The rugged landscape created by volcanic eruptions and tectonic plate shifts in east and south Africa millions of years ago may be what prompted our human ancestors to start walking on two legs, a study said Friday.
Scientists believe that 80 percent of the volcanic eruptions on Earth take place in the ocean. Most of these volcanoes are thousands of feet deep, and difficult to find. But in May of 2009, scientists captured the deepest ocean eruption ever found. Nearly 4000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean — in an area between Samoa, Fiji and Tonga - the West Mata volcano was discovered. The explosions of molten rock were spectacular. This volcano was producing Boninite lavas — believed to be among the hottest erupting on Earth.
Staying prepared for hurricanes The Robesonian Eastern North Carolina is home to some of the most beautiful and pristine coastline in the country, but those of us who have lived in this region all of our lives know well the associated risks of...
The Independent Devastating floods in China trigger huge landslide, burying 40 The Independent In nearby Beichuan county, flooding destroyed buildings and exhibits at a memorial for the earthquake five years ago that left 90,000 people missing or...
"Il nostro clima è diretto verso la catastrofe. Qui è il nostro miglior piano per allontanare il totale disastro."
Alex Steffen's new book "Carbon Zero" offers solutions on how to pull us back from the brink of disaster.
November 29, 2012 |
The following excerpt is from the introduction to Alex Steffen's new book, Carbon Zero . The rest of the book is available as chapters on Grist and in ebook form on Amazon . You can learn more about Steffen at his website AlexSteffen.com or follow him on twitter @AlexSteffen.
On Monday the 29th of October, 2012, a tidal surge 13.9 feet high (the highest ever recorded) washed up and over the waterfront in Lower Manhattan, pushed forward by the superstorm Sandy. That same week, the storm destroyed large swathes of coastline from the New Jersey shore to Fire Island, while driving torrential rains, heavy snows, and powerful winds inland across the eastern U.S. and Canada. By the time the storm blew out, it had killed more than 100 Americans, made thousands homeless, left millions without power, and caused at least $50 billion in damage. Sandy was, by any reckoning, one of the worst natural disasters in American history.
Floods during the 21st century are expected to get worse. Really calamitous floods that, during the 20th century were considered once-in-a-century events could come round ever 10 years or so by the end of the 21st century, according to Japanese scientists.
Yukiko Hirabayashi of the University of Tokyo and colleagues report in Nature Climate Change that they looked at the likely pattern of hazard in 29 of the world’s great river basins. They considered the risk in those places where greater numbers of people were settled, and used 11 global climate models to project flood dangers by the end of this century.
They warn that the frequency of floods will increase in Southeast Asia, Peninsular India, eastern Africa and the northern half of the Andes of South America.
Conditions in northern and eastern Europe – the scene of recent and current calamitous flooding – could get less hazardous, along with Anatolia, central Asia, North America and southern South America.
The predictions, of course, come with the usual caveat: that the real exposure to flooding will depend to a great extent on what governments finally decide to do about greenhouse emissions, how much the world warms, what water management or flood control plans are put in place and on population growth in the regions at risk.
But those lower latitude countries where both population and economic investment are on the increase will have more at stake in the decades to come, and should prepare for greater flood risks.
Scientists examining evidence across the world from New Jersey to North Africa say they have linked the abrupt disappearance of half of earth’s species 200 million years ago to a precisely dated set of gigantic volcanic eruptions. The eruptions may have caused climate changes so sudden that many creatures were unable to adapt—possibly on a pace similar to that of human-influenced climate warming today.
The most-studied mass extinction in Earth history happened 65 million years ago and is widely thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs. New University of Washington research indicates that a separate extinction came shortly before that, triggered by volcanic eruptions that warmed the planet and killed life on the ocean floor.
The well-known second event is believed to have been triggered by an asteroid at least 6 miles in diameter slamming into Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. But new evidence shows that by the time of the asteroid impact, life on the seafloor – mostly species of clams and snails – was already perishing because of the effects of huge volcanic eruptions on the Deccan Plateau in what is now India.
“The eruptions started 300,000 to 200,000 years before the impact, and they may have lasted 100,000 years,” said Thomas Tobin, a UW doctoral student in Earth and space sciences. The eruptions would have filled the atmosphere with fine particles, called aerosols, that initially cooled the planet but, more importantly, they also would have spewed carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to produce long-term warming that led to the first of the two mass extinctions.
New York Times India Declares 5748 Missing in Himalayan Floods New York Times NEW DELHI – A month after massive flash floods struck the northern state of Uttarakhand, the state's chief minister said Monday that officials will begin distributing...
MANTON, Calif. — A huge wildfire sparked by lightning in Northern California burned to the edge of three small towns Monday, threatening thousands of homes as fearful residents sought safety miles away at an emergency shelter. (August 20, 2012)
Mount Etna is spitting lava more violently than it has in years, and scientists are baffled as to why. Despite being the world's most-studied volcano, the Sicilian mountain is also its most unpredictable.
If you think the world is warming and the weather getting nastier, you’re right, according to the United Nations agency committed to understanding weather and climate.
The World Meteorological Organization says the planet “experienced unprecedented high-impact climate extremes” in the ten years from 2001 to 2010, the warmest decade since the start of modern measurements in 1850.
Those ten years also continued an extended period of accelerating global warming, with more national temperature records reported broken than in any previous decade. Sea levels rose about twice as fast as the trend in the last century.
A WMO report, The Global Climate 2001-2010, A Decade of Climate Extremes, analyses global and regional temperatures and precipitation, and extreme weather such as the heat waves in Europe and Russia, Hurricane Katrina in the US, tropical cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, droughts in the Amazon basin, Australia and East Africa, and floods in Pakistan.
It says the decade was the warmest for both hemispheres, and for both land and ocean surface temperatures. There was a rapid decline in Arctic sea ice and accelerating loss of net mass from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and from the world’s glaciers.
This melting and the thermal expansion of sea water caused global mean sea levels to rise about three millimetres annually, about double the observed 20th century trend of 1.6 mm per year. Global sea level averaged over the decade was about 20 cm higher than in 1880, the report says.
Global-average atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide rose to 389 parts per million in 2010, 39% higher than at the start of the industrial era in 1750. Methane rose to 1,808.0 parts per billion (158%) and nitrous oxide to 323.2 ppb (20%).
The WMO secretary-general, Michel Jarraud, said: “A decade is the minimum possible timeframe for meaningful assessments of climate change.
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