Earth911 Podcast: Nick Cavanaugh on the Sensible Weather Guarantee

April 25, 2022 by  
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Besides food, humans have probably been talking about the weather longer than anything else. In… The post Earth911 Podcast: Nick Cavanaugh on the Sensible Weather Guarantee appeared first on Earth911.

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Earth911 Podcast: Nick Cavanaugh on the Sensible Weather Guarantee

World turns to cloud seeding amid drought and climate change

March 15, 2022 by  
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Global leaders are turning to weather modification to make up for shortages caused by climate change. In the past two years, several western U.S. states have begun cloud seeding. This entails releasing silver iodide particles and other aerosols into the clouds to boost snow or rainfall. States that have invested significantly in cloud seeding include Idaho, Colorado, Utah, California and Wyoming. Seeding is also a key measure in the Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plan.  In 2020, a  study  conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado in partnership with the National Center for Atmospheric Research provided evidence that cloud seeding works. The researchers used complex radar and metrological methods to demonstrate that cloud seeding increases precipitation. Consequently, more countries began adopting the approach to deal with drought. Related: China’s new rain-making system could increase rainfall by billions of cubic feet “ Cloud seeding works,” said Katja Friedrich, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Colorado and lead author of the study. “We know that. We know that from experiments in the lab. We also have enough evidence that it works in nature. Really the question is: We still don’t have a very great understanding of how much water we can produce.” Other countries using cloud seeding include China and the UAE. In the UAE, a weather enhancement factory can conduct up to 250 cloud seeding flares each week. Meanwhile, China already spends millions of dollars each year on weather modification. The Chinese government uses anti-aircraft guns to launch iodide flares into the sky in semi-arid regions to the north and west. In recent years, the U.S. has grappled with difficult droughts. A  study  published in Nature Climate Change established that the period between 2000 and 2022 has been the driest in western U.S. history since 800 A.D. The study attributes this to human-caused climate change. While cloud seeding is a reasonable solution to some leaders, some experts warn it is an unreliable solution to drought problems. Cloud seeding only increases precipitation by up to 10%. Further, experts say that there may not be enough storms to seed if climate change continues. Via Grist Lead image via Pexels

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World turns to cloud seeding amid drought and climate change

World turns to cloud seeding amid drought and climate change

March 15, 2022 by  
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Global leaders are turning to weather modification to make up for shortages caused by climate change. In the past two years, several western U.S. states have begun cloud seeding. This entails releasing silver iodide particles and other aerosols into the clouds to boost snow or rainfall. States that have invested significantly in cloud seeding include Idaho, Colorado, Utah, California and Wyoming. Seeding is also a key measure in the Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plan.  In 2020, a  study  conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado in partnership with the National Center for Atmospheric Research provided evidence that cloud seeding works. The researchers used complex radar and metrological methods to demonstrate that cloud seeding increases precipitation. Consequently, more countries began adopting the approach to deal with drought. Related: China’s new rain-making system could increase rainfall by billions of cubic feet “ Cloud seeding works,” said Katja Friedrich, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Colorado and lead author of the study. “We know that. We know that from experiments in the lab. We also have enough evidence that it works in nature. Really the question is: We still don’t have a very great understanding of how much water we can produce.” Other countries using cloud seeding include China and the UAE. In the UAE, a weather enhancement factory can conduct up to 250 cloud seeding flares each week. Meanwhile, China already spends millions of dollars each year on weather modification. The Chinese government uses anti-aircraft guns to launch iodide flares into the sky in semi-arid regions to the north and west. In recent years, the U.S. has grappled with difficult droughts. A  study  published in Nature Climate Change established that the period between 2000 and 2022 has been the driest in western U.S. history since 800 A.D. The study attributes this to human-caused climate change. While cloud seeding is a reasonable solution to some leaders, some experts warn it is an unreliable solution to drought problems. Cloud seeding only increases precipitation by up to 10%. Further, experts say that there may not be enough storms to seed if climate change continues. Via Grist Lead image via Pexels

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Coal production in China reached record high in 2021

January 18, 2022 by  
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Despite global cries for an end to  fossil fuel  use, China’s coal production reached record levels last year. The government encouraged miners to ramp up production, working at maximum capacity to increase China’s economic growth. China  is the world’s biggest coal producer. Last month, the country set a new record by mining more than 384 million metric tons of coal. In 2021, China hit an all-time high for coal output, topping 4.07 billion metric tons, an increase of 4.7% from 2020.  Related: US and China make big climate pledges at UN General Assembly These figures come just a couple of months after the huge  COP26  climate talks in Glasgow. At COP26, countries fiercely disagreed over coal use. COP26 president Alok Sharma was deeply frustrated and claimed that China and India would “have to explain themselves to poor nations” for clinging to coal. During the talks, India diluted the language around coal, changing the pact from “phasing out” to “phasing down.” So far, China’s phase-down has yet to start. In fact, last month a new major power project in Inner Mongolia opened the first of four 1,000-megawatt generating units. The project is located in Shanghaimiao town in North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region. The area has  coal  resources covering more than 4,000 square kilometers, with reserves of somewhere between 14.3 and 50 billion tons. Meanwhile, China is feeling the effects of  climate change . According to the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), the country endured historic temperature highs last year. China’s average temperature in 2021 was 10.7 degrees Celsius, or about 51 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest since the CMA began tracking the weather in 1961. This is about one degree Celsius higher than usual. While the CMA did not explicitly cite climate change as the reason for increased temperatures, Jia Xiaolong, deputy director of the CMA subsidiary National Climate Centre, has implied a connection. “The multiple and frequent occurrences of extreme weather events have become normal against a backdrop of global warming, posing great challenges to meteorological disaster prevention and mitigation,” he said, as reported by Carbon Brief. Via The Guardian , Carbon Brief , China Daily

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Coal production in China reached record high in 2021

Unique turtle bungalow encourages ecotourism in Thailand

October 29, 2021 by  
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Turtle Bay weaves Thailand’s lush landscape with a quite literally  green design , creating a cluster of cozy turtle shell-shaped structures. Inspired by the existing natural context of jungle trees, expansive lotus ponds and wild peacocks, a mixed-use ecotourism destination was formed. Architect Sarawoot Jansaeng-Aram from Dersyn Studio Co., Ltd. designed Turtle Bay to become a unique tourist destination. The architecture echoes the familiar  Thai  overwater bungalow but innovates with an original design. Completed this year, it sits in Hua Hin, one of Thailand’s most famous seaside areas.  Related: Off-grid bamboo bungalow embraces nature in Thailand Considered to be a main tourist attraction, the site is located near the Khao Tao Reservoir, which serves as inspiration for the unique shape. “Khao” is Thai for  mountain , while “Tao” translates to  turtle . Thus, the design resembles the sacred animal that symbolizes good fortune, longevity and prosperity in Thai folklore. Dersyn Studio carefully selected the materials for Turtle Bay to have a balanced harmony with its  natural  surroundings. Shingle roofs give the surface a gravel and stone chip texture and create a turtle shell-like appearance. The designers also accounted for air movement and incorporated sustainable architectural design by extending the roof to create shade for guests. The roof also has  solar cell equipment , which generates electric energy from the sun to power lights at night.   The “turtles” dot the surface of a lavish lotus pond, which has been preserved to “maintain the sense of place.” Installed in it is a Chaipattana Low Speed Surface Aerator, a device to improve the  water quality  of lakes and ponds that may not have a natural source of oxygen to sustain the inhabitants in its freshwater ecosystem. Meanwhile, a sewage water treatment system prevents untreated water from draining into natural soil or the pond. Naturally flexible, locally-sourced  bamboo  was selected for the main roof, wall surfaces and furnishings throughout Turtle Bay. Additionally, bamboo is easy enough for experienced local artisans to construct without requiring heavy machinery. The material adds personality to the otherwise minimalist and open interiors, bringing the outdoor jungle within.  Turtle Bay implemented locally sustainable “poon-tum” construction material for its natural ability to keep the walls, and therefore guests, cool even in intense heat and humidity. Poon-tum can be found in ancient temple architecture. Working with local artisans, Jansaeng-Aram designed large open spaces with high roofs and deliberate placement of windows for optimal  natural ventilation  for all the rooms — which includes an eco café, organic eatery, workshop area, local artisans’ souvenir shop and homestay-style lodging. Thailand’s Hua Hin is famous as a  summer  hotspot with its clear beaches and balmy weather. Turtle Bay, with its cluster of turtle shell-shaped structures, is one of many special ecotourism destinations to visit.   + Dersyn Studio Co., Ltd. Photography by TonPixelPro

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Coral-like architecture in the Philippines is stackable

September 30, 2021 by  
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Architecture can reflect the culture of the area and showcase sustainable design. The Cagbalete Sand Clusters, located in Taguig, Philippines, is a multi-use development designed with respect for the surrounding ecology and history of farming and fishing in the area.  Cagbalete Sand Clusters is made of prefabricated sections that can be placed and added on to in a horizontal or vertical direction. Each of the units, individually or placed together, showcase the coral design inspired by the local marine ecology .  Related: GOMMAdesign’s Coral City is a Self-Sustaining Eco-Village for the Philippines Lead architect Carlo Calma Consultancy Inc. and client C Ideation envisioned a community they described as “ farm leisure.” They are developing a self-sustaining group of clusters that rely on electricity produced from solar umbrella pods and passive design techniques such as natural ventilation.  The structures include a private family home and a restaurant that offers farm-to-table endemic plant species and seasonal mud crabs from nearby farms. This not only speaks to healthy living and local industry, but mud crab farming is also credited with preventing soil erosion and protection of vital mangroves. Hapa nets throughout the structure offer protection from the weather and insects while reflecting the historic use of the nets. “They have elevated the humble hapa net into something beyond its utilitarian origins,” stated the press release. “It is now both part of the structure’s construction membrane, a tool for food production, and a web that facilitates the daily activities of the structure’s inhabitants, enmeshing time, culture and space .” For residents and visitors, the design includes a saltwater grotto, along with mud pools and soaking pools. The designers hope the multi-focused design elements cater to tourists, specifically eco-tourism, while honoring the Filipino culture — which spans 7,641 islands made up of varying natural and community elements.  Cagbalete Sand Clusters won the Food Category of the WAFX Awards this year. The project is also a finalist in the “Experimental” Category of the World Architecture Festival, which will be held this December 2021 in Lisbon, Portugal. + Carlo Calma Consultancy Inc.  Images via Carlo Calma Consultancy Inc.

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BreezoMeter’s real-time data tracks air quality and wildfires

September 14, 2021 by  
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Many natural elements affect our daily activities, including snow, temperature and rain. Additionally, air quality has become a primary concern in many areas, especially considering the dramatic increase in the number and intensity of wildfires in recent years. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, the United States has experienced, on average, 100 more large wildfires every year than the year before since 2015. Wildfires are also growing in size and moving with a speed and intensity previously unseen. BreezoMeter, a company focused on providing air quality data to citizens, is unveiling a database of information anyone can access so the general population can have an accurate understanding of active fires and their effect on  environmental  air quality.  Related: Wildfire smoke linked to almost 20,000 COVID-19 cases last year The new wildfire tracking technology is available via a free app and provides information about the location of fires and the resulting air quality. It also provides visuals of the total area consumed by the fire, its name, the wind’s speed and direction, the estimated time of containment, and the time of the last update. The team behind BreezoMeter hopes those who track and fight fires can use the Live Wildfire Tracking data for better resource management.  “The free service is part of the company’s commitment to protecting people’s health by equipping them with more than what the eyes can see about the air they breathe, as the effects of climate change,  pollution  and fires increasingly affect air quality around the world,” BreezoMeter said in a press release. The real-time information combines some aspects of other technology already available, such as local sensors and air quality reports. However, BreezoMeter set out to improve gaps in that information to provide real-time visibility without time delays in reporting.  Ran Korber, CEO of BreezoMeter, says, “As wildfires worsen, the public needs the same level of accuracy around fires that they’ve come to expect of rain, snow, and other traditional weather forecasts. Our new technology enables people to protect themselves by adjusting their daily lives without any fear or doubt that the information they’re getting is reliable. It additionally gives companies the tools they need to adapt their operations and offerings, and authorities the real-time information they need to act quicker and smarter.” In addition to providing up-to-date data to citizens and firefighters, BreezoMeter hopes its information can benefit companies in the healthcare, smart home , air purification, automotive, lifestyle and cosmetics industries. The technology will work with GPS data to map the healthiest driving, walking, biking and jogging routes. This information can also benefit supply chain deliveries that may otherwise be delayed by wildfire activity. Along with smart home technology, BreezoMeter can provide evacuation alerts and enhance weather apps with information about air quality. + BreezoMeter Images via BreezoMeter 

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ANNA is a stunning prefab cabin with off-grid potential

August 19, 2021 by  
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Many people dream of staying in a cabin in the woods, but few have dreamed of one like this. Fortunately, Dutch designer Caspar Schols did, and now it’s available in a flat-pack design that can be quickly constructed for work, living or a getaway. The idea behind this unique and versatile  cabin  is to allow nature into the space, rather than simply placing a lodging in nature. “It’s primarily about being outside, and about creating a dynamic interaction between yourself, cabin ANNA as your home, and nature,” Schols explained. Related: ARCspace’s prefab homes are a quick and sustainable housing solution That’s done through a dynamic and innovative design that allows layers of the cabin to roll away as different situations arise. It features a glass-framed interior and a wooden exterior with a roof. The exterior is made of panels on rollers that can quickly transform the space. Completely retracting the walls and roof leaves a deck surface for true outdoor living. Alternatively, removing only the  wood  panels leaves a glass sunroom for shelter from the elements while allowing in copious natural light and views. When the weather rolls in, so do the walls, for a tight closure and a cozy protected space.  Schols was new to the architecture realm, but he dreamed big and delivered. ANNA, as the cabin is known, is now a completed ANNA Stay location, and the home can be delivered to a buyer’s location nearly anywhere in Europe . It’s expected to be available for shipping worldwide in 2022. ANNA can come flat-packed or fully constructed. If construction is required onsite, the build takes a few days with a small crew and an electric crane. Schols relies on  natural materials  inside and out, using sustainable Siberian larch wood and birch plywood. Sawdust is used for insulation. The cabins are prefabricated for minimal construction waste and site impact.  The cabin covers the basics with a shower, toilet, bathtub, complete kitchen and space for a couple of beds. Buyers can customize ANNA with a central heating system to match the location’s climate. It can also be fully equipped for off-grid living with a fire-heated boiler, a solar energy system and a water  waste  treatment system. ANNA Stay has received the 2021 Architizer A+Awards Project of the Year Award in a competition with over 5,000 entries from more than 100 countries. ANNA’s ability to adapt and change enables occupants to immerse themselves in the natural surroundings. Schols says, “She gives the freedom to live among an abundance of life, and cultivates a sense of belonging. You become part of everything around you, and I believe that everyone recognizes that feeling deeply from within.”  + Cabin ANNA Photography by Jorrit ‘t Hoen and Tonu Tunnel

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ANNA is a stunning prefab cabin with off-grid potential

Dead zones expand in the Gulf of Mexico and on Oregon coast

August 9, 2021 by  
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Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ( NOAA ) announced last week that the dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico are worse this year than they expected. Four million acres of habitat off the Texas and Louisiana coasts are so oxygen-depleted that fish and other bottom-dwelling species can’t live there. Dead zones are more scientifically called “hypoxic zones.” This refers to places where so little oxygen is dissolved in the water that marine species move on, if they’re mobile like fish, or die in place, if they’re less mobile, like oysters. Dead zones happen when agricultural runoff, wastewater or other pollutants overwhelm rivers or coastal areas. The introduced nutrients stimulate  algae  growth, which then decomposes in the water, a process that consumes oxygen needed by marine life. Dead zones expand and contract with the weather, covering the largest area in summer when water is warmer and oxygen levels are lower. Related: Underwater robots just discovered the world’s biggest dead zone “The distribution of the low dissolved  oxygen  was unusual this summer,” said Nancy Rabalais, Louisiana State University professor and the study’s lead. “The low oxygen conditions were very close to shore with many observations showing an almost complete lack of oxygen.” Dead zones impact commercial fisheries, such as shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico and crabs and fish in the Pacific Northwest.  Oregon  has suffered from hypoxic areas every summer since 2002. Scientists said the dead zone developed earlier this year than any other time in the past 35 years. Perhaps as a result, crab fishers have found many Dungeness crab carcasses strewn on Washington and Oregon shores this year. Fertilizer  is one of the main culprits, having caused about $2.4 billion in damage to marine life and fisheries each year since 1980, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. In 2001, state and federal agencies set a target of 1,900 square miles as the maximum five-year average for the dead zone in the Gulf. This year, the hypoxic area is about three times that size. “Without a significant, concentrated effort to reduce  nitrogen  runoff from farms and livestock operations, Gulf Coast communities will continue to bear the costs of the dead zone,” said Rebecca Boehm, an economist with the Union of Concerned Scientists. “The dead zone has not meaningfully shrunk in the last 30 years, and we are no closer to the goals set by the Hypoxia Task Force. Policymakers need to rethink their strategy, or we will find ourselves back here next year with the same bad news.” Via The Guardian , NOAA Lead image via Pixabay

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Dead zones expand in the Gulf of Mexico and on Oregon coast

Marjan van Aubel’s solar roof couples renewable energy with beauty

August 9, 2021 by  
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Expo 2020 Dubai is gearing up to open in October 2021. This multi-national event will bring together ideas to improve societies and the environment . The Netherlands is participating with a pavilion that will display the ability to harvest water, energy and food through innovative technologies, including a cone-shaped vertical farm beneath colorful solar panels. Marjan van Aubel, a Dutch designer with several solar-based innovations under her belt, was selected to design the solar roof for the Netherlands Pavilion at the expo.  The designer’s work is more than simply piecing together solar panels . With artistic flair, the lightweight, organic transparent solar cells (OPV) are installed with the effect of skylights. A colorful pattern reflects throughout the space, which is intriguing for visitors while illuminating the natural features inside the pavilion. Related: Sunne passively and stylishly collects sunlight for use after dark “Beauty is powerful. For the World Expo 2020 I combine solar technology with aesthetics to realise the Netherlands pavilion’s solar roof,” van Aubel said. “The aim is to show new ways in which solar can be seamlessly integrated into a space.” Because there will be a vertical farm below, van Aubel designed the solar skylights to filter through the exact range of light for plant growth and optimal health. The panels will also power the needs of the pavilion.  “Not only does the solar roof power the Dutch biotope, it also filters Dubai’s sunlight to ensure the right spectrum of light enters the biotope for the plants to photosynthesise,” she explained. The pavilion is made from locally sourced materials, and van Aubel followed suit with organic , non-toxic options in her material selection for the solar panels. Additionally, the panels can be removed and reused at another site. She hopes the work not only represents the function of solar and the innovations within the field but presents the realization that function can exist hand-in-hand with art and beauty as represented with the Moiré effect in her chosen graphic design. + Marjan van Aubel Studio Images via Marjan van Aubel Studio

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