Climate Change Has Shifted the Locations of Earth’s North and South Poles
Increased melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet and other ice losses worldwide have helped to move the North Pole several centimeters east each year since 2005
Global warming is changing the location of Earth’s geographic poles, according to a new study in Geophysical Research Letters.
Researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, report that increased melting of the Greenland ice sheet — and to a lesser degree, ice loss in other parts of the globe — helped to shift the North Pole several centimeters east each year since 2005.
“There was a big change,” says lead author Jianli Chen, a geophysicist.
From 1982 to 2005, the pole drifted southeast toward northern Labrador, Canada, at a rate of about 2 milliarcseconds —or roughly 6 centimetres — per year. But in 2005, the pole changed course and began galloping east toward Greenland at a rate of more than 7 milliarcseconds per year.
Scientists have long known that the locations of Earth’s geographic poles aren’t fixed. Over the course of the year, they shift seasonally as the Earth’s distributions of snow, rain, and humidity change. “Usually [the shift] is circular, with a wobble,” says Chen.
But underlying the seasonal motion is a yearly motion that is thought to be driven in part by continental drift. It was the change in that motion that caught the attention of Chen and his colleagues, who used data collected by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) to determine whether ice loss had shifted and accelerated the yearly polar drift.
GRACE’s twin probes measure changes in the Earth’s gravity field, which can be used to track shifts in the distribution of water and ice. Chen’s team used GRACE data to model how melting icecaps affect Earth’s mass distribution. They found that recent accelerated ice loss and associated sea-level rise accounted for more than 90% of the post-2005 polar shift.
The results suggest that tracking polar shifts can serve as a check on current estimates of ice loss, says Erik Ivins, a geophysicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. When mass is lost in one part of a spinning sphere, its spin axis will tilt directly toward the position of the loss, he says — exactly as Chen’s team observed for Greenland. “It’s a unique indicator of the point where the mass is lost,” says Ivins.
Scientists can locate the north and south poles to within 0.03 milliarcseconds by using Global Positioning System measurements to determine the angle of the Earth’s spin. Knowing the motion of the poles constrains estimates of ice loss made by other methods, Chen says.
And that could help scientists watching Earth’s ice bridge a likely data gap between GRACE and its replacement, GRACE II, which NASA has scheduled for launch in 2020. Researchers may also be able to use longstanding records of polar drift to improve estimates of ice loss and growth before the advent of satellite monitoring.
Chen estimates that data on polar shifts goes back roughly a century, well before the advent of Earth-monitoring satellites. “We don’t have a long record of measuring the polar ice sheet,” he says. “But for polar motion, we have a long record.”
The article was first published in Nature magazine on May 14, 2013.
The much, much bigger version is here, and it’s worth a peek.
A few points:
- Coal still dominates.
- But fossil fuels are only part of the story.
- Homes and buildings are a larger source of emissions than transportation.
A big new World Bank finds that more than 40 national governments and 20 sub-national governments have either put in place carbon-pricing schemes or are planning one for the years ahead. That includes either carbon taxes or some form of cap-and-trade. Here’s a map of the countries that are planning the latter:
The report notes that the countries and regions with carbon pricing either in place or firmly scheduled are responsible for one-fifth of the world’s carbon emissions. Now, there’s a key caveat: The programs in place don’t yet cover all sources of pollution — so, in practice, only 7.7 percent of the world’s emissions have actually been priced. But that should give some sense of the scale.
The list includes emissions-trading in the European Union, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. It also includes cap-and-trade programs at the state or provincial level, such as in California, New England, and Quebec. On top of that, there are carbon taxes in place in Denmark, Finland, Norway, British Columbia, and soon South Africa.
And that’s just what exists now. The World Bank notes that developing countries like China and Brazil are also mulling over various carbon-pricing schemes. China, for instance, has set up pilot programs in seven different cities — including Beijing and Shanghai.
Source: Brad Plumer, Reporter,WP.
Few have explored the remote volcanic islands of the Galapagos archipelago, an otherworldly landscape inhabited by the world’s largest tortoises and other fantastic creatures.
Soon it will take only the click of a mouse or finger swipe on a tablet to check out some of the Galapagos Islands’ most remote areas, surrounding waters and unique creatures.
California-based Google sent hikers to the Galapagos with Street View gear called “trekkers,” 42-pound computer backpacks with large cameras that look like soccer balls mounted on a tower.
Each orb has 15 cameras inside it that have captured panoramic views of some of the most inaccessible places on the Galapagos, which are more than 500 miles off the Pacific coast of South America.
Crews from the Catlin Seaview Survey worked with Google to capture 360-degree views of selected underwater areas, too.
Source: Associated Press, WP
The Pew Research Center, as part of a fascinating new report on global attitudes toward homosexuality, asked people in 39 different countries a deceptively straightforward question: “Should society accept homosexuality?” People could answer yes, no or decline the question.
The “yes” answers are mapped out above. In red countries, less than 45 percent of respondents said homosexuality should be accepted by society. In blue countries, more than 55 percent said it should be accepted. Purple countries fall in that middle range of about half.
(1) Sub-Saharan African and Muslim-majority countries are the least accepting of gays.
It’s not even close. While there’s wide variation in places like Latin America and Europe, Africa is almost uniformly anti-gay. Nigeria is the only surveyed country where just one percent say society should accept homosexuality; 98 percent said society shouldn’t. Results are under 10 percent for almost the entire continent, including sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa, which has closer cultural ties to the Middle East. The important exception is South Africa, famous for its gay rights movement, where a still-low 32 percent answered “yes.”
Muslim-majority countries tended to reject homosexuality, with results under 10 percent for Islamic societies from Africa to Southeast Asia to the Middle East. The only exception is Lebanon, although the country is only about two-thirds Muslim. Only 2 percent of Pakistanis and Tunisians – who are generally considered cosmopolitan by Mideast standards – said society should accept gays.
To be clear, though, some Christian-majority countries also overwhelmingly say that society shouldn’t accept homosexuality: Ghana and Uganda, both in sub-Saharan Africa.
(2) Western and Latin American countries the most accepting of gays.
As with the data we examined earlier on racial tolerance, European, Anglophone and Latin countries seem to be the most accepting. In fact, only one country outside of those three categories had more than half of respondents accepting homosexuality: the Philippines (more on this later).
The two most accepting countries are Spain and Germany, with 88 and 87 percent, respectively, answering “yes.” Generally, tolerance seems to decline further East in Europe, with about half of respondents in Greece and Poland accepting homosexuality.
Russia, infamously weak on gay rights, scored below Lebanon, with only 16 percent saying gays should be accepted. It doesn’t take long to find anecdotal evidence. On Saturday, a Russian official announced that the country would ban same-sex couples from adopting children out of the country’s notoriously over-filled and sometimes dangerous orphanage system. On Monday, a Russian airport official was beaten to death for being gay.
The U.S. also lags behind much of the Western world by this metric, with only 60 percent answering “yes.” Interestingly, with so many U.S. states now allowing same-sex marriage, those states are ahead of much of Europe on gay rights despite the overall low score on this survey.
(3) Acceptance is rising in the U.S., Canada and South Korea.
Here’s an interesting detail from Pew’s report: Attitudes about homosexuality have been fairly stable in recent years, except in South Korea, the United States and Canada, where the percentage saying homosexuality should be accepted by society has grown by at least ten percentage points since 2007.
It’s actually grown most quickly in South Korea, where’s it’s more than doubled from 18 to 39 percent. That’s still lower than you might expect, though; South Korea is the least accepting of homosexuality among the world’s rich, developed countries. Japan, at 54 percent, isn’t much better.
(4) Religious countries tend to be less accepting of gays.
Pew put together this chart of religiosity versus tolerance of homosexuality, for which they found a pretty clear correlation. (Each of those little dots represents a country; dots further to the right represent more religious countries; dots further to the bottom represent countries that are less accepting of homosexuality.)
Source; Washington Post
Based on a comprehensive World Health Organization report that measures road safety by the number of motor vehicle-related deaths per 100,000 people, the answer is the Dominican Republic.
The Caribbean island nation (it shares the island of Hispanolia with Haiti) reports a staggering 41.7 driving deaths per 100,000 people per year. That means that, in any given year, a Dominican person has a one in 2,398 chance of being killed by a car. That’s not so bad until you extrapolate out by 70 years and find that, over a lifetime, a Dominican’s odds of dying in a car-related accident are one in 480. The WHO report notes that the Dominican Republic has weak helmet and speed laws and even weaker drunk driving laws. More than half of driving related deaths, 58 percent, are of occupants or drivers of two- or three-wheeled vehicles. In other words, motorcycles.
The next 10 most dangerous countries for driving, in descending order, are: Thailand, Venezuela, Iran, Nigeria, South Africa, Iraq, Guinea-Bissau, Oman and Chad. Those countries are marked in dark red on the above map, which visualizes the full WHO data set of road traffic deaths, the statistics for which are estimates based on reported deaths and other factors. The safest countries are in light yellow.
The safest roads tend to be in northern Europe. Iceland is the very safest with only 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 people annually, followed closely by Sweden and then the Palestinian territories, where freedom of movement can be tightly restricted by the Israeli occupation.
The next safest countries are, in descending order: Britain, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland. Denmark, Germany, Ireland and Israel are all tied for eighth-safest.
The WHO report explains that these success stories came not just through safer driving or tougher drunk-driving laws but major government intervention, including “implementation of a number of proven measures that address not only the safety of the road user, but also vehicle safety, the road environment and post-crash care.” Medical care, both in terms of its quality and the physical nearness of hospitals, seems to play a major role in the number of driving-related deaths.
Source: Max Fisher, Washington Post.
Imagine there are no people. Imagine a planet where the sea level is about five to 40 meters (16 to 131 feet) higher than normal. Imagine a planet that is hotter and wetter. Imagine, worldwide, it’s roughly 3 to 4 degrees Celsius (5.4 to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than today. And the North and South poles are even warmer still – as much as 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than today.
Welcome to the Pliocene. That was the Earth about three to five million years ago, very different to the Earth we inhabit now. But in at least one respect it was rather similar. This is the last time that carbon dioxide (CO2) levels were as high as they are today.
On May 9, 2013, CO2 levels in the air reached the level of 400 parts per million (ppm). This is the first time in human history that this milestone has been passed. A preliminary daily average reading of 400.03 ppm was reported by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which operates the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii where these measurements are made. While 400 sounds like just another number whose meaning is hard to grasp – similar to, say, world population recently hitting seven billion – these things do resonate, says Dr. Gavin Schimdt of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “People respond to anniversaries – why is 10 years after 9/11 more worthy of note than nine or 11 years? The importance of crossing 400 ppm is simply that it allows us to mark the occasion, and to demonstrate to the future that we knew where we were headed.”
CO2 is the most important man-made greenhouse gas, which means (in a simple sense) that it acts like a blanket trapping heat near the surface of the Earth. It comes from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, as well as deforestation. The level of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen from around 317 ppm in 1958 (when Charles David Keeling began making his historical measurements at Mauna Loa) to 400 ppm today. It’s projected to reach 450 ppm by the year 2040.
One of the problems is that CO2 lingers, both in the atmosphere and in the oceans (where it is being absorbed and acidifying the waters, with potentially big impacts on marine life). More than half of the CO2 is removed from the atmosphere within a century, but about 20 percent remains in the air for many thousands of years. Because of slow removal processes, even if we massively reduced our emissions of CO2 right now, atmospheric CO2 would continue to increase in the long-term. The CO2 we emit today, and that we have emitted since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, has long-term consequences that future generations will have to live with.
Some scientists, like NASA’s James Hansen, argue that CO2 must be limited to around 350 ppm in order to prevent “dangerous” climate change. As Hansen wrote in a 2008 paper, “If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced … to at most 350 ppm.”
To some, crossing the threshold of 400 ppm is a signal that we are now firmly seated in the “Anthropocene,” a human epoch where people are having major and lasting impacts on the planet. Because of the long lifetime of CO2, to others it means we are marching inexorably towards a “point of no return,” into territory that is unknown for the human race.
Written by : Amber Jenkins, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
World Environment Day is an annual event that is aimed at being the biggest and most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action. World Environment Day activities take place all year round and climax on 5 June every year, involving everyone from everywhere.
World Environment Day 2013 celebrations is Think.Eat.Save
The theme for this year’s World Environment Day celebrations is Think.Eat.Save. Think.Eat.Save is an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages you to reduce your food print. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. This is equivalent to the same amount produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger.
Given this enormous imbalance in lifestyles and the resultant devastating effects on the environment, this year’s theme – Think.Eat.Save – encourages you to become more aware of the environmental impact of the food choices you make and empowers you to make informed decisions.
While the planet is struggling to provide us with enough resources to sustain its 7 billion people (growing to 9 billion by 2050), FAO estimates that a third of global food production is either wasted or lost. Food waste is an enormous drain on natural resources and a contributor to negative environmental impacts.
This year’s campaign rallies you to take action from your home and then witness the power of collective decisions you and others have made to reduce food waste, save money, minimise the environmental impact of food production and force food production processes to become more efficient.
If food is wasted, it means that all the resources and inputs used in the production of all the food are also lost. For example, it takes about 1,000 litres of water to produce 1 litre of milk and about 16,000 litres goes into a cow’s food to make a hamburger. The resulting greenhouse gas emissions from the cows themselves, and throughout the food supply chain, all end up in vain when we waste food.
In fact, the global food production occupies 25% of all habitable land and is responsible for 70% of fresh water consumption, 80% of deforestation, and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. It is the largest single driver of biodiversity loss and land-use change.
Making informed decision therefore means, for example, that you purposefully select foods that have less of an environmental impact, such as organic foods that do not use chemicals in the production process. Choosing to buy locally can also mean that foods are not flown halfway across the world and therefore limit emissions.
So think before you eat and help save our environment!
For More information and materials : CLICK THIS LINK
Urgently need 2 persons having field GPS data surveying experience. They have to work in Slum area of Dhaka city for 12 days. If perform well then they will have more similar job in same area.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Collect GPS points and tracks of existing water points (hand pumps, WASA tube wells, overhead tanks, etc), drainage channels, latrines, solid waste disposal points, and any other significant public infrastructure that could be useful to plan new water works. Illegal connections cannot be mapped individually, but zones with numerous illegal connections could be highlighted in the map, as well as area with significant open defecation, etc.
- Collect GPS points of all schools, health points, Mosques, markets, and any other significant public building/place near which water points / connections would be required.
- Collect estimated population data for each block, or sector/sub-block of Korail slum. . This could later be used in the design of the water system/location of new water points.
Remuneration: Minimum 1000tk per day
Contact: Interested persons are requested to contact within tomorrow through firstname.lastname@example.org.
The latest in the Landsat series of Earth observation satellites, Landsat 8, officially begins its mission on May 30 to extend an unparalleled four-decade record of Earth’s land surface as seen from space. The Landsat program is a joint effort between the U.S. Geological Survey and NASA.
NASA launched the Landsat Data Continuity Mission satellite on February 11. Since then, NASA mission engineers and scientists, with USGS collaboration, have been putting the satellite through its paces – steering it into its orbit, focusing the instruments, calibrating the detectors, and collecting test images. Now fully mission-certified, the satellite will be transferred to USGS operational control and renamed Landsat 8.
As the world’s population surpasses seven billion people, the impact of human society on the planet is increasing. The continuation of Landsat’s four-decade look at Earth will help monitor those impacts and more accurately forecast future environmental change.
A big picture, but more
Landsat images from space are not just pictures. They contain many layers of data collected at different points along the visible and invisible light spectrum. Consequently, Landsat images can show where vegetation is thriving and where it is stressed, where droughts are occurring, and where wildland fire is a danger.
Landsat satellites give us a view as broad as 12,000 square miles per scene while describing land cover in units the size of a baseball diamond. From a distance of more than 400 miles above the earth surface, a single Landsat scene can record the condition of hundreds of thousands of acres of grassland, agricultural crops, or forests.
Landsat images reveal subtle, gradual changes, such as Wyoming rangelands greening up after a drought, as well as massive landscape changes that occur in rapidly growing urban areas. Landsat can also provide broad assessments of sudden natural or human-induced disasters, such as the number of acres charred by a forest fire or the extent of tsunami inundation. Landsat data have been used to monitor water quality, glacier recession, sea ice movement, invasive species encroachment, coral reef health, land use change, deforestation rates, and population growth.
Landsat 8 brings a clearer view
Landsat 8 is about the size of a delivery truck with a 30-foot-long deployed sheet of solar panels. Stocked with a 10-year supply of fuel, the satellite travels at a speed of 17,000 miles per hour. It carries two highly-sensitive observation instruments, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS). Advanced technology increases the reliability and sensitivity of these instruments, while the improved measurements are still compatible with the past Landsat data record.
The technical capabilities of Landsat 8 move forward in three areas in comparison to Landsat 7: increased spectral coverage; higher data precision (the ultimate resolution is not changed); and increased quantity of data collection (60% more scenes per day).
Landsat 8 will orbit Earth once every 99 minutes at an average altitude of 438 miles (705 kilometers), repeating the same ground track every 16 days. As Landsat 8 joins Landsat 7 in imaging the Earth, researchers and natural resource managers will once again be able to receive Landsat data every eight days for any given location. Many Landsat users depend on a short repeat cycle for prompt data on resources such as agricultural crops, forests, and water. The USGS, NASA, and aerospace contractors have worked diligently to ensure that Landsat 8 would be operational in time for the 2013 North American growing season.
Free data for innovation
Beginning May 30, Landsat 8 data will be available from the USGS data archive free of charge. The Department of the Interior and USGS policy of unrestricted access and free distribution of Landsat data encourages researchers everywhere to develop practical applications of the data. Special-purpose applications of Landsat data can serve commercial endeavors in agriculture and forestry; they can enable land managers in and out of government to work more efficiently; they can assist scientists in defining and assessing critical environmental issues. Ready access to authoritative Landsat images provides a reliable common record of Earth conditions that advances the mutual understanding of environmental challenges worldwide by citizens, researchers, and decision makers.
Two visually compelling examples of commercial systems that access the long record of consistent Landsat data to document land cover change around the globe are Google Timelapse and ESRI Change Matters.