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Tue, 03 Aug 2021
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Hourglass

Brazilian rainforest destruction on the up once more

Destruction of the Amazon forest in Brazil accelerated for the first time in four years, the Brazilian government has reported, as high commodity prices tempted farmers and ranchers to cut down more trees.

Satellite images showed nearly 12,000 sq km - an area nearly the size of the US state of Connecticut - were chopped down in the 12 months through to July, Brazil's National Institute for Space Research said. That is up from 11,224 sq km last year but down from a peak of 27,379 sq km in 2004.

"Today's figures are unacceptable but the long-term trend remains positive and they show that it is possible to do something about deforestation," said Paulo Moutinho, coordinator at the National Institute for Amazon Research.

Alarm Clock

Update: 150 whales die in stranding off Australian coast

SYDNEY - At least 150 whales have died in a mass stranding off Tasmania's west coast, Australian authorities said on Sunday, despite the efforts of rescuers who managed to shepherd a small number back to the ocean.

The state government said the number of long-finned pilot whales that had perished had climbed to 150 after a body count on Sunday, almost double the earlier estimate of 80.

Sun

2008 in Top Five for Sunspotless Days in Last Century

One of our loyal Canadian Icecap readers asked us to comment on the fact we are now at the end of November, in the top five years with the most sunspotless days the last century and heading towards a #3 or even #2 finish depending on how many spotless days we have in December. Here is a comparison of monthly spotless days in this cycle 23 minimum (red) versus the last cycle 22 minimum in the mid 1990s (blue).
Sunspots
© SolarCycle24.com

Snowman

Cocking a snook at the experts - Snow in parts of Switzerland 12 times deeper than average

Ski resorts across Europe will open this weekend ahead of schedule after the biggest November snowfalls for at least a decade - in some places the biggest November snowfalls in more than 40 years - including 60cm (23in) of snow on Alpine slopes and even more in the Pyrenees.

"This is nature's way of cocking a snook at the experts," said Christian Rochette, the director of Ski France International, the tourist body for French resorts.

"We've got excellent conditions for this time of year and very cold temperatures, which means we can use the snow cannons to make artificial snow as well," he said.

Frog

Sudden cold weather endangers sea turtles; many being rescued

Jacksonville - Recent cold weather caught sea turtles off-guard before they could reach warmer Gulf Stream waters, and that has led to nearly 25 rescues along the North Carolina coast in the past week.

Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center on Topsail Island has rescued numerous cold-stunned sea turtles since Thursday, said Jean Beasley, the hospital's executive director.

"We're overwhelmed, this has never happened before -- at least not since the turtle hospital has been in existence," Beasley said. "We had 11 turtles come in last Thursday, 12 on Saturday and six (Sunday). We're frantically trying to make more space."

Coffee

Buzz off, we're taking it easy, bees tell scientists

Bees
© David Pullia / AP
We have all been conned. Even the name suggests industry: the worker bumblebee is, we thought, the epitome of effort as it buzzes around, foraging for food. But now research has revealed that, far from striving tirelessly for the good of the colony, bees are as prone to slacking as the rest of us when they can get away with it.

Scientists at Queen Mary, University of London, discovered that some bumblebees have a tendency to ignore promptings to go out to get food, choosing to rest instead if there is even a tiny amount of food in their store.

Dr Nigel Raine and his colleague Dr Mathieu Molet studied how bees make sure they have enough food for their needs. They found that the insects use a sophisticated system to decide whether they need to go out to work or whether they can afford to take it easy.

Alarm Clock

80 whales die in stranding in Australia

HOBART - A group of about 80 whales stranded on a remote coastline in southern Australia were battered to death on rocks before rescuers could reach them.

Officials from Tasmania state's Parks and Wildlife Service rushed Sunday in four-wheel-drive vehicles to the remote site at Sandy Cape after the long-finned pilot whales were spotted by air a day earlier.

Better Earth

Alaskan Cold and Glacial Advance Due to PDO

The PDO not Greenhouse Gasses are responsible for changes in Alaska

The PDO has a major influence on Alaskan and for that matter global temperatures. The positive phase favors more El Ninos and a stronger Aleutian low and warm water in the north Pacific off the Alaskan coast. The negative phase more La Ninas and cold eastern Gulf of Alaska waters. Note the strong similarity of the positive phase with El Nino and the negative with La Nina.

Crusader

Arctic Sees Massive Gain in Ice Coverage

Increase twice the size of Germany: "colder weather" to blame.

Data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has indicated a dramatic increase in sea ice extent in the Arctic regions. The growth over the past year covers an area of 700,000 square kilometers: an amount twice the size the nation of Germany.

With the Arctic melting season over for 2008, ice cover will continue to increase until melting begins anew next spring.

Bizarro Earth

Alaskan Glaciers Grow for First Time in 250 years

High snowfall and cold weather to blame.

A bitterly cold Alaskan summer has had surprising results. For the first time in the area's recorded history, area glaciers have begun to expand, rather than shrink. Summer temperatures, which were some 3 degrees below average, allowed record levels of winter snow to remain much longer, leading to the increase in glacial mass.