Antarctica and Greenland Raised Sea Levels More Than Half an Inch in Just 16 Years, New NASA Data Shows
Greenland and Antarctica have raised global sea levels by more than half an inch in the last 16 years, according to data from the most advanced laser that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has ever launched into space to observe the earth.
While the figures themselves are consistent with other studies, as The New York Times pointed out, the satellite laser allows researchers a much more precise picture of how polar ice is changing over time, which helps determine the role of the climate crisis and plan for future sea level rise.
"We've all been waiting for this new dataset," Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory research professor Robin Bell told NPR.
The study, published in Science Thursday, combines data from two NASA satellites: the original Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), which took measurements from 2003 to 2009, and ICESat-2, launched in 2018. The two satellites allowed researchers to measure changes in ice mass from 2003 to 2019, and to calculate that Greenland and Antarctica contributed 0.55 inches to sea level rise during that time. That's around a third of the global total, which was also driven by the expansion of oceans as they warm, NPR explained.
"If you watch a glacier or ice sheet for a month, or a year, you're not going to learn much about what the climate is doing to it," University of Washington glaciologist and lead study author Ben Smith said in a NASA press release. "We now have a 16-year span between ICESat and ICESat-2 and can be much more confident that the changes we're seeing in the ice have to do with the long-term changes in the climate."
The data also revealed that Greenland's ice sheet lost an average of 200 gigatons of ice per year and Antarctica's lost an average of 118. That's more than 5,000 gigatons total, NPR reported. To put that in perspective, one gigaton is enough to fill 400,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
But the satellite data also helped show how the ice was being lost. In Antarctica, the East actually gained mass, probably because of increased precipitation, The New York Times reported. But this was offset by losses in West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula. In West Antarctica, 30 percent of that loss was due to floating ice, which either calves icebergs or melts from below due to warm ocean water. While this ice cannot contribute directly to sea level rise because it is already floating, its loss destabilizes the so-called "grounded ice" that can.
"It's like an apple tart and the ice shelves are like the wall of pastry around the edges of the tart," Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California-San Diego glaciologist and study coauthor Helen Fricker explained to NPR. "And if those walls are too thin or they're not baked well enough, then the filling will ooze out."
In Greenland, two thirds of the ice loss was due to surface melting, something that rarely occurs in Antarctica, The New York Times said. Greenland also lost a lot of mass from its coastal glaciers, according to NASA. Its Kangerdulgssuaq and Jakobshavn glaciers have shrunken by 14 to 20 feet per year.
NASA explained why its satellites were able to provide such a detailed portrait:
ICESat-2's instrument is a laser altimeter, which sends 10,000 pulses of light a second down to Earth's surface, and times how long it takes to return to the satellite – to within a billionth of a second. The instrument's pulse rate allows for a dense map of measurement over the ice sheet; its high precision allows scientists to determine how much an ice sheet changes over a year to within an inch.
The researchers took tracks of earlier ICESat measurements and overlaid the tracks of ICESat-2 measurements from 2019, and took data from the tens of millions of sites where the two data sets intersected. That gave them the elevation change, but to get to how much ice has been lost, the researchers developed a new model to convert volume change to mass change. The model calculated densities across the ice sheets to allow the total mass loss to be calculated.
This level of detail is essential for helping coastal residents and governments plan for sea level rise, which is expected to reach two to six feet by 2100, according to CNBC.
"Our goal is to be able to tell every coastal community what they can plan on [in] the coming decades," Bell told NPR. "To be able to do that, we both need to measure how the ice is changing but also understand better why it's changing."
Antarctica before and after its hottest day on record Feb. 6. NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey and GEOS-5 data from the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office at NASA GSFC.
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By Fino Menezes
Everyone adores dolphins. Intelligent, inquisitive and playful, these special creatures have captivated humans since the dawn of time. But dolphins didn't get to where they are by accident — they needed to develop some pretty amazing superpowers to cope with their environment.
These extraordinarily intelligent creatures have been seen to display culture, use tools, and display altruism, traits long-thought to be unique to humans. Facebook / BrightVibes
Adapting to Life in the Ocean Required Some Serious Skills for a Mammal
Dolphins have developed some incredible abilities that continue to amaze researchers.
Everything needs to sleep, but dolphins have found a clever workaround. They shut down only half their brain at a time while the other half remains conscious and takes over all functions. What's more, the mammals seem to be able to remain continually vigilant for sounds for days on end.
Besides sonar, which is itself pretty incredible, dolphins have excellent eyesight. A panoramic range of vision of 300° allows them to see in two directions at once and even behind themselves — both in and out of the water.
3. Super Skin
Dolphin skin grows about 9 times faster than ours, and an entire layer of skin is replaced every two hours. Their skin secretes a special non-stick antibacterial gel to deter barnacles and parasites.
4. They Rescue Other Species
There are many tales of dolphins helping humans in the high sea. Sometimes they'll even go out of their way to help other aquatic species.
Bottlenose dolphins can hold their breath for 12 minutes and dive to 550 metres (1800ft) due to hyper-efficient lungs. Dolphins have more red blood cells with greater concentrations of hemoglobin than we do.
Scientists are baffled by dolphins' ability to not only heal quickly but seemingly regenerate missing parts. And dolphins won't bleed to death despite huge wounds, having the ability to constrict blood vessels to stem the flow.
While an Olympic swimmer can produce around 60 or 70 pounds of thrust, a dolphin is capable of 300 to 400 pounds of thrust and is one of the oceans most efficient swimmers.
How dolphins are able to swim with open wounds in the bacteria-riddled ocean and not die of infection, scientists still don't know for sure, but the best guess is that dolphins have managed to siphon off antibiotics made by plankton and algae.
Dolphins can actually sense the electrical impulses given off by all living things. They probably use this ability to hunt fish in turbid water and muddy sediments.
These extraordinarily intelligent and graceful creatures have also been seen to display culture, use tools, and display altruism, traits long-thought to be unique to humans.
Reposted with permission from BrightVibes.
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Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
Japan is planning to build as many as 22 new coal plants at 17 different sites over the next five years, The New York Times reports, a sharp uptick in coal-fired power as the rest of the world eases off coal and looks to cut emissions.
The projects would collectively emit as much carbon dioxide per year as all of the passenger cars sold in the U.S. Activists say that the Japanese government allowed one of the projects, in Yokosuka, to get the green light without proper environmental review after the country was forced to close its nuclear program because of the Fukushima disaster in 2011. The coal plants are coming as the Japanese government touts the environmental friendliness of this summer's Tokyo Olympics.
Satellite data collected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) and shared by NASA's Earth Observatory Monday show a steep decline in nitrogen dioxide levels over China between Jan. 1 to 20 and Feb. 10 to 25. The two periods coincide with the time before and after Chinese officials implemented a quarantine in Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak.
"This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event," air quality researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Fei Liu said in the NASA post.
Nitrogen dioxide is a noxious gas emitted by cars, power plants and factories. Short term exposure can aggravate the symptoms of asthma, and longer term exposure can cause people to develop asthma and be more vulnerable to respiratory infections, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The decline in emissions over China came after Jan. 23, by which point transit in and out of Wuhan had been halted and local businesses had been shuttered, NASA said. The decline in pollution levels began over Wuhan and then spread across the country.
Nitrogen dioxide levels have fallen before, but never so steeply and widely, Liu said. They fell gradually in several countries after the 2008 recession, and temporarily in Beijing during the 2008 Olympics.
Scientists also usually observe a decline in Chinese pollution levels at the end of January and beginning of February, when businesses and factories close for the Lunar New Year. However, the pollution levels usually rise again when the celebration is over, but this year, they have not.
"This year, the reduction rate is more significant than in past years and it has lasted longer," Liu said. "I am not surprised because many cities nationwide have taken measures to minimize spread of the virus."
Further images shared by NASA show how 2020's pollution levels did not rise after the holiday the way they did during the same time last year.
For an even broader view, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura satellite has been collecting nitrogen dioxide levels for 15 years. This year's nitrogen dioxide levels in eastern and central China were 10 to 30 percent lower than the average levels for this time of year between 2005 and 2019.
"There is always this general slowdown around this time of the year," NASA air quality scientist Barry Lefer said. "Our long-term OMI data allows us to see if these amounts are abnormal and why."
Emissions have fallen in the past because of economic upheavals. The economic crisis triggered by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions because people in the region stopped eating meat as prices rose and purchasing power fell, leading to a decline in meat production, Nature explained.
COVID-19, which has so far sickened almost 89,000 people in 65 countries and killed more than 3,000, has already spooked the global economy. Stock markets fell last week by more than 10 percent, and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development warned Monday that the continued spread of the new disease could cut economic growth in half and drive several countries into a recession, The Guardian reported.
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Come January, 40 percent of Americans will make New Years resolutions, and nearly half of them will aim to lose weight or get in shape.
But 80 percent of New Year's resolutions fail by February, and gyms will experience a decrease in traffic after the first and second months of the year as those who made New Year's resolutions to get in shape lose steam.
As a lecturer at Binghamton and former Olympic weightlifter, world champion powerlifter and strength coach, much of my life has been spent in training halls and gyms around the country. People often ask me, "How do I stay motivated to work out?"
New Year's Resolutions
Nearly half of all respondents in a poll about 2018 New Year's resolutions wanted to lose weight or get in shape. Statistica / The Conversation / CC-BY-ND
Motivation and Short-Term Objectives
Years back, when I was at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, one of the sports psychologists told me that motivation is a lie.
It took me years of experience and research to figure out why, but I believe she was right.
Personally, I have no issues getting up on a cold and dark morning to train when a competition is drawing near. But when there is no immediate objective or goal in site, getting up that early is much harder.
Motivation is driven by emotion and that can be positive, as long as it is used for a short-term objective. For some, a New Year's resolution can serve as a motivator. But since motivation is based on emotion, it can't last long.
Think of it this way: No one can laugh or cry indefinitely, and that is exactly how we know that motivation will fail.
Emotion is a chemical release yielding a physiological response. If someone attempting to get in shape is reliant upon this reaction to propel them towards working out, they are almost sure to burn out, just like with a resolution.
When people buy gym memberships, they have the best of intentions in mind, but the commitments are made in a charged emotional state. Motivation helps with short-term objectives, but is virtually useless for objectives that require a greater length of time to accomplish.
In other words, don't totally discount the value of motivation, but don't count on it to last long either because it won't.
Discipline Yields Results
If motivation won't help you reach your goals, what will?
The answer is discipline. Discipline, as I define it, is the ability to do what is necessary for success when it is hardest to do so. Another way to think of it is having the ability, not necessarily the desire, to do what you need to when you least want to.
Failure to get up when the alarm rings, the inability to walk away from a late night of partying before game day or eating a doughnut when you have committed to no processed sugar are all failures of discipline - not motivation.
The keys to discipline are practice and consistency. Discipline means repetitive – and sometimes boring – action. There are no shortcuts. You can thank motivation for the first three weeks or so of your successful gym attendance, but after that you need to credit discipline.
There is another clear line defining the difference between motivation and discipline. Motivation in and of itself typically fails to build other qualities necessary for advancement, but discipline does. Discipline develops confidence and patience.
Discipline builds consistency and consistency yields habits. It is those habits that, in the end, will ultimately define success.
William Clark is the adjunct lecturer of health and wellness studies at New York's Binghamton University and State University.
Reposted with permission from The Conversation.
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By Whitney E. Akers
- "The Game Changers" is a new documentary on Netflix that posits a vegan diet can improve athletic performance in professional athletes.
- Limited studies available show that the type of diet — plant-based or omnivorous — doesn't give you an athletic advantage.
- We talked to experts about what diet is the best for athletic performance.
Packed with record-setting athletes displaying cut physiques and explosive power, "The Game Changers," a new documentary on Netflix, has a clear message: Vegan is best.
The film aims to make the case that a vegan diet isn't only the most advantageous diet for long-term health, but for an athletic edge as well.
From Olympic weightlifter Kendrick Farris and cycling champion Dotsie Bausch to top distance runner Scott Jurek and Arnold Schwarzenegger (a producer of the film), the documentary chronicles several professional athletes who attribute getting faster and stronger, and recovering from injury more quickly, to adopting a plant-based diet — specifically vegan.
Vegans don't eat meat or products derived from animals, like eggs or milk.
While there's not much data to back a trend of professional athletes going vegan or vegetarian, Barbara Lewin, RDN, CSSD, LDN, a sports nutritionist who works with professional athletes, including Olympic athletes and members of the NHL and NBA, certainly sees her pro-athlete clients embracing a plant-based diet.
"My clients see so many benefits to eating a plant-based diet that postseason, they don't go back to eating as an omnivore or a carnivore," Lewin noted.
Will a Vegan Diet Make Someone a Better Athlete?
Healthline asked that question to David C. Nieman, DrPH, FACSM, a professor of health and exercise science and director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, where he studies athletes and diet.
Nieman is a vegetarian and marathon runner who sees many reasons someone would want to become vegan. Still, he had a clear answer: No.
"The only possible way it [a vegan diet] may help some people is if they're involved in a sport that takes more than an hour," Nieman stated.
"And that's only if they were on a low carb, high fat diet and switched to a vegan diet, which would mean they'd be taking in more carbs. Those people would see improvement in endurance — not sports skill," he said.
Studies on the correlation between performance and vegan, vegetarian, and meat-eating diets are rather limited.
One recent study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition tracked the maximum exercise capacity of 76 recreational runners, 18 to 35 years old, for 6 months. Of the group, 26 followed a diet that included meat and plants, 26 ate a vegetarian diet, and 24 ate a vegan diet.
"The results suggest that there are no differences in exercise capacity between vegan, lacto-ovo-vegetarians and omnivorous recreational runners," the study's authors wrote.
The bottom line: "All kinds of diets are compatible with performance," Nieman said.
That's if you make healthy choices compatible with whatever diet you want to follow.
Lewin agrees that any diet needs to include wise choices if you're eating for health or performance.
"If you're living on crackers, vegan cheese, and other processed foods, it's not a good choice. For a vegan diet to be healthy and to work for the elite athlete, it has to have a strong foundation in vegetables and fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds," she told Healthline.
Vegan Diet Year-Round, on Race Day, and During Recovery
"The Game Changers" shares stories of both long-term health on a vegan diet and immediate improvements in performance. Bouncing back quickly between workouts is also important for professional athletes — and many more casual athletes too.
According to Nieman, you've got to look at nutrition's effect on three areas to get an overall sense of how diets affect athletes: long-term, acute, and post-workout recovery.
"Long-term health is important for athletes. Plant-based dietary choices are at the heart of all healthy eating patterns," Nieman explained, whether your diet of choice be vegetarian, Mediterranean, or DASH, for example.
The 3-day period before a sports event matters — a lot. Athletes should eat a high carb diet, with most carbs coming from grains and dried fruit.
"What you eat every day counts towards your health and overall performance. However, the pre-workout or prerace meal is extremely important," Lewin said.
"A high fat meal can leave you feeling sluggish and is not a good fuel for the muscles, whereas a meal with the right balance of carbohydrate and protein will digest efficiently and provide good energy," she said.
Finally, Nieman points to an area of study called metabolic recovery, or bouncing back to normal after a race or workout.
This area of study has discovered what you eat can improve your return to homeostasis. The simplest snack? Fruit. Nieman's research has found bananas, pears, and blueberries all support your body's recovery after exercise.
Fans of the vegan diet claim that if you eat vegan, it's easier to bounce back between workouts with plant protein since it's less inflammatory.
Nieman, who's currently studying athletic recovery after 90 minutes of hard exercise when someone eats pea vs. whey (dairy) protein post-workout, strongly disagrees.
"It's nonsense that plant protein will help you recover any differently," he said.
But Lewin believes the anti-inflammatory effect of plant foods help with recovery.
"With higher levels of exercise intensity you produce more free radicals and byproducts that can cause inflammation in the body. A vegan, plant-based diet rich in antioxidants can have an enormous impact on reducing inflammation," she said.
Lewin and Nieman agree on one point, though: It's not at all necessary to consume animal products to excel in pro sports.
Vegan Pre-Training or Competition Meals
Whether you're biking or training for a Tough Mudder, weekend warriors can experiment with vegan meals that'll fuel your body.
"The prerace meal needs to be high in carbohydrate, low in fat and fiber (which both slow down the digestive process), and can contain moderate amounts of protein," according to Lewin.
- a smoothie with almond or another nut milk, berries, and a banana
- toast spread with almond or cashew yogurt and sprinkled with berries
- a banana with water (sometimes it's best to keep it simple)
A game-changing takeaway from the film? It's not at all necessary to consume animal products to excel in pro sports.
Reposted with permission from Healthline.
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Scientists in the Arctic watched a glacial lake in Greenland turn into a waterfall that drained five million cubic meters of water, or 2,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, in just five hours, worrying scientists that the world's second largest ice sheet is becoming unstable, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The waterfall that the scientists observed was triggered by cracks in the ice sheet. When those cracks form, massive amounts of lake water falls below the surface to the area beneath the ice. There the meltwater expands the lake by weakening the ice. In the new study, the researchers captured the lake draining when its edge met a fracture in the ice that had formed one year earlier, according to the study.
The scientists watched the water plummet more than 3,200 feet to the lowest layers of the glacier where the ice forms on top of bedrock. At the base layer, the water weakens the ice and helps it move out to sea, as The Washington Post reported.
The team of scientists, led by researchers from the University of Cambridge in England, captured the drone footage in July 2018. The research, using specially outfitted drones that captured drainage of a fairly small glacial lake, could help scientists better understand the relationship between surface water and the stability of the ice sheet. That, in turn, could help scientists improve their global sea rise projections, according to The Washington Post.
The researchers suggested that what they observed may represent an overlooked issue that is affecting the Greenland ice sheet.
"We propose that many lakes thought to drain slowly are, in fact, draining rapidly via hydrofracture. As such, rapid drainage events, and their net impact on ice sheet dynamics, are being notably underestimated," the study reads.
This means scientists may need to tweak their computer models to form a more accurate picture of the rate of melting and projections for sea level rise.
"We need to gain a more complete picture of these processes so that we can properly predict the impact of climate change on the Greenland Ice Sheet in the 21st century," said Thomas Chudley, the study's lead author from the University of Cambridge, to Newsweek.
Thousands of lakes form on the Greenland ice sheet every summer when the weather warms. Many of these lakes rapidly drain and create caverns called moulins. The water then winds its way down to the base of the ice sheet. The openings often stay that way through the warm season and capture streams and rivers that fall to the bottom of the ice sheet. Since the ice sheet is often over one kilometer thick, the water flowing into the moulins may be the world's largest waterfalls, according to a statement from the University of Cambridge.
"Previous research has shown that whilst only 3 percent percent of total surface melt is delivered to the bed via these drainage events, as much as 36 percent can continue to access the bed via moulins after the event," said Chudley to Newsweek. "Whilst satellite studies have previously estimated the number of lakes that rapidly drain to be between 10 to 30 percent, our lake drainage is actually small enough that it wouldn't be identified by these methods. So that suggests to us that there may be more of these rapid drainages — and the moulins that follow — than previously thought."
The scientists also found the water flow caused the ice's movement to speed up from 6.5 feet per day to over 16 feet per day. So much water seeped under the ice that it pushed the ice up about 1.6 feet. "We were also surprised to see that these impacts extended as far away as [2.4 miles] from the lake site itself, suggesting that these events can have quite widespread impacts in the short term," said Chudley to Newsweek.
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The operator of the ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant may have to dump huge amounts of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. The company no longer has room to store it, said Yoshiaki Harada, Japan's environment minister, today, as Japan Today reported.
Eight years after an earthquake and tsunami triggered Japan's worst nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which is 160 miles north of Tokyo, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) has continued to pump water in to cool fuel cores. Once it is used and contaminated, the water is put into storage, according to CNN.
TEPCO has collected more than 1 million metric tons of contaminated water used to cool the nuclear reactor. "The only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it," said Harada at a news briefing in Tokyo, as Japan Today. "The whole of the government will discuss this, but I would like to offer my simple opinion."
Harada did not say how much water would need to be released into the ocean.
However, in a separate press briefing, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, said Harada's comments were "his personal opinion."
"There is no fact that the method of disposal of contaminated water has been decided," said Suga, as CNN reported. "The government would like to make a decision after making thorough discussion," he said.
TEPCO is not able to say what will be done with the contaminated water, but will have to wait for a government decision, a spokesperson said, as Japan Today reported.
Besides releasing the water into the ocean, other options include storing it on land or vaporizing it, according to the Guardian.
Radioactive water from Fukushima nuclear plant may have to be released into Pacific, Japan says https://t.co/fEz3JDUyTg— BBC News (World) (@BBC News (World))1568119552.0
Dumping the waste into the ocean will anger local fisherman and Japan's neighbors.
Last month, South Korea's government minister for environmental affairs, Kwon Se-jung, summoned Tomofumi Nishinaga, head of economic affairs at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, how the Fukushima water would be handled, according to CNN.
"The South Korean government is well aware of the impact of the treatment of the contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant on the health and safety of the people of both countries, and to the entire nation," said a South Korean ministry press release.
"We're just hoping to hear more details of the discussions that are under way in Tokyo so that there won't be a surprise announcement," said a South Korean diplomat to Reuters. The diplomat requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of bilateral discussions.
Six years ago, when Tokyo won the bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assured the Olympic Committee that waste and contamination from Fukushima was under control. Now, the country is facing renewed pressure to address its contaminated water problems before next summer's games, as the Guardian reported.
The Japanese government has spent over $320 million to an underground barrier to prevent groundwater from reaching the three damaged nuclear reactors. However, the wall has only reduced the flow of groundwater from about 500 metric tons to around 100 metric tons per day, as the Guardian reported.
By Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope
Some good news, for a change, about climate change: When hundreds of newsrooms focus their attention on the climate crisis, all at the same time, the public conversation about the problem gets better: more prominent, more informative, more urgent.
In September, 323 news outlets from across the U.S. and around the world collaborated to provide a week of high-profile coverage of the climate story, in the most extensive such project on record. The collaboration was organized by Covering Climate Now, a project co-founded by Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation. Participants included The Guardian, the project's lead media partner, and some of the biggest newspapers, television, and radio stations, and online news sites in the world: Bloomberg, CBS News, Agence France Presse, The Times of India, El País, Asahi Shimbun, Nature, WNYC, WHYY, HuffPost, National Observer, Univision, Al Jazeera, Harvard Business Review, and Scientific American. Joining them was an array of smaller, often nonprofit outlets hailing from Alabama to Alaska and Turkey to Togo. Representing 47 countries and much of the United States, these 323 outlets reached a combined audience of well over 1 billion people.
Over the course of the week surrounding the United Nations Climate Action Summit on Sept. 23, Covering Climate Now outlets published or broadcast at least 3,640 stories about climate change. Social media sharing of Covering Climate Now stories was widespread, with 69,623 individual tweets and 1.93 billion total impressions.
The reach is likely much higher when factoring in stories distributed by news agencies around the world. One, Agence France Presse, distributed 1,200 text stories (in the six languages in which AFP publishes) to its thousands of newsroom clients around the world; it also made available 2,000 photos, 391 videos, and 170 graphics. The magnitude of AFP's climate coverage cannot be calculated without knowing how many clients picked up each of these items, "but the audience is clearly potentially in the billions, and we are increasingly seeing climate content being among the most used by [our] clients" says Phil Chetwynd, AFP's global news director.
The median number of stories per outlet was seven, reflecting the fact that some smaller partners have only one or two staffers. Larger outlets, however, more than compensated. "We ended up doing more than two dozen stories that wouldn't have run except for this initiative," said a senior editor at Bloomberg. The Guardian published more than 150 climate-related articles in its U.S., UK, Australian, and International editions.
All of which helped drive a much-needed increase in overall media coverage of the climate crisis. In September, "media attention to climate change and global warming was at its highest level globally in nearly a decade," reported the Media and Climate Change Observatory program at the University of Colorado Boulder. The watchdog group Media Matters for America commented about Covering Climate Now, "This initiative was unique in the depth and scope of its coverage, and many of the participating outlets touched upon climate change issues that have been either underreported or ignored in the media altogether." The Philadelphia Inquirer, for example, exposed what it called "the secret scourge of climate change" in the form of more sewage in the city's waterways as bigger storms overwhelmed drainage capacity. Rolling Stone revealed how agribusiness is blocking climate action by family farmers. El País, Spain's leading newspaper, devoted an entire issue of its weekly magazine to "La Battala Por El Planeta" (The Battle for the Planet). Asahi Shimbun, one of Japan's largest newspapers, reported that record heat may make it very difficult to hold the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo as planned.
At least 185 of our outlets made their climate stories available at no cost for other partners to republish. The Guardian led the way, and more than 40 partners picked up its stories. This content sharing meant that readers, viewers, and listeners got access to more and higher quality climate coverage than any single outlet could provide on its own. The on-camera interview UN Secretary General António Guterres gave the partnership, which was shot by CBS News and made available in both English and Spanish versions, is one such example.
Now, in addition to facilitating other joint coverage collaborations, Covering Climate Now aims to encourage better news coverage of the climate story by writing about that coverage and convening conferences where journalists can discuss and share best practices. Our own reporting and commentary will appear on the websites of Covering Climate Now and Columbia Journalism Review and also be offered for free to any Covering Climate Now outlet that wishes to republish them.
The goal is to make the climate story a routine part of daily news coverage, rather than a subject addressed only on special occasions. KQED, the biggest public radio station in the San Francisco Bay Area, has long been committed to strong climate coverage, but that coverage, KQED science editor Kat Snow told us, had been siloed at the science desk. So KQED's science reporters and editors will soon begin one-on-one meetings with their counterparts elsewhere in the newsroom to explain how to include the climate angle in their coverage. "We want to help our colleagues see that climate change is part of the story for every beat," said Snow. "We'll give them background information and story ideas to incorporate the climate angle in their coverage of housing or education or whatever beat they work."
Finally, we will encourage our colleagues to grapple with the hard truths of climate science. Too often, news coverage has given political opinions precedence over scientific fact, blunting the public's response. One welcome contrast is the approach taken by The Guardian and The Washington Post: When 11,258 scientists released a public letter in early November endorsing a peer-reviewed study warning that the planet "clearly and unequivocally faces a climate emergency," both newspapers reported the story prominently on their homepages, with the words "crisis" and "emergency" in the headlines.
While much work still needs to be done, climate coverage does seem to have turned a corner. The climate silence that had long pervaded so much of the media has been broken. Now, the challenge is to improve the coverage. What do you wish your favorite news outlets would do to cover the climate story better? Send us your suggestions at [email protected].
This story originally appeared in The Nation. It is republished here as part of EcoWatch's partnership with Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 350 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.
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Paris recorded its all-time highest temperature of 42.6 degrees Celsius, BBC News reported. Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands all endured record highs on Wednesday only to see them broken again on Thursday, AccuWeather reported. Thursday's all-time highs measured 41.8 for Belgium, 42.6 for Germany and 40.7 for the Netherlands, the first time the country heated to 40 degrees or more.
The European #heatwave smashed numerous temperature records in #France, #Belgium, #Germany, #Netherlands. This included 42.6°C in Paris and 41.5°C in Lille, according to @meteofrance . pic.twitter.com/8wGjTPPgjS— WMO | OMM (@WMO) July 26, 2019
The UK, meanwhile, experienced its hottest ever July temperature of 38.1 degrees Celsius, BBC News reported. This is only the second time that the UK has experienced a temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the UK's Met Office tweeted.
38.1 °C has been recorded at Cambridge; this is only the second time temperatures over 100 Fahrenheit have been recorded in the UK #heatwave #HottestUKJulyDay #HottestDayOfTheYear so far pic.twitter.com/JXlwKfMSE6— Met Office (@metoffice) July 25, 2019
The heat has proven potentially deadly, as five deaths recorded in France may have been linked to the heat. It also interfered with transportation. Trains in Britain ran at reduced speeds to keep rails from buckling, and a Eurostar traveling from Belgium to London actually broke down Wednesday, forcing passengers to wait in the heat for three hours.
"Everything was suddenly down: no air-conditioning, no electricity," passenger Paul De Grauwe said, as The New York Times reported. "I have never been so hot in my life."
The high Paris temperatures also threatened Notre-Dame cathedral, which was damaged in a fire in April.
"I am very worried about the heat wave because, as you know, the cathedral suffered from the fire, the beams coming down, but also the shock from the water from the firefighters. The masonry is saturated with water," Chief Architect Philippe Villeneuve told Reuters, as AccuWeather reported.
The Met Office noted that heat waves in Europe have gotten both more likely and more extreme because of the climate crisis, BBC News reported.
"What we have at the moment is this very warm stream of air, coming up from northern Africa, bringing with it unusually warm weather," the Met Office's Dr. Peter Stott told BBC 5Live. "But without climate change we wouldn't have hit the peaks that we're hitting right now."
Other scientists agreed.
"This. Is. Climate. Change." University of Oxford climate scientist Karsten Haustein tweeted.
Heat waves like this week's cause increased discomfort for Europeans because the continent has not embraced air conditioning as the U.S has. While more than 90 percent of U.S. homes have an air-conditioning system, fewer than 10 percent of European homes do, The New York Times reported.
That may change with more frequent heat waves. The head of a Munich-based air-conditioning installation company said he had seen steady growth from year to year. But more units would also mean more climate change.
"By cooling off the inside and warming the outside, we are feeding a disastrous vicious circle," Brice Tréméac, the head of Paris-based research institution the Laboratory of Cold, Energy and Thermic Systems, told The New York Times.
In a country where buildings are often without air-conditioning, nature might be your best escape from the #heatwave...— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) July 25, 2019
After measuring temperature changes across #Paris, environmental engineer Olivier Papin found that it can be up to 15 °C cooler under the trees than in the sun pic.twitter.com/KpavA0U1a2
For now, however, Europe can expect to see some relief Friday as temperatures cool. But the warm air could wreak further havoc as it moves towards Greenland, where it could cause record melting of its ice-sheet, Reuters reported Friday.
"According to forecasts, and this is of concern, the atmospheric flow is now going to transport that heat towards Greenland," World Meteorological Organization spokeswoman Clare Nullis said in a UN briefing in Geneva Friday. "This will result in high temperatures and consequently enhanced melting of the Greenland ice sheet. We don't know yet whether it will beat the 2012 level, but it's close."
So far this July, the ice sheet has lost the equivalent of 64 million Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of ice through surface melting. The hot weather could also further melt Arctic sea ice, which was close to its lowest extent on record as of July 15.
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The researchers assembled the most detailed look to date at the last 40 years of Himalayan ice loss to date, combining contemporary satellite information with data from declassified U.S. spy satellites. They found that average ice-loss per year had doubled between the periods 1975 to 2000 and 2000 to 2016, and that the glaciers had lost more than 25 percent of their ice in the study period, The Guardian reported.
"This is the clearest picture yet of how fast Himalayan glaciers are melting since 1975, and why," research leader Joshua Maurer of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth observatory told The Guardian.
Himalaya glaciers melting rate has doubled. Researchers compared the average ice loss of the 1975-2000 interval wit… https://t.co/ZBXgMdcgpM— Michael Flammer 💚🌍🌡#KlimaVor8 (@Michael Flammer 💚🌍🌡#KlimaVor8)1561026498.0
Melting since 2000 has been especially dramatic, The New York Times reported. The glaciers lost a foot and a half of ice every year since then, and have lost a total of eight billion tons of water each year recently, the equivalent of 3.2 million Olympic size swimming pools. Most of this melting was caused by the climate crisis. While researchers said some ice lost was due to soot from the burning of fossil fuels, most was due to warmer temperatures, which rose by higher rates on average between 2000 and 2016 across the more than 1,200 mile range.
Study co-author Joerg Schaefer, as at Columbia, told CNN that unless we act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cool the planet, we would see a "pretty devastating scenario for Himalayan glaciers."
University of Leeds glaciology specialist Duncan Quincey, who was not involved in the research, explained why.
"In the short-term, such rapid melt rates will mean summer floods become more frequent as river discharge is increased, but the long-term prospect is one of drought as the glacier reservoir becomes depleted," he told CNN.
Around 800 million people across Asia now rely on Himalayan glaciers for energy, agriculture and drinking water. But this study is part of a growing body of evidence showing how much climate change threatens these glaciers, and the communities they support. A February study found that even if world leaders managed to limit global temperature increase to the Paris agreement goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, one third of the ice in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region would still melt by 2100. If temperatures hit two degrees, half of the ice would melt, and if temperatures rose to four or five degrees Celsius, two thirds would disappear.
University College London climate science Prof. Chris Rapley, who was not involved in the study, said ice loss was "already undermining the viability of small communities in the Himalayas as they suffer ever more serious water shortages." If it continued, it would displace a significant number of people.
"Better for all of us to accelerate to net zero as a matter of the highest priority," he told CNN.
By Carol Pucci, Yasmeen Wafai and Zeb Larson
Share a meal in a local household. Eatwith.com and Mealsharing.com connect travelers with people in host countries who love to entertain. Prices vary. Eight other guests and I recently paid $49 each, staying past midnight sharing food, wine, and conversation in the home of a French journalist covering the yellow vest protests in Paris. Saigon Hotpot sets up meals in university students' homes as well as city and street food tours in Ho Chi Minh City.
Trade off hosting. More than 2,000 households in 48 states and 50 countries participate in the Affordable Travel Club, a Washington state-based hospitality exchange group for people over 40. Hosts offer an extra bedroom, breakfast, and an hour of their time to acquaint travelers with the area. Members pay a gratuity of $15 (single) or $20 (double) per night to defray costs, but most hosts open their homes for the experience of meeting new people rather than the income.
Walk and talk. Spend time with a Global Greeter volunteer who likes sharing what they love most about their hometown. Greeters act not as guides, but as new friends in destinations all over the world. I recently hung out with Valerie, 42, a volunteer in Lyon, France, wandering through the city's network of underground passages and visiting her favorite places, such as sampling oysters and white wine at a Sunday market. The service is free, although visitors are welcome to make an online donation to the Greeters network. — Carol Pucci
Lodge locally. Sleep where your dollars make a difference by staying in independently owned hotels, small inns, and homestays rather than internationally owned chain hotels. Look for hotels that partner with nonprofit organizations to train and employ disadvantaged youth. The Responsible Travel Guide Cambodia led me to Robam Inn in Siem Reap, whose owners returned to start the business after taking refuge in Canada during the Khmer Rouge regime.
Spend intentionally. Eat and shop at places dedicated to fair trade. Consult listings on the World Fair Trade Organization's website. Explore beyond tourist areas where small entrepreneurs can't always afford the high rents. This is how I found Belil, an art gallery and cafe in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico, selling textiles made by a women's weaving cooperative.
Tour responsibly. Use local, independent guides. University students working for tips often guide tours listed on freetour.com, a website that offers group walks in dozens of cities worldwide. Global Exchange, a San Francisco-based human rights organization, sponsors "Reality Tours" focused on relationship-building and promoting local economies. An upcoming trip to Palestine will include homestays with farmers during the fall olive harvest and visits with fair trade cooperatives on the West Bank. — Carol Pucci
Visit a national park — but take the train. Help decrease vehicle traffic at these parks and support the struggling Amtrak, which offers trips to places like Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon and Glacier National Park. You could travel roundtrip to the Grand Canyon, stay two nights in a hotel and two nights onboard, with breakfast and dinner included. Or maybe a trip to Glacier aboard historic Empire Builder with three nights in a hotel and a tour of the park. More than 100 packages are available.
Do some citizen science. If you're out and about in nature, you can plug into a ton of projects, such as a BioBlitz using the iNaturalist app. It's a cool exercise that lets you record as many plant and animal species as possible in a designated area and time, while contributing useful data for science and conservation. A green tree frog in Texas and a wapiti in Alaska are just two of the more than 206,000 species documented so far. Or you can measure light pollution and send your data to web app Globe at Night.
Build a trail in Washington state. Washington Trails Association offers a volunteer vacations program where you can escape for eight days with a group of fellow volunteers to help maintain trails. Trails are important to our environment because they help limit potentially negative impacts on natural areas. Food and tools are provided, and camping options are available as well, including car and backcountry. You'll have time to relax and explore on your own. Options include Kalaloch Beach on the Olympic Peninsula, Lake Chelan in the Central Cascades, and Deception Pass State Park on the Puget Sound. — Yasmeen Wafai
Making the Road is a Chicago-based group that uses travel seminars to educate U.S. participants about the liberation movements and histories of southern Africa. The tours are led by long-time civil rights and labor activist Prexy Nesbitt, who was closely involved with the liberation movements in Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Travelers meet labor leaders, artists, politicians, and intellectuals to educate themselves about the shared issues that southern Africans and Americans face, such as racism, labor struggles, and militarism.
DeTour exists to change the image of Hawai'i as a tourist playground, a perception that ignores its occupation and oppression by the U.S. military and its treatment of Native Hawaiians. DeTours' decolonizing tourist experience encourages visitors to support Hawaiians' wish for sovereignty. Stops include areas polluted by the military and sites important to Polynesian and ancient Hawaiian history—all to show a side of Hawai'i out of the shadows of U.S. imperialism.
Veterans for Peace was formed in 1985 by U.S. veterans to increase public awareness of the causes and costs of war and to oppose militarism and arms proliferation. The nonprofit has hundreds of chapters worldwide, including one in Vietnam composed of former servicemen who live there and organize annual tours across the country. The tours are designed to show damage left by the war in Vietnam and to raise funds for ongoing work, such as ordnance removal and support for victims of Agent Orange. — Zeb Larson