Scientists find the Earth’s constant hum is best heard from the ocean floor

December 12, 2017 by  
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European scientists have determined that the Earth’s unceasing humming is best heard from the ocean floor , presenting opportunities to better understand this mysterious phenomenon. Although the sound is far below the human hearing threshold, the Earth is constantly humming. While scientists have been aware of the Earth’s humming since 1959, with more definitive research emerging in 1998, the source of the sounds remains a mystery. Nonetheless, recent research using ocean-bottom seismometer stations has provided scientists with a clearer picture of the phenomenon than ever before. “It’s like taking a piano and slamming all the keys at the same time,” said Spahr Webb of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, according to National Geographic . “Except they’re not nice harmonics. They’re oddball frequencies.” The researchers, who hail from various earth science institutes across Europe , searched through seismometer records gathered from an area that stretches more than 1,200 square miles to the east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean . Using this data, the team determined two high-quality seismometer stations from which it extracted the sound of a humming Earth. However, at 2.9 to 4.5 millihertz, the vibrations are nearly 10,000 times lower than the frequencies that humans can detect. From this data, scientists were able to determine that the loudness of the hum does not change over time, contradicting previous studies that documented a range of amplitude for the sound. Related: Everything we know about the Earth’s mantle is completely wrong A better understanding Earth’s humming may prove invaluable to creating a more comprehensive map of Earth’s interior, which is usually only able to be studied during earthquakes . Although the recent study has not definitely determined the source and nature of Earth’s humming, it has clarified the phenomenon and offered opportunities for further research. “To better understand where the signal comes from, we believe that observing oscillations from the ocean bottom can help,” said study co-author Martha Deen, according to National Geographic. The most recent study credits atmospheric turbulence and ocean waves with causing the sounds, though this is far from conclusive. Via National Geographic Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Scientists find the Earth’s constant hum is best heard from the ocean floor

Google Street View captures the migration of millions of crabs on Christmas Island

December 11, 2017 by  
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Google Street View Trekker is traveling to Christmas Island this week to capture the migration of millions of red crabs . In what naturalist David Attenborough has described as one of nature’s “most astonishing and wonderful sights,” huge numbers of the iconic, endemic red crabs annually travel from their inland forest homes to the ocean, where the crabs breed and lay their eggs. The red crabs have already begun their march to the sea and the peak number of crabs on the beaches is expected on December 13, 2017. Dr. Alasdair Grigg of Parks Australia is working with Google and wielding a Street View Trekker 360 camera to capture images from the event, which should be available in early 2018. The red crabs of Christmas Island, an Australian territory near the Indonesian island of Java, spend most of the year burrowed in the damp forest floor to preserve body moisture and protect themselves from the harsh equatorial sun. When conditions are right, 40 to 50 million crabs emerge from their dens to march towards the ocean. Parks Australia has set up walls and fencing to help protect and guide the crabs as they maneuver around manmade obstructions, such as roads. Related: Google maps the solar system for armchair space travelers Although few are able to actually travel to Christmas Island to observe the phenomenon, people around the world will be able to witness the migration thanks to Google and Dr. Alistair Grigg of Parks Australia. “Christmas Island is not on the radar of most travelers,” said Grigg in a statement. “We hope people can get a taste of the magnificent nature and the red crab migration through the eyes of the Google Trekker. We also hope they are inspired to appreciate the world-class conservation values of the Island.” This documentation of natural phenomenon follows similar efforts by Google, including virtual tours of all of South Africa’s national parks . Via Mashable Images via Google

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Google Street View captures the migration of millions of crabs on Christmas Island

Scientists call for a worldwide ban on the ‘global hazard’ of glitter

December 4, 2017 by  
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You know microbeads are terrible for the planet, but have you ever considered the environmental impact of glitter? The ubiquitous party supply is made up of tiny plastic particles , and are every bit as bad as microbeads, which have been banned in many places across the world. Now, scientists say that it’s time to ban the glittery stuff as well. Microplastics make their way from waterways and landfills into the ocean, where sea life consumes it. Fish have been found to actively seeking out plastics , mistaking it for food, and a third of fish in the UK contain plastics. This is not only deadly for wildlife, but it could be dangerous for humans who consume fish as well. Related: Microplastics are killing fish faster than they can reproduce Glitter has become more and more common, appearing in cosmetics , clothing, and bath products, (not to mention the trend of putting on beards and hair) in addition to the party supply aisle. Scientists say that it should be treated like microbeads since it is essentially no different when it comes to the environment, and are calling for a ban. Via Fox Images via Deposit photos and Unsplash

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Scientists call for a worldwide ban on the ‘global hazard’ of glitter

Whale mother can’t let go of dead calf likely poisoned by plastic

November 20, 2017 by  
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The impact of humanity’s pollution on nature became all too real in a heartbreaking clip from Blue Planet II . A mother pilot whale grieved her dead baby, carrying it around with her. The calf may have died because of industrial chemicals – and our plastic littering the oceans . A preview for episode four of BBC One’s Blue Planet II revealed a tragic scene: a mother pilot whale who seemingly couldn’t let go of her dead calf. The calf might have been poisoned by the mother’s milk, contaminated with pollutants of ours which enter the oceans. Narrator David Attenborough said she’d been carrying the baby for several days. “In top predators like these, industrial chemicals can build up to lethal levels. And plastic could be part of the problem. As plastic breaks down, it combines with these other pollutants that are consumed by vast numbers of marine creatures,” Attenborough said in the video. Related: Plankton Pundit video shows exact moment plastic enters the food chain Pilot whales possess large brains, Attenborough explained in the video, and have the capacity to feel emotions. He said the adults’ behavior following the death of the calf reveals its loss impacted the whole family. “Unless the flow of plastics and industrial pollution into the world’s oceans is reduced, marine life will be poisoned by them for many centuries to come,” he said. Around eight million metric tons of plastic enters Earth’s oceans every single year, according to the Blue Planet II website, and can kill ocean creatures. They offered several suggestions for how concerned viewers can get involved with ocean conservation , such as picking up trash or downloading the Beat the Microbead app, which tells users if a cosmetic or household product contains microbeads so they can avoid purchasing it (click the links to download for Android or iOS ). + Blue Planet II Images via BBC on YouTube

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Whale mother can’t let go of dead calf likely poisoned by plastic

World’s cheapest solar power to be generated in Mexico

November 20, 2017 by  
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Solar power set to be generated in Mexico will be the world’s cheapest — with prices as low as 1.77¢/kWh, according to data from Mexico’s  Centro Nacional de Control de Energía (Cenace) . Mexico’s Department of Energy recently announced the companies selected to complete new renewable power projects and the rates for which this electricity will be sold. The lowest price for solar in Mexico has been set just below that of Saudi Arabia at 1.77¢/kWh, and is expected to continue to decrease to 1¢/kWh in 2019 or sooner. In this most recent bidding round, 15 bids from eight solar and wind energy companies, including Canadian Solar, ENEL Green Power, and Mitsui, were approved in a sign that Mexico’s renewable surge is not slowing down. The clean energy projects recently approved by Mexico will be online and selling power by 2020. These projects and others are important steps towards meeting Mexico’s goals under the Paris agreement as well as regional goals established by Mexico, the United States, and Canada . In 2016, all three countries pledged to source 50 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025. Canada is on track to meet this goal while Mexico continues to build up its renewable portfolio. As it was when the regional pledge was made, the United States still lags behind in its transition to clean energy. Related: World’s largest solar plant in a refugee camp opens in Jordan Mexico’s achievement of cheap solar energy exceeds the expectations of skeptics who believed that such a price in a country like Mexico, rather than one like wealthy Saudi Arabia , would be highly unlikely. Despite its economic challenges, Mexico is proving that affordable renewable energy is possible around the world, brightening the prospects of the Paris agreement even as the United States refuses to participate. If current trends continue, the world may soon be faced with the prospect of plentiful, clean, affordable energy, the possibilities for which are endless. Via Electrek Images via Presidencia de la República Mexicana/Flickr   (2)   (3)

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World’s cheapest solar power to be generated in Mexico

17th-century farm transformed into amazing hotel in the hills of Norway

November 20, 2017 by  
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Communing with Norway’s incredible landscape won’t be hard when staying at the green-roofed Nordigard Blessom Farm . Tucked into rolling green landscape in the rural countryside of Vågå, this 17th-century farm was converted into a series of green-roofed guest rooms, complete with grazing sheep. Guests of the farm are treated to an atmosphere straight out of a fairy tale. Lush green hills surround the farm, which has its own gardens and orchards. There are three wooden guest rooms, each covered with a green roof . The rustic but sophisticated interior design includes solid log walls and old-Norwegian furnishings – some dating back to the 17th century. Related: Sheep farm deep in Iceland’s fjords transformed into luxury off-grid retreat Guests of the farm will enjoy scrumptious daily breakfast spreads that includes homemade bread and marmalades. After breakfast, guests can leisurely take in the farm’s idyllic surroundings or explore the activities in the area, such as hiking the adjacent mountain ranges and glaciers, horseback riding, caving, or strolling in Rondane National Park. + Nordigard Blessom Farm Via Uncrate Photography by Ingrid Blessom  

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17th-century farm transformed into amazing hotel in the hills of Norway

New NASA tool shows which melting glaciers will affect coastal cities

November 17, 2017 by  
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NASA has developed a new tool  that individuals and communities can use to determine the precise impacts that sea level rise will have on individual coastal cities . This newly accessible information will enable scientists and policymakers to have a more complete understanding of the consequences of climate change in specific areas. “This study allows one person to understand which icy areas of the world will contribute most significantly to sea level change (rise or decrease) in their specific city,” said Eric Larour, one of the study’s authors, in an interview with CNN . While most coastal communities around the world understand the imminent risks to their survival from sea level rise , this tool allows them to plan more precisely for the future. Current projections estimate that coastal communities will face a sea level rise of one to four feet, depending on location. Since the impact of melting sea ice will be felt differently in different places, it is important for communities to have as precise and accurate information as possible. NASA’s new tool, developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, incorporates the rotation of the Earth and gravitational variables to more precisely identify how specific bodies of melting ice will impact certain communities. Related: Boston outlines its plans to adapt to rising sea levels To create this tool, researchers conducted a study in which they analyzed data for 293 coastal cities to calculate local sea level rise and the glacial source of this newly liquid water. Glaciers farthest away from a particular city tended to be the most responsible for its sea level rise, due to gravity. “Ice sheets are so heavy, that when they melt, the gravity field is modified, and the ocean is less attracted to the ice mass,” said Larour in an interview with CNN . “This means that locally, close to the ice change itself, sea level will decrease.” Larour hopes that this new tool will empower local communities to make informed decisions as they prepare for unfolding impacts of climate change . + NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Via CNN Images via NASA and Depositphotos

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New NASA tool shows which melting glaciers will affect coastal cities

Keystone 1 oil pipeline leaks 210,000 gallons days ahead of Keystone XL permit decision

November 17, 2017 by  
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210,000 gallons of crude oil seeped out of the TransCanada -owned Keystone 1 pipeline this week – mere days before Nebraska’s Public Service Commission (PSC) is set to make a decision on whether or not to grant a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The first Keystone pipeline, running from Canada through the Great Plains, leaked oil southeast of Amherst, South Dakota. According to The Washington Post , this spill is just the most recent in a series. The first Keystone pipeline leaked in 2011 and 2016. This new spill was detected early in the morning, and happened in “either a grass or an agricultural field,” according to South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources environmental science manager Brian Walsh, and that, based on what they know, “the spill has not impacted a surface water body.” Related: Nebraska landowners install solar panels in the path of the Keystone XL pipeline Image of Amherst incident taken earlier today by aerial patrol as part of our initial response. For more updates, visit https://t.co/8yWI1Oq2EM pic.twitter.com/uRNtYUdVjL — TransCanada (@TransCanada) November 16, 2017 TransCanada said the leak was completely isolated in 15 minutes. They said they got permission from the landowner to assess the spill and start planning for cleanup. Next week on Monday, the PSC will decide whether or not to grant a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, also to be owned by TransCanada. Critics and activists say the company shouldn’t receive one, especially after the recent spill. 350.org executive director May Boeve said in a statement, “This is exactly the kind of disaster we can expect more of if Keystone XL is approved. No matter what TransCanada says, there’s no such thing as a safe fossil fuel pipeline.” President Donald Trump gave TransCanada a federal permit in March, and other states have approved Keystone XL’s path. According to Reuters, PSC isn’t allowed to consider the potential of spills from Keystone XL as the venture has an environmental permit. Their decision will be on whether or not the pipeline’s route would be in the best interest of the state’s residents, but a rejection would be a setback for the controversial project. Boeve said, “ Indigenous peoples , farmers, and ranchers along Keystone XL’s proposed route have been holding the line against this project for years. Whatever Nebraska commissioners decide on Monday, we’ll be ready for the work ahead to stop this and all new fossil fuel projects that threaten our communities and climate .” Via The Washington Post and Reuters Images via shannonpatrick17 on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Keystone 1 oil pipeline leaks 210,000 gallons days ahead of Keystone XL permit decision

Climate change and volcanic eruptions could lead to years without summer

October 31, 2017 by  
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Scientists warn that if climate change continues at its current pace, oceans may lose their ability to reduce atmospheric effects from volcanic sulfur and aerosols as they have done in the past. This means that volcanic eruptions in the future may lead to “years without summer,” as occurred in 1815 after the April eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia . New research led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in the US both confirms that specific eruption’s role in altering the global climate and the role that future eruptions might play if the ocean’s temperature continues to be affected by melting sea ice and rising global temperatures. The researchers used data from Community Earth System Model’s (CESM) Last Millennium Ensemble Project, which provides simulations of Earth’s climate based on the geological record from 850 through 2005, to determine that the Mount Tambora eruption caused a notable cooling event on the global climate. Sulfur dioxide sent into the atmosphere became sulfate particles known as aerosols and reflected light away from the Earth. This resulted in a so-called “year without summer,” in which crops across North America and Europe suffered tremendous losses due to cold temperatures and blocked sunlight. Related: Two giant volcanic eruptions formed Yellowstone’s iconic caldera The oceans played an important role in returning the climate to relative normalcy through a process in which the colder water of the ocean sinks while warmer water rises to the surface, helping to warm the surrounding land and atmosphere . However, due to changing ocean temperatures resulting from climate change, if an eruption similar to Mount Tambora were to occur in 2085, the ocean would be less able to bring about climate stabilization. Study author Otto-Bliesner wrote, “The response of the climate system to the 1815 eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Tambora gives us a perspective on potential surprises for the future, but with the twist that our climate system may respond much differently”. + Nature Communications Via Alphr Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Climate change and volcanic eruptions could lead to years without summer

Error in sea temperature readings suggests climate change is worse than we thought

October 27, 2017 by  
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We might have been wrong about how dire climate change really is. New research points out methodology to work out sea temperatures may have been based on an error – so millions of years ago, the oceans may have been colder than scientists thought. Study co-author Anders Meibom of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland said, “If we are right, our study challenges decades of paleoclimate research.” Global warming actually might be “an unprecedented event in the last hundred million years,” according to the University of Lausanne , if the study from a team of French and Swiss researchers is correct. 100 million years ago, sea temperatures in the deep ocean and polar ocean’s surface were 15 degrees higher than current temperatures, scientists thought. But that figure may be incorrect – instead, ocean temperatures could have been more stable. That means the warming we’re seeing today is more distressing. Related: Scientists warn CO2 from warming soils could lead to uncontrollable temperature rise The Independent explains scientists used to determine temperatures with the help of foraminifera, or tiny marine organism fossils . The shells of these creatures have more or less of an oxygen isotope based on water temperature, so scientists could estimate water temperature of the past based on the oxygen content of the shells. Sounds fairly straightforward, right? The problem is oxygen amounts in the shells don’t stay constant over time, says this new research, which suggests oxygen content can change without a trace that would clue scientists in on that change. Meibom said in a statement (translated by The Independent), “To revisit the ocean’s paleotemperatures now, we need to carefully quantify this re-equilibration, which has been overlooked for too long. For that, we have to work on other types of marine organisms so that we clearly understand what took place in the sediment over geological time.” The University of Lausanne reports the scientists are already at work on this task. Ocean temperatures are important in our understanding of climate change. Meibom said, “The oceans cover 70 percent of the Earth. They are a key player in the Earth’s climate . We must therefore know the evolution of their temperature over geological time to understand precisely how they behave and thus, to better predict the consequences of the current climate disruption.” Nature Communications published the research online this week. Sylvain Bernard of the Institute of Mineralogy, Materials Physics, and Cosmochemistry in Paris, France is the lead author. + Nature Communications Via the University of Lausanne and The Indepdendent Images via Pixabay and Depositphotos

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Error in sea temperature readings suggests climate change is worse than we thought

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