Monday, 17 September 2012


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Best Science Images of the Week
Live Science, 15 September 2012.

1. Morphing Glaciers

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Arctic glaciers grew rapidly in response to sudden climate change 8,200 years ago, a new study finds.

The study suggests that ice sheets such as those covering Greenland can quickly react to short-term climate shifts, said lead researcher Nicolás Young, a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. "Ice sheets are very sensitive to modest changes in temperature," Young told Live Science. "You don't need thousands of years of increasing or decreasing temperatures. A really quick temperature change will also trigger a response."

2. Extreme Weather Photo Contest

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Got photographs of extreme weather? Send 'em to NASA.

NASA is holding an extreme weather photo contest to highlight its Global Precipitation Measurement mission.

3. Melting Himalayas

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Many politically unstable areas of South Asia are "water-stressed," meaning the areas are facing water scarcity due to poor infrastructure or simply lacking enough water to meet demand.

The potential impacts of climate change on water scarcity could further inflame political tensions, finds a new report, "Himalayan Glaciers: Climate Change, Water Resources, and Water Security," released today (Sept. 12) by the National Research Council (NRC). Funding was provided by the Central Intelligence Agency.

4. Cute, Colourful Monkey

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A shy, brightly coloured monkey species has been found living in the lush rainforests at the heart of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a find that utterly surprised the researchers who came upon it.

In fact, the find was something of a happy accident. Hart first spied the suspect monkey in 2007 while sifting through photographs brought back from a recently concluded field expedition to a remote region of central DRC.

5. Doomed Space Cloud

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Astronomers have found a cloud of gas and dust around a young star being devoured by the giant black hole at the heart of our Milky Way galaxy, a find that, scientists say, suggests planets can form in galactic cores, scientists say.

The supermassive black hole thought to lurk at the centre of the Milky Way is named Sagittarius A*. Scientists estimate it is about 4.3 million times the mass of the sun.

6. Earth's Most Diverse Place

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Madidi National Park, in northwest Bolivia, may be the most biologically diverse place on earth, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

A list of species living there was released this week in a presentation at the World Conservation Congress in Jeju, South Korea. The report follows yesterday's release of the 100 most threatened species, some of which live in Madidi National Park.

7. Glistening Sardines

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Hovden Cannery in Monterey, California, once took Pacific sardines by the thousands and put the silvery fish into tins to be eaten. But the cannery is long gone, and (live) sardines serve a different purpose at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where the cannery once stood: amazing curious visitors.

This photograph shows a large school of sardines in the aquarium's "Open Sea" exhibit. Sardines school to avoid predators, said curator Paul Clarkson. "It's a safety-in-numbers gambit," he told Our Amazing Planet. "This makes it harder for a predator to target any single individual."

8. Supernova Mug Shot

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Astronomers have provided the first-ever direct observations of a Type 1a supernova progenitor system. They collected evidence indicating that the progenitor system contained a red giant star.

9. A Rain Maker

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Drier soils are more likely to trigger storms than nearby wetter soils, a surprising new study finds.

These findings suggest global weather and climate models - which assume that dry soils mean dry weather - might currently be simulating an excessive number of droughts, the scientists behind the study said.

10. Witch's Broom

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A telescope in Chile has snapped a stunning new image of a speedy nebula that is named after a writing tool, but has a closer resemblance to a witch's broom, scientists say.

Astronomers with the European Southern Observatory took the new view of the Pencil nebula using the La Silla Observatory in Chile's high Atacama Desert. The nebula contains the remains of a colossal supernova explosion centuries ago that blasted gas and dust into interstellar space.

11. Icy Rides

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Flea-like crustaceans that rely on Arctic ice may be using deep ocean currents as a sort of conveyer belt to bring them back to the pack after their ice has drifted out to sea, new research suggests.

If it is indeed how the tiny crustaceans keep from going too far out to sea, it is a clever transportation method that could become their way to survive ice-free Arctic summers as the globe heats up.

[Source: Live Science. Edited.]

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