Environment

Fracking Fallout

A new Harvard study finds that there are significantly elevated levels of airborne radioactive particles up to 31 miles downwind of U.S. fracking sites.

Using 16 years of data from 157 federal radiation monitoring stations, researchers found that sites with 100 fracking wells within 12 miles upwind had an average of about 7% more radiation in the air.

The highest contamination was near the Marcellus and Utica shale fields in Ohio and Pennsylvania, where radioactivity was 40% higher than normal.

While conventional oil and gas drilling doesn’t result in much impact on underground rocks that contain uranium isotopes, hydraulic fracturing blasts through shale and other layers containing them. Scientists say the resulting radioactive particles are carried downwind.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius) in Rivadavia, Salta, Argentina.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 89.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 67.2 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Global Warming

Alaska’s new climate threat: tsunamis

In Alaska and other high, cold places around the world, new research shows that mountains are collapsing as the permafrost that holds them together melts, threatening tsunamis if they fall into the sea.

Scientists are warning that populated areas and major tourist attractions are at risk.

In 2015, a landslide on a slope that had also crept for decades, created a tsunami that sheared off forests 193 meters up the slopes of Alaska’s Taan Fiord.

Environment

Pollution – Europe

Air pollution remains Europe’s top environmental threat to health, with more than 400,000 premature deaths due to air pollution every year in the EU, according to a European Environment Agency report.

Global Warming

Global Warming Blamed for Bee Deaths – Turkey

Millions of bees died due to drought triggered by global warming in southern Turkey’s Mersin, which caused about a 70%-80% decrease in honey production in the province, a beekeepers association head said.

The above-seasonal temperature and abrupt changes have adversely affected beekeeping in Mersin this year. Drought caused not only the deaths of many bees but also became the main reason for a decrease in the number of plants from which bees can receive nutrition to produce honey

Global Warming

Massive Ozone Hole

The ozone hole in the stratosphere above Antarctica reached its annual peak on Oct. 1, which scientists say was the largest and deepest in 15 years.

This was in contrast to an unusually small and short-lived ozone hole in 2019 caused by unusual weather conditions. “There is much variability in how far ozone hole events develop each year,” said Vincent-Henri Peuch, director of Europe’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service. He added that it’s proof nations need to continue enforcing the Montreal Protocol, which bans emissions of ozone-depleting chemicals.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44.4 degrees Celsius) in Aqaba, Jordan.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 90.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 67.8 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Global Warming

Arctic Ocean is Dying

Researchers on the world’s biggest mission to the North Pole will return to dock on Monday, bringing home devastating proof of a dying Arctic Ocean and warnings of ice-free summers in just decades.

The German Alfred Wegener Institute’s Polarstern ship is set to return to the port of Bremerhaven after 389 days spent drifting through the Arctic trapped in ice, allowing scientists to gather vital information on the effects of global warming in the region.

The team of several hundred scientists from 20 countries have seen for themselves the dramatic effects of global warming on ice in the region, considered “the epicentre of climate change”, according to mission leader Markus Rex.

“We witnessed how the Arctic ocean is dying,” Rex told AFP. “We saw this process right outside our windows, or when we walked on the brittle ice.” Underlining how much of the sea ice has melted away, Rex said the mission was able to sail through large patches of open water, “sometimes stretching as far as the horizon”. “At the North Pole itself, we found badly eroded, melted, thin and brittle ice.”

Global Warming

Iceless Winters

Warmer winters brought on by the deepening climate crisis are bringing more ice-free years to lakes around the Northern Hemisphere, according to a new study.

Researchers writing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters say that beyond the ecological changes this causes, communities around some of those lakes are suffering because they depend on frozen festivals and winter recreation. The lack of ice also makes the lakes more prone to toxic algal blooms, which could harm fish and make swimming more dangerous. “This isn’t just happening in one lake in the northern United States. It’s happening in thousands of lakes around the world,” said lead author Alessandro Filazzola.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44.4 degrees Celsius) in Poxoréo, Brazil.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 90.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 67.8 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Global Warming

Flowers Are Changing Colour To Save Pollen From Global Warming, Ozone Depletion

Just like the animal kingdom, plants adapt to the changing climate of the Earth. A new research shows the latest way in which they do so – by altering ultraviolet (UV) pigments in their petals. This means that the plants are essentially changing their colours in response to the climate change.

The researchers found that over the past 75 years, flowers have evolved to alter the ultraviolet (UV) pigments in their petals in response to the rising temperatures as well as the declining ozone layer of the Earth.

Flowers’ UV pigments are invisible to the human eye, but they attract pollinators and serve as a kind of sunscreen for plants. Just as UV radiation is harmful to humans, it also poses a threat to a flower’s pollen. Thus, plants tend to use UV-absorbing pigment in the petals to reduce the harmful radiation from reaching its sensitive cells.

Environment

Plants in Peril

Almost 40% of Earth’s plant species are now at risk of extinction due to human activities, according to Britain’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Its latest annual report on the state of the world’s plants and fungi says more than twice as many plants are at risk than previously thought. It points to agriculture and aquaculture threatening a third of the plants at risk, while climate change appears to threaten only about 4%. The Kew researchers say some of the plants in danger hold great promise for medicine, fuel and food.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46.1 degrees Celsius) in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 94.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 70.0 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Global Warming

Warming Oceans More ‘Stable’ And That’s Bad, Scientists Warn

Global warming is making the oceans more stable, increasing surface temperatures and reducing the carbon they can absorb, according to research published Monday by climate scientists who warned that the findings have “profound and troubling” implications.

Man-made climate change has increased surface temperatures across the planet, leading to atmospheric instability and amplifying extreme weather events, such as storms.

But in the oceans, higher temperatures have a different effect, slowing the mixing between the warming surface and the cooler, oxygen-rich waters below, researchers said.

This ocean “stratification” means less deep water is rising towards the surface carrying oxygen and nutrients, while the water at the surface absorbs less atmospheric carbon dioxide to bury at depth.

Most of this stabilisation occurred towards the surface and was attributed largely to temperature rises.

They said this process is also exacerbated by the melting of sea ice, meaning that more freshwater – which is lighter than saltwater – also accumulates on the surface of the ocean.

This seemingly technical finding has profound and troubling implications. These include potentially driving more “intense, destructive hurricanes” as ocean surfaces warm. A reduction in the amount of CO2 absorbed, which could mean that carbon pollution builds up faster than expected in the atmosphere.

With warmer upper waters receiving less oxygen, there are also severe adverse implications for marine life.

Global Warming

Scorching Summer

Scientists have calculated that this June, July and August were 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 20th-century average, making the season the hottest Northern Hemisphere summer on record. During the same period, the Southern Hemisphere experienced its third-warmest winter yet. NOAA predicts this abnormal warmth could lead to 2020 being one of the five hottest years on record.

Arctic Melt

Arctic sea ice melted to its second-smallest expanse on record on Sept. 15, covering only 1.44 million square miles around the North Pole, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center. Only during the summer of 2012 did the polar ice cap shrink farther. And since the unprecedented drops in sea ice extent in 2007 and 2012, there have been fewer areas with thick, multiyear ice that has accumulated over countless winters. Experts believe this and global heating will keep the ice from recovering, and will soon lead to ice-free summers across the Arctic.