At has a story on Greenland glaciers - and what lies beneath them. The research is of course AGW orientated, but useful - the role of water flowing beneath the glaciers. They have found that such water has little actual influence on ice loss around the coast - which is caused by inter-action with the ocean.


Aurorae (see March 29th) has an interesting article on the recognition that aurorae had electro-magnetic properties. In 1740 Anders Celsius, the inventor of the centigrade scale named after him, interpreted aurorae as an electro-magnetic anomaly after he noticed a large compass needle on his desk top changed orientation whenever an aurorae was visible in the sky above Uppsala in Sweden. In 1861 Benjamin Marsh theorised that an auroral streamer is a current of electricity that originates in the upper parts of the atmosphere.

Cows Milk

The Observer April 4th (see has a story about cows being the key to human success in Europe. A study of the remains of 20,000 people from the 8th century BC to the 18th century AD has found that during the Roman Empire period our level of nutrition declined - but increased again in the 'dark ages' and the reintroduction of traditional northern European farming with it's emphasis on dairying.

Green Axe

The New York Times ( March 29th ) has a story taken from the BBC Radio 4 series, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'. It is striking, it notes, how many objects discussed by the series were symbolic rather than functional. For example, the famous 'gold cape' that was equisitely impractible, or an elaborate bronze bell from 5th century China that could hardly have been used in a practical way. An axe found near Canterbury and roughly 6000 years old was made of polished green jade (or jadeite).

Indus Valley

At The Telegraph of India says a study of 100s of Indus Valley civilisation towns and cities have revealed factors previously unsuspected - growth and decline does not show a gradual eastward expansion (from Baluchistan outwards). The study instead showed three epicentres of the civilisation, i) Baluchistan ii) Gujarat, and iii) an ancient channel of the Indus that dried up, located in Haryana and the Punjab.

Lava, climate change, and amber

Science Daily April 7th ( ) new research suggests the Columbia Plateau in the NW of the US was formed by a series of lava flows - and these happened much more quickly than previously imagined. It may even have changed earth's climate and caused some fauna and flora to become extinct.

Bill Napier paper on the YD boundary event

The Bill Napier paper pops up at and is provided by the Royal Astronomical Society (see earlier post and link to pdf). Basically, Bill Napier is saying the YD event was not caused by a comet impact or airburst as such but by thousands of comet fragments and debris, a signifcant difference to the model developed by Firestone and West et al.

Mammoths on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean

At March 30th (science and archaeology section) ... reports on a paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B on what might have caused the extinction of wooly mammoths across Eurasia and North America - without firm conclusions. The paper instead addresses the survival of mammoths on Wrangel Island off the Siberian coast, and raises some very interesting points. However, it does not address the main one - why did mammoths live on an Arctic Ocean island during the Ice Age?

Mid Pliocene

The Daily Galaxy, March 31st ( ... prehistoric fossils from a geological period, the mid-Pliocene (3.3 to 3.0 million years ago) that was apparently very warm, are being used to demonstrate how AGW will affect the earth in the future. No surprises there as the research was probably funded in order to find such a link with global warming - and therefore a gloss on that subject was a necessary feature of the findings.

Ice Ages in the early history of the earth

Getting back to March 31st 2010 another geologist claims to have solved a mystery - why earth's surface was not a big lump of ice four billion years ago when radiation from the sun was thought to have been weak. Previously, scientists had assumed the atmosphere then consisted of 30 per cent C02 trapping heat like a greenhouse (but see Peter Warlow's talk at the SIS Autumn Meeting a couple of years ago).