NOAA: Global warming increased odds for Louisiana downpour

WASHINGTON (AP) — Man-made climate change about doubled the chances for the type of heavy downpours that caused devastating Louisiana floods last month, a new federal study finds. Using two different sets of measurements and computer model runs simulating thousands of years, scientists found a clear sign of global warming in the rain that triggered the flooding that killed at least 13 people, damaged 150,000 homes and cost at least $8.7 billion. More than 26 inches of rain fell in one week, with nearly a foot in just one day,…

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Those chirps and chimes in your car have science behind them

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Whether it’s the pleasant greeting when you slide into the driver’s seat or a loud, annoying beep that warns you of an imminent crash, there’s science behind the noises that your car makes. Nearly all automakers have engineers and others assigned to special groups that make sure musical greeting sounds are pleasant and that warnings like forward collision alert are so annoying they get a driver’s attention fast. “It’s critical,” said Sean DeGennaro, a vehicle harmony engineer at Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Michigan. “If we…

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Alaska Has Been Mapped as Precisely as Mars

Alaska is one of the most poorly mapped places on Earth. In fact, topographic maps of Mars and the moon are typically more detailed than those of the Arctic state — until now. This week, the White House, National Science Foundation and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) released the most accurate digital elevation maps of Alaska ever created. After President Barack Obama visited the remote state last year, he passed an executive order to create satellite-based elevation maps of the entire Arctic by 2017, in an effort to track the impact of…

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