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Russia islands emergency over polar bear ‘invasion’

Image copyright PA Image caption Polar bears are forced on to land to look for food as sea ice diminishes A remote Russian region has declared a state of emergency over the appearance of dozens of polar bears in its human settlements, local officials say. Authorities in the Novaya Zemlya islands, home to a few thousand people, said there were cases of bears attacking people and entering residential and public buildings. Polar bears are affected by climate change and are increasingly forced on to land to look for food. Russia…

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Polar vortex death toll rises to 21 as US cold snap continues

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionChicago is using fire to melt snow on the railway and keep the trains running At least 21 people have died in one of the worst cold snaps to hit the US Midwest in decades. Ninety million people – a third of the US – have seen temperatures of -17C (0F) or below. Some 250 million Americans overall have experienced the “polar vortex” conditions. Hospitals have been treating patients reporting frostbite as parts of the country ground to a halt. Temperatures are…

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Science 

Polar vortex: What is it and how does it happen?

The deep freeze gripping much of the US has been blamed on a polar vortex. It’s brought extremely low temperatures to parts of North America, with people in Chicago experiencing temperatures of -30C (-22F) – colder than parts of Antarctica. The US National Weather Service is warning that frostbite is possible within just 10 minutes of being outside in such extreme temperatures, and hundreds of schools, colleges and universities in the affected areas have been closed. But how exactly did all that happen? Weatherman Tomasz Schafernaker put on his winter…

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Polar vortex: Ice quakes, burning railways and other quirky effects

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionPolar vortex brings extreme cold for US The icy winds of the polar vortex have set millions of Americans’ teeth chattering, blowing in a flurry of quirky results, from “frost quakes” to burning railway tracks. Here are some of the more unusual consequences. Frost quakes Cryoseisms – also known as “frost quakes” – have been reported by Ohio and Pennsylvania residents who have been hearing loud booms from the ground. The quakes are caused when large amounts of moisture settle into the…

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Polar vortex brings deadly cold snap to US states

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionPolar vortex brings extreme cold for US Deadly cold weather has brought what meteorologists call a “once-in-a-generation” deep freeze to large areas of the US. Forecasters say temperatures over the next few days will go as low as -30C in the Midwest, with wind chill making it feel even colder. At least five people are reported to have been killed across several states as a direct result of the cold weather. Snow is expected to fall as far south as Alabama and…

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History-making polar bear cub Hamish turns one

Image copyright RZSS Image caption Hamish was born at the Highland Wildlife Park in the Cairngorms last December The first polar bear cub to be born in the UK in 25 years has turned one. Hamish shares an enclosure with his mother Victoria at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig, near Aviemore, in the Cairngorms. Park staff have marked his birthday by giving him treats encased in an ice block and food hidden inside cardboard boxes. Image copyright RZSS Image caption Hamish peeking round one…

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Science 

Nasa’s Jupiter mission Juno reveals giant polar storms

Image copyright NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran Image caption People have downloaded the raw images of Jupiter and processed them, often revealing new details of its surface Nasa’s Juno mission to the gas giant Jupiter has reached its halfway mark and has revealed new views of cyclones at the poles. As it orbits the planet every 53 days – Juno performs a science-gathering dive, speeding from pole to pole. Its sensors take measurements of the composition of the planet, in an effort to decipher…

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Polar bear shot dead after attacking cruise ship guard

Image caption An estimated 3,000 polar bears enjoy Svalbard’s icy climes A polar bear has been shot dead after it attacked a cruise ship guard on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, within the Arctic Circle. The guard suffered non-life-threatening head injuries and is said to be in a stable condition. He was assigned to protect tourists who had landed on Svalbard’s northernmost island from the MS Bremen, which is operated by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. The German cruise company said a second guard shot the bear “in self-defence”. The injured man was airlifted to…

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