Thirsty Koala Becomes the Face of Australia’s Heat Wave
Chantelle Lowrie was visiting a camp ground near the Murray River in the Australian state of Victoria Saturday when she saw a koala.
"It was 44 degrees Celsius (111.2 F)— very, very hot day," Lowrie told AFP Tuesday. "I stopped because he looked as though he could use a drink of water."
In a video Lowrie posted to Facebook, the koala climbs partway up a tree, pauses to sip from a water bottle extended by Lowrie, then continues to climb.
The video comes as much of Australia suffers through a deadly heat wave that has seen temperatures rise around 16 degrees Celsius (approximately 60.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above average for this time of year. The heat has led to seven deaths by drowning as people rush to the beach to cool off, Reuters reported Saturday. Five of the deaths took place between Christmas Eve and Saturday in Victoria. In two other incidents, a South Korean man died Christmas Day while snorkeling in a lake in New South Whales, and another man died in the surf on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
Temperatures in Australia's south lowered somewhat over New Years', but they are expected to climb again later in the week, with thermometers expected to read 41 C (105.8 F) in Adelaide on Thursday and 42 Celsius (107.6 F) in Melbourne on Friday, The Guardian reported Wednesday.
"We've seen a couple of cooler days for southern Australia, still above average for this time of year but cooler than we've seen," Australia's Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) meteorologist Sarah Fitton said. "But we've still just had that heat sitting through central Australia which hasn't gone away. We're going to see north-westerly winds again and that's going to drive that heat that's been sitting in central Australia back across the southern states."
Severe #heatwave conditions are currently affecting large parts of central & eastern Australia, with a burst of hea… https://t.co/C4J4AT6bLw— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@Bureau of Meteorology, Australia)1546399467.0
The higher temperatures will put Victoria and South Australia on watch for bushfires.
Heat waves are common in Australia during its summer, but climate change is making them more extreme, AFP reported. The BOM expects that 2018 will be one of the country's five hottest years on record overall, and the third hottest in terms of maximum temperatures, according to The Guardian.
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By Katherine Kornei
Clear-cutting a forest is relatively easy—just pick a tree and start chopping. But there are benefits to more sophisticated forest management. One technique—which involves repeatedly harvesting smaller trees every 30 or so years but leaving an upper story of larger trees for longer periods (60, 90, or 120 years)—ensures a steady supply of both firewood and construction timber.
A Pattern in the Rings<p>The <a href="https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/coppice-standards-0" target="_blank">coppice-with-standards</a> management practice produces a two-story forest, said <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bernhard_Muigg" target="_blank">Bernhard Muigg</a>, a dendrochronologist at the University of Freiburg in Germany. "You have an upper story of single trees that are allowed to grow for several understory generations."</p><p>That arrangement imprints a characteristic tree ring pattern in a forest's upper story trees (the "standards"): thick rings indicative of heavy growth, which show up at regular intervals as the surrounding smaller trees are cut down. "The trees are growing faster," said Muigg. "You can really see it with your naked eye."</p><p>Muigg and his collaborators characterized that <a href="https://ltrr.arizona.edu/about/treerings" target="_blank">dendrochronological pattern</a> in 161 oak trees growing in central Germany, one of the few remaining sites in Europe with actively managed coppice-with-standards forests. They found up to nine cycles of heavy growth in the trees, the oldest of which was planted in 1761. The researchers then turned to a historical data set — more than 2,000 oak <a href="https://eos.org/articles/podcast-discovering-europes-history-through-its-timbers" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">timbers from buildings and archaeological sites</a> in Germany and France dating from between 300 and 2015 — to look for a similar pattern.</p>
A Gap of 500 Years<p>The team found wood with the characteristic coppice-with-standards tree ring pattern dating to as early as the 6th century. That was a surprise, Muigg and his colleagues concluded, because the first mention of this forest management practice in historical documents occurred only roughly 500 years later, in the 13th century.</p><p>It's probable that forest management practices were not well documented prior to the High Middle Ages (1000–1250), the researchers suggested. "Forests are mainly mentioned in the context of royal hunting interests or donations," said Muigg. Dendrochronological studies are particularly important because they can reveal information not captured by a sparse historical record, he added.</p><p>These results were <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-78933-8" target="_blank">published in December in <em>Scientific Reports</em></a>.</p><p>"It's nice to see the longevity and the history of coppice-with-standards," said <a href="https://www.teagasc.ie/contact/staff-directory/s/ian-short/" target="_blank">Ian Short</a>, a forestry researcher at Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, not involved in the research. This technique is valuable because it promotes conservation and habitat biodiversity, Short said. "In the next 10 or 20 years, I think we'll see more coppice-with-standards coming back into production."</p><p>In the future, Muigg and his collaborators hope to analyze a larger sample of historic timbers to trace how the coppice-with-standards practice spread throughout Europe. It will be interesting to understand where this technique originated and how it propagated, said Muigg, and there are plenty of old pieces of wood waiting to be analyzed. "There [are] tons of dendrochronological data."</p><p><em><a href="mailto:email@example.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Katherine Kornei</a> is a freelance science journalist covering Earth and space science. Her bylines frequently appear in Eos, Science, and The New York Times. Katherine holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.</em></p><p><em>This story originally appeared in <a href="https://eos.org/articles/tree-rings-reveal-how-ancient-forests-were-managed" target="_blank">Eos</a></em> <em>and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.</em></p>
Earth's ice is melting 57 percent faster than in the 1990s and the world has lost more than 28 trillion tons of ice since 1994, research published Monday in The Cryosphere shows.
By Jewel Fraser
Noreen Nunez lives in a middle-class neighborhood that rises up a hillside in Trinidad's Tunapuna-Piarco region.