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Sun, 20 Sep 2020
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Question

Why are thousands of bats dying in New York?

Mysterious 'white nose syndrome' spreading at alarming rate

Bats dying
©Mike Groll / AP
A team led by Alan Hicks, a wildlife biologist for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, looks for bats in an abandoned limestone mine in Rosendale, N.Y., on Feb. 7.

Question

Hare-less: Yellowstone's Rabbits Have Vanished, Study Says

A new study by the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society found that jack rabbits living in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem have apparently hopped into oblivion. The study, which appears in the journal Oryx, also speculates that the disappearance of jack rabbits may be having region-wide impacts on a variety of other prey species and their predators.

Cloud Lightning

Migratory birds disappear in China storms

BEIJING - About 100,000 migratory birds disappeared in recent fierce snow storms in eastern China, state media reported Sunday.

Cloud Lightning

Tornado Rips Through Alabama Town

Prattville, Ala. - The mayor of a town near Montgomery, Ala., says a tornado has destroyed numerous homes and may have trapped victims in the wreckage.

Cloud Lightning

The key to quieter Atlantic hurricane seasons may be blowing in the wind

Every year, storms over West Africa disturb millions of tons of dust and strong winds carry those particles into the skies over the Atlantic. According to a recent study led by University of Wisconsin-Madison atmospheric scientists, this dust from Africa directly affects ocean temperature, a key ingredient in Atlantic hurricane development.

"At least one third of the recent increase in Atlantic Ocean temperatures is due to a decrease in dust storms," says lead author Amato Evan, a researcher at UW-Madison's Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS).

In a paper published online today in "Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems," the team of scientists describes how dust in the atmosphere cools the ocean by decreasing the amount of energy that reaches the water. The study also demonstrated that the large amount of dust blowing off of Africa in the 1980s and '90s likely cooled the Atlantic enough to prevent conditions that could have resulted in more devastating hurricane seasons similar to 2004 and 2005.

Attention

Canada's oil sands a massive disaster: green group

Ottawa - Canada's massive oil sands are "the most destructive project on earth" and the federal government must intervene to clean up the mess, a leading green group said on Friday.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 6.0 quake hits Bolivia-Chile border

A 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck Bolivia in the region of Potosi near the border with Chile on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake struck at 1445 GMT (0945 EST) at a depth of 83 miles, the survey said.


Bug

Worker Or Queen? Harvester Ant Moms Set Their Daughters' Fates

When it comes to deciding what harvester ant daughters will be when they grow up, mother queens hold considerable sway, according to a new study. The researchers report evidence that eggs are predetermined to become workers or queens from the moment they are lain.

"In honeybees, food determines fate," said Tanja Schwander of Simon Fraser University in Canada. Earlier studies showed that honeybee larvae had the capacity to become either workers or queens, depending upon what the young insects ate.

"Although it had never been shown experimentally, ants had been assumed to be more or less the same," she added. "That's the reason it was surprising to find a strong effect of mother queens."

Stop

2 snowmobilers die in Alaska avalanche

Two snowmobile drivers were killed Friday when they triggered an avalanche and were buried in the snow for nearly an hour, Alaska State Troopers said.

The two were driving their snowmobiles in the backcountry near Turnagain Pass, about 70 miles south of Anchorage, when the avalanche occurred, Troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said.

They were buried for about 45 minutes before being located. Troopers initially reported that three people had died in the avalanche, but the third person was recovered, evaluated by medical professionals at the scene and released, Ipsen said.

Bizarro Earth

Dissolved Organic Carbon From Rivers Can Strongly Impact Arctic Ocean

Arctic rivers transport huge quantities of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to the Arctic Ocean. The prevailing paradigm regarding DOC in arctic rivers is that it is largely refractory, making it of little significance for the biogeochemistry of the Arctic Ocean. However, a recent study by R. M. Holmes of the Woods Hole Research Center and colleagues at collaborating institutions challenges that assumption by showing that DOC in Alaskan arctic rivers is remarkably labile during the spring flood period when the majority of annual DOC flux occurs.

Bathymetric chart
©NOAA
International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean.