Atmospheric rivers
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Flood warnings in parts of California have seen some of the state’s best known celebrities flee their homes. The current weather conditions are in part the result of ‘Atmospheric rivers’ – literally fast flowing rivers of water vapor in the atmosphere. Marty Ralph from the Scripps Institute has been studying this phenomenon for years, he explains what atmospheric rivers are, and tells us how a greater understanding of the phenomenon is now informing weather forecasting and evacuation plans. Over the past year several million people have fled Ukraine, amongst them many scientists. Nataliya Shulga from the Ukraine Science Club is working on a wide ranging initiative to attract them back. She tells us of plans not just to reconstruct Ukrainian science facilities after the war, but to offer a philosophical change which breaks with the Soviet past - a more global, collaborative environment for scientists returning to the Ukraine. Last December the Afghan Taliban banned women from attending university, its just one of the many moves denying education to women since the Taliban returned to power. Particle physicist Kate Shaw had been working with Afghan physicists in the years before the Taliban’s comeback, she is now developing an initiative with scientists and institutions around the world to offer places to Afghan women keen to study physics. She says institutions and individuals who may be able to help should contact Physics without Frontiers at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics. And Gibbons sing with synchronicity, a new study led by Teresa Raimondi, from the University of Turin shows the ability of couples to chorus together to be rather human like. When CrowdScience listener Eric spotted a few gnats flying around on a milder day in mid-winter it really surprised him - Eric had assumed they just died out with the colder weather. It got him wondering where the insects had come from, how they had survived the previous cold snap and what the implications of climate change might be for insect over-wintering behaviour? So he asked CrowdScience to do some bug investigation. CrowdScience presenter Marnie Chesterton takes up the challenge and heads out into the British countryside – currently teeming with buzzes and eight legged tiny beasties - to learn about the quite amazing array of tactics these small creatures use to survive the arduous days of cold. She hears how some insects change their chemical structure to enhance their frost resistance whist others hanker down in warmer microclimates or rely on their community and food stocks to keep them warm. But cold isn’t the only climatic change insects have to endure, in the tropics the seasons tend to fluctuate more around wet and dry so what happens then? Marnie talks with a Kenyan aquatic insect expert who describes how mosquitoes utilise the rains and shares his worry climate change could have a big impact on insect populations. Image Credit: Josh Edelson Presenter: Roland Pease Producer: Julian Siddle
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