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Tuesday, Oct 04th

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Revealed: US water likely contains more ‘forever chemicals’ than EPA tests show

Forever chemicals in water

A Guardian analysis of water samples from around the United States shows that the type of water testing relied on by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is so limited in scope that it is probably missing significant levels of PFAS pollutants.

The undercount leaves regulators with an incomplete picture of the extent of PFAS contamination and reveals how millions of people may be facing an unknown health risk in their drinking water.

The analysis checked water samples from PFAS hot spots around the country with two types of tests: an EPA-developed method that detects 30 types of the approximately 9,000 PFAS compounds, and another that checks for a marker of all PFAS.

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Snow at one of world’s highest observatories melting earlier than ever before

Snow melting earlier than ever at observatory

The snow at the highest observatory in the world to be operated all-year-round is expected to completely melt in the next few days, the earliest time on record.

Scientists at the Sonnblick observatory in the Austrian Central Alps, which is 3,106 metres (10,190ft) above sea level, have been shocked and dismayed to see the snow depleting so quickly.

Some years the peak is covered in snow all summer. But this year it has melted more than a month before the previous record time, which was 13 August in 1963 and 2003.

Alexander Orlik, a climatologist at the Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, said: “The snow depth today was 3cm. I expect it to be completely gone by today or the day after. It is not usual for the snow to melt completely down. In some years the snow cover is there the whole summer. But the earliest it has before is August.”

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Methane leak at Russian mine could be largest ever discovered

Methane leak at Russian mine

Possibly the world’s biggest leak of methane has been discovered coming from a coalmine in Russia, which has been pouring out the carbon dioxide equivalent of five coal-fired power stations.

About 90 tonnes an hour of methane were being released from the mine in January, when the gas was first traced to its source, according to data from GHGSat, a commercial satellite monitoring company based in Canada. Sustained over the course of a year, this would produce enough natural gas to power 2.4m homes.

More recently, the mine appears to be leaking at a lower rate, of about a third of the highest rate recorded in January, but the leak is thought to have been active for at least six months before January’s survey.

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Arizona’s emergency services brace for temperatures above 110F as deaths mount

Arizona's emergency as temp. goes to 110 degrees F

A dangerous heatwave is due to scorch large swaths of Arizona for the rest of the week, triggering the first extreme heat warning of the year as temperatures in Phoenix are forecast to top 113F (45C) on three consecutive days.

Day and nighttime temperatures are expected to reach 7F to 10F (4C to 6C) above normal for this time of the year, which could drive a surge in medical emergencies and deaths as people struggle to stay cool amid soaring energy prices and rising homelessness.

Extreme heat is America’s leading weather-related killer, and Phoenix, in Maricopa county, is the deadliest city.

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Tropical Storm Ida, 'strongest storm of the season,' could rapidly strengthen into major hurricane

Tropical storm IddaTropical Storm Ida formed in the Caribbean Sea on Thursday, and forecasters are warning it could rapidly strengthen into one of the strongest storms of the Atlantic hurricane season.

The system is taking aim at the U.S. Gulf Coast, but conditions appear right for the storm to cause extreme weather for inland regions as well, according to a Thursday afternoon AccuWeather briefing. Senior meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said parts of Tennessee still reeling from deadly floods are at risk for more heavy rain.

The storm is shaping up to be "probably be the strongest storm of the season thus far,” Kottlowski said. It could make landfall before the end of the weekend as a hurricane, giving people in its path little time to prepare or evacuate, Kottlowski said.

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Climate crisis: world is at its hottest for at least 12,000 years – study

Climate crisis: world at its hottestThe planet is hotter now than it has been for at least 12,000 years, a period spanning the entire development of human civilisation, according to research.

Analysis of ocean surface temperatures shows human-driven climate change has put the world in “uncharted territory”, the scientists say. The planet may even be at its warmest for 125,000 years, although data on that far back is less certain.

The research, published in the journal Nature, reached these conclusions by solving a longstanding puzzle known as the “Holocene temperature conundrum”. Climate models have indicated continuous warming since the last ice age ended 12,000 years ago and the Holocene period began. But temperature estimates derived from fossil shells showed a peak of warming 6,000 years ago and then a cooling, until the industrial revolution sent carbon emissions soaring.

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U.S. to Remove Wolves From Protected Species List

Wolves to drop from endangered list

Gray wolves, one of the first animals shielded by the Endangered Species Act after Americans all but exterminated them in the lower 48 states, will no longer receive federal protection, officials announced Thursday.

“After more than 45 years as a listed species, the gray wolf has exceeded all conservation goals for recovery,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement.

Environmentalists condemned the decision as dangerously premature and vowed to take the Fish and Wildlife Service back to court, where they have successfully blocked previous attempts to strip wolves of federal protections. “Wolves just occupy a fraction of their former range,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and chief executive of Defenders of Wildlife, an environmental group. “There’s so much work that needs to be done.”

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