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Huge Area of Peatland Found in Congo

A massive, environmentally important peatland has been discovered in northern Congo. Also predictions of a huge binary star explosion

Peat is important. Made from decades of partially rotted plant material that builds up in wet conditions. This soil type is essential for locking carbon away from the atmosphere. Peatlands cover 3% of the Earth’s land cover, yet they lock up a third of the world’s carbon. The majority of peatland is found in cool latitudes. But scientists recently found a huge area of peat in northern Congo in Africa. This lowland peatland is one of just three regions found in the tropics, and locked up in its depths are clues to the past climate in a very understudied part of the world.

Predicted Red Nova
Astronomer Professor Lawrence (Larry) Molnar at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan and his students have made a rare prediction of when stars will explode. After an undergraduate student spotted a pulsating star, and observed the pulses getting quicker, the team claim to have calculated when the binary star system KIC 9832227 might collide creating a massive Red Nova explosion which will be visible by the naked eye in the night sky in 2022, give or take a year.

Science Storytelling
The science of climate change is growing exponentially. No individual can hope to read every scientific paper or article on the topic. So how do they and we on Science in Action decide which pieces of work merit more attention? Unsurprisingly how well a paper is written has a huge bearing on which peer-reviewed publication warrants more of our attention. Climate change scientists should take note that; recent research into this topic has found that, papers written in a more narrative, storytelling, style make it to the top of the pile.

Picture: Peat samples from the Congo, Credit: Simon Lewis

Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Fiona Roberts

Available now

27 minutes

Last on

Fri 13 Jan 2017 07:32GMT


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Gravitational Waves

Gravitational Waves

Gravity and ripples in the fabric of space time - what do these mean for us?