The warmest ocean temperature in a century was just recorded in California

August 7, 2018 by  
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Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have recorded the warmest sea surface temperature in more than a hundred years near a pier in San Diego. The Institute, affiliated with the University of California, San Diego, has been collecting data on sea surface temperatures at the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier since 1916. The 2018 level surpassed an unusual 1931 record by 0.2 degrees, coming in at a whopping 78.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Related: Ocean heatwaves have risen by more than 50% since 1925 According to a press release from Scripps , “the ocean region off Southern California has been experiencing anomalously warm temperatures for the past week, and other observational networks farther off the coast have reported record or near-record temperatures as well.” The continuous rise in temperature will have serious implications for sea life and marine ecosystems. For example, it could help create a toxic algae bloom, such as the one that spread along the north Pacific coast in 2014, altering the biodiversity of the area indefinitely. This bloom had a devastating impact on sea lions and other marine mammal groups, closed fisheries, and pushed species of jellyfish and stingrays further inward to shore, causing a perilous domino effect of altered food chains. In 2015, El Niño significantly altered water temperature levels off the coast of California . However, after such environmental phenomena, seawater temperatures are supposed to return to historical averages. This time, it never happened. “It really is weird,” explained Scripps research scientist Clarissa Anderson in an interview with NPR. “We have different records going back decades and while [our ocean water] temperature is tightly connected with the equator, we’re now seeing [temperatures] stabilize at the equator while temperatures in southern California keep going up.” According to researchers, the record temperature is yet another sign of the mounting effects of climate change . + Scripps Institute Via NPR

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The warmest ocean temperature in a century was just recorded in California

Hood River retreat boasts minimal environmental impact

August 7, 2018 by  
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Lovers of the Columbia River Gorge will swoon over this beautiful vacation retreat perched right on Neal Creek, just an hour outside Portland, Oregon. Designed by Portland -based practice Paul McKean Architecture to embrace the outdoors, this two-bedroom weekend getaway was crafted to maximize valley and water views while minimizing impact on the natural environment. The owners—both outdoor enthusiasts—sought an environmentally friendly home that they now serves as a vacation rental available for all to rent . To minimize site impact, Paul McKean Architecture raised the habitable part of the home to one full floor above grade, creating a top-heavy form with elevated views of the creek and treetop canopy. Set atop a concrete plinth, the second level is clad in horizontal planks of timber. “Their wooded two-acre parcel of land presented many unique challenges including wetlands, creek protection setbacks, and floodplain restrictions,” explains the architecture in a project statement. “Lifting the main space protects the house from potential flooding and brush fire damage while making way for a covered outdoor patio and much needed gear storage below. At the uppermost level, a future planted roof will replace the landscape lost to the building footprint and reduces heat gain to the interior spaces.” Related: Spend the night in this magical Hobbit House tucked into the Washington shire Completed in 2008 for a project budget of $185,000, the weekend retreat spans 960 square feet. However, full-height glazing and white walls give the home a more spacious feel than its size lets on. The two bedrooms include two queen beds, while two twin beds can be added to the hallway; the retreat can sleep a total of six people. The year-round nightly rate at the Neal Creek Retreat starts at $230. + Paul McKean Architecture Images by Stephen Tamiesie

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Hood River retreat boasts minimal environmental impact

Japan considers adopting daylight savings time for 2020 Summer Olympics

August 7, 2018 by  
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This summer’s deadly heatwaves in Japan  have caused government and Olympic officials to consider the benefits of adopting daylight savings time for the  2020 Summer Olympics to ensure athlete safety. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ordered his ruling party to consider what impacts a two hour shift forward would have on the country after backlash on social media followed the announcement. Adopting daylight savings time would allow events such as the marathon to be scheduled in the cooler morning hours. Masa Takaya, spokesperson for the 2020 games, urged the time push, saying it would also “help protect the environment and realize a low-carbon society in Japan,” alongside other efforts to add more plant life and heat-inhibiting pavements in the city. Although the time shift would provide both energy-saving and safety measures in the face of climate change , many citizens are protesting that the change would result in longer working hours for them. This is not a light claim made by the Japanese labor force, as a 2017 report by BBC News revealed that most individuals in the nation clock in more than 80 hours of overtime each month. Related: Japan wants to make 2020 Olympic medals from recycled smartphones Japan has not used the daylight savings system since the U.S. Occupation following World War II from 1948 until 1952. The event, a sour subject for many Japanese, also impeded initiatives during the 1970s and early 2000s to return to the system in the hopes of conserving energy in the country. The 2020 Summer Olympics are set to be held in Tokyo from July 24 until August 9, 2020, followed by the Paralympics from August 25 until September 6. As these are typically the hottest months of the year and likely to become hotter with global warming , the decision to enforce daylights savings time in Japan weighs very precariously in the balance for now. + 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics Via Reuters and  The Japan Times Image via T-Mizo

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Japan considers adopting daylight savings time for 2020 Summer Olympics

Low-cost solar absorber could supercharge solar power plants

April 6, 2017 by  
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One of the major challenges in developing solar panels has been creating photovoltaic cells which can absorb as much solar energy as possible – without overheating to the point that they begin to simply radiate energy back into the atmosphere. In the past, this has meant that commercially available solar cells only manage to convert about 30 percent of sunlight they absorb into energy. Researchers from Purdue University may have found a way to overcome this issue by modifying regular silicon wafers to more efficiently absorb the energy at higher temperatures than ever before. The new study, published in the journal Applied Physics Letters , outlines how silicon wafers can be coated with thin films of tantalum and silicon nitride to enhance their ability to absorb sunlight. The modified surface is then able to selectively absorb photons within a certain range on the light spectrum, while reflecting those that cannot be used. Related: Flexible new solar panel is almost 80% lighter than traditional panels The resulting solar cells can withstand temperatures up to 535 degrees Celsius without any performance or stability issues, converting a staggering 50 percent of sunlight into useable energy. This research has some interesting applications – for instance, the same film could be painted on the surface of mirrored parabolic troughs used in concentrated solar plants in order to make them even more efficient. While the film isn’t yet ready for any kind of commercial application, the authors of the study hope it will inspire others to try a similar experimental approach to enhancing solar absorption. Via Phsy.org Images via Purdue University and Shutterstock

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European electricity sector pledges no new coal plants after 2020

April 6, 2017 by  
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In another sign that the world is rapidly moving away from coal , the European electricity sector just announced a commitment to not invest in new coal-fired power plants after 2020. Every European Union country signed onto the initiative except for Poland and Greece. The Union of the Electricity Industry, otherwise known as Eurelectric , which represents 3,500 utilities with a combined value of over €200 billion, reiterated its commitment to decarbonize the EU economy in line with targets set in the Paris climate agreement . Europe’s power sector is aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. “The power sector is determined to lead the energy transition and back our commitment to the low carbon economy with concrete action,” said Eurelectric President and CEO of the Portuguese energy group EDP, António Mexia. “With power supply becoming increasingly clean, electric technologies are an obvious choice for replacing fossil fuel based systems for instance in the transport sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Related: China calls America selfish amid Trump attempt to revive coal Coal is already in decline as Europe continues making massive investments in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Last year, European coal emissions fell by an impressive 11 percent , according to an analysis published by the European Commission. The decrease of coal emissions is part of a long-term trend — since 2010, European coal’s generation emissions fell by 16 percent and overall power sector emissions fell by 19 percent. Across the Atlantic, US President Donald Trump has pledged to revive coal. However, US utilities, similar to their European counterparts, are moving away from coal in favor of natural gas and renewables. News agency Reuters contacted 32 utilities and the vast majority said that Trump’s actions would not impact their investments away from coal. “I’m not going to build new coal plants in today’s environment,” Ben Fowke, CEO of Xcel Energy, told Reuters. “And if I’m not going to build new ones, eventually there won’t be any.” Via The Guardian Images via Flickr 1 , 2

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European electricity sector pledges no new coal plants after 2020

Rural America advances on sustainability, calling it common sense

March 27, 2017 by  
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One primary concern in rural areas: higher temperatures put strain on water and energy sources.

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Rural America advances on sustainability, calling it common sense

NASA and NOAA confirm 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded

January 19, 2015 by  
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NASA and NOAA researchers just released their climate numbers for 2014 and confirmed what Japanese scientists already announced : 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded. The scorching temps in 2014 beat previous high temperature records by 0.07F (0.04C), and last year also marked the 38th consecutive year of above-average global temps. Read the rest of NASA and NOAA confirm 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 2014 , Climate Change , global warming , heat , high temperatures , nasa , News , NOAA , reports , research , scientists , temperatures

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NASA and NOAA confirm 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded

Study shows mass die-offs of birds, fish and marine invertebrates increasing

January 19, 2015 by  
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A new study of mass die-offs amongst animal species shows a marked increase in deaths of birds, fish and marine invertebrates. The findings come from an analysis of 727 mass die-offs of 2,500 animal species over the past 70 years. The study also shows decreasing deaths for reptiles and amphibians,and an unchanged rate for mammals. Die-offs can kill more than 90 percent of species’ population, and this study is the first attempt to quantify patterns in the frequency, magnitude and cause of such die-offs. Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Read the rest of Study shows mass die-offs of birds, fish and marine invertebrates increasing Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: animal extinction , bird die-offs , Climate Change , die-offs , environmental contamination , extinction , fish die-offs , global warming , marine invertebrates , mass death , mass die-offs , Nature , Pollution , science

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Study shows mass die-offs of birds, fish and marine invertebrates increasing

Watch This Shape-Shifting Building Shrink and Expand as Temperatures Change (Video)

September 11, 2014 by  
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?ranslated Geometries from efilena baseta on Vimeo . Architects dream about buildings that can change shape to suit varying environmental conditions, and constantly tinker with the technology necessary to achieve this. To this end, students at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalunya (IAAC) have constructed a surface prototype that becomes flexible at temperatures over 60 to 70 degrees Celsius and starts to bend and contract to provide more airy space. Read the rest of Watch This Shape-Shifting Building Shrink and Expand as Temperatures Change (Video) Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: architectural prototype , flexible architecture , foldable architecture , green technology , IAAC students , origami-shaped architecture , performative architecture , plywood architecture , responsive architecture

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Watch This Shape-Shifting Building Shrink and Expand as Temperatures Change (Video)

Coldest Temperatures in 20 Years Strike Midwest and Northeastern US

January 6, 2014 by  
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Over 140 million Americans are bracing this week for the coldest temperatures in nearly 20 years. A “polar vortex” of cold, dense air has the National Weather Service predicting weather 30 to 50 degrees below average in cities across the US. Icy winter conditions have already hit the Midwest over the weekend, resulting in thousands of canceled or delayed flights and preemptively closed schools in Minnesota and Chicago . Read the rest of Coldest Temperatures in 20 Years Strike Midwest and Northeastern US Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cold front , cold temperatures , life-threatening low temperatures , midwest snow storm , national weather service , polar vortex , record low temperatures , united states , US , winter storms , winter weather        

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Coldest Temperatures in 20 Years Strike Midwest and Northeastern US

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