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Scientific news in small doses

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A few milligrams of all the scientific news of the week

Sneeze, damn climate change!


THINKSTOCK PHOTO

Seasonal allergies will last longer.

Do you have seasonal allergies? These are likely to be more severe and last longer. According to a study from the University of Michigan, the allergy season could start up to 40 days earlier in the United States by the end of the century, due to global warming. In particular, the researchers analyzed data obtained in 1995 and 2014 on 13 of the most common allergens. Under different warming scenarios, the allergy season could also extend by almost three weeks (19 days). In short, the expression “bless you” is unfortunately likely to gain popularity in the future…

Quiz

Can solar panels work at night?


PHOTO ANDREW BOYERS, REUTERS

Solar panels are active longer than you might think.

Yes. This is what researchers at Stanford University in California wanted to demonstrate by modifying solar panels so that they can provide electricity once the sun has set. Result ? Their tests showed that a modified solar panel could produce enough energy to charge a cell phone or power an LED lamp. Basically, the panels are warmer than the surrounding air at night, so they emit heat. It is this temperature difference that can be exploited to produce electricity. The study was published in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

The number

1°C


PHOTO GETTY IMAGES

Amazon rainforest in Brazil

Tropical forests can “cool” the planet by just over 1°C. This is the conclusion of a team of researchers whose work was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Forests and Global Change. If trees are already known for their ability to absorb carbon, these scientists decided to study the other effects of tropical forests on temperature. They took into account carbon storage, but also the capacity of forests to reflect the sun’s rays and the mechanisms of evapotranspiration by the leaves of trees. The researchers have calculated that the forests located along the equator reduce the global temperature by just over 1°C.

Increase in skin cancers in sight

Melanoma cases in Australia and New Zealand will increase by 50% by 2040, with those who suffer from it being 68% more likely to die from it. This is the main conclusion of a study conducted by an international team of researchers, the results of which have just been published in the journal JAMA Dermatology. The main explanation lies in the fact that a large part of the population has fair skin in countries where ultraviolet radiation is very high. The aging of the population also contributes to higher risks of dying from skin cancer. Women are more likely to have melanoma before age 50, while the opposite is true for men.

The emerald ash borer continues its ravages


PHOTO PROVIDED BY NATURAL RESOURCES CANADA

The emerald ash borer is not done wreaking havoc.

Within 30 years, 1.4 million trees will die in the United States, primarily due to the emerald ash borer. Replacing them could cost more than $900 million, estimates a joint study by McGill University, the United States Department of Agriculture and North Carolina State University. According to the study, 90% of these trees will be killed by the borer. The landscape risks being deeply affected in certain regions since tree mortality will be concentrated at 95% in less than a quarter of American cities. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Applied Ecology of the British Ecological Society.

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