Have you ever heard of Atlantis being called the land beneath the ocean? Well how about an ocean beneath the land? Apparently researchers have found a sizable blob of water beneath Asia. It’s about the size of the Arctic Ocean and the yet another lovely byproduct of plate tectonics. Apparently it also serves a critical function in helping to dampen the effects of seismic activity.
The folks down under are one upping our friends in Raleigh, NC, by moving the entire country away from the beloved, but past its prime, incandescent light bulb. They will be moving to greener options that will reduce the power requirements of the country and, they hope, set an example for the rest of the world to do away with incandescent around the globe. And so begins the slippery slope towards Earth Day (wait, isn’t that everyday…).
As the evidence of the impact of global warming continues to mount, some places are taking the initiative to better understand local impacts and try to mitigate them. One example is Halifax, Nova Scotia, will is beginning a program to use LIDAR to map the coastline around Halifax Harbour, its drainage basin and the East Petpeswick peninsula. They hope that the results of the new survey will help local officials better predict what areas may be affected by the rise in sea level and other weather-related impacts of global warming in the coming decades.
Researchers have discovered that during the last ice age, the prevailing winds blew east to west, not west to east pattern we see today. Climate changes made everything shift thousands of years ago. It’s an interesting discovery and apparently helps explain some other odd findings, like the Pacific Northwest used to be much drier according to plant samples.
The New York Times has another article on the impacts of global warming, this one discusses how the melting of glacial ice is exposing new land area and changing our knowledge of the coastline geography of Greenland. This is illustrated by the example of a recently-identified island, which was thought to be part of a peninsula of land under the ice until the ice melted and a channel of seawater was exposed between the island and the mainland. As the melting continues, there will surely be more efforts to map these new topographic features, even though their exposure through ice melt is continuing evidence that the climate is rapidly changing. This may also impact other disciplines like archaeology, since sites that were once occupied in past times when the earth was warmer may now be exposed again by melting ice.
First off, I haven’t blogged in about a week due to my annual holiday visit to my parents in North Carolina, and again I have to say, that you never really appreciate your high-speed internet until you’re stuck at a place with dial-up, excruciately slow dial-up at that. So, now that we are back in Morgantown, I can get back to work.
While catching up with all my blog and news sites, I came across a reference to this article in the Independent, about the island of Lohachara, just off the coast of India in the Bay of Bengal. It was home to about 10,000 people, who have been evacuated to another island after rising sea levels completely submerged the island. Two-thirds of the neighboring Ghoramara Island has also disappeared under the sea. According to the article, Lohachara Island now has the dubious distinction of being the first inhabited land area to be submerged as a result of global warming: “Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth.”
In the coming years, it is expected that a number of other inhabited islands will be submerged, as well as many low-lying coastal areas. It is a sobering thought, especially as we all too rapidly approach the point where some experts say the impacts of accelerated global warming will be irreversible.
‘Tis the season for top 10… or 8 in this case… lists! Discover has a interesting run down of the top stories for earth science for 2006. Global warming tops the list, as one would probably expect. My personal favorite is King Tut’s main jewel might not have been from Earth at all!
Winter those of you in the northern hemisphere, summer to those in the south. As of 00:22 GMT it is officially the next season. Check out the soon to by uploaded VSTV Epi 05 for an overview.
The EETimes is reporting that there has been a major breakthrough in the efficiency of solar cells. Up until now, solar cells have only operated at between 12-18% efficient. Through a grant from the DOE, Boeing-Spectrolab has managed to over double or triple that to 40.7% efficiency. That’s pretty impressive. This means solar cells can be deployed in more and more areas. I know that in WV, solar power doesn’t really work well. Maybe these new cells can change that.
I saw this MSNBC article and thought it would be great to highlight for the last day of Geography Awareness Week,since we hadn’t done too much on Physical Geography. Apparently geologists have identified a piece of the Appalachian Mountains in Mexico, in an outcropping of rock known as the Acatlan Complex. The Appalachian chain of mountains runs through the eastern part of the United States, and the new discovery is changing theories about how and when the Appalachians were formed and, more generally, what that means for what the Earth looked like about 420 million years ago.