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SKYE on AOL

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    Over 10 Dead As Record Heatwave Hits Shanghai
    What's the best way to gauge summer heat? Why, cooking on the sidewalk, of course. When temperatures rise in the U.S., people always attempt to fry eggs on pavement. (Yawn.) Forecasters got a little more creative in Phoenix, Ariz., recently and baked chocolate chip cookies in a van. (Yum?)

    In Shanghai, with temperatures topping 100 degrees Wednesday, shattering heat records going back 140 years, a local news station tried to cook pork on a slab of marble. Watch to see how it turned out.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: World's Largest Building Opens in China

     

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    Brothers Snap Pic Before Being Struck by Lightning
    A photo taken at California's Moro Rock in 1975 showing two brothers just moments before they were struck by lightning is captivating internet users. Michael McQuilken, pictured at right, recalled the August day in an article recently posted online. He and his two brothers, his sister and a friend had just hiked to the top of Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park and were taking in the view when their hair started standing on end. They thought it was funny. He and his brother, Sean, posed for a photo.

    McQuilken recalls what happened next:

    I distinctly remember feeling weightless, and that my feet were no longer touching the ground. For some reason, it felt like a number of seconds transpired, even though I realize that lightning strikes are instantaneous. A deafening explosion followed, and I found myself on the ground with the others. Sean was collapsed and huddled on his knees. Smoke was pouring from his back. I rushed over to him and checked his pulse and breathing. He was still alive. I put out the embers on his back and elbows and carried him down the path towards the parking lot, with the rest of the group following.

    Sean suffered third-degree burns but survived. Sadly, one man in the area who was struck did not.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 11 Surprising Effects of Being Struck by Lightning
    Lightning Scar

     

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    A man cools off in a fountain at a park in Shanghai, China, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013. Hot weather has set in, with temperatures rising up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit in Shanghai. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

    SHANGHAI (AP) - It's been so hot in China that folks are grilling shrimp on manhole covers, eggs are hatching without incubators and a highway billboard has mysteriously caught fire by itself.

    The heat wave - the worst in at least 140 years in some parts - has left dozens of people dead and pushed thermometers above 104 degrees Fahrenheit in at least 40 cities and counties, mostly in the south and east. Authorities for the first time have declared the heat a "level 2" weather emergency - a label normally invoked for typhoons and flooding.

    "It is just hot! Like in a food steamer!" Seventeen-year-old student Xu Sichen said, outside the doors of a shopping mall in the southern financial hub of Shanghai while her friend, He Jiali, also 17, complained that her mobile phone had in recent days turned into a "grenade."

    "I'm so worried that the phone will explode while I'm using it," He said.

    Extreme heat began hitting Shanghai and several eastern and southern provinces in early July and is expected to grip much of China through mid-August.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Watch: Meat Cooks on Shanghai Sidewalk in Heat Wave

    Shanghai set its record high temperature of 105 F on July 26, and Thursday's heat marked the city's 28th day above 35 C. At least 10 people died of heat stroke in the city over the past month, including a 64-year-old Taiwanese sailor, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

    Wu Guiyun, 50, who has a part-time job making food deliveries in Shanghai, said she has been trying to linger inside air-conditioned offices for as long as possible whenever she brings in a takeout order. Outside, she said: "It's so hot that I can hardly breathe."

    The highest temperature overall was recorded in the eastern city of Fenghua, which recorded its historic high of 108.9 F on July 24.

    On Tuesday, the director of the China Meteorological Administration activated a "level 2" emergency response to the persistent heat wave. This level requires around-the-clock staffing, the establishment of an emergency command center and frequent briefings.

    Some Chinese in heat-stricken cities have been cooking shrimps, eggs and bacon in skillets placed directly on manhole covers or on road pavement that has in some cases heated up to 140 F.

    In one photo displayed prominently in the China Daily newspaper, a boy tended to shrimps and an egg in a pan over a manhole cover in eastern Chinese city of Jinan.

    In the port city of Ningbo in Zhejiang province, glass has cracked in the heat, vehicles have self-combusted, and a highway billboard caught fire by itself, sending up black smoke in the air, according to China Central Television. The broadcaster said the heat might have shorted an electrical circuit on the billboard.

    In the southern province of Hunan, a housewife grabbed several eggs stored at room temperature only to find half-hatched chicks, state media reported.

    A joke making the rounds: The only difference between me and barbequed meat is a little bit of cumin.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: World's Largest Building Opens in China

     

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    In this July 28, 2013, photo, cars drive on wet pavement in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, Sunday, July 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Puerto Ricans are used to wet tropical weather, but the past few weeks have unleashed a series of storms of almost biblical proportions, destroying hundreds of homes, sweeping away cars and leaving tens of thousands without power.

    It has been the wettest July ever recorded in the U.S. island territory, with 14 inches so far drenching the capital. More rain fell on July 18 than had ever come down in a 24-hour period.

    The rain rarely stopped that day, with 9 inches pelting the San Juan area. People fled homes and cars as water rushed through doors and then windows. Rising floodwaters stranded drivers on highways turned lagoons. Some commuters were forced to use kayaks and paddle boards.

    "I've lived here 71 years, and this was the worst," said Andres Colon as he tried to repair his flooded car in a working class San Juan neighborhood of Santurce. "It came fast and without warning."

    The storm severely damaged some 500 homes and caused about $1.5 million in losses, according to initial estimates, said San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz.

    The territory is just over two months into a seven-month rainy season, and it is already the second wettest start of the year for the region, even though no major tropical storm or hurricane has hit. Nearly 50 inches of rain have fallen so far, and more is likely on the way: Remnants of Tropical Storm Dorian were projected to slog through the Caribbean a bit north of the island by Monday or Tuesday.

    The deluge follows hard on a string of other wet years. The rainiest year on record was 2010, when 89.5 inches fell. The island's totals have been trending upward, in part because of warmer ocean temperatures and frequent occurrences of the weather phenomenon known as La Niña, which leads to a more active hurricane season, according to the National Weather Service.

    Nearby Cuba has been drenched as well. Authorities reported that June was the wettest on record for the western part of the island. In the first six days of that month alone, 16.6 inches of rain fell, 188 percent of the historic average for the full month, with isolated accumulations as high as 22 inches.

    Hundreds of homes were flooded along with croplands, highways and tobacco leaf-curing buildings in the western province of Pinar del Rio, known as the cradle of Cuba's tobacco industry.

    In Puerto Rico, the wet weather has exposed an uncomfortable truth: The territory's roads, bridges, tunnels and drainage systems are ill equipped for the increasingly heavy storms likely to come due to climate change.

    "It's an urgent issue, not only because of the problems we've had, but because of the problems we're going to have," said Gabriel Rodriguez, president of the nonprofit Puerto Rico Planning Society. "Those kind of extreme events are going to become more common, and the losses and problems associated with them will become greater."

    Even normal years in Puerto Rico already are soggy by the standards of other famously rainy places. The island gets an average of 56 inches of rain a year, while Seattle gets an average of 39 inches and London sees about 29 inches.

    The territory's problems are compounded by the lack of a general land-use plan. Rodriguez said that means hundreds of homes and businesses are built in flood-prone areas because projects are approved with little scrutiny.

    "It's an accumulation of errors that we're paying for with the problems we're seeing now," he said.

    And rising sea levels will hurt as well. Rodriguez noted that a dozen flights had to be rerouted when the mid-July storm flooded the main airport, which lies nearly at sea level.

    "Eventually, we're going to be left without an airport," he said.

    Edgar Rodriguez, vice president of Puerto Rico's Association of Engineers, said another problem is growing pressure on an aging drainage system that has not been properly maintained since it was built decades ago based on weather patterns that have since changed.

    "We're building and building and building, and no one's analyzing the impact of that construction," he said.

    Rodriguez noted that the island is financially strapped. It's struggling to emerge from a seven-year recession and is battling a $1.2 billion budget deficit and $69 billion in public debt. But he said the infrastructure could collapse without better planning and improved drainage systems.

    "We live on a tropical island in the Caribbean, and rain is something you can bet on," he said.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Epic Storm Photos from the Twittersphere

     

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  • 08/01/13--02:11: North Pole 'Lake' Vanishes

  • Image from one of the North Pole Environmental Observatory webcams, taken Monday, July 29. (Credit: North Pole Environmental Laboratory)


    Like a politician whose peccadillos lead to "family time," the North Pole lake has had its fill of Internet notoriety. The stunning blue meltwater lake that formed on the Arctic ice disappeared on Monday (July 29), draining through a crack in the underlying ice floe.

    Now, instead of 2 feet (0.6 meters) of freshwater slopping against a bright-yellow buoy, a remote webcam shows only ice and clouds.

    Though the North Pole lake's 15 minutes of fame focused worldwide attention on global warming's effects on Arctic sea ice, the melting is actually part of an annual summer thaw, according to researchers who run the North Pole Environmental Observatory. "The formation of these ponds and their disappearance is part of a natural cycle," said Axel Schweiger, head of the Applied Physics Laboratory's Polar Science Center at the University of Washington, which helps run the observatory.

    The lake, about the size of an Olympic swimming pool, started forming in mid-July, LiveScience first reported on July 23. The size and timing of the lake are typical for this time of year and location, the researchers said.

    However, scientists at the observatory and elsewhere are studying the Arctic's meltwater ponds to understand how global warming is changing their total extent.

    "It's important to recognize that these ponds may be linked to global warming, but the questions are more: How many and how deep they are, and when they appear and when they drain," Schweiger told LiveScience.

    For instance, warmer temperatures in the Arctic already cause surface melting to start earlier on the ice, so the ponds are forming sooner than they used to, Schweiger said. But other factors play a role, such as snow cover and ice thickness. "It's a very open research question," he said.

    The observatory has tracked yearly ice changes in the Arctic since 2000. Every spring, scientists fly to the North Pole and anchor buoys with remote webcams into ice floes. The buoys then drift with the ice. [Image Gallery: Back-Breaking Science at the Earth's Poles]

    When the meltwater lake appeared in mid-July, the buoys were about 375 miles (600 kilometers) south of the geographic North Pole. Their journey from April to July put the buoys on parallel to the magnetic North Pole, which is currently west of Greenland.

    Email Becky Oskin or follow her @beckyoskin. Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.com.

    Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Breathtaking Photos of Antarctica

     

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    (Getty Images)

    While Dorian soaks the Bahamas, South Florida will only get a glancing blow from the once-tropical storm for the start of August.

    Dorian will continue to track across the Bahamas through Friday, in a southeast to northwest fashion, accompanied by numerous drenching showers and thunderstorms.

    Some of the downpours could lead to localized flash flooding in poor drainage and low-lying areas. Many more downpours will ruin outdoor activities.

    Despite the downpour threat, AccuWeather.com meteorologists are no longer concerned that Dorian will restrengthen into a tropical depression or storm as it travels through the Bahamas.

    Thursday through Friday, Dorian should track close enough to South Florida to enhance drenching shower and thunderstorm activity slightly.

    Residents and beachgoers may experience more frequent disruptions to sunbathing, swimming and other outdoor plans.

    Any downpours threaten to slow down motorists, including those on Interstates 75 and 95, by reducing visibility. The heaviest downpours will heighten the risk of vehicles hydroplaning at highway speeds.

    Dorian will give only a glancing blow to South Florida since it is not expected to cross the state.

    Later Friday and through this weekend, the former tropical storm will get steered off to the northeast and away from the rest of the Southeast U.S.

    RELATED:
    AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center
    Florida State Radar
    History of Dorian

    In the wake of Dorian, the rest of the Atlantic Basin looks to remain free of another tropical depression or storm through at least this weekend.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 30 Stunning Photos Revealing the Power of Hurricanes

     

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    Willow Springs Water Park posted this image of the lake on their Facebook page on July 17, 2013. The girl infected in Arkansas is believed to have been exposed to the brain-eating amoeba in this lake.

    A 12-year-old girl contracted a rare infection caused by a brain-eating amoeba in Arkansas, and it may be tied to summer heat and drought conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    The amoeba, or single-celled organism, that caused the infection is called Naegleria fowleri, which lives in warm freshwater, such as lakes, rivers and hot springs. These organisms can travel up the nose to the brain and spinal cord as people swim or dive and can cause a deadly infection called Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM).

    The Arkansas Department of Heath (ADH) said in a press release that the most likely source of the Arkansas infection is the Willow Springs Water Park, located south of Little Rock, Ark. Another case of PAM in 2010 is also believed to be connected to Willow Springs.

    "Most of the cases occur in what we call the southern-tier states, and, in fact, about 50 percent of cases have occurred in Texas and Florida," Dr. Jennifer Cope, medical epidemiologist at the CDC, said.

    RELATED:
    Summer Waters Bring Threats of Jellyfish, Infections
    Forecast High Temperatures for US
    AccuWeather Severe Weather Center

    The Arkansas case is the first confirmed one of 2013, Cope said. In the last decade from 2003 to 2012, 31 infections have been reported in the U.S.

    Naegleria fowleri is thermophilic, or heat-loving. Most infections occur during July, August and September when there is prolonged heat and thus higher water temperatures and lower water levels.


    This graph from the CDC shows the number of cases of PAM by state of exposure in the U.S. from 1962-2012.

    "When we go back and look at where exposure may have occurred, we see the infections occur where water levels are low or where there are drought conditions or after a heat wave," Cope said.

    More than half of Arkansas, about 52 percent, is being gripped by moderate drought conditions, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report.

    From July 5-24, high temperatures in Little Rock failed to reach the 90-degree mark or higher on only one day, on July 13. Overall, temperatures have been near normal in the Little Rock area this summer.

    The Willow Springs Water Park closed on July 25, 2013, as a result of the recent infection, despite daily maintenance and a system to keep the water clean. In a Facebook post, Owners of Willow Springs Water Park David and Lou Ann Ratliff said, "We would never knowingly endanger your children and ours ... We check and maintain our water daily with a sophisticated system that saturates our water with chlorine. We have added a water cannon, which drops the water temperature to a range inhospitable to bacteria growth, therefore we are not considered a warm body of water like all of our local lakes, rivers, and streams."

    Symptoms of PAM From the CDC:

    The initial symptoms are exactly the same as bacterial meningitis and typically start five days after the infection: headache, fever, nausea, vomiting and a stiff neck.

    During the later stages of the infection, people develop seizures, become lethargic and can develop an altered mental state and eventually go into a coma.

    There is only one known survivor of PAM in the U.S.

    "It's very devastating and heart-breaking to the families impacted," Cope said.

    Tips for Summer Swimmers From the CDC:

    Hold your nose shut, use nose clips or keep your head above water in warm bodies of freshwater.

    Avoid digging in or stirring up the sediment while taking part in water-related activities in shallow, warm bodies of freshwater.

    Avoid water-related activities in warm freshwater during periods of high water temperature and low water levels.

    Do not put your head underwater in hot springs.


    RELATED ON SKYE: Could a Trip to Your Favorite Beach Make You Sick?

     

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    (Getty Images)

    FORT CARSON, Colo. (AP) - Twelve soldiers were injured, one critically, after lightning struck near them during a training exercise at Fort Carson, a base spokesman said Thursday.

    Maj. Earl Brown, deputy public affairs officer at the Army base near Colorado Springs, said six of the soldiers were still hospitalized and five were treated and released after Wednesday's strike. An engineering soldier was in critical condition.

    The soldiers were training with about 340 others when lightning struck at about 2:45 p.m. south of the Butts Army Airfield.

    The National Weather Service issued a warning just minutes earlier, and the men were trying to get to shelter. They did not suffer a direct strike.

    "The soldiers were completely exposed on high ground," Brown said. "They were a short distance from a shelter tent when they got notification there was lightning in the area, and the commander decided to suspend training."

    The injured soldiers are from the U.S. Army's 555th Engineer Brigade stationed at Fort Carson. Their names were not released.

    The job of soldier engineers is to build barriers, move dirt and build structures, including towers, but Brown said he didn't know what exercise was underway at the time.

    The incident comes after 11 workers were struck by lightning July 18 at a northern Colorado farm.

    Two of the workers in the organic fields in Wellington were critically injured, and nine others were treated at local hospitals.

    Wellington Fire Protection District chief Gary Green has said the workers were preparing land for planting when a strong thunderstorm hit. Some of them were trying to reach shelter under a tractor, and others were heading for a vehicle when they were hit.

    Denver's Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration office is investigating safety procedures at the farm.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Lightning Strikes Around the World

     

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    Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong in space capsule after his historic walk on moon; July, 1969 (Photo by Time Life Pictures/NASA/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

    If you know one thing about Apollo 11, the first manned mission to the moon, it's likely this quote by astronaut Neil Armstrong: "That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind."

    But it turns out that's not exactly what Armstrong said in his historic quote, which he radioed to mission control in Houston upon placing his left foot upon the lunar surface. (Armstrong, of course, was the first human to walk on the moon.)

    Immediately after he uttered the line, both Armstrong and NASA insisted that he actually said "one small step for a man...." The astronaut maintained that the sentence would not make sense without the article "a," differentiating him as a single person from the latter "mankind."

    A new study co-authored by Michigan State University and Ohio State University seems to confirm this.

    In investigating the issue, researchers used a novel linguistic methodology: They studied how 40 English speakers native to central Ohio -- where Armstrong grew up -- pronounce "for" and "for a." Interestingly, a glitch in the local speech pattern can make the phrases sound indistinguishable.

    You can hear the famous quote here.

    Despite their findings, the researchers acknowledge that most people who listen to the quote do not hear the "a" in the sentence.

    Either way, Armstrong's quote is profound and captures the significance of the moment. Declaring himself "a man" makes it clear that he was just one person, doing something spectacular on behalf of the rest of us.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 20 Epic Photos of Astronauts on the Moon
    Man on Moon

     

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    (Getty Images)

    The residents of Barrow, Alaska, will see something tonight that they have not seen since May 10, a sunset.

    Ever since 2:54 a.m. on May 11, the sun has been in the sky, keeping the town in continual light. Early Saturday at 1:58 a.m. Alaska Standard Time (AKST), the sun will fall below the horizon, making it the first official sunset on summer for the town.

    The reason that Barrow experiences the periods of continual light is due to their close location to the North Pole. As the Earth revolves on its axis, Barrow is turned toward the sun and remains light until the revolution of the Earth turns Barrow away from the sun.

    Unfortunately, residents of Barrow will likely not be able to witness the sunset, as a storm system will spread clouds and rain showers across northern Alaska.

    This summer has been unusually warm across the Last Frontier. So far this summer, Barrow and Anchorage have averaged right around 2.7 degrees above average, while Fairbanks has averaged nearly 4 degrees above average!

    Although Anchorage has averaged above normal, they have yet to break any daily temperature records this summer. The persistent warmth has managed to break a different type of record for the city, however.

    Over the past 16 days, Anchorage has either reached or climbed above 70 degrees. This breaks the old record of set in 2004 when the city had a stretch of 13 consecutive days of at or above 70.

    This warmer weather has also contributed to the lighting of dozens of wildfires burning across Alaska over the past few weeks. According to Alaska Interagency Coordination Center, there are currently 76 active wildfires across the state.

    RELATED:
    National Weather Forecast
    Drought-Weakened Trees More Likely to Die in Fires
    Alaska Weather Map

    This trend in warmer weather will come to an end early next week as a dip in the jet stream will bring the return of more seasonable temperatures across the state.

    RELATED ON SKYE: The 30 Best Places to Watch the Sunset

     

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    (Getty Images)

    It's tough to actually receive zero percent of normal rainfall during a given month, but with only a trace of rain falling at Seattle's Sea-Tac Airport this past July, that is exactly what happened.

    While technically a trace of rain is "some" precipitation, its official definition is "rainfall measuring less than 0.01 of an inch." That means if only three drops of rain fall from the sky, there was still a trace of rainfall.

    The average amount of rain for the entire month of July in Seattle is 0.70 of an inch. The trace amount that fell during July 2013 was the least amount of rainfall during any July since 1960.

    August will start off with a few widely separated showers around the Seattle area through Friday, but most places will not see any rainfall.

    If no measurable rainfall is observed through Friday, a strong ridge of high pressure building overhead will all but ensure the streak of dry weather will persist well into August.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 7 Surprising Health Effects of Drought

     

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    The sun sets behind the Kukulkan Pyramid in the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza in Mexico on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. Author of the study on temperatures and tempers, pointed to the collapse of the Mayan civilization that coincided with periods of historic drought about 1200 years ago. (AP Photo/Israel Leal)

    WASHINGTON (AP) - As the world gets warmer, people are more likely to get hot under the collar, scientists say. A massive new study finds that aggressive acts like committing violent crimes and waging war become more likely with each added degree.

    Researchers analyzed 60 studies on historic empire collapses, recent wars, violent crime rates in the United States, lab simulations that tested police decisions on when to shoot and even cases where pitchers threw deliberately at batters in baseball. They found a common thread over centuries: Extreme weather - very hot or dry - means more violence.

    The authors say the results show strong evidence that climate can promote conflict.

    "When the weather gets bad we tend to be more willing to hurt other people," said economist Solomon Hsiang of the University of California, Berkeley.

    He is the lead author of the study, published online Thursday by the journal Science. Experts in the causes of war gave it a mixed reception.

    The team of economists even came up with a formula that predicts how much the risk of different types of violence should increase with extreme weather. In war-torn parts of equatorial Africa, it says, every added degree Fahrenheit or so increases the chance of conflict between groups - rebellion, war, civil unrest - by 11 percent to 14 percent. For the United States, the formula says that for every increase of 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit, the likelihood of violent crime goes up 2 percent to 4 percent.

    Temperatures in much of North America and Eurasia are likely to go up by that 5.4 degrees by about 2065 because of increases in carbon dioxide pollution, according to a separate paper published in Science on Thursday.

    The same paper sees global averages increasing by about 3.6 degrees in the next half-century. So that implies essentially about 40 percent to 50 percent more chance for African wars than it would be without global warming, said Edward Miguel, another Berkeley economist and study co-author.

    When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change updates its report next year on the impacts of global warming, it will address the issue of impacts on war for the first time, said Carnegie Institution scientist Chris Field, who heads that worldwide study group. The new study is likely to play a big role, he said.

    Hsiang said that whenever the analyzed studies looked at temperature and conflict, the link was clear, no matter where or when. His analysis examines about a dozen studies on collapses of empires or dynasties, about 15 studies on crime and aggression and more than 30 studies on wars, civil strife or intergroup conflicts.

    In one study, police officers in a psychology experiment were more likely to choose to shoot someone in a lab simulation when the room temperature was hotter, Hsiang said. In another study, baseball pitchers were more likely to retaliate against their opponents when a teammate was hit by a pitch on hotter days. Hsiang pointed to the collapse of the Mayan civilization that coincided with periods of historic drought about 1,200 years ago.

    People often don't consider human conflict when they think about climate change, which is "an important oversight," said Ohio State University psychology professor Brad Bushman, who wasn't part of the study but whose work on crime and heat was analyzed by Hsiang.

    There's a good reason why people get more aggressive in warmer weather, Bushman said. Although people say they feel sluggish when they are hot, their heart rate and other physical responses are aroused and elevated. They think they are not agitated, when in fact they are, and "that's a recipe for disaster," Bushman said.

    Experts who research war and peace were split in their reaction to the work.

    "The world will be a very violent place by mid-century if climate change continues as projected," said Thomas Homer-Dixon, a professor of diplomacy at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Ontario.

    But Joshua Goldstein, a professor of international relations at American University and author of "Winning the War on War," found faults with the way the study measured conflicts. He said the idea of hotter tempers with hotter temperatures is only one factor in conflict, and that it runs counter to a long and large trend to less violence.

    "To read this you get the impression, if climate change unfolds as we all fear it will, that the world will be beset by violent conflict and that's probably not true," Goldstein said.

    "Because of positive changes in technology, economics, politics and health" conflict is likely to continue to drop, although maybe not as much as it would without climate change, he said.

    Miguel acknowledges that many other factors play a role in conflict and said it's too soon to see whether conflict from warming will outweigh peace from prosperity: "It's a race against time."

    RELATED ON SKYE: Off-the-Charts Hottest and Coldest Places on Earth

     

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    (Getty Images)

    NASA drones will fly this August to investigate hurricane formation processes and potentially improve hurricane forecasts in the long-term.

    The second of three flights in NASA's five-year HS3 mission will occur between Aug. 20 and Sept. 23, 2013. The 2013 H3 flights will bring with them new technology, and for the first time will fly with a second NASA Global Hawk aircraft.

    "One of the main features of these unmanned systems is their ability to remain airborne for such a long period of time, as long as 24 hours or even a bit longer," said Dr. Robert Rogers, meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). "As a result, Global Hawks can fly for considerable distances, distances much farther than manned aircraft can reach."


    In an April 13, 2010, photo, a NASA Global Hawk robotic jet sits in a hangar at Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The aircraft will be used in a study by the federal government to research the development of hurricanes. (AP Photo/John Antczak, File)

    This increase in duration will allow for a continuous stream of data, focusing on the "inner region of the storms to hopefully uncover information about hurricane formation and intensity changes," according to a NASA press release.

    Additionally, these hawks will be able to climb to higher altitudes and get above the storms. This will allow the collection of data from not only from the middle and bottom of the storm but most importantly from the top level of the storm.

    The center of circulation of Tropical Storm Lee can be seen as the WC-130J aircraft flys over Tropical Storm Lee Sept. 3, 2011. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron Hurricane Hunters were heading back to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss., after penetrating the storm Sept. 2. AccuWeather.com`s Valerie Smock flew with the Hurricane Hunters into Tropical Storm Lee. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Valerie Smock. The NASA drones can fly higher and longer than traditional Hurricane Hunter aircrafts.

    The second aircraft, added to the flight this year, will look at the precipitation in the core of the storms. Those observations along with onboard Doppler radar, may be able to help improve predictions. An initial test from a 2010 case showed significant improvement said Scott Braun, research meteorologist and principal investigator for HS3.

    "Our goal is to collect storm measurements and environment to understand storm processes better," Braun explained.

    "The combination of aircraft and new technology allows the collection of data sets that we haven't been able to get before," said Braun. In theory, improving initial data put into models would improve model forecasts of tropical systems.

    The missions are funded by NASA's Earth Venture Program which was founded in 2010. Other contributions and partners include the Naval Research Lab, the Goddard and Marshall Space Flight Centers, NOAA and various universities such as the University of Wisconsin and the University of Utah.

    During the first of the three flights that occurred last year, the H3's Global Hawk aircraft gathered data about the dust around the Tropical Storm Nadine. Preliminary data gathered by these missions could one day improve hurricane prediction and forecasting.

    Tropical Storm Nadine is best known for strengthening three different times from a tropical storm to a hurricane during its lifetime, eventually hitting the Azores Islands in the Northern Atlantic Ocean.

    The dust that the 2012 mission investigated is important to the study of the birth and lifespan of tropical storms.

    "African Saharan dust suppresses tropical development," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bob Smerbeck. "It's hard to produce anything in African dust."

    Every summer, impulses come across the desert with gusty winds from west to east and pick up African dust. In addition, these winds pick up dry air from the desert that choke the systems. The combination of dry air and easterly winds are bad for tropical development, Smerbeck said.

    "In August and September dust events weaken so there is better development of tropical waves," said Smerbeck. This decrease in dust events is precisely why hurricane season ramps up in August and September.

    RELATED:
    Saharan Dust: How Does it Impact Atlantic Storms?
    AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center
    Weather Inside the Eye of a Hurricane


    While the 2013 flights will be research flights and "much of the data will not go to the National Hurricane Center in real-time for operational use," according to Dr. Daniel J. Cecil with the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. "At the very least, data from one of the airplanes will go out in real-time and this could help with diagnosing the current intensity, size and steering flow for NHC forecasters."

    It may take time for all the flight's research to be compiled and conducted but, according to Rogers, "This information could one day be used to specify the inner-core structure of hurricanes ... with the hope of ultimately improving forecasts of hurricane structure and intensity change."

    Collected data from these flights has the potential to make history and lead to improving hurricane predictions in years to come.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Stunning Hurricane Photos from Space

     

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    Steamboat Geyser, in Yellowstone National Park's Norris Geyser Basin in Wyoming, erupts on Wednesday, July 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Robb Long)

    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Old Faithful it's not.

    Yellowstone National Park's Steamboat Geyser - the world's tallest - has erupted for the first time in more than eight years.

    The nine-minute blast sent steaming hot water an estimated 200 to 300 feet in the air, park geologist Hank Heasler said Thursday.

    Unlike the park's popular and famous Old Faithful geyser, which spews water like clockwork every hour-and-a-half, no one knows when Steamboat will erupt next.

    In the past, it's gone as long as 50 years without a major event. In 1964, it erupted a record 29 times. The last blast came in 2005.

    Steamboat is one of more than 500 geysers at Yellowstone, which boasts the largest collection of hydrothermal features in the world.

    The geyser is in a popular viewing area known as the Norris Geyser Basin, and its eruption at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday drew dozens of excited onlookers, said Robb Long, a freelance photographer from Sioux Falls, S.D., who was visiting the park with his fiance and her family.

    "It was an amazing experience. This thing sounded like a locomotive," Long said. "Everybody was frantic, taking pictures. People were running down there trying to get to it before it went away, and park rangers were running around trying to gather up people so they didn't get too close."

    Yellowstone's geysers are fueled by cold water that feeds into a natural underground plumbing network, where heat from the park's volcano forces chemical-laden water to the surface and causes the periodic eruptions, Heasler said.

    Early accounts of Steamboats eruptions came from first-hand observations, with the first recorded in 1878. Since 2005, the park has used electronic monitors to more closely track the geyser.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 20 Inspiring Photos of America's National Parks

     

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    Aug. 2, 2013

    Governors Blvd., Billings Heights, Mont., Aug. 1, 2013. (Montana Storms/Facebook)

    HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Strong thunderstorms that moved across Montana left a trail of damage to crops and buildings along with downed trees and power outages.

    The worst damage from Thursday's storm may have occurred in Gallatin County, where winds gusting up to 89 mph devastated wheat and barley crops that likely would have been harvested next week, Montana Grain Growers Vice President Matt Flikkema said.

    "I've never seen crop damage to the extent we have here in the valley," Flikkema said Friday. "There are very little crops that will be harvested out of the area."

    Flikkema said the damage could approach $50 million, even without taking into consideration what happened to 5,000 acres of potatoes.

    Most of the crops are seed crops, meaning there could be a shortage of seed to plant next year, he said.

    The storm started in southwestern Montana, where wind gusts up to 104 mph were recorded in Polaris, northwest of Dillon, causing major damage to homes and some trees, the National Weather Service reported.

    Strong winds and possibly a tornado caused severe damage in Twin Bridges, uprooting trees and blowing the roof off at least one building.

    A weather service representative was expected to visit Twin Bridges on Friday to determine if a tornado had touched down, said Steve DiGiovanna of Madison County Disaster and Emergency Services. DiGiovanna said he thought he saw a funnel cloud touch down.

    Some falling trees damaged historic buildings, including the museum, and the roof was ripped off a veterinary clinic outside of Twin Bridges. An airport hangar was destroyed, a trailer was crushed by falling trees, and a grandstand at the Madison County Fairgrounds was flipped over and destroyed, he said.

    Twin Bridges Mayor Tom Hyndman said the wind also uprooted a large spruce tree that is decorated every year for the town's Christmas Stroll.

    Golf-ball sized hail fell across much of Belgrade and the northern part of Bozeman, the weather service reported.

    NWS meteorologist Todd Chambers of Billings said the storm began in the southwestern part of the state Thursday afternoon and moved east, causing damage as far away as Billings.

    The "long-lived, long-path" storm was unusual for this time of year, he said.

    In eastern Montana, a funnel cloud was reported near Acton, north of Billings, and there was another unconfirmed report of a tornado in Broadview, Chambers said.

    Golf-ball-sized hail was reported in parts of Billings, as well. A tree on the West End caught fire after being struck by lightning.

    The storm knocked out power along its path and crews were still working Friday morning to restore service.

    A second set of storms moved through the Helena. Over an inch of rain fell in a swath, moving northeast from an area near the city through eastern Chouteau County, the weather service said.

     

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    Dorian appears as a swirl of thunderstorms over the Bahamas and along the east coast of Florida on Friday afternoon, Aug. 2, 2013. Image from NASA GOES Project Science.

    Dorian regenerated into a tropical depression early on Saturday morning off the east coast of Florida.

    Dorian is slowly moving toward the north, but will curve toward the northeast later on Saturday. Torrential downpours and gusty squalls will continue over the Bahamas through Saturday.

    Dorian will be close enough to the Florida Peninsula to enhance showers and thunderstorms. Gusty storms, downpours and isolated waterspouts can occur along Florida's Atlantic Coast.

    Residents and travelers in these areas should be prepared for disruptive blinding downpours, as well as incidents of urban flooding.

    RELATED:
    AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center
    Miami Interactive Radar
    Tropical Development Possible in Gulf of Mexico Next Week

    Bathers and boaters should exercise caution from Miami Beach to the Outer Banks, eastward through the northern Bahamas this weekend, due to the potential for building seas and surf.

    There is a slight chance that Dorian may strengthen further into a tropical storm. Therefore, cruise interests will want to monitor the situation.

    Dorian showed signs of life on Thursday night and was attempting to develop a circulation over the Florida Straits. However, the bulk of the showers and thunderstorms was located on the eastern half of the system.

    Dorian first became a tropical storm on Wed., July 24, 2013. The system was downgraded by the National Hurricane Center on Sat., July 27, 2013 and has been classified as a tropical wave or tropical rainstorm since then. In order for the system to be a tropical storm, it must have sustained winds of 39 mph or greater and a complete circular rotation about a defined center.

    The system may interact somewhat with an old front to the north, giving thunderstorm activity from northeastern Florida to the Carolina beaches a boost at some point this weekend.

    That front is likely to scoop up Dorian and guide it northeastward. Dorian's moisture may eventually merge with that of the front in the vicinity of Bermuda early next week.

    Disruptive winds at midlevels of the atmosphere will continue to limit the strength of Dorian. However, the system will have marginally warm waters over the Gulf Stream to work with.

    In the Bahamas, Freeport was experiencing drenching rain and breezy conditions Friday midday. During the overnight hours, a gusty squall affected Nassau.


    PHOTOS ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos

     

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