Climate

Earth Atmosphere Exceeds 400 ppm of Co2

May 25, 2013 - 10:24:43 PM

Carbon Concentration

Source: SustainableBusiness.com

Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere could rise above 400 parts per million (ppm) for sustained lengths of time throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere as soon as mid-May.

Today, measurements at the Hawaii station show concentrations of 399.50 ppm ... pretty darn close to 400, according to scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California/ San Diego.

If you'll remember, 350 ppm is the level the entire world has agreed not to exceed because that's when feedback loops and uncontrollable climate change is likely to kick in (as we've begun to see with vastly more wildfires, droughts, floods and storms).

"I wish it weren't true, but it looks like the world is going to blow through the 400-ppm level without losing a beat," says Ralph Keeling, whose has taken over for his father who created the "Keeling Curve" to track daily carbon levels. 

It's hard to comprehend, but last time there was 400 ppm of carbon in the atmosphere was 3.2 million to 5 million years ago, during the Pliocene period.

Carbon levels reached about 415 ppm during the Pliocene, with global average temperatures 3-4 degrees C (5.4-7.2 degrees F) higher than today and as much as 10 degrees C (18 degrees F) warmer at the poles. Sea level ranged between 16-131 feet higher than today, according to Scripps.

"At this pace we'll hit 450 ppm within a few decades," warns Keeling. 

Prior to the Industrial Revolution carbon levels were 280 ppm and rose gradually to 316 ppm by 1958 when Keeling's father began daily measurements. The rate of rise of CO2 over the past century is unprecedented; there is no known period in geologic history when such high rates have been found. The continuous rise is a direct consequence of society's heavy reliance on fossil fuels for energy, Keeling says. 

You can track daily levels of carbon here or on Twitter.

Website: http://keelingcurve.ucsd.edu/


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Groasis Waterboxx Enables Trees to Survive in Arid Regions

October 29, 2010 - 01:20:22 PM

Waterboxx wide

Using the principles of biomimicry, the Groasis Waterboxx enables plants to establish themselves and survive even in the most arid regions of the world, just the way nature does it. Pieter Hoff, founder of AquaPro and inventor of the product, hopes to use the new device to combat hunger, desertification, and climate change.    

 

Hoff has developed a round, 20-inch-wide container crafted from polypropylene that is placed over a two small seedlings. The container is a resevoir for enough water for a full year of micro-drip irrigation. The chamber, which is designed to prevent evaportation, collects rainwater but also maximizes the formation of dew droplets. In some climates dew may be the only frequent source of plant moisture. The Waterboxx design effectively capatures and tranfers condensation into the water reservoir.  A wick goes into the ground beneath the box, slowly dripping 50 ml of water to the plant’s root system everyday.

Waterboxx Cross SectionAs the plant grows, its roots reach deeper and deeper in the ground, eventually finding their own water source. If all goes well the box can be removed after one year.

Popular Science selected The Groasis Waterboxx as  as one of the top 10 inventions of 2010.

These three videos explain how it works very well:

http://www.youtube.com/user/Groasiswaterboxx#p/u/3/lGnhZEye-to

http://www.youtube.com/user/Groasiswaterboxx#p/u/13/mimakdbmd_k

http://www.youtube.com/user/Groasiswaterboxx#p/u/28/HRF2bUBPA90


Operation Hope: Winner of the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge

October 29, 2010 - 11:40:36 AM

Operation HopeThe Winner of the 2010 Buckminster Fuler Challenge is Operation Hope, submitted by Allan Savory on Behlalf of the Africa Center for Holistic Management 

"This project demonstrates how to reverse desertification of the world’s savannas and grasslands, thereby contributing enormously to mitigating climate change, biomass burning, drought, flood, drying of rivers and underground waters, disappearing wildlife, massive poverty, social breakdown, violence and genocide."

ENTRY APPLICATION: PDF

WEBSITE: Africa Center for Holistic Management

WEBSITE: Savory Institiute

VIDEO: Lecture at Trinity College,Dublin (1hr)

SLIDE SHOW: Project team in the field in Africa

Critical Need Being Addressed

"Viewed holistically biodiversity loss/desertification/climate change are one issue not three. Without reversing desertification, climate change cannot be adequately addressed. This project has demonstrated that livestock can reverse desertification, even during droughts, over the largest areas of the Earth’s land – the grasslands and savannas."

Description of Initiative

"Our work established a previously unsuspected cause of desertification – that humans of all ages and cultures make decisions using the same core decision framework. Flaws in this universal framework made world-wide desertification inevitable. Modifications, explained in "Holistic Management" A New Framework for Decision Making" Savory & Butterfield Second Edition 1999, Island Press, make reversing desertification possible."

"This work, begun in the early 60s gave erratic results. Since 1984 when the decision-making piece of the puzzle fell into place, as long as the process is followed results in restored grasslands have been consistent and can be guaranteed."

"In this particular project ACHM has demonstrated on 6500 acres of grasslands in Zimbabwe the process of reversing desertification. Livestock have increased 400% using holistic planned grazing and we now enjoy open water, water lilies and fish a kilometer above where water has been known before in the dry season. The livestock are integrated with Africa’s big game avoiding competition and wildlife are on the increase. Currently, we can barely keep pace with grass growth even in dry years. This is greatly influencing scientists, NGO’s and pastoralists from all over Africa."  READ MORE »


A Generational Challenge to Repower America

July 23, 2008 - 06:34:23 PM


Al Gore speaks at DAR Constitution Hall on 7/17/08

Ladies and Gentleman:

There are times in the history of our nation when our very way of life depends upon dispelling illusions and awakening to the challenge of a present danger. In such moments, we are called upon to move quickly and boldly to shake off complacency, throw aside old habits and rise, clear-eyed and alert, to the necessity of big changes. Those who, for whatever reason, refuse to do their part must either be persuaded to join the effort or asked to step aside. This is such a moment. The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk. And even more - if more should be required - the future of human civilization is at stake.

I don't remember a time in our country when so many things seemed to be going so wrong simultaneously. Our economy is in terrible shape and getting worse, gasoline prices are increasing dramatically, and so are electricity rates. Jobs are being outsourced. Home mortgages are in trouble. Banks, automobile companies and other institutions we depend upon are under growing pressure. Distinguished senior business leaders are telling us that this is just the beginning unless we find the courage to make some major changes quickly.

The climate crisis, in particular, is getting a lot worse - much more quickly than predicted. Scientists with access to data from Navy submarines traversing underneath the North polar ice cap have warned that there is now a 75 percent chance that within five years the entire ice cap will completely disappear during the summer months. This will further increase the melting pressure on Greenland. According to experts, the Jakobshavn glacier, one of Greenland's largest, is moving at a faster rate than ever before, losing 20 million tons of ice every day, equivalent to the amount of water used every year by the residents of New York City.

Two major studies from military intelligence experts have warned our leaders about the dangerous national security implications of the climate crisis, including the possibility of hundreds of millions of climate refugees destabilizing nations around the world.

Just two days ago, 27 senior statesmen and retired military leaders warned of the national security threat from an "energy tsunami" that would be triggered by a loss of our access to foreign oil. Meanwhile, the war in Iraq continues, and now the war in Afghanistan appears to be getting worse.

And by the way, our weather sure is getting strange, isn't it? There seem to be more tornadoes than in living memory, longer droughts, bigger downpours and record floods. Unprecedented fires are burning in California and elsewhere in the American West. Higher temperatures lead to drier vegetation that makes kindling for mega-fires of the kind that have been raging in Canada, Greece, Russia, China, South America, Australia and Africa. Scientists in the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Science at Tel Aviv University tell us that for every one degree increase in temperature, lightning strikes will go up another 10 percent. And it is lightning, after all, that is principally responsible for igniting the conflagration in California today.

Like a lot of people, it seems to me that all these problems are bigger than any of the solutions that have thus far been proposed for them, and that's been worrying me.

I'm convinced that one reason we've seemed paralyzed in the face of these crises is our tendency to offer old solutions to each crisis separately - without taking the others into account. And these outdated proposals have not only been ineffective - they almost always make the other crises even worse.

Yet when we look at all three of these seemingly intractable challenges at the same time, we can see the common thread running through them, deeply ironic in its simplicity: our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels is at the core of all three of these challenges - the economic, environmental and national security crises.

We're borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that's got to change.

But if we grab hold of that common thread and pull it hard, all of these complex problems begin to unravel and we will find that we're holding the answer to all of them right in our hand.
The answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels.

In my search for genuinely effective answers to the climate crisis, I have held a series of "solutions summits" with engineers, scientists, and CEOs. In those discussions, one thing has become abundantly clear: when you connect the dots, it turns out that the real solutions to the climate crisis are the very same measures needed to renew our economy and escape the trap of ever-rising energy prices. Moreover, they are also the very same solutions we need to guarantee our national security without having to go to war in the Persian Gulf.

What if we could use fuels that are not expensive, don't cause pollution and are abundantly available right here at home?

We have such fuels. Scientists have confirmed that enough solar energy falls on the surface of the earth every 40 minutes to meet 100 percent of the entire world's energy needs for a full year. Tapping just a small portion of this solar energy could provide all of the electricity America uses.

And enough wind power blows through the Midwest corridor every day to also meet 100 percent of US electricity demand. Geothermal energy, similarly, is capable of providing enormous supplies of electricity for America.

The quickest, cheapest and best way to start using all this renewable energy is in the production of electricity. In fact, we can start right now using solar power, wind power and geothermal power to make electricity for our homes and businesses.

But to make this exciting potential a reality, and truly solve our nation's problems, we need a new start.

That's why I'm proposing today a strategic initiative designed to free us from the crises that are holding us down and to regain control of our own destiny. It's not the only thing we need to do. But this strategic challenge is the lynchpin of a bold new strategy needed to re-power America.

Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years.

This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative. It represents a challenge to all Americans - in every walk of life: to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and to every citizen.

A few years ago, it would not have been possible to issue such a challenge.  READ MORE »


Climate Alive!

April 16, 2008 - 09:21:12 PM


PRESS PLAY

CLIMATE ALIVE ! An *excellent* seven-minute film about Asheville North Carolina's role in understanding climate change.

"The need has never been greater for accurate and understandable information about climate change and its impacts.

The Centers for Environmental and Climatic Interaction (CECI) is a non-profit partnership among government, academia and industry that provides trusted climate change information and analysis to policymakers, business leaders and the public.

Located in Asheville, North Carolina, home of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, CECI provides innovative education strategies, natural resource impact analysis, visualization technologies and other tools for making crucial decisions.

Leading edge visualization tools, including geodomes designed and produced by the Asheville-based company, The Elumenati , are a key component of the city’s climate services skill set.  READ MORE »