Southern California is losing its clouds, increasing the risk of more intense wildfires

May 31, 2018 by  
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The elevated summer temperatures in California  are causing decreased levels of the low-atmosphere clouds that were once common throughout the southern coastal regions of the state. A new study has found that because these clouds are dissipating from the increased heat, the region is now facing an increased risk of wildfire . “Clouds that used to burn off by noon or 1 o’clock are now gone by 10 or 11, if they form at all,” bioclimatologist and study lead author Park Williams told Phys.org . Due to a warming climate and an expanding urban heat island, cloud cover is trapped in a positive feedback loop where less clouds mean higher temperatures, and higher temperatures mean less clouds. Published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters , the new study concludes that there has been a 25 to 50 percent decrease in low-lying summer clouds since the 1970s. “ Cloud cover is plummeting in southern coastal California,” said Williams, “and as clouds decrease, that increases the chance of bigger and more intense fires.” The low-lying stratus clouds in the area typically form in the early morning in a thin, wet layer of coastal air that exists between land and drier air masses. The increased heat from climate change and the urban heat island effect has caused the clouds to dissolve earlier in the day, leaving little cover during the hottest parts of the afternoon. Related: The growing wine industry is threatening California’s Napa Valley To study the changes in cloud cover, Williams and his team analyzed hour-by-hour cloud data gathered by California airports over the past several decades. The data was then compared with vegetation moisture data from the U.S. Wildland Fire Assessment System. This comparison enabled the team to conclude that the decreased cloud cover has led to an increased wildfire risk. “Even though the danger has increased, people in these areas are very good at putting out fires, so the area burned hasn’t gone up,” Williams explained. “But the dice are now loaded, and in areas where clouds have decreased, the fires should be getting more intense and harder to contain. At some point, we’ll see if people can continue to keep up.” +  Geophysical Research Letters Via Phys.org Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Southern California is losing its clouds, increasing the risk of more intense wildfires

Podcast, May 7, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear

May 8, 2018 by  
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On this week’s Sustainability in Your Ear podcast, the Earth911.com team … The post Podcast, May 7, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Podcast, May 7, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear

To chart the course of sustainability, grab the right map

September 29, 2017 by  
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What are the best assessment tools for your team? Here’s a review of some of the best.

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To chart the course of sustainability, grab the right map

Do the Gilmore Girls Recycle?

November 25, 2016 by  
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As the four-part Gilmore Girls revival debuts on Netflix today, countless fans are tuning in to answer the burning questions they’ve had since the series ended in 2007. How are Lorelai and Luke? Who is Rory dating? (For the record, we’re on Team…

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Do the Gilmore Girls Recycle?

Sources say Apple is no longer building mysterious self-driving car

October 17, 2016 by  
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Apple ‘s mysterious Project Titan appears to have lost steam, according to sources ” familiar with the project .” Bloomberg spoke to people who say the tech giant won’t be building an autonomous car under Project Titan any longer, but will rather hone in on self-driving car software . These people say hundreds of employees working on Project Titan have either been let go or reassigned. Anonymous sources told Bloomberg there have been several issues with Project Titan. According to one person, “It was an incredible failure of leadership.” Project Titan head Steve Zadesky, who used to be an engineer at Ford , left the project earlier this year to work elsewhere at Apple . Bob Mansfield, a manager with experience developing the iPad , eventually came on the team to lead in April. Related: Apple sinks $1B into China’s biggest Uber rival Around a month afterwards, Mansfield announced a ” strategy shift ” at a company meeting, according to Bloomberg which received information from people present at the meeting. Mansfield said Apple wouldn’t create a self-driving car that could compete with those from companies like Tesla ; rather Project Titan would zero in on self-driving car software. But after that meeting, engineers began to leave Project Titan. In August and September employees were let go. Others left on their own. Some people suspected Apple battled supply chain struggles as well. The tech giant typically holds exclusive rights for smartphone parts, but such a strategy didn’t seem to work in the autonomous car game. Suppliers likely didn’t want to grant exclusive rights as Apple may not have sold many cars at the beginning. Center for Automotive Research analyst Eric Paul Dennis told Bloomberg about Apple, “When they started digging into the details of what that would entail it likely became an intractable problem.” According to Bloomberg’s sources, the engineers still with Project Titan are working on “autonomous programs, vision sensors, and simulators for testing the platform in real-world environments.” Regulatory specialists are still part of the team as well. Via Bloomberg Images via Automobile Italia on Flickr and menithings via Freelancer.com

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Sources say Apple is no longer building mysterious self-driving car

3D-printed Playmobil hair helmet makes bike safety more fun for kids

October 10, 2016 by  
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Someone has come up with a brilliant idea to turn a Playmobil hairpiece into a helmet so kids will start wearing them. A duo of Swedish and Danish designers created a compelling prototype through 3D printing and color-matching the hair. With the right amount of consumer demand, you could find one in stores soon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=91&v=QapmUU2d44U An estimated 75 percent of bicycle-related fatalities in child populations can be avoided with the use of a helmet , but statistics won’t get kids to wear them. Enter Simon Higby and Clara Prior from the Stockholm and Copenhagen offices of DDB , respectively. To increase the odds of children protecting their noggins while riding bikes , they figured the helmets would have be more attractive to them. Cue the Playmobil hair replica designed to help keep kids safe. Related: Lumos helmet keeps bikers safe with turn signals and brake lights With the help of Danish design company MOEF , the team created the helmet by 3D scanning the tiny plastic piece and 3D printing a sturdy helmet. The final product looks just like the Playmobil piece, perfectly fitted for a tiny human’s head. Sadly, only the prototype exists, but the team told Metro.co.uk they “would love to” produce them for the masses with the right know-how. +MOEF , Simon Higby Via  Metro.co.uk Images via YouTube (screenshot)

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3D-printed Playmobil hair helmet makes bike safety more fun for kids

Apple, Google and bribing employees to hit corporate climate goals

November 5, 2015 by  
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Want to get your team on board with the company’s sustainability plans? Big-name businesses are shelling out to make it happen.

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Apple, Google and bribing employees to hit corporate climate goals

5 ways to double your odds of inspiring culture change

September 19, 2012 by  
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Five steps to get your team organized and motivated around sustainability.

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5 ways to double your odds of inspiring culture change

Taffy taking this

February 3, 2012 by  
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A Jury Recognition Award for HOK San Francisco’s entry to the Architecture at Zero International Competition, sponsored by the AIA San Francisco and PG&E! The project brief was to create a mixed-use building or set of buildings that includes housing, retail space and a new library branch on an industrial urban infill site in Emeryville, California. More importantly, the crux of the competition was the mandate that the buildings and site had to meet the criteria for zero net energy. With the overarching idea of a Battery Park, the HOK team investigated a net positive approach to urban development. The idea, simply stated, is that new dense net zero housing may be paired with “generative landscapes.” These interconnected landscapes act more or less as urban batteries; positive places that exploit readily available renewables and waste to create energy toward a balanced community. In the words of the team: “Existing building stock is not going away any time soon, therefore we must find a way to bolster performance and more quickly reduce our dependence on environmentally detrimental energy sources.” The team focused on strategies organized around density, load reduction and renewable energy, supplementing this with capturing waste energy to push site energy generation into a ‘net positive’ system. Through the use of a functional landscape, the team was able to draw waste sources from the larger community and turn this waste into a resource. Water, electricity, heating and cooling are provided by the landscape infrastructure. Of particular interest was Charles Lee’s contribution which focused on the biommetic design concept learned from sea sponges which work like chimneys to find out more on the subject visit the recent post at www.biosarch.com Feel free to use any images from the BIOS link. http://inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2012/02/07_Battery-Park-from-Zero-to-Positive_lr1.pdf Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags:

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Taffy taking this

Hypermiling Race Car Gets 2,564.8 MPG

April 19, 2011 by  
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At the Shell Eco-marathon, a race of fuel efficiency , the team from Université Laval in Quebec took top honors with a race car that squeezed out an amazing 2,564.8 mpg. At the Eco-marathon , speed and performance aren’t important, but going as far as possible on a single gallon of gasoline is.  The winning team has held top honors for three years in a row with their Alerion Supermileage three-wheeled, one-person vehicle

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Hypermiling Race Car Gets 2,564.8 MPG

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