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Ice Age relic at risk from warmer temps

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- U.S. conservationists said they're studying musk ox to determine how the relics of the Ice Age may be affected by climate change.

The Wildlife Conservation Society -- working with the National Park Service, U. S. Geological Survey and Alaska Fish and Game -- has equipped six musk ox with GPS collars as part of a four-year study to determine the extent to which weather, disease and predation may be driving populations, the WCS said Friday in a release.

"Musk ox are a throwback to our Pleistocene heritage and once shared the landscape with mammoths, wild horses and sabered cats," study leader Joel Berger, a professor at the University of Montana, said in a statement. "They may also help scientists understand how arctic species can or cannot adapt to climate change."


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Changing jet streams may alter storm paths

STANFORD, Calif. (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say changes in the Earth's jet streams, possibly caused by global warming, might affect storm paths and intensity, including hurricanes.

Jet streams -- high-altitude bands of fast-moving winds -- are shifting, said Carnegie Institution researchers Ken Caldeira and Cristina Archer. They found that from 1979 to 2001, the jet streams in both hemispheres rose in altitude and shifted toward the poles. At the same time, northern hemisphere jet streams weakened.

Since jet streams are the driving factor for weather conditions, said Archer, changes in the jets have the potential to affect large populations and major climate systems.

Caldeira and Archer, from Carnegie's Department of Global Ecology in Stanford, Calif., said hurricanes' development tends to be inhibited by jet streams. Therefore hurricanes might become more powerful and more frequent as the jet streams move away from sub-tropical zones where hurricanes are born.

The scientists sa…