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Mon, 02 Aug 2021
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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.

Bizarro Earth

US: Small Arkansas earthquakes could be warning

LITTLE ROCK - A series of small earthquakes that rattled central Arkansas in recent weeks could be a sign of something much bigger to come.

By this weekend, seismologists hope to install three measurement devices to gather data about future temblors in the area. That information could show whether the rumbles come from heat-related geological changes or from an undiscovered fault - which could mean a risk of substantial earthquakes in the future.

"The potential for generating a high-magnitude earthquake is real," said Haydar Al-Shukri, director of the Arkansas Earthquake Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Info

Pilot study: tags track whale survivors

Pilot whales that survived a mass stranding in Tasmania are yielding fresh insights into the mammals' little-known deep-sea lives.

Satellite tags attached to five of the surviving whales on Sunday have let scientists track the specie's movements for the first time in Australian waters.

They also worked as beacons, allowing airborne wildlife officers to find and photograph all 11 survivors swimming together.
Pilot Whales beached
© Peter Lord
Tragic … 11 out of 65 whales survived the stranding.

A Tasmanian Government zoologist, Rosemary Gales, said yesterday the findings confirmed for the first time the success of a pilot whale rescue in the state, which is a hot spot for beachings.

"Everybody asks, 'How do you know whether the whales you rescue survive?' " Dr Gales said. "Well these ones have."

The small, dark-skinned pilot whales normally live in open oceans, where they dive up to 1000 metres in search of prey.

Life Preserver

500 trapped narwhals culled in Canada

Cetaceans have a bad habit of stranding themselves. Last week a large pod of 65 pilot whales stranded themselves on a beach in Tasmania. Only 11 survived.

When a similar mass stranding occured in 2003, a predator was suspected of having scared the animals onto the beach. Military use of sonar has also been linked - and cleared of causing - whale strandings.
Narwhals
© Unknown
Narwhals breach.

Now there's another disaster, on a bigger scale: a huge group of about 500 narwhals have trapped themselves in sea ice in Nunavut, in Arctic Canada. The trapped animals are being culled to prevent a more painful death by starvation or suffocation as the ice closes in around them.