teaches at the Centre for Applied Sciences and Technological Development.

Target

Moderate earthquake hits Nicaraguan Pacific coast

Managua -- An earthquake measuring 4.8 degrees on the Richter scale hit west Nicaragua's Pacific coast on Monday, and there have not had reports of casualties or damage so far, Nicaraguan Earthquake Administration said.

The earthquake occurred at 13:00 local time (1900 GMT) and the epicenter was located some 200 km from Managua in the Pacific Ocean at a depth of 9.8 km.

Cloud Lightning

Oregon, US: Lightning starts additional fires

Lightning storms have sparked more than 100 new fires on the Willamette and Umpqua national forests since Saturday, with more lightning forecast through today.

About 75 of those fires are on the Willamette National Forest and all were initially pegged at less than an acre. Judith McHugh, spokeswoman for the Willamette, said crews and equipment are being sent to the fires but acknowledged that there are too many to attack all at once.

Cloud Lightning

US: Lightning sparks wildfires in Washington state

Seattle - Lightning has started hundreds of fires in Washington state, and some of the biggest are still raging.

The Foam Creek fire has been burning since last week in the Glacier Peak Wilderness near the Snohomish/Chelan county line.

Roses

Future impact of global warming is worse when grazing animals are considered, scientists suggest

The impact of global warming in the Arctic may differ from the predictions of computer models of the region, according to a pair of Penn State biologists. The team -- which includes Eric Post, a Penn State associate professor of biology, and Christian Pederson, a Penn State graduate student -- has shown that grazing animals will play a key role in reducing the anticipated expansion of shrub growth in the region, thus limiting their predicted and beneficial carbon-absorbing effect. The team's results will be published in the online Early Edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences sometime between 18 and 22 August 2008.

muskoxen
©Eric Post, Penn State University
Research by Post and Pederson found that muskoxen graze more heavily than do caribou in certain areas, perhaps due to the sedentary nature of the muskox.