Global ocean circulation may be slowing down due to Arctic ice loss

August 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Humanity is entering a phase of grave uncertainty as rising temperatures wreck havoc on our planet. Researchers from Yale University and the University of Southhampton have found evidence that Arctic ice loss may be having a negative impact on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) , the largest ocean circulation system on the planet. A complex system not easily explained by talking heads scoring political points, AMOC helps regulate ocean and atmospheric temperatures – and its collapse would have repercussions that not even scientists can properly predict. “The ongoing decline of Arctic sea ice exposes the ocean to anomalous surface heat and freshwater fluxes, resulting in positive buoyancy anomalies that can affect ocean circulation,” the researchers wrote in a new study published recently in Nature . “It is found that on decadal timescales, flux anomalies over the subpolar North Atlantic have the largest impact on the AMOC, while on multi-decadal timescales (longer than 20 years), flux anomalies in the Arctic become more important. These positive buoyancy anomalies spread to the North Atlantic, weakening the AMOC and its poleward heat transport. Therefore, the Arctic sea-ice decline may explain the suggested slow-down of the AMOC and the ‘Warming Hole’ persisting in the subpolar North Atlantic.” Related: How climate change could alter the environment in 100 years So what does this mean? Trevor Nace, a geologist, explains for Forbes : “This process whereby water is transported into the Northern Atlantic Ocean acts to distribute ocean water globally. What’s more important, and the basis for concern of many scientists is this mechanism is one of the most efficient ways Earth transports heat from the tropics to the northern latitudes. The warm water transported from the tropics to the North Atlantic releases heat to the atmosphere, playing a key role in warming of western Europe…” Since this is largely unprecedented, it is uncertain exactly what will happen if the AMOC collapses, or how it will affect global weather patterns. But we do know that even small shifts in climate can result in dramatic changes – evidenced by the growing number of droughts, floods and other natural disasters worldwide. In November, temperatures in the Arctic were 20C degrees higher than normal, according to an Arctic Resilience Report . The best way to slow down this trend is to release fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which requires a shift away from burning fossil fuels and other carbon-producing industries. And that requires leadership. Via Forbes Images via NOAA, NASA

See original here:
Global ocean circulation may be slowing down due to Arctic ice loss

Luxury Tree Villa communes with breathtaking nature in India

August 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A picture-perfect getaway roosts in the treetops of west India. Architecture BRIO completed the Tree Villa, a two-story luxury getaway on the cliff of a 160-acre “treesort.” Set within the rich river landscape of Tala near the Kuda caves, the treehouse -like glass dwelling offers an immersive experience within a forested tropical setting. Architecture BRIO built the Tree Villa around existing mature trees, which grow up and through the roof, deck, and fencing, and give the structure its treehouse-like appearance. The dwelling blends into its surroundings with its thatched roof , predominately timber palette, and clean modern design. The architects wrapped the elevated Tree Villa in full-height glazing to optimize views of Tala’s stunning scenery. Tie-dyed bordered sheer curtains filter harsh sunlight during the day. The Tree Villa accommodates four adults and two children. The elevated ground floor is surrounded by an expansive timber deck and comprises a large luxurious bedroom, bathroom with mirrored slats, and a spiral staircase to the upper floor. The larger upper level also features a large timber deck in addition to a second bedroom, loft bed for children, living area, kitchen, dining room, west-facing patio, and a semi-outdoor bathroom that’s dramatically pierced by the enormous brand of an old Garuga fruit tree. The modern and minimalist open-plan interior and lack of walls reinforces the immersive experience in nature. Related: Bamboo-Veiled Dormitory by Architecture BRIO The architects write: “The volumetric compositions of partly white, partly reflective and transparent surfaces within a wooden framework animate and lighten up the space. It questions conventional definitions of exterior and interior and reinterprets notions of privacy and exposure within a hospitality environment. The spatial composition in an otherwise traditional tropical roof structure lends a sense of softness, sensuality, intimacy and complexity, making it a perfect setting for a retreat into the wilderness of Tala.” + Architecture BRIO Via ArchDaily Images © Photographix

View post: 
Luxury Tree Villa communes with breathtaking nature in India

Antarctica’s newest iceberg may destabilize the entire ice shelf

August 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Antarctica’s newest iceberg may destabilize the entire ice shelf

For eighteen months, scientists and concerned citizens waited for a giant iceberg to break off the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica. On July 12, the highly-anticipated event finally occurred . Because the iceberg, named A68, was predominantly submerged in the water before it detached, the event did not dramatically raise sea levels — phenomena which would propel natural disasters. While this is fortunate, it turns out the iceberg saga isn’t over: cracks are spreading towards a location that is paramount to the stability of the remaining ice shelf . For months, satellites have been capturing footage of the region to track the effects of climate change . After A68 broke off the shelf, satellites continued to track its movements. According to new data published by the University of Leeds, the structure has drifted approximately 3.1 miles (5km) away from its initial location. When the event finally took place, Larsen C lost about 10 perfect of its area; at least 11 smaller icebergs — some up to 8 miles (12 km) long — were also formed. NewAtlas reports that as the network of cracks continues to sweep across Larsen C, the number of icebergs will keep increasing. Related: Dubai firm wants to tow icebergs from Antarctica for fresh water Said Anna Hogg, a researcher at the University of Leeds: “The satellite images reveal a lot of continuing action on Larsen C Ice Shelf. We can see that the remaining cracks continue to grow towards a feature called Bawden Ice Rise, which provides important structural support for the remaining ice shelf. If an ice shelf loses contact with the ice rise, either through sustained thinning or a large iceberg calving event, it can prompt a significant acceleration in ice speed, and possibly further destabilization. It looks like the Larsen C story might not be over yet.” As Inhabitat previously reported, A68 is not a direct result of climate change . In fact, the process happens quite naturally during the life cycle of ice shelves. However, it is possible that it is breaking away progressed faster than normal due to changing environmental conditions . “Although floating ice shelves have only a modest impact on of sea-level rise, ice from Antarctica’s interior can discharge into the ocean when they collapse,” said Hilmar Gudmundsson, a researcher from the British Antarctic Survey. “Consequently we will see increase in the ice-sheet contribution to global sea-level rise. With this large calving event, and the availability of satellite technology, we have a fantastic opportunity to watch this natural experiment unfolding before our eyes. We can expect to learn a lot about how ice shelves break up and how the loss of a section of an ice shelf affects the flow of the remaining parts.” The findings were published in the journal Nature Climate Change . + University of Leeds Via NewAtlas Images via Pixabay

Read the original post:
Antarctica’s newest iceberg may destabilize the entire ice shelf

A garbage patch bigger than Texas was just discovered in the Pacific Ocean

August 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on A garbage patch bigger than Texas was just discovered in the Pacific Ocean

A few months ago, scientists found a new garbage patch in the Arctic ocean . And now, another pocket of plastics, human trash, and chemical waste has been discovered in a newly-explored region of the Pacific Ocean. Like it’s cousin the “ Great Pacific Garbage Patch ,” it’s an environmental burden that shows just how irresponsible humans have become in recent years. The new patch is located between Hawaii and the mainland US, and it was discovered by the Algalita Research Foundation . Charles Moore led the six-month volunteer voyage. Though researchers are still determining the garbage patch’s size, it is estimated to be as big as a million square kilometers (386,100 square miles) — four times the size of the United Kingdom or 1.5 times the size of Texas ! Moore told ResearchGate : “We discovered tremendous quantities of plastic. My initial impression is that our samples compared to what we were seeing in the North Pacific in 2007, so it’s about ten years behind.” Though the vortex of trash is gargantuan, pictures of the patch are somewhat misleading in terms of the size of debris. Initial analyses reveal that the majority of the plastics are the size of a grain of rice. Of course, there are larger pieces of garbage, such as bottles and fishing nets. So far, it looks as if most of the waste was disposed of by commercial enterprises, such as the fishing industry. This means general consumers are less to blame. “We found a few larger items, occasionally a buoy and some fishing gear, but most of it was broken into bits,” said Moore. Small or large in size, plastic debris still poses a serious threat to marine wildlife and terrestrial ecosystems. It’s estimated that by 2050, 99 percent of birds will have plastic in their guts due to the extraordinary amount of goods disposed of by humans. Though you may think you have nothing to do with the problem, that is unlikely – 80 percent of pollution enters the ocean from land . Over time, plastic debris breaks up into micro-particles that don’t easily biodegrade and are ingested by wildlife. If animals — such as turtles and fish — don’t die from swallowing the trash, their bodies are likely to become more toxic due to the PCBs and other chemicals found in plastics. This, in turn, makes them unsuitable for consumption by humans and other creatures. Related: Shocking study reveals 90% of seabirds have eaten plastic As IFLScience reports, garbage patches in the ocean result from giant systems of circulating currents (gyres) sweeping debris up from ports, harbors, rivers, docks, and ships. The trash then becomes trapped and oftentimes accumulates for years before it is spotted. Though this new vortex of trash is bad news, it doesn’t mean hope is lost. Humans still have time to adopt sustainable habits and prevent climate change from worsening. As innovations are developed to clean up the oceans, individuals and families can reduce their burden on the environment by eating more unpackaged whole, unprocessed foods, bringing recyclable bags to the grocery store and boycotting plastic whenever possible. Via Research Gate Images via Pinterest , Charles Moore, YouTube

Read the original here: 
A garbage patch bigger than Texas was just discovered in the Pacific Ocean

Caltech scientists accelerate part of carbon sequestration process by 500 times

July 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Caltech scientists accelerate part of carbon sequestration process by 500 times

Carbon sequestration , or removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it long-term, could help us fight climate change . It’s a complex chemical reaction , but a team of six scientists led by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) just made a breakthrough in speeding up a slow part of the reaction. They were inspired by oceans, which naturally absorb carbon dioxide. Study co-author Jess Adkins said, “This is one of those rare moments in the arc of one’s career where you just go, ‘I just discovered something no one ever knew.” Right now, the oceans hold around 50 times the carbon dioxide as the atmosphere. But in seawater, carbon dioxide is an acid, and the acidified waters are gobbling away at coral reefs . The acidified water eventually makes its way to the ocean floor, where calcium carbonate shells neutralize the carbon dioxide – but that process takes tens of thousands of years to finish. It was while studying how fast the coral will dissolve in this whole process that the scientists made their breakthrough. Related: World’s first commercial carbon-sucking plant goes live in Zurich They added an enzyme, carbonic anhydrase, during the carbon sequestration reaction. This enzyme, according to Caltech, is the same one that helps uphold the pH balance of blood in some animals and in humans. Adding the enzyme made the rate-limiting step of the chemical reaction move 500 times faster. The team’s research will be published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America ; a paper about the work was put up online in advance of publication. Scientists from the University of Southern California and Hebrew University of Jerusalem collaborated on the paper. Lead author Adam Subhas, a graduate student at Caltech, said, “While the new paper is about a basic chemical mechanism, the implication is that we might better mimic the natural process that stores carbon dioxide in the ocean.” Via ScienceAlert and Caltech Images via Tim Marshall on Unsplash and Yanguang Lan on Unsplash

See the rest here: 
Caltech scientists accelerate part of carbon sequestration process by 500 times

Brand new island sprouts off the North Carolina coast

June 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Brand new island sprouts off the North Carolina coast

In an age of rising sea levels and shore erosion , the sudden appearance of new coastal land can encourage and inspire. Along North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras National Seashore, a brand new island has emerged from the sea like a plant sprouting from a seed. The sandbar, which has been called Shelley Island by some locals for its abundance of sea shells, is attracting adventurous visitors, who choose to brave the elements and the occasional discarded fish hook so that they may see the shoreline’s newest addition. Shelley Island is located near Cape Point, a globally-renowned surf-fishing location, and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse on North Carolina ‘s Outer Banks. To reach Shelley Island, visitors must pass near powerful currents that could easily pull a person out to sea. “We’re worried about shark bites, but we’re more worried about drownings,” said Bill Smith, president of the North Carolina Beach Buggy Association. Rays and sharks patrol the waters and the discarded hooks from many fish tales could be embedded in the sand, threatening barefoot revelers. Related: Discreet new home in North Carolina acts like a gateway to the surrounding wilderness It is entirely possible that Shelley Island may disappear within a year, or it may expand even further into the ocean. Cape Point is constantly shifting. Admirers of the wild seashore have been fortunate with a particularly accessible season, the better through which to enjoy the scenery. Those who visit should count themselves fortunate, as future generations may not be able to experience this unique and fragile ecosystem . The coastline of North Carolina is among the most vulnerable parts of the Eastern United States to the effects of climate change . The barrier islands, which have served to protect the inland areas from devastating storms, may be overwhelmed and submerged by the end of the century. Via CNN / The Virginian Pilot Images via Claude Betancort and  Nicolas Marchildon

Read the original:
Brand new island sprouts off the North Carolina coast

Scientists create eco-friendly, biodegradable microbeads

June 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Scientists create eco-friendly, biodegradable microbeads

Microbeads ‘ detriment to the environment is well-documented , yet many companies continue to put the tiny plastic spheres in their products. Scientists at the University of Bath came up with a solution. They created microbeads from cellulose instead, and their alternative is both biodegradable and renewable. One shower can pollute the ocean with 100,000 plastic particles, according to an estimate cited by the University of Bath. These plastic microbeads less than five millimeters in size are way too small to be filtered out by sewage filtration systems, and from sunscreens, toothpastes, or cosmetics end up in the ocean. Fish, birds, and other marine creatures then consume them. Researchers think from there, the microbeads may be entering our food supply . Related: Greenpeace identifies brands that are still polluting oceans with microbeads So a research team at the university developed a way to continuously make biodegradable microbeads. They dissolve cellulose and reform it into beads, by making droplets that are set. They say their process is scalable, and they can draw cellulose from waste products such as those from the paper-making industry. These waste products offer a renewable source of cellulose. Their biodegradable microbeads will stay stable in a body wash, but at sewage treatment facilities can be broken down by organisms. Or the beads will break down in a short period of time if they do make it into the wider environment. Scientist Janet Scott said they’ll biodegrade into harmless sugars. She said in a statement, “Microbeads used in the cosmetics industry are often made of polyethylene or polypropylene, which are cheap and easy to make. However these polymers are derived from oil and they take hundreds of years to break down in the environment…We hope in the future these [microbeads] could be used as a direct replacement for plastic microbeads.” The journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering published a study on the research online the end of May. A team led by Scott just received more than £1 million, around $1.2 million, in funding to develop porous beads, microsponges, and capsules from the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council . Via the University of Bath Images via University of Bath

Read more: 
Scientists create eco-friendly, biodegradable microbeads

Renewable energy powers half of the UK

June 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Renewable energy powers half of the UK

The UK is not slacking in its goal to slash carbon emissions by 57 percent (based on 1990 levels) by the year 2030. Such was made evident on Wednesday, when the country successfully generated 50.7 percent of its energy from solar, wind, hydro and biomass. Another first was recorded when nuclear, wind and solar each generated more electricity than gas and coal combined. The National Grid tweeted the good news and said, “For the first time ever this lunchtime wind, nuclear and solar were all generating more than both gas and coal combined.” According to Engadget , favorable weather conditions helped the UK reach this milestone. Clear skies and very strong winds resulted in wind farms contributing 9.5GW of power and solar panels around 7.6GW of electricity. If nuclear sources were added to the equation, Britain would have sourced 72.1 percent of its electricity from low-carbon sources. As a result of the surge in renewable energy , coal production was entirely stopped for the rest of the day. Aware that “dirty” fossil fuels contribute to climate change which may propel natural disasters, the UK government has begun lowering coal production with an intention to abandon it completely by 2025. Related: First Apple Store in Southeast Asia is 100% powered by renewable energy The sovereign state is making notable strides in its goal to become a leader in renewables. At the end of 2016, the UK was able to source 50 percent of its electricity from renewables and other low carbon sources. Reportedly, wind, solar and hydro energy contributed about one-fourth of the total energy; 25 percent was derived from nuclear reactors. Via Engadget Images via Pixabay

View original here:
Renewable energy powers half of the UK

9 of the world’s biggest fishing companies agree to protect the oceans

June 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on 9 of the world’s biggest fishing companies agree to protect the oceans

The world’s oceans are in trouble, and nine of the biggest fishing firms recently decided to help. They’re banding together in a voluntary initiative to protect oceans from problems like overfishing , which is rapidly depleting the oceans of fish . They’ll also target issues like pollution and the use of slave labor . The initiative, known as the Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS), is backed by the Stockholm Resilience Centre . The companies committed to boosting transparency to reduce illegal fishing in the supply chain, as well as avoiding products obtained through slave labor. They’ll also focus on plastic pollution and greenhouse gases . The Guardian reported it’s the first time companies from the United States, Europe, and Asia have come together to work towards such goals. Related: The world’s fish are vanishing far faster than previously thought Stockholm Resilience Centre deputy science director Henrik Osterblöm told The Guardian, “Sustainable marine ecosystems will be essential to feed a growing population, but the oceans are at risk. Seafood makes up 20 percent of the global intake of animal protein.” Among the nine companies are the two biggest companies in terms of revenue, Maruha Nichiro Corporation and Nippon Suisan Kaisha. The two biggest salmon companies, two biggest tuna companies, and two biggest aquafeeds companies also signed, according to the Stockholm Resilience Centre. The organization initiated the conversation, inviting 13 corporations that control 11 to 16 percent of wild marine catch and 40 percent of valuable species. Osterblöm said the center was excited so many companies did show up and agree to the initiative. According to The Guardian, it’s estimated around half of the world’s catch comes from illegal fishing – those fisherman either trespass into waters, use illegal gear, or catch more fish than they’re supposed to, sometimes even catching endangered fish. Slavery has also marred the industry; an investigation in 2014 found exploitation and loss of human rights was rampant in parts of fishing grounds in Asia. Announcing the initiative is part of the United Nations Ocean Conference this week. Via The Guardian Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

Read more: 
9 of the world’s biggest fishing companies agree to protect the oceans

8 fabulous and creative Father’s Day gifts from $0 to $27,500

June 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on 8 fabulous and creative Father’s Day gifts from $0 to $27,500

Finding the right gift for Dad can be elusive; ties, golf clubs, and a good set of knives feel kind of tired by now. So we rounded up 8 gifts that transcend the standard gift box and fit a variety of budgets and personalities. Whether you pick a tiny timber cabin for your backyard or a palm-sized solar lamp for nighttime adventures, Dad will love that you went the extra mile for a sustainable, stylish present. 1. Sustainable wood “blocks” Building block love is enduring, and Kengo Kuma’s Japanese spin on the all-age, favorite toy will be a hit with every member of the family. Using FSC Japanese cedar and a triangular shape, Kuma collaborated with conservation group More Trees  to create the Tsumiki (which is the Japanese word for building blocks ). Dads (and their kiddos) will love to arrange the Tsumiki into architectural configurations as well as whimsical animals and myriad creative designs. + Tsumiki blocks 2. Shoes partially made with recycled plastic bottles Perhaps Papa needs a new set of kicks. Gift him a pair of these versatile canvas shoes created as a collaboration between Timberland and Thread , a responsible fabric company. The outsoles comprise 15 percent recycled rubber and the uppers are crafted from 50 percent recycled PET bottles found in the streets and landfills of Haiti . The venture not only yields lightweight, stylish shoes , but also job opportunities and a cleaner environment in Haiti. + Timberland x Thread Collection 3. Electric bike The Propella 2.0 rides and feels like a traditional bike , but it’s got plenty of tricks hidden in its design. What looks like a water bottle is actually a battery that will help power Dad on a commute or joy ride around town. The bike’s lightweight design and pedal-assisted electric power means that riders can top out at 20 mph, a boon when it’s time to pick up the kiddos from childcare. Electric blue rims add a playful element to the otherwise minimalist design. Preorder the Propella 2.0   here for a September delivery. Related: 8 Last minute Father’s Day gifts for the procrastinator’s Papa 4. Portable solar lamp The Little Sun Original , designed by Olafur Eliasson , resembles a flower , and it is powered by the sun. Ideal for camping trips, taking midnight walks on a beach, or reading after the kids go to bed, this dimmable lamp comes with an affordable price tag ($25) and can stay charged for up to 50 hours. This gift for Dad also pays it forward: for every Little Sun sold, another goes to rural Africa to be sold at a locally affordable price by trusted partners. + Little Sun Original 5. Mini aquarium ecosystem Aqua Design Innovations’ EcoQube C was the most popular aquarium ever on Kickstarter, and the allure is understandable. This portable ecosystem uses an integrated aquaponics filter to turn fish waste into plant fertilizer. The fertilizer fuels the growth of the plant, which then cleans the water, reducing the need for filter changes and also reducing energy and water usage. The same company recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign for the EcoQube Frame , a vertical veggie and sprout garden. It’s available in December, so we now also know what Dad is getting for the holidays… + EcoQube C 6. A jacket and a backpack in one It’s a jacket, it’s a backpack , it’s a RuckJack , and it goes from one to the other with a zip, flip, and clip. Dad can start off an adventure wearing the RuckJack as a backpack; if the weather gets cool or rainy he can quickly convert it into a jacket and use the extra cargo bag on the back panel and extra pockets to distribute the rest of his load. RuckJack has partnered with WeForest to plant 10 trees in deforested areas around the world with every RuckJack purchase. + RuckJack Image via Agenzia Del Demanio 7. A free Italian building An Italian castle, farmhouse, inn, or monastery for FREE ? Sounds like the best, gratis Father’s Day present for an entrepreneurial DIY dad. 103 historic buildings are up for grabs with the caveat that new owners have to restore the sites and transform them into a tourist-friendly destination, such as a restaurant or hotel . If the family has ever dreamed of moving to Italy and setting up a picturesque B & B or trattoria, now is your chance. Our only suggestion: run this one by Dad before committing to this exciting and challenging effort designed to promote slow tourism. Apply (in Italian) here . 8. A MUJI mini house If you’ve got a tiny backyard and a spare 27 grand and change (and live in Japan), you can gift Dad with the ultimate tiny escape . Courtesy of cult minimalist company MUJI , these tiny timber cabins are sleek and simple…especially if it’s a kid-free zone and the floor isn’t littered with toys and clothes. One side is comprised almost completely of a sliding glass door; it’s almost as if they designed it so Dad can lay in a comfy position inside while watching the kids play just outside the door. + MUJI hut

Originally posted here: 
8 fabulous and creative Father’s Day gifts from $0 to $27,500

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 2945 access attempts in the last 7 days.