Science Monday, May 28, 2012
■ Temperatures in the Colorado Rockies are expected to rise by, on average, about 5 degrees Fahrenheit by 2070. The shift would be most significant during the summers when temperatures would rise by about 6.28 degrees, according to Ohio State University researchers who were able to combine different climate models to project future temperatures in various regions of the continent. Continent-wide, average land temperatures would rise about 4.5 degrees, they found, which lines up with previous projections.
■ Rural housing is closing in on some national parks, as population densities in adjacent lands grew by an average of 224 percent between 1940 and 2000. The trend was most pronounced outside Mojave National Preserve (3,092 percent), the parks along the Colorado River (2,962 percent) and Everglades National Park/Big Cypress National Park (2,473 percent). Population density around Yellowstone grew 246 percent over those six decades, according to the study by Montana State University researchers.
■ Though climate change will initially benefit grasslands, over the longer term plants in these ecosystems will not absorb nitrogen as efficiently, and warmer-climate species will crowd out native species. The findings, based on a decade-long study by researchers at Northern Arizona University, challenge previous studies that have predicted improved nitrogen absorption and generally booming plant growth under climate-change scenarios.
■ Subjects in a study led by Belgian researchers were shown upside-down images of men and women wearing underwear and in sexy poses and then, a second later, two right-side-up images. They were asked to choose which of those two was the upside-down person they had just seen. The subjects, both men and women, had an easier time recognizing the right-side-up images of the women than those of the men. Psychologists have previously found that pictures of people are generally more difficult to recognize when turned upside-down, leading the researchers to conclude that people see sexualized images of women, such as those on movie posters or beer billboards, as objects, while sexualized images of men are seen as people. The next step, they said, is to study the relationship between these images and how people treat real women.