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Snow, sea ice littered with microplastics in the Arctic

Snow, sea ice littered with microplastics in the Arctic

Science
Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Scientists have found surprisingly large amounts of microplastics in snow and sea ice samples collected in the Arctic and Alps. The research offers another reminder that tiny bits of plastic pollution can be transported long distances. Scientists estimate that snow washes microplastics out of the atmosphere, carrying them back to Earth's surface where they can accumulate in places like the Arctic. Researchers found microplastic concentrations as high as 14,400 particles per liter in Arctic snow samples. In one snow sample collected by the side of a rural road in the Bavarian Alps, researchers measured 154,000 particles per liter. The samples collected by scientists with the Alfred Wegener Institute and the Swiss WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF featured ...
Plastic particles falling out of sky with snow in Arctic

Plastic particles falling out of sky with snow in Arctic

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your device Even in the Arctic, microscopic particles of plastic are falling out of the sky with snow, a study has found.The scientists said they were shocked by the sheer number of particles they found: more than 10,000 of them per litre in the Arctic.It means that even there, people are likely to be breathing in microplastics from the air - though the health implications remain unclear.The region is often seen as one of the world's last pristine environments.A German-Swiss team of researchers has published the work in the journal Science Advances.The scientists also found rubber particles and fibres in the snow.How did the researchers carry out the study? ...
Giant system of snow cannons could stabilize West Antarctic ice sheet

Giant system of snow cannons could stabilize West Antarctic ice sheet

Science
July 20 (UPI) -- If the collapse of West Antarctica's ice was a certainty, what could be done to save the cultural heritage and economies along the world's coast? In a paper published this week in the journal Science Advances, scientists in Germany and the United States considered a bold plan to pump millions of gallons of seawater to a system of snow cannons installed across West Antarctica. It's a drastic measure, one that would have considerable environmental impacts on a still mostly pristine corner of the globe. "The fundamental trade-off is whether we as humanity want to sacrifice Antarctica to safe the currently inhabited coastal regions and the cultural heritage that we have built and are building on our shores," Anders Levermann, physicist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Im...
Watch February's super snow moon, the brightest full moon of the year

Watch February's super snow moon, the brightest full moon of the year

Science
Feb. 18 (UPI) -- February's full moon comes as Earth's satellite is making its closet approach, making the full moon a supermoon. During its perigee, the moon is several thousand miles closer than it is on average, making it appear especially full. This month's full moon will peak at 10:54 a.m. ET. The sun will drown out the moon's brightness, so the best time to see the supermoon will be overnight. Each month's full moon goes by a nickname; some full moons have several alternate names. "In ancient times, people across Europe and Native Americans used the moon to track the seasons," according to the Old Farmer's Almanac. "In the lunar calendar, names were often given to each month's moon." February's full moon is known as the snow moon, a reference to its presence during a month that bri...
Zoo defends decision to kill escaped snow leopard

Zoo defends decision to kill escaped snow leopard

Technology
A British zoo has defended its decision to kill a rare snow leopard that got out of its enclosure when a door was left open. Dudley Zoo says it had "no other option in the interest of public safety" but to shoot 8-year-old Margaash after he escaped on Oct. 23. The central England zoo issued a statement Friday on the "incredibly sad incident." "Euthanasia is, and always will be, a last resort," zoo director Derek Grove said in the statement. "Efforts to persuade Margaash to return to his enclosure failed and as the animal was close to surrounding woodland and dark was approaching, the vet did not believe a tranquillizer dart was a safe option due to the amount of time the drug takes to work." The zoo said the leopard escaped when a door was left open through "keeper error." It said securi...