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Thu, 22 Oct 2020
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Better Earth

Fiji cyclone on verge of 'super hurricane'

Cyclone Daman is due to hit northern Vanua Levu island tonight and on over Taveuni and the islands of the Lau Group.

In the last two hours Cyclone Daman has changed course away from the tourist heavy areas of western Viti Levu.

Neighbouring Tonga has been put on alert.

Bomb

Ice-covered antarctic lake may harbor unknown life

Microbes entirely unknown to science may exist in liquid water in Lake Vostok, thousands of meters beneath the Antarctic ice sheet. That possibility is one of several intriguing mysteries that justify undertaking the logistical challenges of exploring the lake, according to a new report from a workshop funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The report, "Lake Vostok: A Curiosity or a Focus for Interdisciplinary Study," concludes that the lake "may represent a unique region for detailed scientific investigation" for several reasons. Among them is the possibility that conditions under the ice may approximate those on Europa, a frozen moon of Jupiter, and so may indicate whether life may be able to exist in harsh conditions elsewhere in the solar system.

The report represents the conclusions reached by scientists from a variety of fields who met in Washington D.C. last November. The Lamont- Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University and the University of Hawaii jointly organized the meeting.

Cow

Eco-friendly kangaroo farts could help global warming: scientists

Australian scientists are trying to give kangaroo-style stomachs to cattle and sheep in a bid to cut the emission of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, researchers say.

©AFP
Australian scientists are trying to give kangaroo-style stomachs to cattle and sheep in a bid to cut the emission of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, researchers say

Bizarro Earth

Drought sapping China's biggest fresh water lake

Water levels in China's largest fresh water lake are nearing record lows as a drought exacerbates existing shortages, state media said Wednesday.

©Unknown

Snowman

Snow sets more records in Grand Forks and Fargo, North Dakota

The National Weather Service says the Grand Forks airport had 8.1 inches of snow yesterday, setting a record for the date. And Fargo set a record with 5.9 inches.

The previous mark in both cities was set back in 1926.

Grand Forks and Fargo also had record snowfall last Saturday.

Today's forecast calls for a chance of light snow in the west and flurries in central North Dakota, and a little snow overnight in the east. The southwest could get some freezing rain tonight.

Snowman

Portland, Maine ties 1890 snow record

The first major winter storm to sweep across Maine this season was farther out to sea than expected, reducing snowfall totals, but there was still plenty of the white stuff to clean up on Tuesday, officials said.

Portland tied the record for the date set in 1890 with 8.5 inches of snow on Monday, according to Bob Marine of the National Weather Service.

Bizarro Earth

Global Warming Wreaks Havoc With Nature

BALI, Indonesia - More than 3,000 flying foxes dropped dead, falling from trees in Australia. Giant squid migrated north to commercial fishing grounds off California, gobbling anchovy and hake. Butterflies have gone extinct in the Alps.

©AP Photo/Rob Griffith
The gray headed flying fox flies over the Sydney Botanical gardens in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2007. More than 3,000 flying foxes dropped dead, falling from trees in Australia. Giant squid have migrated north to commercial fishing grounds off California, gobbling anchovy and hake. Butterflies have gone extinct in the Alps.

Cloud Lightning

Big Waves Smash the US Pacific Northwest

Ferociously high surf charged by storms in the Pacific Northwest exhausted surfers and rescuers alike as 20-foot swells crashed off the misty Monterey Bay coastline Tuesday, killing a surfer near Pebble Beach and forcing dozens of others from the water.

©Vern Fisher / Media News
A fisherman gets too close to the surf on the jetty in Moss Landing on Tuesday.

Star

What's going on with the Sun? Will it save us from global warming?

Something is happening to our Sun. It has to do with sunspots, or rather the activity cycle their coming and going signifies. After a period of exceptionally high activity in the 20th century, our Sun has suddenly gone exceptionally quiet. Months have passed with no spots visible on its disc. We are at the end of one cycle of activity and astronomers are waiting for the sunspots to return and mark the start of the next, the so-called cycle 24. They have been waiting for a while now with no sign it's on its way any time soon.

©The Independent
Between 1645 and 1715 sunspots were rare. It was also a time when the Earth¿s northern hemisphere chilled dramatically

Cloud Lightning

Sun's Shifts May Cause Global Warming

His studies show that natural variations in the sun plays a major role in global warming. So are humans off the hook? And if so, why does he use compact fluorescent lightbulbs?

Most leading climate experts don't agree with Henrik Svensmark, the 49-year-old director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen. In fact, he has taken a lot of blows for proposing that solar activity and cosmic rays are instrumental in determining the warming (and cooling) of Earth. His studies show that cosmic rays trigger cloud formation, suggesting that a high level of solar activity - which suppresses the flow of cosmic rays striking the atmosphere - could result in fewer clouds and a warmer planet. This, Svensmark contends, could account for most of the warming during the last century. Does this mean that carbon dioxide is less important than we've been led to believe? Yes, he says, but how much less is impossible to know because climate models are so limited.