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Interstellar asteroid is given a name

Interstellar asteroid is given a name

Science
The first known asteroid to visit our Solar System from interstellar space has been given a name.Scientists who have studied its speed and trajectory believe it originated in a planetary system around another star.The interstellar interloper will now be referred to as 'Oumuamua, which means "a messenger from afar arriving first" in Hawaiian. The name reflects the object's discovery by a Hawaii-based astronomer using an observatory on Maui.It was discovered on 19 October this year by Rob Weryk, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy.Weryk and fellow Institute for Astronomy researcher Marco Micheli realised it was going extremely fast (with enough speed to avoid being captured by the Sun's gravitational pull) and was on a very eccentric trajectory takin...
UK and Canada lead global alliance against coal

UK and Canada lead global alliance against coal

Science
The UK and Canada have launched a global alliance of 20 countries committed to phasing out coal for energy production.Members including France, Finland and Mexico, say they will end the use of coal before 2030.Ministers hope to have 50 countries signed up by the time of the next major UN conference in Poland next year.However some important coal consuming nations, including China, the US and Germany have not joined the group. Reducing global coal use is a formidable challenge, as the fuel produces around 40% of the world's electricity at present. As a highly carbon intensive source, coal contributes significantly to the rising levels of CO2 emissions that scientists reported earlier this week.Researchers say that if the world is to curb dramatic temperature rises this century then coal use...
Nasa forecast: Which cities will flood as ice melts?

Nasa forecast: Which cities will flood as ice melts?

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceA forecasting tool reveals which cities will be affected as different portions of the ice sheet melt, say scientists. It looks at the Earth's spin and gravitational effects to predict how water will be "redistributed" globally. "This provides, for each city, a picture of which glaciers, ice sheets, [and] ice caps are of specific importance," say the researchers. The tool has been developed by scientists at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Their findings are published in the journal Science Advances. Senior scientist Dr Erik Ivins said: "As cities and countries attempt to build plans to mitigate flooding, they have to be thinking about 100 years in the future and they want to assess risk in the same way that insurance companies do."...
Satellite spots springtime phytoplankton bloom off New Zealand coast

Satellite spots springtime phytoplankton bloom off New Zealand coast

Science
Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Phytoplankton are proliferating along the coast of New Zealand's South Island. The bloom was photographed this week by the camera on NASA's Aqua satellite. The space agency shared the image on Wednesday.While temperatures drop and days lengthen on the north half of Earth to the equator, the Southern Hemisphere is awakening to spring. The warming temperatures and increased sunlight can fuel phytoplankton blooms.Phytoplankton serve as the vital base for all marine food chains. But phytoplankton communities are being affected by climate change, and many scientists are concerned the shifts could disrupt ocean ecosystems.Recent tests proved single-celled algae are significantly affected by changes to temperature and CO2 levels.Another study showed different types of algae could...
Artificially cooling Earth is a 'highly risky strategy,' researchers warn

Artificially cooling Earth is a 'highly risky strategy,' researchers warn

Science
Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Some scientists and policy officials have proposed artificial cooling as a solution to global warming. But a new study suggests any such efforts would present serious risks.One of the most popular forms of geoengineering is the manipulation of clouds, using aerosols to promote cloud formation and cloud brightening. Higher concentrations of clouds -- and brighter clouds -- can help reflect sunlight and reduce warming.The introduction of large amounts of aerosols into the atmosphere by volcanic eruptions has in the past triggered periods of global cooling.But new analysis at the University of Exeter showed such geoengineering efforts could have unintended consequences. An influx of aerosols in the atmosphere in the Northern Hemisphere, for example, would be likely to encoura...