Science Night 1/22

Nature Meet The Coywolf at 7 pm
The coywolf, a mixture of western coyote and eastern wolf, is a hauntingly beautiful carnivore found increasingly on the streets of North American cities. Its appearance is very recent — within the last 90 years — in evolutionary terms, a blip in time. The story of how it came to be begins in Canada but by no means ends there. It is a tale of how quickly adaptation and evolution can occur, especially when humans interfere. New York wildlife biologist Roland Kay is fascinated by this new hybrid, the product of a shifting gene pool that is now stabilizing. Kays tracks and photographs coywolves with remote motion sensor cameras, collects road kill and scat, and obtains tissue and bone samples from fur trappers, hunters, and others to unravel the mysteries that define this new species.

NOVA Killer Typhoon at 8 pm
It was the strongest cyclone to hit land in recorded history. On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan — what some are calling “the perfect storm” — slammed into the Philippines, whipping the low-lying and densely-populated islands with 200 mile-per-hour winds and sending a two-story-high storm surge flooding into homes, schools, and hospitals. It wiped villages off the map and devastated cities, including the hard-hit provincial capital Tacloban. Estimates count more than 5,000 dead and millions homeless. What made Haiyan so destructive? In-depth interviews with the meteorologists charged with tracking and forecasting Pacific storms take us inside the anatomy of the typhoon, tracking its progress from its start as a low-pressure area over Micronesia to its deadly landfall and revealing why the Pacific is such fertile ground for cyclones. But that’s just part of the story of why this storm was so deadly. With crews on the ground within days of the storm, NOVA reveals how conditions dramatically deteriorated in the storm’s aftermath, as impassable roads and shuttered gas stations paralyzed the critical relief effort, leaving lifesaving food, water, and medicine to pile up at the airport. Disaster preparedness experts and relief workers scramble to understand why the Philippines was so vulnerable when other countries, like India, have successfully slashed storm casualty counts in recent years. As climate change and sea level rise threaten millions of the world’s most impoverished people with stronger, and perhaps more frequent, storms, how can we prepare for the next monster typhoon?

Chasing Shackleton Episode #103 at 9 pm
Following the successful sea crossing from Elephant Island, Tim Jarvis must now traverse the mountains of South Georgia to complete his re-enactment of Shackleton’s ‘double’. But injury, illness and bad weather are against him — the carefully picked team of eight shrinks to just three, leaving Tim, Royal Marine Baz Gray and sailor Paul Larsen to finish the job. Racing through a narrow weather window, and without a proper support team, they battle high winds, bad visibility, deadly crevasse fields and impossible climbs – even reliving Shackleton’s famous glissade down the Tridents — to finally reach their goal Stromness, and walk in to a hero’s welcome.