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Research  Wet skin could save lives from lightning strikes? + Sign that the AMOC is collapsing?

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Wet skin could save lives when lightning strikes, study finds

INTRO: Getting drenched in a thunderstorm may seem like the epitome of a bad day, but research suggests it could be a lifesaver if lightning strikes.

In what appears to be a strong contender for an Ig Nobel prize, researchers have subjected 3D models of a human head to the equivalent of a direct lightning strike, revealing they experience less damage if wet.

“If you are outdoors and there is no shelter, wet skin is better than dry skin because the water film is like a ‘protective coating,” said René Machts, first author of the study from Ilmenau University of Technology in Germany. But, he added: “Finding a ‘protected’ location and making yourself as small as possible is safer.”

Writing in the journal Scientific Reports, Machts and colleagues say theoretical studies have previously suggested wet skin might reduce the size of the current that passes over the human body if struck by lightning. In addition, research has suggested animals with wet skin have a higher survival rate when exposed to lightning... (MORE - details)

'We are approaching the tipping point': Marker for the collapse of key Atlantic current discovered

INTRO: Scientists have discovered a key warning sign before a crucial Atlantic current collapses and plunges the Northern Hemisphere into climate chaos.

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) carries warm water north from the Southern Hemisphere, where it releases heat and freezes. The freezing process concentrates salt in the non-frozen portion of the ocean water; this extra-saline water sinks, travels back south and picks up heat again, restarting the conveyor belt. (The Gulf Stream is part of this belt.)

This release of heat helps keep Europe, and to some extent North America, balmier than it otherwise would be. But sediment records over the past 100,000 years suggest that, at times, the AMOC has shut down abruptly, leading to major climate shifts over mere decades.

Scientists believe we could be veering towards this scenario once again — potentially as early as 2025 — as a result of climate change. However, until now researchers had no way of telling if the current is on the path toward one of these tipping points.

In a new study, published Feb. 9 in the journal Science Advances, scientists found that the flow of fresh water into the Atlantic Ocean at a latitude of 34 degrees south (the latitude where South Africa sits) may indicate a key warning sign for an impending AMOC collapse... (MORE - details)

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