8 Negative Effects of Climate Change

Climate change is real, and it’s affecting us all. From severe heat waves to extreme flooding, here are 8 negative effects of climate change. You’d wish it was all just a hoax… Number 8: Destruction of archeological sites We often think about how changes in the climate are threatening the lives of humans, animals, and plants on the planet. But we fail to realize that it’s not only the living that are affected by climate change. In fact, archeological sites – priceless windows to our past – are suffering as well. High sea waves are hitting Easter Island, the famous site of the moai – mysterious giant head-and-torso statues built by ancient Polynesians. The platforms supporting the moai are slowly being damaged by sea water, and if this continues, the monolithic figures might fall off and end up at the bottom of the ocean one day. Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado is also at risk, and is cited as one of the places most vulnerable to climate change in the US.

There are thousands of archeological sites here, constructed by the ancient Puebloans thousands of years ago. But rising temperatures have caused frequent wildfires, and with it the destruction of rock carvings. This also causes the exposure of new sites and artifacts that become vulnerable to erosion and flooding. These are just two examples of many priceless ancient artifacts and ancient archeological sites in the world that are at risk. Archeologists seem to be in a race against time to document and protect these places before they are gone forever. Number 7: Food shortages We’ve mentioned how climate change and global warming leads to drought, deforestation, and pest infestation. All of this combined causes one major problem – it inhibits the ability of farmers to grow food. In order to grow, crops need to be on fertile land, which becomes largely unavailable due to water shortages.

Food shortages have not occurred widely yet, and international trade will likely prevent any major famine to affect us soon – at least not in the near future. But at the rate we’re going, food prices will soon skyrocket, both due to shortages and the need for refrigeration when extreme heat waves come hitting. Third World countries on the other hand, have it harder. In less developed countries, drought equates to star facial and suffrage sing. Prolonged drought and conflict have left 16 million people across East Africa on the brink of star facial and in urgent need of food, water and medical treatment. Number 6: Rising CO2 levels Since the Industrial Revolution over 2 centuries ago, we’ve gradually been producing more and more Carbon Dioxide on a regular basis. With large scale industrialization and the burning of fossil fuels, we’ve put a total of 2000 gigatons of CO2 in the atmosphere, and about 40% of it has stayed there.

Humans have only been roaming this planet for a relatively short period, yet today’s CO2 levels are the highest they have ever been for millions of years. C02 is one of the main gases contributing to the greenhouse effect, the process by which radiation from the atmosphere heats the planet’s surface. The greenhouse effect is essential for supporting life on the planet, but its extreme intensification has led to global warming. Number 5: Global Warming Global warming – it is the main form of climate changing, and the 2 terms are even often used interchangeably. As of right now, the Earth is warming at a scary rate, 10 times faster than at the end of the Ice Age. Since we started measuring global surface temperature in 1850, each decade seems to surpass the previous, and that rate does not seem to be slowing down. This directly affects us in a number of ways, mainly in the form of drought and extreme weathers. Since the previous century, mega droughts have been appearing everywhere all over the Earth.

Rainfall has been scarce, farms get deserted, and lakes are drying up. Some lakes have even dried up completely, and are no longer existent. An example is Bolivia’s Lake Poopo, which was once its country’s second largest lake. The process of global warming brought increased temperatures to the region, and its evaporation rate multiplied exponentially since the 1990s. By December 2015, Lake Poopo had completely dried up, leaving only a few marshy areas. According to scientists, it is unlikely that it will ever recover. While some places are affected by drought, other places are more vulnerable to extreme weathers in the form of heat waves and storms. The frequency and duration of heat waves has increased greatly within the past half century, and are only going to get worse. Heat waves alone kill more people in the United States compared to natural disasters like tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods combined. Global warming also affects storm formation, by decreasing the temperature difference between the poles and the equator.

Some experts have found a correlation between global warming and the intensity of recent Atlantic Ocean tropical cyclones such as Katrina, Wilma, and Sandy. Number 4: Losing our forests Climate change affects all life on the planet, and this includes forest ecosystems, many of which have been destroyed indirectly by global warming. Bark beetles are major pests that feed and breed between the bark and wood of various tree species, damaging them in the process. These insects thrive in warm temperatures, and as a consequence of global warming, have expanded their ranges and proliferated widely in the forests of North America and Europe. Millions of acres of forest have been destroyed due to bark beetle infestation in recent years. Another cause of widespread deforestation is wildfire. While climate change does not directly cause trees to burn up, wildfires are generally the result of forests getting extremely dry.

Global warming lessens the humidity of forest areas, making them vulnerable to catch on fire. Forests in the western coast of USA, particularly in California, get set ablaze often during dry seasons. If rain fell more often, these forest fires would be extinguished much quicker. There has indeed been a notable increase in wildfires in California within the last decade compared to the decade before, meaning a correlation with climate change is very much likely, and would probably get worse with rising temperatures. Number 3: Insufficient energy to meet demands Since the dawn of mankind, people have learnt of various ways to keep themselves warm – from starting simple fires to creating electric-powered heaters. One of the main reasons for energy demand used to be heating, as people needed to survive long and chilly winters. But a global trend that started in the past century has seen a reversal, especially with the invention of cooling devices like refrigerators and air conditioners.

With the climate getting warmer and warmer, the demand for cooling has skyrocketed. With the increase in carbon emissions and the resulting hot temperatures, the demand for more energy to produce cooling is getting out of control. The worse thing is that this creates a neverending heat-producing cycle. More demand results in more power plants and cooling devices being created, which when used, emits more carbon that heats up the environment. Our only hope is the creation and use of clean energy sources that could keep up with the demands while breaking this vicious cycle. Research and development in solar power shows promise. On the other hand, hydro-electric power is expected to fall behind, as global warming and droughts have caused a decrease in river water levels. Without enough water flow, generators at the dams will not be able to provide energy.

Meanwhile, sea levels are rising, creating a potential risk of flood and storms that could cripple power generators along coastlines. This would disrupt power transmission to entire cities, and create a more desperate demand for energy. Number 2: Melting ice caps & rising sea levels Water covers more than 70% of our planet, and they absorb most of the heat added to the atmosphere. So it’s only natural that is where the extreme changes of climate change are seen. Sea levels around the world have been rising a 10th of an inch every year, and they’re already up 8 inches since 100 years ago. There are two reasons for this. One water expands as it gets warmer. Two, because glaciers, ice caps and icebergs are melting, so they add up to the ocean’s water volume. White sea ice is essential in reflecting sun rays back up into the atmosphere.

Without an ice layer, the dark ocean absorbs the heat rays, feeding the cycle forward. Summer sea ice in the Arctic has decreased a staggering 40% since just 40 years ago, making it the lowest in 1400 years. Antarctica is also experiencing a similar thing, with its western glaciers melting at an alarming rate. At this current rate, the oceans would be up a meter higher by the end of this century. Coastal settlements would be flooded, and many of them would become uninhabitable. And it’s not just cities, but entire nations are also at risk of being wiped off the map. The island country of Maldives is particularly endangered, and is at risk of being swallowed up by the ocean within the next few decades. Their leaders’ pleas to the world to cut global greenhouse gas emissions have been generally ignored, and they are already looking into purchasing new land from neighboring countries to settle their people in the future. Number 1: Animal extinction All the damages caused by climate change is not only affecting us humans, but nearly all the other species on the planet are also struggling to adapt to these changes that we have caused. A lot of animals, mostly birds, are seen beginning their seasonal migrations a lot earlier.

For instance, scientists have found that the Icelandic black-tailed godwits have started migrating 2 weeks earlier than normal to escape the summer heat. Some animals are moving away from their natural habitats towards cooler areas in higher elevations. The distribution patterns of Adelie penguins across Antarctica have also changed significantly. They are known to mainly feed on Antarctic krills, which are small crustaceans that stay under ice caps. But with fewer ice caps remaining, Adelie penguins find themselves in short of food supply leading to mass migrations. All this migration of various animal species is indeed a sign of the climate getting warmer every year. We have also seen a disturbing change within the behavior of several animals. The melting of polar ice in the summer has led to Polar bears channel arising their own cubs out of desperation in order to stay alive. The ocean is our planet’s largest carbon sink. With more Carbon Dioxide released into the atmosphere, more of it ends up dissolving into the ocean, causing a decrease in the water’s pH levels.

Although still far away from turning the ocean into acid, creatures with calcium shells are really sensitive to these slight changes. The ocean is on the course of hitting a pH level of 7.8 within a century, which would mean the end of about one third of the ocean’s species. The Orange-spotted filefish has already gone locally extinct around Japan due to extensive coral bleaching and hypersensitivity to warm waters. Some animal species have already gone totally extinct. The Golden toad that was once native to the forests of Costa Rica was last sighted in 1989, having likely all bite off due to high temperatures. They were known to mate in wet conditions, and the repeated dry seasons presumably ended their species..

Colorado’s Biblical Floods Linked To Climate Change

JAISAL NOOR: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Jaisal Noor in Baltimore. Last week’s flash floods in Colorado killed at least eight people, with as many as 600 still unaccounted for, according to officials. Highways were washed out and nearly 20,000 homes destroyed or damaged, and more than 10,000 people had to be evacuated, with entire towns being completely cut off. The flood is one of the worst in the state’s history. Now joining us to discuss this and its link to climate change is Shubhankar Banerjee. He was a photographer, a writer, and activist. He has an upcoming book: Arctic Voices: Resistance at the Tipping Point will be published in October by Seven Stories Press. Thank you so much for joining us. SHUBHANKAR BANERJEE: Thanks for having me, Jaisal. NOOR: So, Shubankar, not only have we seen these devastating and tragic floods in Colorado, but we’ve also seen two hurricanes hit Mexico, a hurricane in Japan. Natural disasters are on the rise across the globe.

Is there a link to climate change? BANERJEE: Oh, absolutely. In fact, there is no scarcity of extreme weather events happening all over the globe. If you just dial the clock back a little bit, this past June in Uttarakhand, India, in the Himalayan state in India, we had a flood that was called the “Himalayan tsunami”. The number of killed or missing varies between 500 and 15,000, depending on whether you talk to the government or the people on the ground. So there may be up to 15,000 people dead there. The issue is that–and what happened in Uttarakhand, a place–I was there last year–is very similar to what happened just now in Boulder, Colorado, which is that the seasons are really shifting both the volume of rain as well as when this rain is falling.

So what just happened in Boulder is really the volume and time. The amount of rain that has fallen is basically close to the entire annual average in just a few days, in five days. And also the timing. September is not a time when rain falls in the Southwest. I lived in New Mexico 11 years. I spent a lot of time in Colorado. And I have actually focused on the issue of climate change in the Southwest. It’s in the midst of a long-term drought. And, again, there we can dial the clock back a little bit, 15 years. The last 15 years, the entire American Southwest–Colorado, neighboring state New Mexico, and other states–is suffering extreme drought conditions that has killed in New Mexico alone 55 million pinyon trees, the state tree of New Mexico, and in Colorado, tens of millions of lodgepole pine, spruce, and other trees have been killed. So when you have so many trees dead followed by constant wildfires, which has been extremely intense all across the American Southwest–New Mexico, Colorado–and this past summer, Colorado had what they call the most devastating wildfire in Colorado history, the Black Forest fire.

And then at the heels of all that come now this devastating flood, which is clearly one of the greatest flood in Colorado history. So all of these events are linked. And what I’ve tried to do, show, is that the Colorado flood should be looked at as a sequence of disaster after disaster after disaster. All are linked to climate change. NOOR: And we wanted to talk about how the media is covering this. Are they making that link? Are they doing their job to inform the public about the reality of not only what’s happening now but what may continue to happen in the future, as far as these unprecedented natural disasters? BANERJEE: Absolutely not. The corporate media is doing a dismal job. After my first piece was published about the Colorado flood, Boulder flooding last Friday, I received numerous comments from readers that the media is showing the tragedy and what is going on, but no one is raising a single question about if this event is related to climate change.

In fact, this is a really fundamental topic that as a society we need to discuss. And it is actually a moral issue, because philosopher Judy Butler, in one of her recent books, Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable, said that media is linked to survival. What is going on with media, as we discussed, that with globally warmed earth, [incompr.] there will be no scarcity of extreme weather events all over the planet, how we report on it is very important. And showing tragedy results in–again and again and again, just a tragedy without critical analysis results in what I would call an exercise in perversion. It is actually pervert to do that, because it becomes essentially an entertainment. And Susan Sontag, in her last and one of the most important books she wrote, called Regarding the Pain of Others, precisely addressed this topic in great detail. So just to show the tragedy and not discuss why this tragedy is happening really becomes entertainment. And the only people who benefit from that are essentially the media, the corporate media, and the contractors who will now come after to rebuild the place.

And this has been happening in war situations again and again and again. It’s contractors like Halliburton and Bechtel then get these big contracts to rebuild. So this is actually a very pervert exercise that media, corporate media continues to do. NOOR: Shubhankar Banerjee, thank you so much for joining us. BANERJEE: Thank you, Jaisal. NOOR: We’re going to continue our conversation with Shubhankar Banerjee and post it at TheRealNews.com. Thank you so much for joining us..

Global Warming Explained

So, we've all heard of global warming and climate change and that carbon dioxide is causing our planet to heat up. But what exactly is the science behind it? To get there, we first have to understand the greenhouse effect The greenhouse effect is a process that maintains our planet's temperatures at liveable levels and is pretty much the reason life on Earth is even remotely possible. You see, the sun is constantly shooting energy towards the Earth mostly in the form of visible light which is then absorbed by our planet heating it up. This heat is then released from our planet's surface in the form of infrared light. Here's where greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide come in. Completely surrounding our planet these greenhouse gases create a blanket that allows visible light to freely pass through to the surface of the Earth but traps infrared light as it tries to leave therefore, slowing the release of the planet's heat back into space.

Keeping it just warm enough for us to sustain life. However, the more greenhouse gases there are in our atmosphere the harder it becomes for the planet's heat to escape and thus causing a global warming. and that's exactly what has been happening since 1750 or the industrial revolution. You see, before the industrial revolution the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere lingered around 270 parts per million. But since then, it has increased at an exponential rate reaching over 400 parts per million this past October. The last time there was this much CO2 in our atmopshere human beings didn't exist. And there's no doubt that this unprecedented increase in CO2 is caused by human activity. Every living thing on Earth is made of carbon and this very element is continuously cycling to maintain an equilbirum through a process called the carbon cycle.

While things such as the death of plants and animals, the eruption of volcanoes, and wildfires release carbon into the atmosphere things like photosynthesis from plant life can help remove and sequester it. However, when the industrial revolution began humans started digging up and burning fossil fuels which are really just the decomposed remains of ancient plants and animals, to use as energy. In other words, we found stockpiles of carbon which has been kept deep beneath the Earth's surface and burned it for energy and in the process, added extreme amounts of carbon dioxide right into our atmosphere On top of this, we carried out deforestation on a massive scale and sabotaged what carbon filtration system the planet had provided us with. completely toppling the equilibirum between carbon emission and removal.

With over 200 years of throwing this life sustaining equilibirum off balance, action must be taken immediately to mitigate the impact of our changing climate. The first major step we can take is shifting to clean energy sources as soon as possible so as to prevent a further increase of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. And when we look at the rapid growth of clean energy, this is a shift that we can make. All we need is a unified push towards a more environmentally conscious global society..

Art made of the air we breathe | Emily Parsons-Lord

Translator: Camille Martínez Reviewer: Krystian Aparta If I asked you to picture the air, what do you imagine? Most people think about either empty space or clear blue sky or sometimes trees dancing in the wind. And then I remember my high school chemistry teacher with really long socks at the blackboard, drawing diagrams of bubbles connected to other bubbles, and describing how they vibrate and collide in a kind of frantic soup. But really, we tend not to think about the air that much at all. We notice it mostly when there's some kind of unpleasant sensory intrusion upon it, like a terrible smell or something visible like smoke or mist. But it's always there. It's touching all of us right now. It's even inside us. Our air is immediate, vital and intimate. And yet, it's so easily forgotten. So what is the air? It's the combination of the invisible gases that envelop the Earth, attracted by the Earth's gravitational pull. And even though I'm a visual artist, I'm interested in the invisibility of the air.

I'm interested in how we imagine it, how we experience it and how we all have an innate understanding of its materiality through breathing. All life on Earth changes the air through gas exchange, and we're all doing it right now. Actually, why don't we all right now together take one big, collective, deep breath in. Ready? In. (Inhales) And out. (Exhales) That air that you just exhaled, you enriched a hundred times in carbon dioxide. So roughly five liters of air per breath, 17 breaths per minute of the 525,600 minutes per year, comes to approximately 45 million liters of air, enriched 100 times in carbon dioxide, just for you. Now, that's equivalent to about 18 Olympic-sized swimming pools. For me, air is plural. It's simultaneously as small as our breathing and as big as the planet. And it's kind of hard to picture.

Maybe it's impossible, and maybe it doesn't matter. Through my visual arts practice, I try to make air, not so much picture it, but to make it visceral and tactile and haptic. I try to expand this notion of the aesthetic, how things look, so that it can include things like how it feels on your skin and in your lungs, and how your voice sounds as it passes through it. I explore the weight, density and smell, but most importantly, I think a lot about the stories we attach to different kinds of air. This is a work I made in 2014. It's called "Different Kinds of Air: A Plant's Diary," where I was recreating the air from different eras in Earth's evolution, and inviting the audience to come in and breathe them with me. And it's really surprising, so drastically different.

Now, I'm not a scientist, but atmospheric scientists will look for traces in the air chemistry in geology, a bit like how rocks can oxidize, and they'll extrapolate that information and aggregate it, such that they can pretty much form a recipe for the air at different times. Then I come in as the artist and take that recipe and recreate it using the component gases. I was particularly interested in moments of time that are examples of life changing the air, but also the air that can influence how life will evolve, like Carboniferous air. It's from about 300 to 350 million years ago. It's an era known as the time of the giants. So for the first time in the history of life, lignin evolves. That's the hard stuff that trees are made of. So trees effectively invent their own trunks at this time, and they get really big, bigger and bigger, and pepper the Earth, releasing oxygen, releasing oxygen, releasing oxygen, such that the oxygen levels are about twice as high as what they are today.

And this rich air supports massive insects — huge spiders and dragonflies with a wingspan of about 65 centimeters. To breathe, this air is really clean and really fresh. It doesn't so much have a flavor, but it does give your body a really subtle kind of boost of energy. It's really good for hangovers. (Laughter) Or there's the air of the Great Dying — that's about 252.5 million years ago, just before the dinosaurs evolve. It's a really short time period, geologically speaking, from about 20- to 200,000 years. Really quick. This is the greatest extinction event in Earth's history, even bigger than when the dinosaurs died out. Eighty-five to 95 percent of species at this time die out, and simultaneous to that is a huge, dramatic spike in carbon dioxide, that a lot of scientists agree comes from a simultaneous eruption of volcanoes and a runaway greenhouse effect. Oxygen levels at this time go to below half of what they are today, so about 10 percent.

So this air would definitely not support human life, but it's OK to just have a breath. And to breathe, it's oddly comforting. It's really calming, it's quite warm and it has a flavor a little bit like soda water. It has that kind of spritz, quite pleasant. So with all this thinking about air of the past, it's quite natural to start thinking about the air of the future. And instead of being speculative with air and just making up what I think might be the future air, I discovered this human-synthesized air. That means that it doesn't occur anywhere in nature, but it's made by humans in a laboratory for application in different industrial settings. Why is it future air? Well, this air is a really stable molecule that will literally be part of the air once it's released, for the next 300 to 400 years, before it's broken down. So that's about 12 to 16 generations.

And this future air has some very sensual qualities. It's very heavy. It's about eight times heavier than the air we're used to breathing. It's so heavy, in fact, that when you breathe it in, whatever words you speak are kind of literally heavy as well, so they dribble down your chin and drop to the floor and soak into the cracks. It's an air that operates quite a lot like a liquid. Now, this air comes with an ethical dimension as well. Humans made this air, but it's also the most potent greenhouse gas that has ever been tested. Its warming potential is 24,000 times that of carbon dioxide, and it has that longevity of 12 to 16 generations. So this ethical confrontation is really central to my work. (In a lowered voice) It has another quite surprising quality. It changes the sound of your voice quite dramatically. (Laughter) So when we start to think — ooh! It's still there a bit.

(Laughter) When we think about climate change, we probably don't think about giant insects and erupting volcanoes or funny voices. The images that more readily come to mind are things like retreating glaciers and polar bears adrift on icebergs. We think about pie charts and column graphs and endless politicians talking to scientists wearing cardigans. But perhaps it's time we start thinking about climate change on the same visceral level that we experience the air. Like air, climate change is simultaneously at the scale of the molecule, the breath and the planet. It's immediate, vital and intimate, as well as being amorphous and cumbersome. And yet, it's so easily forgotten. Climate change is the collective self-portrait of humanity. It reflects our decisions as individuals, as governments and as industries. And if there's anything I've learned from looking at air, it's that even though it's changing, it persists.

It may not support the kind of life that we'd recognize, but it will support something. And if we humans are such a vital part of that change, I think it's important that we can feel the discussion. Because even though it's invisible, humans are leaving a very vibrant trace in the air. Thank you. (Applause).

The lies of Global Warming

– Begins now 3×1, hier in Brazil TV. I am Luiz Carlos Azedo and today we will discuss the global warming. Our guest is the physicist and meteorologist Luiz Carlos Molion who questions the theories – let’s say, hegemonic in our days – related with this subject. Participate in this interview the journalist Zilda Ferreira, author of the Blog EDUCOM, which deals with environmental education and the journalist Efraim Neto, moderator of the Brazilian network of environmental journalism. <<The Earth, poetically identified as the Blue Planet, located in the Galaxy Via Lactia, orbits in the solar system and is distinguished by its unique atmosphere. Here, in millions of years life has evolved creating a complex system favorable for the existence of thousands of plant and animal species dependent on a food chain. The human being – extractivist – takes its sustenance from the land and the sea.

To enable the agriculture and industry uses various types of energy, obtained mostly from fossil fuels that generate tens of pollutants. On entering the second decade of the new millennium, the greatest challenge of humanity – that is to produce and develop without altering the atmosphere – presents itself as an emergency agenda for all nations. At the recent climate conference in Copenhagen, it became clear that rich countries, emerging or poor need to speak the same language, if they wish truly – in the medium term – contain the aggressions to the global environment.>> – We will start our interview with a question from a viewer. – Why do you say that there is no global warming? – I contend that there is no global warming because it already occurred in the past periods in which they were warmer than now. For example: If we get to the period of the years 800 to 1200 a.C -called Medieval Warm Period – Temperatures were higher than now and at that time the man not released carbon; not emitted carbon into the atmosphere. The Vikings came from Scandinavia and colonized the northern regions of Canada and southern Greenland and are now frozen regions.

So you can see that, that period was warmer than now. Between 1925 and 1946, there was also a very significant warming, which corresponds to approximately 70% of all this warming that – the people say – occurred in the last 150 years. At that time there was an increase of 0.4 degrees Celsius – between 1925 and 1946 – and that very probably due to increased solar activity in the first half of the twentieth century and the fact that in this period practically not occured any large volcanic eruption, so the atmosphere was clean – transparent – and entered more solar radiation and then increased the temperature. Notice! In 1946, after the second World War, the man threw to the atmosphere less than 10% of the carbon that launches today, so it is very difficult to say that the warming between 1925 and 1946 was due to human action. Later – after the war – that, in fact, there was an increase in industrialization, was emitted more carbon, but what happened? A global cooling between 1947 and 1976 and now this latest.

– Dr. Molion, you were commenting on the case of the Vikings, there is a french historian named Pierre Chani who was an expert of studies on European expansion and he said the Vikings not only conquered America because there was a period – immediately after their arrival, in that Arctic region – of cooling of the earth and there is a stream of scientists who defends a thesis against prevailing opinion – which says that there is a global warming – and say that we are on the verge – if we can use this expression – of a new global cooling. Is it? – Perfect. This period, which lasted more or less until 1250 a.C, was followed by what was called the Little Ice Age, which lasted from 1350 until 1920. I mean, very recent. – You assign to this cooling the barbarian invasions, because they have turned to the continent, because of cooling. – It was just the opposite, ie, the cold period leads to frustrations harvest and hunger. You have paintings made at that time showing that the river Thames was frozen.

Paintings from 1630 – 1650 show that fairs were made ​​over the frozen river. So, if I look at history, I would say this: that in the last million years the Earth has gone through nine ice ages. Each ice age lasts for a hundred thousand years. So nine times a hundred thousand gives nine hundred thousand. In one million, 90% of the time, the weather is colder than now. These ice ages are interrupted by warmer periods called interglacial. That we are living, Luiz Carlos, began about 15 thousand years ago and all of human history is summarized in the last ten thousand years. So we are in a period, as you said, on the eve of a new ice age. In fact we can be within a new ice age, since this our interglacial is already with 15 thousand years, according to paleoclimatic studies. So, there is a variability So, there is a variation upon that very slow fall that will take one hundred thousand years, practically, to get to 8 -10 degrees below what is today. On top of that there is a ripple of half a degree up, half a degree down. If we have that, as I said from 1925 to 1946, had a ripple down, a cooling from 1947 to 1976 – which was very bad for Brazil and around the world under the economic point of view – and now we had a small increase from 1977 to 1998 The “cue ball” now is the cooling.

– Is there a disparity of measuring instruments among the various periods? – Certainly, certainly. No doubt. – Would be the diagnosis today more accurate than before? – The biggest problem is not that, because when you put those long series, 100 -150 years, from cities like Paris, Vienna, Berlin… these cities were growing and if the thermometer was stuck in the same place, at the same meteorological station it would suffer the effects of urbanization. What is this effect of urbanization? Rains. If the area is vegetated, there is infiltration of water. The water evaporates and cools the surface. When the city then becomes urbanized, the asphalt and concrete causes the runoff of the water, that there will fall. So, today the cities do not have water to evaporate and the same heat of the Sun causes higher urban temperatures than its surroundings. São Paulo, for example, on the order of 3 degrees. There are studies here in Rio de Janeiro that show as well – depending on the region – the order of 3 – 4 degrees.

So, the effect that is known as Urban Heat Island interferes in the temperature. The same thermometer, even if it is calibrated will show higher temperatures. There is no way to eliminate this effect of urbanization on the measure. There is no way to eliminate. They say that if you select a basket of thermometers around the world that is located in the big cities, what will happen is the trend these thermometers show an ever increasing temperature. But when you use satellites covering the whole globe, including oceanic regions, it is shown that in the last 20 years a slight decrease occurred. Excluding the peak of El Niño, in 1997 – 1998, as El Niños tend to warm the atmosphere… – But does it not come back now, this year? – But this is pretty weak and must die now in February, maximum in March and will not affect, the contrary, it must turn to the cold La Niña. So, when you look at the data taken by satellites..

. – So will be the next year a cold year? – Yes, with cold winters. This is the trend, frosts in the south and southeast, cold temperatures and for us here, relatively drier during the dry season, ie, in the period from April to October, drier than the normal. – Professor, our scientific validation with respect to climate studies are based on numerical models… – That is it. – …and our system of climate research has evaluated and provided to society certain results. How do you evaluate this? – Well, Efraim. The models are nothing more than computer programs. Some are very sophisticated coming to have thousand lines, one million rows. These models attempt to reproduce the physical processes occurring in the atmosphere, but the atmosphere of the Earth depends on externs physical processes, eg, variation in solar activity, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis or earthquakes influence the heat distribution of oceans and also depends on the oceanic processes, for instance, that are treated very badly in these models, particularly with regard to the transport of heat. A climate model, for example, can not reproduce an El Niño. It can not reproduce this variation It can not reproduce this decadal variation of the Pacific lasting 25-30, where the Pacific warms in the tropics and then turns and cools.

The Pacific occupies 35% of the land surface and the atmosphere is heated from below. So, when the Pacific temperature changes, changes the atmosphere and changes the climate. These models make projections, Efraim, upon hypothetical scenarios that will never happen and the models in itself are disabled. So, for example, if I were to believe in this model, I would like to see this model predicting “the past”. Because of the past I already have data, is not it? And they did it, but the error was very large. The current models can not reproduce past climate. So, I have no guarantee that they will predict future climates, ie, model results are useless and do not lend themselves to planning. – Since the 70s, you have been showing the importance of the oceans in relation to climate, this from a global point of view. Since we are talking about climate change from a general point of view, what is the importance of having more advanced studies in relation to the oceans, since it seems to me that this has been of little relevance in relation to the data applied by the IPCC (Intergovermental of Climate Change)? – You are absolutely right, Efraim.

There is a tendency to leave the oceans outside of this climate control, when in reality they are extremely important to control the weather. We are talking about a planet that is 71% covered of water with an average depth of 3,800 meters, ie, this body of water is a huge heat reservoir that softens the climate change, so that the changes are not so big. The differences remained around more or less half degree up, half degree down thanks to the oceans. Recently we – the scientific community – developed a system of buoys – are more than 3,200 buoys – that are special. They dive up to 2,000 meters deep moving with the sea current for 9 and a half days, after they inflate, through a bladder that they have, and start to rise by measuring temperature and salinity. Arrives at the surface and transmits this data to the satellite. So, this system was completed in 2002 and the analysis of the datas from these buoys shows that the heat content of the oceans is declining.

This means that the global oceans are cooling and this cooling will lead to global cooling, not a warming. So, we have two very important factors: The sun, which has a cycle of 90 years and is now going into decline and will be so until the year 2032 and the oceans, which these buoys indicate that is cooling. These two phenomena that are fundamental; two basic controllers of the climate of the Earth will lead to a global cooling for the next 20 years, which is much worse than a warming..

Thoughts About Some Mind-Bending Earth Images

So, now that we’ve been regularly photographing the Earth from space for decades, we can watch in like time-lapse format, as our planet changes – usually, as we change our planet. Huge scale stuff. And Google has just released a tool that makes this easier. Basically, you can scan around the entire world and watch the last 25 years of life on Earth. What the world was like when I was four versus what the world is like now. So I wanted to share some of the cool things that I found while doing that. First, here’s my hometown of Missoula And if you look carefully, you can see some new neighborhoods being built and all the boxstores going into the edge of town. Bit of a small town but it has changed in the last 25 years. More interesting probably is the amazing sprawl of Orlando, where John, you and I grew up. But really, the most fascinating bits are where humans have had their deepest influences. America’s insatiable appetite for cheap coal power, our wonderful lifestyles has lead to a practice called mountain top removal mining, in much of Appalachia.

I’ve seen these pictures, I’ve seen close-ups and I’ve seen it from satellites but as you scroll around and watch the last 20 years’ progress, it is astounding and terrifying and moving to see the amount of destruction. And of course, I know that I benefit personally from this destruction but it is destruction. Similarly, we all know that lots of the Amazon rainforests has been cut down but you really can’t understand the depth and the scale of it until you watch it happen and are able to move all around Brazil and Bolivia and see how much of those forests are gone now. And then there’s the story of water, which of course, more people consume more of. Las Vegas and Dubai spreading across deserts, Saudi Arabia, with massive irrigation projects making the deserts bloom. Inland seas drying up, either because of drought or because of irrigation but in addition to being terrifying occasionally, it can also be a story of recovery.

Watching the forests take back the land that had been destroyed when Mt. Saint Helens erupted was particularly inspiring, though the nearby clear cutting was not. We humans have a profound and largely negative effect on the rest of the lifeforms of the planet. Science has, for a long time offered us these truths up on a platter in the form of data and numbers and statistics. But we are people, we are not computers and we are not particularly good at understanding what all of those data and statistics really mean. And it might be a better world if all policy was based on science, but it’s not. It’s based on the individual decisions and the individual feelings of individual people, like ME and like YOU. For me, watching all of this change with a very limited span of my own life is intense and it’s moving and it’s terrifying. We have learned a lot but we haven’t really acted on that learning.

And maybe that’s because we don’t really understand it. We know the numbers but we can’t see it, or we couldn’t see it. Maybe taking a look around the Google Earth engine, which I should say, is based on the NASA LandSat program, which is FANTASTIC, good job, NASA. It might give us all a better understanding of the realities that we face and if we really understand those things better, then the decisions we make will be better. At least one can hope. So YAY for NASA, YAY for Google, YAY for Science, YAY for understanding and hopefully, also in the near future, YAY, for action.

Rachel Armstrong: Architecture that repairs itself?

All buildings today have something in common. They’re made using Victorian technologies. This involves blueprints, industrial manufacturing and construction using teams of workers. All of this effort results in an inert object. And that means that there is a one-way transfer of energy from our environment into our homes and cities. This is not sustainable.

I believe that the only way that it is possible for us to construct genuinely sustainable homes and cities is by connecting them to nature, not insulating them from it. Now, in order to do this, we need the right kind of language. Living systems are in constant conversation with the natural world, through sets of chemical reactions called metabolism. And this is the conversion of one group of substances into another, either through the production or the absorption of energy.

“The little bag is able to conduct itself in a way that can only be described as living”

And this is the way in which living materials make the most of their local resources in a sustainable way. So, I’m interested in the use of metabolic materials for the practice of architecture. But they don’t exist. So I’m having to make them. I’m working with architect Neil Spiller at the Bartlett School of Architecture, and we’re collaborating with international scientists in order to generate these new materials from a bottom up approach. That means we’re generating them from scratch. One of our collaborators is chemist Martin Hanczyc, and he’s really interested in the transition from inert to living matter. Now, that’s exactly the kind of process that I’m interested in, when we’re thinking about sustainable materials. So, Martin, he works with a system called the protocell. Now all this is – and it’s magic – is a little fatty bag. And it’s got a chemical battery in it. And it has no DNA. This little bag is able to conduct itself in a way that can only be described as living.

It is able to move around its environment. It can follow chemical gradients. It can undergo complex reactions, some of which are happily architectural. So here we are. These are protocells, patterning their environment. We don’t know how they do that yet. Here, this is a protocell, and it’s vigorously shedding this skin. Now, this looks like a chemical kind of birth. This is a violent process. Here, we’ve got a protocell to extract carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and turn it into carbonate. And that’s the shell around that globular fat. They are quite brittle. So you’ve only got a part of one there. So what we’re trying to do is, we’re trying to push these technologies towards creating bottom-up construction approaches for architecture, which contrast the current, Victorian, top-down methods which impose structure upon matter. That can’t be energetically sensible. So, bottom-up materials actually exist today.

“The protocells are depositing their limestone very specifically, around the foundations of Venice, effectively petrifying it”

They’ve been in use, in architecture, since ancient times. If you walk around the city of Oxford, where we are today, and have a look at the brickwork, which I’ve enjoyed doing in the last couple of days, you’ll actually see that a lot of it is made of limestone. And if you look even closer, you’ll see, in that limestone, there are little shells and little skeletons that are piled upon each other. And then they are fossilized over millions of years. Now a block of limestone, in itself, isn’t particularly that interesting. It looks beautiful. But imagine what the properties of this limestone block might be if the surfaces were actually in conversation with the atmosphere. Maybe they could extract carbon dioxide. Would it give this block of limestone new properties? Well, most likely it would. It might be able to grow. It might be able to self-repair, and even respond to dramatic changes in the immediate environment.

So, architects are never happy with just one block of an interesting material. They think big. Okay? So when we think about scaling up metabolic materials, we can start thinking about ecological interventions like repair of atolls, or reclamation of parts of a city that are damaged by water. So, one of these examples would of course be the historic city of Venice. Now, Venice, as you know, has a tempestuous relationship with the sea, and is built upon wooden piles. So we’ve devised a way by which it may be possible for the protocell technology that we’re working with to sustainably reclaim Venice. And architect Christian Kerrigan has come up with a series of designs that show us how it may be possible to actually grow a limestone reef underneath the city. So, here is the technology we have today. This is our protocell technology, effectively making a shell, like its limestone forefathers, and depositing it in a very complex environment, against natural materials. We’re looking at crystal lattices to see the bonding process in this.

Now, this is the very interesting part. We don’t just want limestone dumped everywhere in all the pretty canals. What we need it to do is to be creatively crafted around the wooden piles. So, you can see from these diagrams that the protocell is actually moving away from the light, toward the dark foundations. We’ve observed this in the laboratory. The protocells can actually move away from the light. They can actually also move towards the light. You have to just choose your species. So that these don’t just exist as one entity, we kind of chemically engineer them. And so here the protocells are depositing their limestone very specifically, around the foundations of Venice, effectively petrifying it. Now, this isn’t going to happen tomorrow. It’s going to take a while. It’s going to take years of tuning and monitoring this technology in order for us to become ready to test it out in a case-by-case basis on the most damaged and stressed buildings within the city of Venice.

But gradually, as the buildings are repaired, we will see the accretion of a limestone reef beneath the city. An accretion itself is a huge sink of carbon dioxide. Also it will attract the local marine ecology, who will find their own ecological niches within this architecture. So, this is really interesting. Now we have an architecture that connects a city to the natural world in a very direct and immediate way. But perhaps the most exciting thing about it is that the driver of this technology is available everywhere. This is terrestrial chemistry. We’ve all got it, which means that this technology is just as appropriate for developing countries as it is for First World countries. So, in summary, I’m generating metabolic materials as a counterpoise to Victorian technologies, and building architectures from a bottom-up approach. Secondly, these metabolic materials have some of the properties of living systems, which means they can perform in similar ways.

They can expect to have a lot of forms and functions within the practice of architecture. And finally, an observer in the future marveling at a beautiful structure in the environment may find it almost impossible to tell whether this structure has been created by a natural process or an artificial one.