Climate, Geology, News

‘Widespread methane leakage’ from ocean floor off US coast

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A worrying report states that over 500 bubbling methane vents were found on the seafloor off the US east coast. The unexpected finding suggests that there are large volumes of the gas contained in a type of sludgy ice called methane hydrate and as global waters continue to heat up, the methane will be released in large quantities. Methane hydrate (also called methane clathrate) is a compound in which a large amount of methane is trapped within a crystal structure of water, forming a solid similar to ice. It was initially thought to exist only in the outer regions of the Solar System, where temperatures are low and water ice is common, but since…

Climate, Environmental Issues, News

63 trillion gallons of groundwater lost in 2013 drought in Western US

A snake-like trickle of water flows underneath Lake Oroville's Enterprise Bridge. Image credits:  Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A new study shows that last an incredible 63 trillion gallons of groundwater were lost in the Western US alone - so much that it’s actually causing the ground level to rise. The Earth has lifted up about 0.16 inches over the last 18 months in the area, and up to 0.6 inches in the Californian mountains. California’s drought is already reaching chronic levels, affecting the state’s lakes and reservoirs. This is no longer just a bad year or a freak event – it’s a trend, it’s what will constantly happen from now on for years and years to come. Researchers from UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the U.S….

Climate, Environment, News

Study confirms “global warming hiatus” is in the deep oceans

(Top) Global average surface temperatures, where black dots are yearly averages. Two flat periods (hiatus) are separated by rapid warming from 1976-1999. (Middle) Observations of heat content, compared to the average, in the north Atlantic Ocean. (Bottom) Salinity of the seawater in the same part of the Atlantic. Higher salinity is seen to coincide with more ocean heat storage.
Credit: K. Tung / Univ. of Washington

Observations of climate change often report a “missing heat” – a hiatus in the global warming, which went unaccounted for; but now, a new study concludes that the heat absent from the Earth’s surface for more than a decade is plunging deep in the north and south Atlantic Ocean, and this is part of a naturally occurring cycle. Climate change deniers have used this argument for more than a decade: if the world is actually heating up, then why is it heating up so little? Where is all the heat? An increasing number of research is starting to show that while we are mostly focusing temperature measurements on the atmosphere, the…

Climate, News, World Problems

Today, we have finished all the natural resources for the entire year. The rest is environmental debt

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The world has reached what is called ‘World Overshoot Day‘ – the point in the year when humans have exhausted supplies such as land, trees and fish and outstripped the planet’s annual capacity to absorb waste products including carbon dioxide. But that’s not half of it – things are actually getting worse, with the planet slipping into ecological debt sooner and sooner. In 2000, the Overshoot Day was in October, and now, it’s in mid-August. Back in the 1960s,, humans used only around three-quarters of the capacity Earth has for generating food, timber, fish and absorbing greenhouse gases. Back then, only a few countries consumed more than they produce, and…

Climate

Media Still Disproportionately Including Views of Climate Change Skeptics

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If you look at most televisions, you’ll find that climate change deniers get half the air time – or even more. OK, that seems logical, we have to give equal time for both camps in a scientific debate to argue their claims. But the problem is that there is no scientific debate. The vast, overwhelming majority of researchers working in the field understand that the climate is warming up and that we are causing it, so then it doesn’t make sense to share media time equally. In a survey of roughly 1,900 scientists, 90 percent of the respondents who had published more than 10 peer-reviewed climate science articles “explicitly agreed…

Climate, Environment, News

Keystone XL pipeline could produce 4 times more emissions than previously thought

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President Obama said he will only allow the controversial Keystone XL pipeline’s construction if it doesn’t significantly increase carbon dioxide emissions. Now, a new study has concluded that it will – and by a lot. Keystone XL could cause greenhouse gas emissions four times worse than the U.S. government’s projections. In case you’re not aware of this project, The Keystone Pipeline System is an oil pipeline system in Canada and the United States, running from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the Steele City, Nebraska, Wood River and Patoka, Illinois and the Gulf Coast of Texas. There have been several environmental studies which highlighted the potential negative impacts of the Keystone XL project. The…

Anthropology, Climate, Environment, Green Living, News

Aboriginals boost kangaroo populations when hunting with fire

While they hunt kangaroos, aborigines in remote areas of Australia help boost marsupial populations by lighting bush fires. Image: acanberraboy.blogspot.com

The Aboriginal Martu people have been hunting kangaroos and sand monitor lizards for over 2,000 years. During this time, the natives have not only lived sustainably, but also became unwilling conservationists helping kangaroo populations grow by sparking wild fires that help them catch lizards, a study by researchers at University of Utah found. In other remote areas where this subsistence practice ceased, the researchers recorded rapid declines in threatened species, which also might be due to increased predation by invasive predators. [ALSO READ] Kangaroos use their tail as an extra leg when walking Kangaroos and fires, who would’ve thought? “We have uncovered a framework that allows us to predict when human subsistence practices…