Ever warmer winters are changing the structure of the Black Sea

According to a new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, the climate changes that are leading to global warming are changing the structure of the Black Sea. The research is important because it could be useful to understand what could happen to the oceans of the world in the future if global warming continues at today’s pace.

Specifically, researcher Emil Stanev, an oceanographer at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Center for Materials and Coastal Research in Geesthacht, Germany, found that the warmest winters are heating the middle layer of the Black Sea, an area known as the layer intermediate cold. This is leading to a mixing of the same cold intermediate layer with the other two layers of water, the upper one oxygenated and the lower one devoid of oxygen.

According to the study, the temperature of this layer has warmed by 0.7 ° C over the past 14 years. The infiltration of the central layer in the two neighboring layers could lead to potentially unpredictable impacts on all life forms present in the Black Sea. In particular, this “restructuring” could lead to various corrosive or harmful chemicals, such as sulphides, to move from the bottom of the sea to the surface, which would affect not only marine life but also tourism.

The study could be important to understand how the same changes are occurring in the oceans: studying the latter, which are huge bodies of water without interruption, can sometimes be difficult for scientists who often prefer to study limited regional water masses, as can be that of the Black Sea.

New gas giant planet discovered around the star Beta Pictoris

A second exoplanet has been discovered around the star β Pictoris, a fairly young star given that it is only 23 million years old and can also be considered fairly close since it is “only” 63.4 light years away.

Precisely because it is a young star, Beta Pictoris is still surrounded by the disk of dust and various materials which, according to the most accredited theory concerning the formation of planets, represents the “source” of the material which then goes to form the same planets. For this reason, the β Pictoris system has fascinated astronomers in recent years as it is allowing them to observe a planetary system being formed.

The first planet around this star, β Pictoris b, was discovered as early as 2009. Ten years later, analyzing the data obtained with the HARPS tool of the ESO Observatory of La Silla in Chile, the researchers discovered a second planet, β Pictoris c. In both cases, these are two giant gas planets.

β Pictoris c has a mass nine times that of Jupiter and orbits around its star in about 1200 days. It is located relatively close to its star, if we consider the distance between the Sun and Jupiter.

β Pictoris c is in fact separated from the star by a distance that is similar to the one that separates the Sun from the belt of asteroids, which is a little beyond Mars. β Pictoris c is instead 3.3 times more distant from its star than β Pictoris b.

Astronomers hope to find out more information about this young and interesting planetary system by analyzing the data that will be acquired by the GAIA spacecraft and those of another much larger telescope still under construction in Chile.

Global warming: sea waves will change coast structure

Among the various effects of climate change that are now underway, a new study notes one that could involve ocean waves and their approach to the coasts, as well as the consequences on the latter.

According to a new study published in Nature Climate Change, if the global climate warms up more than 3 ° Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels, the sea off South Australia could be characterized by higher waves that could alter the stability of the coast itself.

Sea waves are in fact the main ones responsible for the modeling of the coasts: they form beaches, lagoons, caves, cliffs and so on, and therefore we must not think of them as a subject separate from the mainland. It is expected that the waves will change because surface winds will change , something that has already been emphasized in several previous studies.

However, the scientists behind this study calculate that less than 5% of the global coasts will see an increase in wave height, and this will mainly affect the southern coasts of Australia and some segments of the Central American Pacific coast.

Another 15% of the world’s coasts will instead see a decrease in wave height, another factor that could alter, although in a different way, coastal systems. And again, other areas will be the height of the waves to remain unchanged but should change their length or frequency. Also, in this case, there will be repercussions on the structure of the coasts.

In total, the researchers calculate that 40% of the world’s coasts will see substantial changes regarding the structure and frequency of the waves and this will involve changes regarding the structure of the coasts. And this without counting the rise in sea level, another major problem.

Scientists discover the brain cells involved in stuttering

It is believed that stuttering results from defects in brain circuits in those areas that regulate language but the precise areas where these disorders occur or which cells are actually involved are not yet well known. Now, a new step has been taken by a group of researchers.

In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) announce that they have discovered which brain cells are linked to stuttering in mice. In the laboratory experiments, the same rodents had undergone a modification of the GNPTAB gene so that they acquired the mutation of the human gene linked to stuttering.

Mice with this modified gene showed pauses in the flow of vocalizations, similar to those that characterize stuttering in people. They also showed no other defects other than language-related, just like in humans.

The researchers found that in the brains of these rodents there was a decrease in astrocytes, a support cell present in the brain, in the corpus callosum, an area of ​​the brain tissue that connects the two hemispheres.

Dennis Drayna, a researcher with the NIDCD who led the study, states: “By adopting a genetic approach, we were able to begin to decipher the neuropathology of stuttering, first at the molecular level by identifying genetic mutations and now at the cellular level,” underlining how much this study is even more important than the studies carried out with brain imaging on people who stutter.

In the same vein it is also the intervention of Andrew Griffith, scientific director of the NIDCD: “Perhaps more importantly, to identify the region of the brain and the cells involved opens up opportunities for new interventions for stuttering and possibly other language disorders.”

The same team had previously identified certain genes associated with stuttering.