Alarming chart shows 140 years of country-level temperature anomalies

Antti Lipponen of the Finnish Meteorological Institute created this troubling but unsurprising chart of almost 140 years of temperature anomalies by country. The data used was from the NASA GISS, Land Ocean Temperature Index. You can probably guess what will happen. Read the rest

Scientists have mapped 20 percent of the ocean floor

In ten years, scientists hope to have mapped the entire ocean floor in high resolution. This week, the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project announced that they've completed 20 percent of the map. A full mapping to "modern standards" is useful for conservation and also to support scientific understanding of ocean systems, weather, tsunami wave propagation, tides, and, of course, the impact of climate change. From the BBC News:

The map at the top of this page illustrates the challenge faced by GEBCO in the coming years.

Black represents those areas where we have yet to get direct echosounding measurements of the shape of the ocean floor. Blues correspond to water depth (deeper is purple, shallower is lighter blue)[...]

This is information required to improve the models that forecast future climate change - because it is the oceans that play a critical role in moving heat around the planet. And if you want to understand precisely how sea-levels will rise in different parts of the world, good ocean-floor maps are a must.

Much of the data that's been imported into the GEBCO grid recently has been in existence for some time but was "sitting on a shelf" out of the public domain. The companies, institutions and governments that were holding this information have now handed it over - and there is probably a lot more of this hidden resource still to be released.

But new acquisitions will also be required. Some of these will come from a great crowdsourcing effort - from ships, big and small, routinely operating their echo-sounding equipment as they transit the globe.

Read the rest

"The current [insect] extinction crisis is deeply worrisome," say experts

Twenty-five experts have issued a warning about the potentially cataclysmic consequences of the rapidly shrinking insect population, reports The Guardian.

In a two-part article for Biological Conservation, the scientists wrote: “The current [insect] extinction crisis is deeply worrisome. Yet, what we know is only the tip of the iceberg.We know enough to act immediately. Solutions are now available – we must act upon them.”

From The Guardian:

The researchers said solutions were available and must be implemented immediately. These range from bigger nature reserves and a crackdown on harmful pesticides to individual action such as not mowing the lawn and leaving dead wood in gardens. They also said invertebrates must no longer be neglected by conservation efforts, which tend to focus on mammals and birds.

Photo by Neenu Vimalkumar on Unsplash Read the rest

Antarctica reaches 20º C (68º F), highest recorded temp ever on icy continent

Scientists say 20.75º C logged at Seymour Island is ‘incredible and abnormal’

Rare snow in Iraq turns Baghdad into winter wonderland

Snowfall in Baghdad, for the second time in a decade.

What a strange sight. Read the rest

Antarctica: Hottest temperature ever recorded, 65º F / 18.3º C

Antarctica's hottest temperature ever was recorded this past Thursday: 65 degrees Fahrenheit, or 18.3 degrees Celsius.

That is not good.

Not good at all. Read the rest

China announces ban of single-use plastic bags and straws

Major cities in China will undertake a staged withdrawal of single-use plastics between now and 2022, with plastic cutlery and take-out containers going by the end of 2020; disposable plastics no longer offered in hotels by 2022; and postal outlets no longer providing plastic packaging/bags by the end of 2022. Read the rest

Greta Thunberg has a crisply articulated demand

I was a anti-nuclear arms proliferation activist from a very young age, 10 or 11, and took it seriously, nearly getting kicked out of school and organizing classmates to attend large demonstrations. I felt like I was tackling an existential risk to the human race and most of the living things on the planet Earth (30+ years later, I think I was right), and that the grownups around me were not taking this seriously, and that this was probably the most urgent thing for me to focus on as a result. Read the rest

Australia fires: Air-dropping veggies to feed wallabies [NEW VIDEO]

The massive scale and force of the ongoing bushfires in Australia is hard to comprehend. Read the rest

Greta Thunberg: 'You have not seen anything yet,' climate activist says as Davos nears

“To the world leaders and those in power, I would like to say that you have not seen anything yet. You have not seen the last of us, we can assure you that. And that is the message that we will bring to the World Economic Forum in Davos next week.”

In the Swiss city of Lausanne on Friday, Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and was joined by an estimated 10,000 others for a protest march, before many of them travel to Davos for next week's annual gathering of political and business elites. Their goal: Draw attention to the urgent need for world leaders to fight our worsening climate crisis. Read the rest

Art installation uses science to age e-waste in geological time

Nathaniel Stern writes, "The World After Us: Imaging techno-aesthetic futures (Flickr set) is an art exhibition that asks, 'What will — and what can — happen to our gadgets over geological time?' For the last few years, I have been working scientists to artificially age phones and computers in different ways, growing plants and fungi in watches, phones, laptops, and more, and turning phones into ink (via blenders and oils), iMacs into tools (melting down the aluminum, and shaping it into a wrench, hammer, and screwdriver), and otherwise spiking electronic waste onto 12 foot towers and/or 'growing' them (intermingled with botanicals) across 1000 square feet of wall space. Here I want people to think and act differently in and with their media devices, their electronic waste, and the damage it does to create both in the first place." Read the rest

A beautiful timeline of a future in which the climate crisis is met and overcome

Eric Holthaus is a meteorologist who has grown weary of the inadequacy of scientific discourse as a means of conveying the urgency of the climate crisis; instead, he's written an inspiring future history in which he traces the year-by-year steps that lead to a just climate transition: "a vision of what it could look and feel like if we finally, radically, collectively act to build a world we want to live in." Read the rest

Starbucks adds oat milk to vegan non-dairy options

If you can't or won't or just don't drink cow milk, Starbucks has a new option for you. Read the rest

Young woman invents ingenious bioplastic made from fish scales and red algae

According to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, if current trends in single-use plastic continue, "there could be more plastic than fish (by weight) in the ocean by 2050." Having spent countless family vacations at the beach since she was a child, product design student Lucy Hughes, now 24, was distraught by the amount of single-use plastic she saw littering the shore and water. So she invented a bioplastic made from fish scales and skin collected at a fish processing plant. The scales and skin are bound together with red algae. For her product, called MarinaTex, Hughes just won a James Dyson Award recognizing ingenious design. From Smithsonian:

The resulting product is strong, flexible and translucent, with a feel similar to plastic sheeting. It biodegrades on its own in four to six weeks, which gives it a major sustainability advantage over traditional bioplastics, most of which require industrial composters to break down. In addition to utilizing materials that would otherwise be thrown away, the production process itself uses little energy, since it doesn’t require hot temperatures. One single Atlantic cod fish produces enough waste for 1,400 MarinaTex bags.

Read the rest

Italy: Venice council flooded after 'NO' vote on climate change measures

Oops. Awkward. Read the rest

VIDEO: Hurricane destruction, one century in one minute

This video visualizes a century of tropical storm destruction in one minute. Read the rest

Straws are a distraction: how the plastics industry successfully got you to blame yourself for pollution

40 years of Reaganomic sociopathy has managed to convince hundreds of millions of otherwise sensible people that big, social problems are caused by their personal choices, and not (say) by rapacious corporations that corrupt the regulatory process in order to get away with literal and figurative murder. The Intercept's Sharon Lerner made a short doc on the subject, showing how the inevitable pollution from single-use plastics was rebranded as a matter of individual carelessness, starting with the "Crying Indian" ads, and how that continues to this day, with the plastics industry successfully lobbying states to ban cities from limiting plastic bags, even as those cities have to pay to landfill and clear them away. Read the rest

More posts