Climate change is squishing the Earth and making oceans heavier

January 3, 2018 by  
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The ocean floor may be sinking under the weight of heavier oceans as a result of climate-change -induced glacier melting and sea level rise, according to a new study. Scientists at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands discovered that the deforming impact of a heavier ocean on the seafloor is too large to be accurately measured using traditional satellite altimeters. This means that measurements of sea level rise based on the assumption of a static seafloor may be inaccurate. Researchers suspected that traditional sea level measurement methods might be off. “We have had tide gauge sea level rise measurements for more than a century,” Delft University of Technology geoscientist and study Thomas Frederikse told Earther . “You put an instrument at the sea bottom and see how far sea level changes relative to the bottom. Satellites orbiting the Earth measure sea level from space . We wanted to see how large is the difference.” After modeling and analysis of new data, the team determined that, as a result of sea level rise and climate change, the ocean floor had been sinking on average by about 0.1 mm/year between 1993-2014, or 2.1 mm in total. This relatively small change can have a big impact on the accuracy, or inaccuracy, of sea level measurements if not taken into account. Related: Scientists find the Earth’s constant hum is coming from the ocean floor In their study recently published in Geophysical Research Letters , researchers determined that traditional satellite measurements are underestimating sea level rise by about four percent. Now that this disparity is known, corrections can be made. “The effect is systematic and relatively easy to account for,” wrote Frederikse and his co-authors. Over the course of the study, the researchers uncovered some unexpected impacts of heavier oceans, including a slight ocean floor rise in areas most impacted by sea ice and glaciers, such as Greenland and the Arctic. The small but significant change in our measurements of sea level is a reminder of all that we still do know about climate change and its impacts on every part of this planet. “ The Earth itself is not a rigid sphere, it’s a deforming ball,” said Frederikse, according to Earther . “With climate change, we do not only change temperature.” Via Earther Images via NASA and Frederikse, et. al.

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Climate change is squishing the Earth and making oceans heavier

Thresher sharks die in Massachusetts – likely due to cold shock

December 29, 2017 by  
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Winter is here, and it appears even marine creatures are feeling the impact. The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy responded to calls of two thresher sharks stranded on Massachusetts beaches, and said the sharks likely succumbed to cold shock. The north half of the United States is battling bitter cold with a mass of Arctic air, according to The New York Times , with meteorologists saying single-digit temperatures could be here to stay for at least another week. And even sharks are battling the frigid weather . The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy shared on their social media they were called to two thresher shark strandings near Cape Cod in Massachusetts, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries . The conservancy said the sharks were both male, and probably stranded because of cold shock. Related: 512-year-old Greenland shark may be the oldest living vertebrate on Earth Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries marine scientist Greg Skomal told The New York Times, “If you’ve got cold air, that’ll freeze their gills up very quickly. Those gill filaments are very sensitive and it wouldn’t take long for the shark to die.” Skomal said the thresher sharks may have been working their way south with the cooling of northerly waters, but could have gotten trapped by Cape Cod and stranded on the beach, where they may have died more rapidly because of the cold. The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, which promotes Atlantic white shark conservation through scientific research and education, gathered morphometric data and organ and tissue samples for analyzing once they thaw. They called on people to report anything strange they might see on Cape beaches, with a picture and location. If you’d like to help out the conservancy, they put together a shark stranding response kit wishlist on GOODdler; you can donate here . Via the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy Facebook and The New York Times Images via the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy Twitter

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Thresher sharks die in Massachusetts – likely due to cold shock

Hundreds of dead sharks wash up on the shores of the Persian Gulf

December 20, 2017 by  
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Officials in Iran came across a gruesome sight this week: hundreds of dead sharks washed up on shore . The cause isn’t some natural phenomenon – hunters have been illegally capturing the sharks, sawing off the fins and tossing them back into the water, where they got caught up in currents and eventually wound up on land. Hossein Delshab, an official in the city of Bushehr, told a local news agency that hundreds of dead sharks had recently washed up on the shores of Shif island, raising “an alarm about the extinction of sharks” in the area. Related: 512-year-old Greenland shark may be the oldest living vertebrate on Earth Although shark fishing has been banned in the area since 2014, high demand for their prized fins has made hunting them worth the possible fine if the poachers are caught. Violators can be fined up to $7,000. But because it is believed that shark fin can help with sexual disorders, they are a popular item in local markets. Via BBC Images via Wikipedia and Deposit Photos ( 1 , 2 )

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Hundreds of dead sharks wash up on the shores of the Persian Gulf

How volcanic eruptions in Iceland and Alaska affected ancient Egyptians

October 24, 2017 by  
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Volcano eruptions could have helped precipitate unrest in ancient Egypt , according to a new study. An international team of researchers led by Joseph Manning of Yale University discovered volcanic eruptions in northern latitudes can impact the flow of the Nile River . Ancient peoples depended on Nile River flooding to irrigate crops, and if that flood didn’t happen, there could have been political or economic consequences. The researchers connected historical analysis with paleoclimatology – what Yale described as reconstruction of global climates in the past – to make the startling find. Volcanoes in Russia, Greenland, Iceland, or Alaska could have disrupted the daily lives of people in ancient Egypt. While volcanic eruptions weren’t the sole cause of unrest, the researchers think they did play a role. In years with volcanic eruptions, the Nile didn’t flood as much, which Manning said led to social stress. He told The Washington Post, “It’s a bizarre concept that Alaskan volcanoes were screwing up the Nile, but in fact that’s what happened.” Related: The world’s mightiest river is dying Manning and colleagues took an interdisciplinary approach, scrutinizing ancient papyri and inscriptions for descriptions of Nile flooding, and combining that historical information with climate modeling of big 20th century volcanic eruptions and yearly Nile summer flood height measurements between 622 and 1902. Manning told The Washington Post, “It’s an indirect response, but because of atmospheric circulation and energy budgets, we find that large volcanic eruptions cause droughts .” He described the Nile and Egypt as sensitive instruments for climate change , and said the research was important in today’s debate on climate change. The study offers new insight into how climatic shocks impacted societies in history. Manning said in a statement, “There hasn’t been a large eruption affecting the global climate system since Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991…Sooner or later we will experience a large volcanic eruption, and perhaps a cluster of them, that will act to exacerbate drought in sensitive parts of the world.” The journal Nature Communications published the study online this month. Five other researchers, from institutions in Ireland, California, and Switzerland, contributed to the work. Via Yale University and The Washington Post Images via Michael Gwyther-Jones on Flickr and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Flickr

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How volcanic eruptions in Iceland and Alaska affected ancient Egyptians

Denmark fires up its Copenhill power plant, with ski slopes set to open next year

October 24, 2017 by  
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Six years ago, Bjarke Ingels Group unveiled plans for a ski slope power plant that could provide the city of Copenhagen with electricity, hot water, and a steady stream of recycled materials. It’s a wild design, and we never thought it’d see the light of day – but fast forward to 2017, and Copenhill is nearly complete. The waste-to-energy plant is currently operational, and by the end of next year it will be topped with 30 rooftop trees, the world’s tallest artificial climbing wall, and a 600-meter ski slope. Inhabitat recently traveled to Copenhagen for a first look inside this landmark building – hit the jump for our exclusive photos. When it officially opens next year, the Amager Bakken waste-to-energy plant will process 400,000 tons of waste annually to provide 160,000 homes with hot water and 62,500 homes with electricity. The new plant replaces the aging Amager Resource Center, and it’s able to produce 25% more energy while cutting CO2 emissions by 100,000 tons per year. Despite the fact that the plant effectively burns trash, its emissions are remarkably clean thanks to advanced filtration technology – the air in the plant’s vicinity is actually healthier than in Copenhagen’s city center. The plant will also enable the city to salvage 90% of the metals in its waste stream, and it will yield 100,000 metric tons of ash that will be reused as road material. Did we mention that it’s designed to blow enormous smoke rings? BIG Project Manager Jesper Boye Andersen told Inhabitat that “The completion date is after summer 2018, we are still pushing for the smoke rings, and we have proven that the technology works.” The building’s facade is made up of staggered metal planters that vary in size and shape to carefully control solar exposure. When it rains, each planter will drain into the one below it to sustain a flourishing vegetated wall. Copenhill’s roof will made from an artificial turf material, and it will be open to skiers and snowboarders all-year-round. In addition to the ski slope, the roof will feature a cafe, a running path, and the world’s largest artificial climbing wall, which will measure 86 meters tall by 10 meters wide. According to recent estimates, the total cost of the plant will be 4 billion DKK (about $632 million). It was financed by five nearby municipalities that will benefit from the energy, hot water, and other resources it produces. + BIG + Amager Resource Center Inhabitat was invited to Denmark by Visit Copenhagen , which paid for meals and lodging for 3 days

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Denmark fires up its Copenhill power plant, with ski slopes set to open next year

NASA map shows how climate change has set the world on fire

August 21, 2017 by  
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Devastating wildfires have blazed through Portugal, Canada, and Siberia this summer – with some people beginning to wonder if climate change will make such destructive fires normal. Maps with data from NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) reveal a world filled with red. National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist Kevin Trenberth told DW, “A lot of these things are happening locally, but people don’t always connect them to climate change. But there is a real climate change component to this and the risk is going up because of climate change.” NASA’s FIRMS Web Fire Mapper data from the last seven days, from August 14 to August 21, shown in the map above, reveals a world on fire. DW said Europe has experienced three times the average number of wildfires in summer 2017. Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, and Greece suffered from fire as heatwaves incited dry, hot conditions. Related: This is how hot it will be in your neck of the woods if we don’t slow climate change 894,941 hectares have burned in Canada this season, according to the British Columbia Wildfire Service – in the worst season for fires since we started keeping records. People in Portugal have especially suffered: earlier in the season 64 people perished and around 2,000 people were cut off by a recent blaze surrounding Macao. Hundreds of homes were destroyed by wildfire in Siberia , and even Greenland saw a fire described as unprecedented. Some scientists are connecting these blazes to climate change, saying as temperatures rise , fires could occur more often. Trenberth told DW, “What’s really happening is that there is extra heat available. That heat has to go somewhere and some of it goes into raising temperatures. But the first thing that happens is that it goes into drying – it dries out plants and increases the risk of wildfires.” Via DW Images via FIRMS Web Fire Mapper and NASA Earthdata Facebook

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NASA map shows how climate change has set the world on fire

NASA releases startling new images showing 30 years of change on Earth

January 25, 2017 by  
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We hear plenty of news about melting glaciers , droughts and massive industrial projects that are dramatically changing the face of the planet, but it’s still easy for those things to remain abstract concepts because the scale is so large. (Not to mention the new administration’s attempts to wipe out all mention of climate change .) But NASA remains resolute in its efforts to communicate the truth, recently releasing its “Images of Change” series, a collection of before and after images that show just how much and how fast certain locations on Earth have changed over the past 30 years. As Forbes columnist, Trevor Nace notes, “(t)he series shines light on how rapidly our planet has changed in the recent decades due largely to urbanization and climate change. The series allows for clear and apparent contrast of environmental systems over the past decades. Some processes are unlinked to human influence such as island building but many are affected to some degree by human population growth and pollution.” The series features 120 images from around the world, and scale of the changes that can actually be seen in the images today, from how they were just 30 years ago is almost unfathomable in some cases. And some of the images are pretty startling on their own. Related: Scientists warn rapidly melting glacier in West Antarctica cold cause serious global havoc This one of an early ice melt in Greenland is one that stands well on its own. According to NASA , “Meltwater streams, rivers and lakes form in the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet every spring or early summer, but melting began exceptionally early in 2016. Melting encourages further melting when ponds of meltwater develop, since they darken the surface and absorb more sunlight than ice does. Surface melt contributes to sea-level rise when the water runs off into the ocean and when it flows through crevasses to the base of a glacier and temporarily speeds up the ice flow.” Check NASA’s great interactive website that hosts the rest of this cool collection of Earth images. Via Forbes and NASA Images via NASA

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NASA releases startling new images showing 30 years of change on Earth

Tiny woven hut invites Danish public to experience urban gardening

January 25, 2017 by  
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The city of Aarhus, Denmark is not about to let a little concrete keep its citizens from experiencing the pleasures of urban gardening. Architect Steffen Impgaard created The Green Embassy, a wooden gardening hut open to the public so that those lacking their own green space can still enjoy the thrill of growing their own food. Working in collaboration with project Taste Aarhus, a culinary initiative geared to celebrating the city’s role of European Region of Gastronomy 2017, Impgaard designed the hut to resemble a seed as a metaphor for the new initiative, which seeks to make the city “sensuous and palatable”. The gardening space will be open for two years to serve as the headquarters for Taste of Aarhus team members, as well as a creative workshop for green-loving citizens. Related: Autonomous concept car features an urban garden on wheels Made out of woven willow sticks, which filter natural light into the interior, the structure’s shape and materials were chosen to create an optimal site for greenhouse gardening. Although the pavilion was designed to be noticeable to passersby, its natural materials make the hut an unassuming presence in the public square where it’s located. + Steffen Impgaard Via Archdaily Images via Kirstine Mengel

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Trump bans EPA and USDA scientists from communicating with the public

January 25, 2017 by  
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In a set of chilling memos, staff at the Environmental Protection Agency and US Department of Agriculture were banned from all communications with the public this week. The memos forbid government scientists from speaking to reporters about their work, writing press releases, posting blog updates, or updating the agencies’ social media accounts. The EPA was also ordered to suspend all new business activities – including awarding any new contracts or grants. Voices within Donald Trump’s administration claim that this is simply a temporary measure, aimed at bringing the agencies’ communications in line with the new administration’s priorities. But with no information flowing out of the EPA, state agencies are concerned that the media blackout and grant freeze will prevent them from carrying out critical work to protect clean drinking water, test schools for lead, and revitalize toxic waste sites. Jeff Ruch, executive director for the advocacy group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, told the Boston Globe that these orders go far beyond those issued during previous presidential transitions. Related: Trump may ban the Environmental Protection Agency from funding scientific research Many fear that the gag order may be extended indefinitely, much like the years-long gag order placed on Canadian scientists under Stephen Harper’s administration. Though it’s been reversed by the country’s new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, during the Harper years 37% of researchers were prevented from speaking to the public or media about their work, and 24% say they were directly asked to exclude or alter information. The policy caused Canadian media coverage of climate change to drop by 80% during those years, a terrifying prospect at a time when the planet is hitting record temperatures for the third year in a row . It should go without saying that altering or suppressing scientific information to fit Trump’s pro- fossil fuel agenda could be devastating to our ability to understand and respond to climate change and natural disasters. In fact, as Mashable points out , the gag order goes against the agencies’ own ethics policies, which encourage employees to promote scientific standards and communicate with the public about their research. Perhaps that’s why, as soon as the recent memo was made public , the USDA disavowed the policy and reiterated its mission to make government science available to the public. Related: Trump’s EPA pick put industries before federal environmental policies While this seems to be a positive development, environmentalists and anyone who values scientific accuracy should remain on guard. It’s clear that Trump and his cabinet have a vested interest in denying climate science and suppressing any information about it from reaching the public. Those wishing to take action to help defend government science in the US may want to check out the Scientists’ March on Washington that is currently in the planning stages. Via The Boston Globe Images via Audio Luci Store and US Army RDECOM

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Europe’s tallest residential tower breaks ground in London

September 7, 2016 by  
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The 67-story Spire London project was launched by Greenland Group, one of China ’s largest premium residential developers. The building, which recently broke ground in London , will be 235 meters (771feet) high and will provide unrivaled views of the city. The building will comprise 861 apartments, including luxury suites and duplex penthouses, as well as common garden spaces and five-star amenities such as a spa and club bar. Related: Exciting new designs for Heathrow Airport’s expansion unveiled The lower floors of the development will feature Bronze colored metal detailing meant to reference the tan brickwork dominating the historic buildings located along the perimeter of the dock basin where the tower will sit. The interior design of the tower , expected to be completed in 2020, was entrusted to interior designer Nicola Fontanella of Argent Design. + HoK + Argent Design Via World Architecture News

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Europe’s tallest residential tower breaks ground in London

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