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Planet Earth

Alistair Fothergill

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Sept 21 is an impt date for anyone working at Scott base at the South Pole. At the spring equinox the sun crosses the equator en route to the southern hemisphere, and for the first time in 6 months, appears above the horizon at Scott Base. Taken over a full year, the South Pole gets exactly the same number of sunshine hours as the equator. But sunlight reaches poles at oblique angle, so intensity much less. (17% of equator)

North Pole is warmer than the SP bc of altitude. NP is basically at sea level - just a few feet of ice. But at the SP you're standing at 2900m (nearly 10,000 feet) above sea level. Even in summer the SP temp is colder than the NP's coldest winter temp.

Clark's nutcracker has a powerful beak to pry open pine cones and remove nut. When food is abindant, it hides nuts throughout forest. Caches 50,000 nutsa year in 5000 spots. Despite having a brain not much bigger than the nuts it collects, it remembers 75% of spots. The whiteback pine is totally dependent on the forgotten nurs - neither the bird or the tree cd survive without the other.

Periodic cicadas larva feed on tree sap for 17 years, and then about a trillion of them emerge from the ground in just a few nights. Predators gorge to the point of immobility, buirds to full to take flight. The event is written in the tree rings of treesin the cicada belt. Every 17 years there's a wider ring, indivcating a growth spurt when larva aren't feeding on their sap.

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