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CLARIN (Argentina)

Worldcrunch

BUENOS AIRES - The old-growth forests of South America’s Patagonia region are now, more than at any time in the past 600 years, extremely slow growth, according to researchers from Argentina’s National Council of Scientific and Technical Research, or CONICET.

What’s causing the slow down? The scientists point to ozone depletion in the atmosphere above Antarctica, the Argentine daily Clarín reports.

The infamous hole in the ozone layer, the CONICET researchers argue, has shifted weather patterns in Patagonia, a wilderness region that covers both sides of the border in southern Chile and Argentina. The changes have resulted in less rainfall for northern Patagonia, whose forests depend on high levels of moisture.

The growth slow-down is affecting several species of tree, including Patagonia’s iconic Alerce (Fitzroya cupressoides), an endangered species that also goes by the name Patagonian Cyprus. Like its Northern Hemisphere cousin, the Redwood, Alerce trees can live for millennia. Also affected are Araucaria araucana, or Monkey Puzzle trees, an extremely old species of evergreen considered to be a “living fossil.”

The Monkey Puzzle tree, a "living fossile" - Photo: Benjamin Witte

Still the phenomenon requires further study, for the same researchers found that forests in mountainous regions of New Zealand and Tasmania (in southern Australia), areas that are on roughly the same latitude as Patagonia, are currently experiencing an accelerated growth spurt not seen since the 1700s.

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War In Ukraine, Day 226: 'Armageddon,' 'Preemptive Strikes'  — A New Spiral Of Nuclear Warnings

“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis,” U.S. President Joe Biden declared.

U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 6

In less than 24 hours, new warnings and threats have heated up around the use of nuclear weapons.

U.S. President Joe Biden said during a Democratic fundraiser in New York Thursday evening that Vladimir Putin’s threats to use tactical nuclear weapons must be taken very seriously.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis,” Biden said. “He is not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological and chemical weapons, because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming. I don’t think there’s any such thing as the ability to easily [use] tactical nuclear weapons and not end up with Armageddon.”

Meanwhile, the Russian government accused Volodymyr Zelensky of trying to provoke a nuclear war after his video comments at an event at the Lowy Institute in Australia. The Ukrainian president said he believed in the need for pre-emptive strikes and stated that NATO should make it impossible for Russia to use nuclear weapons. “We need pre-emptive strikes, so that they’ll know what will happen to them if they use nukes, and not the other way around,” Zelensky said via video link. “Don’t wait for Russia’s nuclear strikes, and then say, ‘Oh, since you did this, take that from us!’”

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