Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

lowest ozone: Climate change and pollution together have severely depleted the ozone layer over northern and central Europe, which was thinner this season than it has been since measurements began 50 years ago.

Preliminary analysis of ozone data collected from 35 places from January to March 2005 plus information from satellites reveal that about one-third of ozone molecules in the Arctic stratosphere were destroyed this past winter, scientists said at a recent meeting of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna.

roof at risk: The fragile environment of the Tibet-Qinghai plateau, known as the roof of the world, is under serious threat from global warming and pollution, according to a decade-long study by the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Study Institute of the Chinese Academy of Scientists.

Covering more than 360,000 square kilometres, the plateau is deteriorating due to climate change, overgrazing and increasing human activity. While the rainfall has increased in the area, its glaciers have shrunk, says the report, the first by China on the plateau.

bird song: Scientists have come a step closer to understanding how the chirps and warbles of a young bird change into the distinct melodies of its parents. Neuroscientists at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US have found that the region of the brain responsible for anterior forebrain pathway (AFP) serves as the source of vocal creativity.

These results suggested the AFP circuitry itself causes the juvenile bird's experimentation with various sounds and sequences, and that such explorations are essential to learning songs.

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