Connect with us


The largest-ever Arctic ozone hole developed this spring. Now, scientists say it's closed. – CNN Philippines



(CNN)— An ozone hole that formed over the Arctic this spring and eventually grew into the largest ever recorded there has closed.

Scientists who were tracking the hole at Copernicus’ Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS) made the announcement late last week, noting the “rather unusual” hole was caused not by human activity but a particularly strong Arctic polar vortex, CAMS said.

Thus, despite what you may be thinking, it’s recovery most likely can’t be tracked to the reduction in pollution due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“COVID19 and the associated lockdowns probably had nothing to do with this,” the group said on Twitter. “It’s been driven by an unusually strong and long-lived polar vortex, and isn’t related to air quality changes.”

Still, the hole was massive — most of the ozone typically found around 11 miles into the stratosphere was depleted, the group said. The last time such a strong chemical ozone depletion was observed in the Arctic occurred nearly a decade ago.

A polar vortex is a large area of low pressure and cold air that surrounds both of Earth’s poles, according to the National Weather Service. Polar vortexes always exist, but they typically weaken during the summer and strengthen in the winter. The polar vortex in the Arctic is typically weaker due to the presence of nearby land as well as mountain ranges that disturb the weather more so than its counterpart to the south, CAMS said.

The ozone layer sits between 9 and 22 miles above the Earth. It protects us from ultraviolet radiation.

Unlike the hole that developed over the Arctic, the Antarctic ozone hole in the Southern Hemisphere is typically caused by chemicals such as chlorine and bromine migrating into the stratosphere. This has caused an ozone hole to develop in the Antarctic annually for the last 35 years.

There has been good news there, too: last year, the Antarctic ozone hole was at its smallest since it was first discovered.

CAMS does not predict the ozone numbers will return to the extremely low levels experienced in early April, offering some hope in these bleak times: the ozone layer is slowly healing, one way or another.

This story was first published on, “The largest-ever Arctic ozone hole developed this spring. Now, scientists say it’s closed.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading


Rare dinosaur stomach fossil unearthed at Alberta oilsands site opens door to ancient world –



Fresh ferns, loaded with spores, lightly dusted with leaves and twigs and perfectly seasoned with locally sourced charcoal.

Sound good? It did to an ankylosaur about 110 million years ago, as evidenced by amazingly complete fossils of what was certainly the tank-like dinosaur’s last meal.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Caleb Brown, a curator at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology and co-author of a paper published Tuesday on what is one of probably only three fossilized dinosaur stomachs discovered.

“We can start recontructing the life histories and ecologies of these animals.”

The dining dinosaur was first unearthed in 2011 in a northern Alberta Suncor oilsands mine, where many excavators have learned to look for fossils as they dig. When this one turned up, a crew from the Tyrrell followed shortly afterward.

Story continues below advertisement

Well-preserved dinosaur found in northern Alberta named after Royal Tyrrell researcher

It was an amazingly well-preserved ankylosaur from the early Cretaceous period. Low but large — the species could reach eight metres long and weigh eight tonnes — the fossil took two weeks to remove.

It then took five and a half years for technician Mark Mitchell to clean and prepare it, which is why the species now bears the Latin name markmitchelli. The restored specimen, complete with body armour and outer skin, was remarkable enough for a 2017 National Geographic magazine feature.

Canadian tyrannosaur “reaper of death” discovered in Alberta

Canadian tyrannosaur “reaper of death” discovered in Alberta

But for paleontologists, the fun was just starting. They began looking at a fossilized structure that co-author Jim Basinger of the University of Saskatchewan described as looking like a “squashed basketball.”

Story continues below advertisement

It was in the right place for a stomach and it held gastroliths, small stones dinosaurs used to help digest their food, much as some birds do today.

“There’s a great mess of them and they’re quite distinctive,” said Basinger.

The scientists eventually compiled 16 pieces of evidence that the squashed basketball was, in fact, a stomach.

“It’s unquestionable,” Basinger said.

There are only two other fossilized stomachs in the world that scientists are this sure about. Neither opens doors to the past the way this one does.

READ MORE: Royal Tyrrell Museum to get $3 million in federal funding

About 80 per cent of this last meal was a particular species of ferns. The fossils are so well preserved their spores identify them.

There are bits of other plants and twigs so immaculate that their growth rings are being used to estimate weather at the time. And there is charcoal from burned woody material.

Brown points out ferns aren’t that nutritious. A beast this size would need digestion capable of getting the most from them.

That means this dinosaur may have fermented its food, much like many animals today.

Story continues below advertisement

“All big herbivores today use some form of fermentation,” Brown said. “For this animal, it was almost certainly fermenting those ferns.”

Raptor dinosaur skeleton found in southern Alberta hailed a ‘scientific goldmine’

Which raises other interesting questions: How much fermented fern does it take to move an eight-tonne lizard? How much energy might it need? Where might that much fodder be found?

New kind of pterodactyl uncovered with help from U of A paleontologist

New kind of pterodactyl uncovered with help from U of A paleontologist

The charcoal provides a clue. It probably came from an ancient forest fire where ferns would have been abundant in the first flush of new growth, much as they are today.

“(The dinosaur) was taking advantage of a charred landscape,” Basinger said. Many modern animals do the same, chowing down on tender, nutritious and low-hanging new growth that follows the flames.

Story continues below advertisement

World’s last ‘dinosaur trees’ rescued from wrath of Australian fires

More than just reassembling skeletons, modern paleontology is starting to rebuild ecosystems that haven’t existed for millions and millions of years.

“That’s something we can start playing with,” Brown said.

The fossils tell individual stories, too.

Basinger said, given the undigested contents of its stomach, this ankylosaur died quickly. It was surrounded by marine fossils, and researchers believe it slipped or fell into a large river, where it drowned and was swept out to sea.

“Whatever happened to the poor dinosaur, it would have happened pretty fast after it had eaten.”

© 2020 The Canadian Press

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading


SpaceX success: No shortage of Kremlin sour grapes – Asia Times



There’s nothing like a sore loser — and the Russians seem to take the cake when it comes to crying in their own vodka.

Elon Musk has taken them to school, and they just can’t handle it.

Short narrative? It’s a wake-up call for President Putin and Russia’s dated space program. Game, set and match.

When two NASA astronauts blasted off on May 30 under American — albeit commercially produced — power for the first time in nearly a decade, much of the world celebrated the achievement, Radio Free Liberty reported.

But in Russia, the US’s traditional space rival, congratulations on the successful launch and delivery of crew members to the International Space Station (ISS) came, at least from several officials and pro-Kremlin pundits, with a dose of derision.

“The hysteria raised after the successful launch of the Crew Dragon spacecraft is hard to understand,” Vladimir Ustimenko, a spokesman for the Russian space agency Roskosmos, spat on Twitter on May 31, the report said.

“What has happened should have happened long ago. Now it’s not only the Russians flying to the ISS, but also the Americans. Well that’s wonderful!”

Aleksei Pushkov, a Kremlin ally in the upper parliament house who is a frequent critic of the USand the West, also suggested the voyage of veteran astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken was ho-hum, emphasizing on Telegram that “this is a flight to the International Space Station, not to Mars,” the report said.

He added that, in future, Russia should save seats on its spacecraft headed for the ISS for its own astronauts — an I’m going home and taking my ball with me, type comment, no less.

Ustimenko and Pushkov were not the only ones who sounded unimpressed by the accomplishment of SpaceX, the rocket company owned by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk that took a giant leap into the space race after NASA mothballed its space shuttle fleet in 2011, the report said.

But others suggested Russia should come to grips with the loss of its lucrative, nearly decade-long monopoly on manned flights.

Some pundits described the development as a wake-up call for Russia’s space program, and Roskosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin was reminded of the days when, as a deputy prime minister targeted by US sanctions over the Kremlin’s hostile takeover of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, he suggested that the punitive measures would hit them like a “boomerang,” the report said.

“After analyzing the sanctions against our space industry, I suggest … the USA bring their astronauts to the International Space Station using a trampoline,” Rogozin wrote on Twitter in April 2014.

Musk, who only days before Rogozin’s tweet had suggested that the Russian might benefit financially from the purchase of rocket components by SpaceX’s main competitor, got some payback after this week’s successful launch, the report said.

“The trampoline is working,” Musk said at a postlaunch press conference alongside NASA director James Bridenstine, who mentioned Rogozin’s statement of congratulations and said that NASA’s Russian partners “believe in cooperation, and I think it will remain strong.”

It was laughed off as an “inside joke,” but pro-Kremlin state TV talk show host Vladimir Solovyov took it as a challenge, the report said.

“‘The trampoline works,’ Musk poked Rogozin,” Solovyov wrote on his Telegram channel on March 31. “How will Roskosmos answer? The ball is in our court. No need to rush. Musk prepared his answer for several years.”

On his feed, Solovyov also shared a blistering post from the Telegram channel Nevrotik, an influencer who describes himself as a “simple peasant with understanding and common sense.”

Nevrotik said that media coverage of the SpaceX launch was full of words like “historic,” “new era,” and other laudations.

But what “we really have,” according to Nevrotik, is that after a long and heavy drinking bout, space power No. 2 has returned. And this really should be welcomed: Otherwise we would miss you and be without our reliable competitor and ally.”

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world’s first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now. 

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading


Precision Biomonitoring Receives Funding to Manufacture TripleLock™ SARS CoV-2 Go-Strips – Canada NewsWire



Innovative Efforts Receive Funding from NGen In Response to Canadian Supply Development Support

GUELPH, ON and MISSISSAUGA, ON, June 2, 2020 /CNW/ – Precision Biomonitoring, an industry leader in point-of-need molecular detection tools, has announced that is has received approval and funding from Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen) to support manufacturing needs for the production of its TripleLockTM SARS-CoV-2 Go-Strips.

Precision Biomonitoring has secured this funding because of its ongoing efforts to contribute to the development of a Canadian supply of testing kits in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Precision Biomonitoring is grateful to NGen for its support and is encouraged by its dedication to companies across Canada working to develop resources and tools necessary to protect public health.

The funding will enable Precision Biomonitoring to work directly with Canadian manufacturers to rapidly increase production of its SARS-CoV-2 Go-Strips, which will not only support Precision Biomonitoring, but also other Canadian biotech companies working to support the accessibility of molecular testing amidst COVID-19 and into the future.

Leveraging the manufacturing capabilities of Canadian manufacturers, Precision Biomonitoring anticipates a production rate capacity of 10,000 units per day or greater. Increased testing capacity will help provide critical testing access and capacity in communities to re-open Canadian economy by helping to create virus-free zones in the workplace to ensure safety of the workers and sustainable operations.

“Developing Canadian manufacturing is not only promising for our response efforts for COVID-19, but also provides a strong foundation as we look to expand into the growing mobile DNA applications market,” says Thomas. “This includes manufacturing our existing 35 tests for other organisms, helping to establish local sources of supply that Canadians can rely on.”

Precision Biomonitoring’s efforts alongside NGen is an addition to the collaborative relationships Precision Biomonitoring has developed with other Canadian companies and institutions in response to COVID-19, including Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Shared Value Solutions,  The Research Institute of St. Joe’s (Hamilton), Sunnybrook Health Science Centre and the Canadian National Microbiology Lab.

“Advancing Canadian manufacturing enables us to leverage local capabilities to mitigate manufacturing challenges,” says John Laughlin, CTO at NGen. “We are proud to help drive these efforts that will position Canada as a world leader in manufacturing point-of-need DNA surveillance and detection tools.”

About Precision Biomonitoring 
Founded in 2016 by a team of scientists from the University of Guelph’s Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, Precision Biomonitoring provides TripleLock™ onsite eDNA surveillance platform solutions that give customers earlier detection of organisms for a more rapid response. Customers are any organizations that need onsite surveillance and rapid identification of any organism in any environment. The Precision Biomonitoring team is at the forefront of technological innovations in the genomics industry. Our vision is a world where we can identify any organism on the spot, in an instant, anywhere on the planet. 

About NGen 
NGen is the industry-led community behind Canada’s most transformative advanced manufacturing projects. NGen members come from every part of the country and cut across Canada’s manufacturing, technology, advanced research, and start-ups sectors. NGen is an objective facilitator of connections and collaboration among its members, identifying opportunities, building capabilities, and supporting advanced manufacturing decisions. NGen’s industry collaborations bring together talent, opportunity, funding, and business know-how to reduce risk and help business leaders make better choices. NGen is Canada’s Supercluster for Advanced Manufacturing, securing funding from public and private sources, including $230 million in matching dollars from the federal government’s Innovation Superclusters Initiative, to support greater private sector investment in advanced manufacturing projects. NGen seeks to add $13.5 billion dollars and 13,500 new jobs to the economy over the next 10 years by growing world-leading advanced manufacturing capabilities in Canada.

SOURCE Precision Biomonitoring

For further information: Media Contact: Meredith Adams, 416-459-7086, [email protected]

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading