Science

Earth had a top 3 warmest March on record, climate agencies find

Global average temperature anomalies for March 2019 compared to the 1951-1980 average.
Global average temperature anomalies in degrees Celsius for March 2019 compared to the 1951-1980 average. Image: NASA GISS.

March may have been unusually cold in parts of the U.S., but globally, average temperatures ticked upward to rank as one of the top 3 warmest Marches on record, new data from climate groups in Europe, Japan and the U.S. shows.

Why it matters: The new data shows that global average temperatures during 2019 are on track to make it another top 5 warmest year, should these trends continue. An El Niño event, featuring unusually warm water in the tropical Pacific Ocean along with an increase in shower and thunderstorm activity near the equator, is helping to add additional heat to the atmosphere.

Scientists revive some brain cells in pigs — four hours after death

Photo of pig brain neuronal activity before and after BrainEx tool is used
Immunofluorescent stains for neurons (green), astrocytes (red), and cell nuclei (blue) in the hippocampal region of pig brains 10 hours after death. On left, left untreated the brain cells show disintegration. On right, BrainEx salvages some activity. Photos: Stefano G. Daniele & Zvonimir Vrselja/Sestan Laboratory/Yale School of Medicine

Scientists have developed a tool they say is able to briefly restore circulation and some brain activity — but not consciousness or global electric functions — in the brains of pigs 4 hours after death.

Why it matters: Researchers hope to eventually have the ability to restore some lost brain functions in humans after injuries or cell death from stroke or diseases. This study, published in Nature Wednesday, offers a new tool likely to enable progress toward that goal. However, it's also expected to pose ethical dilemmas down the road — such as, will we eventually have to redefine the line between life and death?