Discovered: A deadly new bat-borne coronavirus; big international investors tell governments to get tough on climate change; drought is here to stay in Iowa; underwater light is dimming, driving fish away.
Deadly new coronavirus discovered. When scientists got to the bottom of what killed a man in Saudi Arabia this summer, what they found gave some pretty serious cause for concern. The victim was infected by a previously unknown form of coronavirus, the family of pathogens that gave us SARS. Researchers from the UK's Health Protection Agency sequenced the virus' genome, finding that it's most likely borne by bats and thankfully isn't ready transmissible from person to person. "The virus is most closely related to viruses in bats found in Asia, and there are no human viruses closely related to it therefore, we speculate that it comes from an animal source," says Erasmus Medical Centre's Ron Fouchier. So far two other people have been infected, and one of them is still in the ICU. [BBC News]
Investors want governments to invest in tackling climate change. Yesterday, we noted that some of the loudest voices calling for climate change action in recent weeks have been rather unlikely. Now, in addition to the CIA, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and the World Bank, major international investors are calling upon governments to get tough on global warming. "Current policies are insufficient to avert serious and dangerous impacts from climate change," write a coalition of big investors from the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia who manage $22.5 trillion in assets collectively. [Reuters]
Get ready for more drought, Iowans. This year brought on some of the driest months Iowans have ever seen. And researchers from 27 different Iowa colleges and universities are saying that such droughts could soon become the state's new normal thanks to greenhouse-gas emissions. On Monday, they released the Iowa Climate Statement. In the words of Christ Anderson of Iowa State University's Climate Science Program, the research shows that "In a warmer climate, wet years get wetter, and dry years get dryer. And dry years get hotter—that is precisely what happened in Iowa this year." [CBS News]
Climate change is turning the ocean's light down. Fish don't get the concept of mood lighting. When the ocean's light dims, they tend to freak out and try to find brighter seas, according to researchers from Norway's University of Bergen. They found that waters just off Norway's coast are getting darker because of climate change, which is good news for the blind periphylla periphylla jellyfish but bad news for all other fish species who can't find prey due to lack of light. "The water in Lurefjorden has now become so murky and dark that it is probably helping this jellyfish to thrive," says researcher Dag L. Aksnes. "At the same time, the fjord has become less hospitable as a habitat for important fish species." [Fish Info & Services]