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Once-stable Antarctic glaciers are now melting rapidly

Antarctic glaciers

A group of glaciers in Antarctica, which were once stable, started rapidly melting in 2009, new research shows.

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A once-steadfast group of Antarctic glaciers has nosedived into rapid decline.

Glaciers along the Southern Antarctic Peninsula remained roughly stable between 2003 and 2009. New satellite observations reveal that the region suddenly destabilized in 2009 and is now shedding around 56 billion metric tons of ice each year, enough water to raise sea levels by roughly 0.16 millimeters.

The researchers believe warm ocean water melted the underside of the ice, undermining the region’s stability and triggering the abrupt decline. Even if this warm water went away, the now destabilized region would continue to shrink until reaching a new equilibrium, the researchers report in the May 22 Science.

Health

Too much light slows brown fat, suggesting link with obesity

By Ashley Yeager 3:30pm, May 12, 2015
Brown fat is supposed to be the friendly kind, but making the days longer with artificial light may turn it into an enemy in the battle against obesity.
Earth

Another strong quake strikes Nepal

By Thomas Sumner 1:13pm, May 12, 2015
A magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit eastern Nepal on May 12, just 17 days after one that killed more than 8,000 people in the region.
Paleontology,, Animals,, Evolution

Ancient brain fossils hint at body evolution of creepy-crawlies

By Teresa Shipley Feldhausen 11:40am, May 12, 2015
Fossilized brains — found in the Burgess Shale in western Canada — offer clues to how arthropods morphed from soft- to hard-bodied animals.
Astronomy

Japanese satellite stalls in space and won't reach its asteroids

By Christopher Crockett 6:00am, May 12, 2015
Because of an engine failure, the Japanese Space Agency’s PROCYON spacecraft won’t make it to its target binary asteroid.
Planetary Science

Bright spots on Ceres may be made of smaller patches of ice

By Christopher Crockett 3:45pm, May 11, 2015
The Dawn spacecraft took a closer look at bright patches and craters on the dwarf planet Ceres.
Microbes,, Agriculture

Pig farm workers at greater risk for drug-resistant staph

By Beth Mole 7:00am, May 8, 2015
Pig farm workers are six times as likely to carry multidrug-resistant staph than workers who have no contact with pigs.
Computing

Resistors that remember help circuits learn

By Andrew Grant 4:30pm, May 7, 2015
Electronic components called memristors have enabled a simple computing circuit to learn to perform a task from experience.
Neuroscience,, Computing

Brain’s grid cells could navigate a curvy world

By Laura Sanders 11:00am, May 7, 2015
If we ever need to flee a dying Earth on curved space islands — as humanity was forced to do in 'Interstellar' — our brains will adapt with ease, a new mathematical analysis suggests.
Astronomy,, Cosmology

Amorphous space blob takes title for most distant galaxy

By Christopher Crockett 5:19pm, May 6, 2015
The new record holder for the most distant galaxy is a blob of 8 billion stars whose light took more than 13 billion years to reach Earth.
Neuroscience,, Mental Health

Children with autism excel at motion detection test

By Laura Sanders 5:00pm, May 5, 2015
Children with autism outperform children without the disorder on a test that requires averaging the movements of lots of dots.
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