Arctic shipping routes could threaten "unicorns of the sea"

July 3, 2018 by  
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Narwhals, or the “unicorns of the sea,” could be at risk from additional Arctic shipping routes as polar ice continues to recede. A peer-reviewed study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests as many as seven marine mammal species may face new threats and uncertain consequences from increased ship traffic. The Arctic Ocean is home to hundreds of animals, like narwhals, polar bears and whales. However, as the polar ice caps retreat, more shipping companies are taking advantage of open waters to reduce travel time. To determine how the increase of ships could affect marine mammals , the research team from University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Washington studied wildlife during the fall shipping season. The group looked at 80 different subpopulations among the seven species to determine if they were directly exposed to the ships and how much these ships could affect the wellbeing of the marine life. Related: The melting Arctic is already changing the ocean’s circulation During the study period, over half of the subpopulations were impacted by ships, with narwhals inheriting the highest amount of risk. In addition to an increased risk of injury or death from collisions,  toothed whales also face communication challenges because of their audio sensitivity. Like dolphins, the ocean unicorn “talks” with a language of buzzing, clicking and calling. While narwhals could have the most to lose, polar bears and seals have the least risk because of the time they spend on land. But researchers note their populations also come with high long-term uncertainty, and the team concluded more data is required to determine how shipping affects their livelihood. The news wasn’t entirely bad for wildlife populations. The scientists noted through additional data collection, shipping companies could plan for environmentally-sustainable transportation options. “Regions with geographic bottlenecks, such as the Bering Strait and eastern Canadian Arctic, were characterized by two to three times higher vulnerability than more remote regions,” the researchers wrote in their study abstract. “These pinch points are obligatory pathways for both vessels and migratory [ocean mammals], and so represent potentially high conflict areas but also opportunities for conservation-informed planning .” Arctic planning groups are aware of the wildlife threats and are working out plans to balance shipping with environmental concerns. The Arctic Council instituted regulations on transport companies in January 2017, with the goal of making shipping safer for both crews and marine mammals. + Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Via Earther

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Arctic shipping routes could threaten "unicorns of the sea"

Solar-powered Swiss home uses prefabrication to minimize site impact

July 3, 2018 by  
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Ralph Germann architectes  has completed the House MW, a contemporary prefabricated home designed to overlook views of the Lac de Joux in Vallee de Joux, Switzerland. Built for a couple and their child on a budget, the dwelling was constructed using prefab systems to reduce waste, costs, and site impact. The home was built with a concrete “skeleton” clad in locally sourced spruce with fiberglass insulation. Created as a modern home with traditional farmhouse influences, the House MW is topped with a simple black corrugated iron roof and embraces the outdoors with a shaded terrace measuring 592 square feet. The timber facades and gables were constructed through off-site prefabrication in a carpenter’s workshop and were later transported by truck to the site. Locally sourced spruce boards clad the facade. “The ‘skeleton of the house was made of concrete (raft foundation, slab and staircase),” explains Ralph Germann architectes. “After the concrete masonry part was completed, the prefabricated wooden facades were attached against this interior concrete structure. By using this method we could build a house for a reasonable cost, with low ecological impact and at the same time we were able to reduce the construction time.” Related: A 1920 Swiss barn is reborn as a modern home for a family of five The interior of the home, which is nearly 2,500 square feet, is bright, airy and lined with birch plywood panels. Concrete partitions finished with plaster, painted with RAL 9010 mineral paint, round out the interior siding. The ground floor ceiling and staircase are made from unfinished concrete. All furniture designed by the architects was constructed from birch venee,r save for the solid larch indoor and outdoor dining tables. An air / water heat pump and photovoltaic solar panels power the home. + Ralph Germann architectes Images © Lionel Henriod

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Solar-powered Swiss home uses prefabrication to minimize site impact

Scientists warn of uncontrollable climate change amid drastic Arctic melt

November 25, 2016 by  
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Arctic scientists warn we may be headed for uncontrollable changes in the environment – and fast. Drastic Arctic ice melt could set off 19 tipping points from which the world may never recover. Even now the striking effects of melting Arctic ice reach as far as the Indian Ocean , and researchers say Arctic temperatures are “off the charts.” The Stockholm Environment Institute released their Arctic Resilience Report , and the news isn’t good. They warned of several potentially irrevocable climate change tipping points. For example, more vegetation has been growing in the tundra, but the darker plants don’t reflect sunlight like snow would, instead absorbing the heat and leading to even more warming. And that’s just one of the 19 tipping points. Related: Arctic ice levels hit a new winter low – again Senior Research Fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute Marcus Carson told The Guardian, “The warning signals are getting louder. [These developments] also make the potential for triggering [tipping points] and feedback loops much larger.” Even though Arctic ice melt will make itself felt around the world – in the report the scientists say “what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic” – the way of life for Arctic people could be dramatically altered forever. The scientists said these people should be given the resources they need to survive the coming changes. Carson said the serious issues we see in the Arctic still aren’t well understood and we need further research, much of which has been done by the United States. But one man may now try to stand in the way – Donald Trump . The President-elect has been rather wishy-washy on his climate change stance lately, recently announcing he wants to stop giving money to NASA for climate research. On Trump’s idea, Carson said, “That would be…like ripping out the aeroplane’s cockpit instruments while you are in mid-flight.” The report also says greenhouse gas emissions around the world need to be reduced if we have any hope of heading off some of the disastrous effects of climate change. Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Scientists warn of uncontrollable climate change amid drastic Arctic melt

Melting Arctic Ice Could Release a Trillion-Piece Torrent of Plastic into the Sea

May 29, 2014 by  
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The melting Arctic ice is poised to unleash a torrent of more than 1 trillion pieces of plastic into the ocean over the next 10 years. According to a new report, there are a trillion bits of plastic trapped in remote ice areas, more than twice the amount in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch . As the ice melts, that plastic will be released into the food chain, threatening marine life, clogging waterways and harming the ocean’s ecology. Read the rest of Melting Arctic Ice Could Release a Trillion-Piece Torrent of Plastic into the Sea Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: arctic ice , Arctic ice melt , Arctic ice melt problems , Arctic ice trash , Arctic ocean trash , Arctic trash , arctic trash issues , global warming , global warming and arctic trash , global warming melting arctic ice , global warming releasing trash , micro plastic trash , microbeads Arctic ice , microbeads waterways , microplastic Arctic ice , microplastic issues , microplastic ocean , Microplastic waterways , mirobeads ocean , miroplastic released in arctic melt , ocean pollution , ocean trash , trash , wildlife dangers

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Melting Arctic Ice Could Release a Trillion-Piece Torrent of Plastic into the Sea

Climate Change Forces Polar Bears to Consume More Contaminants

September 26, 2013 by  
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Polar bear photo from Shutterstock A recent study found that the East Greenlandic population of polar bears is being exposed to more contaminants in their diet. As Arctic ice melts , polar bears are being forced to find food further south. Over the past 30 years, they have been eating more harp and hooded seals, which have high levels of contaminants in their tissues that are then passed to the bears after consumption. Read the rest of Climate Change Forces Polar Bears to Consume More Contaminants Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: aarhus university , Arctic ice melt , carleton university , Climate Change , dalhousie university , east greenland , global warming , great lakes institute for environmental research , greenland institute of natural resources , harp seal , hooded seal , Inuit , national water research institute , pack ice , persistant organic pollutants , polar bear , POP , ring seal , scoresbysund , university of windsor        

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Climate Change Forces Polar Bears to Consume More Contaminants

Students Break Vehicle Acceleration World Record By Traveling 0-62 mph in 2.15 Seconds!

September 26, 2013 by  
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Who says electric vehicles  can’t out-muscle internal combustion engine cars? A racing team from DU Telft in The Netherlands just blasted past the zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration world record in an unbelievably fast time of 2.15 seconds. The previous world record was 2.68 seconds. According to Wikipedia , the DUT racing team not only own the world record for EVs, but for all production cars with the next fastest being the Ariel Atom V8, which held the previous fastest time since 2010 at 2.3 seconds. Read the rest of Students Break Vehicle Acceleration World Record By Traveling 0-62 mph in 2.15 Seconds! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: DU Telft , DUT12 , electric vehicles , EV acceleration record , EVs , green transportation , internal combustion engine , racing , the netherlands , world acceleration record        

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Students Break Vehicle Acceleration World Record By Traveling 0-62 mph in 2.15 Seconds!

Scientists Predict the Arctic Will Be Without Summer Ice by 2050

April 16, 2013 by  
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Every year there is a little less summer sea ice in the Arctic, which begs then question: when will the sea ice be gone? It may be sooner than we thought. A recent study published in the Geophysical Research Letters indicates that the summer sea ice may be gone by 2050, and could even be a thing of the past as early as 2020. Read the rest of Scientists Predict the Arctic Will Be Without Summer Ice by 2050 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Arctic ice melt , Arctic Ice Melt by 2020 , Arctic Ice Melt by 2050 , Arctic Ice Melting , Geophysical Research Letters , Glacier Melt , Glacier melt studies , Global Warming Arctic , Global Warming Arctic Melt , Global Warming Ice Impact , James Overland , Muyin Wang , NOAA Arctic Study        

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Scientists Predict the Arctic Will Be Without Summer Ice by 2050

New Report Shows Arctic Melt Could Cause $24 Trillion in Damages by 2050

March 5, 2010 by  
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If the threat of rising seas and altered ecosystems isn’t enough to convince lawmakers we need some serious climate legislation, maybe the financial bottom line will. A report released today indicates that Arctic melting could cost global agriculture, real estate and insurance anywhere from $2.4 trillion to $24 trillion by 2050! Read the rest of New Report Shows Arctic Melt Could Cause $24 Trillion in Damages by 2050 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Arctic ice melt , Arctic Treasure Global Assets Melting Away , climate legislation , cost of Arctic ice melt , methane , methane and climate change , Pew Charitable Trust , Pew Environment Group , Reuters

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New Report Shows Arctic Melt Could Cause $24 Trillion in Damages by 2050

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