What The 2017 Hurricane Season Means For Global Climate Change

What The 2017 Hurricane Season Means For Global Climate Change

The climate is getting warmer and these storms are getting stronger.
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In a span of three weeks, three hurricanes had made landfall in the Caribbean Islands and The United States. Hurricane Harvey was a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall in Texas on August 25th as the first major hurricane since Wilma in 2005. The cost of damage is predicted to be around $180 billion, making it the costliest hurricane in recorded history.

A week later, Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Caribbean Islands as a Category 5 hurricane, hitting Puerto Rico, Cuba, and decimating the island of Barbuda, making the island practically uninhabitable, and impacting the Florida keys and Tampa area, hitting record floods and becoming one of the most powerful hurricanes ever. Around the same time, Hurricane Jose arrived, another Category 4 that started as a tropical wave west of the African Continent.

With a fourth hurricane, Hurricane Maria, currently plowing through Dominica and Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm, we are witnessing one of the most active hurricane seasons since 2005, and some of the strongest storms on record. According to The Weather Channel's Hurricane Irma tracker, the pressure of the cyclone was as low as 913 mb, making the storm stronger than Hurricane Katrina while it reached speeds of up to 185 mph.

These storms, of course, are natural disasters and are very difficult to handle. Citizens on the shore are warned to evacuate. Houses are boarded and extra food and gas is stored and saved for emergency. However, these storms are getting stronger and stronger and are only a foreshadow of what might come. What is to blame?

The earth is warming. According to NASA, the earth has warmed up by approximately 1.1 degrees Celsius and is continuing to warm up at an exponential rate. Warmer waters are the driving force for hurricanes, and it seems to be apparent during the 2017 hurricane season.

As we get warmer and warmer over the next decade or so, these storms might become stronger than we realize, and Barbuda may not be the only uninhabited island.

Cover Image Credit: Lily Lvnatikk

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.
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The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.


2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.


3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.


4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).


5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.


6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.


7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.


8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.


9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.


10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.


11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.


12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.


13. Goblin Shark


This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.


14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.


15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.


16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.


17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.


18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.


19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.


And finally....


20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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10 Thoughts Of A College Student Who Never Gets A Snow Day, On A Snow Day

Nothing is more exciting than having classes canceled... unless all you have to do is homework.

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On Feb. 3, Bellingham and the WWU campus saw its first snowfall for the year. The minute it started to powder down, I heard buzzing from excited students at the possibility of a snow day.

1. Oh my God, is it sticking? It better stick.

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There's nothing better than watching as the ground turns white. It makes you want to snuggle up with a cup of your favorite warm beverage and watching as the campus turns into a winter wonderland.

2. Do you mean to tell me I have to walk to VC like this?

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No matter the number of layers, 20 degrees is 20 degrees. This particular bout of cold is coming from up north, which means everything is colder than usual. 20 degrees feels more like nine degrees and the walk to the commons seems like an hour rather than five minutes.

3. Classes before 10 a.m. are canceled? What about the ones that START at 10 a.m.?!

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4. Oh hell yes, all classes canceled!

We all got that exciting text from the college announcing that all classes prior to 10 a.m. were canceled, but that left the students that have classes that start at 10 a.m. mad (i.e. myself).

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Then, that next morning, all classes were canceled due to inclement weather and icy roads. If you don't have work, that's a day all to yourself to do nothing but relax, unless…

5. I still have a ton of homework to do.

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Once you're in college, you realize that snow days aren't what they used to be. If you're like me, you probably stayed in a caught up on the homework you definitely didn't do over the weekend and therefore it's not really a day off.

6. How am I going to get to work if the roads are all icy?

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Just because school is canceled doesn't mean work is. Sure, the city might have taken care of the roads, but what happens when the snow melts and then freezes over again? Driving to and from work could be a slip and slide if you're not careful.

7. Why did they get so much more snow back home? Ours is already melting.

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In the lowlands, they got a ton more snow than Bellingham. In the Seattle area, most districts and colleges have closed due to the weather.

8. Sooo…. What about tomorrow?

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Even though the snow day isn't over, you want to know if you'll have the day off tomorrow as well. Maybe you're hoping to avoid a test or a presentation — anything. But alas, classes will resume tomorrow and you'll have to go back to learning.

9. Maybe if I wish hard enough, it'll start to snow again.

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It's possible, right? It's cold enough, surely, that it could snow again and repeat the whole process. Then you can really relax now that you've taken this snow day to get all your homework done.

10. Well, it was nice while it lasted.

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Waking up in the morning to no text isn't what you wanted, but it's what you got. You have to get up and go through the motions again before braving the cold to get to class.

The snow never lasts for long but the few days we do have it are always a nice change of pace — even if snow days aren't building snowmen and sledding anymore.

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