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Global cooling 4,200-years ago spurred rice's evolution

Rice
© Getty Images
A major global cooling event that occurred 4,200 years ago may have led to the evolution of new rice varieties and the spread of rice into both northern and southern Asia, an international team of researchers has found.

Their study, published in Nature Plants and led by the NYU Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, uses a multidisciplinary approach to reconstruct the history of rice and trace its migration throughout Asia.

Rice is one of the most important crops worldwide, a staple for more than half of the global population. It was first cultivated 9,000 years ago in the Yangtze Valley in China and later spread across East, Southeast, and South Asia, followed by the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. In the process, rice evolved and adapted to different environments, but little is known about the routes, timing, and environmental forces involved in this spread.

In their study, the researchers reconstructed the historical movement of rice across Asia using whole-genome sequences of more than 1,400 varieties of rice — including varieties of japonica and indica, two main subspecies of Asian rice — coupled with geography, archaeology, and historical climate data.

Snowflake Cold

Rare late night frost in the Netherlands

frost
For the second night in a row, it has frozen in De Bilt in the night from Thursday to Friday.

In the Utrecht city, where the national main measuring station is located, it cooled down to -1.2 degrees C. The night before it was -1.0 degrees C.

Such late night frost in De Bilt is special, according to weather agency Weeronline.

Only in 1909, 1941, 1946 and 1973, just like this year, were there two or more frost nights after May 10 in De Bilt.

Thanks to Harry Zandvliet for this link.

Sun

Cities across Turkey see highest May temperatures ever, breaking 75-year-old records

Turkey heatwave
© AA Photo
A woman cools off with some water from a fountain amid all-time high May temperatures, during a six-hour break from the coronavirus curfew, Muğla, Turkey, May 17, 2020.
Sunday saw all-time high temperatures in provinces throughout western Turkey, including in southern Antalya, southwestern Muğla, Burdur and Isparta, and northwestern Bursa.

The director of the 4th Regional Directorate of Meteorology, Latif Gültekin, said the temperatures Saturday and Sunday set all-time record highs for May in Antalya, Muğla, Burdur and Isparta. The previous record highs for Antalya and Muğla were set in 1945 and 1932, respectively, while Burdur and Isparta last set all-time highs on May 29, 2019.

Thermometers in Antalya on Sunday hit 43.0 degrees Celsius (109.4 degrees Fahrenheit), breaking the previous record of 38.7 C set on May 26, 1945.

In Muğla, the temperature hit 39.3 C, breaking the May 30, 1932 record of 36.0 C.

The 4th Regional Directorate of Meteorology said the air temperature in Muğla was 9 to 15 degrees above the seasonal norms, stating that the average temperature for Muğla in May is 24.7 C.

In northwestern Turkey, Bursa also set an all-time high of 38 C on Sunday, breaking the 75-year-old record high of 37 C on May 26, 1945, according to the 3rd Regional Directorate of Meteorology.

Comment: Earlier this month some residents in Turkey were surprised by 'very rare' snowfalls.


Solar Flares

Astronomer predicts freezing weather, famine and earthquakes as sun enters solar minimum

clouds sun
© Getty Images
The sun has entered a 'lockdown' period, which could cause freezing weather, famine

Our sun has gone into lockdown, which could cause freezing weather, earthquakes and famine, scientists say.

The sun is currently in a period of "solar minimum," meaning activity on its surface has fallen dramatically.

Experts believe we are about to enter the deepest period of sunshine "recession" ever recorded as sunspots have virtually disappeared.

Astronomer Dr. Tony Phillips said: "Solar Minimum is underway and it's a deep one."

Comment: It would appear that a "super grand" solar minimum is one factor in a confluence of cycles that are upon us: Also check out SOTT radio's:


Snowflake Cold

Parts of UK see record low temperatures

Katesbridge has recorded its coldest ever May temperature
© Johnston Press Resell
Katesbridge has recorded its coldest ever May temperature
Parts of the UK saw some of their lowest May temperatures on record overnight, according to the Met Office.

Katesbridge and Castlederg in Northern Ireland plunged to -6.1C and -3.9C respectively overnight thanks to a combination of clear skies and Arctic air coming in from the north.

It followed a chilly Wednesday which saw a minimum temperature of -5C in Tulloch Bridge, Scotland, and a maximum temperature of 15C in Gosport, Hampshire, and Porthmadog, north Wales.

However forecasters predict that temperatures will begin to rise over coming days to reach around 25C by the middle of next week.

Snowflake

May snowstorm hits Murmansk, Russia

snow
Snow and cold in May are not that rare for Russia's most northern region and local residents have long become accustomed to it and take it with a bit of humour.

A heavy snowstorm hit the Kola Peninsula in the far northwest of Russia on 14 May, causing traffic disruptions across the region.

Citizens of Murmansk took to Twitter to share photos of snowy streets.

One user wrote: "Murmansk on air. This is May the 14th and we've been covered with snow again."


Snowflake

May snowfall in Tromsø, Norway

SNOW
Tromsø, a city in northern Norway, is a major cultural hub above the Arctic Circle. It's famed as a viewing point for colorful Northern Lights that sometime light up the nighttime sky. The city's historic center, on the island of Tromsø, is distinguished by its centuries-old wooden houses. The 1965 Arctic Cathedral, with its distinctive peaked roof and soaring stained-glass windows, dominates the skyline.


Info

Fossil footprints in Africa a snapshot of past behaviour

The Engare Sero footprint site
© CYNTHIA LIUTKUS-PIERCE
The Engare Sero footprint site. An eruption of Oldoinyo L'engai, the volcano in the background, produced the ash in which the footprints were preserved.
Thousands of years ago, a group of people trekked across African soil, and their footprints remain to shine a torch on our ancestors' movements and behaviours.

More than 400 indents were left by bare human feet in Engare Sero, Tanzania, originally spotted by members of a local Maasai community more than a decade ago and their age and formation described in 2016.

Geological analyses revealed the prints, all preserved on the same surface of hardened ash from nearby volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai, were made sometime between 6000 and 19,000 years ago, placing them around the Late Pleistocene.

Now, paleoanthropological analyses, published in the journal Scientific Reports, explore what the fossilised tracks reveal about the people who made them.

"Footprints are rare components of the human fossil record," says lead author Kevin Hatala from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, US, "yet they can preserve exceptional snapshots of behaviour in our distant past."

Snowflake Cold

May snow hits the UK, just as Met Office (and others) forecast 1,500 mile 'cool blob' lasting all summer

May snow in UK 2020

Parts of Scotland woke to May snowfall this morning (Monday, May 11) as a mass of brutal Arctic air rides anomalously-far south on the back of a meridional (wavy) jet stream flow.


Looking at the forecasts, the Highlands can expect even heavier flurries through Tuesday and Wednesday with temperatures dipping below 0C (32F). While southern England will see lows of around 2C (35.6F) overnight Monday, with the windchill making it feel 0C (32F) — protect those young shoots.

Monday's polar blast has arrived with the news that six global organisations, including king warm-mongers themselves the Met Office, have combined to create a weather model for June through August, 2020 (well they've gotta spend all that funding on something, right, and the world is just screaming-out for MORE MODELS).

Comment: Winter makes a comeback as parts of Scotland are blanketed in snow


Snowflake

Snow in May in Southern Ontario, Canada

SNOW
Snow in May in Toronto Suburban area Southern Ontario Canada - May 11, 2020.

The calendar may say May, but that didn't stop Mother Nature from blasting some wintry weather in Toronto area and Southern Ontario on May 11.