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Tue, 26 Oct 2021
The World for People who Think

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Bulb

Hotter weather is forecast for much of US this summer

A swath of the Midwest will get some relief from summer heat in the next three months, while the eastern and western thirds of the country can expect a hotter-than-normal season, forecasters said.

Arrow Down

Voyage to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. Robotics make exploration possible

An international team of scientists is embarking on a search for life on the floor of the ocean at the roof of the world.

Led by researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution -- and equipped with unique robotic vehicles designed to explore mountain ranges miles beneath the polar ice cap -- 30 geophysicists, biologists, engineers, chemists, and other deep-sea specialists will depart July 1 from a remote Norwegian archipelago, Svalbard, aboard a powerful icebreaker that will smash a path to exploration sites near the geographic North Pole.

The Arctic, its mysteries concealed beneath thick ice, is the smallest but least known of the world's oceans.

"This is about exploring a portion of the earth that has been largely inaccessible to science," said Robert Reves-Sohn, a geophysicist from the institution who will be chief scientist on the 40-day voyage.

"We're looking for underseas habitats and creatures never seen before," he said during a news conference yesterday.

Snowman

Antarctic icebergs: unlikely oases for ocean life

Icebergs have long gripped the popular imagination, whether as relatively run-of-the-mill floating hazards that cause "unsinkable' ships to founder or, more recently, as enormous breakaway pieces of ice the size of states or small countries.

But, according to a paper published in this week's Science magazine, scientists have discovered that these floating ice islands--some as large as a dozen miles across--have a major impact on the ecology of the ocean around them, serving as "hotspots" for ocean life, with thriving communities of seabirds above and a web of phytoplankton, krill and fish below.

The icebergs hold trapped terrestrial material, which they release far out at sea as they melt. Scientists have discovered that this process produces a "halo effect" with significantly increased nutrients, chlorophyll and krill out to a radius of more than 3 kilometers (2 miles).

Based on their new understanding of the role of icebergs in the ecosystem and the sheer number of icebergs in the Southern Ocean--the researchers counted more than 11,000 in satellite images of some 4,300 square miles of ocean--the scientists estimate that, overall, the icebergs are raising the biological productivity of nearly 40 percent of Antarctica's Weddell Sea.

Light Sabers

First manta ray born in captivity is killed

The world's first manta ray ever born in captivity has died at an aquarium in southern Japan after being attacked by its father, officials said yeserday.

The baby manta, a female about 1.9m wide, was born last Saturday at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, drawing worldwide attention.

But it was found dead early yesterday, according to Minoru Toda, a spokesman for the aquarium on the subtropical island of Okinawa.

"I have never seen such a thing but the father manta ray kept chasing the newborn baby from behind. The baby looked stunned and bumped into walls at times," Toda said.

Cloud Lightning

Northern Territories: Vast record breaking tropical rain band

A massive cloud band has caused an unprecedented event, with record rain and cool days across much of Australia's Northern Territories.

Snowman

Queensland: Record breaking cold snap continues

Many parts of Queensland experienced their coldest day on record yesterday, and the cold snap is continuing today, according to Weatherzone

The most significant records were broken across inland Queensland, where Boulia had a top of just nine degrees, its coldest day in 119 years of records. Richmond, in northwestern Queensland, reached just 13 degrees, its coldest June day in 115 years of records.


Red Flag

Quake hits Venezuela, Colombia, no damage reported

A quake shook Venezuela and Colombia on Wednesday but there were no reports of damage, including to any of Venezuela's vital oil operations, officials said.

The quake, which hit northeastern Colombia and southwestern Venezuela, should not produce any significant damage because of its size and depth, Herbert Rendon, a Venezuelan seismological official said in a telephone interview.

Cloud Lightning

Indonesia mud flow causes living room geyser

Huge bursts of water have been shooting out of the ground in homes and at least one abandoned restaurant hundreds of meters away from swathes of land submerged by a mud volcano on Indonesia's Java island.

Experts say the bursts are caused by underground pressure linked to torrents of mud gushing out of a drilling site near the industrial suburb of Sidoarjo in East Java for more than a year.

Cloud Lightning

Bangladesh faces "unusual" monsoon, fears flooding

Flood-prone Bangladesh is bracing for an unusual and unpredictable monsoon this year, with environment experts and officials blaming global warming, melting Himalayan glaciers, silted rivers and unplanned roads.

Heavy rains last week triggered landslides in the southern port city of Chittagong, burying at least 128 people alive.

Floods caused by days of torrential rain, described by weather officials as unusually heavy and devastating, inundated at least a dozen out of Bangladesh's 64 administrative districts.

Question

Florida: Marine Officials Warn Of Biting Dolphins

Marine researchers are warning about a growing number of dolphin bite cases in Sarasota County, according to a Local 6 News report.

Florida experts said wild dolphins are becoming more aggressive because boaters are feeding them.

"It seems reasonable to understand why you wouldn't feed a bear or something more dangerous-appearing, but these are wild animals," dolphin researcher Jason Allen said. "They are wild animals with lots of sharp teeth."