A record-breaking heat wave is currently gripping India, killing hundreds, with temperatures hot enough to liquefy asphalt.

"As of now, we don’t predict any respite from the extreme heatwave for the next few days," reports a spokesman from India’s Meteorological Department, B. P. Yadav. They expect to see temperatures in excess of 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) over the next few days, and have issued multiple heat warnings to the affected states.
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The US West Coast is suffering a catastrophic drought. The eastern half of the country has just experienced one of the worst winters ever recorded. Now scientists at think they have at least a partial answer that explains both situations: a huge mass of unusually warm water that has formed in the Pacific Ocean off the West Coast. It prevents winter storms from moving south from the arctic as they normally do, and thus there is no rain along the west coast and, most importantly, no snow in the mountains. So, is it permanent or temporary?
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A few weeks ago, Unknown Country reported that NASA were investing millions of dollars into a new laser-based instrument, located on the International Space Station,  which is intended to provide a unique 3-D view of Earth’s forests. The focus of its mission is to provide definitive information about the role of forests in the carbon cycle, and as such, in global warming.

The laser, known as the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) lidar, the instrument will be the first to systematically probe the depths of the forests from space, and assess how they affect our weather systems and other ecosystems.
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