Melting Ice Caps

ice-caps

Urban Heat Islands and Paint

White reflects and black absorbs.

It’s a simple statement with massive ramifications if our society decides to use the science of color to fight global warming. For centuries cities in places like North Africa and the Mediterranean have been painting everything bright white to keep cool. White reflects the heat radiation back into space while darker colors absorb heat radiation and would therefore increase the temperature in and around the house.

moracco

 

Why did we abandon this simple technique that seems like a no brainer in places like Los Angeles? The answer is that it is much cheaper to use dark building materials. Asphalt and tar are two of the most ubiquitous building materials we use to construct cities and roads. The detrimental effect of building like that is referred to as the “Urban Heat Island” effect. This is why cities are generally much hotter than the surrounding countryside.

In cities with ample precipitation, the best solution involves plants on places like rooftops and vacant lots. The city of Boston buried it’s largest highway and built a giant park in it’s place. The “Big Dig” was a disaster as far as construction projects go but the original concept was great. (When I was ten years old, the Major of Boston told me the Big Dig would be done in five years…I am now thirty and they just finished.)

big-dig-before-after-photo

The problem with this approach in Los Angeles is the complete lack of rain. No one should be watering large lawns because it’s just downright irresponsible. Replacing lawns with fake grass actually contributes to the Urban Heat Island and also destroys whatever ecosystem existed there before. Residents of Los Angeles can enroll in a rebate turf removal program whereby you replace the grass with drought resistant plants and get money back from the city.

turf_res_before2

turf_res_after2

Of course if you can’t get people to vaccinate their children, the concept of deadly irresponsibility may not be salient for the residents of greater Los Angeles.

If you want to be a responsable member of society, however, paint white and tear up all that thirsty grass.

How Realistic is Ocean Front Property in Arizona?

How Realistic is Ocean Front Property in Arizona?

Due to the melting of the polar caps and the various land-based glaciers all over the world, many islands across the globe are in jeopardy of being submerged. This isn’t a “could happen” scenario as Indonesia has already lost more than 20 of its 1500 islands since 2005. It is also projected that the Maldives will be nothing more than a tropical memory by 2050. As these levels continue to rise, could there really be ocean-front property in Arizona within the next century?

Elevation Matters – Arizona’s mean altitude is 4100 feet above sea level. According to NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the levels have been rising at 0.12 inches per year since 1992. However, it has been reported that this has been a 50-percent increase since the recorded levels of the early 1900s. If the sea levels were to continue at just over one-tenth of an inch per year, it would take 410,000 years in order to submerge Arizona. That also is based on a formula assuming that there is no further increase.

Compounded Problems – At the current rate of melting, NOAA is predicting that the water levels will actually rise by six and one-half feet by 2100. This is a calculation based on the exponential rise of the levels over a period of time. This means that the water will rise approximately 83-percent faster than the 0.12 inches per year as stated above. At that rate, Arizona could become a shore-line state in 69,700 years – plenty of time to pack your sunscreen and surfboard.

Melting Polar Caps – When you see an iceberg in the ocean, it may not look very intimidating at first. When you realize that most of these chunks of ice hide 80-percent of their mass underwater, then you can get a better idea of how large they truly are. This inspires the term, “only the tip of the iceberg.” Although this mass displaces the ocean water around it, it’s also fresh water that is contained within those behemoths. When you consider how much ice was at the North and South poles of this planet that is an incredible amount of fresh water being added to the oceans. This doesn’t include the ancient glaciers that are land-based such as those found in Peru, Alaska and Canada.

Fresh Water Induction – Added large amounts of fresh water to the ocean causes changes in how the currents react. In the movie, “The Day After Tomorrow,” this caused massive storms to populate in a matter of days. In reality, that scenario isn’t far from the truth. According to RealClimate.org, there is scientific evidence to support that the Gulf Stream currents have been reduced by 30-percent. These oceanic streams assist in the weather patterns that can be felt globally. This isn’t including the fact that fresh water puts strain on fish and plant life including decreasing overall buoyancy.

Human Made or Natural Evolution? – There is great debate about the ice-melt as being human made or just natural evolution of the planet. We have scientific evidence that can provide stability for either argument. Scientific discoveries have shown humanity that there have been as many as five ice ages in the past 2.4 billion years. Every two to three hundred million years, the conditions are ripe for the planet to essentially freeze itself. Could the melting of the global ice sheets contribute to hastening our next ultimate winter by altering the weather patterns?

Currently, Arizona is safe from becoming a port city. Although the rising sea levels could displace more than 180,000 families by the end of the century, the state’s sheer altitude provides a great deal of protection. As long as the San Andreas doesn’t snap and sink California, Arizona residents won’t have to worry about donning flood pants.

Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.

Climate Change Impacts On Wildlife

bears

Guest post by Maria Kruk, an author for Species.com

Global awareness of climate change is obvious. The atmosphere is full of greenhouse gases, hurricanes and storms “attack” more regularly, sea level shifts proportionally to ice melting and more species are getting vulnerable and endangered. Specifically, animal world might experience severe damages in the nearest decades and polar bears, which have already recognized the most threatened because of the Arctic Meltdown, might be not the only victims of global warming process.

  1. Giant pandas are likely to remain without bamboo leaves and, therefore, main food ration. Regardless high speed of bamboo shoots’ growth, this plant species reproduces very slowly and is unlikely to adapt to climate change issues. According to scientific estimations, bamboo areas in Qin Mountains may disappear by the end of this century, so does one of the primary habitats of giant panda bears.
  2. Notwithstanding high speed of reproduction among bats’ species, these winged mammals might suffer from temperature cataclysms, especially in Europe and North America. Warm weather and possible drought lead to evaporation from bats’ wings, which are the only mean to accept moisture for bats. These animals are major agents of fertilization and extinction of some bat species is a potential reason of plants’ reproduction decline. Climate change, in addition, threatens to bats’ dormancy periods and meal search.
  3. Ice melting is an obvious consequence of temperature increase, and walrus species can hereby confirm this. Absence of ice blocks in the Sea of Okhotsk forces these marine animals to come to Alaska shores, in unaccustomed time period for offspring fostering. Previously deserted coasts of Alaska are a shelter for 20 thousand walruses for the fourth year in a row, which come here along with their children. Hence, rapid and wide-scaled meltdown has affected not only Arctic terrestrial species, as it could seem earlier.
  4. It is a fact of common knowledge that animals possess some adherence to biological clocks, which is why they know when it is the period of reproduction, vegetation, dormancy, etc. It is much influenced by the length of photoperiod and, eventually, the local temperature. Climate change might force wildlife and plant species to reload the biological hours in order to adapt to temperature shifts in their habitat. Especially, it is referred to animals dependent on daytime and sunlight, which comprise the most of animal species.
  5. Biological diversity and environmental changes are straight consequences of climate change. According to scientific forecasts, the variety of animal and plant species might decrease on 30-40% that will clearly affect food and metabolism chains and energy exchange. Ice melting in the Arctic is a top issue at present, but what about mountainous areas, reduction of forest zones and shores’ flooding? These natural alterations also lead to animals’ extinction and destruction of their common habitat.

walrus-mother-pup_13704_600x450

Going Green in Small Things

Going Green in Small Things

When we think of going green we typically think of things like adding solar panels to your home’s roof or massive wind farms or building a home out of used tires. However, going green does not have to mean making massive, expensive changes to your lifestyle. You can just do a few little things and make a big impact on the environment. Here are some little things you can change –

  1. Light Bulbs – We all know that the classic light bulb is a huge waste of electricity and heat. Thankfully we have other options today. Even big chain stores carry a variety of eco-friendly lighting choices. LED lights are becoming cheaper every year and use almost no electricity while still providing more than enough light.
  2. Car Maintenance –Keeping your car maintained is an easy way to help the environment. A well maintained car does not give off as much pollution and a car with inflated tires and a clean fuel injector assembly does not use as much gas. Not only are you reducing emissions, but you are also reducing the drain on non-renewable resources and the transportation and processing required to get them to your local gas station.
  3. Insulation –An easy and inexpensive way to make your home more eco-friendly is to replace your insulation. A well-insulated home stays warmer in winter and cooler in summer, reducing your need for utilities to heat and cool your home. It also helps to replace your windows with double paned glass. This double layer of glass means that less cool air will escape in the summer and fewer icy breezes will get in during the winter. You can even have your windows tinted or add dark colored screens to reduce sun exposure and keep your house cooler.
  4. Recycle –This simple idea has been around for a long time but is still something that we need to be reminded to do every once in a while. You should be recycling everything you can. Things like soda cans, glass jars, and plastic jugs can be recycled into new, useful things. Even paper products can be recycled. If your community does not have a recycling program you can form one or find your closest recycling center. Oftentimes your local public school will have a recycling program in place and would be glad for any donations you care to provide.
  5. Shop Smart –Las but not least, learn to shop smart. Try to buy locally as much as you can, reducing the transportation costs and emissions to get the products to the store. Try to find items that are made from recycled materials and thingsthat can be reused instead of thrown away.

All these little steps add up to really help the environment. Remember that you do not have to be rich to be green. Just a few thoughtful changes and a little effort on your part can help us to keep the Earth in shape for the next generation.

Author Bio:

Jason Miner plays a vital role for www.blogcarnival.com. He is an expert in writing topics of different categories. He is helping the carnival team to grow & working on making this an even better place for bloggers. 

Natural Gas to hydrates for transport and back to gas

A while back I wrote a post HERE and HERE on collecting natural gas hydrates from the sea floor.  I was not really in favor of the idea because of the possible/probable dangers.  For good or bad like drilling at 5000ft for oil, extracting these frozen naturals gasses is going to happen so might as well examine the effects..

One of the often cited problems with natural gas as an energy source is that they are hard to safety transport over long distances because of the volatile and hazardous properties of the fuels.  A proposed solution is to turn the fuel back into a solid by freezing and applying pressure like at the bottom of the ocean where fuels like methane are in a solid and thus more stable state.

My concern in using this method of freezing and unfreezing is how much energy will be needed to convert a gas like methane into a solid.  The melting point of methane is about -297 F(162.5C) so an extremely cold environment would be need to convert and keep methane as a solid.  The other problem is that natural gas is another limited resource so putting lots of energy into collecting it is not a good long term energy strategy.

However, just like coal and oil, we will take natural gas as long as we can get it and so having a viable fuel transportation strategy is an important development.

Supermodels for a good cause, 350.org

350.org

A friend of mine made this video and I think it is a good way to get people’s attention…clearly we need a new approach to get people to take climate change seriously.

The production was done very well and  Bill O’Reilly doesn’t like it so that’s a good sign.

%d bloggers like this: