Climate change is affecting the nights – Temperatures are rising faster

A new British study that describes how the climate is changing temperatures

Climate change affects nights and days differently in much of the world, including Europe, with the former raising temperatures faster than the latter. This shows a new British scientific study, according to which between 1983-2017 there was a difference of rise above 0.25 degrees Celsius in the average annual temperature between nights and days on about half the planet.

In recent decades the days are heating up faster in some countries and the nights in others, but the total land area of ​​the Earth where the temperature rises the most at night is more than double that of the region where the temperature rises faster during the day.

Europe, West Africa, southwestern America and Central Asia are among the regions where nighttime temperatures are rising faster than daytime. In contrast, in the southern United States, Mexico and the Middle East, days are heating up faster.

This “temperature asymmetry” is largely due to changes in cloud cover levels. Increased clouds block the sun’s rays and thus drop the temperature during the day, while maintaining a relatively high temperature and humidity at night. The opposite happens when the clouds decrease, so more heat reaches the Earth during the day and is lost at night.

Researchers at the University of Exeter, led by Dr. Daniel Cox, who published in the journal Global Change Biology, said that “this asymmetry has potentially significant implications for the natural world.” According to Cox, “the greatest rise in temperature at night is related to the wetter climate, which has important implications for plant growth and how species such as mammals and insects interact.

Astronomers have discovered strange objects in the center of our galaxy, possibly a new hybrid star type

sky space dark galaxy

A new class of strange objects in the center of our galaxy, not far from the central “Sagittarius A* ” black hole, have been discovered by American astronomers.

These objects, called G, “look like gases and behave like stars,” according to scientists.

The G’s are curiously volatile, as they are usually like stars, but when their orbits bring them close to the black hole, they stretch and “overflow” like Tiramola or chewing gum. This is probably a new hybrid type of star, unknown up until now.

Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) have published this in the journal, Nature.

Six G objects have been found so far and, according to astrophysics professor Andrea Gates, all were once giant double stars (one orbiting the other), which were once merged due to the strong gravitational effect of “Sagittarius A*”. Now some of them seem to leak their mass to the black hole every time they approach it, so they change their shape.

The first object G1 was discovered in 2005 and was then considered an astronomical anomaly until G2 was found in 2012. Now, after the discovery of G3, G4, G5 and G6 and after 13 years of observations with the Hawaii Keck telescope, scientists can speak of not an abnormality but of a new class of objects in space whose exact nature is under investigation.

Objects G are just a few light months away from the central black hole, while Earth is about 26,000 light years away in the “outskirts” of our galaxy.

Superblocks, Barcelona’s innovative design that brings the city back to its inhabitants

aerial photography of city

Some of the largest cities in the world have a larger population and a larger economy even than whole countries. But as they grow in size and become increasingly complex, they also face major problems, daily threats to the health and well-being of their residents.

Overcrowding, pollution and lack of free space are some of the issues that are evolving into major problems in modern big cities, stigmatizing everyday life and living in the urban environment.

Response can be addressed, as cities can manage their resources and priorities in order to create a sustainable environment for visitors but especially for residents, while leaving room for innovation and development. And here’s the example of Barcelona, ​​Spain, where this new urban design first introduced the ‘superblocks’ in 2016.

The “superblocks” are neighborhoods of nine blocks, where vehicles are allowed only on the roads around these blocks, making the rest more freely available for pedestrians and cyclists. The aim is to reduce the pollution caused by vehicles and to rid the public of the rather undestimated, but rather harmless, noise pollution. These neighborhoods are designed to create more free spaces where residents can meet, discuss, converse and do various activities.

city spain dense

Health and Wellbeing – The Barcelona example

Today there are six such superblocks, including the first one implemented in Eixample. The change it has brought seems to be largely accepted by residents while the long-term benefits are far from negligible. Within the “neighborhood” they form, only emergency vehicles are allowed while the parking for residents is underground.

Vehicles occupy 60% of public spaces in the city,” Urban Development Deputy Mayor Janet Sanz explained in a recent interview with the BBC. “As soon as the space is redistributed and the situation is brought to a new balance, groups of citizens are supported, who until then had no access to these sites.”

After all, where did one imagine that he could find quiet corners in the bustling and vibrant capital of Catalonia? To hear only the laughter of the children playing in the playground and the peep of the birds. There should be no cars and traffic and the space that would occupy the cars has been turned over for play, green, and even a lane for running.

Obviously there are also objections from citizens who either want their cars out of the backyard of their home or have a business and are afraid that their jobs may be affected by restricting vehicle traffic.

But a recent Barcelona Institute of Public Health survey estimates that if planning for 503 superblocks in the city goes ahead as planned, traffic will be reduced by 230,000 cars a week as citizens will switch to public transport, walking or riding the bicycle.

The research notes that this could bring about significant improvements in air quality and noise levels on roads where traffic will be banned. Nitrogen dioxide levels are expected to fall by 25%, bringing the levels within the limits recommended.

The plan is expected to bring significant health benefits to residents. According to the study, 667 premature deaths could be prevented each year from air pollution, noise and heat. More green spaces will encourage citizens to go out more and adopt a more active lifestyle

This, in turn, helps reduce obesity and diabetes and relieves the workforce of health services. Researchers argue that Barcelona residents can live an extra 200 days only thanks to the cumulative health benefits of implementing the plan across the city.

The benefits relate to psychological and physical health. Access to open spaces can be an antidote to loneliness and isolation, especially for older people, as communities develop stronger bonds and become more resilient.

brown painted infrastructure beside trees

The idea of ​​Salvador Rueda

The first idea for the “superblocks” came from Salvador Rueda, director of the Barcelona Department of Urban Ecology, who says it could be applied to any city. However, the authorities who are interested in superblocks in their city should take into account a number of issues.

Such changes require significant investment. Indeed, as the roads will be transformed with the right furniture and plenty of green, the remaining roads where traffic will be allowed will obviously need to take on a greater traffic load.

Further investment in infrastructure, such as the improvement of roads around each neighborhood, may also be required to meet the increased volume of vehicles and the installation of ‘smart’ traffic management systems, which may be necessary for avoiding traffic jams. And the question remains: How will such investments be financed, given that the increase in municipal fees or any taxation is not expected to be warmly welcomed?

One has to consider – and it has already been observed – that when a place becomes more desirable it leads to increased demand for real estate. Higher prices and increased rents can create neighborhoods inaccessible to citizens and possibly ‘ostracize’ residents.

It is also important that Barcelona is an old but well-designed European city. The challenges are different in cities that are now emerging in Asia, Africa or Latin America, but also in the newer cities in the US and Australia. There are large differences in scale, population density, urban form, development patterns and the industrial context. Many large cities in the developing world face serious problems of overcrowding, uncontrolled and unregulated development and weak regulatory frameworks.

However, Seattle authorities in the US, who are looking for a similar framework, are already considering the idea.

“Copying” what is happening in Barcelona can prove to be very difficult in such places and will require much greater changes. But it is also true that the basic principles of superblocks – the priority of pedestrians, cyclists and public spaces over vehicles – can be applied, with the necessary adjustments, to any city.

In any case, successful urban planning needs a clear vision for the future and a roadmap for how that vision can be realized. A vision that is achievable when it is shared with citizens, local businesses, private and public organizations. This can ensure that all stakeholders share ownership and responsibility for the success of local initiatives.

Australia: They will kill over 10,000 camels because they drink too much water

bunch of camels in desert dune

Australia is experiencing an untold tragedy that seems to have no end. Wildfires have burned much of the country, dozens have been killed and thousands of animals have been tragically killed in the blaze.

At the same time, according to international media quoted by The Australian newspaper, over 10,000 camels are expected to be killed as they drink a lot of water!

In particular, according to reports, over 10,000 camels will be killed in an attempt to control their population in Australia, where people are suffering from wildfires and droughts.

The mass killing of animals will begin on Wednesday, January 9, at the behest of indigenous Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara leaders. The company has taken over professional shooters who will shoot the animals from helicopters.

Camels are known for their resistance to desert conditions, as well as their need for plenty of water, which they get from the fat stored in their bends.

Locals are complaining about mammal invasions looking for water on their property … as they smell it from miles.

We live in hot and difficult conditions and we feel uncomfortable because camels come in, demolish fences, get into our belongings and try to find water even from air conditioners,” said one resident.

Some people, even with such heat, are unable to open their air conditioners, fearing that the camels will attack the air conditioners for their humidity,” said a spokesman for the New South Wales Environment and Water Authority (DEW).

In fact, Marita Baker emphasizes that their need for plenty of water is not only a problem for residents but also for the local ecosystem.

As she says, the large increase in the camel population has caused a number of problems: On one hand, the soil and aquifers are contaminated by the tusks of animals dying of thirst or killing each other for some water.

On the other hand, concern about high greenhouse gas emissions has arise, as these animals emit methane equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide per year.

These animals have caused significant damage to infrastructure, danger to families and communities, increased grazing in Aboriginal lands and critical public health issues,” adds DEW.

The camel population control operation is estimated to cost $ 1.2 million and is expected to be completed in five days. According to international media, dead animals will be allowed to dry before being buried or cremated.

Camels arrived on the continent from India and Afghanistan in the 19th century for the needs of the construction and transportation sectors.

Gravitational waves from neutron star collision were probably detected for the second time

blue and red galaxy artwork

Another important finding in the science of astrophysics. For the second time, gravitational waves have been detected on Earth, that were most likely  from a distant unusual catastrophic event, a two-star neutron collision.

The announcement was made by the US-Europe international research consortium of LIGO and VIRGO observatories.

The first detection of a similar origin for gravitational waves was in August 2017, in a galaxy 130 million light-years away from our planet. The second detection, over 500 million light-years away, was done only by the LIGO detector in Louisiana, as the second in Washington was temporarily disabled while the European in Pisa, Italy, was not sensitive enough to “catch” the light. signals.

Usually, the international network uses all three of its observatories to confirm a discovery, but this time it did not.

Most of the gravitational waves detected to date (beginning in 2015) are probably from colliding black holes rather than neutron stars. The latter are very dense remnants of devastated giant stars about the size of a city, which swirl swiftly and may sometimes merge with a similar neighboring star, which sends gravitational waves into space.

Scientists calculated that the total mass of the merging second pair of neutron stars was 3.4 times larger than our Sun. Up to now, pairs of neutron stars with a combined mass of up to 2.9 times larger than the Sun have been discovered in our galaxy.

This is clearly heavier than any other pair of neutron stars that has ever been observed,” said Katerina Hadjiioannou, a Greek astronomer and a researcher with the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the New York Flatiron Institute’s Interferometer-Laser Observer at the American Astronomical Society’s annual convention in Honolulu, Hawaii. A related publication will follow in the astrophysical journal “The Astrophysical Journal Letters”, as quoted by the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.

She did not completely rule out the possibility of gravitational waves not coming from neutron stars, but from merging between two “light-weight” black holes (the smallest they would have ever found) or between a black hole and a neutron star. . As Hadjiioannou said, after the merging of the two star neutrons, they collided gravitationally, creating a black hole.

In any case, gravitational waves are increasingly paving the way for a new multimessenger astronomy, in which scientists have a variety of sources of information about the same phenomenon. Another relevant detector will soon be operational in Japan.

Why some countries pull fireworks off the shelves

crowd of people enjoying on concert

Fireworks yes or no? The debate on climate protection is intensifying just before the end of the year. A number of retailers this year are pulling out of their shelves fireworks, a highly lucrative commodity designed to contribute to better environmental protection.

”The show lasts an hour but we need animal protection and fresh air daily. And the fireworks are not compatible with them”,says Uli Butnik. Rewe’s supermarkets, in south Dortmund, will not have fireworks on their shelves this year.

For many environmental activists, fireworks have been a major problem for years because they cause suspended particulates and are dangerous to animals and children.

German Environment Assistance believes that it is time for change, as citizens are more aware of environmental issues than ever before.

And it’s not just some branches of the Rewe chain that will stop selling fireworks. From 2020 onwards, the Hornbach Building and Construction Materials chain, will not sell these products. A spokesman for the Edeka chain in Bochum will also avoid the sale of festive fireworks, noting that “there is a lot of hypocrisy in the world.” The subject of suspended microparticles is in all mouths all year long, except for New Year’s.

Great demand despite awareness

Traders point out that they are reluctant to sell festive fireworks, a significantly profitable product without even knowing how consumers will react. The competition is great and if the customer does not find what he is looking for in one store he will go to the next.

The industry across Germany last year made a turnover of 133 million euros and estimates that this year it will move to the same level.

Uwe Krieger of the Cologne Institute for Trade Research estimates that demand will remain very high.“I don’t think consumers will spend less money on fireworks this year. Demand is high and it would not be good for customers not to be served”, so big supermarket chains such as Aldi, Lidl, Kaufland and Real have announced that they will continue to sell fireworks because customers are still willing to buy.

Australia: Tuesday was the hottest day in history with average temperatures above 40 degrees

adult beach enjoyment fat

Australia had the hottest day in its history yesterday, with the average temperature in the country reaching a historic high of 40.9 degrees Celsius.

The Australian Meteorological Service said ”the extensive heat pushed the mercury above its previous record of 40.3 degrees Celsius”, which was recorded on 7 January 2013.

”The temperature was recorded while Australia was still battling both severe drought and the fire crisis”, as the BBC notes.

Indeed, meteorologists are expecting even more heat later in the week, which means that the current record may soon be surpassed.

Many sub-record temperatures were also surpassed this Tuesday in Australia and in some places the thermometer was even above 45 degrees.

Earlier this week, Perth recorded temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius for three consecutive days.

As hundreds of fires rage, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has received strong criticism for his response to natural disasters and his government’s climate policy.

Millions of people are threatened by rising ocean levels

cottages in the middle of beach

By 2050, coastal areas with 300 million people may be threatened by rising ocean levels linked to climate change, according to a study released recently.

The region most at risk is Asia, says a study published in Nature Communications. More than two-thirds of the population under threat are in China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.

Using an artificial intelligence method, the researchers corrected existing altitude data for coastal areas, which may have been incorrect and could have underestimated the extent of lands threatened by heavy storms and flooding.

Predictions about rising ocean levels have not changed,” Ben Strauss, one of the study’s co-authors and chairman-director of Climate Central, a US-based research institute, explained to the French agency. “But when we use the new ground-based data, we find that more vulnerable people live in the vulnerable areas than we had previously estimated,” he continued.

Free data provided by NASA through the SRTM program – with 95% of the Earth mapped – may contain errors. About five years ago, Ben Strauss and Scott Kelp found, comparing these data with others, that the SRTM system consistently overestimated the height of the sea shore because it confused the roofs of the houses and the trees with the ground level.

For most coastal areas around the globe we didn’t know the height of the ground beneath our feet,” Ben Strauss explained.

Combined threats

The population of the planet, which now stands at 7.7 billion, can grow by 2 billion by 2050 and by another billion by the end of the century. Many of these people live in seaside big cities.

Today, about 100 million people live in areas below sea level. Some are protected by dams but most have no protection.

Climate change has the potential to reshape cities, economies, entire regions of the globe,” said Scott Kelp, the lead author of the study.

For these populations the threats are manifold: one is the rising ocean levels as the ice melts in Greenland. Since 2006 the level has risen by four millimeters a year, a rate that could be multiplied by hundreds if gas emissions remain at current levels, a group of climate experts warned last month.

Water, the most important good

clean clear cold drink

‘Cape Town, South Africa. 4.5 million people are anxious for some water. Endless queues at municipal stations that distribute water with the bulletin, everyone is entitled to only 25 liters a day. All this under the supervision of the police, to avoid riots and looting. ” This is the nightmare scenario of ‘zero time’ in a country affected by drought and water scarcity. It is not far from the reality, as today in Cape Town the water is distributed by ferry, 50 liters a day, until the rains start and the water tanks are replenished.

Last autumn the drought hit Morocco as well. In the city of Zagora, riots broke out among residents waiting in the queue, in intolerable heat, for some water. The water level in Spain has been lower than ever before, where agricultural production accounts for 85% of stocks. And the demand for the most precious commodity will continue to grow, as will the global population. Environmental pollution and deforestation for logging, mass livestock breeding and other uses further reduce the available water resources. According to the United Nations, one third of the planet is already suffering from water scarcity.

Adaptation to climate change is essential

Climate change is added to all of these risk factors. Therefore, safeguarding water resources is a top priority in most countries that formulate climate action plans. Inna Dobrovsky from the German Institute for Development Policy has studied the strategy of the 196 countries that sign the UN’s international climate protection treaty and concludes that “most national action plans cover rather well adapted climate change measures even in developing countries. However, long-term, viable solutions are missing. Sufficient priority is not given to the protection of ecosystems and the proper management of water resources. “

Germany is one of the countries that are lucky enough to have water surpluses. According to the latest available data dating from 2013, the water resources available exceed seven times the needs of households, industry and agricultural production. But that does not mean that water quality is always appropriate. In 2016, the Commission brought a case before the European Court of Justice against Germany for excessively high nitrate levels in the aquifer. The German government should have addressed the problem by legislative intervention by 2012, the statement of reasons for the appeal states. High nitrate levels are presumably due to the intensive use of organic fertilizers in agricultural crops.

Drinking water in Germany

However, according to the competent authorities, this does not pose a risk to the quality of the drinking water, which is closely monitored. Even in high-risk areas, providers drill deeper or resort to contaminants so that nitrate values ​​in drinking water do not exceed the permissible limits. As, according to the deutsche welle, says Ingrid Korey of the German Federal Scientific Service for the Environment “we haven’t exceeded the limits anywhere. We could also use the technical ability to remove nitrate, but this is not our first choice because it significantly increases the cost. “

Although the authorities appear reassuring, many Germans drink bottled water. Some people prefer it for its taste and not for health reasons. With a new directive on the quality of drinking water, the Commission encourages European citizens to prefer tap water anyway, on the grounds that plastic bottles of bottled water are particularly harmful to the environment. As for the United Nations, they are launching a ten-year awareness campaign on the most valuable asset on the planet. After all, experts point out, ensuring the water’s sufficiency and quality is a prerequisite for achieving all other, ambitious environmental goals by 2030.

Global warming is at risk of derailment

black bird perched on bare tree

The planet is now almost off target to keep the temperature rise to one-and-a-half degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, but it is moving at two or three degrees Celsius, which will make climate change a serious threat by 2040. The dramatic warning-appeal is addressed by a significant 33-page report by scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The one and a half degree barrier can be surpassed somewhere in 2030 and once that limit is exceeded, even half a degree Celsius will lead to a significant increase in the risk of droughts, floods, heatwaves and poverty for many millions of people.

The last hope of catching the increasingly difficult goal of rising to one and a half degrees is, according to the report, “to make rapid, wide and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society“. Scientists point out that the “window of opportunity” is not yet closed, but humanity is close to it if it does not act decisively in four areas: energy, land use, cities and industry.

aerial view atmosphere clouds cold front

The report, presented at an international meeting in South Korea, according to the BBC and The Guardian, points out that “reducing one-and-a-half degree overcurrents has many benefits compared to moderating the rise to two degrees, as it will actually reduce the impacts of climate change in very important ways.

The report estimates that governments and individuals will need massive investment of around 2.5% of world GDP annually (about $ 2.4 trillion annually) over the next two decades to keep the planet below the “threshold” of one and a half degrees.

To meet this target, global carbon emissions must be reduced by 45% by 2030. Renewable energy sources must provide 85% of global electricity by 2050, and carbon use must be almost zero. Up to seven million square kilometers of land – an area almost as large as Australia – will be needed for energy crops (biofuels), with global net greenhouse gas emissions set to be cut by 2050.

A two-degree increase in temperature will, among other things, eradicate valuable coral reefs, accelerate ice melting, global sea levels will rise by about ten centimeters, and negatively affect the yield of important agricultural crops ( wheat, etc.).