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Ancient Chinese cave drawings could help scientists predict droughts

One of earliest known Chinese rock paintings - Wikipedia

One of earliest known Chinese rock paintings – Wikipedia

Near the Hanjiang River in central China, amid the lush, pine-covered Qinling Mountains that once were dotted with Daoist shrines and where giant pandas now roam, is the Dayu Cave. Its entrance is small, only a few meters high and wide. Inside, a matrix of passageways and chambers branch off from a main tunnel that runs a little more than a mile. The air is humid, and ancient stalagmites swell upward from the cave floor. Climatologist Liangcheng Tan first visited the cave a decade ago and noticed ink inscriptions written on its walls and formations. He figured they were poems and didn’t think much of them, as it is common to find poems that scholars wrote long ago in Chinese caves. But when Tan visited again in 2009, he studied the inscriptions more thoroughly and realized they were drought records dating back half a millennium…


How cities are adapting to climate change

The visit this week of 65 mayors to the Vatican to discuss climate change, among other things, reflects the central role of cities in debates that for too long only took place at the global and national level. By necessity and by their nature, cities are having more success than national or international governments in addressing climate change. Cities house more than half the world’s population, consume 75% of its energy and emit 80% of all greenhouse gasses. But cities are not just sources of problems; they are innovative sites for policy solutions…


Nepal earthquake: Life in camp outside Kathmandu, more than three months after disaster

Back then, the capital was reeling with shock and every conversation revolved around the earthquake. The first question you would ask any stranger was, “Is your family OK?” and then, “How about your house?”. But on my return, Kathmandu appears to be its old bustling, humming self. But there are plenty of reminders of April 25: tall piles of rubble are visible all around the city, especially in the historic UNESCO World Heritage sites that suffered such devastating damage. Where pagodas have been razed, I see people praying upon their foundations, surrounded by bricks and splintered timber…


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