Resilient infrastructure proposal aims to protect San Francisco Bay from rising sea levels

December 27, 2017 by  
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Looks like San Francisco’s beautiful Bay Area could be in for a major ecological makeover. SCAPE Landscape Architecture has unveiled Public Sentiment, a living infrastructure proposal that aims to create a visitor-friendly buffer zone around the bay’s most vulnerable ecosystems – made up of marshes, mudflats, and coastal edges – that would protect the low-lying zones from the imminent threat of rising sea levels . Scape’s proposal was developed for the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge , an open design competition that calls for innovative solutions to the many issues facing the Bay Area due to climate change . According to the architects, their inspiration for the proposal is based on using sediment as a core building block to create a nature-based resilient system around the bay. Related: EPA Grant Will Help Protect New York’s Salt Marshes The plan is comprised of three projects: Pilots for a Future Bay, The Bay Cushion, and Unlock Alameda Creek. Pilots for a Future Bay involves various pilot programs that would include the local community in participating in the planning process of making the area more resilient. The plan includes working with local students as environmental stewards that would help design and monitor various scientific experiments geared towards protecting the Bay Area’s ecosystems . The Bay Cushion calls for expanding on the ongoing South Bay Salt Pond initiative. Building on the project, which seeks to reduce tidal extremes around the bay, the proposal calls for creating a massive sediment reserve that links ecosystems, wildlife, and visitors to the area. The reserve would include viewing towers, outdoor mudrooms and various “sensing stations” that would run along the existing Bay Trail. Unlock Alameda Creek, which involves unlocking the sediment flows of Alameda Creek, is also an essential part of the proposal. This would include redesigning the creek’s water flow in order to restore the breeding grounds of the native steelheads. Once again, the area would be outfitted with a trail of viewing platforms to enable visitors to take in the infinite value of the bay’s valuable ecosystems. + Resilient Design Bay Area + SCAPE Landscape Architecture

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Resilient infrastructure proposal aims to protect San Francisco Bay from rising sea levels

Meteorologist warns collapse of two Antarctic glaciers could flood every coastal city on Earth

November 24, 2017 by  
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Two of Antarctica’s glaciers are holding our civilization hostage, meteorologist Eric Holthaus wrote in a piece for Grist . Pine Island and Thwaites are among the continent’s biggest and fastest-melting glaciers , together holding back ice that could unleash 11 feet of sea level rise . If they collapse, every coastal city on our planet could flood. Thwaites and Pine Island sprawl across a plain over 150-miles-long, and inland widen to a reserve of ice two-miles-thick that’s about the size of Texas, according to Holthaus, who says there’s no doubt the ice will melt. The question is not if, but how soon. Should the two glaciers collapse, every shoreline and coastal city could be inundated with water, leaving hundreds of millions of climate refugees homeless. And those events could happen in 20 to 50 years – too fast for humans to adapt. Related: Antarctica’s newest iceberg may destabilize the entire ice shelf Two climatologists, in a study published in Nature last year, said an increase of six feet in ocean levels by 2100 was more likely than three feet – but if carbon emissions continue increasing in a worst case scenario, all 11 feet of ice held back in Antarctica could be freed. But if these glaciers are miles thick, wouldn’t it take an incredibly long time for them to collapse? That may not be the case in our warming world. Holthaus pointed to new evidence saying once we reach a certain temperature threshold, glacier ice shelves extending into the sea – like those of Thwaites and Pine Island – could melt from below and above, quickening their demise. Holthaus noted not every scientist thinks there’s cause for panic. National Snow and Ice Data Center lead scientist Ted Scambos said the two glaciers may not collapse all at once – and rapid collapse would still produce several icebergs that could slow the rate of retreat and act as a temporary ice shelf. But the scientific community is starting to think we need more research into the risk of rapid sea level rise, according to Holthaus. University of Michigan leading ice sheet scientist Jeremy Bassis said, “Every revision to our understanding has said that ice sheets can change faster than we thought. We didn’t predict that Pine Island was going to retreat, we didn’t predict that Larsen B was going to disintegrate. We tend to look at these things after they’ve happened.” Via Grist Images via Wikimedia Commons and NASA

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Meteorologist warns collapse of two Antarctic glaciers could flood every coastal city on Earth

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

New study shows a 1-in-20 chance climate change will cause a complete societal collapse

September 18, 2017 by  
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Most of the world’s human population, and the health of ecosystems across the planet, could face an existential threat by the end of the century if rapid, forceful action is not taken to combat climate change . According to a new study published in  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , there is now a 1-in-20 chance that climate change will cause an “existential/unknown” warming effect, defined in the study as a global temperature rise of 5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels, that would have a devastating impact on humanity while wiping out 20 percent of life on Earth. Even as climate change is apparent in the present, its worst impacts will be felt by future generations. “To put in perspective, how many of us would choose to buckle our grandchildren to an airplane seat if we knew there was as much as a 1 in 20 chance of the plane crashing?” said co-author Veerabhadran Ramanathan of University of California San Diego. “With climate change that can pose existential threats, we have already put them in that plane.” In addition to the 5 percent chance of complete societal, and perhaps species, collapse, the scientists estimate that, if action is not taken, there is a 50 percent chance of a 4 degree temperature rise by 2100, far surpassing the 2 degree goal set by the Paris accord. Related: Caltech scientists speed up carbon sequestration process by 500 times The study is not all doom and gloom. The scientists describe several actions that can and must be taken, including achieving peak global emissions by 2020 and carbon neutrality by 2050, ending the use of short-term climate pollutants like hydrofluorocarbons , and removing carbon and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere through sequestration , reforestation and other methods. The study was utilized by 33 policy and science experts in crafting a related report which further details actions that can be taken now. Whether the advice will be taken remains to be seen. Via Scientific American Images via Christopher Michel and Ian D. Keating

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New study shows a 1-in-20 chance climate change will cause a complete societal collapse

The last time Earth was this hot was 125,000 years ago

January 23, 2017 by  
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Proving once more that climate change is a runaway problem, scientists just revealed that the earth is the hottest it’s been in 125,000 years. The last time global temperatures were this high, sea levels completely covered the land on which New Orleans currently sits. According to a new report in Science Magazine , today’s ocean surface temperatures are comparable to those dating back 125,000 years. Jeremy Hoffman and colleagues at Oregon State University studied chemical clues in 104 seafloor sediment samples taken from areas around the world. By comparing the samples, they were able to create a picture of what the climate actually looked like 125,000 years ago. Related; Scientists warn rapidly melting glacier in West Antarctica could cause serious global havoc Scientists regularly look to the last interglacial period to model how Earth’s rising temperature will affect sea levels. Sea levels rose 20 to 30 feet above their current levels, and the average global sea surface temperatures at that time were almost identical to the 1995 to 2014 average temperatures, according to the researchers. According to Science News, this new information will help scientists improve predictions about how our oceans will respond to climate change. + Science Magazine Via Science News Images via NPS Climate Change Response , Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade , and NASA

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The last time Earth was this hot was 125,000 years ago

Green-roofed visitor center blends into Quebecs lakeside landscape

January 23, 2017 by  
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This handsome timber building by the lake looks like a sumptuous holiday retreat, but rest assured it’s open to the public for all to enjoy. Canadian design studio Anne Carrier Architecture completed the visitor center in Quebec’s Mont Orford National Park and skillfully blends the building into the landscape using a black-stained facade and green roof . The building, known as the Bonnallie Services Center, is one of several design projects the architecture firm has completed for the national park. Located next the stunning Stukely Lake, the 430-square-meter Bonnallie Services Center embraces views of the lake and mountains beyond. The two-story building is partially embedded into the earth and is angled to maximize views and frame an outdoor amphitheater . Full-height glazing is installed on the second floor for panoramic viewing and opens up to a covered outdoor terrace with seating. Related: Visitor center disguised as a hill to welcome visitors to Denmark’s historic Kalø Castle Ruins The visitor center is clad in black-stained timber to make the building recede into the landscape. In contrast, the interior is dominated by pale cedar . In addition to a welcome center for visitors, the contemporary building comprises boat maintenance and storage facilities, kitchen, and gift shop. “Exterior and interior spaces are connected by a network of walkways, stairs, covered passages nooks that are inspired by the natural meandering of walking trails,” said the architects to Dezeen . + Anne Carrier Architecture Via Dezeen Images via Anne Carrier Architecture , by Stephane Groleau

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Green-roofed visitor center blends into Quebecs lakeside landscape

The window for averting catastrophic climate change has probably closed

July 1, 2016 by  
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When world leaders first signed the Paris climate agreement back in December, some scientists warned the terms would not sufficiently reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avert catastrophic climate change . Former NASA scientist James Hansen was particularly outspoken, referring to the agreement as a ” fraud .” Now 10 other scientists are adding their voices to his, urging world leaders to take a tougher stance. Led by Joeri Rogelj, an energy research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Switzerland, researchers from around the world published a piece in the journal Nature warning that we are on a perilous path. The other researchers hail from institutions in the Netherlands, the United States, Germany, South Africa, Brazil, China, Austria, and Australia. They concluded while country goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could be partially successful, by 2100 Earth could still warm by 2.6 to 3.1 degrees Celsius. Related: Is the Paris climate accord really a “major leap for mankind”? An increase of 2.6 to 3.1 degrees Celsius is far more drastic than the Paris climate agreement target, which is designed to keep temperatures from rising to 2 degrees Celsius, and if possible, to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. If global temperatures do increase by 3 degrees Celsius, sea levels could rise by 20 feet , which would have a huge negative impact on those living in coastal areas. Many of the goals set by countries target ending dependence on fossil fuels and switching to clean, renewable energies . The researchers said such measures could better lower greenhouse gas emissions than current policies, but the measures probably aren’t enough to save us from surpassing that 2 degree limit. According to the researchers, nations would essentially have to under promise and over deliver if we’re truly serious about keeping temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius. They wrote, “…the window for limiting warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius with high probability and without temporarily exceeding that level already seems to have closed.” Via Gizmodo Images via Christopher Michel on Flickr and Development Planning Unit University College London on Flickr

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The window for averting catastrophic climate change has probably closed

INFOGRAPHIC: What you need to know about Sea Level Rise

June 16, 2016 by  
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We know that sea levels are rising and we know that many coastal cities struggle regularly with resulting flooding, but how much do we know about where we are headed? Which cities are taking action to protect themselves and which are not doing enough? Who will be hit the hardest and how much will the damage from sea level rise cost us? To help us understand the impacts, Eastern Kentucky University’s Safety, Security and Emergency Management Program put together this infographic, which discusses in detail the causes, victims, and solutions for sea level rise. Lean more about what’s in store below.. + Eastern Kentucky University The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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INFOGRAPHIC: What you need to know about Sea Level Rise

Mapping the damage from rising seas

February 4, 2016 by  
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Can’t imagine what your city would look like with a sea-level rise? These maps show endangered coastlines and landmarks.

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Mapping the damage from rising seas

Cities and the rise of bottom-up climate action

January 29, 2016 by  
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From energy disruptions to sea-level rise, imminent environmental threats mean that it’s time to move from talk to action when it comes to local resilience.

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Cities and the rise of bottom-up climate action

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