6 Dead in Worst Storm to Drench Eastern Spain in 140 Years
More than 3,000 people had to be rescued from the storm that drenched Murcia, Valencia and eastern Andalusia on Spain's Mediterranean coast last week. Some towns recorded their highest rainfall on record. While it is normal for the region to see autumn storms, last week's deluge was the worst to hit eastern Spain in 140 years, EL PAÍS reported.
Floods in southeast Spain 🇪🇸— Copernicus EMS (@CopernicusEMS) September 14, 2019
This #Sentinel2 🇪🇺🛰 image acquired yesterday 13 September shows flooded areas north and northwest of Cartagena and the runoff into the Mar Menor (in blue)
Thanks to @adelgado for the cue pic.twitter.com/X4kYKuLC7O
Because warmer air holds more moisture, the climate crisis increases the chance of extreme rainfall events. Heavy rains and snowfalls are already becoming more frequent, even in dry regions, a 2016 study published in Nature Climate Change found.
In the most recent Spanish storms, Ontinyent in Valencia recorded 250 millimeters (approximately 10 inches) of rainfall in 12 hours, 10 times the normal amount for this time of year, according to EL PAÍS.
"All my warmth and solidarity for the people affected by the heavy rains," Acting Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez tweeted Saturday, as The New York Times reported. "Together, we will deploy all our resources and aid to help the population and return things to normal."
Tristemente lamentamos una nueva víctima mortal en Orihuela. Todo mi cariño para sus familiares y mi solidaridad con todas las personas afectadas por las intensas lluvias.— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) September 14, 2019
Coordinados, volcaremos todos los recursos y ayudas para atender a la población y recuperar la normalidad. pic.twitter.com/p9gg710GEa
The storm killed two siblings on Thursday when their car was swept away by flood waters in Caudete, in Albacete, EL PAÍS reported further. On Friday, another man drowned in Almería when he entered a flooded underpass. Two other men were found dead Friday: one, aged 36, in Granada, and another, aged 58, near Orihuela in Alicante. A sixth man was found dead in Orihuela Saturday. He was 41 years old.
The town of Orihuela was especially hard hit. It was cut off for three days due to flooding on the roads.
More than 1,100 military personnel were deployed to rescue people from flooding in Murcia and Valencia, The Guardian reported. Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said 3,500 people had to be rescued, according to The New York Times. Some people had to be rescued from rooftops by helicopter, and four people were saved from the tops of cars by boat and jet ski. The deluge closed the airports of Murcia and Almería, as well as train lines, roads and schools.
The region could be in for a lengthy recovery. The storm displaced thousands and destroyed at least 300,000 hectares (approximately 741,316 acres) of agricultural land, according to EL PAÍS.
It is too early to estimate the cost of the damages, but Ximo Puig, the head of the Valencia region, requested "something like a Marshall Plan" to help the region recover.
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By Peter A. Kloess
Picture Antarctica today and what comes to mind? Large ice floes bobbing in the Southern Ocean? Maybe a remote outpost populated with scientists from around the world? Or perhaps colonies of penguins puttering amid vast open tracts of snow?
Giants of the Sky<p>As their name suggests, these ancient birds had sharp, bony spikes protruding from sawlike jaws. Resembling teeth, these spikes would have helped them catch squid or fish. We also studied another remarkable feature of the pelagornithids – their imposing size.</p><p>The largest flying bird alive today is the <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/group/albatrosses/" target="_blank">wandering albatross</a>, which has a wingspan that reaches 11 ½ feet. The Antarctic pelagornithids fossils we studied have a wingspan nearly double that – about 21 feet across. If you tipped a two-story building on its side, that's about 20 feet.</p><p>Across Earth's history, very few groups of vertebrates have achieved powered flight – and only two reached truly giant sizes: birds and a group of <a href="https://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/pterosaurs-flight-in-the-age-of-dinosaurs/what-is-a-pterosaur" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reptiles called pterosaurs</a>.</p>
Full-size model of a Quetzalcoatlus on display at JuraPark in Baltow, Poland. Aneta Leszkiewicz / Wikimedia<p>Pterosaurs ruled the skies during the Mesozoic Era (252 million to 66 million years ago), the same period that dinosaurs roamed the planet, and they reached hard-to-believe dimensions. <a href="https://www.wired.com/2013/11/absurd-creature-of-the-week-quetz/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Quetzalcoatlus</a> stood 16 feet tall and had a colossal 33-foot wingspan.</p>
Birds Get Their Opportunity<p>Birds originated while dinosaurs and pterosaurs were still roaming the planet. But when an <a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinosaur-killing-asteroid-impact-chicxulub-crater-timeline-destruction-180973075/" target="_blank">asteroid struck the Yucatan Peninsula 66 million years ago</a>, dinosaurs and pterosaurs both perished. Some <a href="https://www.audubon.org/news/how-birds-survived-asteroid-impact-wiped-out-dinosaurs" target="_blank">select birds survived</a>, though. These survivors diversified into the thousands of bird species alive today. Pelagornithids evolved in the period right after dinosaur and pterosaur extinction, when competition for food was lessened.</p><p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/spp2.1284" target="_blank">The earliest pelagornithid remains</a>, recovered from 62-million-year-old sediments in New Zealand, were about the size of modern gulls. The first giant pelagornithids, the ones in our study, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-75248-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">took flight over Antarctica about 10 million years later</a>, in a period called the Eocene Epoch (56 million to 33.9 million years ago). In addition to these specimens, fossilized remains from other pelagornithids have been found on every continent.</p><p>Pelagornithids lasted for about 60 million years before going extinct just before the Pleistocene Epoch (2.5 million to 11,700 years ago). No one knows exactly why, though, because few fossil records have been recovered from the period at the end of their reign. Some paleontologists cite <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/02724634.2011.562268" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">climate change as a possible factor</a>.</p>
Piecing it Together<p>The fossils we studied are fragments of whole bones collected by paleontologists from the University of California at Riverside in the 1980s. In 2003, the specimens were transferred to Berkeley, where they now reside in the <a href="https://ucmp.berkeley.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">University of California Museum of Paleontology</a>.</p><p>There isn't enough material from Antarctica to rebuild an entire skeleton, but by comparing the fossil fragments with similar elements from more complete individuals, we were able to assess their size.</p>
In life, the pelagornithid would have had numerous 'teeth,' making it a formidable predator. Peter Kloess, CC BY-NC-SA
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As U.S. Election Nears, Polling Shows 82 Percent of Voters Support 100 Percent Clean Energy Transition
By Jessica Corbett
With an estimated 66 million ballots already cast and only a week to go until Election Day, new polling released Tuesday shows the vast majority of U.S. voters believe the nation should be prioritizing a transition to 100% clean energy and support legislation to decarbonize the economy over the next few decades.
<div id="5206f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="584d1641628f692ff103aee7ed74b45e"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1321080152328208384" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Biden should get "uncontrolled climate change would cost $486 trillion" tattooed on his forehead imo https://t.co/nTbVdHa9gD</div> — Emily Atkin (@Emily Atkin)<a href="https://twitter.com/emorwee/statuses/1321080152328208384">1603805027.0</a></blockquote></div>
Arctic Ocean sediments are full of frozen gases known as hydrates, and scientists have long been concerned about what will happen when and if the climate crisis induces them to thaw. That is because one of them is methane, a greenhouse gas that has 80 times the warming impact of carbon dioxide over a 20 year period. In fact, the U.S. Geological Survey has listed Arctic hydrate destabilization as one of the four most serious triggers for even more rapid climate change.