High tide coastal flooding in US has doubled in the past 30 years

June 7, 2018 by  
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A new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) finds that the frequency of coastal flooding at high tide across the U.S. has doubled in the past 30 years. This type of flooding, often referred to as “sunny day flooding,” occurs without the presence of a storm; the floodwaters simply arrive with the high tide. In 2017, there was an average of six high-tide flooding days, a record high, in each of the 98 coastal areas studied. Researchers expect the next two years to bring much of the same, while the long-term forecast, exacerbated by rising sea levels and increased occurrences of extreme weather, is more foreboding. In 2017, the Northeast and the Gulf of Mexico regions were the most affected by high tide coastal flooding. Boston , Massachusetts and Atlantic City, New Jersey experienced 22 days of flooding, while Galveston, Texas, in addition to being hit by Hurricane Harvey , was affected by 18 days of high tide coastal flooding. Because of cyclical climate conditions, NOAA expects the next two years to be as bad or worse for coastal flooding in at least half of the 98 areas featured in the study. Related: California’s wild extremes of flooding and drought will only get worse as the planet warms “Breaking of annual flood records is to be expected next year and for decades to come as sea levels rise, and likely at an accelerated rate,” the report reads. “Though year-to-year and regional variability exists, the underlying trend is quite clear: due to sea level rise , the national average frequency of high tide flooding is double what it was 30 years ago.” Hurricanes and extreme weather may cause acute incidents of devastation, but the report suggests that mundane high tide coastal flooding represents a different, more pervasive kind of threat. “We need to rethink our relationship with the coastline because it’s going to be retreating for the foreseeable future,” geologist Andrea Dutton told the Guardian . “We need to take this report as a warning to prepare ourselves, or we will just sit around and wait for disaster to happen.” Despite the imminent threat, the U.S.  currently has no federal plan to adapt to rising sea levels and increased flooding. + NOAA Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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High tide coastal flooding in US has doubled in the past 30 years

Stunning temporary beach pavilion rises in Lebanon’s Tyre Coast Nature Reserve

March 20, 2018 by  
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Wood, metal ties and rope come together in this temporary space in Lebanon, forming a lightweight structure designed to raise awareness of the area’s rich marine biodiversity. The Tyre Nature Reserve Hub, named MARAH, was designed by Architecture students from the American University of Beirut , who used the project as an experiment in building lightweight and temporary systems, as well as creating spaces that have a large social and programmatic impact. Some of Lebanon ’s longest sandy beaches are located in the Tyre region–also a popular nesting site for the endangered Loggerhead and Green Sea Turtles, as well as the home of several species of local wildlife, such as the Arabian spiny mouse and the Red fox. Phoenician springs and freshwater estuaries dominate the Ras el Ain area which facilities a diversity of marine life and a large part of this region has been turned into a protected area. Despite this, the Tyre region has seen severe destruction and devastation, which acted as impetus for creating a temporary pavilion that would help spread awareness of the importance of conserving marine biodiversity . Related: Floating timber pavilion transforms a Swiss lake into an exciting new public square Architecture AUB students from the DI-LAB (Design Impact Laboratory) teamed up with environmental consultants and the Tyre Coast Nature Reserve to introduce a structure that acts as a hub for the Tyre Coast Nature Reserve. The center is located directly on the beach, where it acts as a meeting point, an information point, a presentation pavilion, an exhibition space, and a training center, among other things. The pavilion was built using wood, metal ties and ropes and addresses the idea of creating a space that simultaneously generates a large social impact and minimal site impact. + Di-Lab – American University of Beirut Via Archdaily Photos by Lorenzo Tugnoli

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Stunning temporary beach pavilion rises in Lebanon’s Tyre Coast Nature Reserve

New evidence shows humans survived massive volcanic eruption 74,000 years ago

March 13, 2018 by  
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In a newly published study , scientists reveal evidence that groups of humans survived a massive volcanic eruption at the Toba caldera, a supervolcano in Sumatra. “It is possible that people moved out of terrestrial locations and into this more productive coastal zone,” study co-author Curtis Marean told Inverse . “Think of it as a refuge.” Inland wildlife, plants and fungus faced a greater disruptive impact than those located closer to the coast, a key fact that enabled savvy human communities to survive the decade-long volcanic winter and endure the centuries-long consequences of the massive volcanic eruption 74,000 years ago. The Toba eruption was so powerful that shards of tephra, the rock debris projected from a volcanic event, managed to reach as far as South Africa , nearly 5,600 miles from the Toba caldera. “Glass shards are a form of tephra that preserve a record of the chemical composition of the lava erupted during the eruption. The shapes and sizes of the shards also provide information about the nature of the eruption,” study author  Gene Smith told Inverse . “We can tell quite a bit about a volcanic eruption by studying products ejected from the volcano.” Related: Wave of earthquakes shake Yellowstone’s super-volcano The researchers observed that the global impact of the Toba eruption encouraged communities to move to coastal areas, which were less affected by the eruption. The flexibility and attentiveness of these early human communities is worth noting, as modern society may not be quite as dynamic in the face of such an event. “Hunter-gatherer economies are very resilient, but I don’t think the complex modern economies are,” said Smith. “A Toba-like event is a civilization killer for us. Perhaps our study will waken people up to the potential of volcanic catastrophe.” Via Inverse Images via Depositphotos ,  Smith et al. and  Dr. Jayne Wilkins

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New evidence shows humans survived massive volcanic eruption 74,000 years ago

"Bomb cyclone" to slam East Coast with more bitterly cold weather

January 3, 2018 by  
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A massive winter storm known as a “bomb cyclone” will smash into the US East Coast this week. This powerful weather event will bring an even deeper freeze to a region that has suffered bitter cold weather for the past 10 days. The storm in question, which will impact coastal areas from Georgia to Maine, is given its extreme name because of the predicted rapid pressure drop, an indication of the storm’s strength. The bomb cyclone is described as being similar to a winter hurricane, with accompanying freezing rain, ice, snow, and powerful winds. Although the effects of the storm will be acutely felt by East Coast residents, the most extreme weather conditions are expected to remain offshore. The storm is expected to particularly impact New England , off the coast of which it is expected to be the strongest the region has seen in decades. Boston is expected to receive up to seven inches of snow, in addition to powerful winds capable of knocking down trees and power lines. The temperatures in Boston are expected to drop to 27 degrees below the average for this time of year. When the storm has ended, the entire coast is expected to be hit with another wave of frigid air. Related: Storm ‘unfreezes’ North Pole, causing temps 50 degrees higher than normal Further south, the storm’s impact will still be substantial. Coastal Georgia and even areas of North Florida are expected to receive some snow, as are coastal cities further north in the Southeast. In Charleston, South Carolina, one to three inches of snow and sleet are expected. By the time the storm reaches New England, its central pressure will have dropped 53 millibars in only 24 hours, an astonishing pressure drop unheard of outside of a hurricane -strength storm. After the weekend, the East Coast is expected to enjoy a respite from winter’s deep freeze when temperatures warm up. Via Washington Post Images via Depositphotos and Ryan Maue/weather.us

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"Bomb cyclone" to slam East Coast with more bitterly cold weather

Elon Musk is reportedly planning to dig tunnels and build his own Hyperloop

August 4, 2017 by  
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Back in 2013, Elon Musk detailed his vision for a futuristic mode of transportation called the hyperloop . Musk graciously shared his research with the public, because he had no intention of developing the invention – but that’s all changing now. Last month the Tesla Inc. CEO revealed that he received “ verbal government approval ” to build a hyperloop that can transport passengers between New York and Washington D.C. in a mere 29 minutes – and according to a confidante, Musk is planning to build the entire hyperloop system himself — from the physical infrastructure to the tube-encased train. The news came as a shock to startups that have been developing Hyperloops to Musk’s specifications. After all, Musk holds a trademark for the “Hyperloop” through SpaceX which could be used to prevent other companies from building them, according to U.S. public records. Musk acknowledges that his vision is now a direct threat to other start-ups which have raised hundreds of millions from venture backers. However, he is not discouraging other companies from developing underground tunnels. Musk said in a statement, “While we’re encouraged that others are making some progress, we would like to accelerate the development of this technology as fast as possible. We encourage and support all companies that wish to build Hyperloops and we don’t intend to stop them from using the Hyperloop name as long as they are truthful.’’ Among the three startups that publicly welcomed Musk’s involvement was Hyperloop One, whose chairman is Shervin Pishevar. Pishevar said on Wednesday that the company recently completed a second phase testing in Nevada, where a pod reached speeds of 192 miles per hour and traveled a distance of 1,433 feet. The company’s ultimate goal is to match Musk’s plan for the hyper loop to travel 700 mph. “It’s going to take many, many brilliant minds and commitment from many people to push it forward,” said Pishevar. “I’m a huge believer in him.” Related: Elon Musk-inspired Hyperloop Hotel could be the future of travel Musk and SpaceX have a huge advantage over other companies striving to develop a high-speed hyperloop. Not only does SpaceX own @Hyperloop on Twitter, it also owns the website Hyperloop.com . SpaceX was also granted registration for the Hyperloop trademark in April. For this reason, other start-ups are considering adopting a new company name whilst utilizing Musk’s plans — or improving upon them. For now, Musk is focused on bringing the hyperloop to the East Coast whereas competitors are honing in on different regions. While it is more than likely the companies will find agreeable ways to coexist, all bets are off now that Elon Musk and his team are part of the race. Via Bloomberg Images via Shutterstock , Linkedin , TED

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Elon Musk is reportedly planning to dig tunnels and build his own Hyperloop

The Brooklyn Childrens Museums new green roof lets kids explore the wilderness in the middle of the city

August 4, 2017 by  
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The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is bringing the wilderness to the middle of the city. This weekend, the museum will unveil a space that includes a forest, trails, interactive exhibits and a winged canopy that takes center stage. Future Green Studio designed the rooftop’s landscaping by dividing the 20,000-square-foot terrace into four quadrants catering to different themes – woodland, play, lounge and dining – giving kids in the city the perfect place to learn about and explore the natural world. Kids will be able to play outdoors in a safe environment in between checking out the kid-centric exhibits throughout the museum. The dynamic space will also be used for cultural events and experiences that compliment the museum’s ongoing mission to educate children in interactive ways. For example, the terrace’s opening on August 5th and 6th will be accompanied by a Senegalese dance festival with choreographer and professional dancer Papa Sy. Papa Sy will tell stories, play Senegalese music and get all ages moving as they welcome this space into the community. “The inspiration for the roof garden was to create a place that epitomized the heart of Brooklyn where kids could feel immersed in nature and free to explore and roam in an unprescribed way,” said David Seiter, Principal and Design Director of Future Green. As a Brooklyn parent himself, Seiter used his experiences of visiting the museum with his children to create a space flexible enough to host playdates, family get-togethers and cultural events “bridging both old and new Brooklyn and bringing people together.” Related: This interactive woven canopy at MoMA PS1 changes colors as the sun sets A small woodland trail features a walkway made of sustainable black locust hardwood that meanders through groupings of sweet bay magnolia and sassafras trees. Various types of shrubs and perennials, including high bush blueberry, hayscented fern, butterfly weed, mayapple and blue wood aster, are sprinkled in between while ground covers like bristle-leaf sedge and hayscented fern can be found throughout the nature walk. Tree trunk pavers and sculptures that serve as seating are made from black locust and white oak rounds. Before tackling this project, Seiter and his team visited the Donald & Barbara Zucker Natural Exploration Area in Prospect Park , a children’s play area where trees damaged by storms and other natural materials take the place of swings and slides. “It was inspiring to hear about the design decisions that go into creating a new type of play space for kids where they might feel more connected to natural elements and have the ability to explore risk and confront fears,” Seiter said. “We tried to achieve a similar sense of wonder and play in our Woodland Walk.” The open lawn play space is also constructed from black locust lumber, chosen because it’s not sourced from tropical rain forests like most other exterior decking. Because of its greater exposure to the sun, different plantings that can handle those conditions were used: smoke trees, cone flower, ornamental onions and wormwood. All the plants used in the landscaping are native and drought tolerant, and a water-efficient irrigation system was installed to keep the environment lush. And at the center of it all is a white canopy designed by Toshiko Mori Architect . The 7,300 square-foot open-air pavilion looks like it’s billowing in the wind and about to take flight. It evokes references Eero Saarinen ’s TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport, but much more airy, and while it serves to provide respite from the sun, a lot of light still pours in through the translucent panels. The use of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene cladding allowed for a column-free design, and wooden seats surround the anchor points from which the white steel ribbings arch up and meet overhead. From the side, the tops of the panels reflects the clouds and seems to blend into the sky. From high above, the pavilion resembles a square sheet of paper that has found its way onto the museum’s roof. And from underneath, the pavilion, with the landscaping surrounding it, feel like a breath of fresh air. + Future Green Studio + Toshiko Mori Architect All images by Dorkys Ramos for Inhabitat

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The Brooklyn Childrens Museums new green roof lets kids explore the wilderness in the middle of the city

AntiRoom II is a circular wooden meditation space floating off the coast of Malta

January 11, 2016 by  
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Nine dead fin whales discovered off the coast of Alaska and no one knows what is killing them

June 23, 2015 by  
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In just the last month, nine fin whale carcasses have been discovered in Alaska, and no one knows what is killing them.  The endangered fin whales’ numbers hover in the tens of thousands, so any die off is significant, but since May of this year, nine dead fin whales have been discovered in the water between Kodiak and Unimak Pass, and there is no obvious cause. Kate Wynne, a marine mammal specialist at the University of Alaska said that the event seems to have occurred around Memorial Day weekend and is surprising since it’s rare to spot more than one fin whale carcass every couple of years. Read the rest of Nine dead fin whales discovered off the coast of Alaska and no one knows what is killing them Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alaska fin whales , algae bloom , dead fin whales , endangered fin whales , fin whales dying , fin whales in kodiak , marine mammals , west coast algae bloom , whale deaths in Alaska , whales

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Nine dead fin whales discovered off the coast of Alaska and no one knows what is killing them

Microchips lined with human cells could make animal testing obsolete

June 23, 2015 by  
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London’s Design Museum has chosen a strange but promising technology as the Design of the Year for 2015. Having even outdone Google’s self-driving car, the Human Organs-on-Chips was given top marks in innovation. Developed by Donald Ingber and Dan Dongeun Huh from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute , these microchips covered in human cells are designed to imitate the complexity of human organ tissue. Read the rest of Microchips lined with human cells could make animal testing obsolete Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: animal testing , cosmetic testing , dan dongeun huh , design Museum , design of the year 2015 , donald ingber , harvard university wyss institute , human organs on chips , microchip technology , organs on chips

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Microchips lined with human cells could make animal testing obsolete

Dead zone near African coast shows lowest oxygen levels ever recorded

May 7, 2015 by  
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The dead zones are spreading. No, it’s not a sign of the zombie apocalypse, though the consequences could be just as dire. A recent study by the European Geosciences Union’s journal Biogeosciences  describes a dead zone off the coast of Africa which contains the lowest levels of oxygen ever observed in the Atlantic. To complicate matters, the Atlantic-African dead zone is on the move, threatening all life in its path. Read the rest of Dead zone near African coast shows lowest oxygen levels ever recorded Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: African dead zone , agricultural runoff , Atlantic dead zone , damaged marine life , dead zone , eddy , fertilizer runoff , killing marine life , marine life destruction , water pollution

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Dead zone near African coast shows lowest oxygen levels ever recorded

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