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Earth Science. (Science New of the year: the weekly newsmagazine of science).

September's science Weather data gathered during the 3-day shutdown of commercial aviation within the United States after Sept. 11, 2001, suggest that the contrails from high-flying jets have a significant effect on Earth's climate (161: 291 *).

It's baaaack Early in the year, scientists analyzed rainfall patterns in the Indian Ocean and predicted the late-summer return of El Nino, the worldwide weather maker marked by sea-surface warming in the tropical Pacific (161: 142). In July, NOAA researchers confirmed the phenomenon's arrival (162: 110).

Outside-In A fresh look at old experimental data suggests that water droplets in clouds freeze from their surface inward, a finding that would overturn a theory in place for more than 6 decades. (162: 340 *)

Bottoms up Seafloor sediments suggest that the plankton-nourishing iron that's in surface waters surrounding Antarctica comes from upwelling deepwater currents, not from dust blowing off the continents (161: 6).

Cracked Ice A Rhode Island-size section of the Antarctic's Larsen B ice shelf splintered into thousands of icebergs in a mere 5-week period during the area's warmest summer on record (161: 197).

Demo job An analysis of trace elements in meteorites suggested that most of the heavenly objects that rained hell on the inner solar system about 3.9 billion years ago were asteroids, not comets (161: 147).

Global impact Sediments laid down on Earth about 3.47 billion years ago contain remnants of what may have been an extraterrestrial object large enough to disperse collision debris over the entire planet (162: 115).

Twister risk A new model found that the bull's-eye in Tornado Alley lies over southeastern Oklahoma, where any particular spot can expect to get damaged once every 4,000 years (161: 296 *). As of Aug. 1, barely half the usual number of tornadoes had struck the lower 48 U.S. states (162: 125).

Deep sea Analysis of lab-made minerals suggested that the zone of rocks just outside Earth's core could hold enough water to fill the oceans five times (161: 205).

Ice museum Super-concentrated salt water at the bottom of Antarctica's Lake Vida has been sealed off from the world for at least 2,800 years and may support life (162: 387).

Both sides now Scientists can map the size and distribution of ice particles in a cirrus cloud by combining simultaneous observations from satellites and ground-based instruments (161: 342).

Paved paradise Rose Garden, one of the first undersea hydrothermal vents to be discovered nearly 25 years ago near the Galapagos Islands, may have been covered by a recent volcanic eruption (161: 382).

Tiny signs Mangled microfossils may become a new diagnostic tool for identifying the sites of ancient, hidden extraterrestrial-object impacts (161: 382).

Jelly alert Scientists refined a technique for calculating the probability of encountering stinging jellyfish in Chesapeake Bay (162: 52).

Storm warning Data from Arabian Sea sediments suggest that Asian monsoons have been intensifying over the past 400 years, and scientists predict that these storms are slated to get worse (162: 54 *).

Researchers analyzing satellite images of a remote island (large circle) off the northeastern coast of Greenland stumbled upon an undiscovered group of nearby small islands (small circle) (161: 222).

* An asterisk indicates that the text of the item is available free on SCIENCE NEWS ONLINE (http://www.sciencenews.org).
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Publication:Science News
Date:Dec 21, 2002
Words:543
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