North American climate boundary pushed 140 miles eastward by climate change

April 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A historic climate boundary which marks the division between the humid eastern region of North America and the more arid western region has deviated 140 miles to the east of its original location — thanks to climate change . In a study recently published in  Earth Interactions ,  scientists identified three factors that contribute to the formation of the visible division between North American climatic zones: the Rocky Mountains’ ability to disrupt moisture from reaching inland, Atlantic winter storms and summertime humidity that rises northeast from the Gulf of Mexico. In the recent study, lead author and climate scientist Richard Seager of Columbia University sought to explore the boundary — and its history — as a prominent example of “ psychogeography ,” or the relationship between environmental conditions and human decision making. The climate boundary line that runs along the 100th meridian west was first marked in the late 19th century by  geologist and explorer John Wesley Powell. “Powell talked eloquently about the 100th meridian, and this concept of a boundary line has stayed with us down to the current day,” Seager said in a statement . “We wanted to ask whether there really is such a divide, and whether it’s influenced human settlement.” Related: The Gulf Stream is the weakest it’s been in 1,600 years – here’s why that’s really bad news The 100th meridian climate boundary has affected historic development in the United States. Eastern lands have greater population density and infrastructure, and agriculture is dominated by corn , a moisture-loving plant. To the west of the divide, agriculture is dependent on larger farms with crops — such as wheat  — that flourish in arid regions, and urban development is generally more scarce. As climate change affects the historic rainfall and temperature trends of the region, the study predicts that human development will also adapt, with eastern farms adopting characteristics of those historically found west of the boundary line. “Unless farmers turn to irrigation or otherwise adapt, they will have to turn from corn to wheat or some other more suitable crop,” said Columbia University in a statement . “Large expanses of cropland may fail altogether, and have to be converted to western-style grazing range. Water supplies could become a problem for urban areas.” Via Yale Environment 360 Images via  Seager Et Al. and Depositphotos

Here is the original: 
North American climate boundary pushed 140 miles eastward by climate change

Earth was buzzed by a giant asteroid this weekend and we didn’t even realize it was coming

April 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Earth just survived a near miss with an asteroid, and we didn’t even know it was coming. Around 1,500 people were injured in the aftermath of the Chelyabinsk meteorite when it exploded over Russia in 2013, and an even larger  asteroid  just buzzed incredibly close to Earth this weekend, according to EarthSky . The Catalina Sky Survey first observed the asteroid – which is the closest large one on record to pass by the planet –  just hours before it tumbled past us at about half the distance of the moon. Asteroid 2018 GE3, according to EarthSky, was around 119,500 miles away from our planet at its closest point — and the Moon is an average of 238,855 miles away. Its diameter was around 157 to 361 feet, and it was hurtling through space at around 66,174 miles per hour. Asteroid 2018 GE3 surprised us, as did the Chelyabinsk meteorite. Related: Astrophysicist warns asteroid strike is not a matter of if, but when The Catalina Sky Survey detected the asteroid on Saturday, April 14, and in the early hours of the morning on April 15 on the United States’ East Coast, Asteroid 2018 GE3 passed by our planet. The closest approach happened at around 2:41 AM EDT, according to EarthSky. They cited NASA as saying the asteroid passed closer to our Moon than it did to Earth a few hours later at around 5:59 AM EDT. A preliminary analysis of Asteroid 2018 GE3’s orbit reveals this pass is the closest this asteroid has flown by our planet since around 1930. Was the planet in danger? No, not this time, according to EarthSky. What might have happened if Asteroid 2018 GE3 had indeed hit Earth? The publication said a big portion of rock would have broken up into pieces if it had entered our atmosphere , but some might have made it through to the surface. “…an asteroid this big is capable of causing some regional damage, depending on various factors such as composition, speed, entry angle, and location of impact,” EarthSky said. “It might make you feel better (or worse) to know that asteroids enter Earth’s atmosphere unnoticed on a fairly regular basis.” Via EarthSky and TIME Images via Depositphotos,   Tomruen/Wikimedia Commons  and Deposit Photos

See the rest here: 
Earth was buzzed by a giant asteroid this weekend and we didn’t even realize it was coming

The largest fire in Greenland’s history warns of an extreme future

April 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The largest wildfire in Greenland ‘s history burned bright last summer, a potential warning sign for a future rattled by catastrophic climate change . Scientists are concerned that Greenland’s massive ice sheet may absorb the black carbon smog produced by the fires, as well as by any fires that occur in the future. One-third of the ice sheet has been affected by the soot from the wildfire, which accelerates heat absorption and glacial melting. “I think it’s a warning sign that something like this can happen on permafrost that was supposed to be melting at the end of the century,” rather than the present, Andreas Stohl, senior scientist at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU),  told Live Science . The fire burned about 90 miles northeast of Sisimiut, Greenland’s second largest city, and some suspect it was started by human activity. However, it is possible for  peat in oxygen-rich conditions to spontaneously combust, even when temperatures are low. In total, the wildfire burned about nine square miles of land. Of particular interest to scientists at NILU was the impact that soot might have as it landed on the ice sheets. “If you consider that Greenland has the largest ice sheet, apart from Antarctica , it immediately triggers some thinking,” NILU scientist Nikolaos Evangeliou told Live Science . Related: Scientists puzzle over subterranean heat melting Greenland’s glaciers Computer modeling enabled the NILU team to determine that seven tons of black carbon, approximately 30 percent of the total emissions produced by the fire , landed on the ice sheet . Ultimately, this amount of soot had a relatively small impact, less so even than that of North American wildfires that deposited soot across the sea to Greenland. Nonetheless, the fire may forecast larger ones in Greenland’s future. “If larger fires would burn, they would actually have a substantial impact on melting,” explained Stohl. Fires in Greenland potentially can also continue burning underground even when the surface fires have abated. “We cannot actually be sure that the fires (in Greenland) are out,” said Stohl. Via Live Science Images via NASA Earth Observatory

Go here to read the rest:
The largest fire in Greenland’s history warns of an extreme future

Scientists discover first salty lakes in the Arctic and they could be a key to finding alien life

April 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered extremely salty subglacial lakes buried beneath 1800 feet (550 meters) and 2460 feet (750 meters) of ice in the Canadian Arctic . This extremely unusual find offers scientists a glimpse into how similar environments on other planets and moons function – and could help guide their search for extraterrestrial life .  Ph.D.student in radio glaciology Anja Rutishauser made the incredible discovery while studying the bedrock conditions found underneath the Devon Ice Cap, one of the Canadian Arctic’s largest ice caps. “We weren’t looking for subglacial lakes ,” Rutishauser told ScienceDaily . The ice is frozen to the ground underneath that part of the Devon Ice Cap, so we didn’t expect to find liquid water.” Rutishauser initially noticed something unusual while studying airborne radar data acquired by NASA and the University of Texas Austin. “We saw these radar signatures telling us there’s water, but we thought it was impossible that there could be liquid water underneath this ice , where it is below -10C.” Related: The world’s biggest Arctic lake isn’t as resistant to climate change as scientists thought The Devon lakes are the first subglacial lakes to be discovered in the Canadian Arctic as well as the first hypersaline lakes found on Earth. “We think they can serve as a good analog for Europa , one of Jupiter’s icy moons, which has similar conditions of salty liquid water underneath — and maybe within — an ice shell,” said Rutishauser. This similarity to lakes found on other planets may shed light on how life on other planets may exist and function. “If there is microbial life in these lakes, it has likely been under the ice for at least 120,000 years, so it likely evolved in isolation. If we can collect a sample of the water, we may determine whether microbial life exists, how it evolved, and how it continues to live in this cold environment with no connection to the atmosphere.” Via CBC  and ScienceDaily Images via Martin Sharp and Depositphotos

Read more from the original source:
Scientists discover first salty lakes in the Arctic and they could be a key to finding alien life

March for Science hits DC and over 200 other cities around the world tomorrow

April 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Around 1.3 million people participated in March for Science rallies all over Earth last year, according to New Scientist . Concerned over the incoming United States administration’s climate change denial and anti-science overtures, marchers turned out in droves — and tomorrow many people will take to the streets again. Here’s what to expect, and how you can get involved. The 2018 March for Science takes place April 14 in Washington, D.C. , and in hundreds of other locations around the world. Their mission is “robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good, and for political leaders and policymakers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest.” Not just scientists marched last year — one quarter of attendees said their job wasn’t in a scientific field, according to New Scientist. They just cared about science. Related: The funniest signs we spotted at the March for Science Since the 2017 March for Science, New York City march co-organizer David Kanter told New Scientist more scientists than ever ran for political office. Activism made a difference in science funding, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists Center for Science and Democracy deputy director Michael Halpern. New Scientist said Congress’ 2018 spending bill included more funding for research. Organizers estimate this year’s march won’t be as large as last year’s. Fear over what Donald Trump’s administration might or might not do motivated many people to show up in 2017. March for Science interim director Caroline Weinberg told The Washington Post , “People are definitely still motivated, but it’s coming across differently. Their behavior has been adjusting. What we’ve seen is a huge uptick in people taking action in other ways — signing petitions , making calls, sending letters.” But there are still reasons to march. Kanter told New Scientist, “The reason we’re still marching is that the goal of the march — use of evidence in policy-making — still isn’t being fulfilled in our politics today.” Halpern agrees. He told New Scientist, “They’re marching because they see EPA administrator Scott Pruitt go against his scientific advisers and fail to ban chemicals shown to cause damage to children’s brains. They’re seeing people at the Department of the Interior kicked out of their jobs [working] on climate change.” Find out how to get involved on the March for Science website . + March for Science Via New Scientist and The Washington Post Images via March for Science

Excerpt from:
March for Science hits DC and over 200 other cities around the world tomorrow

The 6 most pressing environmental issuesand what you can do to help solve them

April 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

More than four decades after the first Earth Day , there are still many environmental concerns for communities around the world to address; perhaps none so pressing as man-made climate change . But progress is being made, and it could be argued that awareness about environmental issues is at an all-time high. For this coming  Earth Day we’re shining a light on the most pressing environmental concerns that affect us al, and showing what you can do to help restore ecological balance to this amazing place we call home. Image via Shutterstock CLIMATE CHANGE While 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change  is occurring and greenhouse gas emissions are the main cause, political will has not been strong enough so far to initiate a massive policy shift away from fossil fuels and toward sustainable forms of energy. Perhaps more extreme weather events such as droughts , wildfires, heat waves and flooding will convince the public to put more pressure on policymakers to act urgently to curb carbon emissions and address this issue before it’s too late. Related: 14 Awe-Inspiring Aerial Photographs Capture the Beauty of the Earth What You Can Do: Your home and transportation could be major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. A certified home energy audit can help make your home more energy efficient. If you commute via biking, walking or public transportation you are doing your part to fight global warming, but if you must own a motor vehicle, consider trading in your gas guzzler for a fuel efficient hybrid or better yet—go electric . When you fly, make sure to reduce your carbon footprint from air miles traveled with carbon offsets from a respected company such as Carbonfund.org . Image via Shutterstock POLLUTION Air pollution and climate change are closely linked, as the same greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet are also creating smoggy conditions in major cities that endanger public health. If you’ve seen horrifying images of pollution-choked Chinese cities and think the smog is isolated to Beijing or Shanghai, think again. U.S. scientists are finding that Chinese pollution is intensifying storms over the Pacific Ocean and contributing to more erratic weather in the U.S. Water and soil pollution might not get the media attention that air pollution does, but they are still important public health concerns. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council , dirty water is the world’s biggest health risk. While the Clean Water Act did much to make American water safe from harmful pollutants, today there is a new threat to clean water coming from the shale gas fracking boom taking place across the country and from the EPA itself . Soil contamination is a major issue across the world. In China, nearly 20 percent of arable land has been contaminated by toxic heavy metals. Soil pollution threatens food security and poses health risks to the local population. The use of pesticides and fertilizers are also major factors in soil pollution Related: Nine Chinese Cities More Polluted Than Beijing What You Can Do: Many of the solutions to air pollution are similar to those for climate change, though it’s important to either make a concerted effort to drive less, or switch to a lower-emissions vehicle. Switching over to green energy is also important, as that will cut back on fossil fuel emissions. If you aren’t able to install solar or wind power on your property or if your utility gets its electricity from dirty energy sources, consider signing up for a renewable energy producer like Ethical Electric that connects consumers to 100 percent renewable energy sources to power their homes. Image via Shutterstock DEFORESTATION Forests are important to mitigating climate change because they serve as “carbon sinks,” meaning that they absorb CO2 that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere and worsen global warming. It is estimated that 15 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation . Cutting down trees also threatens animals and humans who rely on healthy forests to sustain themselves, and the loss of tropical rainforests is particularly concerning because around 80 percent of the world’s species reside in these areas. About 17 percent of the Amazon rainforest has been cut down in the past 50 years to make way for cattle ranching. That’s a double whammy for the climate because cattle flatulence is a major source of methane gas, which contributes more to short term climate change than carbon emissions. Related: New Web App Uses Google Maps to Track Deforestation as it Happens What You Can Do:  You can support Rainforest Alliance and similar organizations, stop using paper towels and use washable cloths instead, use cloth shopping bags (instead of paper), and look at labels to make sure you only use FSC-certified wood and paper products. You can also boycott products made by palm oil companies that contribute to deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia. Image via Shutterstock WATER SCARCITY As the population increases and climate change causes more droughts, water scarcity is becoming more of an issue. Only three percent of the world’s water is fresh water and 1.1 billion people lack access to clean, safe drinking water. As the current drought in California dramatically shows, access to water is not just an issue for developing countries but the United States as well. In fact, by the middle of this century more than a third of all counties in the lower 48 states will be at higher risk of water shortages with more than 400 of the 1,100 counties facing an extremely high risk. Related: Could Solar-powered Desalination Solve California’s Water Supply Problem? What You Can Do: Just as energy efficiency is considered an important solution to the issues of climate change and pollution, water efficiency can help us deal with water scarcity. Some ideas to be more water efficient include installing an ENERGY STAR -certified washer, using low-flow faucets, plugging up leaks, irrigating the lawn in the morning or evening when the cooler air causes less evaporation, taking shorter showers and not running sink water when brushing your teeth. Also, consider using non-toxic cleaning products and eco-friendly pesticides and herbicides that won’t contaminate groundwater. Seventh Generation uses plant-derived ingredients for their household cleaning products. Image via Shutterstock LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY Increasing human encroachment on wildlife habitats is causing a rapid loss of biodiversity that threatens food security, population health and world stability. Climate change is also a major contributor to biodiversity loss, as some species aren’t able to adapt to changing temperatures. According to the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Index , biodiversity has declined 27 percent in the last 35 years. Related: Costa Rica is Closing its Zoos and Freeing All Captive Animals What You Can Do: As consumers we can all help protect biodiversity by purchasing products that don’t harm the environment. Next time you are at the grocery store, check to see if food packaging contains any of the following eco-labels : USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Marine Stewardship Council or Green Seal. Other product certifications include Forest Stewardship Council Certification, Rainforest Alliance Certification and Certified Wildlife Friendly. Also, reusing , recycling and composting are easy ways to protect biodiversity. Image via Shutterstock SOIL EROSION AND DEGRADATION Unsustainable industrial agriculture practices have resulted in soil erosion and degradation that leads to less arable land, clogged and polluted waterways, increased flooding and desertification. According to the World Wildlife Fund , half of the earth’s topsoil has been lost in the last 150 years. Related: Soil Erosion Could Cause Food Crisis, Expert Warns What You Can Do: Support sustainable agriculture that puts people and the planet above profit. Support sustainable agriculture by visiting the Sustainable Table for tips on fighting for a sustainable food system. On a smaller scale, you can make a difference in your backyard by switching to non-toxic green pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. The website Eartheasy.com sells natural lawn care products such as corn gluten organic fertilizer. + Earth Day Lead image via Deposit Photos

Here is the original:
The 6 most pressing environmental issuesand what you can do to help solve them

World’s first electric road that charges moving vehicles debuts in Sweden

April 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The first electrified road capable of charging EVs as they drive across it is now open outside of Stockholm , Sweden. While the road — which links Stockholm Arlanda airport to a nearby logistics site — is only two kilometers long, it is a significant step forward in Sweden’s strategic plan for energy and climate change . The country aims to become independent of fossil fuels by 2030 – a task that will require a 70 percent reduction in emissions from the transportation sector. Once expanded, the electric roadways and highways in Sweden will make it convenient to charge electric vehicles and ease the country’s transition from traditional combustion engine vehicles. The system works by transferring electricity from the installed underground rail to the vehicle above through a flexible arm that attaches to the charging vehicle . “There is no electricity on the surface,” Hans Säll, chief executive of  eRoadArlanda , explained to the Guardian . “There are two tracks, just like an outlet in the wall. Five or six centimeters down is where the electricity is. But if you flood the road with salt water , then we have found that the electricity level at the surface is just one volt. You could walk on it barefoot.” Related: Siemens debuts first electrified eHighway in the US It currently costs 1 million euros to construct one kilometer of electrified road, but this is still 50 times less than the cost of installing an equivalent distance of an overhead tram line. At the moment, Sweden maintains about half a million kilometers of roadways, of which 20,000 are highways. “If we electrify 20,000 kilometers of highways that will definitely be enough,” Säll said. “The distance between two highways is never more than 45 kilometers, and electric cars can already travel that distance without needing to be recharged. Some believe it would be enough to electrify 5,000 kilometers.” Sweden and Germany are in discussion to eventually construct a network of electrified roads to encourage a Europe-wide adoption of electric vehicles. Via The Guardian Images via  Erik Mårtensson/eRoadArlanda

See original here: 
World’s first electric road that charges moving vehicles debuts in Sweden

The Gulf Stream is the weakest it’s been in 1,600 years – here’s why that’s really bad news

April 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The Gulf Stream current, which serves as an important regulator of weather and climate along the Atlantic Ocean, is now the weakest it has been in at least 1,600 years. This dramatic slowing of the current, known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (Amoc), could usher in extreme shifts in weather patterns, such as more brutal European winters, rapid sea level rise on the American East Coast , and the disruption of essential tropical rainstorms. Suddenly, the 2004 climate-change disaster film The Day After Tomorrow, which depicted the dramatized consequences of a Gulf Stream slowdown, seems less science fiction, more predictive of a future plagued by catastrophic climate change. Although scientists have been aware of Amoc’s slowdown since 2004, two recent studies paint a more complete picture of just how dramatic this weakening has been. “The [current] climate models don’t predict [an Amoc shutdown] is going to happen in the future,” Dr. David Thornalley, leader of one of these recent studies published in the journal Nature , told the Guardian . “The problem is how certain are we it is not going to happen? It is one of these tipping points that is relatively low probability, but high impact.” Thornalley’s team gathered and analyzed sediments from North Carolina ‘s Cape Hatteras, as well as shells of marine animals at various Atlantic sites, to determine the full impact of the current slowdown. The study concludes that climate change has played at least a significant role in the weakened Amoc. Related: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing at an exponential rate Also published in Nature , the second study used thermometer data from the past 120 years to reach a similar conclusion: Amoc is about 15 percent weaker than it was in 400 AD. While the second study places much of the blame on climate change , the first study also cites natural climate variability as a contributing factor to Amoc’s slowdown. Regardless of its causes, the weakening is recognized in both studies as a potentially destabilizing phenomenon. “If we do not rapidly stop global warming, we must expect a further long-term slowdown of the Atlantic overturning,” second study co-author Alexander Robinson told the Guardian . “We are only beginning to understand the consequences of this unprecedented process – but they might be disruptive.” Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1 , 2)

Go here to read the rest: 
The Gulf Stream is the weakest it’s been in 1,600 years – here’s why that’s really bad news

Climate change is causing spring to come earlier in national parks

April 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Each year, more than  1.5 million people attend the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. to glimpse a colorful sign of spring . But while this year’s peak bloom was in line with the 96-year average, over the long term spring is actually springing sooner — due to climate change . This change isn’t limited to the cherry blossoms, either; recently published maps from NASA Earth Observatory have revealed how much earlier the season is starting in national parks around America. The maps show the “rate of change (days per century since 1901)” for first leaf and first bloom, drawing on data published in 2016  by National Park Service (NPS) ecologists. NASA Earth Observatory looked at 276 parks to discover around three-quarters are experiencing earlier springs — and over half are seeing extreme early springs. Related: California’s super bloom is so gigantic you can see it from space The changes in national parks offer more evidence that climate change is happening now; according to NASA Earth Observatory, “…most parks are already experiencing and responding to climate-driven changes.” Parks have had to alter the timing of opening park facilities, hiring seasonal staff, and commencing control of invasive plants and pests. The National Cherry Blossom Festival has also been extended, so that it’s more likely for the peak bloom and the festival to overlap. According to the National Cherry Blossom Festival website, the event now takes place over four weekends , as opposed to the two weekends it lasted in 1994 (although the festival website didn’t specifically attribute the length to climate change). NPS climate change ecologist John Gross said, “Climate changes are affecting resources across the entire range of national parks. Earlier springs, as indicated by leaf and flowering dates, is one of the most obvious and easily understood effects of climate change.” The magnitude of change differs across the parks; for example, in Grand Canyon National Park , spring is appearing almost two weeks earlier than in 1901, according to NASA Earth Observatory. Conversely, some parts of the southeastern United States haven’t experienced as much change. + NASA Earth Observatory Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 ) and NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens , using data courtesy of Monahan, William B., et al. (2016)

More: 
Climate change is causing spring to come earlier in national parks

Ocean heatwaves have risen by more than 50% since 1925

April 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Oceanic heatwaves have increased by 54 percent since 1925, posing a major threat to aquatic ecosystems . In a study published in the journal Nature Communications , researchers outlined the cause and effects of underwater heatwaves and their future impact on the world’s oceans. According to researchers, “These trends can largely be explained by increases in mean ocean temperatures, suggesting that we can expect further increases in marine heatwave days under continued global warming.” As higher levels of greenhouse gases concentrate in the atmosphere, greater amounts of solar radiation are trapped on Earth — 95 percent of which is absorbed by the ocean . Much like the relationship between extreme weather and rising temperatures on land, as the mean average oceanic temperature rises, so too does the likelihood of extreme oceanic heating events. Because water is able to hold more heat than land, these extreme temperature events last longer than those caused by higher air temperatures. A recent example occurred in 2015, when ocean temperatures from Mexico to Alaska increased up to 10 degrees above average. Fifty documented whale deaths were recorded in this period, and many other marine animals suffered from the unusually hot water. Related: Researchers discover a completely new ocean zone swimming with new species To conduct the study, the research team gathered and analyzed data on sea surface temperatures from the past century, with recent decades producing the most accurate data. Given that the most useful data is from such a short time period, the team could not explicitly draw a causal link between anthropogenic climate change and oceanic heatwaves. They explained that the fluctuations may be due to natural temperature swings. Nonetheless, the researchers concluded that the notable increase in average oceanic temperature is absolutely affected by climate change . The scientists are most concerned that — in combination with other pressures such as acidification, overfishing , and pollution — fragile ecosystems could reach a tipping point by oceanic heatwaves and ultimately collapse. Via ZME Science Images via Depositphotos and Oliver et al.

Read the original:
Ocean heatwaves have risen by more than 50% since 1925

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 4112 access attempts in the last 7 days.