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Teenage British activist stages climate protest on Arctic ice floe – CBC.ca

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Like many of her generation, Mya-Rose Craig feels strongly that adults have failed to take the urgent action needed to tackle global warming and so she has headed to the Arctic Ocean to protest.

Armed with a placard reading “Youth Strike for Climate,” the 18-year-old British activist is staging the most northerly protest in a series of youth strikes worldwide.

The strikes, made famous by Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg, are resuming after a lull caused by the global coronavirus pandemic to draw public attention back to the threat posed by climate change.

“I’m here to … try and make a statement about how temporary this amazing landscape is and how our leaders have to make a decision now in order to save it,” she told Reuters Television as she stood with her placard on the edge of the Arctic sea ice.

“I absolutely think that my generation has always had to think about climate change … which is why as we’ve got older there’s been this massive wave of just this need for change, this demand for change when we realized the grown-ups aren’t going to solve this, so we have to do it ourselves.”

Environmental activist and campaigner Mya-Rose Craig, 18, holds a cardboard sign reading “youth strike for climate” standing on the ice floe in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, hundreds of miles above the Arctic Circle, September 20, 2020. (Natalie Thomas/Reuters)

Craig, from southwest England, is known as “Birdgirl” online, where her blog chronicling her bird-watching experiences has attracted thousands of followers.

She has traveled hundreds of miles above the Arctic Circle aboard a Greenpeace ship, Arctic Sunrise.

Climate data shows the Arctic is one of the fastest changing ecosystems on the planet, with serious consequences for wildlife from polar bears and seals to plankton and algae, while the melting sea ice contributes to rising sea levels worldwide.

Warming Arctic

Warming in the Arctic shrank the ice covering the polar ocean this year to its second-lowest extent in four decades, scientists said on Monday.

For Craig, getting to the ice floe involved a two-week quarantine in Germany, followed by a three-week voyage to the edge of the sea ice.

Craig said those who dismiss the youth protests as just a rebellious phase by her generation are wrong, and she wants those in power to stop treating climate change as a low-priority issue, raised only to appease “the lefties in the corner.”

“It’s everything now and it has to be treated like that,” she said.

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NASA’s Hubble Telescope Captures a Rare Metal Asteroid Worth 70,000 Times the Global Economy – Robb Report

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Humans just got one more reason to journey to outer space. There’s a rare asteroid the size of Massachusetts orbiting between Mars and Jupiter, and it’s worth an estimated $10,000 quadrillion.

The rarity, known as 16 Psyche, was actually discovered back in 1852, but NASA’s Hubble Telescope has finally given earth-dwellers a closer look. The new study, which was published this week in The Planetary Science Journal, indicates that asteroid’s composition is key to its astronomical value.

To put this touted figure into perspective, when written out in full it boasts a line of zeros that could nearly stretch to the asteroid itself. That’s $10,000,000,000,000,000,000. This makes Psyche 70,000 times more valuable than the global economy, worth about $142 trillion in 2019, or enough to buy and sell Jeff Bezos, whose net worth is just shy of $200 billion, about 50 million times. That’s all thanks to some heavy metal.

Psyche, which spans 140 miles in diameter, appears to made entirely of iron and nickel. This metallic construction sets it apart from other asteroids that are usually comprised of rock or ice.

Artist’s concept of the asteroid and the Psyche spacecraft. 

Maxar/ASU/P. Rubin/NASA/JPL-Calt

“We’ve seen meteorites that are mostly metal, but Psyche could be unique in that it might be an asteroid that is totally made of iron and nickel,” said Dr. Tracy Becker, a planetary scientist and author of the new paper, said in a statement.

So, how did the pricey asteroid come to be? According to Becker, it’s possible that Psyche is the leftover core of a planet that never properly formed because it was hit by objects in our solar system and effectively lost its mantle and crust.

The asteroid is currently about 230 million miles from Earth in the Solar System’s main asteroid belt, orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. And, unsurprisingly, NASA is planning to visit it again. In 2022, the administration plans to launch a Psyche spacecraft to further study the asteroid.

If they could just kindly bring the asteroid back, every person on the planet—all 7.5 billion of us—would get roughly $1.3 billion.

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Ice loss to add 0.4C to global temperatures: Study

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The loss of billions of tons of ice from Earth’s frozen spaces is likely to increase global temperatures by an additional 0.4 degrees Celsius, according to research Tuesday highlighting the danger of a “vicious circle” of warming.

Arctic summer sea ice levels have declined by more than 10 percent each decade since the late 1970s and mountain glaciers have shed roughly 250 billion tons of ice annually over the last century.

Ice loss from the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets is accelerating and already outstripping what scientists until recently believed to be the worst-case melt scenarios.

Decades of studies have sought to quantify how Earth’s melting ice will contribute to sea level rise — Antarctica and Greenland alone contain enough frozen water to boost oceans’ height by around 60 meters.

But little research has tried to predict how ice loss will add to the already 1.0 degree C of global warming emissions from fossil fuels since the start of the Industrial Era.

Scientists at Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) used a climate model that includes components on atmosphere, ocean, sea- and land-ice data to predict temperature change from ice loss under a variety of emissions scenarios.

They found that under current levels of atmospheric CO2 — roughly 400 parts per million — the melting of Arctic sea ice, mountain glaciers and the polar ice caps would raise temperatures by 0.4C.

That’s on top of the 1.5C of warming our current emissions levels have rendered all but inevitable, and the safer cap on global warming aimed for in the Paris climate accord.

The main driver of temperature gain from ice loss would be due to a process known as albedo feedback, in which heat reflective bright ice is replaced by absorbent darker sea water and/or soil.

“If global ice masses shrink, this changes how much of the sunlight that hits the Earth’s surface is reflected back into space,” said lead author Nico Wunderling.

He likened the albedo effect to wearing either white or black clothes in summer.

“If you wear dark, you heat up more easily,”  Wunderling noted.

This is one of Earth’s so-called climate “feedback loops”, in which increased temperatures lead to further ice loss, which in turn further increases temperatures.

Tipping point

Other ways that temperatures would rise further as ice receded include increased water vapor in the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effects, said authors of the study published in Nature Communications.

Looking solely at Arctic sea ice — which unlike polar ice caps might be totally absent during summer months within decades — they found its melt would contribute 0.2C to global temperatures alone.

The largest ice masses in Greenland and West Antarctica, by comparison, are huge and will likely take centuries to melt fully even if emissions continue their unabated growth.

But the authors highlighted the risk that those enormous bodies of frozen water could soon reach a point of no return as temperatures creep ever higher.

Given the unknowns surrounding ice cap tipping points, Wunderling told AFP it would be best to act in “a risk-averse” way and try to drag down emissions as soon as possible.

“With continued global warming, it becomes more and more likely that we cross tipping points -– not just in the ice-sheets, but also in other parts of the climate system,” he said.

“If the Paris Agreement is fulfilled we can avoid many of the strongest and potentially irreversible impacts on Earth’s ice masses, the global climate and humanity.”

 

 

 

Source:- The Jakarta Post – Jakarta Post

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Arctic sea ice at record low October levels: Danish institute – Bangkok Post

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Since the 1990s, warming has been twice as fast in the Arctic, compared to the rest of the world

COPENHAGEN – Sea ice in the Arctic was at record lows for October, as unusually warm waters slowed the recovery of the ice, Danish researchers said Wednesday.

Diminishing sea ice comes as a reminder about how the Arctic is hit particularly hard by global warming.

Since the 1990s, warming has been twice as fast in the Arctic, compared to the rest of the world, as a phenomena dubbed “Arctic amplification,” causes air, ice and water to interact in a reinforcing manner.

“The October Arctic sea ice extent is going to be the lowest on record and the sea ice growth rate is slower than normal,” Rasmus Tonboe, a scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), told AFP, noting that the record was unequalled for at least 40 years.

According to preliminary satellite data used by the institute, sea ice surface area was at 6.5 million square kilometres (2.5 million square miles) on 27 October.

Every year, some of the ice formed in the Arctic waters melts in the summer.

It usually reaches a low point of about five million square kilometres, but then re-forms to cover about 15 million square kilometres in winter. Warmer temperatures are now reducing both the summer and winter extent of the ice.

Satellite data has been collected to monitor the ice precisely since 1979, and the trend towards a reduction is clear.

For the month of October, measurements show an 8.2 percent downward trend in ice over the last 10 years.

Already in September, researchers noted the second lowest extent of sea ice recorded in the Arctic, though not quite hitting the low levels recorded in 2012.

But warmer-than-normal sea water slowed the formation of new ice in October.

– ‘Vicious spiral’ –

Water temperatures in the eastern part of the Arctic, north of Siberia, was two to four degrees warmer than normal, and in Baffin Bay, it was one to two degrees warmer, DMI said in a statement.

The institute said this was following a trend observed in recent years, which was described as a “vicious spiral.”

“It’s a trend we’ve been seeing the past years, with a longer open water season making the sun warm the sea for a longer time, resulting in shorter winters so the ice doesn’t grow as thick as it used to,” Tonboe said.

Since the melting ice is already in the ocean it does not directly contribute to the rise in sea levels.

But as the ice disappears sunlight “gets absorbed in the ocean, helping to further warm the Earth,” Claire Parkinson, climate scientist at NASA, told AFP in September.

Thus, with less ice reflecting sunlight, oceans are heated directly.

Over the last 40 years the Arctic has also become more of a strategic interest to world powers.

Less ice in certain areas have opened up new maritime routes, which are destined to play a larger role in international trade, meaning a larger financial stake for Arctic state actors.

The region is also estimated to house 13 percent of the world’s oil reserves and 30 percent of undiscovered natural gas deposits.

Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) said Tuesday that under current levels of atmospheric CO2 — roughly 400 parts per million — the melting of Arctic sea ice would raise global temperatures by 0.2C.

That’s on top of the 1.5C of warming our current emissions levels have rendered all but inevitable, and the safer cap on global warming aimed for in the Paris climate accord.

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