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Weekly Digest (June 22-27, 2020): Top Weather, Environment and Science Stories of the Week

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(Ramoorthy P/ BCCL, TOI, Hyderabad)

Here are the top stories of the week.

News

Monsoon Thunderstorms Claim 107 Lives in Bihar, UP

As monsoon intensifies over the Indo-Gangetic Plains, at least 83 people were killed by lightning in Bihar and another 24 in Uttar Pradesh. Many people were reported to be injured as heavy rain and thunderstorms lashed several areas of north India since the last two days, a government official said. More details here.

Coronavirus

Study Says Recovered COVID-19 Patients Could Lose Up to 90% Immunity in 2-3 Months; Asymptomatic Patients at More Risk

A widespread assumption suggests that once a person infected with novel coronavirus recovers, he/she would acquire the protective immunity against the disease, having developed necessary antibodies against the virus. But, how long will the antibodies last in an individual once infected by the SARS-CoV-2? A study might now have an answer. Find out here!

Fever, Cough the Most Common Signs of COVID-19 Infection Worldwide: Study

Persistent cough and fever have been classified as the two most prevalent symptoms of COVID-19, according to a new study. Out of the 24,410 cases, 78% experienced fever, making it the most common COVID-19 symptom. More findings from this research here.

Space

NASA’s Hubble Telescope Spots Cosmic ‘Bat Wings’ Flapping in Distant Stellar Nursery

The “Bat Shadow” image captured by astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

(NASA, ESA, and STScI)

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, in its latest discovery, has captured marvellous images that resemble a cosmic pair of flapping bat wings. These striking scenes were created by a disk near an emerging star casting its shadow across a cloud within the star-forming region. Watch the video here!

Climate Change

Penguins in Antarctica Happier with Reduced Sea-Ice Conditions Caused by Global Warming, Study Finds

Adélie penguins in Antarctica show a huge preference for the reduced sea-ice conditions caused by global warming, a new study has found. This observed behaviour makes this aquatic bird a rare, unexpected winner of climate change. Full story here.

Searing Arctic: Unprecedented Heat Wave Sweeps North Pole; Temperatures Breach All-Time High

Verkhoyansk, a Siberian small town located in the Arctic Circle, breached the highest temperature record on June 20, 2020. Experts are still verifying the spike in temperature, and once the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) confirms, this will be the hottest on record for the north of the Arctic Circle. More details here.

Pollution

Ozone Surpassed Other Harmful Gases to Become Most Prominent Pollutant During Lockdown: CSE

Back in March, when India went into nationwide lockdown mode to curb the spread of novel coronavirus, an unintended yet favourable side-effect to emerge from it was the drastic fall in air pollution levels across the country. But while the flattening of PM2.5 and NO2 curves made the news, tropospheric ozone pollution rose significantly. Full story here.

Photo-stories

Monsoon Mania: Glimpses of Rain as Monsoon Season Arrives All Across India (PHOTOS)

A girl enjoys first monsoon rains in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.

(Suman Reddy D/TOI, Vijayawada, BCCL)

This year’s monsoon season has officially commenced all across India. While the monsoon showers typically mark their complete countrywide arrival by the first week of July, their onset all over India has occurred much earlier this year, by June 26. To celebrate its arrival, The Weather Channel brings you a glimpse of monsoon rains from across the country. View the photos here.

Rare ‘Ring of Fire’ Solar Eclipse Thrills People Across India (PHOTOS)

June 21, 2020, was a unique day for all astronomy enthusiasts, as it combined the thrill of the solar eclipse with an important annual event of the summer solstice. For the world standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic, the phenomenal celestial event—a ‘Ring of Fire’ eclipse—served a memorable treat. Check out some fascinating photos of the eclipse and how people came together to watch this rare event, here.

International Day of Yoga 2020: Amid COVID-19, India Celebrates Yoga With Enthusiasm and Fervour (PHOTOS)

On June 21, the longest day of the year, as the world joined hands to celebrate International Day of Yoga, the enthusiasm was peaking across India. To witness the true beauty of this incredible celebration symbolising the union of the human body with consciousness, check out some pictures from the global observance here.

Feature

Silent Helpers: 4 Underrated Animals that Protect Our World

While every component of this beautiful nature has its own value, some species, in particular, provide us human beings with some unique ecosystem services and varied, invaluable benefits that make our lives easier without us even realising it. To read about four such underappreciated animals that quietly help humans, click here.

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