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Giant canyons discovered in Antarctica

Giant canyons discovered in Antarctica

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your device Scientists have discovered three vast canyons in one of the last places to be explored on Earth - under the ice at the South Pole. The deep troughs run for hundreds of kilometres, cutting through tall mountains - none of which are visible at the snowy surface of the continent. Dr Kate Winter from Northumbria University, UK, and colleagues found the hidden features with radar. Her team says the canyons play a key role in controlling the flow of ice. And if Antarctica thins in a warming climate, as scientists suspect it will, then these channels could accelerate mass towards the ocean, further raising sea-levels. "These troughs channelise ice from the centre of the continent, taking it towards the coa...
New climate 'feedback loop' discovered in freshwater lakes

New climate 'feedback loop' discovered in freshwater lakes

Science
Methane emissions from lakes in the northern hemisphere could almost double over the next 50 years because of a novel "feedback loop" say scientists. Climate change is boosting the proportion of cattail plants growing in and around freshwater lakes they say. But when debris from these reed beds falls in the water it triggers a major increase in the amount of methane produced. The gas is at least 25 times more warming than CO₂ in the atmosphere.Freshwater lakes play an important but relatively unrecognised role in the global carbon cycle, contributing around 16% of the Earth's natural emissions of methane - compared to just 1% from all the world's oceans. The gas is produced by microbes in the sediment at the bottom of lakes who consume organic matter that falls into the water from plants a
'Supercolony' of Adelie penguins discovered in Antarctica

'Supercolony' of Adelie penguins discovered in Antarctica

World
A “supercolony” of Adélie penguins has been found on a remote chain of rocky islands in the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, according to a new study published today in the journal Scientific Reports. The small, Antarctic native had thought to be in decline for the past 40 years due to climate change. Scientists looking at satellite images in 2014 saw telltale signs of guano stains (bird poop) which hinted at a large number of penguins. An expedition was arranged with people from Stony Brook University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Louisiana State University and Oxford University to count the birds. When researchers arrived in December 2015, they found hundreds of thousands of birds thriving in the Danger Islands, a forbidding location with treacherous waters fil
95 new exoplanets discovered during NASA's K2 mission

95 new exoplanets discovered during NASA's K2 mission

Science
Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Scientists have confirmed 95 additional exoplanets outside the solar system based on analysis of NASA's K2 mission data.Since the first planet orbiting a star similar to the solar system's sun was detected in 1995, more than 3,300 exoplanets -- ranging from rocky Earth-sized planets to large gas giants like Jupiter -- have been found.The first data from the K2 was released in 2014, with the latest findings released in a paper published in the Astronomical Journal."We started out analyzing 275 candidates of which 149 were validated as real exoplanets. In turn 95 of these planets have proved to be new discoveries," Andrew Mayo, a doctoral student at the National Space Institute at the Technical University of Denmark, said in a press release.The work also involved colleagues ...
New antibiotic family discovered in dirt

New antibiotic family discovered in dirt

Health
US scientists have discovered a new family of antibiotics in soil samples. The natural compounds could be used to combat hard-to-treat infections, the team at Rockefeller University hopes.Tests show the compounds, called malacidins, annihilate several bacterial diseases that have become resistant to most existing antibiotics, including the superbug MRSA.Experts say the work, published in Nature Microbiology, offers fresh hope in the antibiotics arms race.Drug-resistant diseases are one of the biggest threats to global health. They kill around 700,000 people a year, and new treatments are urgently needed. Drugs from dirtSoil is teeming with millions of different micro-organisms that produce lots of potentially therapeutic compounds, including new antibiotics.Dr Sean Brady's team at New York...