climate

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The semiconductor industry has a problem. Demand is booming for silicon chips, which are embedded in everything from smartphones and televisions to wind turbines, but it comes at a big cost: a huge carbon footprint.

The industry presents a paradox. Meeting global climate goals will, in part, rely on semiconductors. They’re integral to electric vehicles, solar arrays and wind turbines. But chip manufacturing also contributes to the climate crisis. It requires huge amounts of energy and water – a chip fabrication plant, or fab, can use millions of gallons of water a day – and creates hazardous waste.

As the semiconductor industry finds itself increasingly under the spotlight, it is starting to grapple with its climate impacts. Last week Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest chipmaker, which supplies chips to Apple, pledged to reach net zero emissions by 2050. The company aims to “broaden our green influence and drive the industry towards low-carbon sustainability”, said the TSMC chairman, Mark Lui.

But decarbonizing the industry will be a big challenge.

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The world broke a major record last month — although it has little reason to brag about the milestone.

July was the hottest month ever recorded, according to data released Friday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — an “unenviable distinction” that could ratchet up anxiety about climate change.

“In this case, first place is the worst place to be,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said in a statement. “July is typically the world’s warmest month of the year, but July 2021 outdid itself as the hottest July and month ever recorded.”

He said the record “adds to the disturbing and disruptive path that climate change has set for the globe.”

The world broke a major record last month — although it has little reason to brag about the milestone.

July was the hottest month ever recorded, according to data released Friday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — an “unenviable distinction” that could ratchet up anxiety about climate change.

“In this case, first place is the worst place to be,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said in a statement. “July is typically the world’s warmest month of the year, but July 2021 outdid itself as the hottest July and month ever recorded.”

He said the record “adds to the disturbing and disruptive path that climate change has set for the globe.”

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If Earth had a pulse, it might be The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) – a swirl of ocean currents that carries tropical heat north towards polar waters.

Over the past century this global heartbeat has eased, slowing to a speed not seen in more than a millennium. New research based on a range of indices has now bolstered views that the weakening isn't a trivial one, and critical transition is imminent.

The study conducted by climate scientist Niklas Boers from Freie Universität Berlin in Germany is just the latest to point out how the AMOC appears to be inching towards a major tipping point.

His research, recently published in Nature Climate Change, affirms the AMOC can remain relatively stable in two, distinct states.

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Top climate scientists have admitted they failed to predict the intensity of the German floods and the North American heat dome.

They've correctly warned over decades that a fast-warming climate would bring worse bursts of rain and more damaging heatwaves.

But they say their computers are not powerful enough to accurately project the severity of those extremes.

They want governments to spend big on a shared climate super-computer.

Computers are fundamental to weather forecasting and climate change, and computing will underpin the new climate science “Bible”, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) next month.

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A huge ice block has broken off from western Antarctica into the Weddell Sea, becoming the largest iceberg in the world and earning the name A-76.

It is the latest in a series of large ice blocks to dislodge in a region acutely vulnerable to climate change, although scientists said in this case it appeared to be part of a natural polar cycle.

Slightly larger than the Spanish island of Majorca, A-76 had been monitored by scientists since May 13 when it began to separate from the Ronne Ice Shelf, according to the US National Ice Center.

The iceberg, measuring around 170 kilometres (105 miles) long and 25 kilometres wide, with an area of 4,320 square kilometres is now floating in the Weddell Sea.

It joins previous world's largest title holder A-23A—approximately 3,880 sq km in size—which has remained in the same area since 1986.

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Our world is hugged by complex layers of gases that make up the atmosphere. They protect and nurture all life as we know it. Now, we're shrinking an entire one of those layers – the stratosphere – thanks to the profound impacts we are having on our planet.

An alarming new study has found that the thickness of the stratosphere has already shrunk by 400 meters (1,312 feet) since 1980. While local decreases in the stratosphere's thickness have previously been reported, this is the first examination of this phenomenon on a global scale.

"It is shocking," one of the research team, University of Vigo Earth physicist Juan Añel told Damian Carrington at The Guardian. "This proves we are messing with the atmosphere up to 60 kilometers."

Enveloping the sky around 20 to 60 kilometers (12 to 37 miles) above us, the stratosphere blankets the atmospheric layer we're breathing (the troposphere). Few clouds venture this high and only the occasional birds. It holds the all-important ozone layer, which we've already wreaked havoc upon through our emissions of CFCs.

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Glaciers are melting more quickly, losing 31 per cent more snow and ice per year than they did 15 years ago, according to three-dimensional satellite measurements of all the world's mountain glaciers.

Using 20 years of recently declassified satellite data, scientists calculated that the world's 220,000 mountain glaciers have been losing more than 298 billion metric tonnes of ice and snow per year since 2015, according to a study in Wednesday's journal Nature.

The annual melt rate from 2015 to 2019 is 71 billion metric tonnes more per year than it was from 2000 to 2004.

Global thinning rates, different than volume of water lost, doubled in the last 20 years.

Half the world's glacial loss is coming from the United States and Canada.

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Reforestation is one of the ways we have of trying to mitigate climate change, but choosing where to plant trees is a more complex decision than you might think. This is why researchers have now come up with an interactive map showing the best spots to reforest in the US.

It's called the Reforestation Hub, and it color codes counties to show the reforestation opportunity or potential for success in each area. The team behind the map is hoping it proves a valuable resource for the government and individual conservation agencies.

"Often the information we need to make informed decisions about where to deploy reforestation already exists, it's just scattered across a lot of different locations," says forest restoration scientist Susan Cook-Patton, from the Nature Conservancy organization.

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Planet Earth is losing 1.2 trillion tons of ice every single year, a new study has confirmed.

The grim milestone was published in the journal Cryosphere, revealing that the loss of ice is up by nearly 60% since 1994, thanks to the acceleration of global warming.

Between the years of 1994 and 2017, Earth lost 28 trillion tons of ice – enough to cover the UK with a 300ft deep layer sheet – a sum which is only set to continue rising as the Earth’s atmosphere continues to rise in temperature.

Meanwhile, sea levels have risen by 1.3 inches globally since 1994.

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