This year has been marred by unusually hot weather. Scientists are attributing this to climate change that has been brought on by man-made conditions.
The assessment was partly headed by James Hansen, the director of the Nasa Goddard for Space Studies. Hansen was present for a U.S. senate meeting in 1988 where he gave a grim prediction for the environment if changes are not made. Now, more than 20 years later, he is saying that the current condition is worse than his 1988 prediction.
Hansen went on to say that he miscalculated how rapidly the rise of global temperatures would lead to extreme weather. Further studies also show that temperatures have risen by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 100 years.
The assessment supports the findings from a separate research that rising greenhouse gas emissions increased the occurrence of severe heat waves, floods and droughts. Texas and Oklahoma have suffered from extreme droughts in 2011. Similarly, Europe underwent a series of heat waves in 2010 with Russia going through the same back in 2003. This is all due to the effects of climate change, according to Hansen.
Even Richard Muller, a scientist and once die-hard skeptic of global warming, has now completely switched on his position, saying that the new data has convinced him that there is a serious problem being brought on by climate change.
Both Hansen and Muller are in agreement and certain that the climate change is completely man-made and brought on by pollution and the the gargantuan consumption of fossil fuels. They say that natural causes can most certainly be eliminated as the culprit
The findings are disturbing to say the least. Unless drastic measures are taken, one can only imagine how much worse the environment will be by the time we reach the generation of our children and grandchildren.
Researchers have long suspected that polluted air can cause health problems. Recent studies are now substantiating these claims. The new study suggests that exposure to ozone can lead to heart complications and even sudden death in the most extreme cases.
Ozone is a common pollutant found at ground level. It is created when smog and waste from vehicles and factories react with sunlight. It is believed that even short-term exposure can put people at a greater risk for heart disease, especially among older people. The study shows even as little as two hours of exposure to ozone may be enough to cause inflammation, which is associated with heart attacks.
While previous studies exist, most of them are on the effects ozone has on the lungs and how it impacts the respiratory system. The newest study consisted of 23 participants who were either exposed to ozone or clean air. The exposure lasted two hours and was administered every two weeks.
Researchers monitored the heart immediately after exposure and again the morning after. The results showed that those exposed to ozone showed a decrease in cells that play a key role in reducing blood clots. They also showed a change in heart rhythm and an increase in inflammation. All volunteers were young and healthy adults, so there was no serious risk involved. However, the implications can be much more severe for older individuals.
Experts say that people can reduce their risk of exposure by spending less time outside, especially during high temperatures when ozone levels are at its peak.
According to the World Health Organization, roughly two million people across the globe have died prematurely from heart complications as a result of ozone exposure. The Environmental Protection Agency has released information on air quality on its website as well as tips on how people can limit exposure.
Back when the first Rio Earth Summit conference was held back in 1992, all participating leaders were in agreement that something had to be done to prevent factors like overpopulation and climate change from causing catastrophic damage on a global scale.
Now, 20 years later, world leaders have convened once again for the Rio+20 meeting. So far, it is clear that nations are at odds over how to address major issues concerning the depletion of natural resources.
The draft agreed to is called “The Future We Want.” Thus far, the provisions of this draft has gone through countless additions, deletions and last minute changes – most of which has been instigated by the U.S. and China. Japan, Russia and European nations also found clauses within the draft that they would not agree to.
Green economy and poverty issues were at the forefront of the meetings. The talks included ideas on how a greener economy and sustainable living can be achieved and how the government, consumers, companies and investors can all play a role to make it happen.
Some believed the bill was far too lenient on major corporations and banking institutions and should be imposing higher limitations on company practices that contribute to pollution and consumption of vital resources. There were also talks over how to improve the general health of the population and ways to relieve poverty.
The U.S., in particular, held firm on its ground and refused any change in policy that may be of economic benefit to competing countries like China.
Though the meetings are supposed to provide solutions for a greener Earth, it appears that each nation is clearly putting its own interest above the issues that the summit meetings are created for. Instead of arriving to solutions, the conferences serve as a grim reminder of the current condition of the world.
Global warming is an issue that has been vigorously debated for the past decade. Some scientists believe it is a real threat that can cause irreversible damage to the ecosystem, while others conclude that the severity of global warming has been overblown.
For believers, they certainly have a new study to validate their concerns. Anthony Barnosky, a biologist from the University of California Berkeley, led a study on the impact of the biosphere caused by human activity.
The study concluded that Earth is at its “tipping point,” and catastrophic damage on the environment lies ahead unless action on an international scale is taken. The rise of climate temperatures, rapid population growth and the depletion of irreplaceable energy resources are all contributing factors that are suffocating the ecosystem.
Barnosky believes that if the signs are ignored, the planet could be headed for a major climate shift – the same kind of change that caused mass extinction and created a permanent change in the biosphere during the last ice age. Barnosky estimated that if no modifications are made, this tipping point could occur within a century’s time or perhaps even within the next few decades, perfectly within the lifetime of today’ children.
Barnosky and his colleagues have been studying fossil records for the past two years and will present their findings in the next Earth Summit meeting. Barnosky has made some startling predictions. Among these include a possible population increase to nine billion by the year 2050. He also surmised that within 60 years or so, average temperatures may reach an all-time high – the highest starting from the time the first humans walked the Earth.
It is important to note, however, that not all scientists are in agreement with Barnosky’s analysis. Richard Lindzen, a climate researcher from the Massachusetts Institute, called Barnosky’s claims “highly implausible.”
With such differences in opinion among the experts, it is difficult to form an accurate conclusion. While there is no question that climate change is a serious issue, it is a matter of the degree of severity that mankind faces and in what timeframe if drastic changes are not taken.
Most scientists are in unanimous agreement that global warming is a real threat to Earth’s ecosystem. All sorts of plans have been proposed on how to put a halt to the planet’s steadily rising temperature.
Researchers are now turning to solar geoengineering as a possible solution. The plan involves adding aerosol to the atmosphere, which will help to intersperse the sun’s solar energy and minimize its effects when it reaches Earth’s surface. The idea is to block out about two percent of the sun’s rays.
Like most plans, this one is not without its side effects. It is believed that putting such a plan into action could potentially whiten the sky during daylight hours, though there is no danger of having a milkier sky.
The research was headed by Ben Kravitz and Ken Caldeira and is published in the periodical for the American Geophysical Union.
Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere everyday through the use of coal and gas from vehicles and factories. This is causing the planet to heat up. Normally, an eruption from a volcano will counteract this effect. An eruption releases particles into the stratosphere and creates a natural shield from sun rays, though the Earth will reheat once the particles thin out. With geoengineering, the idea is to continuously release the particles into the stratosphere through artificial means.
Geoengineering has been tested on small scale environment models. While the plan seems promising, the sky will take on a lighter shade of blue. The sky will be a tad hazier and whiter with a bit of an afterglow from the sun’s appearance.
The human race has already inflicted an irreversible deal of damage to its only home in the last 50 years alone. Though geoengineering is an artificial solution, it may give the planet a much needed lifeline.
Climate behavior has always been an interest and concern among meteorologists. Researchers have always relied upon technology to record the data they need to help them analyze weather patterns. Scientists now have a new supercomputer at their disposal that can help them expand their research to new depths.
This new computer is known as Yellowstone and will help researchers study the weather and give them more precise data. The technological sophistication of Yellowstone will help researchers compute data on a regional level, rather than from a more broad continental scale. This will allow scientists to determine how temperatures affect water resources, wind patterns and wildlife.
Limitations in computing power have always been the setback for researchers. Older systems simply were unable to provide details on local climate and how it factors into the behavior of the weather in coastlines, valleys and mountain ranges.
Yellowstone will cost around 30 million dollars to operate; it is currently being funded by the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The computer will shed light on much anticipated questions, such as how much dryer will some regions be by the middle of this century and how much warmer will the summer season become.
Mathew Maltrud, who works out of Los Alamos Laboratory, works with models that simulate the behavior of rivers, vegetation and ocean tides. He says that the Yellowstone will allow the models to provide a more realistic representation and a more accurate prediction of what we can expect the weather to be like in the next 30 or so years.
With a superior capacity for storing data, Yellowstone will also be able to provide a snapshot of the climate every few hours rather than days.
With the advancement of research tools, scientists will be able to provide a better analysis of how the climate is changing and what, if anything, can mankind do about it.
Some people just love to consume meat. No meal to these people is considered complete without a serving of steak or pork chop. Health studies, however, have long confirmed that the regular consumption of processed meat is associated with heart disease, high blood pressure and other ailments.
A separate study has now shown that there is another reason for cutting back on meat other than your health. For every serving of meat you consume, you may be contributing to the increase of nitrous oxide (N2O), a toxic greenhouse gas that is emitted and released into the atmosphere.
A study performed by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is urging that meat consumption on a global scale needs to be curtailed by at least 50 percent by the year 2050.
N2O is believed to be the third largest contributor to global warming, right behind carbon dioxide and methane. N2O is mainly spread through the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers in farming and agriculture. Bacteria breaks down the fertilizer and releases the nitrous oxide into the air. The fertilizer is also used in handling livestock manure.
By consuming less meat, there will be lesser demands for it. This means less livestock and a lesser need for the use of fertilizers. It’s basically a domino effect that begins with the consumer’s decision to cut back on the consumption of animal flesh.
This is obviously not good news if you enjoy meat. Of course, nobody is advocating that the whole world adopts a vegetarian diet. The study simply revealed that there is a harm done to the environment as the demands for meat production increases. If you like the taste of meat, you are not obligated in any way to give it up. However, it wouldn’t hurt to cut down your daily intake by a serving or two.
Winter gardening is something that millions of people take part in. The summer is one of the best times of the year for gardening; however, the winter takes most of the flowers and vegetables away. In an effort to spruce up your home and add to the décor, you should consider winter gardening with an outdoor garden or an indoor garden. There are several flowers that actually flourish through a winter garden. Here are a couple of flowers that you can plant to tie you over until spring.
/>Pentas are a beautiful flower that give off a dark to light shade of pink. These flowers can grown indoors and grow about 20 inches high. They can reach 16 inches wide depending on the planter they are in and require partial shade. Water your pentas frequently and the can reach full growth within a month.
Camellias are another great plant for winter gardens. They have glossy evergreen leaves and pretty pink flowers. As the winter closes they will turn to a darker red. Camellias can get really big if you have them in the right planter. With proper conditions, your camellias can grow up to 10 feet high. Give them acidic soil and make sure that you provide plenty of mulch in the winter.
/>Evergreen Holly is usually associated with Christmas, but it makes for a great plant in your winter garden. The plant gives off red berries and the familiar holly leaves. These plants are successful in any environment but really come to life in the winter. Come of the berries will turn a distinctive yellow when winter is coming to a close. Use acidic soil to grow your evergreen hollies, as these are great for the berries. They need minimal water and are also drought tolerant.
Snow drops are usually seem popping up through the snow in gardens around the world. These plants are resilient and will stay dormant until the conditions improve for their growth. Snow drops have a small bell shaped white flower that makes them distinctive. The are short and have very delicate stems. They usually will not grow more than six inches high, but may reach up to 10 inches in some conditions.
Crape myrtles are native to Southeast Asia, but have been affluent in other parts of the world for a long time. These are design to give any winter garden greatness. These are usually grown outside as they can easily reach 25 feet in height. Crape Myrtiles need plenty of sunlight and do very well in soil with pH of at least 5.0
The holidays are notorious for wasting paper. Wrapping paper for gifts have a way of finding themselves in dumpsters and trash cans across the world toward the end of the year. If you’re looking for a great way to cut down on your carbon footprint and save a little money in the process, you can use wrapping paper alternatives. These are commonly found around your home and can even give your holiday some uniqueness. Here are some wrapping paper alternatives to get you started.
Fabric wrapping paper is a very unique way to wrap your gifts. It’s very easy to use this. Lay a piece of fabric flat and then set your gift in the middle. Pull all of the sides of the fabric up so that the ends meet each other. Tie a ribbon around the ends so the gift if concealed.
The newspaper is another alternative to wrapping paper, but you don’t want a horrible news story as the centerpiece for the gift you’re giving your mother. Comic strips are harmless and colorful. Wrap your gifts in the comic strips and then put a bow on top of it. This adds a little more of the holiday to the gift without taking away from its uniqueness.
Almost everybody has leftover wallpaper in his or her basement or attic. Scour your home for any leftover wallpaper from when you redid your kitchen or bathroom. Set the gift in the middle and wrap it with the patterned side of the wallpaper on the outside. The patterns on wallpaper are very similar to regular wrapping paper so your gift will not stand out under the tree.
Many people simply chuck their old calendars. If you have last year’s calendar laying around the house, take a pair of scissors to it and cut out the different pages. When calendars come apart the pages might not be able to handle bigger gifts so keep this in mind. Calendars are great for smaller gifts.
Old maps work well because they are usually pretty big. If you have old maps lying around your house and you know that you’re not going to use them again, wrap your gifts with the outlines of your surrounding area. This makes for a unique look and is very green.
For most families, the Christmas tree is the centerpiece of their holiday spirit. If you’re trying to go green, you may have invested in an artificial Christmas tree. If you think about it, during your lifetime you probably waste around 60-85 trees on Christmas so buying an artificial tree could be a great way to lessen your carbon footprint. But is buying an artificial tree more green than getting a real tree each year? The answer is yes and here are a few reasons why.
Deforestation might be one of your concerns, but you should know that most Christmas trees are grown on farms. These trees are grown throughout the year for the season and are not taken from national forests. Although you might not be sacrificing trees in nature when you buy a Christmas tree every year, you should also know that thousands of gallons of gas are used to harvest the trees and transport them.
If you have ever driven out to a Christmas tree farm and cut your own tree down, you know first hand of the gas that it takes to get out to the farm. By purchasing an artificial tree you cut down on the amount of gas needed to go get your tree and the demand for harvesters to bring them to market.
When you do decide to buy an artificial tree for your family you should try to find one that is made in the United States. Trees that are made overseas commonly contain lead. When you buy one that was made in the US, you cut down the chances of exposing yourself and any children to lead poisoning.
If you ever need to dispose of an artificial tree, you should check with local hospitals, homeless shelters or charities to see if they need one. Artificial trees can take up space in landfills and will take centuries to decompose. If your tree was made in China or another foreign country it might contain lead. Be sure to include this information to the new owner so they know to wash their hands after handling the tree.
Christmas trees are great for bringing the holiday spirit into your home. However, wasting gas and carbon emissions to go get the tree can be bad for the environment. Instead of polluting the air every year, you should invest in an artificial tree. These are great and can last for over 30 years if taken care of. Be sure to take all of the precautions needed when buying an artificial tree and make your Christmas a green Christmas.