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Concept: Equator


The True’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus, True 1913) is a poorly known member of the Ziphiidae family. Its distribution in the northern hemisphere is thought to be restricted to the temperate or warm temperate waters of the North Atlantic, while a few stranding records from the southern hemisphere suggest a wider and antitropical distribution, extending to waters from the Atlantic coast of Brazil to South Africa, Mozambique, Australia and the Tasman Sea coast of New Zealand. This paper (i) reports the first molecular confirmation of the occurrence of the True’s beaked whale at the southern limit of its distribution recorded in the northeast Atlantic: the Azores and Canary Islands (macaronesian ecoregion); (ii) describes a new colouration for this species using evidence from a whale with molecular species confirmation; and (iii) contributes to the sparse worldwide database of live sightings, including the first underwater video recording of this species and close images of a calf. Species identification was confirmed in two cases using mitochondrial DNA control region and cytochrome b gene markers: a subadult male True’s beaked whale that stranded in El Hierro, Canary Islands, in November 2012, and a subadult male found floating dead near Faial, the Azores, in July 2004. The whale that stranded in the Canary Islands had a clearly delimited white area on its head, extending posteriorly from the tip of the beak to cover the blowhole dorsally and the gular grooves ventrally. This colouration contrasts with previous descriptions for the species and it may be rare, but it exemplifies the variability of the colouration of True’s beaked whales in the North Atlantic, further confirmed here by live sightings data. The recording of several observations of this species in deep but relatively coastal waters off the Azores and the Canary Islands suggests that these archipelagos may be unique locations to study the behaviour of the enigmatic True’s beaked whale.

Concepts: Atlantic Ocean, Macaronesia, Canary Islands, Azores, Madeira, Pacific Ocean, Equator, Whale


A recent increase in mid-latitude extreme weather events has been linked to Northern Hemisphere polar jet stream anomalies. To put recent trends in a historical perspective, long-term records of jet stream variability are needed. Here we combine two tree-ring records from the British Isles and the northeastern Mediterranean to reconstruct variability in the latitudinal position of the high-summer North Atlantic Jet (NAJ) back to 1725 CE. We find that northward NAJ anomalies have resulted in heatwaves and droughts in northwestern Europe and southward anomalies have promoted wildfires in southeastern Europe. We further find an unprecedented increase in NAJ variance since the 1960s, which co-occurs with enhanced late twentieth century variance in the Central and North Pacific Basin. Our results suggest increased late twentieth century interannual meridional jet stream variability and support more sinuous jet stream patterns and quasi-resonant amplification as potential dynamic pathways for Arctic warming to influence mid-latitude weather.

Concepts: United States, Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Pacific Ocean, Arctic Ocean, British Isles, Equator, Extreme weather


The crustacean order Isopoda (excluding Asellota, crustacean symbionts and freshwater taxa) comprise 3154 described marine species in 379 genera in 37 families according to the WoRMS catalogue. The history of taxonomic discovery over the last two centuries is reviewed. Although a well defined order with the Peracarida, their relationship to other orders is not yet resolved but systematics of the major subordinal taxa is relatively well understood. Isopods range in size from less than 1 mm to Bathynomus giganteus at 365 mm long. They inhabit all marine habitats down to 7280 m depth but with few doubtful exceptions species have restricted biogeographic and bathymetric ranges. Four feeding categories are recognised as much on the basis of anecdotal evidence as hard data: detritus feeders and browsers, carnivores, parasites, and filter feeders. Notable among these are the Cymothooidea that range from predators and scavengers to external blood-sucking micropredators and parasites. Isopods brood 10-1600 eggs depending on individual species. Strong sexual dimorphism is characteristic of several families, notably in Gnathiidae where sessile males live with a harem of females while juvenile praniza stages are ectoparasites of fish. Protandry is known in Cymothoidae and protogyny in Anthuroidea. Some Paranthuridae are neotenous. About half of all coastal, shelf and upper bathyal species have been recorded in the MEOW temperate realms, 40% in tropical regions and the remainder in polar seas. The greatest concentration of temperate species is in Australasia; more have been recorded from temperate North Pacific than the North Atlantic. Of tropical regions, the Central Indo-Pacific is home to more species any other region. Isopods are decidedly asymmetrical latitudinally with 1.35 times as many species in temperate Southern Hemisphere than the temperate North Atlantic and northern Pacific, and almost four times as many Antarctic as Arctic species. More species are known from the bathyal and abyssal Antarctic than Arctic GOODS provinces, and more from the larger Pacific than Atlantic oceans. Two areas with many species known are the New Zealand-Kermadec and the Northern North Pacific provinces. Deep hard substrates such as found on seamounts and the slopes are underrepresented in samples. This, the documented numbers of undescribed species in recent collections and probable cryptic species suggest a large as yet undocumented fauna, potentially an order of magnitude greater than presently known.

Concepts: Species, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Ocean, Antarctica, Equator, Oceans, Isopoda


The response to haloperidol as a first-line neuroleptic and the pattern of neuroleptic rotation after haloperidol failure have not been well defined in palliative care. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of haloperidol as a first-line neuroleptic and the predictors associated with the need to rotate to a second neuroleptic.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Chemotherapy, Palliative care, Frequency, Rotation, Haloperidol, Equator


Solar geoengineering refers to a range of proposed methods for counteracting global warming by artificially reducing sunlight at Earth’s surface. The most widely known solar geoengineering proposal is stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI), which has impacts analogous to those from volcanic eruptions. Observations following major volcanic eruptions indicate that aerosol enhancements confined to a single hemisphere effectively modulate North Atlantic tropical cyclone (TC) activity in the following years. Here we investigate the effects of both single-hemisphere and global SAI scenarios on North Atlantic TC activity using the HadGEM2-ES general circulation model and various TC identification methods. We show that a robust result from all of the methods is that SAI applied to the southern hemisphere would enhance TC frequency relative to a global SAI application, and vice versa for SAI in the northern hemisphere. Our results reemphasise concerns regarding regional geoengineering and should motivate policymakers to regulate large-scale unilateral geoengineering deployments.

Concepts: Earth, Atlantic Ocean, Season, Pacific Ocean, Tropical cyclone, Antarctica, Equator, Northern Hemisphere


Future precipitation changes in a warming climate depend regionally upon the response of natural climate modes to anthropogenic forcing. North Pacific hydroclimate is dominated by the Aleutian Low, a semi-permanent wintertime feature characterized by frequent low-pressure conditions that is influenced by tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures through the Pacific-North American (PNA) teleconnection pattern. Instrumental records show a recent increase in coastal Alaskan precipitation and Aleutian Low intensification, but are of insufficient length to accurately assess low frequency trends and forcing mechanisms. Here we present a 1200-year seasonally- to annually-resolved ice core record of snow accumulation from Mt. Hunter in the Alaska Range developed using annual layer counting and four ice-flow thinning models. Under a wide range of glacier flow conditions and layer counting uncertainty, our record shows a doubling of precipitation since ~1840 CE, with recent values exceeding the variability observed over the past millennium. The precipitation increase is nearly synchronous with the warming of western tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures. While regional 20th Century warming may account for a portion of the observed precipitation increase on Mt. Hunter, the magnitude and seasonality of the precipitation change indicate a long-term strengthening of the Aleutian Low.

Concepts: Earth, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Ocean, Antarctica, Global warming, Equator


In the Northern Hemisphere, springtime events are frequently reported as advancing more rapidly at higher latitudes, presumably due to an acceleration of warming with latitude. However, this assumption has not been investigated in an analytical framework that simultaneously examines acceleration of warming with latitude while accounting for variation in phenological time series characteristics that might also co-vary with latitude. We analyzed 743 phenological trend estimates spanning 86 years and 42.6 degrees of latitude in the Northern Hemisphere, as well as rates of Northern Hemisphere warming over the same period and latitudinal range. We detected significant patterns of co-variation in phenological time series characteristics that may confound estimates of the magnitude of variation in trends with latitude. Notably, shorter and more recent time series tended to produce the strongest phenological trends, and these also tended to be from higher latitude studies. However, accounting for such variation only slightly modified the relationship between rates of phenological advance and latitude, which was highly significant. Furthermore, warming has increased non-linearly with latitude over the past several decades, most strongly since 1998 and northward of 59°N latitude. The acceleration of warming with latitude has likely contributed to an acceleration of phenological advance along the same gradient.

Concepts: Climate, Tropic of Cancer, Equator, Southern Hemisphere


A collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) leads to global cooling through fast feedbacks that selectively amplify the response in the Northern Hemisphere (NH). How such cooling competes with global warming has long been a topic for speculation, but was never addressed using a climate model. Here it is shown that global cooling due to a collapsing AMOC obliterates global warming for a period of 15-20 years. Thereafter, the global mean temperature trend is reversed and becomes similar to a simulation without an AMOC collapse. The resulting surface warming hiatus lasts for 40-50 years. Global warming and AMOC-induced NH cooling are governed by similar feedbacks, giving rise to a global net radiative imbalance of similar sign, although the former is associated with surface warming, the latter with cooling. Their footprints in outgoing longwave and absorbed shortwave radiation are very distinct, making attribution possible.

Concepts: Earth, Climate, Climate change, Antarctica, Global warming, Equator, Thermohaline circulation, Shutdown of thermohaline circulation


Many of the world’s languages face serious risk of extinction. Efforts to prevent this cultural loss are severely constrained by a poor understanding of the geographical patterns and drivers of extinction risk. We quantify the global distribution of language extinction risk-represented by small range and speaker population sizes and rapid declines in the number of speakers-and identify the underlying environmental and socioeconomic drivers. We show that both small range and speaker population sizes are associated with rapid declines in speaker numbers, causing 25% of existing languages to be threatened based on criteria used for species. Language range and population sizes are small in tropical and arctic regions, particularly in areas with high rainfall, high topographic heterogeneity and/or rapidly growing human populations. By contrast, recent speaker declines have mainly occurred at high latitudes and are strongly linked to high economic growth. Threatened languages are numerous in the tropics, the Himalayas and northwestern North America. These results indicate that small-population languages remaining in economically developed regions are seriously threatened by continued speaker declines. However, risks of future language losses are especially high in the tropics and in the Himalayas, as these regions harbour many small-population languages and are undergoing rapid economic growth.

Concepts: Tropics, Geographical zone, Tropic of Cancer, Economics, Endangered species, Economic growth, Tropical climate, Equator


There are 52,380 cases of leukemia and 24,090 deaths from it in the US annually. Its causes are unknown and no preventive strategies have been implemented. We hypothesized that leukemia is due mainly to vitamin D deficiency, which is due mainly to low solar ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiance. To test this hypothesis, we estimated age-standardized cloud-cover-adjusted winter UVB irradiance using cloud cover data from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project, latitudes of population centroids, and standard astronomical calculations. Incidence rates for 172 countries, available from the International Agency for Cancer Research, were plotted according to cloud-adjusted UVB irradiance. We used multiple regression to account for national differences in elevation and average life expectancy. Leukemia incidence rates were inversely associated with cloud-adjusted UVB irradiance in males (p ≤ 0.01) and females (p ≤ 0.01) in both hemispheres. There were few departures from the trend line, which was parabolic when plotted with the equator at the center of the display, northern hemisphere countries on the right side and southern hemisphere countries on the left. The bivariate association displayed by the polynomial trend line indicated that populations at higher latitudes had at least two times the risk of leukemia compared to equatorial populations. The association persisted in males (p ≤ 0.05) and females (p ≤ 0.01) after controlling for elevation and life expectancy. Incidence rates of leukemia were inversely associated with solar UVB irradiance. It is plausible that the association is due to vitamin D deficiency. This would be consistent with laboratory studies and a previous epidemiological study. Consideration should be given to prudent use of vitamin D for prevention of leukemia.

Concepts: Vitamin D, Cancer, Ultraviolet, Sun, Life expectancy, Equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere