Tag Archives: climate change

The White House kills a NASA program.

The White House has secretly killed a NASA program that was destined to monitor carbon dioxide gases and methane gases in the atmosphere. These two gases contribute to global warming.

NASA has said that a lack of funding was the reason for the demise of the program and that in the last budget that was adopted the funding for the program was not there.

Analysts have said that without a monitoring system there was no way of knowing if a country can respect the Paris Accords in combating global change. Naturally as the Trump administration has pulled out of the agreement, why spend money on something that is not needed anymore….

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Methane emissions to double from northern lakes.

It seems that freshwater lakes in the northern hemisphere could see the methane that they emit double in the next fifty years. Methane as a gas is 25 times more warmer than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

It appears that when cattail plants decay and fall in the water they trigger a major increase in the amount of methane that is produced. Microbes in the sediment at the bottom of lakes produce the gas but how much is produced varies from lake to lake.

When tests were made on cattails and conifers the cattails produced over 400 times the level of methane produced by the conifers. It seems that coniferous and deciduous trees prevent the production of methane gas.

It is possible that as the number of cattails colonizing northern lakes in the future increase and double this would elevate the production of methane by 73% between 2014 and 2070. This new method of methane production was underestimated in the past in climate models. Scientists will now be able to incorporate these new measurements into future models of global warming and will better be able to predict what the future climate will look like.

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The Great Barrier Reef under threat.

The Australian government has decided to spent hundreds of million of dollars to rescue the Great Barrier Reef as the reef has been under attack from warming waters caused by climate change. Some believe that it will be a waste of money.

The reef is very popular with tourists and the government hopes that the money will improve the water quality as well as invest in coral restoration. But environmentalists have said that the plan is not enough. The reef supports 64000 jobs.

The prospects for the survival of the reef are grim; huge sections have died over the past two years killed by seawater that is overheated and more acidic, all caused by climate change. Most scientists believe that the damage already done is irreversible and that the only solution is a global one; to reduce fossil fuels and control climate change. Most think that the money is too little too late.

In spite of giving money to save the reef the Turnbull government is still subsidizing the gas and coal industry. One plan that is waiting approval concerns the Adani coal mine. It would push coal on boats near the reef. Clearly we have a case here of governments trying to do two things that are opposites; either we give money to save the reef or to the fossil fuel industry, not both. Governments must be more green and commit to being green, not when it suits them or when elections are around the corner.

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Climate change and the Clown fish.

Clown fish are fishes that have a special relationship with anemones. These fish live among the tentacles and are protected by them from being dinner to other species. Now scientists have discovered that the clown fish may be stressed out due to a warmer ocean.

The fish live among the tentacles for protection for its eggs and itself. When warmer temperatures cause coral and anemones to bleach, things change. Algae that live inside the anemones die off and this affects the clown fish as it does not reproduce so readily.

It seems that the fish suffer because of the additional effort needed to survive in a warmer ocean. Scientists know that clown fish secrete hormones to help them cope with stress. A changing environment means more stress to the fish. The result is that their metabolic rate, the minimum of energy that is required to live, is much higher than ordinarily.

Clown fish living among bleached anemones had a higher metabolic rate than those living in anemones that were normal. Using up more energy to swim and find food will surely adversely affect the clown fish in the future as the warming of oceans continue. It is possible that the higher metabolic rates observed is only temporary. With time, the anemones could also recover or possibly the clown fish could get accustomed to warmer oceans. More studies will be required.

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Crisis in the oceans.

A new report just issued on plastic in the oceans says that the amount will treble in a decade unless measures are taken. Some have sounded the alarm as the oceans are under threat as well from climate change and pollution.

We are now exploiting the oceans in areas that were never explored before. We are now exploiting wind farms offshore and oil and mining industries are spreading in the oceans. Regulation to control this commercial growth is often lagging.

The report predicts that industrial growth in the oceans will come from aquaculture, offshore wind farms and fish processing. An increase in wild fish is also predicted. One has to question this affirmation as already 90% of global fisheries are at levels that are not sustainable.

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Conflicts with water.

A new study has concluded that by 2050 5 billion people could suffer from water shortages due to climate change and increased demands for water. What is worse, conflicts could erupt if stresses to rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water are not addressed.

The report says that change is possible, especially in the agricultural sector, but only if the change is towards nature-based solutions. In other words, more trees and soil and less concrete and steel whenever possible.

Global demand for water has increased six fold over the past 100 years and continues to grow at a rate of 1% per year. As more people are added to the world population the strains on water will continue to grow.

Naturally, demand for water will grow more quickly in developing countries. When one adds climate change to the mix the stress on the world climate will make some areas of the globe wetter and other drier.

Droughts and soil degradation will continue to increase in the future and water scarcity will increase in such areas. Cape Town residents are already facing challenges in that regard as well as in Brasilia where people see their taps turned off once very five days due to the dryness of the climate.

The water quality as also declined. Pollution has increased in every river of Africa, Asia and Latin America and will continue to decline in the future. Agriculture is the main culprit with industrial and municipal wastes a close second.

Clearly agriculture has to change in these areas. Greater use of rainwater could help as well as regular crop rotation to maintain soil cover. The study concludes that practices for saving water exceed the projected increases in demand for water over the years. There is a real need to change practices in the management of water as not changing could lead to war and civil unrest in countries hit by droughts and poor quality of water.

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The browning of lakes.

A new study seems to show that as the permafrost is melting more northern freshwater lakes are turning brown due to an increase in organic carbon into the water. This phenomenon is a global thing but the rate in the North is extreme.

Organic carbon is very good at absorbing sunlight but it is not a good thing for aquatic systems because sunlight cannot penetrate the water and thus phytoplankton can’t propagate as it needs sunlight. And that means as well that insects and fish will not have anything to eat.

The local people will be affected as there will be less fish of a lesser quality and the quality of the water to drink will be diminished. More money would have to be spent to have drinkable water.

The study ends by saying that with increased rainfall and extreme weather events the browning of northern lakes will only further increase.

 

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