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Archive for the ‘air pollution’ Category

Shrinking World, Shrinking Ecosystems

Posted by edro on December 27, 2009

Temperature velocity for the 21st century is 0.42 kilometers (0.26 miles) per year: Study

Climate Change Puts Ecosystems on the Run

Global warming is causing climate belts to shift toward the poles and to higher elevations. To keep pace with these changes, the average ecosystem will need to shift about a quarter mile each year, says a new study led by scientists at the Carnegie Institution. For some habitats, such as low-lying areas, climate belts are moving even faster, putting many species in jeopardy, especially where human development has blocked migration paths.

“Expressed as velocities, climate-change projections connect directly to survival prospects for plants and animals. These are the conditions that will set the stage, whether species move or cope in place,” says study co-author Chris Field, director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology. Field is also a professor of biology and of environmental Earth system science at Stanford University and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment.

The research team, which included researchers from the Carnegie Institution, Stanford University, the California Academy of Sciences, and the University of California, Berkeley, combined data on current climate and temperature gradients worldwide with climate model projections for the next century to calculate the “temperature velocity” for different regions of the world. This velocity is a measure of how fast temperature zones are moving across the landscape as the planet warms―and how fast plants and animals will need to migrate to keep up.

EDRO Comments:

What the paper doesn’t mention, however, is the fact that the species “climbing a nearby mountain” in search of cooler temperatures would be climbing into an acid rain trap.

Forests and plants in mountain regions are heavily affected by “acid fog,” in addition to acid  rain. At higher altitudes, the lingering fog, which is more acidic than rainfall, surrounds the plants, affecting the leaves ability to carry out photosynthesis and produce photosynthetic products.

The acid fog does causes slower growth, disease and death of the plants and forests. Examples of this include the many areas of the eastern U.S., especially high altitude forests of the Appalachian Mountains.

The researchers found that as a global average, the expected temperature velocity for the 21st century is 0.42 kilometers (0.26 miles) per year. But this figure varies widely according to topography and habitat. In areas of high topographic relief, where species can find cooler temperatures by climbing a nearby mountain, velocities are relatively low. In flatter regions, such as deserts, grasslands, and coastal areas, species will have to travel farther to stay in their comfort zone and velocities may exceed a kilometer per year.

EDRO Comments:

The other factor is scarcity of food for many species due to the soil profiles of mountainous areas. Upland areas often have thin soils and glaciated bedrock, profiles that make it extremely difficult for plant growth.

Can the planet’s ecosystems keep up? Plants and animals that can tolerate a wide range of temperatures may not need to move. But for the others, survival becomes a race. After the glaciers of the last Ice Age retreated, forests may have spread northward as quickly as a kilometer a year. But current ecosystems are unlikely to match that feat, the researchers say. Nearly a third of the habitats in the study have velocities higher than even the most optimistic plant migration estimates. Even more problematic is the extensive fragmentation of natural habitats by human development, which will leave many species with “nowhere to go,” regardless of their migration rates.

Protected areas such as nature reserves are generally too small to accommodate the expected habitat shifts. According to the study, less than 10% of protected areas globally will maintain current climate conditions within their boundaries 100 years from now. This will present a challenge for many species adapted to highly specific conditions, especially if migration to new habitats is blocked.

Scott Loarie, a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution and lead author of the paper, points out that an appreciation of climate velocities could stimulate discussions about sound management for climate change, from the design of nature reserves to the planning of assisted migrations for affected species. He adds that it should also stimulate discussion about strategies for minimizing the amount of warming and thereby help slow climate velocity.

The paper was published in the 24 December, 2009, Nature. Contact: Chris Field  cfield@ciw.edu

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Posted in 286W, acid fog, acid rain, air pollution, climate change | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama Inauguration Carbon Footprint

Posted by edro on December 16, 2008

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama insists on the need to develop new forms of energy

“In the 21st century, we know that the future of our economy and national security is inextricably linked with one challenge: energy,” Obama told a news conference. “All of us know the problems that are rooted in our addiction to foreign oil. It constrains our economy, shifts wealth to hostile regimes and leaves us dependent on unstable regions.”

“To control our own destiny, America must develop new forms of energy and new ways of using it. And this is not a challenge for government alone— it’s a challenge for all of us.”

What about Climate Change Mr President-elect?

“We will make decisions based on the facts, and we understand that facts demand bold action,” Obama said.

What about the carbon footprint of your inauguration?

The President-elect forgot to mention that Disa orchids will be flown in for his inauguration from New Zealand within 24 hours of being picked!

The total bill for Mr Obama’s inauguration, including cost of the security, which will be paid by the taxpayers,  will probably exceed the $160million [Figure revised according to the media estimates on January 20, 2009.] At a global average of  584g of CO2/GDP dollar, the inauguration carbon footprint on cost basis alone would be 93,400 metric tons [MT] of CO2.

[But, hey, that’s nothing compared with the trillion-dollar bailouts being handed out to any bank/corporation large enough to blackmail the state!]

As for the additional CO2 created by an estimated 2 million people swarming Washington DC for the ceremony, add another 44,000 MT. By January 21, 2009, the inauguration carbon footprint will have exceeded 137,400 MT of CO2.

U.S. President-elect [do as I say, don’t worry about what I do] Barack Obama looks on as Steven Chu, director of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, speaks after being introduced as Obama’s Energy Secretary during a news conference in Chicago, December 15, 2008. Obama also named former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Carol Browner (R) to head a new council to coordinate White House energy, climate and environment policies, and Lisa Jackson (2nd-R), chief of staff for New Jersey’s governor, to run the EPA. REUTERS/Stephen J. Carrera. Image may be subject to copyright.

Ordering orchids from New Zealand for the presidential inauguration is a callous disregard for the environment; it also rates high, “Scale F,” on the Adolescents Social Insensitivity scale

See:

– The Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III (MCMI-III)

– The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) – [published by the American Psychiatric Association]

– The mental disorders section, International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD)

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Posted in air pollution, CO2, new zealand, Social Insensitivity, Steven Chu | Tagged: , , , , | 10 Comments »

How Much CO2 Are You Producing?

Posted by edro on August 8, 2008

Original Entry: World CO2 Emissions

World Anthropogenic CO2 Emissions from Fossil Fuel Consumption (including Flaring) Cement Production and Tropical Deforestation

CO2 This Year ( From 1-1-2008 to 8-8-2008 )
23,803.61 MMT CO2

CO2 Total 2007
38,058.66 MMT CO2

Anthropogenic CO2 Total (1750 – Today)
1,358,931.31 MMT CO2

Total atmospheric CO2

3,008,879.36 MMT [3,008.88GT]

How much CO2 are YOU producing?

Each dollar you earn or spend produces 584 g of CO2. [See Carbon Footprint of Your Dollar]

How much CO2 was there before?

Measurements of CO2 levels in Ice cores collected in Antarctica and Greenland indicate that the preindustrial carbon dioxide level was 278 ppm. Between 1000 and 1800 A.D. that level varied by no more than 7 ppm.

What about human activities?

The CO2 levels have now reached 386 ppm, which means human activities have increased the concentration of atmospheric CO2 by 109 ppm or 39 percent.

Notes:
MMT: Million Metric Tons
GT: Gigatons (billion tons)
Sources: CASF/MSRB; CDIAC; Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency; Earth Systems Research Laboratory; Mauna Loa CO2 monthly mean data.

The following data were used to calculate the total mass of atmospheric CO2 :
1. Mass of dry air: 5.1352 × 1018 kg
2. The mean molar mass of air: 28.9625 g/mol.
3. Molar mass of CO2: 44.0095 g/mol.
4. Mauna Loa CO2 monthly mean data: 385.60ppmv

[Note: On various websites reporting the carbon dioxide emissions since 1750 the cumulative amount varies from about 1.3 – 1.8 trillion tons. On one website the amount is published once as 1.36 trillion tons and again as 1.71 trillion tons of CO2 on separate pages. Understandably, no sources are quoted. ]

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Posted in air pollution, atmosphere, carrying capacity, climate change, collapsing ecosystems, dynamics of collapse, economy, energy, environment, future, lifestyle, ocean acidification, pollution, soil, war | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Positive Feedbacks

Posted by edro on April 30, 2008

Tipping Point

A confirmation of tipping point is presented in the following report by James Hansen, NASA climatologist:

Excerpts from Hansen’s report:

  • We are at the tipping point because the climate state includes large, ready positive feedbacks provided by the Arctic sea ice, the West Antarctic ice sheet, and much of Greenland’s ice.
  • Our home planet is dangerously near a tipping point at which human-made greenhouse gases reach a level where major climate changes can proceed mostly under their own momentum. Warming will shift climatic zones by intensifying the hydrologic cycle, affecting freshwater availability and human health.

Source:Tipping Point: Here and Now!
Report:Tipping Point: PERSPECTIVE OF A CLIMATOLOGIST [PDF]

The ice in the Arctic is much younger than normal, with vast regions now covered by first-year ice and much less area covered by multiyear ice. Left: February distribution of ice by its age during normal Arctic conditions (1985-2000 average). Right: February 2008 Arctic ice age distribution. Credit: NSIDC [Caption: NASA]

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Posted in air pollution, Arctic, atmosphere, civilization, climate, climate change, CO2, dynamics of collapse, Earth, energy, environment, extinction, future, health, HIoN, Human activities, human migration, Human-induced climate change, ice dynamics, Index of Human Impact on Nature, industrialism, lifestyle, limits to growth | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How many are up there polluting our skies?

Posted by feww on March 23, 2008

There’s a fundamental systemic problem. It’s called exponential growth economy and it’s degrading, polluting, tearing apart destroying and otherwise killing off everything in its domain. In the absence of a ‘radical’ change to the economic system our world is rapidly falling apart.

Related Link: World Problems: The Root Cause Matrix

Worldwide Airport Traffic Summary [YE December 2007]

  • Passengers : 4,479,822,865 (Up 6.4% YoY)

  • Air Freight (Mt) : 80,342,643 (Up 2.5% YoY)

  • Aircraft Movements : 68,636,424 (Up 2.4% YoY)

Copyright Airports Councils International. See Fair Use Notice

Original Post: How many are up there polluting our skies?

Posted in air pollution, air traffic, atmosphere, economy, environment | Leave a Comment »