Arctic temperatures are literally off the charts

June 1, 2016 by  
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Even though things are just heating up in the Northern Hemisphere, many of us have already heard about the record-breaking hot temperatures in the Arctic . Now,  National Snow and Ice Data Center research scientist Andrew Slater has translated those temperature statistics into visual form with four telling graphs . Based on these diagrams, one meteorologist tweeted that Arctic conditions are as ” literally off the charts .” To create the charts, Slater pulled in data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR), and the Climate Forecast System Version 2 (CFSv2). His graphs show the Arctic has not had as many days below the freezing point of 0 degrees Celsius as it typically does. In fact, since we began keeping track in 1980, this year marks the most days we’ve recorded above freezing temperatures in the Arctic. Related: Arctic sea ice levels hit a new winter low – again Days higher than freezing is not the only record shattered in the Arctic this year. Sea ice levels were the lowest since 1979 . Just this month NOAA announced at Alaska’s Barrow Observatory they’d recorded “the earliest snowmelt date in 73 years of record-keeping, beating the previous mark set in 2002 by a full 10 days.” According to NOAA, usually Barrow Observatory is “one of the last places in the United States to lose snow cover.” High temperatures, early snowmelts, and low sea ice levels create a dangerous combination for Arctic wildlife. According to NOAA , polar bears and walruses have to adjust to their changing environment. Adorable black guillemont birds may not be able to find as many fish, meaning not as many of their chicks will survive. NOAA reported between January and April of this year, temperatures reached “an incredible 11 degrees above normal.” Many predict the Arctic will continue to break temperature records in the summer. It’s a vicious cycle: melting ice means the Arctic takes in more heat and melts more rapidly. Via Gizmodo and NOAA Images via Wikimedia Commons and Andrew Slater, National Snow and Ice Data Center

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Arctic temperatures are literally off the charts

Why these round houses survive hurricanes that destroy traditional homes

June 1, 2016 by  
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June first marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, and with predictions for bigger and deadlier storms this year due to the transition to La Niña , coupled with above-average sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico, meteorologists are urging inhabitants of hurricane-prone areas to take extra precautions. Thanks to climate change, this trend towards more violent and volatile weather is showing no signs of slowing down , but a North Carolina based company named Deltec Homes has decided to fight back with hurricane-resistant homes that are so storm-proof, they’ve survived the likes of both Sandy and Katrina. A Deltec home still stands after Hurricane Dennis blew through – the neighbor with a traditional home next door did not fare as well. Deltec Homes was started in 1968 in Asheville, NC as a builder of hurricane-resistant round homes in seaside resort communities, particularly in the Atlantic south, where hurricanes are an ever present threat to coastal homes. Although the company has recently expanded into rectilinear Net Zero Energy Homes with the launch of the new Renew Collection (we wrote about it here ), Deltec originally made a name for itself with iconic storm resistant round homes. Initially commissioned for seaside resort communities, these structures soon became sought after by homeowners across the country for their striking aesthetics and durability. Deltec’s hurricane resistant homes are so strong that in over 48 years and with over 5,000 homes built, they’ve never had a home lost due to hurricanes or high winds of any kind. And that is all the more impressive considering that Deltec homes have stood against some of the most detrimental storms in history including Hurricanes Hugo, Sandy, Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Charley. RELATED: Deltec launches line of super efficient, net-zero energy homes So what makes Deltec Homes different from other homes? The earliest forms of human shelter were round – inspired by Mother Nature’s most structurally stable ovoid designs such as the egg. Unlike traditional box-shaped homes, round homes possess only octagonally slight corners and sides. In the absence of sharp corners, wind and waves are permitted to flow freely around the house rather than allowing the kinds of pressure buildups that typically lead to structural failures. Circular homes are held together by a greater number of interconnected points, making their joints both more flexible and stronger than rectilinear constructions. For these same reasons (slight corners, smoother flow of wind), round roofs are far more successful at withstanding wind and are less susceptible to being lifted off in a storm. Radial floor and roof trusses, which meet in a center ring like spokes on a wheel, lock the building in a constant state of compression, which further reinforces the building’s strength. RELATED: Why Our Ancestors Built Round Houses – and Why it Still Makes Sense to Build Round Structures Today https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljN294eypZY&feature=youtu.be In addition to the impressive physics supporting these round homes, Deltec’s trusses and walls are composed of framing lumber that is twice as strong as traditional framing, while their reinforced windows and factory-precise prefab panels work to keep wind and water out. With an emphasis on environmental responsibility , these energy-efficient homes have the option to be topped with a reflective roof that minimizes radiant heat gain. An airtight envelope along with smart window placement and passive solar design, helps maintain the home’s balanced internal temperature. Deltec’s wide variety of add-ons and configurations allow buyers to incorporate solar power, triple paned glass, and more to make the home net-zero energy. The company recently achieved B Corp certification for meeting the highest level of verified social and environmental performance. With stormy weather on the horizon and speculation that hurricanes will increasingly begin to affect cities that least expect it, prospective homeowners might find it helpful to consider all their options before settling on a traditionally shaped house. These prefab round houses ship anywhere in the world, and according to Deltec’s Rachel Kassinger, “Since Deltec started in 1968 we’ve never lost a home due to hurricanes or high winds of any kind. The most damage ever reported were a few lost shingles off of a roof. It’s an extraordinary record considering our homeowners have had direct hits from some of the most damaging storms including Sandy, Katrina, Hugo, and Charley.” + Deltec Homes + Classic Deltec Homes All images © Deltec and Cayman Villas .

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Why these round houses survive hurricanes that destroy traditional homes

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