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時間:2022-08-16 來源:本站 點擊:258次

'We're prepared' to tackle Omicron variant: Biden******


US President Joe Biden speaks about the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in the State Dining Room of the White House on December 21 in Washington, DC.。

President Joe Biden on Tuesday sought to reassure Americans about the country's ability to battle the rapidly spreading Omicron variant, saying it was "prepared" to fight what is now the dominant coronavirus strain in the United States.。

In a televised address, Biden formally announced a raft of new measures to combat the winter surge – including shipping half a billion at-home tests – but denied his administration had failed to adequately prepare for the fresh wave of cases.。

"We should all be concerned about Omicron but not panicked," he said from the White House.。

"This is not March of 2020," he continued. "Two hundred million people are fully vaccinated. We're prepared, we know more. We just have to stay focused."

Biden stressed the country's immunization campaign would help prevent severe cases among the 62 percent of the population now fully vaccinated – while scolding the unvaccinated for failing to uphold their "patriotic duty."

He also urged everyone to get a booster shot in order to increase their level of protection against the highly mutated Omicron strain.。

"Just the other day, former President Trump announced he had gotten his booster shot," said Biden, calling the gesture "maybe one of the few things he and I agree on."

Beyond vaccines, the country's stockpile of medical equipment – including personal protective gear and ventilators – together with greater knowledge about how to tackle the virus without shutting down schools means America was in a far better position as compared with last year, he added.。

Biden announced his administration's plan to combat the surge, including deploying military personnel to hospitals, shipping supplies to hard-hit states and getting new free testing sites up and running.。

The federal government will mobilize 1,000 doctors, nurses and military medical personnel to be deployed across the country as needed in January and February.。

Washington is already sending additional emergency teams to the states of Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona, New Hampshire and Vermont.。

One of the most eye-catching steps was the announcement that the government will ship 500 million at-home tests to Americans who seek them.。

This would bring the United States more in line with fellow rich countries where the tests are widely available for free or at low cost – but the measure would only begin sometime in January.。

'More rapidly than thought'

Biden's administration has come under fire for its failure to be ready for the winter surge, America's fifth wave.。

But getting the virus under control has proved difficult in a country where vaccination and mask-wearing have become divisive political issues, and federal mandates end up in protracted legal battles.。

Biden has attempted to impose vaccine mandates on private businesses and federal employees but has resorted in recent weeks to little more than publicly beseeching people to get their shots.。

At-home tests are currently in scarce supply across the nation while there are long lines at free testing sites in major cities – reminiscent of the pandemic's early days.。

Biden, however, said it was impossible to anticipate the rate of Omicron's spread.。

"What happened was the Omicron virus spread even more rapidly than anybody thought," he told a reporter.。

Asked about the travel ban that was imposed on several southern African nations soon after the existence of the Omicron variant was first reported, he said: "I'm considering reversing it, and I'm going to talk with my team in the next couple of days."

China's service trade up 12.7 pct in Jan.******

BEIJING, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- China's service trade rose 12.7 percent year on year to reach 4.2 trillion yuan (about 659.41 billion U.S. dollars) in the first ten months of the year, the Ministry of Commerce said Thursday.。

Of the total, service exports totalled nearly 2 trillion yuan, up 29 percent year on year, and service imports stood at 2.2 trillion yuan, up 1.1 percent year on year.。

In October alone, the country's service trade registered 413.97 billion yuan, up 24 percent year on year. Enditem。

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Antarctica's 'Doomsday Glacier' could meet its doom within 3 years

Time is melting away for one of Antarctica's biggest glaciers, and its rapid deterioration could end with the ice shelf's complete collapse in just a few years, researchers warned at a virtual press briefing on Monday (Dec. 13) at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).


Thwaites glacier in western Antarctica is the widest glacier on Earth, spanning about 80 miles (120 kilometers) and extending to a depth of about 2,600 to 3,900 feet (800 to 1,200 meters) at its grounding line — where the glacier transitions from a land-attached ice mass to a floating ice shelf in the Amundsen Sea. Thwaites is sometimes referred to as the "Doomsday Glacier," as its collapse could trigger a cascade of glacial collapse in Antarctica, and the latest research from the frozen continent suggests that doomsday may be coming for the dwindling glacier even sooner than expected.


Warming ocean water is not just melting Thwaites from below; it's also loosening the glacier's grip on the submerged seamount below, making it even more unstable. As the glacier weakens, it then becomes more prone to surface fractures that could spread until the entire ice shelf shatters "like a car window" — and that could happen as soon as three years from now, researchers said at AGU, held in New Orleans and online.

海水变暖不仅使思韦茨冰川底部开始融化,同时该冰川的海底冰山部分也开始松动,使其更加不稳定。研究人员在新奥尔良举行的 AGU 会议上表示,随着冰川逐渐消融,它更容易出现表面裂缝,这种裂缝可能会逐渐蔓延,直到整个冰架像汽车车窗玻璃一样破碎,预计这些悲剧将在三年后发生。

Over the last decade, observations of Thwaites showed that the glacier is changing more dramatically than any other ice and ocean system in Antarctica, thanks to human-induced climate change and increased warming in Earth's atmosphere and oceans. Thwaites has already lost an estimated 1,000 billion tons (900 billion metric tons) of ice since 2000; its annual ice loss has doubled in the past 30 years, and it now loses approximately 50 billion tons (45 billion metric tons) more ice than it receives in snowfall per year, according to The International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC).


If Thwaites were to break up entirely and release all its water into the ocean, sea levels worldwide would rise by more than 2 feet (65 centimeters), said ITGC lead coordinator Ted Scambos, one of the presenters at AGU and a senior research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES).

国际思韦茨冰川合作组织调研员,美国地球物理联合会发言人之一,同时也是环境科学研究合作研究所 (CIRES)高级研究员的泰德·斯卡姆波斯称,如果思韦茨冰川完全分解并释放所有海水流入大海,全球海平面将上升65厘米以上。

"And it could lead to even more sea-level rise, up to 10 feet [3 m], if it draws the surrounding glaciers with it," Scambos said in a statement, referring to the weakening effect one ice shelf collapse can have on other nearby glaciers.


Because Thwaites is changing so quickly and could significantly affect global sea-level rise, more than 100 scientists in the United States and the United Kingdom are collaborating on eight research projects to observe the glacier from top to bottom; results from several of those teams were presented at AGU.


Scambos said at the briefing. "We've got a few more years to go to assemble further results and integrate them, so we have a better understanding of this glacier moving forward."


Melt from below


At Thwaites, scientists bored holes through the ice to peer at the ocean hundreds of meters underneath, and other researchers deployed remote-controlled diving robots to study the glacier's grounding zone. They took temperature readings and measured salinity in the ocean, confirming that waters deep under the ice were warm enough to cause significant melt.


Another group of scientists found that tidal activity could interact with the ice overhead to actively pump warm water farther inland through channels that were already carved by melt, thereby accelerating Thwaites' deterioration, said presenter Lizzy Clyne, an adjunct professor at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.


"When you have low tide, the floating ice shelf portion sinks down," Clyne said at AGU. "This acts kind of like a lever, and can actually pull up a section a little bit inland that can pull water in. And then the opposite happens when you have high tide and the water level rises — the floating section rises up." This up-and-down movement, known as tidal pumping, pulls water farther inland and weakens even more of the glacier, Clyne explained.

“当处于海水低潮状态下,浮冰部分下沉,” 克莱因说,“这有点像杠杆,实际上可以将一部分内陆冰川拉起一点,将海水吸入。而海水涨潮时情况正好相反,水位上升,冰川漂浮部分也会上升。”这种冰川上下移动状况被称为‘潮汐泵’,会将海水拉向更远的内陆区域,从而对冰川起到一种融化作用,克莱因解释说。

"Hundreds of icebergs"


Once-solid ice masses on Thwaites that formerly helped to hold the ice shelf together are also breaking down; the glacier's icy "tongue" — a part of the ice shelf that protrudes seaward — on the western side is now "just a loose cluster of icebergs and no longer influences this eastern, more stable section of the ice shelf," according to AGU presenter Erin Pettit, an associate professor of geophysics and glaciology at Oregon State University. When the tongue was more solid, it slowed the flow of the eastern ice shelf toward the ocean. But with the loss of that resistance, the flow of the eastern shelf has shifted over the past 10 years. Cracks are rapidly spreading through the ice, and that portion of the shelf will likely shatter "into hundreds of icebergs" within just a few years, Pettit said.


The effect would be somewhat like that of a car window "where you have a few cracks that are slowly propagating, and then suddenly you go over a bump in your car and the whole thing just starts to shatter in every direction," she said.


While the immediate prognosis is grim for Thwaites' ice shelf, the longterm forecast for the rest of the glacier is less certain. Should the shelf collapse, the glacier's flow will likely accelerate in its rush toward the ocean, with parts of it potentially tripling in speed; other chain reactions could also play a part in driving accelerated ice fracturing and melt, Scambos said at AGU. But the timeframe for those changes will be decades rather than a handful of years, according to the briefing.


Meanwhile the ITGC teams will continue to monitor and analyze changes in the ongoing interplay between glacier, ice shelf and ocean on Thwaites, to help world leaders and policy makers prepare for what comes next.


Chinese scientists discover new dinosaur unearthed in Inner Mongolia******

HOHHOT, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- Chinese paleontologists announced the discovery of a new dinosaur with a unique butterfly-shaped neural arch of the anteriormost dorsal vertebrae, which makes it distinguishable from other troodontids.。

The research team found its holotype in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The holotype consists of a nearly complete cranium, with a total length of 12 cm and fragmentary postcranial bones. Its body length reaches 1 m.。

Pei Rui, the researcher with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the dinosaur, living in the upper Cretaceous period about 83 million to 70 million years ago, was in the subadult stage, which is the key time for both individual development and population evolution.。

The discovery is important for the study on biodiversity of land-living creatures and paleoenvironmental change in Northeast Asia in the Late Cretaceous, Pei added.。

The online version of the discovery was published on "Cretaceous Research" in October. Enditem。

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