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Latest and Breaking Science Policy News

Increased carbon dioxide enhances plankton growth, opposite of what was expected
(Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences) Coccolithophores have been increasing in relative abundance in the North Atlantic over the last 45 years, as carbon input into ocean waters has increased. Their relative abundance has increased 10 times -- an order of magnitude -- during this sampling period. This finding was diametrically opposed to what scientists had expected since coccolithophores make their plates out of calcium carbonate, which is becoming more difficult as the ocean becomes more acidic and pH is reduced.

New metric mapping top 10 European heat waves predicts strong increase in next 2 decades
(Institute of Physics) Scientists have developed a new method to model heat wave magnitude that takes both the duration and the intensity of the heat wave into account. The new metric indicates that a little-studied heat wave in Finland in 1972 had the same extent and magnitude of the 2003 European heat wave that is considered the second strongest heat wave since 1950.The findings are published today, Nov. 27 2015, in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Don't forget plankton in climate change models, says study
(University of Exeter) Globally, phytoplankton absorb as much carbon dioxide as tropical rainforests and so understanding the way they respond to a warming climate is crucial.

Study shows white matter damage caused by 'skunk-like' cannabis
(King's College London) Smoking high potency 'skunk-like' cannabis can damage a crucial part of the brain responsible for communication between the two brain hemispheres, according to a new study by scientists from King's College London and Sapienza University of Rome.

A 'bottom up' approach to managing climate change
(American Association for the Advancement of Science) In advance of next week's United Nations climate meeting in Paris, Allen Fawcett et al. highlight the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, in which various countries have put forward their commitments toward emissions reductions.

Can Paris pledges avert severe climate change?
(DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) A study published in Science today shows that if the emission reductions pledges brought to Paris are implemented and followed by measures of equal or greater ambition, they have the potential to reduce the probability of the highest levels of warming, and increase the probability of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

Peak-end pizza
(Cornell Food & Brand Lab) How does price impact your evaluation of a restaurant meal? Psychologists have long thought that we judge experiences based on their most intense moment (the peak) and the last part of the experience (end). However, a new Cornell study found that this rule can change dramatically depending on how much customers are paying for the experience.

CO2 Modeller brings climate change and emissions targets within touching distance
(University of Southampton) Scientists and computer engineers at the University of Southampton have developed an interactive climate app -- CO2 Modeller -- which can fit in your pocket and help you to gauge the future effects of carbon emissions around key sensitivities of the Earth's climate. The new app, CO2 Modeller, provides an interactive tool to allow anyone -- from members of the public to policy makers -- to explore for themselves the implications of delaying emission reductions on their tablet or smartphone.

Nature Publishing Group releases landmark white paper -- Turning Point: Chinese Science in Transition
(Springer) Nature Publishing Group, part of Springer Nature, today releases Turning Point: Chinese Science in Transition, a white paper which takes the pulse of China's scientific research at a critical time in its development. It is the first report of its kind to be undertaken in China by a global publisher, drawing on quantitative and qualitative data NPG has recently gathered through interviewing and surveying more than 1,700 leading Chinese researchers.

Two-thirds of studies on 'psychosocial' treatments fail to declare conflicts of interest
(University of Cambridge) The creators of commercially sold counseling programs increasingly profit from public health services across the world. However, a new study on the evidence basis for some of the market leaders reveals that serious conflicts of interest across the majority of the research go habitually undisclosed.

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