Monday, August 14, 2017

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'Karakoram anomaly' defies climate change



A 'vortex' of cold air breeze over the Karakoram mountain range has been causing glaciers to continue growing in spite of climate change, scientists have shown. 

This peculiar phenomenon, which has been dubbed the 'Karakoram anomaly', was studied recently by scientists at Newcastle University in the UK and is thought to explain how glaciers in some parts of the Himalayas have been acting differently to those across most other parts of the world.

During the winter, the vortex is thought to affect temperatures across the entire 2,000 kilometres mountain  range, but in the summer it contracts and its influence continues to affect only the Karakoram and western Pamir region.

Pamir mountains

This induces an anomalous cooling in summer which is different to the warming seen over the rest of the Himalaya.
Co-author Professor Hayley Fowler, says this Karakoram vortex goes some way to explaining why the glaciers in this region are behaving differently to those in most other parts of the world.
Karakoram Mountains

"While most glaciers are retreating as a result of global warming, the glaciers of the Karakoram range in South Asia are stable or even growing," said study co-author Professor Hayley Fowler.

"Most climate models suggest warming over the whole region in summer as well as in winter."

"However, our study has shown that large-scale circulation is controlling regional variability in atmospheric temperatures, with recent cooling of summer temperatures."

"[This] circulation system is currently providing a dampening effect on global warming, reducing glacial melt in the Karakoram region and any change will have a significant effect on ice melt rates, which would ultimately affect river flows in the region." 

Acting like a counter-weighted temperature control, the unique summer interaction of the Karakoram vortex and the South Asian Monsoon causes temperatures in the Karakoram and Pamir to cool while those in the Central and Eastern Himalaya are warming, and vice versa.
Lenin peak in Pamir mountains

Over recent decades, these vortex-monsoon interactions have resulted in stormier conditions over the Karakoram.
"This vortex provides an important temperature control," explains Newcastle University's Dr Nathan Forsythe, lead author of the study.
"It is therefore important to look at how it has changed and influenced temperature over the last century so we can better understand how a change in the system might affect future climate.
"This is of huge importance in terms of food security because of the large populations that rely on water resources from snow and ice melt from the mountainous catchments to grow their irrigated crops in the Indus Plains of the Sindh and Punjab states and provinces of Pakistan and India."
Source: phys.org

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

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Ancient Roman city "Little Pompei" unearthed in France

An archaeologist brushing a mosaic at Little Pompei
An "exceptional" archaeological find by French researchers is being dubbed a 'little Pompeii'.
"We're unbelievably lucky. This is undoubtedly the most exceptional excavation of a Roman site in 40 or 50 years," said Benjamin Clement, who is leading a 20-strong team of archaeologists on the banks of the Rhone river, about 30 kilometres south of Lyon.
The site unearthed on land awaiting construction of a housing complex covers an area of nearly 7,000 square metres, an exceptionally large size.
The remains of an entire Roman market district has been discovered by French archaeologists under villas and public buildings on the outskirts of the city of Vienne near Lyon, south-eastern France.
The discovery was made during excavations of almost 5,000 square meters of land, which began in April and are due to continue into December.
Clement said the remains contain well-preserved residences with mosaics in an excellent state.
The neighbourhood is believed to have been inhabited for around 300 years before being abandoned after the fires.
Many of the objects in place when the inhabitants fled, were conserved, turning it into a 'little Pompeii', a reference to the Roman city that was preserved after being buried by volcanic ash.
“We found three things, one of which is a part of Via Narbonensis which was the biggest road in southern France in the antiquity.”
"It's a marketplace that has been totally burned down, so you can find all the elements in the shops that the craftsmen had left behind to escape the flames," he said. "The other thing is the domus, the well-preserved aristocratic houses, with over 19 uncovered mosaics that enable us to better understand the ways of life in Vienne 2,000 years ago."
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Saturday, August 5, 2017

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Felixstowe Fire Demon


On an autumn evening in 1965, a group of British youths were cruising the town when one of them had a terrifying encounter with a fiery demon that would leave him scarred for life.

Felixstowe is an Edwardian seaside town nestled on the North Sea coast of Suffolk, England. The bustling hub offers a plethora of fascinating sights, but none so strange as the one seen by a group of friends who were joyriding through the town on their way toward Essex at approximately 10:30 pm. on the eve of September 20, 1965.

The group consisted of the driver, 25 year-old Geoffrey Maskey, and his passengers, Mavis Fordyce and Michael Johnson. For reasons not know, Maskey pulled over to the curb next to a hedgerow on the tree lined Walton Avenue.
The youngsters were engaged in lively conversation when Johnson abruptly opened the car door and wandered out into the murky night. Fordyce and Maskey exchanged perplexed glances as their cohort vanished into the Stygian blackness, but simply assumed he had gone to use the bathroom in the woods.

Just moments after Johnson disappeared behind the shrubbery skirting the woods, Maskey and Fordyce heard what they described as a “high-pitched humming” sound. Fordyce grew anxious as the loud humming noise began overwhelming them and Maskey leaned out the window to try and determine the origin of the annoying noise

It was then that he observed an oval-shaped, orange object suspended in the sky over 90-feet above his car. He estimated that the UFO was about 6-foot wide and both he and Fordyce claimed that it was glowing so brightly that it bathed the surrounding countryside in its eerie orange glow.

After the event seemed to have ended, the two friends realized that Johnson was still in the woods. Anxious, they started to call him, without success. Maskey threw his car in reverse gear before calling him again.At the end of a few moments of distress, Michael finally reappeared, but he looked shocked, staggering and holding his head. His friends first believed he was joking, but when the young man suddenly collapsed, they rushed to help him.

Fordyce tried her best to make Johnson comfortable as Maskey hopped behind the wheel and sped away from the forbidden forest and the strange orange light toward the nearby Felixstowe hospital.
Once at the hospital Johnson regained consciousness, but he was suffering from amnesia and could not recognize the friends who had rescued him, much to their dismay. The doctors on duty at the relatively small hospital diagnosed a serious case of shock.

They also noted that he had unusual burn marks on the back of his neck and a contusion above his right ear. The doctors then decided that it would be best to transfer Johnson to the hospital of Ipswich, which was far better equipped to deal with Johnson’s injuries and psychological condition.

The following day Johnson recovered his lost senses and when his friends came to visit him he told them of his mysterious encounter with a strange alien entity in the woods next to Walton Avenue. Johnson claimed that when he abruptly got out of the car the night before he was compelled to do so by an unknown pressing “force,” which insisted that he go into the woods.

Johnson told his friends and doctors that he was forced to walk into the dark forest — although he was unable to recall the distance— where he encountered what he described as a humanoid being with large luminous eyes that were glowing in the darkness.

Johnson swore that he had no memories of what happened next, until he woke up the following morning in a hospital bed. It is obvious that the doctors who heard this young man’s bizarre tale were skeptical to say the least and the newspaper reporters from the Ipswich Evening Star who published the strange account on September 21, 1965, were equally incredulous.

Nevertheless, Johnson’s friends  who had bore witness to the fiery, egg-shaped UFO with their own eyes — believed their pal and knew all too well that something strange and terrifying had transpired in the woods near Walton Avenue that dark night.


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