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Humans to blame for deadly Germany floods, study finds



Human behaviour is contributing to an increase in significant weather events, with an excess in heavy rainfall occurring as a result.

Heavy rain flooded the streets of Germany and Belgium

Findings from a new study found climate change induced by human activity may be to blame for Germany’s deadly flooding event.

The once-in-a-400-year occurrence killed at least 220 people after record rainfall led to heavy flash flooding back in July this year.

Buildings and homes were also destroyed across both Germany and Belgium as some parts of the two European countries got a month’s worth of rain in a day. 

The study was conducted by 39 scientists and researchers as part of the World Weather Attribution project.

Friederike Otto, the associate director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford says that not even developed countries are safe from extreme weather events.

“This is an urgent global challenge and we need to step up to it,” Otto said in a statement.

“The science is clear and has been for years.”

The study found that climate change could increase the intensity of daily extreme rainfall by up to 19 percent.

The Ahr and Erft rivers in Germany and the Meuse in Belgium were the main focus areas of the assessment. 

All three areas recorded record-breaking levels of rainfall. 

France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland were also areas of interest as researchers wanted to establish how extreme weather events are influenced by increasing global temperatures. 

If climate change isn’t managed, the study reveals that such rain events will grow more intense and frequent as the earth gets warmer. 

More specifically, a rise of 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels would see the intensity of rain increase significantly. 

Written by Rebecca Borg


New report suggests ‘throwaway economy’ thwarting climate goals



New research shows countries are neglecting the massive impact of the “throw-away” economy on planet-warming emissions

Scientists found that more than half a trillion tonnes of virgin materials have been consumed since the 2015 Paris climate deal.

The Circle Economy report found 70 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions are linked to the manufacturing and use of products.

But the report found that if economies were more circular, then the world could meet the Paris target of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

A third of nations’ climate pledges mention the circular economy as part of their emissions goals, according to the report.

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Researchers discover why pandas gain weight on bamboo diet



We’re always told to eat your greens, but this isn’t the case for pandas

A new Study finds exactly how pandas gain weight… even though they only eat bamboo

Pandas eat between 26 to 84 pounds of bamboo each day and It turns out the animals’ gut bacteria changes in the season when nutritious bamboo shoots become available.

“This is the first time we established a causal relationship between a panda’s gut microbiota and its phenotype,” says Guangping Huang, one of the study’s authors.

“We’ve known these pandas have a different set of gut microbiota during the shoot-eating season for a long time, and it’s very obvious that they are chubbier during this time of the year.”

Pandas only consume bamboo, which is a poor quality diet low in fat.

The authors believe the bacterium could lead the bears to store more fat.

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Historic mission – first spacecraft to touch the sun



NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has officially become the first spacecraft to touch the sun

This achievement comes 60 years after the space agency set the goal… and three years after the Parker Solar Probe was launched.

The spacecraft flew through the sun’s corona… which is its upper atmosphere… in a bid to “sample particles and our star’s magnetic fields”.

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate says “not only does this milestone provide us with deeper insights into our Sun’s evolution and (its) impacts on our solar system, but everything we learn about our own star also teaches us more about stars in the rest of the universe.”

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