Midnight In The Desert — Category_Earth Changes

Why Cape Town Is Running Out of Water, and Who’s Next

Posted by K R on

Why Cape Town Is Running Out of Water, and Who’s Next

Cape Town's main water supply, at the Theewaterskloof Dam, is running dry, and the city may soon have to turn off its taps. By late spring, four million people in the city of Cape Town—one of Africa's most affluent metropolises—may have to stand in line surrounded by armed guards to collect rations of the region's most precious commodity: drinking water. Population growth and a record drought, perhaps exacerbated by climate change, is sparking one of the world's most dramatic urban water crises, as South African leaders warn that residents are increasingly likely to face "Day Zero." That's the day, now...

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What Really Happens When Earth’s Magnetic Field Flips?

Posted by K R on

What Really Happens When Earth’s Magnetic Field Flips?

Many times over our planet’s history, Earth’s magnetic poles have reversed, meaning that sometimes a compass pointing north will be aimed at Antarctica rather than the Arctic. This might sound strange, but it’s a relatively predictable quirk. Powered by the machinations of the planet’s spinning iron core, this process of geomagnetic reversal has been doing its thing without much fanfare for eons. That is, until this week, when a book excerpt describing the phenomenon appeared online. Shortly afterward, numerous websites began trumpeting the doomsday around the corner, a geomagnetic apocalypse in which tumors run rampant, satellites fall from the sky,...

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New study finds that being a couch potato is green

Posted by K R on

New study finds that being a couch potato is green

Years ago, before there was Amazon Prime, TreeHugger concluded that online shopping used less energy than driving to the mall. Now a new study, Changes in Time Use and Their Effect on Energy Consumption in the United States, concludes that many of the technological changes of the last 15 years, from online shopping to Netflix, are contributing to Americans using less energy than they used to. This research tracks lifestyle changes in the United States through changes in times spent on different activities and measures the associated energy effects. We find that Americans are spending more time at home and...

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Cleaning Up Air Pollution May Strengthen Global Warming

Posted by K R on

Cleaning Up Air Pollution May Strengthen Global Warming

Pollution in the atmosphere is having an unexpected consequence, scientists say—it's helping to cool the climate, masking some of the global warming that's occurred so far. That means efforts worldwide to clean up the air may cause an increase in warming, as well as other climate effects, as this pollution disappears. New research is helping to quantify just how big that effect might be. A study published this month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters suggests that eliminating the human emission of aerosols—tiny, air-polluting particles often released by industrial activities—could result in additional global warming of anywhere from half a...

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See this bizarre Plan B to cool the planet

Posted by K R on

See this bizarre Plan B to cool the planet

As efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions fall woefully short and many scientists agree cuts alone will not be enough to avert the consequences of climate change, radical new schemes are being proposed. While “Plan A” remains tackling the problem at its source, these “Plan Bs” includes a raft of so-called geoengineering solutions. One of those is a controversial idea known as stratospheric aerosol injection. The idea basically involves spraying a bunch of aerosols into the stratosphere so the reflective particles block and reflect the sun’s rays, ultimately cooling the planet. This already happens naturally through volcanic eruptions but some...

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