Terra blog

Ski resorts warn about climate change

Posted in climate change, environment, temperature, Uncategorized by terrablog on May 31, 2016

Spring snowpack, relied on by ski resorts and water managers throughout the Western United States, may be more vulnerable to a warming climate in coming decades, according to a new University of Utah study.

The study, accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, models the year-to-year variability in precipitation and temperature in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains and other ranges in the West. Jason Scalzitti, a graduate student in atmospheric sciences, and professors Court Strong and Adam Kochanski found that above a threshold elevation, the amount of spring snowpack is dependent more on the amount of precipitation in a year than the temperature. In other words, whether a year is wet matters more than if it’s warm. But below that threshold, temperature matters more. By the end of the century, according to the study, that threshold will move uphill by around 800 feet in the Wasatch and more in the Sierra Nevada, Cascades and parts of the Rocky Mountains.

“In the past we’ve thought mainly about total precipitation as an indicator of how good the ski season’s going to be,” says Strong. “As we move into the future, especially at elevations below the threshold, temperature increases in importance



One of the world’s largest ocean sanctuaries in new zealand

Posted in environment, new zealand, sea, water by terrablog on November 1, 2015

A vast stretch of New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone is being turned into an ocean sanctuary in a landmark deal to preserve one of the most pristine and unique environments on earth. Prime Minister John Key announced the deal in New York Tuesday NZT, and said it would encompass 620,000 km2 in the seas north-east of New Zealand in the Kermadec region.

“The Kermadec Ocean sanctuary will be one of the world’s largest and most significant fully-protected areas, preserving important habitats for seabirds, whales and dolphins, endangered marine turtles and thousands of species of fish and other marine life,” Key said.

This is a remarkable plan, that will potentially save dozens of marine species unique in the area. Congratulations to the New Zealand government for this move.

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Life everywhere ?

Posted in environment, origins of life by terrablog on October 20, 2015

UCLA geochemists have found evidence that life likely existed on Earth at least 4.1 billion years ago—300 million years earlier than previous research suggested. The discovery indicates that life may have begun shortly after the planet formed 4.54 billion years ago.

The new research suggests that life existed prior to the massive bombardment of the inner solar system that formed the moon’s large craters 3.9 billion years ago.

“If all life on Earth died during this bombardment, which some scientists have argued, then life must have restarted quickly,” said Patrick Boehnke, a co-author of the research and a graduate student in Harrison’s laboratory.

This study suggests that life is much easier to find than previously thought, which adds to the hypothesis that universe is full of life.

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‘Huge’ water resources exists under Africa

Posted in environment, water by terrablog on April 22, 2012

Huge water resources exists beneath Africa, according to bbc.co.uk. These reservoirs could help more than 300 million people in Africa, with limited access to water supplies. However, it has been shown before, in places like saudi arabia and sahara desert, that water drilling only helps for a little while.

The real question is: Can water drilling in Africa be done with caution, and only to cover basic needs; With many aquifers not being filled due to a lack of rain, the scientists are worried that large-scale borehole developments could rapidly deplete the resource.

This would likely lead to greater and drier desserts than now, and there is no turning back.

Are Biofuels bio-friendly ?

Posted in biodiversity, Biofuels, carbon emission, environment, pollution by terrablog on December 6, 2011

Biofuels have come under attack lately as scientists claim that they are not as environment friendly as they are supposed to be.  Those who still argue that agrofuels emit much less greenhouse gases than fossil fuels mostly ignore the fact that emissions are released during production, as a result of land-use change, fertiliser application and processing.

Still, many governments, international financial institutions such as the World Bank, and multinational agribusiness, oil and transport companies are promoting agrofuels as a solution to world energy needs.

Bigger Turbines

Posted in carbon emission, environment, science projects, Wind Power by terrablog on January 1, 2011

Manufacturers from around the world are trying to build bigger and bigger turbines, in order to collect more wind energy for each sq. mile of an energy plant.
The 2.5 megawatt turbine has already become the industry standard, surpassing older 1.5 megawatt models.
ENERCON and Siemens are already selling 3 Megawatt turbines, while GE and Goldwing are developing 4 Megawatt models for the near future.
Further in the future, we can expect the 10 Megawatt machines from American Superconductor and Clipper Windpower, while Gamesa will lead a concortium that will try to develop a 15 Megawatt Turbine by 2015.

International Year of Biodiversity

Posted in biodiversity, endangered species, environment by terrablog on January 23, 2010

This year has been declared the International Year of Biodiversity by the United Nations, complete with a full programme of events throughout the world, by various independent organizations.

Zoos, museums, research institutes, libraries and galleries will be focusing on educating students and public alike, at a time when human pressures is threatening and extinguishing an increasing number of species daily.

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Planting trees project drives people away from their land

Posted in carbon emission, environment, kyoto protocol, pollution by terrablog on September 6, 2009

Companies are forced by the Kyoto Protocol to pay for their carbon emmisions or compensate for them with the Clean Development Mechanism, which consists of planting new trees or restoring previously forested areas.

The Dutch foundation “Forests Absorbing Carbon-dioxide Emmissions” (FACE) has adopted the plan, but it may have gone too far, as their project of planting 25,000 hectares of trees in mount Elgon Region of Uganda is under attack from the indigenous communities of the mountain who have lost their land and are driven away from it. Moses Mwanga, chairperson of the Benet Lobby Group, an organisation pushing for the rights of the Benet, points out that the evictions have caused indescribable suffering to the Benet who are now living as squatters, having lost their land and other belongings to armed park rangers.

Cheaper solar panels ?

Posted in environment, Solar power by terrablog on August 27, 2009

The price of solar panels have dropped significantly this year, as a result of increased production of polysilicon, mostly in China.  At the same time, global demand for photovoltaic installations is dropping rapidly, especially in Europe. This has led to a nearly 40% cut in solar panel prices making them actually quite attractive – although not a good investment from an economic standpoint yet.

An investment in solar panels is expected -by todays figures- to pay itself in 16 years (down from 22 years ) which is still not a “good” investment by market values. However, several tax credits and other incentives can greatly reduce the pay back time, and the electricity costs are destined to go up in the following decade anyway.

All in all, it is an investment worth checking out:  I

If you are an individual you will help the environment and put your money on a (modest today, but propably good tomorrow)  investment.

If you are a company, you can promote an environment-friendly profile, save on monthly costs, and although 16 years seem a lot, be sure to check out the possibilities of tax cuts and other  incentives.

Last chance to see.

Posted in endangered species, environment, pollution by terrablog on August 18, 2009

Last chance to see is book by Douglas Adams, about the endangered species of the world.  In the book, Adams talks about a number of species, all of them being close to extinction. One of them is the Yangtze River Dolphin, in China. I should say “One of them was the Yangtze River Dolphin, in China”.