Arctic sea ice coverage is at its 2nd lowest on record

Low ice coverage comes despite cooler-than-normal arctic summer. sci tech news Continue reading Arctic sea ice coverage is at its 2nd lowest on record

Warmer oceans bringing more severe tropical cyclones to land

Human-caused climate change has made certain typhoons more frequent and severe. sci tech news Continue reading Warmer oceans bringing more severe tropical cyclones to land

World’s first large-scale tidal energy farm launches in Scotland

World’s first large-scale tidal energy farm launches in Scotland:

The launch of the world’s first large-scale tidal energy farm in Scotland has been hailed as a significant moment for the renewable energy sector.

A turbine for the MeyGen tidal stream project in the Pentland Firth was unveiled outside Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.

After the ceremony, attended by Nicola Sturgeon, the turbine, measuring about 15 metres tall (49ft), with blades 16 metres in diameter (52ft), and weighing in at almost 200 tonnes, will begin its journey to the project’s site in the waters off the north coast of Scotland between Caithness and Orkney.

The turbine will be the first of four to be installed underwater, each with a capacity of 1.5 megawatts (MW), in the initial phase of the project.

But the Edinburgh-based developer Atlantis Resources hopes the project which has received £23m in Scottish government funding will eventually have 269 turbines, bringing its capacity to 398MW, which is enough electricity to power 175,000 homes.

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Was August deluge in Louisiana worsened by climate change?

Rapid analysis says: probably. sci tech news Continue reading Was August deluge in Louisiana worsened by climate change?

Queensland University of Technology to dump fossil fuel investments

Queensland University of Technology to dump fossil fuel investments:

One of Australia’s largest universities, the Queensland University of Technology, has committed to dumping fossil fuel investments after a two-year campaign by students and staff.

In a move that surprised and delighted campaigners, the university’s vice-chancellor, Peter Coaldrake, revealed on Friday the university’s $300m endowment fund would divest its shares in coal, oil and gas companies.

QUT becomes the second-largest of four Australian universities – alongside the Australian National University, La Trobe University and the University of Sydney to join a global divestment movement that withdraws support for industries fuelling climate change.

Coaldrake said he told staff in an email that a review of its investments “relative to climate risk” had led it to direct its external funds manager, the QueenslandInvestment Corporation, to ensure it had “no fossil fuel direct investments”.

It followed an open letter a year ago from more than 120 QUT academics urging the university – the ninth-largest in Australia with more than 45,000 students – to divest.

“We recognise our important responsibility to be an institution that is not only environmentally and socially responsible but also financially sustainable,” Coaldrake said.

“In practical terms this means that QUT is committed to an orderly and considered transition away from investment in fossil fuel companies while simultaneously ensuring that QUT continues to build the broader funding base essential to our future.”

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Australia’s largest city just voted unanimously to divest from fossil fuels

Australia’s largest city just voted unanimously to divest from fossil fuels:

The City of Sydney council is set to divest from fossil fuels this year, regardless of the outcome of the election on Saturday, after a two-year campaign by members of the anti-fossil fuel group 350.org.

The council has more than $500m under management. At the last meeting before the election, it unanimously passed a motion calling for a new investment policy that would divert those funds away from banks that invest in fossil fuels.

In 2015 the big four banks – Westpac, ANZ, NAB and the Commonwealth Bank – pumped $5.5bn into the fossil fuel sector, supporting coal, oil and liquefied natural gas in Australia and overseas.

After lobbying from members of 350.org, the lord mayor, Clover Moore, moved a minute calling for a new investment policy that would preference sustainable financial institutions and include coal, gas and oil on its list of “environmentally harmful activities” that should be avoided.

“If re-elected as lord mayor, I commit to directing staff to bring the revised investment policy and strategy to the first ordinary council meeting after the election,” Moore said at the meeting.

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Submitted by asapscienceA simple 2 ft increase of water would…

Submitted by asapscience

A simple 2 ft increase of water would cause trillions of dollars of damage, and displace millions of people on Earth.  So what would happen if ALL the ice melted?  We break it down with the help of Bill Nye:

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Costa Rica has been running on 100% renewable energy for 2 months straight

Costa Rica has been running on 100% renewable energy for 2 months straight:

Costa Rica ran on 100 percent renewable energy for 76 straight days between June and August this year, according to a new report, demonstrating that life without fossil fuels is possible – for small countries, at least.

This is the second time in two years that the Central American country has run for more than two months straight on renewables alone, and it brings the 2016 total to 150 days and counting.

According to Costa Rica’s National Centre for Energy Control (CENCE), 16 June 2016 was the last day this year that fossil fuels-based energy was used by the national grid. (Data for September is still forthcoming.)

Since then, the country has been powered on a mix of hydro, geothermal, wind, and solar energy, with hydro power providing about 80.27 percent of the total electricity in the month of August.

Geothermal plants contributed roughly 12.62 percent of electricity generation in August, while wind turbines provided 7.1 percent, and solar 0.01 percent.

Just like last year, when Costa Rica managed to power itself for a total of 299 days without burning oil, coal, or natural gas, 2016’s milestone was helped along by heavy rainfalls at the country’s four hydroelectric power facilities.

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dendroica: American pika vanishing from western US as ‘habitat…

dendroica:

American pika vanishing from western US as ‘habitat lost to climate change’ | The Guardian

Populations of a rabbit-like animal known as the American pika are vanishing in many mountainous areas of the west as climate change alters its habitat, according to findings released by the US Geological Survey.

The range for the mountain-dwelling herbivore is shrinking in southern Utah, north-eastern California and in the Great Basin that covers most of Nevada and parts of Utah, Oregon, Idaho and California, the federal agency concluded after studying the mammal from 2012-2015.

This study’s conclusion marks a more authoritative statement about the role of global warming on the animal compared to research released in 2003 that found climate change was at least partly contributing to the animal’s decline.

“The longer we go along, the evidence continues to suggest that climate is the single strongest factor,” said Erik Beever, a research ecologist with the USGS and lead author.

The pika’s habitat on mountain slopes, known as talus, are becoming hotter and drier in the summer and harsher in the winter with less snowpack to serve as an insulator, Beever said.

The study bolsters the long-running efforts of wildlife advocacy groups to have the animal added to the endangered species list amid concerns about global warming.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service rejected a request in 2010, saying not all populations were declining. A new request was made this April by a high school student in New York state.

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Thousands of strange blue lakes are appearing in Antarctica, and it’s very bad news

Thousands of strange blue lakes are appearing in Antarctica, and it’s very bad news:

Scientists have confirmed that thousands of pristine blue lakes have appeared on the ice sheets of East Antarctica, and it’s got them very worried.

The problem? They’ve seen this kind of thing happen before. Greenland’s ice sheet has been disintegrating rapidly, losing a whopping 1 trillion tonnes of ice between 2011 and 2014, and research suggests it’s because of these lakes.

A team of UK researchers has analysed hundreds of satellite images and meteorological data taken of the Langhovde Glacier in East Antarctica, and found for the first time that between 2000 and 2013, nearly 8,000 of these lakes had formed.

Some of these formations, known as supraglacial – or meltwater – lakes, appear to be draining into the floating ice below, which could have serious consequences for the stability of the entire ice shelf.

Ice shelves are thick, floating slabs of ice that form where a glacier or masses of ice flow down a coastline, whereas an ice sheet is a massive chunk of glacier ice covering an area of land greater than 50,000 square kilometres (20,000 square miles).

What’s strange about this news is the fact that researchers had assumed that East Antarctica was fairly impervious to rising climate and ocean temperatures, and have instead been focussing their efforts on investigating the Antarctic Peninsula.

The Antarctic Peninsula is the northernmost part of the mainland of Antarctica, and has shown signs of rapid atmospheric and ocean warming in recent years.

The disintegration of the East Antarctic ice sheet, on the other hand, has been more subtle, and now researchers are concerned that our lack of knowledge on how supraglacial lakes are affecting it will impact our ability to predict the consequences.

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