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National

Mount Everest’s highest glacier is ‘on the way out’

According to a study by researchers from the University of Maine, Mount Everest’s highest glacier, the South Col Glacier, which sits at around 7,906m above sea level, has lost more than 54m of thickness in the last 25 years. The steady uptick in temperatures and strong winds are to blame for the drastic rate of decline. Dr Mariusz Potocki, one of the lead researchers of the study, suggested that "the South Col Glacier may be on the way out—it may already be a 'relic' from an older, colder, time". Dr Matthews, another author of the report, noted that the South Col Glacier "is very small in the grand scheme of things" and that we must examine how this “applies more widely to [other] ice stores on the roof of the world.”

Read more: Mount Everest: Mountain's highest glacier melting rapidly, new study shows | BBC News

A view of Mount Everest and South Col from Kalapatthar
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A view of Mount Everest from Kalapatthar. The South Col is the lowest point of the sunny ridge on the right side. Photograph by Pavel Novak via Wikimedia Commons under the CC BY-SA 2.5 license

Tamil Nadu forms Marine Elite Force to combat marine wildlife trafficking

The southern state will set up two Marine Elite Force units in the Gulf of Mannar biosphere and Palk Bay to prevent the smuggling and poaching of marine animals. The Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay occupy nearly a 675 kilometre-long coastline, with over 4,223 species of flora and fauna. ₹1.09Cr was sanctioned by Supriya Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary, Environment, Climate Change and Forests Department, to establish the Marine Elite Force. Additional Chief Secretary Sahu also approved funds to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for the declaration of Dugong Conservation Reserve in Palk Bay, the first in the country.

Read more: Tamil Nadu forms Marine Elite Force to strengthen protection in Gulf of Mannar | The Hindu

Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait separated by Adam's Bridge
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The Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait separated by Adam's Bridge, as seen between India and Sri Lanka, from Space Shuttle Endeavour during STS-59. Photograph courtesy of NASA, via Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

New scorpion species discovered in Maharashtra

Researchers from the Thackeray Wildlife Foundation—Vivek Waghe, Satpal Gangalmale and Akshay Khandekar—have described a new species of scorpion from Maharashtra. Compsobuthus satpuraensis is named after the locality where it was first seen in October 2020, in the foothills of the Satpura range in Jalgaon district. It is the fourth species of scorpion in India under the Compsobuthus genus, which belongs to a larger family of buthid scorpions. The findings were published in the latest issue of Euscorpious, an international, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to scorpiology (the study of scorpions).

Read more: New species of scorpion discovered in Maharashtra | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

Compsobuthus satpuraensis new scorpion species from Satpura
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First record of the genus Compsobuthus (Scorpiones: Buthidae) from Maharashtra, India, with description of a new species—Compsobuthus satpuraensis. Photograph of a female holotype courtesy of Akshay Khandekar

International

Latest IPCC report on the climate crisis ‘is an atlas of human suffering’

The second part of the IPCC’s latest assessment report, which deals with the impacts of climate breakdown, sets out the areas that are most vulnerable and details how we can try and protect against some of these impacts. As per the report, about half the global population live in areas 'highly vulnerable’ to climate change, with small islands the worst affected. The climate crisis also has the power to worsen problems such as hunger, ill-health and poverty, the report makes clear. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “I have seen many scientific reports in my time, but nothing like this. Today’s IPCC report is an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.”

Read more: IPCC issues ‘bleakest warning yet’ on impacts of climate breakdown | Climate crisis | The Guardian

Hurricane Katrina new orleans
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Hurricane Katrina caused over 1,800 fatalities and $125 billion in damage in late August 2005, especially in the city of New Orleans and the surrounding areas. Photograph courtesy of Pixabay

Wildfires in Argentina ravage almost 2 million acres of land

Eight separate fires in the northern region of the South American nation have devastated almost 900,000 hectares, including farms, pastures and wildlife. The wildfires have forced local species, including capybaras, Marsh Deer and anteaters, to flee, with many killed or injured in the process. Strong winds, low humidity and dryness from the drought is believed to have fuelled the fires, which began in mid-January. “There is a lot of loss of animals, the issue of flora and fauna. On top of that, this was our source of work. If we lose this, what will become of us tomorrow?” said Luis Candia, one of the residents who spoke to Al Jazeera.

Read more: Capybaras, marsh deer, anteaters flee Argentina wildfires; many don't escape | Reuters