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Bangladeshi flood victims in Gaibandha on August 16, 2017.

Humans and livestock seek refuge together after rains deluged Bangladesh. Torrential rains will become more common as the climate changes. Credit: Barcroft Media/Getty

Climate change

The most extreme rains of today are set to become more commonplace

For every 1 ºC of global warming, the frequency of the heaviest rainfalls will nearly double.

Very heavy rainfalls that are rare in our current climate are likely to become more common as precipitation patterns shift in a warming world.

Scientists have projected that climate change will increase average global precipitation, because in a warmer atmosphere the air has higher concentrations of water vapour. For the same reason, the heaviest downpours of the future might be even more drenching than the most intense rains of today.

Gunnar Myhre at the Center for International Climate Research in Oslo and his colleagues investigated whether global warming might also change the frequency of extreme precipitation events. Using historical weather records and climate-model simulations, the team found that the heaviest precipitation events of today will probably occur almost twice as often with each further degree of global warming.

The total amount of precipitation from extreme weather events is therefore also likely to roughly double per degree, with potentially severe impacts on societies.

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Astronomy and astrophysics

X-rays expose a clue to the mystery of the missing neutron star

Astronomers might have spotted the long-sought debris of a famous stellar explosion.
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A bone fragment excavated in Southeast Alaska belonged to one of the earliest known domestic dogs in the Americas. Credit: Douglas Levere/University at Buffalo

Genomics

An ancient Alaskan dog’s DNA hints at an epic shared journey

To scientists’ surprise, a 10,000-year-old bone found in an Alaskan cave belonged to a domestic dog — one of the earliest known from the Americas.
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Black carbon emitted by power plants and other sources in Asia wafts to the Arctic, where the pollution accelerates the melting of ice and snow. Credit: Kuni Takahashi/Bloomberg/Getty

Atmospheric science

Soot from Asia travels express on a highway to the high Arctic

Black carbon from fuel combustion in South Asia bolsters the effects of climate change on northern ice and snow.
Prevotella copri bacteria, computer illustration

The gut bacterium Prevotella copri (artist’s impression) has been linked to a reduction in the health benefits of a diet that skimps on red meat in favour of fish and vegetables. Credit: Kateryna Kon/Science Photo Library

Microbiology

Trying a Mediterranean diet? Gut microbes might sway the outcome

The composition of a person’s microbiome could influence the health effects of swapping steak for vegetables and olive oil.
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