Dec 4, 2008 | 8
White lemuroid possums—otherwise known as Hemibelideus lemuroides—may have become the first mammal to disappear because of climate change, according to an Australian researcher. The cute marsupials restricted to certain mountaintops in the prehistoric "Lost World" of far northern tropical Queensland, Australia, may have fallen victim to an average temperature rise of at least 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 degrees Celsius) over the last several decades.
Nocturnal, fruit-eating creatures that live in old-growth trees, this rare white form of the marsupial was found in two mountain peak cloud forests—until 2005. Prior to that, such possums were often spotted during nighttime expeditions. But they have not been seen since a heat wave that year, biologist Steve Williams of the Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change at James Cook University told Brisbane's Courier-Mail newspaper.
Aug 27, 2008 | 1
For the second year in a row, the fabled Northwest Passage has opened in the Arctic—thanks to a sea-ice melt that has already shrunk the polar cap to the second smallest extent ever recorded. And with a few more weeks to go in the summer thaw season, 2008 could surpass 2007 as the smallest amount of sea ice on record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).
This year's record-breaking melt was, to some extent, set up by the 2007 season—also a record-breaker. More open ocean means more trapped heat in the water, which means that thinner ice forms during the long Arctic winter. Thinner ice melts more readily when temperatures rise. So, despite a relatively cool summer this year, the sea ice is just melting away.
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