Global Warming

Researchers forecast more intensified global warming

The latest climate forecasts made by several French scientific bodies reveal a rather alarming situation: current forecasts are a little too optimistic in relation to the reality of global warming.

According to models from the Pierre-Simon Laplace Institute (IPSL) and France’s National Meteorological Research Centre, our planet, in the worst-case scenario, could warm up to 6 or even 7°C by 2100.

However, at best, the situation is also alarming. If the planet achieves carbon neutrality by 2060, which is far from certain, then global warming will reach 1.9°C, as opposed to less than 1.5°C.

In an intermediate scenario, where the planet would reach carbon neutrality by 2080, the increase would be 2.6°C.

In the scientific community, the 1.5°C target appears increasingly unattainable. And climatologists are now increasingly reluctant to mention a “business as usual” scenario, simply because it no longer exists.

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Environment

Drought in Botswana

Animal are struggling to survive in drought-hit Botswana. Around 38,000 livestock depend on the waters of Lake Ngami in northern Botswana, but the animals — like the lake itself — are being badly hit by a crippling drought. Hippo have also been severely affected seeking out the few remaining pools of muddy water to survive.

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Environment

Eruptive Bloom

The more than 1 billion tons of lava that spewed into the Pacific last summer from the eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano triggered an algae superbloom offshore that initially puzzled scientists.

There are no nutrients contained in Kilauea’s lava. But Southern California and Hawaii scientists found that as the lava flowed deep into the coastal waters off the Big Island, its heat caused nitrates, silicic acid, iron and phosphate nutrients to rise from the deep, fueling the algae growth on the surface.

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Pacific Hot Blob

The unusually hot sea-surface temperatures that caused algae blooms and sea lion deaths in the Pacific several years ago are back.

The “hot blob” is basically caused by unusually weak winds, which typically don’t stay weak for long. But they have this summer, and lingering heat from the last warming seems to be amplifying the current outbreak.

Oceanographers say that if the hot water stays around for a long time, it will begin to penetrate deeper into the Pacific, increasing its influences on marine life.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 119 degrees Fahrenheit (48.3 degrees Celsius) in Dubai, UAE.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 73.3 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Vostok Base, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Global Warming

Climate Change and the Looming Omega-3 Crisis

Algae are the small but mighty, responsible for synthesizing most of the world’s docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The plants provide DHA to fish and sea creatures, many of which end up on the plates of seafood lovers everywhere. But algae are particularly sensitive to changes in ambient temperature — and warmer waters have already started disrupting algae’s DHA synthesis.

A new study, published Wednesday in the journal Ambio, predicts that by 2100, 96 percent of the global population may not have sufficient access to a DHA, the naturally occurring essential brain-building omega-3 fatty acid.

DHA is a key component of cell membranes and is critical for brain function. It helps regulate cell survival, inflammation, and neuroprotection, and makes up 10 percent of the mammalian brain’s fatty acids. DHA is also thought to help develop the central nervous system and retina.

But humans can’t produce enough DHA on their own. To reach the recommended dose — 1.1 g for adult women and 1.6 g for adult males daily — they either have to eat DHA-rich foods like fish and seafood once or twice a week, or take dietary supplements.

As DHA production declines and human population explodes, humans all over the world will likely become DHA deficient. Basically, too many people and not enough seafood will lead to health complications.

Global Warming

As Earth faces climate catastrophe, US set to open nearly 200 power plants

Powerful hurricanes. Record-breaking heatwaves. Droughts that bring ruin to farmers. Raging forest fires. The mass die-off of the world’s coral reefs. Food scarcity.

To avoid a climate change apocalypse, carbon dioxide emissions need to fall by as much as 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, according to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Instead, utilities and energy companies are continuing to invest heavily in carbon-polluting natural gas. USA TODAY compiled its own list of 177 planned and proposed natural gas plants through August, using data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, which tracks power plants that have been officially announced, and the Sierra Club, which tracks proposed plants.

Of those, 152 have a scheduled opening date of between 2019 and 2033, though only 130 have specific locations chosen. An additional 25 are part of companies’ long-term planning processes and don’t have estimated opening dates yet.

The plants are a mix of large-scale installations meant to provide lots of electricity much of the day and smaller plants used for short periods when demand for energy is particularly high.

Texas has the most proposed plants, with 26. Next is Pennsylvania with 24, North Carolina with 12, Florida with 10, California with nine and Montana with eight.

There are close to 2,000 natural gas plants now in service.

Environment

Record Heatwave in France Killed 1 500 people

Heat waves that plagued France this summer left some 1,500 people dead, according to the European nation’s health minister. There had been at about 1,000 more deaths than normal during the summer months, with half of the deceased being 75 or older. In total, there were 18 exceptionally hot days recorded in France during June and July.

Global Warming

Bill Gates-funded chemical cloud could help stop global warming

Fires burning across the Amazon rainforest have renewed the debate about solutions to climate change. Bill Gates is backing the first high-altitude experiment of one radical approach called solar geoengineering. It’s meant to mimic the effects of a giant volcanic eruption. Thousands of planes would fly at high altitudes, spraying millions of tons of particles around the planet to create a massive chemical cloud that would cool the surface.

“Modeling studies have found that it could reduce the intensity of heat waves, for instance, apparently it could reduce the rate of sea level rise. It could reduce the intensity of tropical storms,” said Andy Parker, project director at the Solar Radiation Management Governance Initiative.

The technology is not far from being ready and it’s affordable, but it could cause massive changes in regional weather patterns and eradicate the Earth’s blue sky. These consequences might be horrific. They might involve things like mass famine, mass flooding, drought of kinds that will affect very large populations.

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Environment

Plastic Pollution

The plastic that humans unwittingly ingest has now been detected in stool samples from people in diverse locations around the world.

Writing in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, lead researcher Philipp Schwabl of the Medical University of Vienna says that none of the stool samples they examined was free of microplastics.

The test subjects showed signs of possible plastic exposure from food wrappers and bottles. Most had also consumed ocean-going fish, which are known to eat plastic.

Antibiotic Pollution

As much as 80 percent of the antibiotics entering the River Thames in human waste must be stopped to avoid the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, a new study says.

Researchers from Britain’s Center for Ecology & Hydrology warns that rivers are now reservoirs for the superbugs, which can spread quickly to people in water, soil, air, food and animals.

The study results came after England’s chief medical officer warned that microbes resistant to antibiotics could pose a more immediate risk to humans than climate change, with their potential to kill at least 10 million people a year worldwide.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 degrees Celsius) in Death Valley, California.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 106.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 76.7 degrees Celsius) at Concordia, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 degrees Celsius) in Al Qaysumah, Saudi Arabia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 101.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 73.9 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Vostok base, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Global Warming

Global Warming, Drought Drying Up Siberian Rivers, Cutting Off Far North

Global warming combined with the most serious drought in more than 30 years has led both to massive forest fires throughout Russia east of the Urals and to an abnormal drop in the water levels of major rivers, putting a halt to most river traffic and thus leaving many in the far north without the supplies they will need for the coming winter.

The hardest hit of the rivers is the Lena, 77 percent of whose route crosses through the rapidly melting permafrost; and the hardest hit of the regions are the northernmost portions of the Sakha Republic, many of which are beyond any rail or highway and depend on the river.

In Yakutsk, the republic capital, the water level of the Lena has fallen two and a half meters, leaving many vessels stranded in the mud and killing off the fish on which residents depend. As a result, Russian experts say, villages and towns will have to be supplied by air or be put at risk of depopulation.

If the river fleet dies, it is likely that almost all of those who moved into the region in Soviet and post-Soviet times will leave and the remaining population of indigenous peoples will be forced to return to a life of subsistence. If that occurs, a large part of what is shown as Russia on the map won’t be Russian at all.

Environment

Noxious Cloud of Carbon Monoxide Pollution Spills Out of the Burning Amazon

NASA has detected a gargantuan cloud of noxious carbon monoxide (CO) rising from the Amazon blaze into the atmosphere.

The plume first appears as a greenish blob over Brazil before rapidly spreading out past the eastern and western coasts of South America, gradually darkening from green to yellow to red. This color shift signifies an increase in CO concentration in the atmosphere from about 100 parts per billion by volume (ppbv) to 160 ppbv in less than two weeks.

Environment

Vast ‘pumice raft’ found drifting in the Pacific Ocean

A vast “raft” of volcanic rocks stretching over 150 sq km (93 sq miles) is drifting through the Pacific Ocean.

The sea of pumice – the size of 20,000 football fields – was first reported by Australian sailors earlier this month. Experts say the mass likely came from an underwater volcano near Tonga which erupted around 7 August according to satellite images. Sailors have been warned to stay clear of the potential hazard.

Pumice is a lightweight, bubble-rich rock that can float in water. It is produced when magma is cooled rapidly.

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Environment

Radioactive Spike

Tiny amounts of radioactive iodine were detected in the air along Norway’s border with Russia following a deadly explosion that occurred during a secret rocket engine test in northern Russia’s Arkhangelsk region.

Russia’s meteorological agency said radiation levels in the city of Severodvinsk spiked by up to 16 times following the nearby blast.

U.S. experts believe Russia was testing a nuclear-powered cruise missile when the explosion occurred, killing five research staff and military personnel.

Four of the five stations in Russia that scan for radionuclide particles in the air for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization went silent for days following the blast.

Rain Tree

A team of Chinese and international researchers say they have developed an inexpensive solar-powered “tree” that desalts enough water each day from the sea to provide clean drinking water for at least three people per “leaf.”

The scientists say roots made of cotton fibers soak up water and send it up a metal stem, where leaves made of black-carbon paper convert sunlight into heat.

After the water is heated by the leaves to nearly 122 degrees Fahrenheit, the resulting water vapor is cooled and condensed back as fresh water.

The technology could be deployed in small communities or on remote islands to help ease water shortages.