MIT engineers devise algorithm to identify warning signs of extreme weather events

September 25, 2017 by  
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Extreme events – like a rogue wave, hurricane , or sudden extinction – often seem to strike with few hints beforehand. But what if we could predict these events before they even form? Two Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) engineers came up with a framework, a computer algorithm , to spot patterns that come before such an event. According to MIT , their method may help anticipate “hotspots of instability affecting climate , aircraft performance, and ocean circulation.” It can be incredibly difficult to foresee extreme events, since many systems are complex, with many players or factors. The new MIT algorithm can be applied to a large range of systems to search for warning signs. In the past, researchers have tried to predict extreme events by solving mathematical models. But often scientists don’t fully understand the mechanisms shaping complex systems, which can lead to model errors. Related: INFOGRAPHIC: Countries where you are most likely to die from extreme climate events The new algorithm blends equations with available data . Sapsis said, “We are looking at the equations for possible states that have very high growth rates and become extreme events, but they are also consistent with data, telling us whether this state has any likelihood of occurring, or if it’s something so exotic that, yes, it will lead to an extreme event, but the probability of it occurring is basically zero.” MIT explained their algorithm acts as a sieve to catch precursors, or warning signs, that would be seen in the real world. To test their framework, they simulated a turbulent fluid flow and searched for precursors their framework predicted. Those precursors turned into extreme events, according to MIT, between 75 and 99 percent of the time. Sapsis said in a statement, “If you can predict where these things occur, maybe you can develop some control techniques to suppress them.” The journal Science Advances published the research late last week. Via MIT News and Inverse Images via Wikimedia Commons and Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT

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MIT engineers devise algorithm to identify warning signs of extreme weather events

A tremendous translucent ‘forest’ pops up in a French courtyard

July 13, 2017 by  
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The courtyard of Fondation Martell in Cognac, France has been transformed into a translucent forest made of glass fiber-reinforced polyester sheets. Spanish architecture firm SelgasCano designed the Pavillon Martell as a temporary, mobile multipurpose space for concerts, workshops, and relaxation. The pavilion covers a 25,000-square-foot space situated behind the Foundation. Its main material, developed by French brand Onduline, is translucent and watertight and shelters a huge area where various activities can take place. Soft, changing light permeates this undulating membrane, creating an interesting and visually engaging rainbow effect. The architects typically work with off-the-shelf structural solutions. Related: German Students Create a Cloud-Like Retreat High Up in the Treetops “We started to look for the lightest and most cost-effective materials on the market. We found what we were looking for hidden away in the catalogue of Onduline, a leading French construction company with a worldwide presence,” said SelgasCano. Inflatable seats installed in the structure are attached by straps and provide visitors with places to sit, relax and organize workshops, concerts and various other events. The structure is easy to dismantle and transport to any location thanks to its modular nature and light weight. + SelgasCano Via World Architecture Photos by Iwan Baan  

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A tremendous translucent ‘forest’ pops up in a French courtyard

Rising ocean temperatures are cooking the Great Barrier Reef to death

April 10, 2017 by  
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Australia’s Great Barrier Reef offers dramatic evidence of the reality of climate change . Scientists have found an astonishing two-thirds of the reef undergoing mass coral bleaching as warmer ocean temperatures are basically boiling them to death. James Kerry, a scientist with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies , told CNN when ocean temperatures are hot for long periods of time, corals don’t simply bleach but “cook and they die very quickly.” 2016 saw a bleaching event that was the worst coral die-off we’ve ever recorded, and now a 2017 event makes matters worse. ARC Centre director Terry Hughes said the impact of back-to-back bleaching sprawls across 900 miles; only the southern third of the Great Barrier Reef is unharmed. It’s the second time in only 12 months scientists have recorded mass bleaching in the reef after aerial surveys. Related: Great Barrier Reef bleaching is the “worst coral die-off” in recorded history And 2017’s bleaching can’t be explained away by El Niño . Hughes said the bleaching “is caused by record-breaking temperatures driven by global warming .” The Great Barrier Reef has experienced severe bleaching in 1998, 2002, and now 2016 and 2017, according to scientists. Kerry said bleached corals don’t always die, but take at least a decade to make a full recovery, so with back-to-back bleaching they expect coral loss. Tropical Cyclone Debbie didn’t help either. The storm may have left damage in its wake when it hit part of the Great Barrier Reef at the end of March. Hughes said in a statement, “Clearly the reef is struggling with multiple impacts. Without a doubt the most pressing of these is global warming. As temperatures continue to rise the corals will experience more and more of these events: one degree Celsius of warming so far has already caused four events in the past 19 years. Ultimately we need to cut carbon emissions , and the window to do so is rapidly closing.” Via the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and CNN Images via Bette Willis and Ed Roberts/ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

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Al Gore will now host the climate change event the CDC canceled

January 30, 2017 by  
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This month the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called off a Climate and Health Summit – and many suspect it’s because of President Donald Trump’s dubious views on climate change . Fortunately, environmentalist Al Gore stepped in – and he’s planning to lead a one day Climate and Health Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. The new conference will convene the American Public Health Association (APHA), Gore’s Climate Reality Project , Dr. Howard Frumkin , the University of Washington Center for Health and the Global Environment , and the Harvard Global Health Institute . They will only be able to meet for a single day (instead of the CDC’s planned three day event) due to the late notice, but they still feel the vital meeting should occur. Related: Al Gore fights climate change with “An Inconvenient Sequel” Gore said in a statement, “They tried to cancel this conference but it is going forward anyway. Today we face a challenging political climate, but climate shouldn’t be a political issue. Health professionals urgently need the very best science in order to protect the public, and climate science has increasingly critical implications for their day-to-day work. With more and more hot days, which exacerbate the proliferation of the Zika virus and other public health threats, we cannot afford to waste any time.” APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin said climate change is already impacting health, and the meeting would “strengthen the public response to this growing threat.” The meeting will take place on February 16, 2017, and it will retain the focus of the CDC summit: a working session with information from public health professionals. If you want more information you can sign up for updates from the Climate Reality Project here . Via Vox and The Washington Post Images via COP PARIS on Flickr and Al Gore Facebook

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Al Gore will now host the climate change event the CDC canceled

Breaking News: Fire engulfs Dubai hotel ahead of massive New Year’s Eve firework display

December 31, 2015 by  
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In a tragic start to the New Year, tens of thousands of people gathered to watch Dubai’s famed firework display but witnessed explosions of a different kind after The Address – a giant highrise next to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai – burst into flames. Fire climbed the Address hotel, a sixty-three story, five-star, joint hotel and residential building, resulting in sixteen reported injuries related to overcrowding and smoke, as well as one heart attack. Read the rest of Breaking News: Fire engulfs Dubai hotel ahead of massive New Year’s Eve firework display

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Green events blossom in St. Louis

November 24, 2015 by  
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How businesses and event planners in the Midwestern city are seizing the business opportunities embedded in the trend toward zero waste.

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Slow but steady progress on sustainable energy

November 24, 2015 by  
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Assessing countries on energy equity, security and environmental sustainability.

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Slow but steady progress on sustainable energy

Jetpack daredevils fly over Dubai alongside a massive AirbusA380 plane

November 11, 2015 by  
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Say #HelloJetman. In a rare spectacle far above the city of Dubai, two men flew with jetpacks alongside the world’s largest passenger aircraft . Some 4,000 feet above the city skyline, the air show paired Jetman Dubai and Emirates Airlines in a planned stunt which has the internet abuzz with virtual incredulity. Fortunately, the whole amazing thing was captured in video, which you can see after the jump. Read the rest of Jetpack daredevils fly over Dubai alongside a massive AirbusA380 plane

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11 Innovative planters for the home

October 13, 2015 by  
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The cost of clean energy is rapidly closing in on fossil fuels

October 13, 2015 by  
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The cost of renewable energy is closing in on fossil fuels, as wind and solar power are become increasingly competitive with gas and coal costs. According to Clean Technica and a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance , onshore wind is fully competitive with gas and coal in some parts of the world, while the gap is closing for the rest of wind and solar power worldwide. Read the rest of The cost of clean energy is rapidly closing in on fossil fuels

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