On saving forests, the world’s largest carbon sinks

August 12, 2017 by  
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Satellite data shows forests in retreat. If the carbon encased in just fir trees is released, our warming blanket of carbon dioxide would turn to an overheating quilt.

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On saving forests, the world’s largest carbon sinks

Earth’s climate hurtling towards warmth unprecedented in nearly half a billion years

April 5, 2017 by  
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Climate change is already altering the planet, but the warmth we’re headed for may be greater than anything Earth has experienced in around half a billion years. Three scientists collaborated on a study and penned an article for The Conversation, in which they find Earth could see carbon dioxide (CO2) values not seen since the Eocene Epoch. Carbon concentrations today that match previous high CO2 periods could lead to worse warming . Today’s CO2 concentrations may lead to more warming because the sun has also been getting stronger, according to the University of Southampton’s Gavin Foster, Wesleyan University’s Dana Royer, and the University of Bristol’s Dan Lunt. They explain Earth’s temperature isn’t simply a result of greenhouses gases in the atmosphere; the sun plays a role as well. They write, “…due to the way the sun generates energy through nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium, its brightness has increased over time. Four and half billion years ago when the Earth was young the sun was around 30 percent less bright.” Related: Ancient marine fossils in the Transantarctic Mountains offer disturbing clues about climate change The scientists point out 1 degree Celsius warming hasn’t been too unusual in terms of geological time. They said the planet has been warmer than it is today for much of Earth’s past. During the last greenhouse state in the Eocene, temperatures on Earth were 10 to 15 degrees Celsius hotter than today. There was no ice in the polar regions and palm trees thrived on Antarctica’s coast then, according to the scientists. But Earth today is technically in an icehouse state – or a time when both poles have ice – even though warming is happening. In the past when the sun got stronger, atmospheric CO2 decreased, in contrast to today, according to the scientists. They wrote, “We found no past time period when the drivers of climate , or climate forcing, was as high as it will be in the future if we burn all the readily available fossil fuel . Nothing like it has been recorded in the rock record for at least 420 million years.” The journal Nature Communications published the three scientists’ research online yesterday. Via The Conversation Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Earth’s climate hurtling towards warmth unprecedented in nearly half a billion years

Tiny ice pods provide shelter for cold weather adventurers

February 10, 2017 by  
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Czech architecture firm Mjölk Architekti has built a series of tiny ice pods, the design of which took first place in the Warming Huts Competition five years ago, in their home town of Liberec. The “Polar Hens” sit adjacent to the Liberec dam so that local hikers and ice skaters can take a break in the  icy retreats . The igloo pods are made out of a  very thick ice shell  of compressed frozen river water. To construct the pods, a large inflatable balloon is equipped with a sprinkler connected to a compressor and generator. A water pump sprays icy water over the air-filled silicone balloon, creating a thick wall of ice that glows with a light blue tint . When the walls are thick enough, the inflatable base is removed, leaving a nicely formed igloo in its place. Although the pods look small from the outside, the smooth interior is quite spacious, and provides a nice haven for cold weather adventurers. Related: Ice Sculptures Embedded with Seeds Repopulate Riverbeds as they Melt The Polar Hen design won the Warming Huts Competition in 2012 . The annual event features architecture firms from all over the world showcasing their unique cold-weather shelter designs along the Red River Mutual Trail in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The winning designs are chosen by a “blind” jury who judge the entries based on creativity in terms of materials, shelter characteristics , assembly and form, along with integration with the landscape. + Mjölk Architekti Via Archdaily Images via Mjölk Architekti

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Tiny ice pods provide shelter for cold weather adventurers

Japanese scientists build tiny drone that pollinates like a bee

February 10, 2017 by  
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As concern over dwindling bee populations mounts, a team of chemists at a Japanese institution came up with a robotic solution. They designed pollinating drones : tiny machines that grab and deposit pollen in flowers . The scientists hope their drones won’t utterly replace bees, but would instead take some of the pressure off the remaining pollinators should more perish. Chemists from Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology designed the little drones. On the underside of a two-inch G-Force PXY CAM drone they attached animal hair, and covered it in sticky gel. When the altered machines brushed up against Japanese lilies, they were able to pick up and drop off pollen. Related: Bees placed on the endangered species list for the very first time The journal Chem published a study this week about the advance. Paper co-author Eijiro Miyako told Gizmodo, “TV programs about the pollination crisis, honey bee decline, and the latest robotics emotionally motivated me. I thought we urgently needed to create something for these problems.” Miyako said this is the first instance of drones pollinating flowers, but the little machines aren’t yet ready to zoom out into the world. The scientists aim to add GPS, artificial intelligence , and high resolution cameras to the small machines, which also need to crawl inside certain plants, as bees do. Critics aren’t so convinced pollinating drones is the best solution to the worrying bee crisis. Biologist David Goulson of the United Kingdom’s University of Sussex wrote a blog post on the topic and said, “I would argue that it is exceedingly unlikely that we could ever produce something as cheap or as effective as bees themselves. Bees have been around and pollinating flowers for more than 120 million years; they have evolved to become very good at it. It is remarkable hubris to think that we can improve on that.” Goulson said there are roughly 3.2 trillion bees – which feed themselves at no cost to us but also give us honey – and argued to replace them with machines would be incredibly expensive. Gizmodo points out it could cost $100 per bee to employ pollinating drones. Plus, unless the machines could be made biodegradable , Goulson said we’d potentially experience a huge amount of drone litter. Via Gizmodo and Engadget Images via Eijiro Miyako and G-Force Hobby Facebook

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Japanese scientists build tiny drone that pollinates like a bee

Humanity Could Face Global Famine by 2050 Due to Plague of Pests

September 5, 2014 by  
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A new U.K study warns that humanity could face a famine of biblical proportions by 2050 due to a plague of pests brought on by climate change . Research from the University of Exeter published in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography paints a picture of crop producing countries saturated with pests by the middle of the century. The plague of pests pose a ‘ grave threat to global food security ,’ according to Dr. Dan Bebber of the Biosciences department at the University of Exeter. Read the rest of Humanity Could Face Global Famine by 2050 Due to Plague of Pests Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: agriculture , biosciences , crops , famine , farming , food , global , pest , security , threat , warming

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Humanity Could Face Global Famine by 2050 Due to Plague of Pests

The World’s Largest Ice Sheets are Melting at an Unprecedented Rate

August 22, 2014 by  
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A recent report brings more bad news for the future of the human race on Earth, as the world’s two largest ice sheets are melting faster than ever before. On Wednesday the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany released a new report that shows the ice sheets in western Antarctica and Greenland are melting at their fastest rate since observations began – and contributing to sea level rise twice as fast as they were five years ago. Read the rest of The World’s Largest Ice Sheets are Melting at an Unprecedented Rate Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alfred wegener , antarctica , change , climate , glacial , glacier , global , greenland , ice , institute , melt , report , sheet , warming

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The World’s Largest Ice Sheets are Melting at an Unprecedented Rate

C.F. Møller and Brut’s Winning Residential Tower for Antwerp Creates Mini Vertical Communities With Gardens

July 15, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of C.F. Møller and Brut’s Winning Residential Tower for Antwerp Creates Mini Vertical Communities With Gardens Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Antwerp architecture , Antwerp towers , Belgium Architecture , C.F. Møller Architects , C.F. Møller Architects Antwerp , glass facades , highrise architecture , tower design , tower facades , tower rooftop garden , vertical communities

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C.F. Møller and Brut’s Winning Residential Tower for Antwerp Creates Mini Vertical Communities With Gardens

White House Announces Plans to Fight Global Warming by Targeting Methane Emissions

March 28, 2014 by  
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While the Obama Administration has thus far focused on reducing carbon emissions to tackle climate change, pressure has been mounting to do something about methane pollution . Although methane accounts for only nine percent of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions, it’s over 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to short term global warming impact. So on Friday, the White House announced a strategy to cut the nation’s methane emissions. Read the rest of White House Announces Plans to Fight Global Warming by Targeting Methane Emissions Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cattle , cow flatulence , global warming , greenhouse gas emissions , methane , natural gas , natural gas flaring , obama , white house        

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White House Announces Plans to Fight Global Warming by Targeting Methane Emissions

Incredible Solar-Powered ‘Cumulus’ Parasol Opens Automatically When the Sun Starts Shining!

March 28, 2014 by  
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The Cumulus parasol is a solar powered parasol that inflates itself when the sun starts shining. This artificial cumulus protects you from the sun. Whenever the sun comes out, the parasol inflates automatically to a cloud-like shape using a solar panel positioned at the top in about 20 seconds. The inflated Cumulus has a diameter of two meters. Lacking a metal core structure, the inflated cloud is aerodynamic, allowing it to withstand windy weather. The nylon surface makes it durable, lightweight, and strong, while the silicone coating makes it water proof. When it is sunny, the solar cells power a fan that inflates the body of the parasol. When the sun goes away the parasol deflates automatically, or it can be turned off using an additional switch integrated in the pole. + Studio Toer 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! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alternative energy , clean tech , cumulus , eco design , GIF , green design , Milan Design Week , reader submission , Solar Power , solar-powered parasol , studio toer , sustainable design        

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Incredible Solar-Powered ‘Cumulus’ Parasol Opens Automatically When the Sun Starts Shining!

Michael Johansson’s Precisely Stacked Sculptures Give Found Objects the Tetris Treatment

March 28, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Michael Johansson’s Precisely Stacked Sculptures Give Found Objects the Tetris Treatment Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: eco design , found object sculptures , green design , michael johansson , recycle art , sustainable design , Tetris , tetris sculptures        

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Michael Johansson’s Precisely Stacked Sculptures Give Found Objects the Tetris Treatment

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