Welcome to Sott.net
Sun, 03 Dec 2023
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes


Changes In Winds Could Have Been Cause Of Abrupt Glacial Climatic Change

Spanish and German researchers have carried out a collaborative study that shows how during the last glacial period, small variations in the surface winds could have induced significant changes in the oceanic currents of the North Atlantic, and could even have played a role in the abrupt climate change that occurred at the time.

North Atlantic circulation
©Andrew Ryzhkov
The North Atlantic circulation is part of thermohaline circulation that globally affects oceanic waters.

Scientists from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany have carried out a study which identifies small alterations in the superficial sea winds as the factors with a key role in the abrupt climatic change that occurred over the last glacial period whose origin is not yet fully understood.

This study, carried out by researchers Marisa Montoya and Anders Levermann, concluded that there is a precise point from which a small variation in the speed of sea winds corresponds to a dramatic change in the Atlantic circulation intensity. According to Marisa Montoya, "If the glacial climate had been in the vicinity of that point, small wind changes could have caused sudden and significant climatic changes during that period".


Cancer forces Tasmanian devils to breed earlier

The little devils just can't wait. Faced with an epidemic of cancer that cuts their lives short, Tasmanian devils have begun breeding at younger ages, according to researchers at the University of Tasmania in Australia.

"We could be seeing evolution occurring before our eyes. Watch this space!" says zoologist Menna Jones of the university.

Tasmanian devils live on the island of Tasmania, south of Australia. They weigh 20 to 30 pounds and were named devils by early European settlers because the furry black marsupials produce a fierce screech and can be bad-tempered.

Since 1996 a contagious form of cancer called devil facial tumor disease has been infecting these animals and is invariably fatal, causing death between the ages of 2 and 3.

In the past devils would live five to six years, breeding at ages two, three and four, but with the new disease, even females who breed at two may not live long enough to rear their first litter.


Bones of mysterious sea creature wash ashore

A mysterious skeleton found washed up on a Florida beach has scientists scratching their heads.

Eleven-year-old Rylee Robinson of McKinney, Texas found the bones on the shore of Longboat Key earlier this week while on vacation. Rylee told News First, "The skull was kind of scary, with humongous eye sockets, and spikes on its back." She said the skull still had flesh on it, and cartilage connecting the backbone to the skull.



Some 1,600 pigs culled in south Russia swine fever outbreak

Almost 1,600 pigs have been culled in Russia's North Caucasus Republic of North Ossetia, following an outbreak of the African swine fever virus (ASFV), the emergencies ministry said on Monday.

A total of 369 pigs have died from the virus so far in the province, including four on Sunday.

"Settlements where the disease has been registered... have a total of 9,000 pigs, all of which will have to be culled," the spokesman said.


Do birds have a good sense of smell?

Sight and hearing are the most important senses for birds - this is at least the received wisdom. By studying bird DNA, however, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, along with a colleague at the Cawthron Institute in New Zealand, have now provided genetic evidence that many bird species have a well-developed sense of smell (Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 16.07.2008).

The sense of smell might indeed be as important to birds as it is to fish or even mammals. This is the main conclusion of a study by Silke Steiger (Max Planck Institute for Ornithology) and her colleagues. The sense of smell in birds was, until quite recently, thought to be poorly developed. Recent behavioural studies have shown that some bird species use their sense of smell to navigate, forage or even to distinguish individuals. Silke Steiger and her colleagues chose a genetic approach for their study. Their research focused on the olfactory receptor (OR) genes, which are expressed in sensory neurons within the olfactory epithelium, and constitute the molecular basis of the sense of smell. The total number of OR genes in a genome may reflect how many different scents an animal can detect or distinguish. In birds such genetic studies were previously restricted to the chicken, hitherto the only bird for which the full genomic sequence is known.

©Don Merton
The nocturnal Kakapo, one of the nine bird species in the study, probably recognises fruit according to their aroma. The same applies to the brown kiwi of New Zealand.

Light Sabers

Latvian emergency workers catch alligator in public pond

Latvian firemen and veterinary workers have caught an alligator in a small pond in the suburbs of the capital, local emergency services said on Monday.

The five-foot-long reptile gave residents a fright in a small community near Riga, who immediately called the emergency services.

Evil Rays

Magnitude 6.1 offshore quake shakes northern Japan; no danger of tsunami

Japan's weather agency says a strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.1 struck off the northern Japanese coast.

The Meteorological Agency says there was no danger of a tsunami, or seismic waves, from the 8:30 p.m. (1130 GMT) quake, which occurred about 20 miles (30 kilometers) below the ocean's surface off the coast of Fukushima.


Georgia, US: House in Buford fire blamed on lightning strike

Rain and thunderstorms that passed through metro Atlanta early Sunday were blamed for a fire that severely damaged a Gwinnett County home.

Gwinnett fire officials believe a lightning strike ignited the roof of a two-story home on Aberrone Place in Buford, said Capt. Thomas Rutledge, a department spokesman.

The lightning was part of a system that moved through the metro area before dawn, said Griffith.


Chile plans to spend US$31M to build volcano monitoring centers

SANTIAGO: Chile plans to spend US$31 million to build three new centers to monitor volcanic activity.

Bizarro Earth

Okmok volcano ash plume builds

Okmok Volcano
©Anchorage Daily News
Okmok Volcano, seen erupting July 13, 2008, spat water, gas and debris nearly 5 miles into the air July 19.

The Aleutian Islands' Okmok Volcano stepped up its rumbling and puffing Saturday, spitting massive geysers of water, gas and debris 25,000 feet into the air, according to Jennifer Aldeman, a geologist at the Alaska Volcano Observatory.