Climate patterns linked in Amazon, North and South America, study shows

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amazon rainforest
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

University of Arkansas researchers have established a link between climate patterns in the Amazon and large parts of North and South America using their newly developed tree-ring chronology from the Amazon River basin.

The discovery helps researchers better understand large-scale climate extremes and the impact of the El Niño phenomenon.

Tree growth is a well-established climate proxy. By comparing growth rings in Cedrela odorata trees found in the Rio Paru watershed of the eastern Amazon River with hundreds of similar chronologies in North and South America, scientists have shown an inverse relationship in tree growth, and therefore precipitation patterns, between the areas. Drought in the Amazon is correlated with wetness in the southwestern United States, Mexico and Patagonia, and vice versa.

The process is driven by the El Niño phenomenon, which influences surface-level winds along the equator, researchers said. El Niño is the name given to a large-scale irregularly occurring climate pattern associated with unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean.

“The new Cedrela chronologies from the Amazon, when compared with the hundreds of tree-ring chronologies in temperate North and South America, document this Pan American resonance of climate and ecosystem extremes in the centuries before widespread deforestation or human-caused climate change,” said Dave Stahle, Distinguished Professor of geosciences and first author of a study documenting the findings in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Credit: University of Arkansas

The connection was not documented until researchers at the University of Arkansas Tree Ring Laboratory, along with colleagues from Brazil and Argentina, developed rainfall reconstructions from growth rings in Cedrela trees. Most rainfall records in the Amazon only date back about 70 years, but Cedrelas live for 200 to 300 years, providing valuable rainfall proxies that pre-date human-influenced climate change. Their work in the Amazon is documented


Biden Widens Electoral College Lead Over Trump as Projection Shows Arizona, New Hampshire Shift Blue

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Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden has increased his Electoral College lead over President Donald Trump, as a projection map shows Arizona and New Hampshire shifting blue.

The projection map, named Sabato’s Crystal Ball is created by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, and the election race ratings “are based on a number of factors, including electoral history, polling, candidate quality, modeling, and reporting,” according to the map.

The map shows Electoral College changes for three key swing states, including Arizona, New Hampshire and Georgia. According to the map, Arizona moved from a “toss up” to “leans Democratic,” New Hampshire moved from “leans Democratic” to “likely Democratic” and Georgia went from “leans Republican” to a “toss up.”

According to Ballotpedia.org, during the 2016 election, Trump won Arizona by 3.6 points but lost New Hampshire to Hillary Clinton by 0.3 points.

The shift to blue in Arizona and New Hampshire push Biden past 270 electoral votes needed as well as increasing his lead over the Republican president.

According to the map, Biden and the Democrats are projected 290 electoral votes, with 13 states listed as “safe Democratic,” six states listed as “likely Democratic and five states as “lean Democratic.”

In comparison, the map shows Trump and the Republicans having 163 electoral votes, with 13 states listed as “safe Republican,” seven states listed as “likely Republican” and just one state listed as “lean Republican.”

The remaining five states, Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida are listed as a toss-ups.

Joe Biden
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, speaks to the press before boarding his campaign plane at Wilmington Airport on October 8 in New Castle, Delaware. The increase in Biden’s Electoral College lead over Trump comes within a month till Election Day.
Brendan Smialowski/Getty

Last week, the Crystal Ball Electoral College projection map showed


Broncos QB Brett Rypien shows flashes of his uncle Mark in first career start

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Brett Rypien shows flashes of his uncle Mark in first career start originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Due to an injury to starting quarterback Drew Lock and poor play from backup Jeff Driskel, the Denver Broncos marched out quarterback Brett Rypien as their starter for Thursday night’s matchup with the New York Jets.

If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Brett is the nephew of former Washington quarterback Mark Rypien, who won two Super Bowls with Washington. Brett Rypien was named the starter earlier in the week after taking over for Driskel late in Week 3, though his head coach had him confused with his uncle.

While the undrafted passer from Boise State was making his first career start on Thursday, there were moments where it sure didn’t look like it during Denver’s 37-28 win. 

Right from the start, Rypien was not afraid to push the ball and let it fly. Some quarterbacks getting their feet wet in the NFL for the first time like to ease into the role and look for the easier plays, not Rypien. His first career touchdown came on a 48-yard bomb to Jerry Jeudy.

The wide receiver made an outstanding play on the ball, but credit to Rypien for noticing the one-on-one matchup and putting the ball in a place where his man could get it.

Later in the first half, Rypien once again went deep downfield to Tim Patrick, showing that he can drop the ball in the bucket with ease. The pass would set up a touchdown for Denver.

The young quarterback continued to shine in the second half, once again connecting with Patrick for his second passing touchdown of the night. This time, Rypien showed his ability to thread the needle, firing the ball in to the only spot it


The University Of Illinois’s Covid-19 Control Shows That Mass Testing Is The Answer

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The University of Illinois implemented an aggressive testing campaign to reign in the spread of Covid-19. The operation involves testing the entire student body and faculty twice per week—around fifteen thousand tests each day. Students tested positive are alerted and quarantined while the school grants building and facilities access to those who test negative. This testing regime illustrates how to conduct a nationwide testing campaign to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic.

The saliva based tests used by the school were developed by a university research team. Tests are free and are available at 17 on campus testing centers. Students are typically alerted of their test results within five hours of administration. Tests are being processed 24 hours a day on weekdays and nearly all day on weekends.

If a student or faculty member tests positive, they receive an alert immediately and must quarantine immediately. Additionally, the University allows students to enable bluetooth settings to track if they have been in close contact with a recently confirmed positive case. Those students are alerted and required to test immediately. A University app tied to student IDs moderates the whole process. This app also acts as a key to give negative students access to campus buildings and resources. 

How are these advances applicable to a nationwide project? It first shows that wide scale testing protocols are possible and effective. In a recent CNN article, I wrote about a testing plan to contain Covid-19. This plan includes testing the entire US population every three days, or about one hundred million tests per day. Simulations of this plan suggest eighty percent cuts in transmission.

The University of Illinois is seeing similar results in its reduction of transmission. After students returned to campus, positivity


Increase in University of Michigan coronavirus cases largely due to outside testing, dashboard shows

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ANN ARBOR, MI – The number of coronavirus cases at the University of Michigan have increased for the third consecutive week, thanks largely to outside testing.

a group of people walking down the street: Students make their way through the Diag on the campus of the University of Michigan during unseasonably warm temperatures on Tuesday afternoon. Melanie Maxwell I MLive.com

© Melanie Maxwell | melaniemaxwell@mlive.com/AnnArbor.com/mlive.com/TNS
Students make their way through the Diag on the campus of the University of Michigan during unseasonably warm temperatures on Tuesday afternoon. Melanie Maxwell I MLive.com

The university’s COVID-19 dashboard shows UM had 153 cases identified last week – its highest weekly number of confirmed coronavirus cases – with 97 of those cases confirmed by outside testing. Of those positive cases, 141 were students, the dashboard indicated, with just 12 cases confirmed for non-students.

Last week, UM updated its COVID-19 dashboard to reflect testing that occurred outside the university, with the results showing there were 116 confirmed COVID-19 cases between Sept. 13-19, which was the previous high total for the university.

UM posted the update saying it was aware of the increase in positive cases and that the Washtenaw County Health Department is managing the off-campus cases and providing contact tracing.

Since the start of the fall semester, UM has increased its testing efforts, with 3,387 tests conducted last week, resulting in a testing positivity rate of 1.7%. Testing last week was down slightly, however, from the 3,687 tests conducted the week before.

Currently there are 19 students in isolation with a positive COVID-19 test, while another 83 are in quarantine for exposure and are awaiting test results.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, 488 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the data.


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