Newly launched GOES-S satellite will help scientists make accurate predictions about extreme weather

March 21, 2018 by  
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No matter what the current presidential administration wants you to think, the climate is changing . Storms have become more powerful, and natural weather disasters are more common than ever. Today’s meteorological infrastructure, however, is having trouble keeping up with the sheer size and scope of these changes — until now.  The GOES-S Satellite , launched by the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) in March 2018, plans to fill in those gaps, changing how we look at weather forecasting in many ways. GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environment Satellites. These satellites, once launched, are placed in what is known as a geostationary orbit — they circle the Earth at the same speed as the planet’s rotation, allowing the satellites to effectively stay in one place. Because they sit over a specific target area and take pictures as often as every 30 seconds, the satellites enable disaster trackers to see problem areas as they’re developing — instead of after they’ve already become a problem. This feature can be essential for things like wildfire tracking — in some cases, the satellites have spotted potential wildfires before people on the ground even reported the fires. The satellites can also detect hurricanes or typhoons in their infancy, allowing people in the storm’s path more time to prepare. Meteorology and disaster prediction may never become an exact science, especially with the changes happening to the climate worldwide, but GOES can give meteorologists and researchers a leg up when it comes to preparing for whatever the world’s brewing. These satellites are also changing the way meteorologists look at weather forecasting. Instead of warning people after the storm forms, GOES allow meteorologists to watch the storms as they’re building. Areas that could develop severe weather are spotted much earlier and, as a result, residents receive notification sooner. Even if a tornado doesn’t touch down, those at risk will receive more time to prepare and react—two of the most important strategies for surviving many natural disasters . Related: New satellite paves the way for full-color, full-motion video from space GOES, including GOES-S, are not perfect prediction tools — many variables still make meteorology an educated guessing game. Meteorologists may never be able to tell you exactly where a hurricane is going to make landfall or where a wildfire is going to spread, but with tools like GOES, weather teams can make much more accurate predictions and, in doing so, help residents deal with extreme weather throughout the United States. + NOAA Images via NOAA on Flickr

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Newly launched GOES-S satellite will help scientists make accurate predictions about extreme weather

Helsinki unveils plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2035

March 21, 2018 by  
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Finland’s capital city has unveiled a new plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2035, accelerating the goal by 15 years. The plan, called Carbon Neutral Helsinki 2035 , outlines 143 specific actions that will result in reduced energy consumption and a greater share of renewable energy sources . In a press release, city officials said, “Helsinki’s definition of carbon neutrality is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated within the city borders by 80% and to offset the rest.” The Nordic city currently has a population of 640,000, according to the press release. Although they expect that to grow to 780,000, officials are convinced they can reach their carbon neutral target by taking specific actions to improve energy efficiency, increase renewable uptake, capture and reuse waste energy and improve public transportation . Most of Helsinki’s current greenhouse gas emissions stem from heating. The action plan, co-written with input from various civic organizations, stakeholders and researchers, proposes to reduce the energy consumption of buildings by one-fifth by upgrading infrastructure, enforcing stricter standards, and incorporating both heat recovery and geothermal heating technology . Solar power, despite the city’s northern latitude (slightly further north than Russia’s St Petersburg), is expected to produce sufficient power to cover one-sixth of the city’s overall electricity consumption. Related: Detox your troubles away in this new public sauna built with natural materials By introducing more sustainable transportation, including electric vehicles, the city could cut related greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 69 percent — according to the plan. Esa Nikunen, Director General of Helsinki Environment Services says, “Helsinki can achieve its goal in transportation, which is much stricter than the national goal, owing to the increasing density in our urban structure . Helsinki has excellent opportunities to promote public transportation, walking, and cycling”. Although these long-term goals will take time to implement, the city has already cut their CO2 emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels, or by 1,000 kilotons per year (kt/a). By 2035, their target is to generate only 700 kt/a, which they will offset. With such progressive, proactive plans in place, it is perhaps little wonder that Finland was recently rated the happiest country on Earth . + Helsinki’s Climate Action Images via DepositPhotos Helsinki 1 , Helsinki 2

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Helsinki unveils plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2035

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