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Hurricane intensity linked to warmer oceans
Higher surface temperatures of the world's oceans could be responsible for the big rise in the strength of hurricanes, say US scientists. Using data from six ocean basins in the last 35 years, Carlos Hoyos and colleagues at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta have identified higher surface temperatures as the single most important variable in the increased frequency of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes. The result will doubtless lead to renewed debate over whether global warming is responsible for such extreme weather events (Sciencexpress 1123560).
Inner-ear mystery solved
14 March 2006
Why is the cochlea in our ears shaped like a spiral? According to new work by scientists in the US, the spiral shape makes us more sensitive to low frequency sounds. Daphne Manoussaki of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, together with Emilios Dimitriadis and Richard Chadwick at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, have calculated that the spiral shape can affect the wave mechanics that take place inside the cochlea. It increases the strength of vibrations produced by sound waves, especially at low pitch (Phys. Rev. Lett. 96 088701).