Archaeologist suggests ancient humans helped catalyze the Sahara’s desertification

March 17, 2017 by  
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The Sahara Desert we know, with its rolling sand dunes and hot temperatures, used to be a verdant grassland with lakes. Scientists have traditionally attributed the dramatic change to a wobble in Earth’s orbital axis , but now archaeologist David K. Wright of Seoul National University is suggesting actually, humans may have been to blame. A 10,000-year or so wet period called the African Humid Period brought moisture to northern and eastern Africa. But around 8,000 years ago the moisture balance began to change. Today below the sand-dominated landscape can be found signs of rivers and plants, remnants of a greener history. In an article published in the journal Frontiers in Earth Science , Wright explained humans used to be thought of as passive agents in the end of the African Humid Period. But he thinks humans might actually have been active agents in the change. Related: The Mediterranean will become a desert unless global warming is limited to 1.5°C Wright said, “In East Asia there are long established theories of how Neolithic populations changed the landscape so profoundly that monsoons sopped penetrating so far inland.” He thinks a similar phenomenon could have happened in the Sahara. People growing crops and raising livestock could have changed the environment , exposing soil, and sunlight bouncing from the soil could have warmed the air, influencing atmospheric conditions enough so there wasn’t as much rainfall, which only added to the desertification of the Sahara. As yet, Wright needs more evidence for other scientists to fully get on board with his ideas. He said, “There were lakes everywhere in the Sahara at this time, and they will have the records of the changing vegetation. We need to drill down into these former lake beds to get the vegetation records, look at the archaeology , and see what people were doing there.” If Wright turns out to be right, his research could yield insights into how we can adapt to large scale climate change . Via Phys.org and ScienceAlert Images via Charly W. Karl on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Archaeologist suggests ancient humans helped catalyze the Sahara’s desertification

Longest cable-stayed bridge in Africa lit up with Philips LEDs

July 21, 2016 by  
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The Mohammed VI Bridge was inaugurated just two weeks ago by its namesake. The bridge spans a section of desert connecting Rabat to the city of Salé with 3,116 feet (950 meters) of roadway, making it the longest bridge of its kind on the African continent. The bridge carries six lanes of vehicle traffic and spans between two 650-foot (200-meter) tall towers. Some 160 cables lend strength to the bridge as well, and provide the perfect support for the Philips LED lighting system that illuminates the bridge’s cables and pillars high above the roadway. Related: Philips announces the most affordable LED light bulb ever, yours for under $5 The futuristic lighting system employs Philips Color Kinetics technology. It allows bridge officials to change up to 16 million colors and can be programmed to display elaborate light shows. In addition to the wow factor of the sight of the illuminated bridge, the LED lighting system can keep costs under control, operating at a level up to 75 percent more energy efficient other existing lighting systems. + Philips Lighting Images via Philips Lighting

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Longest cable-stayed bridge in Africa lit up with Philips LEDs

The power of zero: How to actually build a Net Zero office

March 12, 2016 by  
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A trip to the desert for a look at bleeding edge design in green building.

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The power of zero: How to actually build a Net Zero office

Death Valley springs to life with millions of flowers in rare ‘super bloom’

February 24, 2016 by  
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Michael Jantzen’s Sun Rays Visitors Center Generates Solar Electricity in the Desert

June 13, 2014 by  
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Michael Jantzen has unveiled a conceptual design for the Sun Rays Visitor Center, a steel and concrete educational facility that doubles as a solar electric power plant in the desert. The off-grid facility generates electricity by converting the heat of the sun reflected and focused in hundreds of installed mirrors into steam. The Sun Rays Visitors Center’s yellow radial form was inspired by the way sun rays reflect off of the mirrors and the center also consists of a viewing platform, office space, and exhibition area. + Michael Jantzen The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: michael jantzen , reader submitted content , solar electric power plant , solar electricity , Solar Power , solar power plant , sun rays visitors center

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Michael Jantzen’s Sun Rays Visitors Center Generates Solar Electricity in the Desert

Tumbleweed Robot Draws From Nature to Fight Desertification

February 7, 2014 by  
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Israeli industrial designer Shlomi Mir has created a prototype,  tumbleweed-inspired robot that uses wind power to study desertification and help scientists better understand the phenomenon. The round robot uses an internal fabric sail stretched across a circular steel frame to roll across the terrain and collect data about the formation of sand dunes, planting seeds along the way. In the absence of wind, the robot can lie flat until the next gust picks up. Read the rest of Tumbleweed Robot Draws From Nature to Fight Desertification Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: autonomous robot , biomimicry , Climate Change , desert , desertification , industrial design , Israel , nature-inspired robot , sand dunes , seed-planting robot , Shlomi Mir , tumbleweed robot , wind-powered robot        

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Tumbleweed Robot Draws From Nature to Fight Desertification

Solar-Powered Tags Give Threatened Shark Species a Fighting Chance

January 3, 2014 by  
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Great White photo / Shutterstock Studying sharks’ movements and how they behave in their natural environment is an integral part of keeping them safe from overfishing. To aid these efforts, scientists have developed a special solar-powered tag that can be used to monitor a shark’s trajectory for up to two years. Compared with older tags that ran on batteries and occasionally died before being able to transmit their valuable information, the new solar-powered variety may give sharks a fighting chance. Read the rest of Solar-Powered Tags Give Threatened Shark Species a Fighting Chance Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Antonio Fins , battery-powered animal tags , Desert Star Systems , Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation , shark conservation , shark finning , shark migration studies , shark overfishing , solar powered tags save sharks , solar-powered shark tag        

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Solar-Powered Tags Give Threatened Shark Species a Fighting Chance

Incredible Stone Plane Crash Tribute Emerges from Desert, Visible from Google Earth

December 13, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Incredible Stone Plane Crash Tribute Emerges from Desert, Visible from Google Earth Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: green art , green tribute , Mémorial du Ténéré Les familles de l’attentat du DC 10 d’UTA , plane crash , sahara desert mémorial , sustainable design , sustainable mémorial        

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Incredible Stone Plane Crash Tribute Emerges from Desert, Visible from Google Earth

MIT Develops Advanced Fog Harvesting Material That Pulls 5x More Water From Thin Air

September 5, 2013 by  
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Fog photo from Shutterstock Plants and certain animals like the fog beetle can survive in very arid regions because they’ve developed ways of absorbing minute amounts of water from the atmosphere. Learning from their example allowed us to develop fog harvesting technologies – basically giant nets that trap moisture in the foggy mist, and funnel all of the tiny droplets into a container where they add up to water we can drink. Now, scientists at MIT have created an advanced fog-harvesting material that enables these giant mist catchers to generate five times more water! Read the rest of MIT Develops Advanced Fog Harvesting Material That Pulls 5x More Water From Thin Air Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: desert , Drought , fog , fog harvesting , MIT , moisture , mountains , water conservation , water issues        

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Scientists Propose Planting Trees in the Desert to Combat Climate Change

August 5, 2013 by  
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Desert photo from Shutterstock A group of German scientists led by Klaus Becker of the University of Hohenheim believes that planting drought-tolerant vegetation in arid regions could capture CO2 and mitigate the effects of climate change . In an article published in the July edition of Earth System Dynamics , the team identifies the species Jatropha curcas as the ideal tree for their method of “carbon farming”. The tree is able to withstand high temperatures, and it can flourish in coastal desert regions when supplied with desalinated seawater . The scientists posit ares in Egypt, India and Madagascar as the best locations for cultivation. Read the rest of Scientists Propose Planting Trees in the Desert to Combat Climate Change Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: arabia , CO2 , desert , earth system dynamics , egypt , germany , India , jatropha curcas , klaus becker , madagascar , stuttgart , university of hohenheim        

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Scientists Propose Planting Trees in the Desert to Combat Climate Change

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