Nature paints a more vivid picture of climate change – and the related changes in ocean currents – by retracing the paths of prehistoric icebergs in the years when the oceans were colder: Their results show that some of the glacial floodwater running off North America formed a narrow current some 100 kilometres wide that flowed south along the continental shelf from the tip of present-day Newfoundland. Icebergs carried along by these flows would have reached South Carolina within a few months — and in some larger floods, would have reached Florida. The bergs would have been as large as some that calve from Greenland today, extending as far as 300 metres below the surface. The model simulations help explain the presence of massive scars that have been found on the sea floor off the continental shelf, left by icebergs running aground. The team reports newly-discovered marks as far south as the Florida Keys, adding […]
This is one of a whole deck of… well, they’re practically a technological tarot, really. They’re playing cards illustrating concepts in engineering. (The two of diamonds is also beautiful, though some might prefer the human figures in cards like the seven of clubs.)
They were originally collected by William Barclay Parsons, the chief engineer of the New York City subway. He was on the library board from 1911 to 1932, when he died. More importantly, he also donated a set of mechanics pla…
The one carries oxygen around, the other keeps the system clean. They’re teeny tiny.
Image from the Electron Microscopy Facility at The National Cancer Institute at Frederick (NCI-Frederick).
SOURCE:Based on “Lasers used to levitate glowing nanodiamonds in a vacuum”, Science Daily, 7 Sep 2015, as used in the post “A laser levitating glowing nanodiamonds in a vacuum..”
ABSTRACT: I really wanted to use “A laser levitating nanodiamonds in a vacuum” as a lyric, because it’s got such a great rhythm, but no, it didn’t happen.
Musically, things fell together well – I came up with chords on a guitar, and t…
ARTIST: grant, featuring Sebastian Balfour. (Originally by Harry Nilsson.)
SOURCE: It doesn’t have a research source. It’s a penitential cover of a haunting song by Harry Nilsson that Three Dog Night turned into a prog anthem, which Aimee Mann turned into stunning reclamation project. Nilsson still wins.
ABSTRACT: I’ve been a penitential cover* behind for months and months. I first had the idea of doing this song in something like this way …
I like the desert in Nevada already because of the sense of perspective – such wide, flat spaces (wider and flatter even than Florida’s water-level wet prairies), sometimes flanked by mountains just big enough to provide a frame of reference. This is how small you are. This is how far you have to go.
That’s the ideal landscape for this kind of project. How big are we really? How far away is the place next door?
This far away. …
This is a jellyfish drawn by Philip Henry Gosse, a naturalist and Creationist (!) who gave us the word “aquarium” as a place to see marine creatures. Before Gosse, an aquarium was a place to water cattle.
He built the very first public one as the “Fish House” of the London Zoo in 1853.
A few years later, he published a book trying to prove that fossils couldn’t disprove Genesis because of course the act of creation would make things appear to be older than they are. …
Daily Beast has more on how 204 billion tons of melting glaciers have changed the way our planet’s gravity works: Between 2009 and 2012, the years for which GOCE was taking data, the amount of gravity in Antarctica decreased noticeably, corresponding to a lot of ice melt. From the point of view of artificial satellites or the Moon, Earth’s gravity is mostly a steady influence, a tug that doesn’t particularly depend on where the satellite is over Earth’s surface. However, mass is the source of gravity, so if the crust is thicker in one place than another—say, the Himalayas vs. the floor of the Atlantic Ocean—the thicker part will exert a slightly higher gravitational pull. … The authors of the new paper looked at GOCE and GRACE data for three Antarctic glaciers, and found they are losing approximately 185 billion metric tons (204 billion US tons) of ice each year for the three years of […]
The National (of the UAE) reports on radical new ways to deal with climate change… from the dawn of civilization: The Bronze Age transition from the Umm An Nar (2700 to 2000 BC) to the Wadi Suq (2000 to 1300 BC) period is hotly debated by archaeologists. The popular view is that external forces – such as acute climate change and the breakdown of trade between regions – caused people to leave Umm An Nar centres and form smaller, more mobile communities in the early second millennium. Dramatic changes in the archaeological record suggest people adjusted to climate change with a sudden shift. … A recent study of mandibular, or jawbone, first molars by the bioarchaeologist Lesley Gregoricka shows a more gradual change, suggesting that dispersal was a deliberate decision. Prof Gregoricka’s analysis of strontium, carbon and oxygen isotope ratios show homogeneity in mobility and diet, indicating continuity instead of collapse between the late third […]
The Atlantic, the Pacific… are sinks. Heat sinks. So says Scientific American, explaining that temperatures haven’t risen as sharply as they could have (YET) because the oceans are absorbing some of the excess heat: The heat sink occurs when sun-warmed salty water from the tropics travels along ocean currents in the Atlantic to the coasts of Greenland and Iceland. When the saltier tropical water reaches the North Atlantic, its greater density causes it to sink, in a process called warm saltwater subduction. “When [the water] sinks, it goes straight down, and the sinking carries heat along with it,” [University of Washington professor Ka-Kit] Tung said. About 90 percent of the Earth’s heat is stored in the oceans due to the atmosphere’s limited storage capacity, according to the study. … The researchers said that about half of the warming in the last 30 years of the 20th century was due to global warming, while the other […]
Nature offers one of the least comforting explanations for a mysterious hole in Siberia. It wasn’t from an asteroid or a rogue telephone-pole-installing crew. The 30-meter-wide crater was caused by methane – a flammable, stinky greenhouse gas – being released from melting permafrost: Over the past 20 years, permafrost at a depth of 20 metres has warmed by about 2°C, driven by rising air temperatures, notes Hans-Wolfgang Hubberten, a geochemist at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Potsdam, Germany. Hubberten speculates that a thick layer of ice on top of the soil at the Yamal crater site trapped methane released by thawing permafrost. “Gas pressure increased until it was high enough to push away the overlying layers in a powerful injection, forming the crater,” he says. Hubberten says that he has never before seen a crater similar to the Yamal crater in the Arctic. Larry Hinzman, a permafrost hydrologist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks […]
Yep. Scientific American has more on a painful consequence of temperatures swinging upward unexpectedly: In a study published earlier this month in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, [Gregory] Tasian [of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia] and his collaborators reported that higher average daily temperatures increased the relative risk of forming kidney stones. The results indicate that the changing climate can directly affect human physiology. “We were looking at what is the risk of a patient presenting with stones after daily temperatures rose,” he said. … The researchers in this case looked at a database of insurance claims from 60,433 patients from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Philadelphia between 2005 and 2011. They assessed the relative risk of kidney stone formation compared to a base-line reference temperature of 10 degrees Celsius using weather data. … When average daily temperatures rose to 30 degrees Celsius, the relative risk of kidney stone presentation within 20 days compared […]
As the U.S. Geological Survey puts it: This video was edited and compiled from raw footage recorded by a camera equipped radio collar that was put on a female polar bear in the Beaufort Sea during April 2014 by the US Geological Survey. The video, which is the first ever from a free-ranging polar bear on Arctic sea ice, shows an interaction with a potential mate, playing with food, and swimming at the water’s surface and under the sea ice. These videos will be used by the US Geological Survey in research to understand polar bear behavior and energetics in an Arctic with declining sea ice. Note: Some creative license has been taken to make this footage easier to follow and understand, including playful language that helps describe the polar bear’s actions. Let’s hope this footage, while delightful, does not become too historically significant.
Aquaman may have had more going for him than he gets credit for. Scientific American reveals the amazing power fish have to reverse global warming: By assigning a dollar value to carbon stored in ocean ecosystems, two recent scientific reports are attempting to make nations reconsider the true worth of their fishing activities. The first, a new assessment backed by the Global Ocean Commission, roughly estimates that fish and other aquatic life in the high seas absorb enough carbon dioxide to avert $74 billion to $222 billion in climate damage per year. A second recently published study found that each year, deep-sea fish swimming off the United Kingdom’s and Ireland’s shores capture and store a quantity of carbon emissions worth €8 million to €14 million on the European carbon market, or up to $20 million. … The first study, led by the University of Southampton in the U.K. and the Marine Institute of Ireland, sheds […]
Scientific American watches NASA launch another satellite to watch the way our planet breathes: But since [David Crisp] first conceived the project nearly 15 years ago, he and other scientists had been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to use this satellite to track the increasingly vast quantities of carbon dioxide humans were emitting. Such information could be used as a foundation for tracking emissions if a global climate treaty is ever approved. The launch failure meant that even as the question of where carbon dioxide was coming from and what, exactly, was soaking it up became increasingly important, the instrument that might have answered these questions was somewhere in the bottom of the ocean. Crisp’s NASA supervisors told him not to give up, that the Orbiting Carbon Observatory could get a second chance. It took a while, but eventually the second Orbiting Carbon Observatory—now called OCO-2—was approved and funded. If all goes as planned, it will […]
International Business Times readies the citizens of balmy island paradises for a rough ride, thanks to a World Bank report putting Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on the top of list of cities at risk from climate change: The World Bank published a study on Thursday that listed Santo Domingo in the top five of cities that will experience serious climate-change damage by 2050. The other four are Alexandria (Egypt), Barranquilla (Colombia), Napoli (Italy) and Sapporo (Japan). The Caribbean coast is home to 70 percent of the population of the region. Most big cities there, including other capitals like Port-au-Prince and Havana, are within two miles of a sea shore. Flooding and erosion caused by salt water are two of the main consequences mentioned in the study. The Dominican Republic is aware of the situation and has started taking measures to fight it, but there is still plenty of work to do. According to Jerry Meier, […]
Fast Company looks to the heights to chronicle a potential climate change real estate boom: Scientists and politicians have even come to the conclusion that whole countries such as Mauritius and Tuvalu will need to evacuate due to rising sea levels. But while coastlines in much of the world may suffer, climate change will be a positive development in some areas. Specifically, Canada; northern Europe; Russia; Alaska; Patagonia, Argentina; and southern Africa may all experience real estate booms. These booms, he claimed, will be in “Climate Change Cities” with military fortifications catering to an increasingly displaced global elite. … [British futurist James] Martin’s prediction for the building of climate change cities was pessimistic and stakes itself on growing global instability. These new cities, which would cater to the “well-heeled,” would be built in places where rising sea levels would actually improve local climates. Rising temperatures and an increase in arable land as a result of […]
Slate has printed his controversial plan to live up to the promise of gene science without the industrial agriculture downside: The GMO story has become mired in the eco-wrecking narrative of industrial agriculture, and that is too bad for those who understand the real risks of climate change and discern our desperate need for innovation. And while the blue-sky hype of a genetically secured food supply has not become a reality, there have been a few breakthroughs. Even as climate change has increased the prevalence of many plant diseases, the new science can take credit for genetic inoculations that saved Hawaii’s papaya business. It’s also led to flood-resistant rice, created by Pamela Ronald of the University of California–Davis. Of course, the party-line foodie dare not say anything positive about GMOs, at risk of being labeled a stooge of the foodopolists. And it’s true: Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, and Pioneer are not interested in GMO innovations that […]
Laboratory Equipment recommends getting bogged down to prevent global warming, with research that shows man-made marshes can fight climate change: …[S]ays Bill Mitsch, director of the Everglades Wetland Research Park at Florida Gulf Coast Univ. and an emeritus professor at Ohio State Univ.: wetlands also excel at pulling carbon dioxide out of the air and holding it long-term in soil. Writing in the July-August issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality, published by the American Society of Agronomy, Mitsch and co-author Blanca Bernal report that two 15-year-old constructed marshes in Ohio accumulated soil carbon at an average annual rate of 2,150 pounds per acre — or just over one ton of carbon per acre per year. The rate was 70 percent faster than a natural, “control” wetland in the area and 26 percent faster than the two were adding soil carbon five years ago. And by year 15, each wetland had a soil carbon pool […]
Nature puzzles over an unforeseen consequence of global warming – an expansion of Antarctic sea ice as the climate warms: While sea ice at the North Pole has shrunk substantially over the past three decades, scientists have struggled to explain why sea ice near the South Pole has grown in extent over the same period. “The paradox is that global warming leads to more cooling and more sea ice around Antarctica,” says Richard Bintanja, a climate researcher at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute in Utrecht. Bintanja and his colleagues show that enhanced melting of the Antarctic ice sheet — which is losing mass at a rate of 250 gigatonnes yearly — has probably been the main factor behind the small but statistically significant sea-ice expansion in the region. … There are other plausible explanations for Antarctic sea-ice expansion, however. “The mechanism could be completely true, but this study does not demonstrate that increased melting has […]
Brace yourselves for more global warming news. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is ready to post its next report. Most of us, like Scientific American, won’t really be surprised by its contents. (Yes, we’re getting warmer. Yes, it seems to be because people have made machines that pump out carbon dioxide and methane like crazy.) But the guy who leaked the report early probably was expecting a bigger surprise inside: A rogue reviewer posted a draft this week of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change‘s next report, in a bid to promote climate change denial. Instead the draft reaffirms humanity’s starring role in global warming, which, along with sea level rise is now “unequivocal.” Also human caused CO2 increases are now “virtually certain” to be responsible for trapping extra heat. And it is “extremely likely that human activities have caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperatures since the […]