Brace yourself for more extreme weather. A group of more than 200 scientists convened by the United Nations says in a new report that climate change will bring more heat waves, more intense rainfall and more expensive natural disasters.
These conclusions are from the latest effort of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — a consensus statement from researchers around the world. (NPR)
Chacaltaya mountain in Bolivia with an elevation of 17,785 ft once had one of the highest glaciers in South America. The 18,000-year-old glacier had the world’s highestski run - the first built in Latin America. After losing 80% of its area in the last 2 decades, it finally disappeared in 2009, much faster than scientists had predicted. All that remains is a bedrock. Photo by Nick Ballon
“A breakthrough in oil cleanup technology allows crews to skim spilled oil off the water’s surface at a much faster rate. The new device wasn’t developed by Exxon, BP or any of the major oil companies — it’s the work of Elastec/American Marine, based in Illinois. And the design won the company a rich prize from the X Prize Foundation.
Oil is attracted to plastic. And water is not. That, in essence, is the basis of Elastec’s new skimmer.
It’s huge, about the size of a large U-Haul truck. And it looks something like a giant abacus. It has 64 grooved plastic discs, arranged in rows, with a scraper along the top.”
Mention melting and Himalayas to almost any glacier expert working in the region, and they will instantly plead for caution: please do not repeat the mistake of thinking all the ice will be gone in the next few decades. “It was just nonsense,” said Alton Byers, the scientific director of the Mountain Institute. “It’s absolutely staggering when you look at some of those high mountains. They are frozen solid, at minus 15 or 20 degrees, and they are going to remain that way.”
At lower elevations, it’s a different scenario, Byers acknowledged. Low-lying glaciers are melting, and far more rapidly in the past 10 or 15 years than in previous decades, scouring out new landscapes and creating a whole new realm of natural disasters for countries that are some of the poorest on Earth. (The Guardian)
Photo: Glacier AX010 in Shorong, Nepali Himalayas. (Koji Fujita/Nagoya University)
Irene downs beloved 80-year-old tree in Brooklyn: One of the few American elms remaining in the city, the tree had weathered blizzards, winds, countless dogs, Dutch elm disease and perhaps that most menacing element of New York life — a residential building’s co-op board.
Photo: A famous elm uprooted by Irene lies across a street in Brooklyn. Credit: Tina Susman / Los Angeles Times
The ladybird spider [is] named for the bright red bodies, covered in black spots, of the mature males. They’re known for building silk-lined tubes and silk canopies, which they decorate with the prized remains of eaten beetles and ants, a bit like mounting a stag’s head on your wall.
Conservationists came up with a rather low-tech method of transferring the spiders. They plopped the ladybird arachnids into empty plastic water bottles, filled with heather and moss. Turns out, the bottle is the perfect shape and size for spider nests, and can be buried in holes in the ground so the spiders can colonize the nearby area. (Wired Science)
Spotted owls are on the decline despite two decades of work to bring them back. So, later this month, wildlife officials are releasing a new plan to protect the owls, and it includes a controversial new approach: eliminating their cousins.