State of emergency in effect as Hurricane Lane barrels toward Hawaiian coastline

August 23, 2018 by  
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Hurricane Lane is swiftly moving along its course toward Hawaii, where a hurricane warning is in effect for Maui and the Big Island. A hurricane watch has also been issued for Kauai and Oahu. According to the National Weather Service , the storm has now been downgraded to a Category 4 hurricane and is expected to make contact with the state later today. Related: After three months, Kilauea eruptions might be over The NWS reported that “the center of Lane will track dangerously close to the Hawaiian Islands from Thursday through Saturday.” In addition, the organization noted that, “regardless of the exact track of the storm center, life-threatening impacts are likely over some areas as this strong hurricane makes its closest approach.” Despite the storm’s demotion from a Category 5 to a Category 4, many locals are comparing Hurricane Lane to the devastating Hurricane Iniki, which hit Hawaii in 1992. Governor David Ige signed an emergency proclamation on Tuesday in case Hawaii needs relief for “disaster damages, losses and suffering.” In a news release from the Governor’s office , Ige said, “Hurricane Lane is not a well-behaved hurricane. I’ve not seen such dramatic changes in the forecast track as I’ve seen with this storm. I urge our residents and visitors to take this threat seriously and prepare for a significant impact.” Related: The Eye of the Storm dome home can withstand hurricanes — and it’s officially on the market Residents have already “rushed to stores to stock up on bottled water, ramen, toilet paper and other supplies,” according to an Associated Press report. With maximum sustained winds of 155 mph and rainfall accumulations of between 10-15 inches, the storm is expected to cause flash-flooding and landslides in Hawaii. In addition, the NWS has reported the possibility of “large and potentially damaging surf.” As the hurricane continues to approach the Hawaiian coastline, many residents are hoping Lane will show a little more mercy than 1992’s Iniki, which killed six people and caused $1.8 billion worth of damage. Numerous government buildings have closed as the state’s residents prepare for the storm. Via NPR Image via Shutterstock

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State of emergency in effect as Hurricane Lane barrels toward Hawaiian coastline

The US just experienced its hottest May on record

June 11, 2018 by  
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It’s a familiar theme: each year, it seems, is the hottest year on record. The most recent climate change milestone in the U.S. occurred last month, when the country experienced its hottest May ever recorded. “Nature is dealing cards from a very different deck now compared to the 20th century,” climate scientist David Titley told USA Today . The average temperature for May in the lower 48 states was 65.4°F, 5.2°F above the average temperature for the month in the 20th century. Prior to this year, the record hottest May occurred in 1934, at the height of the Dust Bowl. While climate change contributed to the record warmth, two significant tropical storms brought heat and precipitation north from the Gulf of Mexico. While more than a quarter of the contiguous U.S. remains in drought, some states, including Maryland and Florida , experienced their wettest month of May on record. As a result of heavy winter snow melting rapidly in a warm spring, locations in Idaho, Montana, Washington and Wyoming have experienced significant flooding. Related: Climate change has transformed much of Alaska over the past three decades Beyond the average monthly temperature, more than 8,590 daily warm temperature station records were either broken or tied throughout May. “This was 18 times more than the approximately 460 daily cold temperature station records during the month,” NOAA wrote. “Several of the daily records were noteworthy, including 100°F on May 28 in Minneapolis, Minnesota  — the earliest such occurrence on record.” + NOAA Via Ecowatch and  USA Today Images via NOAA

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The US just experienced its hottest May on record

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

Puerto Rico sets the stage for microgrids

June 5, 2018 by  
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The island has been largely left in the dark for the past eight months. Enter the mini-grids?

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Puerto Rico sets the stage for microgrids

Experts believe climate change could be the cause of recent deadly dust storms in India

May 15, 2018 by  
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India is experiencing a powerful and deadly dust storm season this year. Over the weekend, 71 people were killed as a result of dust storms and related thunderstorms . The affected area stretches from the eastern state of West Bengal to Uttar Pradesh in the north. The storms are expected to continue through this week. Though dust storms are common during India’s dry season (from April to June), this year has been particularly intense and destructive. As the 67-miles-per-hour dust whips across the landscape, it tears down trees, destroys homes, disrupts transportation and, worst of all, ends lives. Earlier this month, a separate outbreak of storms killed more than 100 people. Indian state officials are working to assess the damage. Early estimates indicate that more than 120 million people were impacted by the recent dust storms. “Thunderstorms like these are a normal part of spring climate in India,” writer and meteorologist Bob Henson told Earther . “What’s unusual this year is the strength of the downdraft winds.” The hot, arid air rises into thunderstorms, where it is rapidly cooled. This cool air then returns toward the ground as strong winds . Related: For the first time ever, all villages in India have electricity Scientists believe that this year’s intense dust storm season may be fueled by the record heat that South Asia has experienced lately. Earlier in May, Nawabshah, Pakistan  set the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth, 50.2 degrees Celsius (122.3 degrees Fahrenheit). Under current conditions, the all-time heat record may not last long. This heat and the related dust storms are exactly the type of extreme weather events that scientists predicted would occur with greater frequency and intensity because of  climate change . Via Earther Images via Alan Stark/Flickr and Umer Malik/Flickr

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Experts believe climate change could be the cause of recent deadly dust storms in India

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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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

Extreme Arctic warmth deeply concerning, scientists say

February 26, 2018 by  
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A recent bout of extreme warm weather in the far north Arctic Circle is setting new temperature records and unnerving climate scientists. “To have zero degrees [Celsius] at the North Pole in February – it’s just wrong,” researcher Amelie Meyer told the Sydney Morning Herald . “It’s quite worrying.” Cape Morris Jessup in Greenland , the most northern land-based weather station, has already experienced 61 hours above freezing this year, an all-time record. The previous record was set in 2011 at only 16 hours above freezing by the end of April that year. The world’s weather seems to literally be upside down. Climate scientist Andrew King told the Sydney Morning Herald “Parts of Greenland are quite a bit warmer than most of Europe”. In addition to, and likely connected to, climate change, the so-called polar vortex that has kept frigid polar air contained in the Arctic has weakened in recent decades. As a result, warm air more frequently settles in the far North even during winter while extremely cold air has dipped deep into North America and Eurasia, bringing temperatures in normally warm regions to record lows. As north Greenland experiences its relatively balmy weather, continental Europe endures a deep freeze, with temperatures in Berlin dropping as low as minus 12 degrees Celsius. The abnormal weather is even changing the orientation of weather systems. “For Britain and Ireland, most weather systems would typically blow in from the west, but [on Tuesday] we will see a cold front cross Britain from the east,” said Dr. King. Related: Scientists dash to explore Antarctic ecosystem hidden by ice for 120,000 years In light of the extreme weather, the ice coverage in the Bering Sea is now at levels usually seen in May or June. The long-term effect of shrinking ice coverage acts as a positive feedback loop. Sunlight is reflected off of ice back into space, protecting the frozen seas . When the ice is gone, this heat is absorbed by the water, which then warms ice that remains. The situation is grim; while scientists had originally predicted an ice-free Arctic by 2050, these recent warm spells calls this prediction into question. Via Sydney Morning Herald Images via Climate Reanalyzer and NASA  

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Extreme Arctic warmth deeply concerning, scientists say

The thermometer in the world’s coldest settlement broke as temperatures plunge

January 18, 2018 by  
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The coldest inhabited place on Earth is so chilly right now the thermometer broke. In the village of Oymyakon in Siberia , a public thermometer lets tourists and locals see how low the temperatures go. But this week, as temperatures dropped to -79.6 F (-62 C), the thermostat gave up the ghost and went on strike. Some people say their own thermometers went as low as -88.6 F (-67 C), which is almost a record for the village. Oymyakon is a village of 50 people in Siberia and has a reputation as the coldest permanently inhabited place on Earth. The coldest place without human habitation is east Antarctica, which was recorded by NASA as reaching a mind-boggling -138.6 F (-94.7 C) in 2013. Anyone moaning about the weather…could be worse, this is village of Oymyakon in Russia where it is currently -62c!!!! pic.twitter.com/6RONaURGSh — Greigsy (@Greigsy) January 16, 2018 Related: 7,000 methane gas bubbles in Siberia on the verge of exploding The village gets just three hours of sunlight in December and a full 21 in July. It is served by just one small store, and the local school closes when the temperatures reach -61.6 F (-52 C). The town gets its name from a local warm spring, which doesn’t freeze, even in the coldest months – and this certainly looks to be one of them. #??????????? 14.01.2018 A post shared by ??????? (@sivtseva9452) on Jan 14, 2018 at 4:36am PST Via The Telegraph Images via Maarten Takens

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The thermometer in the world’s coldest settlement broke as temperatures plunge

"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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