Italian sailors knew of America 150 years before Christopher Columbus, new analysis of ancient documents suggests
#ItalianHometown; #ChristopherColumbus; #NorthAmerica; #TerraeIncognitae
Milan (Italy)/New analysis of ancient writings suggests that sailors from the Italian hometown of Christopher Columbus knew of America 150 years before its renowned 'discovery'.
Image Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain
Transcribing and detailing a, circa, 1345 document by a Milanese friar, Galvaneus Flamma, Medieval Latin literature expert Professor Paolo Chiesa has made an "astonishing" discovery of an "exceptional" passage referring to an area we know today as North America.
According to Chiesa, the ancient essay—first discovered in 2013—suggests that sailors from Genoa were already aware of this land, recognizable as 'Markland'/ 'Marckalada' – mentioned by some Icelandic sources and identified by scholars as part of the Atlantic coast of North America (usually assumed to be Labrador or Newfoundland).
Published in the peer-reviewed journal Terrae Incognitae, the discovery comes ahead of Columbus Day 2021, alternatively celebrated as Indigenous Peoples' Day across many states in the US. The findings add more fuel to the fire for the continuing question of 'what, exactly, did Columbus expect to find when he set out across the ocean?' and come following a period in which his statues have been beheaded, covered with red paint, lassoed around the head and pulled down, set on fire and thrown into a lake.
"We are in the presence of the first reference to the American continent, albeit in an embryonic form, in the Mediterranean area," states Professor Chiesa, from the Department of Literary Studies, Philology and Linguistics at the University of Milan.
Galvaneus was a Dominican friar who lived in Milan and was connected to a family which held at the lordship of the city.
He wrote several literary works in Latin, mainly on historical subjects. His testimony is valuable for information on Milanese contemporary facts, about which he has first-hand knowledge.
Cronica universalis, which is analyzed here by Chiesa, is thought to be one of his later works—perhaps the last one—and was left unfinished and unperfected. It aims to detail the history of the whole world, from 'Creation' to when it was published.
In translating and analyzing the document, Professor Chiesa demonstrates how Genoa would have been a "gateway" for news, and how Galvaneus appears to hear, informally, of seafarers' rumors about lands to the extreme north-west for eventual commercial benefit—as well as information about Greenland, which he details accurately (for knowledge of the time).
Overall, Professor Chiesa says, we should "trust" Cronica universalis as throughout the document Galvaneus declares where he has heard of oral stories, and backs his claims with elements drawn from accounts (legendary or real) belonging to previous traditions on different lands, blended together and reassigned to a specific place.
"I do not see any reason to disbelieve him," states Professor Chiesa, who adds, "it has long been noticed that the fourteenth-century portolan (nautical) charts drawn in Genoa and in Catalonia offer a more advanced geographical representation of the north, which could be achieved through direct contacts with those regions.
Cronica universalis, written in Latin, is still unpublished; however, an edition is planned, in the context of a scholarly and educational program promoted by the University of Milan.
#Archaology; #FootPrints; #WhiteSandsNationalPark; #NewMexico
New Mexico/Canadian-Media: Footprints found at White Sands National Park in New Mexico provide the earliest unequivocal evidence of human activity in the Americas and offer insight into life over 23,000 years ago, phys.org/news reports said.
Thomas Urban conducts a magnetometer survey of mammoth footprints at White Sands. Image Credit: David Bustos / Cornell University
The footprints were formed in soft mud on the margins of a shallow lake that now forms part of Alkali Flat, a large playa at White Sands. Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey dated these tracks using radiocarbon dating of seed layers above and below the footprint horizons. The dates range in age and confirm human presence over at least two millennia with the oldest tracks dating from around 23,000 years ago, which corresponds to the height of the last glacial cycle — making them the oldest known human footprints in the Americas.
The research, published in Science on Sept. 24, was conducted by scientists from Cornell, Bournemouth University, the National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the University of Arizona. The tracks at White Sands were first discovered by David Bustos, resources manager at the park.
In order to investigate the site, the team pioneered non-invasive geophysical techniques led by Thomas Urban, a research scientist in the College of Arts and Sciences, and with the Cornell Tree Ring Laboratory.
Footprints found at White Sands National Park in New Mexico, providing the earliest evidence of human activity in the Americas. Credit: Cornell University
“Detection and imaging with nondestructive technology have greatly expanded our capacity to study these remarkable footprints in their broader context,” Urban said. “Now we have a unique window into life during the Pleistocene in North America, and this new study provides the first unequivocal evidence of a sustained human presence in the Americas thousands of years earlier than most archeologists thought was likely.”
The footprints tell an interesting tale of what life was like at this time, say the researchers. Judging by their size, the tracks were left mainly by teenagers and younger children, with the occasional adult. Animal tracks — mammoth, giant ground sloth, dire wolves, and birds — are present as well.
“It is an important site because all of the trackways we’ve found there show an interaction of humans in the landscape alongside extinct animals,” said co-author Sally Reynolds of Bournemouth University. “We can see the coexistence between humans and animals on the site as a whole, and by being able to accurately date these footprints, we’re building a greater picture of the landscape.”
Traditional archeology relies on the discovery of bones and tools but can often be difficult to interpret. Human footprints provide unequivocal evidence of the presence and also of behavior. It was previously thought that humans entered America closer to 16,000 years ago, after the melting of the North American ice sheets, which opened up migration routes. However, the footprints show a much earlier migration of humans into the Americas.
“The footprints left at White Sands give a picture of what was taking place, teenagers interacting with younger children and adults,” said Matthew Bennett, Bournemouth University, who helped lead the study. “We can think of our ancestors as quite functional, hunting and surviving, but what we see here is also activity of play, and of different ages coming together. A true insight into these early people.”
#Skis; #NorwegianArchaeologists; #mountaintop
New York/Canadian-Media: A lone wooden ski on a mountaintop, where it had been trapped in ice for 1300 years was found by Norwegian archaeologists in 2014. The ski made from birch rope and leather straps was well preserved down to an intact binding. As skis come in pairs, archaeologists monitored the ice patch for summertime thaws that might reveal the other one. Seven years later, their patience has paid off: In late September, a team found the second ski (pictured), 187 centimeters long and 17 centimeters wide, partially embedded in melting ice just 5 meters away from the first find spot.
Museum of Cultural History, Oslo. Image credit: https://www.science.org
The find makes this the best preserved prehistoric pair of skis on record, the scientists announced today. Ski fragments and rock art depicting skis have been found dating as far back as 6000 B.C.E., but never with intact bindings that show how the skis were used.
The skis, which would have been used as wintertime transportation tools, were extensively repaired, a sign they were too valuable to easily replace. They’re not identical, suggesting a set cobbled together from other pairs. And although researchers once thought the skis might have been lined with fur on the bottom for grip going uphill, a wide groove running down the center of the newly recovered ski would have no purpose if it was covered—suggesting fur wasn’t part of the design.
The find leaves one big question: What happened to their owner? Perhaps, the long-ago skier took them off to hunt and lost them in the snow, the researchers speculate. Or maybe an early skiing accident left the hunter too injured to descend to safety from the frozen heights. In that case, the ice might hold yet more surprises.
#PlantingForests; #NaturalClimateSolutions; #clouds; #CoolThePlanets
Toronto/Canadian-Media: Planting trees and replenishing forests are among the simplest and most appealing natural climate solutions, but the impact of trees on atmospheric temperature is more complex than meets the eye.
The researchers used satellite images to calculate the long-term cloud cover over regions in the 30-45 degree latitudinal range based on how different types of vegetation interact with the atmospheric boundary. They found that clouds form more frequently over forested areas and had a greater cooling effect on Earth’s atmosphere. In this image, black dots represent forested areas, while green dots represent grasslands and other short vegetation. Areas are shaded from cloudiest (white) to least cloudy (brown). Image Credit: Amilcare Porporato.
One question among scientists is whether reforesting midlatitude locations such as North America or Europe could in fact make the planet hotter. Forests absorb large amounts of solar radiation as a result of having a low albedo, which is the measure of a surface's ability to reflect sunlight. In the tropics, low albedo is offset by the higher uptake of carbon dioxide by the dense, year-round vegetation. But in temperate climates, the concern is that the sun's trapped heat could counteract any cooling effect forests would provide by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
But a new study from Princeton University researchers found that these concerns may be overlooking a crucial component--clouds. They report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the denser cloud formations associated with forested areas means that reforestation would likely be more effective at cooling Earth's atmosphere than previously thought.
"The main thing is that nobody has known whether planting trees at midlatitudes is good or bad because of the albedo problem," said corresponding author Amilcare Porporato, Princeton's Thomas J. Wu '94 Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the High Meadows Environmental Institute. "We show that if one considers that clouds tend to form more frequently over forested areas, then planting trees over large areas is advantageous and should be done for climate purposes."
As anyone who has felt a cloud pass over the sun on a hot day knows, daytime clouds have a cooling—albeit transient—effect on the Earth. In addition to directly blocking the sun, clouds have a high albedo, similar to ice and snow. Clouds, however, are notoriously difficult to study and have been largely discounted from many studies examining the effectiveness of natural climate change mitigation, including reforestation, Porporato said.
To consider reforestation in the context of cloud coverage, Porporato worked with lead author Sara Cerasoli, a Princeton graduate student in civil and environmental engineering, and Jun Ying, an assistant professor at Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology who previously was a postdoctoral fellow in Porporato's research group. Their work was supported by the Carbon Mitigation Initiative based in HMEI.
Porporato and Yin previously reported that climate models underestimate the cooling effect of the daily cloud cycle. They also reported last year that climate change could result in increased daily cloud coverage in arid regions such as the American Southwest that are currently ideal for solar power production.
For the latest study, Cerasoli, Porporato and Yin investigated the influence of vegetation on cloud formation in midlatitude regions by combining satellite data of cloud coverage from 2001-10 with models related to the interaction between plants and the atmosphere.
The researchers modeled interactions between different types of vegetation and the atmospheric boundary layer—which is the lowest layer of the atmosphere and interacts directly with the Earth's surface—to determine whether cloud formation is differentially affected by vegetation type. They focused on regions in the 30-45 degree latitudinal range, roughly from the subtropics to the hemiboreal zones such as the northern Midwestern United States. They considered the effects of both reforestation—restoring lost tree cover—and afforestation, which entails planting forests in areas that were previously treeless, though this may come with other environmental costs.
The team found that for midlatitude regions, the cooling effect of clouds—in combination with that of carbon sequestration—outweighed the solar radiation that forested areas absorbed.
The models showed that clouds form more frequently over forested areas than over grasslands and other areas with short vegetation, and that this enhanced cloud formation had a cooling effect on Earth's atmosphere. The researchers observed from the satellite data that clouds also tend to form earlier in the afternoon over forested areas, which results in a longer duration of cloud cover and more time for clouds to reflect solar radiation away from the Earth.
The findings could help develop policies for allocating land for reforestation and agriculture—wetter midlatitudinal areas such as the eastern United States or southeastern China are well-suited to reforestation and afforestation, but also are appealing for agriculture. One approach would be to pair midlatitudinal reforestation with the distribution of drought-tolerant crops for regions less suited to reforestation, the study authors reported.
However, the authors urged that we must be cautious when making the leap from science to policy. "We can't just consider climate change, but must also consider other factors, such as biodiversity and the fact that land is also needed for food production," Cerasoli said. "Future studies should continue to consider the role of clouds, but should focus on more specific regions and take their economies into account."
#Archaeology; #Rome; #RareStone; #Discovery
New York/Canadian-Media: Archaeologists have discovered a rare stone delineating the city limits of ancient Rome that dates from the age of Emperor Claudius in 49 A.D. and was found during excavations for a new sewage system, https://phys.org/news reported.
Photographers take pictures during the presentation to the press of an archeological finding emerged during the excavations at a Mausoleum in Rome, Friday, July 16, 2021. The monumental pomerial stone is dating back to Roman Emperor Claudio and was used to mark the 'pomerium' the sacred boundaries of the 'Urbe', the city of Rome, during the Roman empire. Image Credit: AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis
Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi was on hand for the unveiling Friday of the pomerial stone, a huge slab of travertine that was used as a sacred, military and political perimeter marking the edge of the city proper with Rome's outer territory.
It was found June 17 during excavations for a rerouted sewer under the recently restored mausoleum of Emperor Augustus, right off the central Via del Corso in Rome's historic center.
In ancient Rome, the area of the pomerium was a consecrated piece of land along the city walls, where it was forbidden to farm, live or build and through which it was forbidden to enter with weapons.
At a press conference in the Ara Pacis museum near the mausoleum, Claudio Parisi Presicce, director of the Archaeological Museums of Rome, said the stone had both civic and symbolic meaning.
"The founding act of the city of Rome starts from the realization of this 'pomerium,''' he said of the consecrated area. The stone features an inscription that allowed archaeologists to date it to Claudius and the expansion of the pomerium in 49 A.D., which established Rome's new city limits.
Raggi noted that only 10 other stones of this kind had been discovered in Rome, the last one 100 years ago.
"Rome never ceases to amaze and always shows off its new treasures," she said.
The stone will be on display at the Ara Pacis museum, the Richard Meier-designed home of a 1st century altar until the Augustus museum opens.
#YukonTerritory; #Canada; #cellularLifeInEarth; #graptolites; #lowOxygen; #plantLife
Yukon/Canadian-Media: Hundreds of millions of years ago, in the middle of what would eventually become Canada's Yukon Territory, an ocean swirled with armored trilobites, clam-like brachiopods and soft, squishy creatures akin to slugs and squid, in Science Advances publication reported.
A trove of fossils and rock layers formed on that ancient ocean floor have now been unearthed by an international team of scientists along the banks of the Peel River a few hundred miles south of the Arctic's Beaufort Sea. The discovery reveals oxygen changes at the seafloor across nearly 120 million years of the early Paleozoic era, a time that fostered the most rapid development and diversification of complex, multi-cellular life in Earth's history.
Ordovician black shales of the Mount Hare Formation, Road River Group (approximately 465 million years old) rise above conglomerates of the Aberdeen Member. The dangerous rapids of Aberdeen Canyon (Nan Zhak Nadhàdlaii), created by the Peel River cutting through the resistant conglomerates, appear at bottom left. Credit: Erik Sperling
Oxygen was scarce in the deep water of this and other oceans at the dawn of the Paleozoic, roughly 541 million years ago. It stayed scarce until the Devonian, roughly 405 million years ago, when, in a geological blink—no more than a few million years—oxygen likely rocketed to levels close to those in modern oceans and the diversity of life on Earth exploded. Big, predatory fish appeared. Primitive ferns and conifers marched across continents previously ruled by bacteria and algae. Dragonflies took flight. And all of this after nearly four billion years of Earth's landscapes being virtually barren.
Scientists have long debated what might have caused the dramatic shift from a low oxygen world to a more oxygenated one that could support a diverse web of animal life. But until now, it has been difficult to pin down the timing of global oxygenation or the long-term, background state of the world's oceans and atmosphere during the era that witnessed both the so-called Cambrian explosion of life and the first of Earth's "Big Five" mass extinctions, about 445 million years ago at the end of the Ordovician.
"In order to make comparisons throughout these huge swaths of our history and understand long-term trends, you need a continuous record," said Sperling, an assistant professor of geological sciences at Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth).
Context for past life
With permission from the Na Cho Nyak Dun and Tetlit Gwitch'in communities in Yukon, Sperling's team, which included researchers from Dartmouth College and the Yukon Geological Survey, spent three summers at the Peel River site. Arriving by helicopter, the research team hacked through brush with machetes beside Class VI rapids to collect hundreds of fist-sized samples of rock from more than a mile of interbedded layers of shale, chert and lime mudstone.
Back at Sperling's lab at Stanford, a small army of summer undergraduates and graduate students worked over five summers to help analyze the fossils and chemicals entombed in the rocks. "We spent a lot of time splitting open rocks and looking at graptolite fossils," Sperling said. Because graptolites evolved a vast array of recognizable body shapes relatively quickly, the pencil-like markings left by the fossils of these colony-dwelling sea creatures give geologists a way to date the rocks in which they're found.
Once the researchers had finished identifying and dating graptolite fossils, they ground the rocks in a mill, then measured iron, carbon, phosphorous and other elements in the resulting powder to assess the ocean conditions at the time and place where the layers formed. They analyzed 837 new samples from the Peel River site, as well as 106 new samples from other parts of Canada and 178 samples from around the world for comparison.
Winners and losers
The data show low oxygen levels, or anoxia, likely persisted in the world's oceans for millions of years longer than previously thought—well into the Phanerozoic, when land plants and early animals began to diversify. "The early animals were still living in a low oxygen world," Sperling said. Contrary to long-held assumptions, the scientists found Paleozoic oceans were also surprisingly free of hydrogen sulfide, a respiratory toxin often found in the anoxic regions of modern oceans.
When oxygen eventually did tick upward in marine environments, it came about just as larger, more complex plant life took off. "There's a ton of debate about how plants impacted the Earth system," Sperling said. "Our results are consistent with a hypothesis that as plants evolved and covered the Earth, they increased nutrients to the ocean, driving oxygenation." In this hypothesis, the influx of nutrients to the sea would have given a boost to primary productivity, a measure of how quickly plants and algae take carbon dioxide and sunlight, turn them into new biomass—and release oxygen in the process.
#ArcheologicalScience; #ForensicTechniques; #3000YearOldSharkAttackVictim; #SeaOfJapaneseArchipelago; #KyotoUniversity
London (England)/Canadian-Media: Discovery of a 3,000-year-old victim—attacked by a shark in the Seto Inland Sea of the Japanese archipelago was revealed by Oxford-led researchers that was published in Journal of Archeological Science: Reports, phys.org reported last month.
Original excavation photograph of Tsukumo No. 24, courtesy of the Laboratory of Physical Anthropology, Kyoto University. Image Credit: Kyoto University
According to the research, this body is the earliest direct evidence for a shark attack on a human.
A careful recreation of the event was produced by an international research team using a combination of archeological science and forensic techniques.
Oxford researchers at Kyoto University, Schulting, J. Alyssa White and Professor Rick investigated evidence for violent trauma on the skeletal remains of prehistoric hunter-gatherers and continued,
"The injuries were mainly confined to the arms, legs, and front of the chest and abdomen. Through a process of elimination, we ruled out human conflict and more commonly-reported animal predators or scavengers," phys.org reported last month.
Since archeological cases of shark reports are extremely rare, they turned to forensic shark attack cases for clues and worked with expert George Burgess, Director Emeritus of the Florida Program for Shark Research.
The team came to the conclusion that the individual died more than 3,000 years ago, between 1370 to 1010 BC. The distribution of wounds strongly suggest the victim was alive at the time of attack; his left hand was sheared off, possibly a defense wound.
Excavation records showed he was also missing his right leg and his left leg was placed on top of his body in an inverted position and the pair was able to conclude that he was the victim of a shark attack and added,
"based on the character and distribution of the tooth marks, the most likely species responsible was either a tiger or white shark," reported by phys.org last month.
Co-author Dr. Mark Hudson, a researcher with the Max Planck Institute, says,
"The Neolithic people of Jomon Japan exploited a range of marine resources... It's not clear if Tsukumo 24 was deliberately targeting sharks or if the shark was attracted by blood or bait from other fish. Either way, this find not only provides a new perspective on ancient Japan, but is also a rare example of archeologists being able to reconstruct a dramatic episode in the life of a prehistoric community," phys.org reported last month.
#AntarcticaSoil; #NoSignsOfLife; #RedPlanet; #NationalGeographic; #Biogeosciences
New York/Canadian-Media: Antarctica's pair of mountains, literally the loneliest place in the world contained no signs life, not even bacteria or fungi at the top of these freezing peaks, National Geographic reports said.
Antarctic soil. Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre. www.sciencemag.org
A team of researchers analyzed collection of soil samples by testing for the presence of DNA , and found no signs of life in soil from the mountains.
These findings were reported last month in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences.
Once confirmed by independent scientists, the sites would be the first known places on Earth’s surface that host no microbial life with conditions resembling the surface of Mars and could be of great help to the future explorers to learn more about conducting missions on the Red Planet.
But, according to the latest updates it was revealed that a small number of microbes may be present at the sites in levels that the researchers were unable to detect in their study.
#Norway; #GlacierArchaeologyProgram; #BreheimenNationalPark; #500YearOldCandleBox
Norway/Canadian-Media: A team of archaeologists with the Glacier Archaeology Program in Innlandet have discovered a candle box in the Lendbreen glacier in Norway's Breheimen National Park. The team has been posting its findings on their Facebook page.
The box as it was found on the Lendbreen ice. Credit: Secrets of the Ice Facebook page.
The find was one of hundreds the team has reported as they scour the edges of the melting glacier. Prior to finding the candle box, the team found objects such as spears, horse snowshoes, walking sticks, dog leashes, mittens, and in one case, the remains of a pet dog. Some of the items have been dated as far back as 1,000 years ago. The candle box drew attention right away because at first discovery, it was not known what was inside. Opening and testing showed it to hold a beeswax candle and that it was from a time between 1475 and 1635, making it between 386 and 546 years old. The box was constructed from pine wood.
Candle boxes were common in the area during that time. Farmers would drive their cattle to summer pastures (a practice called seterbruk) through the Lendbreen pass, down to where food for the livestock was more plentiful. From spring to fall, the farmer and his wife would live in their summer pasture home. The farmer (or a hand) would tend to the livestock and his wife would make dairy products. At night, their sole source of light would be from a candle made of beeswax. The candles were expensive, so were cared for as a precious commodity. A single candle would be placed in a box to protect it from the elements during travel, which could have been on horseback in some cases, and in other cases, on foot.
The archaeologists describe the candle box as being in excellent condition, having been preserved in the ice for hundreds of years. Its lid was still firmly in place, and once opened, the beeswax and wick appeared ready for use. It is not known how the candle box and its contents wound up in the glacier, but it appears likely something interrupted one couple's seterbruk, leaving their belongings to be buried in the snow falling on a glacier.
#ESA; #Glaciers; #ClimateChange
New York/Canadian-Media: Glaciers are generally slow-flowing rivers of ice, under the force of gravity transporting snow that has turned to ice at the top of the mountain to locations lower down the valley – a gradual process of balancing their upper-region mass gain with their lower-elevation mass loss.
This process usually takes many decades. Since this is influenced by the climate, scientists use changes in the rate of glacier flow as an indicator of climate change.
For some glaciers around the world this gradual flow can speed up, so that they advance several kilometres in just a few month or years, a process called glacier surging. After a surge, the glacier usually remains still and the displaced ice melts over a few decades.
Glacier avalanches in the Sedongpu region, China
However, a paper published recently in The Cryosphere describes how scientists working in ESA’s Climate Change Initiative Glaciers team has discovered, together with several colleagues, that these glacier detachments have happened much more often than had been known. Even more surprisingly, this is happening to glaciers resting on relatively flat beds.
Andreas Kääb, from the University of Oslo, explained, “We have known about debris flows originating from glaciers that break off at high elevations for several decades now, however, until relatively recently, we were extremely surprised to discover that glaciers resting on flatter beds can also detach as a whole.
“These events are reported only rarely. In fact, they only really came to light in 2002 after a huge chunk of the Kolka glacier, which sits in a gently sloping valley on the Russian–Georgian border, detached and thundered down the valley at about 80 metres a second, carrying around 130 million cubic metres of ice and rock that killed more than 100 people.
“Using satellite data, we have now discovered that such events are more common than we could have ever imagined, and this might be a consequence of a changing climate.”
The team of scientists from all over the world used data from different satellites including the Copernicus Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 missions and the US Landsat mission as well as digital elevation models to document and analyse events that were already known about, but also to identify glacier detachments that had not been recorded so far.
They studied 20 glacier detachments that occurred in 10 different regions, from Alaska to the Andes and from the Caucasus to Tibet.
Frank Paul, from the University of Zurich, said, “We analysed the timing of events, calculated volumes, run-out distances, elevation ranges, permafrost conditions as well as possible factors triggering these glacier avalanches. Although we found some common characteristics, there are diverse circumstances that may have led to these events. However, we have concluded that, at least for some events, the effects of a warmer climate, such as permafrost thawing and meltwater infiltration, may well be to blame.”
Andreas Kääb added, “The bottom line is that detachment of glaciers resting on flat bedrock are more common than we thought.
“The current era of frequent high-resolution optical and radar data, not least from Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-1, has brought a step-change in detecting and understanding these events after they happen. Although we are still far away from having a prognostic tool to detect possible events before they happen, thanks to satellite data and this new understanding, we might be able to detect precursor signals in good time to potentially save lives.”