Raindrops keep falling: Climate change makes storms worse – study

by Sara Hussein Agence France Presse TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Climate change is increasing the amount of rain that hurricanes produce, and as warming picks up storms will become increasingly wetter and windier, according to new research. The findings are based on extensive modelling that involved millions of computing hours on a supercomputer, and they show that climate change is already affecting the intensity of storms. “Climate change so far — from preindustrial to present […]

‘Super-Earth’ discovered orbiting Sun’s nearest star

by Patrick Galey Agence France Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — A “super-Earth” has been discovered orbiting the closest single star to our Sun, scientists said Wednesday in a breakthrough that could shine a light on Earth’s nearest planetary neighbours. Astronomers studied Barnard’s Star, a red dwarf just six light years away — practically in our back garden, galactically speaking — and noticed the presence of a “frozen, dimly lit world” at least 3.2 times heavier […]

Two thirds of African cities face ‘extreme climate risk’

by Patrick GALEY Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — Rapid population growth and poor infrastructure have put two out of three cities in Africa at “extreme risk” of the threats posed by climate change, according to a new analysis released Wednesday. With UN figures showing 86 of the world’s 100 fastest-growing cities are in Africa, experts warned nearly half of the continent’s GDP was exposed to the perils posed by our warming planet. The findings […]

Surprise giant ‘corpse flower’ blooms at Indonesia farm

LABUHANBATU, Indonesia (AFP) — An Indonesian farmer was startled to discover a rare “corpse flower” blooming in his plantation on the island of Sumatra. Rosihan Anwar Hasibuan, a local palm oil farmer, said he came across the mystery flower when he was checking on his crops. “I saw a weird object,” he said. “I thought it was a ghost.” The Amorphophallus titanum flower is hard to glimpse because it can take up to 10 years […]

Modest warming risks ‘irreversible’ ice sheet loss, study warns

by Patrick GALEY Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — Even modest temperature rises agreed under an international plan to limit climate disaster could see the ice caps melt enough this century for their loss to be “irreversible”, experts warned Monday. The 2015 Paris Agreement limits nations to temperature rises “well below” two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels and to less than 1.5C if at all possible. That ballpark of getting 1.5-2C hotter […]

The importance of ice shelves

Videographic looking at the importance of ice shelves. A study shows that Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will continue to shrink this century, even if warming is limited to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Lions suspected in drowning of 400 buffaloes in Botswana

  GABORONE, Botswana (AFP) — More than 400 buffaloes believed to have been chased by lions drowned in a river in northern Bostwana this week, the government said. The mass drowning occurred in Chobe River near the border with Namibia. Early investigations by authorities in both countries “suggest that an exceptionally large buffalo herd was grazing in Namibia when they stampeded into the Chobe River,” Botswana’s Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism said […]

Superbugs to ‘kill millions’ by 2050 unless countries act

  by Patrick Galey Agence France Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — Millions of people in Europe, North America and Australia will die from superbug infections unless countries prioritize fighting the growing threat posed by bacteria immune to most known drugs, experts predicted Wednesday. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) warned of “disastrous consequences” for public healthcare and spending unless basic hospital hygiene is boosted and unnecessary antibiotic use slashed. Drug-resistant bacteria killed more […]

Recovery of endangered whales hampered by humans long after hunting

by Marlowe HOOD Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — When an endangered female North Atlantic right whale spends months, even years, disentangling itself from cast-off fishing nets, there’s not much energy left over for mating and nursing calves. Coping with such debris, along with ship collisions and other forms of human encroachment, have severely stymied recovery of the majestic sea mammals long after explosive harpoons and factory ships nearly wiped them out, according to a […]

A machine makes water out of air – Israel-based tech company showcases technology in Vietnam

  HANOI, Vietnam (AFP-Services) — Imagine you could quench your thirst with water that doesn’t originate from a river, spring or lake, but comes directly out of the blue sky, from the air that surrounds you. What sounds like a science fiction movie is already a reality, and it is potentially for everyone. The new technology, developed by Watergen, an Israel-based tech company, is currently being showcased in Vietnam’s capital city Hanoi. And this is […]

Poop in hand, Bill Gates backs China’s toilet revolution

  BEIJING, China (AFP) — As one of the world’s richest men and most active philanthropists, Bill Gates usually has his hands full. Just not with poop. So it came as a surprise when the founder of Microsoft brandished a jar of human waste at a forum on the future of the toilet in Beijing on Tuesday. The stunt was an effort to draw attention to a problem affecting developing countries around the world: not […]