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

Playful guerrilla group unleashes 50 swings across San Francisco

February 26, 2018 by  
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A guerrilla group in San Francisco has unleashed a bunch of swings across the city. Swing Bomb SF installed more than 50 sneaky swings in many undisclosed locations, delighting residents and instilling a much-needed sense of playfulness. Sadly, San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department wants to take them down. They just installed 50 swings all over the city to inspire folks to go out and play! We even made the news! #swingbombsf #sanfrancisco Repost: @dianaleebee A post shared by Swing Bomb SF (@swingbombsf) on Feb 21, 2018 at 5:14pm PST Swing Bomb SF swept in with the goal of transforming the city into a pop-up playground . They’ve spoken anonymously to news outlets, and told SF Weekly , “We decided to create a present for the city, where it would wake up one morning and have a moment of surprise.” They installed over 50 swings around the city; the tops are hand-painted and underneath the words #SwingBombSF and a number tell people just which swing they’re playing on. Related: Hundreds of colorful swings transform a busy street in Luxembourg The anonymous crew told SF Weekly they wanted to install the swings in diverse locations; the Tenderloin and Lombard Street are a couple examples. SF Weekly reported Swing Bomb SF had engineers on the team to ensure the structural integrity of the trees for the swings. “I have spent the last day and a half feeling like I could burst into happy tears at any given moment. I am learning how awesome independent feels and I am so lucky that the people in my life encourage that in me. ?????? #Repost @platinum_runner #sanfrancisco #lombardstreet #tourist #vacation #independentwoman #freedomtour #love #happiness #adventure #californiadreaming #swingbombsf @swingbombsf A post shared by Swing Bomb SF (@swingbombsf) on Feb 22, 2018 at 9:11pm PST The SF Rec & Parks isn’t so sure. Operations manager Dennis Kern told ABC 7 , “They did not come to us for us to take a look at what they wanted to do, so that we can ascertain that this is safe.” He said without a permit, the department will have to take swings down. But Swing Bomb SF purposefully didn’t disclose the location of all the swings; they told ABC 7 it was “to create that element of surprise and joy” but it also means the Recreation and Parks Department has to find the swings before they can remove them. "We don't stop playing because we grow old…we grow old because we stop playing." #swingbombsf @swingbombsf Photo via #sambrock #sanfrancisco A post shared by Swing Bomb SF (@swingbombsf) on Feb 22, 2018 at 10:51am PST People stumbling across the swings in the city have posted gleeful pictures to Instagram. Swing Bomb SF told SF Weekly of the city, “It really nurtures this inner child, it’s a very playful community. We wanted to play into that, and make the concept of S.F. being an adult playground into a reality.” You can check out more pictures on Swing Bomb SF’s Instagram here . + Swing Bomb SF Via SF Weekly and ABC 7 Image via Depositphotos

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Playful guerrilla group unleashes 50 swings across San Francisco

3 stacked shipping containers create a diving tower in Denmark

February 26, 2018 by  
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Sweco Architects just transformed an old ferry port in Denmark into a fantastic water recreation spot. To keep the Water Sports Center Halsskov green, the architects recycled “as many materials as possible from the former port, either directly or through upcycling .” Perhaps the most distinctive element of the sports center is a jumping tower comprised of three stacked, bright yellow shipping containers . People can jump off a shipping container diving tower into the waves at the Water Sports Center Halsskov at heights of around 13, 26, and 36 feet. The stacked containers are rotated “to generate an interesting interaction between activity, shadows, and volumes,” according to Sweco Architects . Related: Abandoned Torpedo Station Transformed Into the Coolest Water Sports Venue in the Baltic Sea The shipping container diving tower isn’t the only fun visitors can have at the Water Sports Center Halsskov. People don’t have to jump in to get wet; they can also access the water via ramps, ladders, and floating platforms. There are three beach volleyball courts, trampolines, an outdoor swimming pool , and a climbing wall , according to the firm. Facility buildings, also comprised of containers, offer bathrooms and changing rooms, and they’re covered with heat-treated wood from sustainable forests for easy maintenance. LED lighting is present throughout the site to minimize energy consumption. The project “emphasizes the special raw character of the site,” according to Sweco Architects. They exposed concrete piers and preserved pieces of bulwarks and harbor fittings. They said in their design statement that benches and boundaries “consist of the former bulwarks from the ferry port.” The Water Sports Center Halsskov was completed in 2017. + Sweco Architects + Water Sports Center Halsskov by Sweco Architects Images courtesy of Mads Fredrik/Sweco Architects and Mie Marie Reindahl Clausen/Sweco Architects

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3 stacked shipping containers create a diving tower in Denmark

California’s "Butt Lady picks up 1,000,000 littered cigarette butts in 3.5 years

February 26, 2018 by  
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Cigarette butts account for an estimated 1.69 billion pounds of trash produced worldwide annually, a good number of which never even find their way into proper trash receptacles. Instead, most of them are ingested by aquatic creatures, wildlife, and pets, or simply left to languish in streets everywhere as litter. Sick and tired of seeing her town of Auburn, California marred by the toxic trash , resident Sally Dawly decided that she would make it her aim to pick up every stray butt she encountered—and keep count while at it. Incredibly, after 3.5 years, Dawly has collected over one million thoughtlessly discarded cigarette butts. “I got tired of going on my walks and seeing cigarette butts everywhere,” Dawly told her local news station. “I’m just overwhelmed and shocked that I had to pick up this many. I keep track on a daily basis of how many I pick up and I just keep going.” Related: This startup is training crows to throw away cigarette butt litter To keep count, Dawly uses a clicker. In her tackle, she also carries a broom, a pair of tongs, and a dustpan, all of which are put to good use daily. “I’ve had days where I’ve picked up 3,000 butts, in one day,” she says, “and it’s like, come on people. Don’t throw your butts, better yet, stop smoking.” The anti-littering activist picked up her first butt in October, 2014, and on  Valentine’s Day , she hit her historic milestone of 1 million cigarette butts. But she has no plans on stopping there and has already set a new goal to collect 2 million cigarette butts. Her story has also inspired countless others to join the effort to keep streets butt-free. In Auburn, cigarette receptacles have been installed outside bars and around the city, and locals consider her a bit of a local hero. As she approached 1 million butts, a number came out to cheer her on. They are also the ones who lovingly bestowed the name “Butt Lady” upon her. Via Oddity Central Lead image via Deposit Photos , others screencaps via CBS news

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California’s "Butt Lady picks up 1,000,000 littered cigarette butts in 3.5 years

The Earth’s poles may be about to flip – and the consequences could be ‘dire’

January 31, 2018 by  
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Over the past 200 years, the Earth’s magnetic field has been getting weaker . Researchers believe that this could be a sign that the poles are about to flip – and the consequences could be “dire,” according to some scientists. If a flip happens, it could knock out power grids, alter the climate, and expose us to solar winds that could puncture the ozone layer. The poles have switched regularly throughout Earth’s history. The last time they flipped was 780,000 years ago. Since the poles normally switch every 200,000 – 300,000 years – according to NASA – we are well overdue for a change. Over the last two centuries, the magnetic field generated by the Earth’s molten core has weakened 15 percent, lending further evidence to the fact that the poles are getting restless. Related: The Earth’s magnetic field is weakening ten times faster than expected If the poles flip, it could confuse animals that rely on magnetic fields for migration, and it could lead to more radiation from the sun reaching life on the planet, according to studies . This would lead to an increase in the incidence of cancer – or at least require us to protect ourselves better from the sun. In a worst-case scenario, the flipping poles could wipe out power grids by damaging satellites that control grid infrastructure and could impact the climate by changing cloud cover. According to researcher Daniel Baker , we don’t know for sure when the poles could flip. The poles have been known to shift and move, ultimately snapping back into place. And while it certainly wouldn’t be a doomsday scenario for the planet, it would be wise to prepare for the event, so that the impact isn’t challenging for humanity. Via Undark Images via NOAA,   NASA and Deposit Photos

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The Earth’s poles may be about to flip – and the consequences could be ‘dire’

Storm ‘unfreezes’ North Pole, causing temps 50 degrees higher than normal

December 31, 2015 by  
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When the going gets tough, there is often a lot of talk about hell freezing over. In reality, it’s the opposite we have to worry about. Temperatures at the North Pole this week are 50 degrees higher than usual for December. Let that sink in for a moment; that’s 50 as in five-zero. That’s pretty disconcerting on its own, but things get hairier when you learn that the temperature actually rose above freezing, at the North Pole, in winter. All global warming naysayers can now step directly off. Read the rest of Storm ‘unfreezes’ North Pole, causing temps 50 degrees higher than normal

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New “Polar Code” Signed to Protect Polar Regions as Shipping Increases

November 21, 2014 by  
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The International Maritime Organization has just signed off on an International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters, more simply known as the Polar Code . This was developed in response to already increasing shipping activity in the polar regions, which is expected to grow further in the Arctic in particular due to reductions in sea ice . New shipping lanes are opening, making it necessary to adopt measures to protect sailors and passengers in such dangerous conditions, as well as to protect the vulnerable polar regions from environmental disasters. Read the rest of New “Polar Code” Signed to Protect Polar Regions as Shipping Increases Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: antarctica , Arctic , Climate Change , environmental disaster , global warming , ice caps melting , IMO , increased shipping in Arctic , industrial accident , International Maritime Organization , marine , marine safety , melting sea ice , north pole , ocean , oil spills , polar , polar regions , SEA , shipping , Shipping lanes , south pole

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North Pole Could be a Viable Shipping Route by 2050

March 5, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock Scientists from the University of California have announced that by 2050, ships will be able to travel across the north pole in summer months. This would slash costs of transporting goods between Europe and China, Laurence C. Smith and Scott R. Stephenson wrote in the journal PNAS, but opening the northern sea route will pose a host of new economic, environmental and political challenges. Read the rest of North Pole Could be a Viable Shipping Route by 2050 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Arctic , cargo shipping , Climate Change , environmental destruction , global warming , melting ice , north pole , northern sea route , trans arctic passage , university of california , Wildlife

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UN Warns of Harmful Resource Rush as Arctic Ice Melts at Record Rate

February 19, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock This week, the United Nations’ Environment Programme released a new report warning that a rush for Arctic resources would threaten an already fragile ecosystem . As Arctic ice melts at a rate never seen before , many are concerned by the unfolding ecological catastrophe—but others are seeing dollar signs. Melting ice is making it easier for humans to extract minerals and fossil fuels from the Arctic—which, ironically, is the very activity that is causing the ice to melt.  Read the rest of UN Warns of Harmful Resource Rush as Arctic Ice Melts at Record Rate Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Achim Steiner , arctic ice , arctic sea ice , Climate Change , Denmark , fossil fuels , global warming , greenland , Iceland , melting ice , mining , north pole , russia , UN , United Nations , United Nations Environment Programme , united states

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UN Warns of Harmful Resource Rush as Arctic Ice Melts at Record Rate

UK Team Hopes to be First to Row to the Pole

May 31, 2011 by  
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Photo: Row To The Pole To most of us it’s unprecedented environmental upheaval but to adventurer Jock Wishart it’s an opportunity. By some estimates the Arctic Ocean will be ice free by 2015 but Wishart and his team aren’t waiting to be the first people to attempt to row to the magnetic North Pole

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