Climate change could be driving U.S. tornadoes southeast

August 22, 2016 by  
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The world’s weather has become more unpredictable as global temperatures rise – and new research shows that U.S. tornadoes have been shifting southeast over the last few decades. The trend shows natural disasters moving away from Tornado Alley and towards Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. A recent study in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology detailed twisters over a period of 60 years. Two groups were studied: tornadoes taking place during the cooler temperatures of 1954-1983 and the warmer decades of 1983-2013. The researchers found that tornados are increasingly shifting out of Tornado Alley, which encompasses northern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska to what is called Dixie Alley. Related: Physicist wants to build 1,000-foot walls to prevent tornadoes from destroying the midwest The new region includes Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee – which experienced that most significant increase in tornado days between the two time periods. Is it a coincidence that this shift is taking place during a huge, climate change-fueled, global temperature spike? Scientists aren’t sure, but they suspect there is a link. Rising sea temperatures lead to faster surface evaporation, which, when paired with rapidly rising air, creates more likelihood of thunderstorms . These more frequent summertime storms can naturally lead to more tornadoes. The closer you get to the warm coastal waters, the more damp, rising air you will encounter, which could account for the southeastern migration of twisters over time. More research is needed to say this with certainty, but it certainly adds up. Via IFLScience Images via Wikipedia ( 1 , 2 )

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Climate change could be driving U.S. tornadoes southeast

Zika outbreak declared in Miami Beach

August 22, 2016 by  
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An outbreak of the Zika virus has been identified in a section of Miami Beach, Florida after five people were determined to have been infected by mosquitoes. Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) stated on Friday that the new patients were infected by native mosquitoes within a 1.5 square-mile area in the popular tourist district. Florida is the first state in which native mosquitoes have transmitted the virus to humans. The outbreak in Miami Beach brings the total number of known Zika cases in Florida to 35, although Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Thomas Frieden stated that there are “undoubtedly more infections that we’re not aware of” and that the virus may be spreading throughout Miami-Dade County. The CDC has advised pregnant women and their sexual partners to avoid the identified area. Those who have traveled there since July 14th should be tested for the virus, which has been known to cause microcephaly and developmental disorders in infants. More than 500 women have been infected in the United States, though most have received the virus through sexual contact, not mosquito bites. To fight back against the newly discovered, Zika carrying mosquitoes, the CDC is employing workers to spray pesticides from backpacks. Pesticides would ideally be delivered by air, but in urban Miami stacked with high rises, this is not a viable option. Related: FDA approves genetically modified mosquitos to fight Zika Zika’s harmful effects may not be limited to pregnant women and infants. A major new study has suggested that Zika attacks immature cells, which are essential for learning and memory function, in the brains of adult mice. The gradual deterioration of these cells could cause the brain to shrink and lead to severe impairment of cognitive function, similar in effect to Alzheimer’s. Researchers caution that further study is needed before Zika’s full impact is understood. Comprehensive research, treatment and prevention measures require reliable federal funding. To the shock of no one, the United States Congress has failed to pass legislation that would deliver the necessary resources to confront this public health crisis. Via The Independent Images via Jimmy Baikovicius and John Tann

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Zika outbreak declared in Miami Beach

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