Another great Joy of Tech comic ….
We are burning record levels of coal, oil, and natural gas to fuel modern society. As a result, we are producing record levels of greenhouse gases that warm the atmosphere, melt the planet’s ice, and cause the oceans to become more acidic-threatening marine life.
In mid-January, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA reported that 2014 was the warmest year in the past 135 years of record-keeping. Globally, land and ocean temperatures were 0.69°C higher than the average for the 20th century-passing previous highs set in 2005 and 2010.
One striking, visible effect of rising temperatures is the shrinking Arctic ice cap. Satellites have been observing the ice cap since 1979, and since then the summer ice there has been shrinking about 12 percent per decade. By the end of summer 2012, about half of the Arctic ice area present in 1979 had melted.
We can change, our species just needs to find the motivation! Learn more here.
Scientists have photographed the largest gathering of Pacific walruses ever recorded, on a beach in northern Alaska.
It’s hardly the first big walrus gathering to be documented. But scientists say the size of the gatherings are growing as climate change melts Arctic sea ice, depriving walruses of their sunning platforms of choice.
As the ocean heats up due to global warming, Arctic sea ice has been locked in a downward spiral. Since the late 1970s, the ice has retreated by 12 percent per decade. Learn more here.
A new look at the “vital signs” of Earth’s climate reveals a stark picture of declining health. As global temperatures rise, so do sea level and the amount of heat trapped in the ocean’s upper layers. Meanwhile, mountain glaciers and Arctic sea ice are melting away beneath an atmosphere where concentrations of three key planet-warming greenhouse gases continue to rise.
Data shows that the climate is changing more rapidly now than it has at any time in the historical record!!! Learn more here.
Strange that Australia’s carbon tax, one of the world’s landmark attempts to stop climate change, is officially no more. More here.
There’s a game of Tetris happening on a global scale: The playing space is planet Earth, and all those pesky, stacking blocks represent carbon dioxide — a greenhouse gas that is piling up ever more rapidly as we burn the fossil fuels that run our cars, factories and power plants.
Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, is harnessed using a range of ever-evolving technologies.
You hear a lot about solar power, but right now, solar covers only about 0.3%, or 1/300th or the world’s energy consumption.
It’s also amazing how little of the Earth’s surface you’d need to cover with solar panels to power the entire world.
Why do people say “don’t look down”? Just imagine what you would be missing if the photographer who took this picture had had similar qualms.
The ants on the ground are working on a Siemens SWT-6.0-154 offshore wind turbine, a giant new machine that is being put through its paces at a wind turbine testing facility in Østerild, Denmark.
The turbine boasts the world’s largest rotor with blades 75 metres long, each as big as the wings of the world’s largest aircraft, the Airbus 380. The machine’s ground-to-tip height is 197 metres, more than twice that of the Big Ben clock tower in London.
The rationale for building bigger turbines is simple: longer blades harvest more energy from the wind. Siemens says the new turbine can generate 6 megawatts, enough to power 5500 households. That is 1000 times more energy per year than the firm’s first generation of wind turbines, which it built 30 years ago with rotor blades just 5 metres long. Learn more here.
Australia’s “dome of heat” has become so intense that the temperatures are rising off the charts – literally.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s interactive weather forecasting chart has added new colours – deep purple and pink – to extend its previous temperature range that had been capped at 50 degrees.
The range now extends to 54 degrees (that is 129.2 degrees Fahrenheit) – well above the all-time record temperature of 50.7 degrees reached on January 2, 1960 at Oodnadatta Airport in South Australia – and, perhaps worringly, the forecast outlook is starting to deploy the new colours. Learn more here.
Almost one-quarter of the world’s population lives in regions where groundwater is being used up faster than it can be replenished, concludes a comprehensive global analysis of groundwater depletion.
Across the world, human civilizations depend largely on tapping vast reservoirs of water that have been stored for up to thousands of years in sand, clay and rock deep underground. These massive aquifers — which in some cases stretch across multiple states and country borders — provide water for drinking and crop irrigation, as well as to support ecosystems such as forests and fisheries.
Yet in most of the world’s major agricultural regions, including the Central Valley in California, the Nile delta region of Egypt, and the Upper Ganges in India and Pakistan, demand exceeds these reservoirs’ capacity for renewal. Learn more here.
Twenty-seven or younger? Then you’ve never experienced a month in which the global temperature has been colder than average, according to the latest data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The average temperature across land and ocean surfaces during October was 14.63°C. This is 0.63°C above the 20th century average and ties with 2008 as the fifth warmest October on record. This is the 332nd consecutive month with an above-average temperature.
This is global data, of course, and the pattern is rather more complex at a local level. In fact, the average monthly temperature in Britain in October was 1.3 degrees Celsius below average, making it the coldest October since 2003. Scotland had its coldest October since records began in 1910.
But this was outweighed by the rest of the world, including central and southeastern Europe. Croatia was 1.1 to 1.6 degrees Celsius above the 1961-to-1990 average, and Moldova was even hotter: 2.5 to 3.5 degrees Celsius above average.
You can find full information about the state of the climate in October 2012 over on NOAA’s website.