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Sat, 14 Dec 2019
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Oceanic Storms Create Oases In The Watery Desert

For two decades, scientists have puzzled over why vast blooms of microscopic plant life grow in the middle of otherwise barren mid-ocean regions. Now a research team led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has shown that episodic, swirling current systems known as eddies act to pump nutrients up from the deep ocean to fuel such blooms.

©Dennis McGillicuddy, WHOI, and the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research
Data from satellite altimeters, which measure sea surface heights, show depressions (blue) and bumps (red) that mark cold- and warm-water eddies in the ocean on June 17, 2005.

Attention

Kansas gets a break from drought

For the first time in five years, Kansas is embarking on the summer growing and recreational season without a single county under a drought watch.

The good news is hard-earned. Snowfalls exceeding 5 feet paralyzed western Kansas for weeks last winter, closed roads and stranded hungry cattle. Springtime brought floods that displaced hundreds of people.

Snowman

Melting ice forces sinking Alaska village to seek lifeline

The sturdy little Cessnas land whenever the fog lifts, delivering children's bicycles, boxes of bullets, outboard motors, and cans of dried oats. And then, with a rumble down a gravel strip, the planes are gone, the outside world recedes, and this sub arctic outpost steels itself once again to face the frontier of climate change.

"I don't want to live in permafrost no more," said Frank Tommy, 47, standing beside gutted geese and seal meat drying on a wooden rack outside his mother's house. "It's too muddy. Everything is crooked around here."

The earth beneath much of Alaska is not what it used to be. The permanently frozen subsoil, known as permafrost, upon which Newtok and so many other Native Alaskan villages rest, is melting, yielding to warming air temperatures and a warming ocean. Sea ice that would normally protect coastal villages is forming later in the year, allowing fall storms to pound away at the shoreline.

Cloud Lightning

Monsoons Two Months Early? New Mexico's Weird Weather

New Mexico's weather is always weird - but this spring has been far weirder than normal.

State Climatologist Ted Sammis said in 30 years as a weather watcher he's never seen a spring like it.

Monsoon season isn't supposed to start until July 4, give or take two weeks, he said.

But the persistent small thunderstorms and cooler temperatures of recent weeks sure look like typical July monsoons, Sammis said.

Light Saber

Earth is warming, but are we to blame?

To the editor:

A recent CBC story said eating red meat is a major contributor to global warming, because of the methane gas emitted when cows pass gas. One contributor to the program equated bovine flatulence with air pollution created by SUVs, and advocated a vegetarian diet for all earthlings. Only at the end of the program was it revealed the person was a vegan.

I equate global-warming fanatics with the more extreme members of the anti-tobacco lobby - people who seem to enjoy bullying people who smoke.

Cloud Lightning

South Carolina: May rainfall totals could be the lowest in more than a century

This may turn out to be one of driest months of May in more than 100 years. The Midlands is entering the first stage of drought.

Attention

Birds, Bees, Frogs: Our vanishing helpers

But these dyings-off are happening. They're real. They can't be laughed off with glib sarcasm. No, don't panic - rather, accept these as true harbingers of profound processes in which we play an important role. If we don't heed these warnings, the dyings-off could become dyings-out.

Not to say we are the main or the only cause. But human beings and what they do are likely involved. If there's a way we can improve matters, we should - that is, unless we're prepared to do without these wonderful animals and what they give the world.

Snowman

Colorado's Pikes Peak has snowiest spring in more than a decade

Last May, Teresa Taylor was watching climbers pad up to the summit of Pikes Peak in shorts and sneakers. This year, she's warning everyone that beyond Barr Camp, you'd better be dressed for the worst.

This is the snowiest spring on Pikes Peak in more than a decade. Barr Camp recorded 231 inches of snow this winter. (It only saw 50 inches in 2006.)

Hikers venturing above treeline will find that the peak is more wintry this May than it usually is in January, and they should be prepared.

"The snow is still waist-deep in places, and we just got more today," Taylor, the caretaker at Barr Camp, said Wednesday. Every day, she warns people that the trail is buried.

Some climbers listen - she persuaded a dozen Texans in jeans to turn back Sunday. But some climbers don't. Two Air Force Academy cadets headed up to the summit Tuesday. They became stranded above treeline and had to be rescued by helicopter Wednesday morning.

Wolf

Photographer Mauled by Yellowstone Bear

A man whose face was severely mauled by a grizzly in Yellowstone National Park is a photographer and author of books about grizzlies who also had been attacked in 1993.

The National Park Service said Jim Cole, 57, was hiking alone, off- trail in prime grizzly habitat Wednesday when he was attacked by a sow with a cub. He apparently was carrying pepper spray but whether he used it was unclear.

Cole told rangers he walked two to three miles to seek help.

Cole, of Bozeman, Mont., was in fair condition Friday at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls. He underwent seven hours of surgery Thursday to repair his face.

Longtime friend Rich Berman said Cole was unable to speak and was breathing through a ventilator and being fed through a tube. "He's lucky to be alive," Berman said.

Bulb

Georgia Feeling Effects of Drought

Neighbors are turning in neighbors for violating water restrictions, farmers are jittery about crops and churchgoers are praying for rain as Georgia suffers through one of its worst droughts in decades.

Sweltering conditions are expected to intensify. State climatologist David Stooksbury this week classified 74 of the state's 159 counties as being in "extreme" drought - more than double the assessment he delivered just a few weeks ago.

And he said he's doubtful conditions will improve any time soon, with little rain in the forecast.

The drought has forced state officials to restrict when residents can water their lawns - limiting it to early mornings on alternating days. Some cities, including Atlanta, have gone a step further, ordering residents to water lawns, wash cars and restrict other outdoor use to one day a week.

In the Atlanta suburb of Roswell, police are giving residents the option to call 24 hours a day to report water-use violations.