Posts by Souvik Chatterjee

New Research Offers Fresh Insight into the Iceman’s Death

Posted by on Mar 15, 2017 in All Posts, Featured Posts, News, Science | 0 comments

New Research Offers Fresh Insight into the Iceman’s Death

Spread the News:ShareÖtzi, also known as the Iceman, is showing new signs of life – in his gut. Gabriele Andrea Lugli and other researchers from the University of Parma recently published findings on the Iceman in Microbiome Journal. Their research analyzes samples taken from Ötzi’s gut in order to reconstruct and characterize ancient bacteria to provide clues on how bacteria may have affected humans. While some evidence suggests that the Iceman was murdered or died from the lingering effects of an attack, researchers have now uncovered a new possible cause of death: inflammatory bowel disease. Ötzi was originally found in a receding glacier by two tourists in the Italian Alps in 1991. First thought to be someone from more recent times, research has shown that he lived about 5,300 years ago. Since then, he has become the best known frozen mummy in the world, because his remains are remarkably intact and offer a clear view of the distant past. Though Ötzi’s skin looks like brown caramel and his bones can be seen through his skin, he is very well preserved. Last year, PBS released a documentary titled “Iceman Reborn” about artist Gary Staab, who made a replica of the Iceman using 3D printing. One researcher in the film remarked, “He may well be the most studied human being in history.” Another researcher, referring to new discoveries about Ötzi’s genetic code, noted, “We are rewriting the history of humankind.” It was recently discovered that the Iceman has 61 tattoos, up from a previously smaller number. Ötzi’s tattoos are in locations where there is joint and spinal degradation, indicating the tattoos may have been treatment of some kind. In addition, he was found with a gash on his left hand and an arrow wound in his back, suggesting that he was murdered. He was also found with a copper axe, showing researchers that metalworking was earlier than previously thought. From the Archives: CT scans of ancient mummies show high levels of atherosclerosis, a condition associated with modern risk factors like smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise. Researchers think they know why the ancients also suffered from the disease. archaeology.org/news #archaeology #mummy #Otzi #heart (© Samadelli Marco/EURAC) A post shared by Archaeology Magazine (@archaeologymagazine) on Jan 27, 2017 at 9:54am PST While climate conditions can alter bacterial communities, low temperatures such as permafrost are optimal for long-term DNA preservation. Using a technique called next generation sequencing, the researchers investigated the human gut microbiota in the soft tissue of the human mummy. The samples yielded an enormous amount of data– about 71 gigabases from 12 biopsy samples. Ancient bacteria, such as the ones found in Ötzi’s gut, can provide clues on the history of diseases, the evolution of bacteria and bacterial infections in humans, allowing scientists to reconstruct pathogens like the plague (Yersinia pestis), leprosy (Mycobacterium leprae) and stomach infections (Helicobacter pylori). The researchers found that the upper part of the large intestines had ample Pseudomonas species. These bacteria are typically found in the soil. The presence of P. fluorescens in Ötzi’s intestines suggests that his immune system may have been compromised and that he may have been ill with inflammatory bowel disease at the time of his death. Other findings included the fact that even though modern P. veronii have been isolated from water springs, the ancient strain seems to have the ability to colonize the human gut. The bacteria also shares genetic material with Pseudomonas strains in isolated parts of Antarctica, a fact which supports its ancient origin. Evidence suggests that the evolution of the bacteria was helped by the development of its virulence....

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Roundup: Glacier Park, Lahars, and Glacial Ecosystems

Posted by on Mar 6, 2017 in All Posts, Featured Posts, News, Roundup | 0 comments

Roundup: Glacier Park, Lahars, and Glacial Ecosystems

Spread the News:ShareRoundup: Glacier Park, Lahars and Ecosystems Glacier National Park Embraces Sustainability From Xanterra: “Just 150 years ago, 150 glaciers graced these spectacular alpine summits. Only 25 remain large enough today to be considered ‘functional,’ say scientists who expect the park’s glaciers to vanish by 2030, with many disappearing before that. People heeding the advice to visit soon will find a variety of national park lodging and dining spots that are making environmental stewardship part of the park experience.” Read more about it here.     Washington State’s Lahar Preparedness From Journal of Applied Volcanology: “As populations around the world encroach upon the flanks of nearby volcanoes, an increasing number of people find themselves living at risk from volcanic hazards. How these individuals respond to the threats posed by volcanic hazards influences the effectiveness of official hazard mitigation, response, and recovery efforts. Ideally, those who are aware of the hazards and concerned should feel motivated to become better prepared; however, research repeatedly shows that an accurate risk perception often fails to generate adequate preparedness… This study explores the barriers that people in the Skagit Valley of Washington face when deciding whether or not to prepare for lahars as well as the impact of participation in hazard management on household preparedness behaviors.” Read more about Washington’s lahar preparedness here.   How Changing Climate Affects Ecosystems From Environmental Research Letters: “Climate change is undeniably occurring across the globe, with warmer temperatures and climate and weather disruptions in diverse ecosystems (IPCC 2013, 2014). In the Arctic and Subarctic, climate change has proceeded at a particularly breakneck pace (ACIA 2005)… However, climate warming is forecast to be even more extreme in the future. In order to predict the impacts of further global change, experiments have simulated these future conditions by warming the air and/or soil, increasing CO2 levels, altering nutrient fertilization, modifying precipitation, or manipulating snow cover and snowmelt timing (Elmendorf et al 2015, Wu et al 2011, Bobbink et al 2010, Cooper 2014). Changes in biodiversity at high latitudes are expected to have profound impacts on ecosystem functioning, processes, and services (Post et al 2009).” Read more about how changing climate affects ecosystems here. Spread the...

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Sting’s New Music Video Highlights Climate Change

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts, News | 0 comments

Sting’s New Music Video Highlights Climate Change

Spread the News:ShareSting released a new music video in January for his song “One Fine Day,” which highlights challenges caused by climate change. The song warns humans of the dangers we pose to the planet, including melting polar ice caps, animals losing their ecosystems and changes in weather cycles. Sting is currently on tour to promote his new album “57th & 9th,” named for the intersection where his studio is located in New York City. As he travels, he is spreading awareness about climate change through his lyrics and has featured the song at recent concerts in Denver, New Orleans, Kansas City and Oklahoma City. Great: the legendary Sting dedicates a 🎶 song on his new album to climate change 🌎 https://t.co/ZM5fpeZCu5 called "One Fine Day" thank you! pic.twitter.com/4Q2qJ02QIR — Paulette van Ommen (@PaulettevOmmen) February 11, 2017 In “One Fine Day,” Sting outlines problems due to climate change and implores world leaders to take action. “Dear leaders, please do something quick,” sings Sting, while cartoon leaders in the music video play a game tug-of-war with Earth in the middle. The music video was made through rotoscoping, a process in which animated pictures are overlaid on live action pictures. The colorful video shows a half-animated Sting performing while depictions of nature surround him like bodies of water, trees and birds. Snippets of the lyrics are also shown and are represented by stunning animation.   The video also shows some of the effects of climate change on glaciers, including a depiction of penguins and a polar bear on a floating iceberg. The song references the Northwest Passage which includes Devon Island, the largest uninhabited island in the world. It is home to the Devon Ice Cap, a feature with an area of 15,000 km² and a volume of 3,980 km3. From 1960 to 2000, the ice cap has decreased by 600 km² or 4 percent with the Belcher glacier calving up to 40 percent of the total volume in the icecap. “Today the North West Passage just got found, Three penguins and a bear got drowned, The ice they lived on disappeared, Seems things are worse than some had feared,” sings Sting. Sting performed the song on his “57th & 9th” tour which kicked off in Canada last month. Here's a glimpse into our live version of "One Fine Day" on the #57thAnd9thTour. Login as a member to https://t.co/lIZBY9M9oX to watch. pic.twitter.com/dErPWGblfN — Sting (@OfficialSting) March 3, 2017 Sting’s fan club page on Facebook provides additional details. It reports that the video was directed by James Larese and “pays homage to Sting’s 1985 single and video for ‘Love Is the Seventh Wave,’ featured on his debut solo album ‘The Dream of the Blue Turtles.’” “It’s about searching and traveling, the road, that pull of the unknown,” Sting said about the new songs. “On this album, we ended up with something that’s energetic and noisy, but also thoughtful.” In “One Fine Day,” Sting grows ideological over whether climate change exists, “Apologists say, The weather’s just a cycle we can’t change. Scientists say, We’ve pushed those cycles way beyond.” Just like the balcony on which I wrote most of my album "57th & 9th" only much warmer! #Oscars https://t.co/s7utqnSVad pic.twitter.com/IhOXIkvqeA — Sting (@OfficialSting) February 27, 2017 “‘One Fine Day’ is my satire about climate skeptics,” Sting told ABC. “I sincerely and passionately hope that they are right and that the majority of scientists in the related fields of research are all full of baloney, and for that…perhaps we’ll all be grateful…one fine day!”  Sting, who is 65 years old, won the international Polar Music Prize in January for his work during his...

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When Lava Hits Ice in Russia’s Far East

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 in All Posts, Featured Posts, News, Science | 0 comments

When Lava Hits Ice in Russia’s Far East

Spread the News:ShareThe Kamchatka Peninsula in Far East Russia is an isolated region known for its glacier-volcano interactions that can lead to powerful natural disasters— and also, visually stunning images when lava impacts ice. One of these volcanoes, Sheveluch, has been erupting in recent weeks, creating local hazards. The volcano’s ash cloud, for one, threatens to disrupt air traffic in the region. In total, Kamchatka is home to 160 volcanoes, 29 of which are currently active. These volcanoes— six of which are designated UNESCO World Heritage sites— are tall and far enough north to harbor glaciers. As such, they are associated with lahars, devastating mudslides down the slopes of a volcano triggered by an eruption and melting glaciers. These mudslides move quickly, destroying most of the structures in their path. Explosive-effusive #eruption of 2016 (April to October)#volcano #Klyuchevskoy 08/21/2016Photo: Vladimir Voychuk pic.twitter.com/5wOhpyVg1s — Войчук Владимир (@voy4uk) January 26, 2017 Avachinsky is one active volcano in the region that is covered in glaciers, placing the surrounding region at a greater risk for lahars. Avachinsky is classified as a stratovolcano, which is a volcano that has been built up by alternate layers of lava and ash. It is the volcano closest to the state capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.  “The Avachinsky volcano is glacierized, and the melting of ice poses a serious lahar threat the next time the volcano is active,” Ben Edwards, a volcanologist and professor at Dickinson College, warns. Edwards explained to GlacierHub that there are many deposits mapped out that are indicative of past lahars. Previous lahars in the Kamchatka Peninsula have been devastating with high human death tolls. The Nevado del Ruiz volcano in Colombia, for example, erupted in 1985, producing a lahar that killed 23,000 people. “They are incredible forces of nature and also brutally destructive and deadly,” said Janine Krippner, a PhD candidate in volcanology and remote sensing at the University of Pittsburgh, in an interview with GlacierHub. The Klyuchevskaya Sopka stratovolcano is the highest mountain on the peninsula and the highest active volcano in Eurasia. In November 2016 and more recently in January, the volcano spewed ash six kilometers above sea level. Such an ash cloud can disrupt international travel. Klyuchevskaya has produced notable lahars in the past including one particularly damaging one in 1993, according to Edwards. The position of a glacier on a volcano can influence the risk of a lahar.  However, there is still much research needed on past lahars at Klyuchevskaya to better understand risk, notes Edwards. “Many volcanoes have glaciers up high, but those close to Klyuchevskaya are on the western lower flank,” explained Edwards. “There have probably been some interactions and definitely lahars generated from historic flows. But these eruptions have not been well documented.” Higher regions, which tend to be cooler and moister, are more likely to form glaciers. Sheveluch Peak is a very active volcano, and the largest on the peninsula at 1,300 cubic kilometers in volume. Many glacier-volcano interactions have occurred at the location, releasing great quantities of steam and creating fantastic imagery for photographers. Similar volcano-snow interactions also take place elsewhere on the peninsula, especially during the winter, according to Edwards. “We saw spectacular examples during the 2012-13 Tolbachik eruption,” he said. The World Heritage website, which features several of the Kamchatka Peninsula volcanoes, makes special note of the “dynamic landscape of great beauty” created by the interplay of active volcanoes and glacier forms. In addition, the peninsula has a wide diversity of species including brown bears, sea otters and the world’s largest variety of salmon fish. It is also known for a wide variety of birds from falcons to eagles that are attracted to the...

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Photo Friday: Forest Fires Rage on Glacier-Covered Peaks in Chile

Posted by on Feb 10, 2017 in All Posts, Featured Posts, Images, News | 0 comments

Photo Friday: Forest Fires Rage on Glacier-Covered Peaks in Chile

Spread the News:ShareChile is experiencing the worst forest fires in the country’s history after years of drought.  The fires are currently spanning roughly 104,800 hectares or 400 square miles, burning mountains that also harbor glaciers. For example, Mount Llaima, located in Conguillio National Park in the Andes, is covered in glaciers and caught up in the fires. Mitigation efforts have been underway with water-bombing aircraft being supplied by the United States. While ash and soot have been deposited on the glaciers, winds have directed debris away from areas where glaciers are predominant. See images from Chile’s catastrophic fires. 4,000+ have lost their homes in #Chile's worst forest fire. #LatAm Ambassadors are raising funds to rebuild them https://t.co/xuOx2bwLDt pic.twitter.com/pDftplHjAc — One Young World (@OneYoungWorld) February 6, 2017                     Chilean forest fire experts show #EUCivPro specialists helicopter response of the #wildfires in Maule region, #Chile https://t.co/8dAz0fFxBd pic.twitter.com/EdLNYOYNpy — EU Humanitarian Aid (@eu_echo) February 3, 2017 Spread the...

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