from the world's big
July 2019 was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth
2019 could prove to be the second-hottest year on record.
- A new report from the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Programme describes how 2019 has already logged several record-hot months.
- Alarmingly, these temperature increases are occurring even though the planet is transitioning into a more neutral El Niño phase.
- This year brought several severe heat waves to Europe, India, and Pakistan, among other areas.
July 2019 was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, with temperatures narrowly exceeding the previous record of July 2016, according to meteorologists with the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Programme. Alarmingly, 2019 has already logged several record-hot months – April, May, June – and is expected to be the second-hottest year ever, behind 2016.
"With continued greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting impact on global temperatures, records will continue to be broken in the future," said Jean-Noël Thépaut, head of the Copernicus program.
What's more, 2019 is bringing these scorching temperatures even though the planet is transitioning into a more neutral El Niño phase – a natural climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean that raises temperatures and precipitation levels. People across the globe have suffered from this year's heat, especially during the record-setting heat waves that broiled Europe, India, and Pakistan this summer.
🌡📈☀️ July 2019 is on course to be the hottest month in recorded history, and at the least equaled the record set in… https://t.co/dWGNVnJ0dU— WMO | OMM (@WMO | OMM)1564684216.0
In 2016, Earth's hottest year on record, global temperatures were about 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. If global temperatures rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the planet will likely see more extreme and destructive weather events and food shortages that would affect millions of people, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Copernicus Climate Change Programme
The Paris Agreement set an international goal of "holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C." The difference between a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius and 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels would be significant: longer heatwaves, increased precipitation, problems with food production, and sea level rise. It would also hit certain parts of the planet much harder than others, particularly coastal cities.
Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, said this July has "rewritten climate history, with dozens of new temperature records at the local, national and global level."
"This is not science fiction," Taalas said. "It is the reality of climate change. It is happening now, and it will worsen in the future without urgent climate action. Time is running out to rein in dangerous temperature increases with multiple impacts on our planet."
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A recent study on monkeys found that stimulating a certain part of the forebrain wakes monkeys from anesthesia.
- Scientists electrically stimulated the brains of macaque monkeys in an effort to determine which areas are responsible for driving consciousness.
- The monkeys were anesthetized, and the goal was to see whether activating certain parts of the brain would wake up the animals.
- The forebrain's central lateral thalamus seems to be one of the "minimum mechanisms" necessary for consciousness.
Pixabay<p>When the team electrically stimulated a part of the brain called the central lateral thalamus, located in the forebrain, the monkeys woke up: they opened their eyes, blinked, reached out, made facial expressions and showed altered vital signs. </p><p>"We found that when we stimulated this tiny little brain area, we could wake the animals up and reinstate all the neural activity that you'd normally see in the cortex during wakefulness," Saalmann told Cell Press. "They acted just as they would if they were awake. When we switched off the stimulation, the animals went straight back to being unconscious."</p><p>This area of the brain may function as an "engine for consciousness," Redinbaugh told Inverse. Although past studies have shown that electrical stimulation can arouse the brains of humans and animals, the new findings are unique because they reveal which specific neural interactions appear to be minimally necessary for consciousness.</p><p>"Science doesn't often leave opportunity for exhilaration, but that's what that moment was like for those of us who were in the room," Redinbaugh told <a href="https://www.inverse.com/science/first-squid-mri-study-brain-complexity-similar-dogs" target="_blank"><em>Inverse</em></a><em>.</em></p>
Future applications<p>The team said the findings could have many applications down the road, but more research is needed.</p><p>"The overriding motivation of this research is to help people with disorders of consciousness to live better lives," Redinbaugh told Cell Press. "We have to start by understanding the minimum mechanism that is necessary or sufficient for consciousness, so that the correct part of the brain can be targeted clinically."</p><p>"It's possible we may be able to use these kinds of deep-brain stimulating electrodes to bring people out of comas. Our findings may also be useful for developing new ways to monitor patients under clinical anesthesia, to make sure they are safely unconscious."</p>
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
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