‘First flowers’ may have ‘bloomed’ in water, not on land, fossils suggest
News from Los Angeles Times:
By analyzing more than 1,000 fossil remains, scientists have discovered that an unassuming, 130-million-year-old water-dwelling plant could be one of Earth’s first flowering plants.
Montsechia vidalii, described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could change many theories about how angiosperms, or plants with the ability to produce flowers, first came to be.
“Because it is so ancient and is totally aquatic,” the study authors wrote, this extinct freshwater plant “raises questions centered on the very early evolutionary history of flowering plants.”
Flowers are a rel……………. continues on Los Angeles Times
Central Asian glaciers shrinking fast: Study
News from Financial Express:
Central Asian glaciers have melted at four times the global average since the early 1960s, shedding 27 per cent of their mass, according to a study released today.
By 2050, warmer temperatures driven by climate change could wipe out half the remaining glacier ice in the Tien Shan mountain range, reported the study, published in Nature Geoscience.
At stake is a critical source of water for people in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, as well as a section of northwest China.
“Glaciers are actually huge water stores. They can balance water between wet and dry years,” said co-author Doris Duethmann, a researcher at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam.
“Within a year, winter precipitation is stored until summer, when it gets released as meltwater,” she explained by email.
Tien Shan glaciers have lost an average of 5.4 billion tonnes of ice per year since the 1960s, totalling some 3,000 square kilometres (1,158 square miles).
The rate at which the glaciers shrank greatly accelerated in the 1970s and 1980s.
Climate models point to higher summer temperatures in coming decades along the 2,500 kilometres of the Tien Shan range, thus making the glaciers even more vulnerable, the study said.
A two degree Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) increase in summer temperatures from 2021-2050 would likely mean an additional 50 percent loss in glacier volume by mid-century.
“Sinc……………. continues on Financial Express
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