Arctic Ice Flow (courtesty of NOAA)
Scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research will publish in tomorrow’s edition of the journal Science that the last 10 years have been the warmest 10-year period in the arctic compared to any withing the last 2000 years. The main culprit? Greenhouse gases. All this comes on top of a 21,000 year old cycle caused to a wobble in the earth’s rotation that has, for the last 8,000 years, put less sunlight onto the arctic than otherwise (think of a top that spins and wobbles). Eventually, within a few thousand years, the cycle will reverse, leading to an increase in sunlight in the arctic region, potentially exasperating the problem of already warmer temperatures.
Evidently, Cash for Clunkers couldn’t have come at a better time.
Tigers, Whole Foods, Global Warming & Orangutans. What's the Link? Photo by Dave Watts.
If you pay as little attention to your food as I do then you’re probably just as surprised as I am that: 1) Some palm trees make edible fruit; and 2) Some of this fruit is linked to endangered species destruction and deforestation.
It so happens that for the last 50 years or so, palm oil has been making head-ways into the foods we eat. It’s also in bio-fuels we burn and cosmetics some of you may use. Recently, there’s been a huge push for the introduction of palm oil in U.S. foods because of new trans-fat reporting requirements. Because palm oil doesn’t have any, it’s been used as a choice to replace non-trans-fat-free shortening.
And while we are collectively healthier for eating less trans-fat, there are measurable global consequences that have resulted from this relatively tiny shift in our dietary habits. Namely, deforestation on a vast scale and threatened species nearing extinction.
Biology, Business and Politics, Featured Articles, Global Science
No doubt this could help stem the tide of greenhouse gases and reduce emissions from coal power plants, but I don’t see myself hanging this off the sunny south side of my porch in the off chance that I need a flashlight…at night.
Let’s face it, you’re pretty screwed once the solar flashlight goes through it’s charge.
Oh, that is unless you happen to have access to the sun for a recharge. Which, if you do, bemoans the obvious question: Why are you carrying around a flashlight in the first place?
Legal stuff: I do not know anything about this product. I’m in no way endorsing or ripping apart this product in particular, and I would guess that it works exactly as it was designed to do (ha ha, see above). But hey, even that’s a guess.
Scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute have captured nearly conclusive evidence of glacial surface meltwater draining in Greenland, and its corresponding effect on ice sheet movement.
Until now, it was hypothesized that some of the vast quantity of meltwater that originates at the surface of Greenland’s glaciers during the summer season may filter all the way down through thousands of feet of ice sheet to the surface. And, once there the meltwater would have a lubricating effect, allowing the glacier to slide at a faster rate toward it’s meeting with the Atlantic.
Well, these folks actually witnessed the event in progress, and by their accounts the overall effect was quite colossal.
It was once believed that this tiny, yet extremely pervasive blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria (specifically, Synechococcus) helped moderate the increase in carbon dioxide emissions as it underwent photosynthesis across the world’s oceans. While generally true, scientists at Stanford and the Carnegie Institution noticed something odd while working with these critters in the lab – the amount of photosynthesis activity measured didn’t match the amount of carbon dioxide being consumed.
Biology, Global Science
Ugh. First the Bay Area, now the Black Sea. Late last week a container ship rammed the Bay Bridge under heavy fog and in the process released over 50,000 gallons of oil into the surrounding waters. It’s a disaster of such size and scope that hasn’t been witnessed in nearly 20 years, with hundreds, probably thousands of birds and other creatures adversely affected. What’s worse is the fact that the Coast Guard is telling volunteers to stay away from affected birds and creatures, for fear of getting exposed to toxic substances.
Then came the news about the oil tanker which busted open in high seas off the Black Sea. It was supposed to have released over a half million gallons of oil. No word yet on the scope of the damage, but don’t hold your breath for good news.
Bay Area Source + Photo: San Francisco Chronicle
Russian Tanker Source: MSNBC. Photo: Reuters
It’s bad enough that the United States uses coal-burning power plants that, as of 2000, were releasing 50 tons of toxic Mercury into the air yearly. How bad is Mercury? This bad. But at least the EPA has put rules in place to reduce emissions, over a period of…13 years. A step in the right direction? I suppose.
But just when the horizon is starting to look just that much more rosy, new reports suggest that Mercury originating from coal power plants in China are contaminating air, water, and fish in the United States. The effects are quantifiable and significant. What’s worse is there’s no end in sight. Ah, what a morbid way to end a post.
Just when you thought global warming was all doom and gloom, here’s a stomach-warming story of locally grown cauliflower making its way into Greenland supermarkets.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald