Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 117.0 degrees Fahrenheit (47.2 degrees Celsius) in Walgett, New South Wales, Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 62.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 52.2 degrees Celsius) at the Vostok, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Nature – Images

Interesting Images

Supernova

Life in this universe begins and ends with supernovae. In a spectacular eruption powerful enough to outshine a galaxy, a star is killed — and new elements are forged. The shock wave from the star’s death throes can cause nearby clouds of gas to collapse, triggering the birth of new suns. The ashes of the exploded star spread out into the dark void of space, filling it with ingredients for future stars and planets. Supernovae are creative catastrophes.

This image made by the Hubble Space Telescope shows the tattered remains of a supernova explosion known as Cassiopeia A.

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Space Events

A Strange Green Comet Is Heading Our Way

An unusual green comet reaches maximum brightness on Saturday, providing a treat for early-morning risers.

Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova (named after three astronomers who discovered it in 1948) travels into the inner solar system every 5.25 years. On Saturday, 45P will pass just 7.4 million miles from Earth, a stone’s throw by celestial yardsticks.

With binoculars or a small telescope, comet-watchers should be able to spot 45P in the pre-dawn skies between Thursday and Sunday. The comet will be racing through the constellation Hercules high in the eastern sky.

Comet 45P will look like fuzzy bluish-green ball with a fan-shaped tail. Its distinctive colour comes from vaporizing diatomic carbon, a gas which glows green in the near-vacuum of space.

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Drought

Drought in Kenya

Kenya declared a national disaster on Friday, calling for aid to counter drought that is posing a major risk to people, livestock and wildlife.

The Kenya Red Cross has estimated around 2.7 million people are in need of food aid after low rainfall in October and November and the next rainy season not due before April.

The UN World Food Programme said it was short of $22 million for the next six to nine months to provide support such as school meals for 428,000 children who often depend on them as their only substantial meal of the day.

Early this month, residents in drought-struck northern Kenya said at least 11 people were killed and a tourist lodge torched due to conflicts when armed cattle herders flooded onto farms and wildlife reserves.

Environment

Invading Armyworm

International agricultural experts say that hordes of crop-destroying armyworm caterpillars are spreading rapidly across Africa, and could invade tropical Asia and the Mediterranean in the next few years.

Such an expansion could pose a major threat to agricultural trade worldwide, according to the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International.

The fall armyworm pest, native to North and South America, can devastate maize crops by attacking young plants and burrowing into the cobs. It can also damage a variety of other crops such as rice, soybean, pasture grass and potato.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 116.0 degrees Fahrenheit (46.7 degrees Celsius) in Moomba, South Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 85.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 65.0 degrees Celsius) at the South Pole, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Qatari Chill

The desert state of Qatar experienced its coldest temperature on record with the mercury dipping to just above freezing on the morning of Feb. 5.

The Abu Samra weather station, in the southwest of the country, recorded a minimum temperature of 34.7 degrees Fahrenheit, beating the old record of 38.8 degrees set in January 1964.

The country’s meteorological department blamed the chilling north winds on the same Siberian high pressure area that also brought a deep freeze to Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

Nature – Images

Interesting Images

Ancient Earthworks Resembling Stonehenge Discovered In Amazon Rainforest

Ancient indigenous people built hundreds of large and mysterious earthworks in the Amazon rainforest more than 2,000 years ago.

Researchers have discovered over 450 earthworks in the western Brazilian Amazon after flying drones over the area. The large geometrical geoglyphs in Acre, a state in northwestern Brazil within the Amazon rainforest, were built by indigenous people more than 2,000 years ago before the arrival of the Europeans.

Geoglyphs are large designs produced on the ground and are often formed by rocks or similarly durable elements of the landscape such as trees, gravel, earth, and stones.

The geoglyphs were hidden by trees for most of their history, but deforestation has eventually helped reveal their presence. The discovery provided evidence how the ancient people lived in the region prior to the arrival of European people.

Study researcher Jennifer Watling, from the University of Sao Paolo’s Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography, said that the fact the sites were hidden beneath mature rainforest for centuries challenges the notion that the Amazonian forests are pristine ecosystems.

Geoglyphs

Nature – Images

Interesting Images

Swirling polar ice caps revealed on Mars

Mars is revealing itself not to be the featureless red wasteland scientists once thought it was. New images from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express mission have captured the delicate swirls of ice at the planet’s north pole.

The idea that Mars may be capable of harbouring life has fuelled the space industry’s obsession. There are currently eight operational missions to the Red Planet – a mix of orbital, lander and rover types.

Like Earth, both poles on Mars are permanently covered in frozen ice caps. In the winter months, the plummeting temperatures make it cold enough for 30 per cent of the carbon dioxide in the planet’s atmosphere to freeze, adding a layer of ice onto its poles.

Mars north pole

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 112.0 degrees Fahrenheit (44.4 degrees Celsius) in Moomba, South Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 63.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 52.8 degrees Celsius) at Seymchan, Siberia.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.