The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
'Scary': Warming of Oceans Is Equivalent to 1.5 Atomic Bombs Every Second Over Past 150 Years
By Julia Conley
Carbon emissions are affecting life in all of Earth's ecosystems—contributing to drought, flooding and the melting of ice in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. But a new study by researchers at Oxford University details how the planet's oceans are by far the climate crisis's biggest victim, with implications for the global population.
Researchers examined changes in ocean heat going all the way back to 1871, looking further into the past than many other studies of global and ocean warming. The research suggested that with carbon emissions accelerating dramatically since then, the average heating of the oceans over the nearly 150-year period was equivalent to the dropping of 1.5 atomic bombs per second since 1871.
The Guardian made that calculation after examining the report, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences—and alarmed the study's lead author, who confirmed it was accurate.
"I try not to make this type of calculation, simply because I find it worrisome," Prof. Laure Zannat told the Guardian. "We usually try to compare the heating to [human] energy use, to make it less scary."
But Zannat's preferred calculation was hardly less troubling, with the study finding that the heating of the oceans from 1871 to the present day is also equivalent to 1,000 times the energy used by the entire global population every year.
With carbon emissions rising in recent decades, up 60 percent since 1990, the warming oceans can be compared to the effects of three atomic bombs, like the ones that decimated Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, per second since that year.
As researchers have reported in recent years, the world's oceans absorb more than 90 percent of the carbon emissions caused by oil and gas drilling, agriculture, and other human activity.
Most of the heat the Oxford University researchers studied is being stored deep in the world's oceans, causing sea level rise and making hurricanes and tsunamis stronger and more destructive.
"Obviously, we are putting a lot of excess energy into the climate system and a lot of that ends up in the ocean. There is no doubt," Zanna told the Guardian.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Tropical forests globally are being lost at a rate of 61,000 square miles a year. And despite conservation efforts, the global rate of loss is accelerating. In 2016 it reached a 15-year high, with 114,000 square miles cleared.
At the same time, many countries are pledging to restore large swaths of forests. The Bonn Challenge, a global initiative launched in 2011, calls for national commitments to restore 580,000 square miles of the world's deforested and degraded land by 2020. In 2014 the New York Declaration on Forests increased this goal to 1.35 million square miles, an area about twice the size of Alaska, by 2030.
By Cheryl Leahy
Do you think almond milk comes from a cow named Almond? Or that almonds lactate? The dairy industry thinks you do, and that's what it's telling the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
For years, the dairy industry has been flexing its lobbying muscle, pressuring states and the federal government to restrict plant-based companies from using terms like "milk" on their labels, citing consumer confusion.
By Jeremy Deaton
A driver planning to make the trek from Denver to Salt Lake City can look forward to an eight-hour trip across some of the most beautiful parts of the country, long stretches with nary a town in sight. The fastest route would take her along I-80 through southern Wyoming. For 300 miles between Laramie and Evanston, she would see, according to a rough estimate, no fewer than 40 gas stations where she could fuel up her car. But if she were driving an electric vehicle, she would see just four charging stations where she could recharge her battery.
Fire Continues at Texas Petrochemical Plant as Company's History of Violations Gets Renewed Scrutiny
By Andrea Germanos
A petrochemical plant near Houston continued to burn for a second day on Monday, raising questions about the quality and safety of the air.
The Deer Park facility is owned by Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC), which said the fire broke out at roughly 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Seven tanks are involved, the company said, and they contain naptha, xylene, "gas blend stocks" and "base oil."
"It's going to have to burn out at the tank," Ray Russell, communications officer for Channel Industries Mutual Aid, which is aiding the response effort, said at a news conference. It could take "probably two days" for that to happen, he added.
The hillsides dyed orange with poppies may look like something out of a dream, but for the Southern California town of Lake Elsinore, that dream quickly turned into a nightmare.
The town of 66,000 people was inundated with around 50,000 tourists coming to snap pictures of the golden poppies growing in Walker Canyon as part of a superbloom of wildfires caused by an unusually wet winter, BBC News reported. The visitors trampled flowers and caused hours of traffic, The Guardian reported.
A controversial pesticide test that would have resulted in the deaths of 36 beagles has been stopped, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the company behind the test announced Monday. The announcement comes less than a week after HSUS made the test public when it released the results of an investigation into animal testing at Charles River Laboratories in Michigan.
"We have immediately ended the study that was the subject of attention last week and will make every effort to rehome the animals that were part of the study," Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture division of DowDupont, said in a statement announcing its decision.