DNR weekend reading: Giant prehistoric flying insects; new arctic forests? and more

samish overlook
A volunteer enjoys the view from Samish Overlook at Blanchard Mountain on National Trails Day 2012. Photo: Diana Lofflin/DNR.

Here are few selections for your weekend reading:

National Geographic:  Giant Bugs Eaten Out of Existence by First Birds?
Without avian predators, bugs today would be much bigger, study says. Dragonflies with 20-inch wingspans, for example.

Science Daily: Arctic Ice Melt Is Setting Stage for Severe Winters
A paper published in the June issue of the journal Oceanography describes how the dramatic melt-off of Arctic sea ice due to climate change can trigger a domino effect leading to increased odds of severe winter weather outbreaks in the Northern Hemisphere’s middle latitudes.

Science Daily: Warming Climate Sees Tundra Turn to Forest
In just a few decades shrubs in the Arctic tundra have turned into trees as a result of the warming Arctic climate, creating patches of forest which, if replicated across the tundra, would significantly accelerate global warming.

Scientific American: A Fine Brine: New Desalination Technique Yields More Drinkable Water
A new, more energy-efficient seawater distillation membrane is designed to yield greater amounts of potable water, and less briny discharge.

Nature News Blog: Italian earthquake toll highlights poor preparedness
To Italian seismology experts, the earthquake that hit the Emilia region on 20 May, killing seven people, was yet another reminder that the country is very unprepared for seismic risks, despite being one the most earthquake-prone areas in Europe.

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