Arctic wildfires are emitting 35% more carbon compared to 2019

September 2, 2020 by  
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Wildfires are releasing more carbon emissions in the first eight months of 2020 than they did in all of 2019. According to a recent report by the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service , carbon emissions in the Arctic have surpassed last year’s emissions by 35%. The latest data shows that about 245 megatonnes of CO2 have been released in 2020 so far. This is a far higher figure than the entirety of last year, when 181 megatonnes of CO2 were released as a result of wildfires. The data further shows that the peak month for wildfires in 2020 was July, with over 600 wildfires reported in late July as compared to 400 wildfires in the same time frame last year. More devastating is the fact that similar periods from 2003 through 2018 experienced an average of 100 wildfires. Related: Arctic wildfires rage through Siberia The surge in wildfires is associated with climate change . In July alone, a heatwave saw temperatures rise to 30°C (86°F) in some parts of Siberia. However, there are no major differences between the temperatures experienced this year and last year. According to the researchers, the main difference has been the number of fires that occurred over this period. “In some respects [the data] has been similar to 2019 in terms of the dry and warm conditions in the Siberian Arctic,” said Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at Copernicus. “This year, the difference was a large cluster of fires that burned through July for many days leading to higher estimated emissions.” Arctic wildfires have grown into a serious concern in recent years. In June, the Aerial Forest Protection Service of Russia reported that in Siberia’s forests, over 3.4 million acres of land had burned. Unfortunately, most of these fires occurred in areas that cannot be accessed by firefighters. In 2019, the Arctic wildfires caused a huge cloud of smoke that could cover the entire EU landmass. These fires are also destroying well-known carbon sinks , peat bogs. As peat bogs burn, they release megatonnes of stored carbon into the atmosphere. + Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service Via The Guardian Image via Pixabay

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Arctic wildfires are emitting 35% more carbon compared to 2019

Arctic wildfires rage through Siberia

July 28, 2020 by  
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The earth’s poles have made the news a lot this summer, and not for good reasons. Now, another awful update has hit, with  Arctic wildfires burning out of control. “We’ve had exceptional and prolonged heat for months now and this has fueled devastating Arctic fires,” said Clare Nullis, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) spokesperson, at a  press conference in Geneva . “And at the same time we’re seeing rapidly decreasing  sea coverage along the Arctic coast.” Related: Siberia hits record 100 degrees Scientists use satellite images to gauge the extent of the wildfires. However, fire’s dynamic nature can make it hard for authorities to track the exact number of fires burning at once. On Wednesday, data indicated “188 probable points of fire.” The worst fire blazed in Russia’s Sakha Republic and Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, in the far northeast reaches of Siberia . “We’re seeing, you know, dramatic satellite images, which show the extent of the burns surface,” said Nullis. “The fire front of the northern-most currently active Arctic wildfire is less than eight kilometres from the Arctic ocean – this should not be happening.” Pollutants found in wildfire smoke include nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, solid aerosol particles and volatile organic compounds. The WMO said that Arctic wildfires emitted the equivalent of 56 megatons of  carbon dioxide  this June, up from 53 megatons in June 2019. This year’s persistent heat is caused by what meteorologists call “blocking high pressure aloft.” A blocking high pressure system can linger over an area for a prolonged time, forcing other  weather  systems to go around it. High pressure aloft traps heat by compressing air downward and preventing cooler air from pushing through and bringing the region some relief. “In general, the Arctic is heating more than twice the global average,” said Nullis. “It’s having a big impact on local populations and  ecosystems , but we always say that what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic, it does affect our weather in different parts of the world where hundreds of millions of people live.” Via AP News and Huffpost Image via Pixabay

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Arctic wildfires rage through Siberia

This DIY algae kit is an easy science experiment for kids

July 28, 2020 by  
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BioBombola is a DIY algae kit specially designed to teach kids how to grow their own domestic garden of spirulina – a sustainable source of plant-based proteins. The project is the brainchild of ecoLogicStudio’s Claudia Pasquero and Marco Poletto, who wanted to create a fun and educational way to keep their children occupied during the shutdown in London. In addition to cultivating the nutritious blue-green algae, the kit also helps to absorb the same amount of carbon dioxide as two young trees and provides the home with the same amount of oxygen as seven common indoor plants. Perhaps best of all, BioBombola allows children and adults alike to interact with nature from the comfort of their own homes. Related: Eos Bioreactor uses AI and algae to combat climate change The two researchers got the idea after creating an algae-growing and air pollution data collection project with their children, who were already participating in a home-school program. After their experiment has finished, the idea for the mini algae harvesting kit was born. Each kit comes with a nutrients bag, a 15-liter starting batch of living photosynthetic spirulina cells, an air piping system, a pump to keep the medium afloat, a customized photobioreactor and a 1-meter-tall, lab-grade glass container. Not only does the bubbling of the small air pump keep the precious algae constantly stirred and oxygenated, it also creates a soft, calming sound similar to a fish tank. The fresh, cultivated spirulina can be harvested several times a week and collects up to 7 grams of product per day (the daily recommended supplement intake for a family of four, according to the inventors) to be used in food and drinks. The harvesting process is simple and suitable for children, as well. While it is recommended to install the kit in a sunny spot or near a grow lamp, the photobioreactor can adapt to almost any environment. + EcoLogicStudio Photography by NAARO via EcoLogicStudio

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Isaac Burrough unveils solar-powered luxury yacht concept

July 28, 2020 by  
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New Zealand-based practice Isaac Burrough Design has proposed a new luxury yacht concept designed to maximize both energy efficiency and enjoyment out on the high seas. Named Kiwa after one of the divine guardians of the ocean in Maori legend, the proposed 110-meter motor yacht combines an elegant, aerodynamic hull with solar-powered technology. The boat would also include an array of amenities, from expansive lounge areas on the main deck to an elevated hot tub on the sun deck. The Kiwa is designed to accommodate 14 guests along with two staff members and a crew of 27 people. At 110 meters in length, the luxury yacht concept would be large enough for multiple deck areas as well as 175 square meters of storage space. The designers claim that the narrow, low volume-to-length hull coupled with the hybrid drivetrain powered with 200 meters of solar panels would enable the yacht to enter an electric-only mode for pollution-free and noise-free sailing. Related: Hinckley unveils the world’s first fully electric luxury yacht “The intention for Kiwa was to design a yacht that is both modern and elegant,” Burrough said. “Her sleek silhouette combined with curvaceous surfaces give grace despite her exploration capabilities. A yacht that will look sophisticated whether cruising the Mediterranean or the Arctic.”  Designed for indoor/outdoor living and panoramic views, the Kiwa features a large and versatile main deck with sliding doors and lounge areas terraced to the swim platform. Just off of the main deck is a cantilevered glass-bottom pool. Inbuilt sun pads are placed on the lower deck, while an upper sun deck would host a hot tub that is elevated for prime views of the sea. The spa area has the “best view on board” and includes semi-submerged pools to give guests views both above and below the water. The boat also has space for a helicopter pad. + Isaac Burrough Design Images via Isaac Burrough Design

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Isaac Burrough unveils solar-powered luxury yacht concept

Russia investigating men who brutally ran over a bear with heavy trucks

December 29, 2016 by  
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Russia has launched a criminal investigation after a horrifying YouTube video showed men in Siberia driving heavy duty trucks over a brown bear . One man can be heard yelling for the others to crush the poor animal . Many people are outraged over their atrocious treatment of the bear that ultimately led to its death, and Russia’s environment minister is now calling for tough punishment for the “villains.” In the appalling YouTube video, men ran over the bear in off-road trucks typically operated by mining and oil workers. The video, which looked as it it was filmed on a cell phone, showed the men driving trucks over the bear several times in the snow, as one man yelled “Squash him! Squash him!” The words “It’s still alive,” could be heard as the men prodded the animal using a metal rod, while it struggled to escape before it perished. Related: Tigers punched for fun at horrifying “sanctuaries” in China The video has since been taken down, but the crime is too enormous to be forgotten. Russian investigators in Yakutia, a northern region of the country, opened a criminal inquiry. They said the men work for a mineral prospecting company, and they could face up to two years in jail due to sadistic treatment of the animal. Russian media reported on the sickening video, sparking anger from the public. Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoi posted on social media, “There should be real jail time for this sort of crime! We’ll make sure these villains get the most serious punishment.” According to The Guardian , people working in the oil and mining industries in Siberia come into conflict more often with animals – including bears, which can be dangerous. People in this area of the world are legally allowed to shoot bears if they don’t go into hibernation and wander near villages or towns. But that can never excuse the way these men cruelly treated the bear. Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Thousands of giant snowballs pile up on 11 miles of Siberian coast

November 9, 2016 by  
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Huge snowballs along 11 miles of coastline surprised residents of Nyda, Siberia recently. Locals say they’ve never seen a phenomenon like this one, and documented the thousands of snowballs in social media posts. Some of the snowballs are as small as a few inches, while others are nearly three-feet-wide. The icy orbs started showing up around two weeks ago near the small Siberian village north of the Arctic Circle . While the snowball-swathed beaches may look like preparations for a giant snowball fight, natural processes actually led to the strange balls. Related: Zombie anthrax outbreak hits Siberia after blistering heatwave The snowballs apparently form when water and wind roll ice pieces. Valery Akulov of the village administration told The Siberian Times, “When the water in the gulf rose, it came into contact with the frost. The beach began to be covered in ice. Then the water began to slowly retreat, and the ice remained. Its pieces were rolling over in the wet sand, and turned into these balls.” Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute spokesperson Sergei Lisenkov told The Siberian Times, “It is a rare natural phenomenon. As a rule, grease ice forms first, slush. And then a combination of the action of the wind, the outlines of the coastline, and the temperature, may lead to the formation of such balls.” Akulov said village “old-timers” had never seen such a phenomenon before, and locals expressed disbelief and amazement at the snowballs. Local Ekaterina Chernykh said, “We all were very surprised. Many people believed it only when they saw with their own eyes. This has not happened previously. And there was not so much snow for them to form. It’s so interesting.” Locals compare the size of smaller snowballs to tennis balls and large ones to volleyballs. Via The Siberian Times , the BBC and Gizmodo Images via screenshot

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Russian river runs red, locals suspect nearby metal plant

September 8, 2016 by  
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A river near the Siberian town of Norilsk turned bright red on Tuesday , stunning local residents and puzzling authorities. Some locals, though, are saying this isn’t the first time the Daldykan River has changed color suddenly. Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is suspicious that a nearby metal plant may have leaked an “unidentified chemical” that caused the water to change colors, but a full investigation has been ordered to find out why local residents are seeing red. The plant in question is the Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant owned by Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest nickel producer. In a statement issued Wednesday , Russia’s Environment Ministry suggested that the plant may have leaked chemicals if a pipeline was broken, fueling the theory about the cause behind the color-changing river water. So far, the company has denied all suggestions that the plant’s operations or pipelines could be involved in the mysterious red water. Related: EPA spills 1M gallons of mustard-colored mine waste into a Colorado river If there can be a silver lining on a story about possible industrial pollution , nearby residents are not under immediate threat, as there is no public water utility connected to the river, the Norlisk city administration told state news agency Sputnik. The town of Norlisk, though, is known for having immense problems with pollution, and until the exact cause for the color-changing river is known, nobody can say with certainty what the extend of the risk might be. Russia’s Environment Ministry will continue its investigation and, in the meantime, locals will continue to post images of the blood-red river on social media. Via CNN Images via Facebook/reposted by Russian media

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Why 1 in 10 people reach the age of 100 in this small Italian village

September 8, 2016 by  
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Back in the 1950’s, American scientist Ancel Keys began to research the Mediterranean diet in Italy ‘s Cilento peninsula. He eventually moved to the peninsula and lived to only two months shy of his 101st birthday. Now researchers from Rome’s La Sapienza University and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) teamed up to zero in on Acciaroli, a town in the Cilento peninsula where one in 10 residents reach the age of 100, and better understand the secrets of a longer life. Not only do people live to 100 and beyond, but many are still independent and active. Antonio Vassalo, 100, and Aminda Fedollo, 93, said they eat healthy food like fish, chicken, rabbit, olive oil, and vegetables and fruit they grow. Fedollo told the AFP, “We consume what we produce.” Residents garden, walk, or go fishing to exercise . Related: Harvard Researchers Successfully Reverse Aging in Mice The two universities launched a six-month study in which they took blood samples from 80 residents. They discovered surprisingly low levels of adrenomedullin, a hormone. High levels of adrenomedullin hinder circulation, while low levels promote circulation. Generally as people age, adrenomedullin builds up in the body, but the levels seen in the Acciaroli elderly are similar to what researchers would expect to see in the blood of a person in their twenties or thirties. The researchers don’t yet know why the residents possess such low levels, but could think it could be a combination of the healthy local diet, genetics, and exercise. Rosemary could be another key component to longevity: widely used by residents, rosemary is said to boost brain function, according to researchers. From UCSD, Alan Maisel said the elderly of Acciaroli don’t suffer from maladies commonly faced by the elderly, like Alzheimer’s, cataracts, or heart disease. He warned there’s no “magic bullet” to prevent such diseases, but that people worldwide could learn from the way people in Acciaroli live. The researchers plan to continue studying the Cilento peninsula. Out of 60,000 people, 2,000 in the region are 100 or older, and the researchers would like to focus on those centenarians. Professor Salvatore di Somma of La Sapienza University said they hope to create a ” tool ” based on the lifestyles of these healthy old people to offer those interested suggestions on how to age well. Via The Telegraph and AFP news agency Images via screenshot

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Zombie anthrax outbreak hits Siberia after blistering heatwave

August 1, 2016 by  
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Zombie anthrax from a reindeer that has been dead for 75 years appears to have resurfaced after a recent heatwave hit Siberia, infecting 13 Yamal nomads and killing 1,500 reindeer, Washington Post reports . Governor Dmitry Kolybin of Russia’s Yamalo-Nenets autonomous district declared a state of emergency to manage the crisis, with dozens of indigenous Nenet herders and their animals under quarantine . Anthrax has long posed significant problems for public health and veterinary services in Russia, according to a study published in 1999 . “At the beginning of the century, 40–60 thousand cases of this infection were annually reported in the country in agricultural animals and about 10–20 thousand cases in people where each fourth (25%) was dying.” Related: Dangerous super-bacteria discovered in Rio waters ahead of Summer Olympics The last serious anthrax outbreak occurred in 1941 , according to NBC News, and the latest outbreak may not be the last. As temperatures climb in the arctic region, this year at least ten degrees Fahrenheit higher than usual, long-dormant anthrax spores that thrive in balmier weather are resurrected as active bacteria. This is of particular concern given swaths of dead reindeer that could unleash more anthrax outbreaks as temperatures continue to rise. Washington Post reports: “In 2011, two researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences writing in the journal Global Health Action assessed the conditions required for anthrax to appear in Yakutia, a region to the east of Yamal that contains 200 burial grounds of cattle that died from the disease.” They estimated that anthrax can remain in the permafrost for 105 years – and the deeper the spores are buried, the longer they live. They said, “As a consequence of permafrost melting, the vectors of deadly infections of the 18th and 19th centuries may come back, especially near the cemeteries where the victims of these infections were buried.” Via Washington Post Images via X-plore Group

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Insane video shows Siberian ground bubbling like a "wobbling waterbed"

July 28, 2016 by  
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Siberia is no stranger to weird geological phenomena. Adding to the list of the area’s vast holes and craters is a bubbling tundra on the island of Belyy. Environmental researchers found a site where the Earth wobbles like a waterbed when stepped upon. Their best guess to explain the mysterious quivering is methane released by melting permafrost just below the surface. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=06Xc3LtZRWo Researchers Alexander Sokolov and Dorothee Ehrich first noticed the spot last year and were surprised to see similar occurrences this year. So far, 15 bubbling spots have been found in the area, each averaging about a meter in diameter. They found the air escaping from the bubbles contain 200 times more methane and 20 times more carbon dioxide than the typical air we breathe. Related: Toxic methane is leaking from Siberia’s rapidly melting permafrost Further studies need to be done, but they are estimating a recent heatwave through Europe may have something to do with the phenomena. Sokolov told the Siberian Times , “It is likely that that 10 days of extraordinary heat could have started some mechanisms, [and the] higher level of permafrost could have thawed and released a huge amount of gases.” Melting permafrost releasing methane and CO2 into the atmosphere is the last thing we need as climate change isn’t slowing down anytime soon without the added emissions. Sokolov said, “It is evident even to amateurs that this is a very serious alarm.” Via Science Alert Images via  YouTube

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