Drought worsens in East Africa
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The long rains of East Africa are forecast to fail again, for the third year running, precipitating a food crisis affecting millions. Science In Action explores the science of the drought, hears about new methods improving forecasts, and what is unusual about the region that makes it so vulnerable. When we think of helium, for many of us balloons and squeaky voices come to mind. But the noble gas is critical for many aspects of modern life – and we’re facing a global shortage. Dr Annie Cheng and her colleagues at the University of Oxford are attempting to solve this by creating a model that has the potential to locate previously untapped reservoirs. CrowdScience listener Eric, in New Zealand, has noticed his wisteria growing towards a neighbouring tree. He thinks that it actually knows where it’s going. But how can a plant have a sense of direction? Plants don’t have the advantage of brains or eyes, but that doesn’t seem to stop them from being clever enough to find out from their environment where to move and how to get there – all while being rooted to the spot. Marnie Chesterton visits the Natural History Museum and Kew Gardens in London, home to the largest collection of living plants in the world, to discover how plants make their manoeuvres, and talks to botanists and plant biologists for the latest findings on the mysterious life of climbing plants. Image by Gerald Anderson/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Producer: Roland Pease Assistant Producer: Sophie Ormiston
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