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Ancient comet impact triggered fires, climate change, megafauna extinctions

Ancient comet impact triggered fires, climate change, megafauna extinctions

Science
March 13 (UPI) -- Scientists have uncovered new evidence that a cosmic impact sparked wildfires and triggered a period of global climate change at the end of the Pleistocene epoch some 13,000 years ago. Previously, researchers had only found evidence of the period of climatic change known as the Younger Dryas, or YDB, in the Northern Hemisphere. New findings, however, suggest the Southern Hemisphere also experienced a sudden climatic shift -- and much more. "We have identified the YDB layer at high latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere at near 41 degrees south, close to the tip of South America," James Kennett, geology professor emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said in a news release. Kennett is a proponent of the Younger Dryas Boundary Impact Hypothesis, which pos...
Blast off! Musk's SpaceX fires rocket into orbit

Blast off! Musk's SpaceX fires rocket into orbit

Technology
Elon Musk's SpaceX has launched a rocket out of the Earth's atmosphere, in a major step towards reviving America's human spaceflight programme.The unmanned crew capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket was fired from Florida bound for the International Space Station at 7.49am GMT. The key test flight is aiming to prove to NASA that astronauts will be safe on future flights. Before lift off, billionaire Musk tweeted a photo of the inside of the Crew Dragon capsule with a mannequin nicknamed Ripley strapped in it. SpaceX said the spacesuit for Ripley, apparently a reference to the protagonist in the sci-fi movie Alien played by Sigourney Weaver, has been embedded with sensors around its head, neck, and spine to monitor how a flight would feel for a human astronaut. The International ...
Trudeau fires Canada's ambassador to China amid Huawei controversy

Trudeau fires Canada's ambassador to China amid Huawei controversy

World
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has fired Canada's ambassador to China, John McCallum.It follows controversial comments Mr McCallum made about an extradition case involving a senior executive from the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.Mr Trudeau said in a statement he had asked John McCallum to step down, but did not offer a reason.The detention of Meng Wanzhou, at the request of the US, angered China and soured Canada's relations with Beijing.Ms Meng, Huawei's chief financial officer, is accused by the US of evading sanctions on Iran. Both she and Huawei deny those allegations.What did Justin Trudeau say?In a statement, the Canadian prime minister said: "Last night I asked for and accepted John McCallum's resignation as Canada's ambas...
Wood burners and open fires face restrictions in new clean air plan

Wood burners and open fires face restrictions in new clean air plan

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your device Wood burning stoves, open fires and farms all face new restrictions as the government sets out what it calls a "world leading" plan to tackle air pollution. In their Clean Air Strategy, published today, the government promises to set a "bold new goal" to reduce particulates across much of the country by 2030.But green groups say the scheme is vague and severely lacking in detail.They believe the plan proposes nothing new to tackle roadside dirty air.The new strategy, which is focussed on tackling air pollution in England, has been launched just days after the family of a nine-year-old girl who died from asthma were given permission to apply for a fresh inquest into her death.The government's chief l...
Storms, fires, heat waves: Year's disasters linked to climate change

Storms, fires, heat waves: Year's disasters linked to climate change

Science
Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Many climate scientists have been reluctant to directly attribute natural disasters and extreme weather events to global warming. But 2018 forced their hand. Increasingly, climate scientists are making the connection between climate change and record-setting weather events -- storms, droughts, floods, fires, heat waves, cold spells and more. New statistical analysis methods and increasingly accurate climate models have allowed climate scientists to more confidently quantify the culpability of rising CO2 levels each time disaster strikes. In 2018, disaster struck often. Storms The hurricane season produced several larger storms and a few odd ones. Hurricane Florence defied trajectory predictions, steering farther north than any previous storm on its route to the East Coas...