Top Climate Scientist Argues for 6 Percent Annual Reduction in Greenhouse Gasses by 2012

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A recent paper by NASA’s premier climate scientist James Hansen calls for a 6% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions each year starting in 2012. Noting that current greenhouse gas levels have already caused dangerous levels of warming, Hansen is calling for urgent action now to stabilize the world’s climate.

Hansen noted that the .8 degree Celcius increase in global temperatures since 1900 has already resulted in a number of dangerous climate impacts. Increasingly rapid polar sea ice decline, increasing melt in Greenland and Antarctica, receding mountain glaciers, a 1-2 percent yearly decline in coral reefs, the movement of habitable climate zones northward or to higher elevations, the expansion of deserts and dry zones, increased drought, excessive heat and fires, and the increased frequency of mega heat waves like those in Europe in 2003 and Russia in 2010 are all current effects of human-caused global warming and increased greenhouse gasses.

This observation that world climate systems are already undergoing substantial stresses at an .8 degree temperature increase led Hanson to conclude that sustained warming above 1 degree C was an intolerable risk. Hansen noted that, to stabilize world temperatures at a safe level, massive CO2 emission reductions need to start in 2012 at the latest.

If Hansen’s plan of 6% annual reductions were enacted by next year, temperatures would stabilize at around 1 degree C warming for the next thirty years and then slowly begin to drop off. If emissions draw-downs were delayed another 8 years to 2020, world temperatures would exceed the dangerous threshold for an entire century. Waiting until 2030 results in temperatures above 1 degree C for the next 500 years.

Hansen notes that a prolonged period of global temperatures exceeding the 1 degree C limit will likely result in passing certain climate tipping points. The higher heat is, therefore, much more likely to create a runaway warming scenario precipitated by a series of events that, once started, are outside of the control of human beings to reign back.

A runaway warming would likely start with the melting of arctic sea ice. The reduced reflectivity of ice during the summer would then cause the oceans to warm. Warmer oceans would destabilize methane frozen on the ocean floor. A portion of these massive stores would reach the atmosphere, convert to CO2 and further warm the climate. Other methane stored in lakes and in permafrost would also be released. Rising temperatures would cause more water vapor to be stored in the atmosphere. Water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas. The result would be further temperature increases. Finally, all the world’s ice at the poles would convert to water and water vapor adding fuel to the already vicious cycle.

Hansen’s study also noted that expensive methods designed to use technology to remove CO2 from the atmosphere would likely be less effective than envisioned. Hansen notes that the cost of removing 50 parts per million of CO2 from the atmosphere would reach 60 trillion dollars by the end of this century.

Hansen’s warning is that current warming needs to be kept to near or below 1 degree C and that warming be turned back as soon as possible. Prolonged warmth at or above that threshold results in a high risk of starting a feedback effect similar to the one described above. And if feedbacks kick in, the world will change drastically into a dangerous place humanity is not at all accustomed to.

 

Source:

http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110505_CaseForYoungPeople.pdf…

Oceans and Climates

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It is a proven fact that the climate of our earth is influencing the oceans on this planet. The point to ponder is to evaluate the negative effects of these climatic changes. It is only possible when all the factors influencing the oceans are known. Oceans of the world are the major factor in the ecosystem of the earth. They maintain balance on the surface of the earth. Only the oceans are responsible for stability of the climate of the earth. It would not be an exaggeration to proclaim that they are the parameters of the change on the surface of the earth.

The climate change is more upsetting for marine life as compared to land life. A warming world is a thorn in the flesh of the oceans and is becoming the major source of disturbing the biodiversity.

At the AAAS, William Cheung of the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, and his team revealed a model to calculate the influence on 1000 species of fish and shellfish all over the world by 2050 due to this obnoxious climate change. The model shows that the fish would shift towards poles at least forty kilometers in a decade. The shift in oceans temperature and climate would be unbearable for many of these species. They are worried about the extinction of many polar species. One aspect they have not mentioned is the Acidification of oceanic waters due to alarmingly high quantity of carbon dioxide.

Patrick Halpin of Duke University, says that high latitudes are the areas expected to be worst affected by global warming and other environmental changes. The oceans are overdone due to temperature; acidity and nutrient loading. Oceans are much vulnerable to chemical changes which are taking place rapidly due to climate change. The experts are comparing the present chemical change with the change of13 million years ago and this would definitely not be the positive change at all. CO2 will change the amount of calcium and other elements in ocean salts. They are of the view that too much carbon dioxide would result in the freezing of the oceanic waters and the surface of the oceans might drop.

The environment of the oceans gets colder resulting in the expansion of ice sheets. The ice sheets ultimately would lower down the surface of the ocean which ultimately leads to the changes of land weather. Acidification of oceanic waters has grown and has become a threat to the coral reefs and other water species. Industrial greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and a gradual increase in global temperatures are also affecting the oceans directly.

Warmer temperatures reduce the capacity of water to intake oxygen and hence make water lifeless. The scientists are of the view that by 2050 the temperature would rise 6 degrees of Fahrenheit, so the present oceanic ecosystem would not be able to maintain itself. Lack of oxygen in waters would reduce the production of water life. Warm waters take in less oxygen, and its impact is disastrous. The bacteria would be replaced by the nitrates and phosphorus filled bacteria. The plankton would not be able to get food from them and starve and a food chain might be lost. Another assumption is that the methane ice won’t melt and after nixing up with free oxygen would make bubbles and consequently increase in temperature.

The solar heat, the diversification of different plants and the discharge of greenhouse gases is alter the temperature and movement map of the oceans and their atmosphere. Even the Artificial change in the flow of wind and temperature directly affect the …

How to Acclimate LPS Corals to Your Saltwater Fishtank

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LPS corals, or large polyp stony corals, are a popular type of corals for the marine aquarium thanks to the incredible diversity of color, shape, and texture that they add to the aquarium environment. Some LPS corals are very difficult to keep in aquariums, while others are quite easy. The most important thing to remember about LPS corals, however, is that they are a form of animal, not a plant or an insect. As such, they do display territorial tendencies, particularly those LPS corals that have “sweeper” tentacles, which are intended to sting and kill any nearby corals with whom your LPS coral may be in competition for space.

It’s generally a good idea when keeping LPS corals to keep them in a saltwater tank that is greater than 55 gallons in capacity. Smaller bodies of water, such as those tanks below 55 gallons, can be easily polluted with chemicals. Even small trace elements on your hands can contaminate your aquarium water and cause your LPS corals to become sick. Tanks larger than 55 gallons, however, with their greater volume of water, can more easily absorb the minor trace chemicals and filter them out before damaging the marine life in the aquarium.

When you add an LPS coral to your aquarium, you have to begin by selecting a spot where the coral can attach or be attached. Once you have found a good place for the coral, you can begin the acclimation process.

When keeping a saltwater aquarium, it is best to keep the water in your tank as close in salinity as possible to the supplier from whom you purchase your tank stock, particularly corals. Many reputable saltwater aquarium suppliers will sell pre-mixed water. When keeping valuable corals, it is best to use this water regularly for water changes. This will prevent the introduction into your aquarium of harsh minerals from your tap water. Match your aquarium to the salinity and temperature of the supplier’s stock tanks, and allow the tank to rest at this level for at least one day.

Like other aquarium specimens, the LPS coral has to be temperature acclimated before it can be added to the aquarium. While the coral is still in its shipping bag, float the entire bag in either your tank or in the sump. This will raise the temperature of the water in the shipping bag (which would have fallen slightly during transport) Fifteen minutes of acclimation time is the absolute minimum. Ideally, the coral should be left to acclimate for between 30 and 45 minutes. Adding the coral immediately to the tank will almost invariably kill it because it will shock the creature’s system. Even a minor fluctuation in the temperature can cause shock.

To acclimate your LPS coral to its new salinity, you will have to add small amounts of your aquarium water to the shipping bag during the temperature acclimation process. Starting at 15 minutes, add a small amount of your aquarium water to the shipping bag. Continue in this fashion every fifteen minutes until the shipping bag is full.

You can now open the bag and place the LPS coral in its designated position, remembering that you have to seat the coral firmly to prevent it from falling from its position. In most cases, you can simply wedge the stone that the LPS coral is attached to into a crevasse in your live rock. With plenty of light and occasional drifting food, your LPS coral will stay healthy, and be as happy as it’s possible for an invertebrate to be.

“The Saltwater Aquarium Handbook”; George Blasiola; 2010…

National Wildlife Week

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Go outside and celebrate for National Wildlife Week April 21-29.

You can get a group of young people or families together and make a difference in your community, says the National Wildlife Federation.

Invite some friends to join in the National Wildlife Watch at nwf.org.

And to enjoy the beauty and wonder of spring all across America, tune in to the series launch of “Spring Watch USA” at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time April 21st on Animal Planet.

Visit the National Wildlife website listed above to download service projects and Watch information.

Take action then go back and tell them what you’ve done.

In other animal news, Dallas, TX recently okayed dogs on restaurant patios.

Following an 8-5 vote by the Dallas City Council, city food establishments may now apply for a local variance to current state laws that prohibit animals on restaurant premises.

“This is a terrific way to improve the quality of life and respond to greater diversity in our city,” said Council Member Angela Hunt at the time the decision was made.

“Animals are their children,” said Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Elba Garcia.

The council’s decision does not apply to cats or other house pets, Karen Rayzer, director of Dallas’ Environmental and Health Services Department told a reporter.

“According to Dallas’ ordinance, restaurants allowed to welcome dogs onto their patios must provide a separate entrance for outdoor patio, post signs that they are a ‘dog-friendly’ restaurant, install curtains separating the inside of a restaurant from its patio, prohibit dogs from going inside the restaurant and sitting or standing on outdoor tables or chairs, and from touching restaurant serving staff,” said writer Dave Levinthal. “Garcia, Hunt, and council members Gary Griffith, Pauline Medrano, Linda Koop, Steve Salazar, Ron Natinsky, and Ed Oakley voted to approve the ordinance.”

Mayor Pro Team Don Hill and Council Member James Fantroy were absent when the vote was taken.

In unrelated animal news, a fourth-grader gave her tooth fairy money to help establish a refuge for creatures.

“Abigail Blake loves animals and wants them to have a good home,” said writer Max Baker. “She donated $3 she received from the tooth fairy and a dollar in quarters she got from her grandmother to a special fund established to help buy land for Eagle Mountain Lake Park.”

Abigail, a fourth-grader at Daggett Montessori School in Fort Worth, TX, wrote to the Tarrant Regional Water District that she loved animals and donated money to save their habitat.

According to records, the water district has raised $14,499.75 from the public toward the estimated $9.6 million it needs to buy 400 acres from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.…

Visiting National Wildlife Refuges in Wyoming

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Visiting National Wildlife Refuges in Wyoming can give you a feeling of pride at being an American. The National Refuge program operates for the purpose of maintaining lands, not recreation, though recreation takes place there, and not for human beings though there are plenty who come and visit at Wyoming National Wildlife Refuges every year. The point of the National Wildlife Refuge is to insure that large parcels of land valuable as habitats for wildlife are maintained. It may be at the same time one of the most selfless and selfish acts coming out of Congress, for in some ways by saving wildlife we save a little bit of who we are as well.

 

National Elk Refuge, Jackson, Wyoming. Set aside as a large game refuge in 1912, the National Elk Refuge has successfully maintained a large herd of one of nature’s most imposing creatures, the elk. The refuge is managed is such a way as to provide a livable habitat for half of a herd of some 14,000 elk in an area just outside of the town of Jackson Wyoming and near Yellowstone and Grand Teton’s National Parks. The unique nature of this very special National Wildlife Refuge and the majesty of its main residents result each year in a visitors and seasonal hunters list that reaches 1 million people.

For visitors coming to visit the National Elk Refuge during the winter months is an experience not to be forgotten. According to the National Elk Refuge website at http://www.fws.gov/nationalelkrefuge the National Elk Refuge is special in several ways . First it is the largest single concentration of wintering elk anywhere in the world. When you visit this refuge you are seeing something very special indeed, 5,000 or more Elk in one area at one time. Second this is not just a refuge for Elk though that is the predominant herd. The refuge is also wintering area for a herd of almost 1,000 bison. Though these numbers don’t equal the size of herds that roamed this part of the country before settlement, a herd of 1,000 bison is very impressive to most human beings today. Third within the refuge there are many other forms of wildlife that are a treat to the eye and the spirit including big horn sheep, mule dear, wolves, coyotes and host of smaller animals.

Finally when you visit the National Elk Refuge you can’t help but leaving with a desire to take better care of all of our natural resources in the way that this refuge is being managed .

Horton Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The State of Wyoming is so filled with beautiful landscape and extensive parklands that some of the smaller refuge areas can get by passed easily. Such is the case of Horton Lake National Wildlife Refuge. According to its website at http://www.fws.gov/refuges Horton Lake National Wildlife Refuge was established so that man could assist with the manipulation of water supply and grazing area to benefit migrating birds.

The location of this wildlife refuge is rather extraordinary in that it is found some 7,000 ft. above sea level. The refuge land area surrounds five natural lakes that give the area special value as a refuge For visitors the draw is always the wildlife. With large concentrations of water and high altitude the refuge has more than its share of raptors and waterfowl passing through on regular basis. There are also several prairie dog towns that allow visitors a chance to see the critters up close and personal and to photograph what they see

Like many National Wildlife Refuges, Horton Lake is open …

Wildlife of the Pothole Ponds

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This is my morning routine: sit at the front window, check my emails on the laptop, watch the chickadees and juncos and jays and robins flitting from the butterfly bush to the birdfeeders. And watch the numerous birds of my neighborhood cavort in the ponds in the middle of my street. Pothole ponds.

Potholes. Those gaping holes that bottom out your car, swallow unsuspecting bicyclists and delight young children. I love the potholes in our street. It’s hardly a street really – an expanse of gravel only two houses long, in a quiet neighborhood a block from the Willamette River in Oregon. A city park is across the street, fir trees rising to the sky. Every few years a windstorm brings down two or three of these giants, making the house shake with the impact of their falling.

The potholes are lakes right now – almost joined into one in several places. When the weather warms, they will empty, to be replaced with dust that will swirl up in clouds in late summer heat and wind. But for now, they are playgrounds to the smaller birds, and soon will be a place for the ducks to come float. I garden next to these street lakes, careful to move out of the way if an occasional car tries to zip through to quickly, spraying water in all directions.

I’ve lived here for eleven years now. I remember someone walking by on a summers day and saying to me, “Wouldn’t it be nice if they paved this street?” to which I uttered a shocked and vehement “NO!” – bringing a look of offended surprise to this person who would like our neighborhood to be more neat and orderly. It’s a messy neighborhood in a way, but not in the sense of garbage and discarded cars. Many front yards are gardens, or have a greenhouse plopped right in front. Around the corner is a house with numerous plant starts in pots out front and a sign that reads “Food Not Lawns”. People in this neighborhood know each other by name, share food and seeds and gardening ideas. I have an old apple tree out front, some variety that no one can identify. It makes apples that look beautiful – huge, red and shiny. But bite into one and….arghhh! The inside of these apples is pink and mushy and mealy. I’ve seen people sneak up to take an apple, only to bite it and discard it with a sour look on their face and in their mouth. By fall the front yard is covered with discarded apples with one bite taken out of them. Another year, a young couple came and asked if they could take the apples for their apple press to make cider. I said sure…I certainly wasn’t using them! I’ve gone to other houses in the neighborhood as well, offering to exchange homemade jam for being able to pick their plums.

Around the corner my landlord lives on another gravel street, this one longer, with potholes as well. At one point he moved a house onto one of the double lots. In doing the work to prepare for its installation, he also graded the street up and down in front, eradicating the potholes. He came out the next day to find the kids from one of the houses digging holes in the street that he had just graded. “But we LIKED the potholes!” was their explanation.

What’s not to like? You certainly have to go slow through them if driving, making the street much safer for cats and children. Occasionally you …

Global Warming All Around Us: Current Signs of Climate Change

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Amidst all the talk of climate change in our society, there’s no need to blindly accept the claims and statistics made by the media. Strong evidence is visible in our daily lives – and has been for a number of years – that clearly points to global warming as its cause.

When most people hear “global warming,” hotter temperatures come to mind, and for good reason; heat waves have pervaded our daily lives and will continue to do so as the planet continues to warm. An extreme heat wave hit Europe for two weeks in 2003 and claimed 35,000 lives as a result of daily temperatures breaking 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and it is estimated that in only several decades, summers such as this will become the norm. Heat waves are felt most severely in highly developed urban areas where concrete and asphalt absorb heat especially quickly.

As temperatures rise all over the globe, precious ice has begun to melt at a rapid rate. More than a million miles of sea ice has disappeared from the arctic, and the polar ice cap – according to NASA – is melting as much as 9 percent each decade. When this ice melts, it flows into the world’s waterways and contributes to rising sea levels. The past century has seen a sea level rise of 4 to 8 inches worldwide.

Hurricanes have increased in number and severity in the past century as well, partly because of warmer ocean temperatures. Rising sea levels are another contributing factor to these disasters. The National Wildlife Federation predicts that wind speeds of hurricanes will increase by as much as 13 percent, and rainfall will increase by as much as 31 percent in the next hundred years.

Some climate change results even more directly affect humans. Cases of asthma among children, for example, have increased due to fossil fuel combustion. Meanwhile, allergies have been affected by record-breaking pollen counts all over the United States; as the Earth warms, pollen-making plants have longer growing seasons and thus produce more pollen.

Sources: 
“Global Warming is Affecting Weather,” National Wildlife Federation 
“Global Warming Increases Asthma,” SciDevNet 
“Temperatures Rising: Global Warming Turns up the Heat on Human Health,” Natural Resources Defense Council…

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge a Must-See

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The city of Savannah, GA is known for it’s haunted city tours, extravagant nightlife, and ubiquitous seafood restaurants, but no visit to this Coastal Georgia city would be complete without a quick drive through the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge.

Located just outside the city on the border with South Carolina, the Savannah NWR is a 29,000 acre wildlife preserve spotlighting the diverse flora and fauna of the Coastal Empire.

Entering the Refuge from the East, visitors can embark on a 4 mile drive through the park on a winding gravel road that showcases the aquatic ecosystem of the region. All manner of aquatic birds are on display, from ducks and cormorants to seagulls and pelicans. As visitors drive down the paths, turtles can be seen popping up and down in the marsh. There are numerous opportunities to get out and walk along miles of trails that skirt the canals and impoundments that divide the park, and get as close to nature as you desire.

And of course, there are the alligators. Floating serenely though the ponds, basking on the shore, or even hunting the many birds on the water, alligators are the main attraction of the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. On a warm and sunny day, it is not uncommon to see up to 50 alligators of various sizes on the 4 mile drive. Visitors are asked not to feed or harass the alligators, but simply enjoy seeing the ancient and majestic reptiles in the unbound habitat that they’ve lived in for millenia.

Best of all, this one of a kind nature experience is completely free! The Savannah NWR is open 7 days a week, year-round from sunrise to sunset. The Visitor’s Center, on the west end of the park, is open from 9-4:30 Monday through Saturday, and it features knowledgeable staff, restrooms, and displays highlighting the many wildlife opportunities the Refuge has to offer.

So when you make plans to visit the Coastal Empire, and you definitely should come enjoy the unique and diverse history of this region, be sure to budget a few hours to explore the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge and observe the glory of nature in it’s purest form. 

 
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CFLs for the Environment: Good or Bad

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CFL bulbs or compact fluorescent lamps are said to be a god send for the environment. It helps reduce the amount of energy consumed by an average household. Although LEDs are the better option, they are smaller in size and therefore a large number is needed to emit the same amount of light a CFL will emit.

CFL is good for the environment in the sense of its energy efficiency. But the components used for the manufacturing of CFLs include mercury. It is very poisonous and could be injuries to health. That is why CFL users are advised not throw it out amongst other plastic wastes which end up in landfills. CFLs are to be recycled separately because of its mercury content. Even if it breaks in front of someone it is advised that he/she remove themselves from the place and lock the door and let the gas flow out during the course of an hour.

CFLs are a god send but they need to be handled carefully. As if now it can only be disposed of by recycling. This is a mandatory requirement in US. But not in most other parts of the world. I hope new laws will come into place for its disposal and other governments will follow the US example.…