Could climate change make Siberia more habitable?

June 6, 2019
IOP Publishing
Large parts of Asian Russia could become habitable by the late 21st century due to climate change, new research has found. Scientists used current and predicted climate scenarios to examine the climate comfort of Asian Russia and work out the potential for human settlement throughout the 21st century.

A study team from the Krasnoyarsk Federal Research Center, Russia, and the National Institute of Aerospace, USA, used current and predicted climate scenarios to examine the climate comfort of Asian Russia and work out the potential for human settlement throughout the 21st century.

They published their results today in Environmental Research Letters.

At 13 million square kilometres Asian Russia — east of the Urals towards the Pacific — accounts for 77 per cent of Russia’s land area. Its population, however, accounts for just 27 per cent of the country’s people and is concentrated along the forest-steppe in the south, with its comfortable climate and fertile soil.

“Previous human migrations have been associated with climate change. As civilisations developed technology that enabled them to adapt, humans became less reliant on the environment, particularly in terms of climate,” said the study’s lead author Dr Elena Parfenova, from the Krasnoyarsk Federal Research Center.

“We wanted to learn if future changes in climate may lead to the less-hospitable parts of Asian Russia becoming more habitable for humans.”

For their analysis, the team used a combination of 20 general circulation models (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5) and two CO2 Representative Concentration Pathway scenarios — RCP 2.6 representing mild climate change and RCP 8.5 representing more extreme changes.

They applied the collective means of January and July temperatures and annual precipitation of the two scenarios to Asian Russia to find their respective effects on three climate indices that are important for human livelihood and well-being: Ecological Landscape Potential (ELP), winter severity, and permafrost coverage.

Dr Parfenova said: “We found increases in temperature of 3.4°C (RCP 2.6) to 9.1°C (RCP 8.5) in mid-winter; increases of 1.9°C (RCP 2.6) to 5.7°C (RCP 8.5) in mid-summer; and increases in precipitation of 60 mm (RCP 2.6) to 140 mm (RCP 8.5).

“Our simulations showed that under RCP8.5, by the 2080s Asian Russia would have a milder climate, with less permafrost coverage, decreasing from the contemporary 65 per cent to 40 per cent of the area by the 2080s.”

The researchers also found that even under the RCP 2.6 scenario, the ELP for human sustainability would improve in more than 15 per cent of the area, which could allow for a five-fold increase in the in the capacity of the territory to sustain and become attractive to human populations.

Dr Parfenova concluded: “Asian Russia is currently extremely cold. In a future warmer climate, food security in terms of crop distribution and production capability is likely to become more favourable for people to support settlements.

“However, suitable land development depends on the authorities’ social, political and economic policies. Lands with developed infrastructure and high agricultural potential would obviously be populated first.

“Vast tracts of Siberia and the Far East have poorly developed infrastructure. The speed these developments happen depends on investments in infrastructure and agriculture, which in turn depends on the decisions that should be made soon.”

Could climate change make Siberia more habitable?

June 6, 2019
IOP Publishing
Large parts of Asian Russia could become habitable by the late 21st century due to climate change, new research has found. Scientists used current and predicted climate scenarios to examine the climate comfort of Asian Russia and work out the potential for human settlement throughout the 21st century.

Possible Reason Why Mars, Venus Turned Into UNINHABITED HELL Revealed

With the help of CGI, physicist Brian Cox has shown that the Red Planet, which looks like a rocky desert now, might have looked like a true paradise with waterfall cascades, rivers and enjoyed conditions, making life possible.
Professor Brian Cox has told the story of “worlds born and worlds lost” on Earth’s closest neighbours, Mars, Venus and Mercury, in a new BBC2 series, saying each “appears to have had a moment where it’s enjoyed almost Earth-like conditions.”’
According to the physicist, 3.5 billion years ago Mars had an atmosphere rich in greenhouse gases but could not hold on it due to a relatively small size. This allegedly made its rivers, following for millions of years evaporate into space, “leaving only traces, frozen in patches across the planet, where missions continue to search for the first signs of extraterrestrial life”. Cox, however, did not exclude that living creatures could be found there.
“If life does exist out there it’ll only be simple. Nothing as complex as you and me, or even a plant,” he noted.
Cox also suggested that Mercury, with daytime temperatures of up to 430 C and —170C at night, might have had another story.
He points out that the planet’s crust, formed after its birth, became enriched in volatile elements, which could only have happened millions of kilometres away from its current position near the Sun. According to him, a fatal strike might have changed its destiny billions of years ago, kicking it closer to the seething centre of our solar system.

“A place where if it had stayed, its destiny could have been very different”, the scientist concluded.
Venus might be called another “loser” because it could have also enjoyed Earth-like conditions. But the growth of the Sun might have evaporated any water from its surface.
“Venus is a vision of hell where no life can survive. Where did it all go wrong? Why did one world, Earth, become heaven and one become hell? Venus had reached a tipping point, a runaway greenhouse effect”, Cox contemplated in the documentary.
According to him, the Sun’s “relentless” aging process promises nothing good for life on Earth, as the centre of our system expands, turning into a Red Giant.

What is Nipah virus? All you need to know about symptoms, treatment

All you need to know about Nipah Virus
Since the outbreak of the Nipah virus in 2018, the deadly infection has once again entered the state of Kerala. Health Minister KK Shailaja on Tuesday, June 4, confirmed that a 23-year-old youth, who was hospitalised at Kochi, a few days back, was infected with the virus.
What is Nipah virus?
The name ‘Nipah’ comes from Sungai Nipah village in Malaysia from where it was first discovered among the pig farmers in 1999. It is a zoonotic virus, which is transmitted from animals to humans and can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly between people.
The fatality rate of the Nipah virus infection is 40-75 per cent, where the human victim suffers a range of illnesses from asymptomatic (subclinical) infection to acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis.
The infected people will initially develop symptoms including fever, headaches, severe body pain, sore throat and vomiting. This can be followed by dizziness, drowsiness, altered consciousness, and neurological signs that indicate acute encephalitis.
Some people will also experience severe respiratory problems, including infections and acute respiratory distress. Encephalitis and seizures occur in severe cases, progressing to coma within 24 to 48 hours. The incubation period ranges from 4 to 14 days.

Students wear safety masks as a precautionary measure after the outbreak of ‘Nipah’ virus in Kozhikode, Kerala on May 22, 2018.IANS [Representational Image]
Key Facts
Nipah virus infection in humans causes a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection (subclinical) to acute respiratory infection and fatal encephalitis.
NiV can be transmitted to humans from animals (such as bats or pigs), or contaminated foods and can also be transmitted directly from human-to-human.
The Pteropodidae (colloquially known as the flying foxes or Old World fruit bats) family are the natural host of the NiV.
The case fatality rate is estimated at 40 per cent to 75 per cent. This rate can vary by outbreak depending on local capabilities for epidemiological surveillance and clinical management.
There is no treatment or vaccine available for either people or animals. The primary treatment for humans is supportive care.

There are no exact symptoms of NiV at the initial stage, and the diagnosis is often not suspected at the time of presentation. Due to this, there is no accurate diagnosis for the Nipah virus.
In addition, the quality, quantity, type, timing of clinical sample collection and the time needed to transfer samples to the laboratory can affect the accuracy of laboratory results. However, it can be diagnosed with clinical history during the acute and convalescent phase of the disease.
The main tests used in identifying NiV include real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) from bodily fluids and antibody detection via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Other tests used include polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay and virus isolation by cell culture.
As of now, there are no specific medication or vaccines for NiV although intensive supportive care is recommended to treat severe respiratory and neurologic complications.
Avoid eating fruits that are eaten or bitten by animals, especially bats. Freshly-collected fruits should be properly washed and peeled before consumption.
Avoid interaction with infected animals or humans without wearing protective measures.
If an outbreak is suspected, the animal premises should be quarantined immediately.

Scientist solves Bermuda triangle mystery, puts forward a convincing reason to explain disappearances.

Location of Bermuda Triangle.Flickr via NOAA
The Bermuda Triangle, popularly known as Devil’s triangle is a particular region in the North Atlantic Ocean where several ships and aircraft have mysteriously disappeared. As mishaps surrounding this region of the ocean became common, several conspiracy theorists started claiming that there could be paranormal or extraterrestrial connections behind the mysterious disappearances. However, Dr Simon Boxall, a scientist at the University of Southampton, believes that these bizarre incidents could be actually the results of natural causes.
Boxall made these remarks while talking to Channel 5 documentary, ‘The Bermuda Triangle Enigma’. As per Boxall, rogue waves could be the main reason behind the disappearance of ships in the area. Boxall revealed that these waves are gigantic and could pose serious threats to vessels travelling through this area.
“There are storms to the south and north, which come together. And if there are additional ones from Florida, it can be a potentially deadly formation of rogue waves. They are steep, they are high – we’ve measured waves in excess of 30 meters,” said Boxall during the talk, reports.

It should be noted rogue waves often resemble giant tsunami, and it may often gain a height of more than 100 feet.
Even though Boxall has given a convincing explanation regarding the mystery surrounding Bermuda triangle, adamant conspiracy theorists still point on alien existence in this area. To substantiate their views, they put forward an incident where UFO researcher Darrel Miklos discovered the ruins of a seemingly ancient spaceship in the depths of the Bermuda Triangle.
“It was a formation unlike anything I’ve ever seen related to shipwreck material, it was too big for that. It was also something that was completely different from anything that I’ve seen that was made by nature. It’s almost like there are five arms coming out of a steep wall cliff and each one of these is the size of a gun on a battleship. They’re enormous and then there’s five over here and five over there, 15 in total,” said Darrell Miklos.
Taking a neutral stand, Miklos did not assure the extraterrestrial connection, and he claimed that more studies should be carried out unveil the object’s historical significance.

40 years blackhole mystery solved.

This might seem like a small detail but it directly affects how fast black holes spin and, consequently, what effect they have on the galaxies that surround them. (Photo: AFP)
Washington: Scientists on Thursday unveiled the most detailed simulation of a black hole yet, solving a mystery dating back more than four decades over how the star-devouring monsters consume matter.
Coming fresh on the heels of the first ever photo of one of the giant objects, which are scattered across the Universe, astrophysicists are now several steps closer to understanding how they form and develop.
A black hole is born when a large star collapses in on itself. Far from being a “hole”, they are instead incredibly dense objects with a gravitational pull so strong that nothing, not even light, may escape them.
As they suck in the matter such as gas, dust and space debris, they form an accretion disk — a churning mass of super-accelerated particles that are among the brightest objects in the Universe — around them.
It is the accretion disk that can be seen as a blurry halo around the image of the black hole released in April from the Event Horizon Telescope. But accretion disks are nearly always tilted at an angle to the orientation of the black hole, known as its equatorial plane.

In 1975, Nobel Prize-winning physicist John Bardeen and astrophysicist Jacobus Petterson theorised that a rotating black hole would cause the inner region of a tilted accretion disk to line up with the black hole’s equatorial plane.
But no model could ever work out how, precisely, that would happen. Until now. A team of astrophysicists from Northwestern University, Oxford University and the University of Amsterdam, used graphical processing units to crunch large sets of data and simulate how black holes interact with their accretion disks.
Crucially, their approach gave them the computing power to account for magnetic turbulence, which occurs when different particles churn at different speeds within the accretion disk.
It is precisely this electromagnetic effect that causes matter to fall to the centre of the black hole. Alexander Tchekhovskoy, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, likened matter accumulating near a black hole to throwing a dart towards the board at random.

Search end for victims after Alaska tour plane ✈ crashed

Search ends for victims after mid-air Alaska tour planes crash, probe begins
15 May 2019, 10:09 am
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Searchers found the bodies of the last two Alaska seaplane crash victims on Tuesday evening, after a hunt through the debris and frigid waters following a mid-air collision that left a total of six people dead and 10 injured, officials said.

“The last two people were found. They were found deceased,” said U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Matthew Schofield.

The discovery of the bodies closes the search at the scene where the two seaplanes crashed after colliding over the inlet waters near Ketchikan, in southeastern Alaska, Schofield said.

Work at the crash site will now shift to an investigation into what led the two planes, which were ferrying Princess Cruises passengers on sightseeing expeditions, to strike each other and fall into the waters of George Inlet.