Discovered: Blame La Niña for that warm Spring, kids really do send nudie pics to each other, women doctors make a lot less money than their male counterparts, and no ice at the Northeast Passage this year.

  • Another reason for that very warm March we had. If you're in the market for another explanation for that warmest-ever spring, beyond the usual climate change stuff, science has another theory. Looking back to December 1889, the only warmer winter month than March this year, a La Niña year, science has discovered similar weather patterns. "During a period of La Niña the sea surface temperatures across the equatorial Eastern Central Pacific Ocean are lower than normal by 3 to 6 degrees," explains researcher Tony Lupo. "This typically directs the jet stream from the Pacific on a northeastern path over Canada. Rain storms follow the jet stream, leaving the central and south-central states dry, while blocking air from moving south into the Midwest, resulting in higher temperatures." Meaning: 2012, too, is a La Niña year. We should expect the odd (scary?) weather patterns to continue, then. "The La Niña pattern has continued into the summer and will continue to affect the weather," adds Lupo . "This will cause droughts and above average heat throughout the Midwest from Texas to Iowa." [University of Missouri]
  • Kids really do sext. Though we had heard only 1 percent of teens sext, leading us to believe this was another one of those made up trend stories designed to scare people, science puts the number a bit higher than that. Out of 606 students, 20 percent admitted sending sexually explicit phone messages and almost double admitted to have receiving such messages. Given the embarrassment factor of this research, let's just assume the actual numbers are higher. In any case, this is what science suggests we do about this phenomenon: "These results argue for educational efforts such as cell phone safety assemblies, awareness days, integration into class curriculum and teacher training, designed to raise awareness about the potential consequences of sexting among young people," explain the researchers. [Archives of Sexual Behavior]
  • Women doctors make a lot less money than their male counterparts. And, no, it has nothing at all to do with maternity leave. Keeping all other things equal, including maternity leave and specialty, female physicians make $12,000 less than their male counterparts. One woman physician suggested it might have something to those poor negotiating tactics we women biologically have. "Male faculty members are willing to negotiate more aggressively," explains Dr. JoAnn Manson, chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School. Or maybe it's not that. "It may be social and cultural. It seems to be fairly deep-rooted," she added [AP]
  • No ice at the Northeast Passage this year. Following suit with this climate change (or La Niña) induced warmth we've head, the Northeast Passage, the sea route along the North coast of Russia, will be iceless come early summer. On an expedition up there, researchers found some thin ice patches it doesn't believe will last the summer. "These results were a great surprise to us," explains researcher Dr. Thomas Krumpen. "These huge new areas of thin ice will be the first to disappear when the ice melts in summer. And if the thin ice melts as quickly as we presume, the Laptev Sea and with it a part of the Northeast Passage will be free from ice comparatively early this summer," he adds. Climate change, La Nina, whatever -- things are getting melty out there. [Hermholtz Associated of German Research Centres]