Environment, Environmental Issues, News, Pollution

Ozone-depleting chemicals still spewed in atmosphere despite international ban

The ozone hole (purple and blue) covered much of Antarctica in 2006. Image: CAROLYN GRAMLING

NASA reports significant quantities of ozone-depleting chemicals are still leaching into the atmosphere despite an international ban signed by all the world’s governments thirty years ago. …

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….

Environmental Issues, Geology, News

California issued rights for five times the water it actually has

How bad is California's drought? Just look above. Photo: Wiki

California is facing one of its direst drought streaks, and only last year it came out of its warmest winter on record. Clearly, things aren’t looking that good and the most vulnerable resource to these conditions is at the same time the most valuable: water. Desperate times, call for desperate measures, and this means in some instances policymakers need to cut the chord. But where should regulators first stop water access given California has allocated five times more surface water than the state actually has? Ted Grantham and Joshua Viers of UC Davis  explored the state’s water-rights database only to come to this confusing and disheartening conclusion. To be more exact, water-rights allocations…

Environmental Issues, News, World Problems

Study confirms global warming is moistening the atmosphere


Climate models have invariably predicted that the upper atmosphere would become more moist as a result of global warming, the question remained whether these disturbances are natural or anthropogenic.  A new research that used satellite readings found that indeed rising vapor content in the  upper troposphere comes a result of man-made global warming. The findings further strengthens climate models and adds to a body of evidence that supports anthropogenic climate change. A wetter atmosphere   The authors write in the paper abstract, published in PNAS : “Our analysis demonstrates that the upper-tropospheric moistening observed over the period 1979–2005 cannot be explained by natural causes and results principally from an anthropogenic warming…

Environmental Issues, News, Pollution

Sobering Aerial footage of the Mount Polley environmental disaster


The Cariboo Regional District has released troubling video of what can already be called a full-scale environmental disaster following the release of five million cubic meters of effluent from a tailing pond at the Mount Polley gold and copper mine near Likely, B.C., on Monday. Mount Polley is an open pit copper/gold mine with a developing underground project, located in south-central British Columbia.It’s not yet clear what caused the breach. At the moment, the situation is really not stable especially at the base of the debris flow. Campers were evacuated, and people are warned to stay as far away as possible from the area. After the tailings dam broke, slurry…

Environmental Issues, News, Pollution, Science

Frack now, ask questions later: bio impact of fracking still largely unknown

A typical fracking well. Image: Frontiers of Ecology

Since 2007, shale gas has boomed by 700% in the US and is projected to rise for the next 30 years. While there are states where well fields span across hundreds of hectares, you’d think that the effects of exploitation of this caliber are well researched and documented. In reality, the bio impact of fracking remains largely unknown. …

Climate, Environmental Issues, News

Irony at its finest: Oil refinery threatened by rising sea levels, asks government to fix problems


Big oil companies invest big chunks of their profits (which are bigger than many countries’) into climate change denial. As I wrote a while ago, 9 out of 10 top climate change deniers are linked with Exxon Mobil, the biggest private oil company. Still, there are some brilliant scientists working for oil companies, and they understand what is happening and preparing for it – after all, you wouldn’t make plans to explore oil in the Arctic areas if the ice wasn’t melting. They’re also very open in accepting climate change when it suits them. Recently, an oil refinery from Delaware is asking taxpayers to pay for protecting it from rising…

Environmental Issues, Technology

Dubai plans to build an entire city under a glass dome

Illustration: Dubai Holding

The Simpsons Movie’s plot starts off with Homer adopting a messy piglet he names “Spider Pig”.  The pig, helped a great deal by Homer, made enough waste to fill a silo in just two days, so how does Homer decide to solve this problem? Naturally, being Homer (doh!), he throws away the silo into the lake, causing an environmental disaster in the process. Left with no choice by the EPA,  Arnold Schwarzenegger decides the best course of action is to put a dome over Springfield. Like the Simpsons’ Schwarzenegger, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum thought it’s a good idea to close a whole city inside a glass dome. The…

Environmental Issues, Green Living, News

‘Everything is NOT awesome’: Greenpeace viral video slashes Shell-Lego partnership


Greenpeace premiered a video yesterday that campaign’s against Shell’s plans of drilling in the Arctic, but primarily targets a proxy company, Lego. The ad wants to move the Danish toy company to cancel its deal with Shell that will put Lego toys in hundreds of gas stations. In the video, an oil-stricken Arctic depicted in a set comprised of 120kg of Lego is shown as it slowly becomes engulfed by a sea of black tar. The only concrete message comes at the very end when a text block warns: “Shell is polluting our kids’ imagination”, in response to Lego’s official company mission – serving creativity and inspiration to children. The ad…

Eco tips, Environmental Issues, News

Giant 500 km wide ocean whirlpools affect climate

climate whirlpool

Giant whirlpools or mesoscale eddies, as described in scientific literature, can grow between 100 km and 500 km in diameter, forming around islands where ocean currents become disrupted. These whirlpools carry immense amounts of water and heat, but up until now they’ve been largely ignored in climate models. A novel research, however, found that energy dispersed by the giant eddies shouldn’t be neglected, after measuring for the first time the extent of their effects. The researchers from the University of Hawaii used satellite data collected between 1992 to 2010 to identify large eddies, then correlated their location with data pertaining to things like temperature, shape or volume retrieved from floating sensors….