Post 8878

What is palm oil?


Post 8868

In Photos: Birds of Prey

Giant, Weird-Looking Fish With ‘Startled’ Eyes Washes Up on Aussie Beach


Post 8859

Giant, Weird-Looking Fish With ‘Startled’ Eyes Washes Up on Aussie Beach

Images of Melt: Earth’s Vanishing Ice


Post 8835

Images of Melt: Earth’s Vanishing Ice

These Stunning 3D Images Reveal How a Massive Greenland Glacier Has Changed


Post 8478

These Stunning 3D Images Reveal How a Massive Greenland Glacier Has Changed

Watching a glacier

Credit: Jefferson Beck/NASA Goddard

A History of Global Warming, In Just 35 Seconds


Post 8472

A History of Global Warming, In Just 35 Seconds

This visualization shows the rhythm of global warming for countries around the world.

Credit: climatecentraldotorg/YouTube

Last year, there was the temperature spiral. This year, it’s the temperature circle that’s making the trend of global warming crystal clear.

A new video shows the rhythm of global warming for countries around the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Bars representing each country’s annual average temperature anomaly pulse up and down. It’s like watching a heartbeat on a monitor.

Rather than staying steady like a normal heartbeat, it’s clear that temperatures for more than 100 countries are climbing ever higher on the back of increasing carbon pollution. While there are individual variations in how hot any year is, the signal of climate change is unmistakable.

“There are no single countries that clearly stand out from the graph,” saidAntti Lipponen, a physicist at the Finnish Meteorological Institute who made the graphic. “The warming really is global, not local.”

While the temperature spiral showed the global average temperature, Lipponen’s animation uses NASA data to show individual countries separated by regions. The format invites you to look for your country or the place you took your vacation last year.

But step back to look at the graphic as a whole and it’s clear we’re all in this together. No country is immune from rising temperatures, let alone the other impacts of climate change.

It’s also clear that global warming is accelerating. In the past three decades (which starts around the 14-second mark in the video), the bars start pushing further and further from the center. Cooler-than-normal years start to become more rare and by the 1990s, they’ve almost disappeared completely.

The past three years have been the hottest ones ever recorded. A number of countries were more than 2 degrees Celsius warmer than the 1951-1980 baseline used in the graphic. That puts them well above the warming limitenshrined in the Paris Agreement, serving as a warning of how fast we’re pushing into new territory.

The world itself touched 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels for a few months in 2016. If global warming permanently crosses that threshold, it will likely cause small island states to be swallowed by the sea, coral to die and heat waves to become more common and severe.

Those numbers alone are abstract, though. Even plotted on a line graph, they fail to fully convey the trajectory we’re on.

Lipponen said he made the animation because he wanted a “nice looking, clear, and informative” way to convey that information in a way people can understand. Mission accomplished.

Heartwarming Photos Show a Lion Nursing an Orphaned Leopard Cub


Post 8442

Heartwarming Photos Show a Lion Nursing an Orphaned Leopard Cub

Photo Courtesy of Joop Van Der Linde / Ndutu Safari Lodge / KopeLion

Earlier this week, a remarkable scene played out at Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conservation Area. An orphaned leopard cub, desperate for a meal, approached a lioness who happened to be lactating. It’s a rare—and extremely precious—example of cross-species nursing in the wild.

A guest staying at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area snapped these photos and shared them with Panthera, an organization devoted to big cat conservation. The pics were taken on Tuesday, and they show a five-year-old lioness nursing a leopard cub estimated to be just three weeks old. Incredibly, the lioness, named Nosikitok, seemed to be okay with the tiny interloper.

“This is a truly unique case,” noted Luke Hunter, the president of Panthera, at the organization’s blog. “I know of no other example of inter-species adoption or nursing like this among big cats in the wild. This lioness is known to have recently given birth to her own cubs, which is a critical factor. She is physiologically primed to take care of baby cats, and the little leopard fits the bill—it is almost exactly the age of her own cubs and physically very similar to them.”

Hunter says Nosikitok, who’s wearing a GPS collar for tracking purposes, wouldn’t be nursing the cub if she “wasn’t already awash with a ferocious maternal drive,” which he says is typical of lionesses.

“Even so, there has never been another case like it, and why it has occurred now is mystifying. It is quite possible she has lost her own cubs, and found the leopard cub in her bereaved state when she would be particularly vulnerable,” he wrote.

It seems like a match made in heaven, except that it probably isn’t. The leopard cub’s future prospects look bleak, according to Hunter. “The natural odds are stacked against this little fellow,” he told AP, saying the cub will likely be killed by other lions who don’t recognize it as one of their own. And in fact, the cub was nowhere to be seen the day after the pictures were taken.

Cross-species nursing among mammals is rare, but it does happen. Examples includesperm whales who adopted a deformed dolphin, a dog who nursed a baby squirrel, apes who treat cats like babies, and a domestic cat that adopted a trio of bobcat kittens.

“In order for the [cross-species] relationship to be sustained, I believe both parties will need to benefit in some way,” said Jill Goldman, an applied animal behaviorist, in aninterview with National Geographic. “How we define benefit is another matter. Social companionship in some cases may actually be enough of a benefit so long as it is not outweighed by competition [or] threat.”

In this case, an orphaned cub being accepted by a potentially grieving lioness, it sure seems possible there’s some “mutual benefit” going on.

[Panthera, Associated Press]