British researchers are hoping to assemble a database of the 5,000 hill forts spread across Ireland and the U.K. To that end, they are asking residents to provide information about local forts to a website. "There is huge variety in where the hill forts were sited and the materials used to construct them," said Gary Lock, who is co-directing the research. The lion's share of the forts were constructed after 700 B.C., and the largest ones cover as much as 200 acres.
India is struggling to find a way to provide enough drinkable water to satisfy its growing population. The problem is likely to intensify in the coming years, as one study found the country will have to double its water-generation capabilities by 2030. "Not one city in India provides water on an all-day, everyday basis," said World Bank economist Smita Misra.
After tornadoes struck the U.S. in 2011, University of Georgia students and geography professor John Knox used Facebook to track the distance that debris was carried by the storms. One piece of debris traveled 220 miles; multiple other items were carried more than 100 miles each. The study could have important implications if a future tornado were to pick up nuclear waste or some other hazardous material. "[S]omeday we may be worried about material falling from the skies that could cause harm," Knox said. "And we want to know in advance, where in the past these sorts of objects have landed."
Researchers have studied the link between weather patterns and influenza outbreaks. In temperate zones, flu outbreaks tend to coincide with times when temperatures drop and the air gets drier. In warmer areas, however, flu outbreaks tend to correlate with periods when the air is wet. "Nobody has a really good theory for what's going on in the tropics," said geographer James Tamerius, a postdoctoral student at Columbia University.
Researchers have determined that a combination of factors, including climate change and human hunting, likely led to the extinction of woolly mammoths, which died out about 4,000 years ago. "These findings pretty much dispel the idea of any one factor, any one event, as dooming the mammoths," said Glen MacDonald, a geographer at the University of California, Los Angeles. The findings might reveal insights into what current species are dealing with, said MacDonald, who led the research team.