Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Northern Hemisphere Cracks 400 ppm CO₂ for Whole Month for First Time

Carbon dioxide levels exceeded 400 ppm across the Northern Hemisphere for the entire month of April, a significant climate-change milestone. But this is the first time scientists have seen a whole month over 400 ppm at monitoring stations across the Northern Hemisphere, says Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, who was not involved with the measurements. "Four hundred ppm is not in and of itself particularly important physically," says Schmidt, "but it is emblematic of the fact that we are pushing the climate system into territory that is uncharted."

Friday, May 16, 2014

MERS An outbreak with pandemic potential

In the May 31 SN: An outbreak with pandemic potential, a macabre rejuvenating regimen, the dangers of being born big and death by black hole. Behind the news that the United States has had its first case of the deadly respiratory virus known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, or MERS coronavirus, is a far more worrisome trend: Case numbers are exploding on the Arabian Peninsula. As doctors struggle to treat patients, scientists are rushing to answer some basic questions about the virus’s biology, whose answers could stop the virus from becoming a pandemic. As far as anyone knows, the first human victims of MERS were a university student and a nurse, who both got sick and died in Jordan in the spring of 2012. In the two years between then and March 2014, public health officials recorded an average of 14 or 15 cases per month, for a total of 207 cases. Of those cases, 93 people died, making the mortality rate about 45 percent.