Climate change depicted as vertical stripes

Warming Stripes: (cache) average annual temperatures in England, with each year depicted as a vertical line, from left to right, covering 1772-2017. At the link, see the U.S. and Toronto. Read the rest

Watch how fog harvesters may help reduce water shortages

Scientists have been experimenting with "fog harps" in arid climates as an easy way to collect potable water from fog.

Via the paper:

Fog harvesting is a useful technique for obtaining fresh water in arid climates. The wire meshes currently utilized for fog harvesting suffer from dual constraints: coarse meshes cannot efficiently capture microscopic fog droplets, whereas fine meshes suffer from clogging issues. Here, we design and fabricate fog harvesters comprising an array of vertical wires, which we call “fog harps”. Under controlled laboratory conditions, the fog-harvesting rates for fog harps with three different wire diameters were compared to conventional meshes of equivalent dimensions. As expected for the mesh structures, the mid-sized wires exhibited the largest fog collection rate, with a drop-off in performance for the fine or coarse meshes. In contrast, the fog-harvesting rate continually increased with decreasing wire diameter for the fog harps due to efficient droplet shedding that prevented clogging. This resulted in a 3-fold enhancement in the fog-harvesting rate for the harp design compared to an equivalent mesh.

Harvesting water from fog with harps (YouTube / American Chemical Society) Read the rest

Watch divers harvest hardy "super corals" in hopes of repopulating reefs

Great Barrier Reef Legacy is one of a number of organizations racing to collect and study coral colonies that miraculously survive major bleaching events. The hope is that these "super corals" can help restore reefs decimated by environmental change. Read the rest

U.K. winter storm kills thousands of starfish

Storm Emma, a massive weather system that brought bitter cold and snow to the U.K. this past week did a lot of damage to power grids, forced the closure of schools and caused havoc for anyone looking to travel anywhere in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland (the Republic of Ireland took its share of knocks, too.) Perhaps worst of all, was the destructive effect the drastic drop in temperature had on sea life in the water surrounding the United Kingdom. This YouTube video shot at Ramsgate Beach in Kent, illustrates what a change in temperature can do to a delicate species of animal--if this isn't a prime example of why climate change is such an important issue, I don't know what is. Read the rest

If humans gave up on geoengineering after 50 years, it could be far worse than if we had done nothing at all

In Potentially dangerous consequences for biodiversity of solar geoengineering implementation and termination (published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, Sci-Hub mirror), a group of cross-institutional US climate scientists model what would happen if human embarked upon a solar geoengineering project to mitigate the greenhouse effect by aerosolizing reflective particles into the atmosphere, then gave up on the project after a mere half-century. Read the rest

Post-punk song 'Anthropogenic Climate Change Is Real' is a wake-up call to Trump

Follow the bouncing Trump head in this music video for "Anthropogenic Climate Change Is Real" by Oakland, California post-punk band You Can’t Make This Shit Up Amerika.

Written by Tennessee Mowrey and Kevin Goldberg, the song is a wake-up call to Trump and any other "fucking asshole" who doesn't believe that climate change exists.

It was co-produced by my pal Ampersand, who writes:

"I immediately felt that these spirited and pissed off millennials were giving voice not only to my feelings about our president and his policies around climate change, but potentially to millions of others as well, and that it was important that the song was out in the world."

I agree.

Give it a watch. Be forewarned, it's (rightly) sprinkled with NSFW language.

Thanks, Ampersand!

Previously: Debbie Harry and Joan Jett anchor the apocalyptic news for Blondie's 'Doom or Destiny' music video Read the rest

Ship exhaust makes ocean lightning more common and intense in shipping lanes

The American Geophysical Union reports that a long-term study of major shipping lanes indicates that ship exhaust is dramatically altering lightning patterns. It's not clear what the long-term effects might be. Read the rest

Even with climate accord, Planet Earth is burned; without it, it's cooked

NYMag's David Wallace-Wells breaks it to us ungently: the Paris Climate Accord, torn up by Trump, was already a compromise that likely condemned much of the equatorial belt to crippling heatwaves. Without it, climate change will only be worse.

Even if we meet the Paris goals of two degrees warming, cities like Karachi and Kolkata will become close to uninhabitable, annually encountering deadly heat waves like those that crippled them in 2015. At four degrees, the deadly European heat wave of 2003, which killed as many as 2,000 people a day, will be a normal summer. At six, according to an assessment focused only on effects within the U.S. from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, summer labor of any kind would become impossible in the lower Mississippi Valley, and everybody in the country east of the Rockies would be under more heat stress than anyone, anywhere, in the world today. As Joseph Romm has put it in his authoritative primer Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know, heat stress in New York City would exceed that of present-day Bahrain, one of the planet’s hottest spots, and the temperature in Bahrain “would induce hyperthermia in even sleeping humans.” The high-end IPCC estimate, remember, is two degrees warmer still.

Read the rest

The Balkan blobject robot at the 2073 Venice Biennale

Bruce Sterling's short story "The Beachcomber of Novi Kotor" is a monologue by a rogue Montenegran artist-roboticist, delivered at the 85th Venice Biennale, in a world where climate change has made venices out of all the world's low-lying cities, where Montenegro has been plunged into economic collapse by the precipitous departure of the neo-Czarist Russian oligarchs whose tourist trade it depended on. Read the rest

A primer on the Paris climate agreement and the cost of withdrawing from it

Hank Green of the Vlogbrothers offers a simple intro to the Paris climate accord and why it matters that Donald Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from it. Read the rest

The 2017 Hurricane season has started, but Trump hasn't appointed a FEMA or NOAA director

Hurricane season officially began yesterday, but let's hope now more than ever that one doesn't hit the US anytime soon. Because guess what? No one is in charge of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the agency that predicts and forecasts hurricanes ahead of a storm. And for an extra thrill, no one is in charge of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) either, the agency that responds to disasters and offers relief. Read the rest

France trolls Trump on decision to withdraw from Paris Accord

The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs tweeted a 🔥 video today on Trump's Paris Accord decision.

After president Emmanuel Macron's epic tweet yesterday, this is something else. Read the rest

Macron rewrites Trump campaign slogan as "Make Our Planet Great Again"

Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, rewrote U.S. President Donald Trump's 'MAGA' campaign slogan today in protest of the administration's absurd withdrawal from the Paris climate accords. "Make Our Planet Great Again," says Macron. We're in alignment with Nicaragua and Syria, says Trump. Read the rest

Bill Nye: 'You can't build a border wall against carbon dioxide emissions'

Media Matters highlighted this terrific clip of Bill Nye explaining how stupid it is that Trump is likely canceling America's participation in the Paris climate accord. Read the rest

The arctic seed bank that was going to save us all is flooding

Strategically placed to survive any natural disaster, this winter's rains flooded the arctic seed bank. The bank wasn't destroyed, but it shows how fast things are a changing.

The Guardian:

It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel.

The vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and contains almost a million packets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop. When it was opened in 2008, the deep permafrost through which the vault was sunk was expected to provide “failsafe” protection against “the challenge of natural or man-made disasters”.

But soaring temperatures in the Arctic at the end of the world’s hottest ever recorded year led to melting and heavy rain, when light snow should have been falling. “It was not in our plans to think that the permafrost would not be there and that it would experience extreme weather like that,” said Hege Njaa Aschim, from the Norwegian government, which owns the vault.

Read the rest

Poor Alabama county is a hotbed of "neglected tropical diseases"

The Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise worked with Houston's National School of Tropical Medicine to sample "soil and water...blood and faecal samples" from Alabama's Lowndes County, a poor rural area. Read the rest

You can't consume your way out of global warming

When inventor and MacArthur "genius grant" recipient Saul Griffith started reading papers about global warning that were written in 1974 (the same year he was born) he discovered that "all the problems we face today are familiar from 43 years ago. All the proposed solutions are similar. Merely the motivation was a little different." In this episode of For Future Reference, a new podcast from Institute for the Future, David Pescovitz and I talk with Griffith about how we need new mindsets as much as new technologies to alleviate climate change.

Please subscribe to For Future Reference a podcast series about the expanding horizons of science, technology, and culture over the next decade: iTunes, RSS, Soundcloud

Image: Kris Krug Read the rest

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