Biggest North Pole mission returns from ‘dying Arctic’

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Researchers on the world’s biggest mission to the North Pole will return to dock on Monday, bringing home devastating proof of a dying Arctic Ocean and warnings of ice-free summers in just decades.

The German Alfred Wegener Institute’s Polarstern ship is set to return to the port of Bremerhaven after 389 days spent drifting through the Arctic trapped in ice, allowing scientists to gather vital information on the effects of global warming in the region.

The team of several hundred scientists from 20 countries have seen for themselves the dramatic effects of global warming on ice in the region, considered “the epicentre of climate change”, according to mission leader Markus Rex.

“We witnessed how the Arctic ocean is dying,” Rex told AFP. “We saw this process right outside our windows, or when we walked on the brittle ice.”

Underlining how much of the sea ice has melted away, Rex said the mission was able to sail through large patches of open water, “sometimes stretching as far as the horizon”.

“At the North Pole itself, we found badly eroded, melted, thin and brittle ice.”

– ‘Ice-free Arctic’ –

If the warming trend in the North Pole continues, then in a few decades we will have “an ice-free Arctic in the summer”, Rex said.

The researchers’ observations have been backed up by US satellite images showing that in 2020, sea ice in the Arctic reached its second-lowest summer minimum on record, after 2012.

The Polarstern mission, dubbed MOSAIC, spent over a year collecting data on the atmosphere, ocean, sea ice and ecosystems to help assess the impact of climate change on the region and the world.

To carry out the research, four observational sites were set up on the sea ice in a radius of up to 40 kilometres around the ship.

People with Parkinson’s disease have a higher risk of dying from COVID-19 — ScienceDaily

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A new study of approximately 80,000 patients shows that people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) have a 30% higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than people without the neurodegenerative condition.

The new analysis conducted by researchers with University of Iowa Health Care based on patient data in the TriNetX COVID-19 research network suggests that Parkinson’s disease is an independent risk factor for dying from COVID-19.

The UI research team led by neurologists Qiang Zhang, MD, and Nandakumar Narayanan, MD, PhD, identified the COVID-19 patient cohort as of July 15 and analyzed the mortality data eight weeks later. They found that 5.5% (4,290 out of 78,355) of COVID-19 patients without PD died compared to 21.3% (148 of 694) COVID-19 patients who also had PD.

However, the patients with PD were generally older, more likely to be male, and less likely to be African American than the patients without PD. All of these factors also increase the risk of death from COVID-19.

So, the UI team used two approaches to account for these differences: logistic regression with age, sex, and race as covariates, and matching each PD patient with five non-PD patients with the exact age, sex, and race, and performing a conditional logistic regression. In both cases, the researchers found that the risk of dying from COVID-19 was 30% higher for patients with PD. The findings are published in the journal Movement Disorders.

“We recognize the limitations of this study; it is retrospective data from a single database, but we are confident that these data show that Parkinson’s disease is independent risk factor for death in COVID-19,” says Narayanan, UI associate professor of neurology and a member of the Iowa Neuroscience Institute. “We believe this observation will be of interest to clinicians treating patients with Parkinson’s disease, and public health officials.”

This Is What The ‘Last Gasp’ Of A Dying Sun-Like Star Looks Like

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Our Sun is destined to someday die in a known, predictable way.

Like all Sun-like stars, it will leave a white dwarf/planetary nebula combination behind.

However, there’s a unique phase preceding that final transition: a preplanetary nebula.

In the final stages