PBS show asserts greenhouse gases, atmospheric pollutants dimming future

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PBS show asserts greenhouse gases, atmospheric pollutants dimming future

Posted by gjnSyhj7 on July 27, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2006

This week, the Public Broadcasting Service aired a NOVA program titled “Dimming the Earth”, which presented research by leading scientists on the complex systems of our global climate and human activity’s effect on it. One of the largest interactions (or “inputs”) humans have with the atmosphere is the ever-increasing use of fossil fuels. Consumption has risen 2% per year for this decade.

Fossil fuels burnt in factories and automobiles send their waste into our atmosphere in two forms. The first is CO2 and other greenhouse gases, which have received substantial attention in the last few years because of the way they trap heat in the atmosphere. The second is the tiny particles of sulfur dioxide, soot and ash, which scientists call aerosols (basically smog). Research into understanding the negative health effects of air pollution has resulted in the development of catalytic converters for cars as well as devices to remove particulate solids from industrial waste before it reaches the air.

More recently, atmospheric scientists have come upon the phenomenon of the reduction of direct sunlight reaching Earth’s surface— observing a nearly a 5% decline between 1960 and 1990, with evidence of a recovery since then. This has been dubbed the “global dimming” effect, and is probably due to the way these aerosols act upon clouds. It is important to realise that this does not represent a net loss of this much sunshine to the climate system – if so, large temperature declines would have been observed. Instead, the sunshine is absorbed elsewhere in the system, with a much smaller net loss.

Clouds form when moisture gathers around airborne particles, such as pollen or dust. Clouds formed by the aerosol particles emitted by fossil fuel consumption are made of many more tiny droplets than “natural” clouds. These smog-created clouds have two notable effects: they shield sunlight from reaching Earth’s surface and, due to water’s reflective nature, the millions of tiny droplets suspended in them reflect light back into space, allowing even less light to reach Earth.

Many scientists now believe that global dimming caused by these pollutants has mitigated the temperature rises brought about by global warming. Over the last thirty years, Earth’s temperature has increased by about 0.5 oC.

In the absence of global dimming, however, the Earth might be 0.3 oC warmer than it currently is, suggesting that a “tug-of-war” exists between greenhouse gases and particulates released by burning fossil fuels. Efforts to mitigate the human health dangers of smog have allowed more heat into our atmosphere and brought about a sharper increase in global warming.

Dr. James E. Hansen, professor at Columbia University and the head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies [1], believes that if we continue on our current pattern, this warming could be as much as five degrees in the next thirty years and ten to fourteen degrees over the course of the century. Such a temperature rise would devastate life on Earth, likely bringing on a cascade of self-reinforcing warming effects. Earth’s forests drying and burning, a steady thawing of the Greenland and arctic ice sheets, and, most dangerous of all, a release of the methane hydrates that are now frozen at the bottom of the oceans, could remake the planet into something inhospitable to human life. Dr. Hansen warns that, according to his research, man has just 10 years to reduce greenhouse gases before global warming and other responses to human activity by Earth’s climate reach a “tipping point”, becoming unstoppable.

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Valparaíso fire displaces thousands, kills at least a dozen

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Valparaíso fire displaces thousands, kills at least a dozen

Posted by gjnSyhj7 on July 27, 2017

Monday, April 14, 2014

At least twelve people have been killed, and over ten thousand evacuated from the Chilean city of Valparaíso, following an ongoing fire sweeping across parts of the city.

The fire, which began on Saturday in woods on one of Valparaíso’s hills, has razed at least five hundred houses. 1,200 fire personnel are tackling the blaze, whilst members of the Chilean Navy have been deployed to discourage looting. Many residences of the affected area have no water supply, and are joined by narrow winding streets; yesterday firefighters dropped water on the flames from seventeen aircraft.

Chilean president Michelle Bachelet declared an emergency, with the army coordinating the evacuation. She called the blaze a “tremendous tragedy”, noting, “In some places the fires have started again so we’re working on this and people will continue to be protected”.

One resident told the Reuters news agency, “[w]e fled from the La Cruz neighborhood, from an apartment I just got not too long ago. It’s all burned down, my sister’s house also burnt to the ground”.

Shelters have been erected to house the thousands fleeing the inferno, and hospitals have been treating hundreds for smoke inhalation. Much of the city is without power.

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Seeds placed in Norwegian vault as agricultural ‘insurance policy’

">
Seeds placed in Norwegian vault as agricultural ‘insurance policy’

Posted by gjnSyhj7 on July 26, 2017

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a vault containing millions of seeds from all over the world, saw its first deposits on Tuesday. Located 800 kilometers from the North Pole on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, the vault has been referred to by European Commission president José Manuel Barroso as a “frozen Garden of Eden“. It is intended to preserve crop supplies and secure biological diversity in the event of a worldwide disaster.

“The opening of the seed vault marks a historic turning point in safeguarding the world’s crop diversity,” said Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust which is in charge of collecting the seed samples. The Norwegian government, who owns the bank, built it at a cost of $9.1 million.

At the opening ceremony, 100 million seeds from 268,000 samples were placed inside the vault, where there is room for over 2 billion seeds. Each of the samples originated from a different farm or field, in order to best ensure biological diversity. These crop seeds included such staples as rice, potatoes, barley, lettuce, maize, sorghum, and wheat. No genetically modified crops were included. (Beyond politics they are generally sterile so of no use.)

It is very important for Africa to store seeds here because anything can happen to our national seed banks.

Constructed deep inside a mountain and protected by concrete walls, the “doomsday vault” is designed to withstand earthquakes, nuclear warfare, and floods resulting from global warming. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called it an “insurance policy” against such threats.

With air-conditioned temperatures of -18 degrees Celsius, experts say the seeds could last for an entire millennium. Some crops will be able to last longer, like sorghum, which the Global Crop Diversity Trust says can last almost 20 millenniums. Even if the refrigeration system fails, the vaults are expected to stay frozen for 200 years.

The Prime Minister said, “With climate change and other forces threatening the diversity of life that sustains our planet, Norway is proud to be playing a central role in creating a facility capable of protecting what are not just seeds, but the fundamental building blocks of human civilization.” Stoltenberg, along with Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, made the first deposit of rice to the vault.

“It is very important for Africa to store seeds here because anything can happen to our national seed banks,” Maathai said. The vault will operate as a bank, allowing countries to use their deposited seeds free of charge. It will also serve as a backup to the thousands of other seed banks around the world.

“Crop diversity will soon prove to be our most potent and indispensable resource for addressing climate change, water and energy supply constraints and for meeting the food needs of a growing population,” Cary Fowler said.

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Ice, snow, and cold strike throughout Europe

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Ice, snow, and cold strike throughout Europe

Posted by gjnSyhj7 on July 26, 2017

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Freezing temperatures, combined with snow over the past few days, have caused travel problems throughout Europe and been responsible for the deaths of 10 people. On Monday a strong winter storm moved across Europe, covering parts of France and the United Kingdom with several inches of snow.

The storm ranged as far as Germany, Belgium, and parts of Northern Italy. It brought with it freezing, Arctic-like temperatures ranging from -5° Celsius (23° Fahrenheit) to -10°C (14°F) in the United Kingdom and France, down to -31°C (-24°F) in central Romania and what felt like -26°C (-15°F) in Germany. Forecasters predict that the freezing temperatures may be the start of a cold spell that could affect the entire continent throughout the month.

Monday’s heavy snowstorm forced Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport, slightly north of Paris, to cancel most of its flights. 1,658 passengers from Air France alone were stranded at the airport after their flights were grounded due to the heavy snow and icy conditions. The passengers from the 120 cancelled Air France flights spent the night in hotels near the airport which were accommodated for by the airline.

An official from Air France stated that the passengers “will have available food and hot drinks”. Most flights were grounded until the next morning. Tuesday, an official from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle said, “It did not snow last night. The runways are clear and have been de-iced. Traffic is returning to normal.”

The frigid temperatures resulted in several school closings across France and the United Kingdom, with government forecasters from both countries predicting that the cold would stay for several days. Many schools in the United Kingdom were closed because of problems with their heating systems, while heating repair services in Britain received a record number of calls this week.

In Paris, accumulating snow and slippery ice resulted in French officials closing pedestrian access to the Eiffel Tower, one of the city’s prime tourist locations.

“We can’t put down salt because it’s metallic, we can’t use sand either because it risks getting into the elevator,” stated a press official from the Eiffel Tower. The tower remained closed on Monday and re-opened on Tuesday.

The storm has caused the deaths of at least 13 people, whether directly or indirectly. Polish government officials have reported that 10 people have frozen to death following overnight temperatures of -25°C as recorded throughout the country. Police in Germany reported that a 77-year-old mentally-ill woman also froze to death after she was reported missing from a nursing home in Weimar. Romanian officials reported that frigid temperatures killed two people and sent several to the hospital. Temperatures there were reported as low as -31°C in some parts.

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Ibm Storage Sales V5 C9020 567 Real Exam Questions}

Posted by gjnSyhj7 on July 25, 2017

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PBS show asserts greenhouse gases, atmospheric pollutants dimming future

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PBS show asserts greenhouse gases, atmospheric pollutants dimming future

Posted by gjnSyhj7 on July 25, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2006

This week, the Public Broadcasting Service aired a NOVA program titled “Dimming the Earth”, which presented research by leading scientists on the complex systems of our global climate and human activity’s effect on it. One of the largest interactions (or “inputs”) humans have with the atmosphere is the ever-increasing use of fossil fuels. Consumption has risen 2% per year for this decade.

Fossil fuels burnt in factories and automobiles send their waste into our atmosphere in two forms. The first is CO2 and other greenhouse gases, which have received substantial attention in the last few years because of the way they trap heat in the atmosphere. The second is the tiny particles of sulfur dioxide, soot and ash, which scientists call aerosols (basically smog). Research into understanding the negative health effects of air pollution has resulted in the development of catalytic converters for cars as well as devices to remove particulate solids from industrial waste before it reaches the air.

More recently, atmospheric scientists have come upon the phenomenon of the reduction of direct sunlight reaching Earth’s surface— observing a nearly a 5% decline between 1960 and 1990, with evidence of a recovery since then. This has been dubbed the “global dimming” effect, and is probably due to the way these aerosols act upon clouds. It is important to realise that this does not represent a net loss of this much sunshine to the climate system – if so, large temperature declines would have been observed. Instead, the sunshine is absorbed elsewhere in the system, with a much smaller net loss.

Clouds form when moisture gathers around airborne particles, such as pollen or dust. Clouds formed by the aerosol particles emitted by fossil fuel consumption are made of many more tiny droplets than “natural” clouds. These smog-created clouds have two notable effects: they shield sunlight from reaching Earth’s surface and, due to water’s reflective nature, the millions of tiny droplets suspended in them reflect light back into space, allowing even less light to reach Earth.

Many scientists now believe that global dimming caused by these pollutants has mitigated the temperature rises brought about by global warming. Over the last thirty years, Earth’s temperature has increased by about 0.5 oC.

In the absence of global dimming, however, the Earth might be 0.3 oC warmer than it currently is, suggesting that a “tug-of-war” exists between greenhouse gases and particulates released by burning fossil fuels. Efforts to mitigate the human health dangers of smog have allowed more heat into our atmosphere and brought about a sharper increase in global warming.

Dr. James E. Hansen, professor at Columbia University and the head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies [1], believes that if we continue on our current pattern, this warming could be as much as five degrees in the next thirty years and ten to fourteen degrees over the course of the century. Such a temperature rise would devastate life on Earth, likely bringing on a cascade of self-reinforcing warming effects. Earth’s forests drying and burning, a steady thawing of the Greenland and arctic ice sheets, and, most dangerous of all, a release of the methane hydrates that are now frozen at the bottom of the oceans, could remake the planet into something inhospitable to human life. Dr. Hansen warns that, according to his research, man has just 10 years to reduce greenhouse gases before global warming and other responses to human activity by Earth’s climate reach a “tipping point”, becoming unstoppable.

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Typhoon Etau causes more leakage at Fukushima

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Typhoon Etau causes more leakage at Fukushima

Posted by gjnSyhj7 on July 25, 2017

Friday, September 11, 2015

Radioactive water has been leaking from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant following damage caused by Typhoon Etau. The plant’s drainage system has been inundated by a surge of sea water brought in by the typhoon, which reached Japan on Wednesday. A spokesperson for TEPCO, the company that runs the plant, yesterday said they were investigating the leaked water but it did not present a significant danger.

This comes after authorities in eastern Japan ordered over 100,000 people to leave the area as a precautionary measure as the typhoon proceeded to flood the town of Joso. Up to 25 people are still missing and at least three are dead as a consequence of the flooding. Hundreds of thousands more people in the region have been encouraged to evacuate as well. Rescue efforts are being hampered by the floods, with some people being plucked from roofs and cars by teams in helicopters.

The Fukushima nuclear plant was damaged after a huge earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. As recently as April this year there were concerns about leakages as a result of electrical problems with water pumps that caused contaminated water to escape into the Pacific Ocean. A large volume of water used as part of the cooling mechanism before the reactors were damaged has since been stored in numerous steel drums.

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Military plane crashes in Chilean Juan Fernández Archipelago; reports say no survivors

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Military plane crashes in Chilean Juan Fernández Archipelago; reports say no survivors

Posted by gjnSyhj7 on July 25, 2017

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Four people, including Televisión Nacional de Chile (TVN) journalist Roberto Bruce Pruzzo, are confirmed dead after a Chilean military plane crashed near the Robinson Crusoe Island of the Juan Fernández Archipelago on Friday. Twenty-one people were aboard, with such figures as prominent Chilean television presenter and co-host of breakfast programme Buenos Días a Todos (Good Morning Everyone) Felipe Camiroaga Fernández, and businessman and founder of the Desafío: Levantemos Chile (Challenge: Let’s Bring Chile Up) project Felipe Cubillos.

The accident involved a CASA C-212 Aviocar aircraft. Minister of Defence Andrés Allamand said on Televisión Nacional the crash “occurred in the late [Friday] afternoon near the remote Juan Fernández archipelago. […] The scenario which we are facing is particularly adverse.” The plane tried twice tried to land at the Robinson Crusoe Island aerodrome before going missing. The Defence Ministry sent a frigate with a specialized rescue helicopter, and an aircraft to the crash site to help search for survivors on early Saturday.

Mayor of Juan Fernández Mr. Leopoldo González Charpentier reported conditions were “rough and windy,” and “aviation authorities lost communication with the plane as it approached the islands.” “We assume that there was an accident and that there are no survivors. […] Clothing, passengers’ suitcases and some sandals have been found in waters about one kilometre [0.6 mile] from the islands’ landing strip,” González stated.

“I empathise with the anguish and uncertainty the relatives the 21 passengers aboard the plane, which is presumed to have gone down, are living through at this moment. This is a very hard blow for our country,” President of Chile Sebastián Piñera said on Friday night after an emergency meeting. A TVN executive said: “We are extremely upset.”

A group of five people from Televisión Nacional de Chile‘s breakfast programme Buenos Días a Todos, including popular presenter Felipe Camiroaga, journalist Roberto Bruce, a cameraman and two producers, were travelling to the islands to film a report on the reconstruction efforts after the tsunami generated by the Chilean earthquake of February 2010 devastated Juan Fernández. Felipe Cubillos, from the Desafío Levantemos Chile project, which he founded and whose goal was to help reconstruct Chilean damaged towns after the earthquake, tweeted shortly before the plane took off from Santiago at 14:00 (17:00 UTC): “Travelling now to Juan Fernández Island with the support of our Air Force. We continue to work helping the island’s people.”

Felipe Camiroaga, 44, was born in Santiago, and began his television career in 1988 as producer of teen program Extra Jóvenes in Chilevisión; in 1992, he joined Televisión Nacional de Chile, working as co-host of Buenos Días a Todos with Jorge Hevia and Tati Penna, and in soap operas. Fourteen years later, in 2006, he began working as host on a talk show called Animal Nocturno (Nocturnal Animal), where he interviewed people such as former President Michelle Bachelet and former Miss Universe Cecilia Bolocco; between 2009 and 2010, he co-presented with Soledad Onetto the annual Viña del Mar International Song Festival. In July, and coincidentally, Camiroaga quoted Chilean poet Gonzalo Rojas, following his death: “From the air I am, like every mortal, from the great and terrible flight, and I’m here to step to the stars.” The quote is reported of being “very inspirational” to Camiroaga. Camiroaga also created popular fictional characters such as Luciano Bello, a TV presenter from Maracaibo, Venezuela, and El Washington, a poor person from the streets of Santiago. Camiroaga was nicknamed “the Falcon of Chicureo” (El Halcón de Chicureo), because he raised several falcons in his hacienda in Chicureo, Santiago Metropolitan Region.

Hundreds of Chileans gathered outside Televisión Nacional de Chile headquarters in Santiago shortly after the station reported the tragedy; people prayed and lit candles outside TVN’s gates for the lives of Camiroaga and the rest of TVN’s involved staff.

On Saturday, Chilean newspaper Las Últimas Noticias (The Last News) put on its front page a headline saying “The last flight of the Falcon” (“El último vuelo del Halcón”) which generated controversy as Camiroaga had not been declared legally dead. The newspaper shortly changed the front page on its online version, however, the print edition continued to show the controversial headline.

Four bodies were found on Saturday morning by local fishermen who are helping in the rescue; they were taken from the islands to Santiago’s Medical Legal Service (Instituto Médico Legal) for identification, arriving 19:10 local time (22:10 UTC) at the El Bosque Air Force Base. Their identities were made public at 21:30 local time (00:30 UTC) by the Minister of the Government General Secretary Andrés Chadwick: Erwin Núñez, from the Chilean air force crew; Galia Díaz, from the National Council of Culture; Roberto Bruce, journalist of TVN’s Buenos Días a Todos; and Silvia Slier, editor of Buenos Días….

An intact door, several knapsacks, including one belonging to Felipe Camiroaga, and some equipment, lead the local mayor to assume “it was clear the plane crashed.” Local councillor Felipe Paredes told Chilean media, “[t]hese persons came [to Juan Fernández] in one of the most tragic moments in my life. I lost many people of our community, many loved people, because of the [February 2010] tsunami, and they reached me out sincerely. […] I can’t wait for them to be here.” Paredes was the last person to see the airplane in-flight, since he was in a control tower in the Robinson Crusoe Aerodrome.

Defence Minister Andres Allamand said in a press conference on Saturday night that “everyone died instantly when the crash happened.” He added that, “[b]ased on observations and the search we carried out with the Air Force commander, we have reached the conclusion that the impact was such that it should have resulted in the instantaneous death of all of those who were aboard the aircraft.” “We have peace of mind that Felipe [Camiroaga] died in a place he loved,” TVN executive Mauro Valdés told El Mercurio.

Televisión Nacional released a statement on Facebook on Saturday night: “We profoundly lament to have to confirm that according to official informations given by the authorities, there are no survivors from the Casa C212 airplane that crashed in the Juan Fernández archipelago on Friday 2 September evening. Within the list of deceased passengers, there are five persons from TVN’s program Buenos Días a Todos, which has caused deep sorrow in the whole family of TVN.”

On Sunday morning, a televised mass was conducted in TVN’s headquarters; some of the attendants were former Camiroaga’s girlfriend Katherine Salozny, long-time friend Raquel Argandoña, Megavisión presenter Kike Morandé, actor Álvaro Rudolphy, TV host and producer Guillermo Muñoz, and executives from TVN. Mauricio Correa, executive director of Buenos Días a Todos said during the mass “Our colleagues died complying a mission, the public television one, the same one that sometimes isn’t understood, but that is right there.” Kike Morandé said: “The best one died, Felipe [Camiroaga].”

“Felipe [Camiroaga] was a host on the national show [Buenos Días a Todos] I was on today, playing soccer with [him] too … it’s news right now that he was in a plane crash … please pray for him […]”, Nick Vujicic, who was interviewed on Friday morning in Buenos Días a Todos by Camiroaga himself, said on Facebook. Latin celebrities such as Luis Fonsi, Rocío Marengo, Lucero, Alejandro Sanz, Residente Calle 13, and Pope Benedict XVI sent condolences to Camiroaga’s and the other twenty people’s families, TVN reported.

President Sebastián Piñera decreed two days of national mourning, on Sunday afternoon in nationwide address. “The Government has decided to decree national mourning for the days of Monday and Tuesday of the forthcoming week, as a way to express solidarity with the families of the victims, and also the pain that has arisen throughout our country,” Piñera said. He also said that “work is being done with the best technology to find the bodies of the victims,” but added that he can’t “guarantee that the search will be successful in a 100 per cent. […] We know the impact was very violent and the airframe dispersed in a wide area.” Piñera said that the causes of the accident are unknown at the moment, and added that weather conditions affected negatively the security of the airplane landing.

The body of Erwin Núñez, from the Chilean air force crew, was taken to Antofagasta after a mass was performed in Santiago in his honour on Sunday. That same day, Roberto Bruce, one of the two TVN journalists and father of two, was cremated and interrated in Parque del Recuerdo Cemetery in Santiago. “With tremendous pain we have just said goodbye to Roberto, our beloved fat [person],” TVN journalist and presenter Karen Doggenweiler said on Twitter.

One minute of silence was held at the beginning of the football match between Chile and Mexico in Barcelona, on Sunday. On that same day, three books of condolences were set up outside TVN’s headquarters.

General Maximiliano Larraechea said that “at the moment there are no news on the search,” as of Sunday 17:00 local time (20:00 UTC). However, at 18:15 local time (21:15 UTC) approximately, Commander in Chief of the Chilean Air Force Jorge Rojas told Chilevisión that mutilated bodies were found in the water; Defence Minister Allamand confirmed that the recovered bodies will be taken to the Medical Legal Service in Santiago, in order to identify them, at 18:50 local time (21:50 UTC). Allamand added that “there are fears that not all bodies will be found,” and that the plane “was disintegrated on impact with the water.”

Chilevisión reported that at least three more people, including TVN actor Francisco Reyes, and singer Keko Yunge, were originally going to travel to Juan Fernández on Friday. Reyes, however, was told to not travel because “there was no room for him” by Buenos Días a Todos producer Carolina Gatica (who remains disappeared); Reyes was going to travel because he wanted to teach Juan Fernández children “acting techniques.” Yunge, member of the Desafío: Levantemos Chile group, was asked by Felipe Cubillos to not travel, because he wanted Yunge to complete a song he was working on. “It is incredible,” Yunge told Chilevisión.

The airplane crash, according to El Mercurio, is the worst involving a military plane since December 1982 when a Fokker F-27 twin-engine travelling from Santiago to Antofagasta crashed near La Serena, killing 46 people, including journalist Silvia Pinto.

From Televisión Nacional de Chile
From Desafío Levantemos Chile
From the National Council of Culture and the Arts
From the Fuerza Aérea de Chile (Chilean air force)
Crew

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Seeds placed in Norwegian vault as agricultural ‘insurance policy’

">
Seeds placed in Norwegian vault as agricultural ‘insurance policy’

Posted by gjnSyhj7 on July 24, 2017

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a vault containing millions of seeds from all over the world, saw its first deposits on Tuesday. Located 800 kilometers from the North Pole on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, the vault has been referred to by European Commission president José Manuel Barroso as a “frozen Garden of Eden“. It is intended to preserve crop supplies and secure biological diversity in the event of a worldwide disaster.

“The opening of the seed vault marks a historic turning point in safeguarding the world’s crop diversity,” said Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust which is in charge of collecting the seed samples. The Norwegian government, who owns the bank, built it at a cost of $9.1 million.

At the opening ceremony, 100 million seeds from 268,000 samples were placed inside the vault, where there is room for over 2 billion seeds. Each of the samples originated from a different farm or field, in order to best ensure biological diversity. These crop seeds included such staples as rice, potatoes, barley, lettuce, maize, sorghum, and wheat. No genetically modified crops were included. (Beyond politics they are generally sterile so of no use.)

It is very important for Africa to store seeds here because anything can happen to our national seed banks.

Constructed deep inside a mountain and protected by concrete walls, the “doomsday vault” is designed to withstand earthquakes, nuclear warfare, and floods resulting from global warming. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called it an “insurance policy” against such threats.

With air-conditioned temperatures of -18 degrees Celsius, experts say the seeds could last for an entire millennium. Some crops will be able to last longer, like sorghum, which the Global Crop Diversity Trust says can last almost 20 millenniums. Even if the refrigeration system fails, the vaults are expected to stay frozen for 200 years.

The Prime Minister said, “With climate change and other forces threatening the diversity of life that sustains our planet, Norway is proud to be playing a central role in creating a facility capable of protecting what are not just seeds, but the fundamental building blocks of human civilization.” Stoltenberg, along with Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, made the first deposit of rice to the vault.

“It is very important for Africa to store seeds here because anything can happen to our national seed banks,” Maathai said. The vault will operate as a bank, allowing countries to use their deposited seeds free of charge. It will also serve as a backup to the thousands of other seed banks around the world.

“Crop diversity will soon prove to be our most potent and indispensable resource for addressing climate change, water and energy supply constraints and for meeting the food needs of a growing population,” Cary Fowler said.

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PBS show asserts greenhouse gases, atmospheric pollutants dimming future

">
PBS show asserts greenhouse gases, atmospheric pollutants dimming future

Posted by gjnSyhj7 on July 23, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2006

This week, the Public Broadcasting Service aired a NOVA program titled “Dimming the Earth”, which presented research by leading scientists on the complex systems of our global climate and human activity’s effect on it. One of the largest interactions (or “inputs”) humans have with the atmosphere is the ever-increasing use of fossil fuels. Consumption has risen 2% per year for this decade.

Fossil fuels burnt in factories and automobiles send their waste into our atmosphere in two forms. The first is CO2 and other greenhouse gases, which have received substantial attention in the last few years because of the way they trap heat in the atmosphere. The second is the tiny particles of sulfur dioxide, soot and ash, which scientists call aerosols (basically smog). Research into understanding the negative health effects of air pollution has resulted in the development of catalytic converters for cars as well as devices to remove particulate solids from industrial waste before it reaches the air.

More recently, atmospheric scientists have come upon the phenomenon of the reduction of direct sunlight reaching Earth’s surface— observing a nearly a 5% decline between 1960 and 1990, with evidence of a recovery since then. This has been dubbed the “global dimming” effect, and is probably due to the way these aerosols act upon clouds. It is important to realise that this does not represent a net loss of this much sunshine to the climate system – if so, large temperature declines would have been observed. Instead, the sunshine is absorbed elsewhere in the system, with a much smaller net loss.

Clouds form when moisture gathers around airborne particles, such as pollen or dust. Clouds formed by the aerosol particles emitted by fossil fuel consumption are made of many more tiny droplets than “natural” clouds. These smog-created clouds have two notable effects: they shield sunlight from reaching Earth’s surface and, due to water’s reflective nature, the millions of tiny droplets suspended in them reflect light back into space, allowing even less light to reach Earth.

Many scientists now believe that global dimming caused by these pollutants has mitigated the temperature rises brought about by global warming. Over the last thirty years, Earth’s temperature has increased by about 0.5 oC.

In the absence of global dimming, however, the Earth might be 0.3 oC warmer than it currently is, suggesting that a “tug-of-war” exists between greenhouse gases and particulates released by burning fossil fuels. Efforts to mitigate the human health dangers of smog have allowed more heat into our atmosphere and brought about a sharper increase in global warming.

Dr. James E. Hansen, professor at Columbia University and the head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies [1], believes that if we continue on our current pattern, this warming could be as much as five degrees in the next thirty years and ten to fourteen degrees over the course of the century. Such a temperature rise would devastate life on Earth, likely bringing on a cascade of self-reinforcing warming effects. Earth’s forests drying and burning, a steady thawing of the Greenland and arctic ice sheets, and, most dangerous of all, a release of the methane hydrates that are now frozen at the bottom of the oceans, could remake the planet into something inhospitable to human life. Dr. Hansen warns that, according to his research, man has just 10 years to reduce greenhouse gases before global warming and other responses to human activity by Earth’s climate reach a “tipping point”, becoming unstoppable.

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