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Earth Changes Is Top Science Story

Global warming and its possible connection to the record-breaking 2005 hurricane season is the number one science story of the year, according to Discover magazine.

The magazine's editors have published a list of the top 100 science stories of 2005 in the latest edition, on newsstands now.

Senior Editor Corey Powell tells CBS News that the possible connection between rising global temperatures and the 2005 hurricane season seemed a natural top story.

"Did global warming cause Hurricane Katrina? No," says Powell. "You can't point to any one hurricane and say global warming caused this. But the question is getting closer and closer to, did cigarette smoking cause cancer?"

Also making the list, coming in at number 4, is avian flu, and the work by scientists to prevent or at least diminish the possible effects of a pandemic, should the virus become transmissible from human to human.

"I think it's a very good thing that we had a little bit of a scare," Powell says, "and maybe even a little bit of a hype cause it is shocking people into doing things that we should have been doing all along.

At number 75 on the list, the possible return of a bird many thought was extinct – the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. The bird was last seen in the 1940s, but made a brief appearance in a nature video shot in 2004. Since then, birdwatchers and ornithologists have been searching for the bird in the bayous of Louisiana.

"What is really fascinating about this story is how much is out there in the world that we don't know about," says Powell.

By Bob Bicknell and Jenn Eaker