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Archive for 1. Juni 2020

Climate adaptation policies are needed more than ever

Posted by hkarner - 1. Juni 2020

Date: 30‑05‑2020

Source: The Economist

People are already suffering from catastrophic losses as a result of extreme weather events like cyclone Amphan

On may 16th a telltale anticlockwise spiral of clouds in satellite images taken over the Bay of Bengal warned of impending disaster. Four days later Supercyclone Amphan made landfall, the most powerful storm to do so in the region in 20 years. Winds gusting at up to 185km/hr pounded the coast of the Indian state of West Bengal, which took the brunt of the impact. Huge waves swept over the Indian and Bangladeshi coast. Trees were lifted out of the ground, city streets turned to rivers, tens of thousands lost their homes. Yet the number of deaths was relatively low. As of May 27th there had been around 100 overall, though the number could rise as emergency services reach the more remote areas. In Bangladesh there were just over 20.

For several decades now Bangladesh’s cyclone death tolls have been falling. The storms have not become less brutal; and rising sea levels, combined with the country’s flat‑as‑a‑pancake coastline and growing population, have put ever more people at risk. But Bangladesh has developed a layered adaptation plan to cope with these disasters. It now has an early‑warning system offering precious extra minutes for people to evacuate to concrete cyclone shelters, and sea walls to protect stretches of coastline. In 2019, Cyclone Fani—not a storm on Amphan’s scale, but one which at its peak would have been a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic—killed dozens. In the late 20th century and early 21st, death tolls for powerful storms were in the thousands to hundreds of thousands. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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So Where Did the Virus Come From?

Posted by hkarner - 1. Juni 2020

Date: 30‑05‑2020

Source: The Wall Street Journal By Matt Ridley

Research into the origins of the new coronavirus raises questions about how it became so infectious in human beings

New research has deepened, rather than dispelled, the mystery surrounding the origin of the coronavirus responsible for Covid‑19. Bats, wildlife markets, possibly pangolins and perhaps laboratories may all have played some role, but the simple story of an animal in a market infected by a bat that then infected several human beings no longer looks credible.

A study published in early May by scientists at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass., and at the University of British Columbia has uncovered an unusual feature of the virus’s recent development: It has evolved too slowly. The genomes of viruses sampled from cases during the SARS epidemic of 2002‑2003 showed rapid evolutionary change during the early months of the epidemic, as the virus adapted to its new host, followed by much slower change later. By contrast, samples taken from recent cases of the new coronavirus, SARS‑CoV‑2, have comparatively few genetic substitutions compared with an early case from December. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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