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Climate change has shifted the timing of European floods

Climate change has shifted the timing of European floods

Science
Climate change has had a significant impact on the timing of river floods across Europe over the past 50 years, according to a new study. In some regions, such as southern England, floods are now occurring 15 days earlier than they did half a century ago.But the changes aren't uniform, with rivers around the North Sea seeing floods delayed by around eight days.The study has been published in the journal Science.Floods caused by rivers impact more people than any other natural hazard, and the estimated global damages run to over a $ 100bn a year. Researchers have long predicted that a warming world would have direct impacts on these events but until now the evidence has been hard to establish. Floods are affected by many different factors in addition to rainfall, such as the amount of moist...
US report confirms 2016 as warmest year on record

US report confirms 2016 as warmest year on record

Science
A report compiled by a US government agency has confirmed that 2016 was the warmest year on record and the third year in a row of record global warmth.The heat was the result of long-term global warming and a strong El Niño weather phenomenon, the report said.Global surface and sea temperatures, sea levels and greenhouse gases levels were all at record highs, it added.The report comes after President Donald Trump announced plans for the US to quit the 2015 Paris climate accord.Animation: Climate change explained in six graphicsWhat is climate change?Mr Trump has previously dismissed climate change as "a hoax".The international report, State of the Climate in 2016, was compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is based on contributions from nearly 500 scient
Cannibals engraved bones of the dead

Cannibals engraved bones of the dead

Science
A series of zig-zag marks on a human bone found in a UK cave is evidence of a cannibalistic ritual that took place some 12-17,000 years ago.Scientists have long recognised that cannibals operated at Gough’s Cave in Somerset, but were unsure whether the practice of eating other people had any symbolic significance.Reporting in the journal Plos One, researchers say the unusual cuts on a forearm bone are deliberate.They are not simple butchery markings.Nor are they teeth marks.What is more, the zig-zags appear to match designs used on other engraved objects from the same time period."The engraved motif on the Gough's Cave bone is similar to engravings observed in other Magdalenian European sites," said Silvia Bello from London’s Natural History Museum."However, what is exceptional in this cas
New study details one of biology's largest proteins

New study details one of biology's largest proteins

Science
Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Scientists have discovered one of the largest proteins in nature. The protein serves as an anchor for the unique bacterium living in the frigid waters of Antarctica.The protein MpAFP, an "adhesion" measuring 600 nanometers in length, helps the Marinomonas promoryiensis bacterium attach itself to ice.Scientists hope their analysis of the protein structure -- detailed this week in the journal Science Advances -- can help researchers better understand how harmful bacteria adhere to human cells, and ultimately prevent them from doing so."This is a first for such an adhesin," Shuaiqi "Phil" Guo, a postdoctoral researcher at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, said in a news release. "Moreover, it is one of the biggest proteins ever to be detailed. At a len...
Penguin feathers record migration route

Penguin feathers record migration route

Science
How do you trace where a penguin has swum across the vastness of the Southern Ocean?The surprising answer is from the chemistry of a single tail feather.Incredibly, specific compounds in penguin feather proteins allow scientists to track the birds’ migration over many hundreds of kilometres. The plumage records a kind of "chemical passport" stamped with a signature of the locations visited.Dr Michael Polito, of Louisiana State University, US, told BBC News: "You can say: 'penguins are where they eat,' because a geochemical signature of their wintering area is imprinted into their feathers."Two species of penguin - Chinstraps and Adélies - are the focus of the study published this week in Biological Letters. These animals both live on islands surrounding Antarctica, and migrate extensively