NASA: The U.S. is headed for a disaster not seen in 1,000 years 

A new study, compiled by scientists from the space agency, Cornell University and Columbia University, predicts an 80% chance that the Great Plains and the American Southwest will endure a major weather shift beginning in 2050. 

"We really need to start thinking in longer-term horizons about how we’re going to manage it."

7

Weather on Mars

Mars, like Earth, has weather systems. Martian weather is uniquely Martian however.

The first set of images shows Mars amidst a global dust storm in which the entire planet shrouds itself in a red blanket and almost all the features on the surface are hidden. This happens because the dust on Mars becomes a feedback loop.

When heat from sunlight generates an air current that carries dust into the atmosphere, the dust begins trapping heat which results in more air currents carrying more dust into the air until the entire planet is covered.

On the right you can see Mars during more peaceful times. There are water clouds teasing their way over the cold, desert surface. Because the atmosphere is so sparse, the pressure at the surface isn’t high enough to melt water ice into liquid so it often sublimates into gas form and rises into the atmosphere.

When humanity started exploring Mars, we became intimately more acquainted with the Martian nature.

The Mars Exploration Rovers depend largely upon solar energy to remain alive and on a planet in which global dust storms persist, this can be problematic.

The left image of the Mars Spirit Rover shows the rover after a dust storm. It was in desperate straits where the dust covering its solar array threatened to shut the rover down. Luckily a stray dust devil flew across the panels essentially dusting it off.

NASA’s Viking 2 lander took images of water-frost (included on the bottom left) on the Martian soil. The Phoenix lander saw it snow on Mars.

There are images (shown on the bottom right) taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter which show what appears to be flowing water on the slopes of Newton Crater.

The images were taken at such a time that the melting point of ice was suspiciously close (and for salty/briny water was apparently attained). Those sets of images may be of liquid water flowing on the surface of Mars right now.

(Image credit: NASA)

UC Berkeley professor designs bricks that could replace air-conditioning

Associate professor of architecture Ronald Rael and former professor Virginia San Fratello succeeded in designing 3-D “cool bricks,” a device that could potentially replace air-conditioning systems in hot, arid climates.

According to Rael, the brick is designed with a porous, lattice-like structure, which allows air to flow through it. The process is simple: Like a sponge, the bricks absorb water vapor, which evaporates when it makes contact with warm air. Warm air that passes through the micropores is cooled, ultimately decreasing the entire room temperature.

“The cost of living is going up and the chance of living is going down. “ –Flip Wilson

A new publication issued by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in the journal “Nature” has reported that the chances of keeping temperatures below a 2 degree rise is now largely in the hands of policy makers.

The challenge of a changing climate can now only be fought with the backing of political agenda – and as most people will agree, this seems bleak.

Of all the uncertainties with regard the effects of climate change, including geophysical and social uncertainties; political uncertainty ranked as the number 1 factor in determining the fate of our species and our planet.

Keep reading

How FEMA is Threatening Climate Change Deniers

Governors skeptical of man-made climate change are in for a rude awakening. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is going to start denying disaster-preparedness funds to governors who don’t have plans in place for climate change, according to Inside Climate News. The limitations don’t extend to disaster relief, but they do apply to funds that help states with projects aimed to mitigate future disasters.

"If a state has a climate denier governor that doesn’t want to accept a plan, that would risk mitigation work not getting done because of politics," Becky Hammer, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s water program, told Inside Climate News. "The governor would be increasing the risk to citizens in that state [thanks to his views]."

Read more. 

Photo: NASA Goddard.

Hey Sen. Inhofe, Science would like a word with you and your snowball

In late February, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) made the amazingly unconvincing argument that the science behind climate change was the product of a hoax because it was “unseasonably cold” outside. To illustrate his point, Inhofe tossed a snowball right onto the Senate floor. Inhofe has no clue how science actually works.

The American Pika (Ochotona princeps)

… lives among boulder fields above the treeline in the mountains of western North America. They create dens in crevices or nooks among the rocks, sometimes digging to expand the space as necessary. They don’t hibernate for the winter, but food can be difficult to find in the often deep snow found at high altitudes.

To ensure they get enough to eat they spend much of the summer “haying” - collecting grasses and other meadow vegetation and caching it in their den. They may make up to 13 haying trips per hour when busy with it.

Pikas are sensitive to higher temperatures and don’t do very well at lower elevations as a result - they don’t occur as far down the mountain in the southern part of their range than they do in the north. Adults will die in just six hours at 78°F (25.5°C) if they can’t find suitable cover.

Recent studies have shown declines in populations of American Pika; while there are multiple causes, the primary one is climate change - the animals’ available range is shrinking as they retreat up the mountainsides to stay in areas with acceptable temperatures.

photo by Daniele Colombo on Flickr

(via: Peterson Field Guides)

This is Mount Roraima in the Pacaraima Mountains. It lies on the border of three Countries; Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana. It is part of Venezuela’s Canaima National Park which is also home to the beautiful Angel Falls and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mount Roraima’s flat surface is surrounded by 400 metre high sheer cliff faces andits highest point is is Maverick Rock at 2,810 meters.

Im many photos and satellite imagery, Mount Roraima is surrounded or engulfed by clouds. This is because the area is surrounded by thick rainforest. Tropical heat causes the moisture from the rainforest to rise and condense over and around the mountain as heavy clouds. As a result, Mount Roraima is almost always in clouds and it rains nearly every day.

-Jean

For more photos see: http://beautifulplacestovisit.com/mountains/mount-roraima-venezuela/

Photo courtesy of: Uwe George, National Geographic Society

On Tuesday, President Obama hit Republicans for their dangerous climate denial:

I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists, that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist, either. But you know what — I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.

The next day Republicans in the Senate admitted climate change is real

Well done, Mr. President.