An Increase in Antarctic Snowfall
Scientists have been compiling a record of snowfall in Antarctica in the past 200 years. A recent study shows there is a significant increase of 10%. This effect of extra snow in Antarctica is showing a general trend in the rise of the global sea-level. Approximately 272 billion tons of snow has been dumped on the White Continent in the decade from 2001 to 2010, while from 1801 and 1810 the decrease was significantly lower.
The British Antarctic Survey researcher said: “There’s been a lot of focus on the recent era with satellites and how much mass we’ve been losing from big glaciers such as Pine Island and Thwaites. But, actually, we don’t have a very good understanding of how the snowfall has been changing.”
By analyzing the core of the snow and its chemistry, we are able to determine not only when the snow fell, but also how much precipitation came down. The researchers found that there is greater precipitation in the past century.
Most of the extra snow has fallen around the Antarctic Peninsula, where there was a significant increase in temperature during the 20th century.
The recent research stresses that the increase in snowfall does not contradict the observations of glacial retreat observed over the last 25 years by a satellite.
Dr. Anna Hogg, from Leeds University said: “Even with these large snowfall events, Antarctica is still losing ice mass at a faster rate than it is gaining mass from snowfall, mainly due to the regions of known ice dynamic instability, such as in the Amundsen Sea Embayment which includes Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers.
We Found a Dozen Black Holes at the Center of Our Galaxy
Researchers have some exciting news! A dozen black holes may lie at the core of our galaxy. A new research has showed that there might be many supermassive black holes at the center of the Milky Way, surrounded by smaller black holes. A researcher from Columbia University, Charles Hailey used data from Nasa’s Chandra X-ray telescope. The researchers have found that there are supermassive black holes at the center of our galaxy, known as Sagittarius A and it’s surrounded by a halo of dust and gas that provide the perfect conditions for a breeding ground for massive stars. These stars live and die, and after dying, they could turn into black holes.
There is also some evidence that black holes are losing their energy. Prof. Hailey said: “The galactic center is so far away from Earth that those bursts are only strong and bright enough to see about once every 100 to 1,000 years.”
Also, Prof. Hailey said that isolated black holes don’t do pretty much anything, however when they interact with low mass stars “the marriage emits X-ray bursts that are weaker, but consistent and detectable.”
The Whales Who Love Singing in the Dark
We all know about those beautiful creatures, whales, who love to sing. Although the songs of humpback whales have captured most of our attention, it turns out that their baleen cousins have a far greater repertoire. Researchers were not able to count how many whales were in the group, but the approximate number is around 343 whales who were studied while singing beneath the Arctic sea ice.
A recent study has shown that they actually might have a greater variety of musical calls, more than even songbirds. This makes them unique among whales, but even among mammals.
The studied whales produced 184 unique song types.
Prof Kate Stafford said: “I really think of humpback whale songs as being like classical music. Very ordered. They might last 20 – 30 minutes. An individual (bowhead) song might only be 45 seconds to 2 minutes long, but they’ll repeat that song over and over again.” Humpback whales are known for singing similar songs across each season, however, bowhead songs are more complex and unusual. Most mammals also have repetitive and distinct song call, but bowheads have the variety that others don’t have.
Authors of the study also think that males mostly sing during the breeding season. However, it’s not clear if bowheads sing the same song for a lifetime or their song tends to change from season to season. The reason for the diversity has not been determined either.