A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘environment

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • Centauri Dreams looks at evidence that Ceres’ Occator Crater, an apparent cryovolcano, may have been recently active.
  • Crooked Timber’s John Quiggin wonders what would have happened had Kerensky accepted the German Reichstag’s proposal in 1917.
  • Dangerous Minds looks at some fun that employees at a bookstore in France got up to with book covers.
  • Cody Delistraty describes F. Scott Fitzgerald’s utter failure to fit into Hollywood.
  • A Fistful of Euros hosts Alex Harrowell’s blog post taking a look at recent history from a perspective of rising populism.
  • io9 reports on a proposal from the Chinese city of Lanzhou to set up a water pipeline connecting it to Siberia’s Lake Baikal.
  • Imageo notes a recent expedition by Norwegian scientists aiming at examining the winter ice.
  • Strange Maps links to an amazing graphic mapping the lexical distances between Europe’s languages.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that Russia is on the verge of a new era of population decline, and shares a perhaps alarming perspective on the growth of Muslim populations in Russia.

[LINK] “Guyana’s New Oil Fields Both Blessing and Curse”

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Desmond Brown writes for the Inter Press Service about the complications of Guyana’s newly-discovered offshore oil, both economic and environmental. What will happen to Guyana’s low-carbon economic strategy if it drills?

The recent discovery of large volumes of oil offshore of Guyana could prove to be a major headache for the country, as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and other Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) members press for keeping global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels as provided for in the historic Paris Climate Agreement.

Exxon Mobil recently announced the successful drilling of a deep-water exploration well that may soon confirm that the seafloor beneath Guyana’s coastal waters contains one of the richest oil and natural gas discoveries in decades.

Experts now estimate that one of its offshore fields alone, known as Liza, could contain 1.4 billion barrels of oil and mixed natural gas.

But in the face of a changing climate fueled by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Dr. Al Binger, interim executive director of the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREE), said Guyana should not get too excited about the discovery.

“Guyana finds themselves inside AOSIS, the group that is fighting to keep temperatures under 1.5 degrees C, and now they are going to want to sell carbon which is going to get burned. I think they are going to have a lot of head-scratching to figure out ‘is this a blessing or is this a curse?’” Binger told IPS.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 5, 2017 at 9:45 pm

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • James Bow calls for an end to the US-Canada Safe Third Country agreement prohibiting people coming from American soil from claiming refugee status in Canada.
  • D-Brief reports on the vast array of man-made minerals appearing in what is now being called the Anthropocene Era of Earth.
  • Dangerous Minds notes the efforts of the Disco Preservation Society to preserve DJ mixes from 1980s San Francisco.
  • Language Log takes issue with Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s argument that cryptographers, not linguists, would be needed in Arrival.
  • The LRB Blog notes impunity for murderers of civil society activists in Honduras.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen talks about Joyce Gladwell’s autobiography Brown Face, Big Master.
  • The NYRB Daily celebrates the work of Hercules Segers.
  • The Planetary Society Blog is skeptical of the Space X plan to send tourists past the Moon by 2018.
  • Supernova Condensate lists 8 things we know about Proxima Centauri b.
  • Towleroad reports on new walking tours being offered of gay London.
  • Arnold Zwicky engages with a California exhibition comparing paintings with movies.

[LINK] “Climate-driven Arctic permafrost collapse causing dramatic change”

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Digital Journal’s Karen Graham reports on how the collapse of the permafrost in the Arctic North of Canada threatens further climate catastrophe.

hawing Arctic permafrost are slumping and disintegrating, sending rivers of carbon-rich mud and silt into waterways. This will lead to a climate-driven geomorphic transformation of our ecosystem.

A study published in February 2017, in the journal Geology, titled “Climate-driven thaw of permafrost-preserved glacial landscapes, northwestern Canada,” describes the research efforts and findings made by scientists with the Northwest Territories Geological Survey in assessing the increasing intensity of permafrost collapse in the Arctic regions of Canada.

Many readers may remember the July 2015 collapse of a small, unnamed lake in the NWT, documented with a remote camera that showed it falling off a cliff and breaking through a melting earthen rampart.

Thawing permafrost has already caused noticeable changes in the landscape in some Arctic regions and scientists have been tracking temperature changes and thawing of the permafrost for years. When permafrost thaws, large thaw slumps develop, some of them impacting over 30 hectares (74 acres) in area. This can dramatically alter slopes and impact downstream environments.

In 2015, Steve Kokelj of the NWT Geological Survey told the Canadian Press the thaw slumps were getting bigger and more numerous with the increase in temperatures and rainfall. At that time, Kokelj estimated the land affected by slumping had almost doubled in the last 30 to 40 years.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 1, 2017 at 9:00 pm

[LINK] “Antarctica hits record high temperature at balmy 63.5°F”

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Reuters reports that just under two years ago, Argentina’s Esperanza Base on the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula recorded a record temperature akin to that of a warm spring day.

An Argentine research base near the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula has set a heat record at a balmy 63.5° Fahrenheit (17.5 degrees Celsius), the U.N. weather agency said on Wednesday.

The Experanza base set the high on March 24, 2015, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said after reviewing data around Antarctica to set benchmarks to help track future global warming and natural variations.

“Verification of maximum and minimum temperatures help us to build up a picture of the weather and climate in one of Earth’s final frontiers,” said Michael Sparrow, a polar expert with the WMO co-sponsored World Climate Research Programme.

Antarctica locks up 90 percent of the world’s fresh water as ice and would raise sea levels by about 60 meters (200 ft) if it were all to melt, meaning scientists are concerned to know even about extremes around the fringes.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 1, 2017 at 8:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “So long, normal weather: Toronto just had the warmest February on record”

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CBC News’ Kate McGillivray reports that this February just past is the warmest Toronto has been ever recorded as experiencing.

It’s official — Toronto just lived through the warmest February in at least 80 years, says Dave Phillips, senior climatologist at Environment Canada.

“It also had the warmest February temperature ever, up to 17.7 C on the 23rd,” which broke records going back to the 1840s, he told CBC Radio’s Metro Morning.

The month didn’t start off this way.

“We had temperatures at -12 C,” said Phillips. “We had a month’s worth of snow in the first ten days.”

After that, the jet stream, a narrow band of strong wind, moved “almost into a summer position, well north of us in Northern Ontario. It allowed the warm air to just flood into Southern Ontario,” he said.

All that warm air led to 12 days in a row with melting record temperatures. “So clearly, the look and the feel of winter disappeared in February,” Phillips said.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 1, 2017 at 8:15 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto sets record for warmest February day”

The Toronto Star‘s Evelyn Kwong reported early this morning bout yesterday’s record-breaking temperatures. Today was cooler, as predicted. Walking by Lake Ontario down at Woodbine Beach this afternoon, this late February day felt like a cool spring day.

Torontonians enjoyed an especially balmy day Thursday, but it wasn’t just a record high for Feb. 23; it was the warmest February day on record.

Spring temperatures soared to 17.7 C by early afternoon, before cooling down to 12 C closer to the evening.

The previous record for the warmest day ever in February was set last year on Feb. 3 with a high of 16 C. Weather records for Toronto started in 1938. The temperatures also shattered a 33-year-old record high of 14.9 C for Feb. 23, set in 1984.

On Friday, temperatures are expected to dip down back down to a high of 6 C, which is still over the average temperature for February. There will be a 30-per-cent chance of rain and drizzle, and possible thunderstorms.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 24, 2017 at 9:00 pm