Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Climate-Related Death of Coral Around World Alarms Scientists

                                         











NYtimes 

SYDNEY, Australia — Kim Cobb, a marine scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, expected the coral to be damaged when she plunged into the deep blue waters off Kiritimati Island, a remote atoll near the center of the Pacific Ocean. Still, she was stunned by what she saw as she descended some 30 feet to the rim of a coral outcropping.
“The entire reef is covered with a red-brown fuzz,” Dr. Cobb said when she returned to the surface after her recent dive. “It is otherworldly. It is algae that has grown over dead coral. It was devastating.”
The damage off Kiritimati is part of a mass bleaching of coral reefs around the world, only the third on record and possibly the worst ever. Scientists believe that heat stress from multiple weather events including the latest, severe El Niño, compounded by climate change, has threatened more than a third of Earth’s coral reefs. Many may not recover.
Coral reefs are the crucial incubators of the ocean’s ecosystem, providing food and shelter to a quarter of all marine species, and they support fish stocks that feed more than one billion people. They are made up of millions of tiny animals, called polyps, that form symbiotic relationships with algae, which in turn capture sunlight and carbon dioxide to make sugars that feed the polyps.
An estimated 30 million small-scale fishermen and women depend on reefs for their livelihoods, more than one million in the Philippines alone. In Indonesia, fish supported by the reefs provide the primary source of protein.
“This is a huge, looming planetary crisis, and we are sticking our heads in the sand about it,” said Justin Marshall, the director of CoralWatch at Australia’s University of Queensland.
Bleaching occurs when high heat and bright sunshine cause the metabolism of the algae — which give coral reefs their brilliant colors and energy — to speed out of control, and they start creating toxins. The polyps recoil. If temperatures drop, the corals can recover, but denuded ones remain vulnerable to disease. When heat stress continues, they starve to death.

Damaged or dying reefs have been found from Réunion, off the coast of Madagascar, to East Flores, Indonesia, and from Guam and Hawaii in the Pacific to the Florida Keys in the Atlantic.
The largest bleaching, at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, was confirmed last month. In a survey of 520 individual reefs that make up the Great Barrier Reef’s northern section, scientists from Australia’s National Coral Bleaching Task Force found only four with no signs of bleaching. Some 620 miles of reef, much of it previously in pristine condition, had suffered significant bleaching.
In follow-up surveys, scientists diving on the reef said half the coral they had seen had died. Terry Hughes, the director of the Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Queensland, who took part in the survey, warned that even more would succumb if the water did not cool soon.

     
                                   


“There is a good chance a large portion of the damaged coral will die,” he added.
Scientists say the global bleaching is the result of an unusual confluence of events, each of which raised water temperatures already elevated by climate change.
In the North Atlantic, a strong high-pressure cell blocked the normal southward flow of polar air in 2013, kicking off the first of three warmer-than-normal winters in a row as far south as the Caribbean.
A large underwater heat wave formed in the northeastern Pacific in early 2014, and has since stretched into a wide band along the west coast of North America, from Baja California to the Bering Sea. Nicknamed the Blob, it is up to four degrees Fahrenheit warmer than surrounding waters, and has been blamed for a host of odd phenomena, including the beaching of hungry sea lions in California and the sighting of tropical skipjack tuna off Alaska.
Then came 2015, with the most powerful El Niño climate cycle in a century. It blasted heat across the tropical and southern Pacific, bleaching reefs from Kiritimati to Indonesia, and across the Indian Ocean to Réunion and Tanzania on Africa’s east coast.
“We are currently experiencing the longest global coral bleaching event ever observed,” said C. Mark Eakin, the Coral Reef Watch coordinator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Maryland. “We are going to lose a lot of the world’s reefs during this event.”
Reefs that take centuries to form can be destroyed in weeks. Individual corals may survive a bleaching, but repeated bleachings can kill them.
Lurid reports of damaged reefs started coming in from worried scientists in the summer of 2014.
Lyza Johnston, a marine biologist in the Northern Mariana Islands, dived to the reefs off Maug, a group of small islands: “In every direction, nearly all of the corals were bright white.”
Misaki Takabayashi, a marine scientist at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, surfed the waves above the blue rice coral there: “I could see what looked like bleached white ghosts popping up off the ocean floor at me.”
Cory Walter, a senior biologist at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida, peered down from a boat over Wonderland Reef off the Lower Florida Keys: “It almost looks like it snowed on the reef.”
Predicting the duration of the bleaching or forecasting the next one is difficult. The Blob has cooled somewhat, and El Niño, while weakening, is expected to stretch into 2017.
Dr. Eakin, the coral-reef specialist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said he expected the bleaching to continue for nine more months. Scientists will not be able to measure the full extent of the damage until it is over.

         
                                       


What is clear is that these events are happening with increasing frequency — and ferocity. The previous bleachings, in 2010 and 1998, do not appear to have been as extensive or prolonged as the current one.
The 1998 bleaching, which Dr. Eakin said had been set off by a fierce El Niño, killed around 16 percent of the world’s coral. By 2010, oceans had warmed enough that it took only a moderate El Niño to start another round.
Then in 2013, Dr. Eakin said, “a lot of bleaching happened due to climate change, before the El Niño had even kicked in.”
Reefs that were bleached in 2014, like those in the Florida Keys and the Caribbean, had no time to regenerate before suffering further thermal stress from El Niño last year, leaving the coral vulnerable to disease and death.
The reefs in the Florida Keys “are about to go into a third year straight of bleaching, something that has never happened before,” said Meaghan Johnson, a marine scientist at the Nature Conservancy. “We are worried about disease and mortality rates.”
Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, the director of Australia’s Global Change Institute, noted that 2015 was the hottest year ever recorded, both on land and in the oceans — breaking a record set just the year before.
“Rising temperatures due to climate change have pushed corals beyond their tolerance levels,” he said, adding that back-to-back bleaching can be particularly deadly to the corals.
El Niño warms the equatorial waters around Kiritimati Island more than anywhere else in the world, making it a likely harbinger for the health of reefs worldwide. That is why Dr. Cobb, the Georgia Tech scientist who made the recent dive, has been making the trek at least once a year for the past 18 to the tiny atoll, part of the Line Islands archipelago.
Though the atoll sits just north of the Equator, trade winds suck water up from the depths of the ocean, usually keeping the water temperature surrounding the reefs a healthy, nearly constant 78 degrees.
But in 2015, the expected upwelling of deep, cold water did not happen, Dr. Cobb said, speaking by satellite phone after her dive. So water in the atoll was 10 degrees warmer than normal, and never cooled enough to allow coral to recover.
“The worst has happened,” she said. “This shows how climate change and temperature stresses are affecting these reefs over the long haul. This reef may not ever be the same.”


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Reúso de água da chuva nas edificações passa a ser obrigatória em Florianópolis SC Brazil




Todas as edificações comerciais e residenciais com área acima de 200m² construídas em Florianópolis, capital de Santa Catarina, deverão ter captação de água das chuvas para reúso. A determinação consta do projeto de lei nº 1.231/2013, de autoria do vereador Pedro de Assis Silvestre (PP), aprovado pela Câmara Municipal de Florianópolis no dia 1º de fevereiro.
De acordo com o projeto, o sistema de captação e reúso de águas pluviais deve ser submetido a tratamento sanitário e a finalidade é para atividades que não exijam que a água seja potável, como para regar jardins ou para os vasos sanitários. As motivações para o texto, segundo o vereador Pedrão, é a grande quantidade de chuva na capital catarinense. “É necessário estimular as pessoas para que tenham atitudes mais conscientes. Além de ser ecologicamente correto, este sistema de captação é viável financeiramente, pois custa em torno de 1% do valor total da obra”, disse.
O texto da proposta também destaca que a elaboração e execução de leis neste sentido são fundamentais, principalmente, pelo fato de 80% da população brasileira viver em áreas urbanas, tornando assim urgente a implementação de condicionantes na esfera da construção civil favoráveis a um ambiente urbano mais harmonizado com as necessidades humanas, incluindo uma maior integração entre o meio ambiente e a qualidade de vida.
Sistema Integrado Ecoesgoto é o sistema da Ecotelhado que faz o reuso de água, ele é uma nova geração de tratamento de efluentes, agregado a um design ecológico. É inovador porque une tecnologia e inclusão biológica no mesmo sistema, para que todo o processo de tratamento seja mais eficaz.
Vermifiltro: todo o efluente doméstico é direcionado para o Vermifiltro, onde a parte sólida será filtrada e digerida pelas minhocas, transformando-a em húmus que servirá de nutriente para as plantas.
Torre Verde: o efluente líquido que sai do Vermifiltro é encaminhado para a Torre Verde, que é cercada de vegetação por todos os lados, onde a água percola e é oxigenada antes de chegar no Ecotelhado/Wetland.
Ecotelhado / Wetland: a água chega no Wetland com 90% de limpeza. Nesta etapa, ocorre o tratamento por zona de raízes em toda extensão da laje, onde as bactérias alocadas nas raízes das macrófitas fazem o tratamento junto a fotossíntese das plantas.
Cisterna subterrânea: a água que excede o Ecotelhado depois do tratamento pode ser direcionada para um reservatório e ser utilizada para irrigação de vegetações (exceto hortaliças). Reutilização nos vasos sanitários. Obs: O Vermifiltro deverá ter um ladrão ligado a rede pública ou a um sumidouro para eventuais manutenções.
Alguns dos benefícios desse sistema são: Mimetização da ETE no paisagismo, mais economia, maior eficiência no tratamento, não causa odor, traz menor consumo de energia para atingir mesmos padrões de qualidade, melhor custo benefício, menor custo inicial de instalação quando a comparada à outras soluções, menor custo de manutenção anual, dispensa o uso de produtos químicos, sem necessidade de retirada de lodo.
SantaCatarina Municip Florianopolis.svg
Coordinates: 27°50′S 48°25′W

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Resilience

After 4 years of persecution by the local gov. pretrol producers in a country without protection on visionaries people , we return to disseminate information and solutions on how to avoid the global climate change in the near future.



Germany produced so much renewable energy it ended up paying people to use it.



Last weekend Germany’s power grid was swimming in renewable energy, so much so that power prices went negative. The country was generating so much renewable energy on Sunday that, for a few hours, residents actually earned money from using electricity.
The weather was the cause of this monumental occasion—it was a particularly sunny and windy day—which allowed the country’s wind, solar, hydro, and biomass power plants to supply the country with 87 percent of its energy.
Gas plants actually shutdown because of the momentary surge, but nuclear and coal plants were unable to wind-down fast enough, causing a surplus. This extra power on this grid meant for a limited time, some consumers were earning money keeping the lights on.
The news brings hope that the promises made at the 2015 Paris Climate Summit will be kept. Germany has made a pledge to have its country’s electricity supply come from 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 and emissions 40 percent below what they were in 1990 by 2020.
Renewable energy adoption has grown significantly in the United States, thanks to the lowering of costs to install solar panels combined with government incentives. The city of San Francisco recently passed an ordinance requiring all new buildings to have solar panels. It makes a world run wholly on renewable energy seem within sight.
Germany’s weekend renewable energy surge is great news as the world continues to move toward a zero-emission economy. But when news of these occurrences becomes so commonplace it no longer makes headlines, that will be a truly momentous occasion.
Image Credit: Jeroen Komen/ Flickr

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Climate inaction catastrophic - US - By BBC






The costs of inaction on climate change will be "catastrophic", according to US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Mr Kerry was responding to a major report by the UN which described the impacts of global warming as "severe, pervasive and irreversible".
He said dramatic and swift action was required to tackle the threats posed by a rapidly changing climate.
Our health, homes, food and safety are all likely to be threatened by rising temperatures, the report says.
Scientists and officials meeting in Japan say the document is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the impacts of climate change on the world.
In a statement, Mr Kerry said: "Unless we act dramatically and quickly, science tells us our climate and our way of life are literally in jeopardy. Denial of the science is malpractice.


"There are those who say we can't afford to act. But waiting is truly unaffordable. The costs of inaction are catastrophic."
Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which produced the report, told BBC News: "Even in rich countries, the impacts of climate change could lead to greater incidents of pockets of poverty, even in rich countries could lead to impoverishment of some particular communities.
"However there is an equity issue, because some of the poorest communities in the poorest countries in the world are going to be the worst hit."
Some impacts of climate change include a higher risk of flooding and changes to crop yields and water availability. Humans may be able to adapt to some of these changes, but only within limits.
An example of an adaptation strategy would be the construction of sea walls and levees to protect against flooding. Another might be introducing more efficient irrigation for farmers in areas where water is scarce.
Natural systems are currently bearing the brunt of climatic changes, but a growing impact on humans is feared.
Members of the IPCC say it provides overwhelming evidence of the scale of these effects.
The report was agreed after almost a week of intense discussions here in Yokohama, which included concerns among some authors aboutthe tone of the evolving document.
This is the second of a series from the UN's climate panel due out this year that outlines the causes, effects and solutions to global warming.
This latest Summary for Policymakers document highlights the fact that the amount of scientific evidence on the impacts of warming has almost doubled since the last report in 2007.
Be it the melting of glaciers or warming of permafrost, the summary highlights the fact that on all continents and across the oceans, changes in the climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems in recent decades.
In the words of the report, "increasing magnitudes of warming increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts".
"Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,'' said Mr Pachauri.
Dr Saleemul Huq, a convening lead author on one of the chapters, commented: "Before this we thought we knew this was happening, but now we have overwhelming evidence that it is happening and it is real."
Michel Jarraud, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, said the report was based on more than 12,000 peer-reviewed scientific studies. He said this document was "the most solid evidence you can get in any scientific discipline".
Ed Davey, the UK Energy and Climate Secretary said: "The science has clearly spoken. Left unchecked, climate change will impact on many aspects of our society, with far reaching consequences to human health, global food security and economic development.
"The recent flooding in the UK is a testament to the devastation that climate change could bring to our daily lives."
The report details significant short-term impacts on natural systems in the next 20 to 30 years. It details five reasons for concern that would likely increase as a result of the warming the world is already committed to.
These include threats to unique systems such as Arctic sea ice and coral reefs, where risks are said to increase to "very high" with a 2C rise in temperatures.
The summary document outlines impacts on the seas and on freshwater systems as well. The oceans will become more acidic, threatening coral and the many species that they harbour.
On land, animals, plants and other species will begin to move towards higher ground or towards the poles as the mercury rises.
Humans, though, are also increasingly affected as the century goes on.
Food security is highlighted as an area of significant concern. Crop yields for maize, rice and wheat are all hit in the period up to 2050, with around a tenth of projections showing losses over 25%.
After 2050, the risk of more severe yield impacts increases, as boom-and-bust cycles affect many regions. All the while, the demand for food from a population estimated to be around nine billion will rise.
Many fish species, a critical food source for many, will also move because of warmer waters.
In some parts of the tropics and in Antarctica, potential catches could decline by more than 50%.
"This is a sobering assessment," said Prof Neil Adger from the University of Exeter, another IPCC author.
"Going into the future, the risks only increase, and these are about people, the impacts on crops, on the availability of water and particularly, the extreme events on people's lives and livelihoods."
People will be affected by flooding and heat related mortality. The report warns of new risks including the threat to those who work outside, such as farmers and construction workers. There are concerns raised over migration linked to climate change, as well as conflict and national security.
Report co-author Maggie Opondo of the University of Nairobi said that in places such as Africa, climate change and extreme events mean "people are going to become more vulnerable to sinking deeper into poverty".
While the poorer countries are likely to suffer more in the short term, the rich won't escape.
"The rich are going to have to think about climate change. We're seeing that in the UK, with the floods we had a few months ago, and the storms we had in the US and the drought in California," said Dr Huq.
IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri said the findings in the report were "profound"
"These are multibillion dollar events that the rich are going to have to pay for, and there's a limit to what they can pay."
But it is not all bad news, as the co-chair of the working group that drew up the report points out.
"I think the really big breakthrough in this report is the new idea of thinking about managing climate change as a problem in managing risks," said Dr Chris Field.
"Climate change is really important but we have a lot of the tools for dealing effectively with it - we just need to be smart about it."
There is far greater emphasis to adapting to the impacts of climate in this new summary. The problem, as ever, is who foots the bill?
"It is not up to IPCC to define that," said Dr Jose Marengo, a Brazilian government official who attended the talks.
"It provides the scientific basis to say this is the bill, somebody has to pay, and with the scientific grounds it is relatively easier now to go to the climate negotiations in the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and start making deals about who will pay for adaptation."


Monday, March 31, 2014

Panel’s Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come












YOKOHAMA, Japan — Climate change is already having sweeping effects on every continent and throughout the world’s oceans, scientists reported on Monday, and they warned that the problem was likely to grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control.

The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that periodically summarizes climate science, concluded that ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, water supplies are coming under stress, heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying, coral reefs are dying, and fish and many other creatures are migrating toward the poles or in some cases going extinct.

The oceans are rising at a pace that threatens coastal communities and are becoming more acidic as they absorb some of the carbon dioxide given off by cars and power plants, which is killing some creatures or stunting their growth, the report found.



Organic matter frozen in Arctic soils since before civilization began is now melting, allowing it to decay into greenhouse gases that will cause further warming, the scientists said. And the worst is yet to come, the scientists said in the second of three reports that are expected to carry considerable weight next year as nations try to agree on a new global climate treaty.



In particular, the report emphasized that the world’s food supply is at considerable risk — a threat that could have serious consequences for the poorest nations.

Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the intergovernmental panel, said at a news conference here on Monday presenting the report.

The report was among the most sobering yet issued by the scientific panel. The group, along with Al Gore, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its efforts to clarify the risks of climate change. The report is the final work of several hundred authors; details from the drafts of this and of the last report in the series, which will be released in Berlin in April, leaked in the last few months.

The report attempts to project how the effects will alter human society in coming decades. While the impact of global warming may actually be moderated by factors like economic or technological change, the report found, the disruptions are nonetheless likely to be profound. That will be especially so if emissions are allowed to continue at a runaway pace, the report said.

It cited the risk of death or injury on a wide scale, probable damage to public health, displacement of people and potential mass migrations.

Throughout the 21st century, climate-change impacts are projected to slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing and create new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hot spots of hunger,” the report declared.

The report also cited the possibility of violent conflict over land, water or other resources, to which climate change might contribute indirectly “by exacerbating well-established drivers of these conflicts such as poverty and economic shocks.”

The scientists emphasized that climate change is not just a problem of the distant future, but is happening now.

Studies have found that parts of the Mediterranean region are drying out because of climate change, and some experts believe that droughts there have contributed to political destabilization in the Middle East and North Africa.



In much of the American West, mountain snowpack is declining, threatening water supplies for the region, the scientists said in the report. And the snow that does fall is melting earlier in the year, which means there is less melt water to ease the parched summers. In Alaska, the collapse of sea ice is allowing huge waves to strike the coast, causing erosion so rapid that it is already forcing entire communities to relocate.

Now we are at the point where there is so much information, so much evidence, that we can no longer plead ignorance,” Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization, said at the news conference.

The report was quickly welcomed in Washington, where President Obama is trying to use his executive power under the Clean Air Act and other laws to impose significant new limits on the country’s greenhouse emissions. He faces determined opposition in Congress.

There are those who say we can’t afford to act,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement. “But waiting is truly unaffordable. The costs of inaction are catastrophic.”

Amid all the risks the experts cited, they did find a bright spot. Since the intergovernmental panel issued its last big report in 2007, it has found growing evidence that governments and businesses around the world are making extensive plans to adapt to climate disruptions, even as some conservatives in the United States and a small number of scientists continue to deny that a problem exists.

I think that dealing effectively with climate change is just going to be something that great nations do,” said Christopher B. Field, co-chairman of the working group that wrote the report and an earth scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, Calif. Talk of adaptation to global warming was once avoided in some quarters, on the ground that it would distract from the need to cut emissions. But the past few years have seen a shift in thinking, including research from scientists and economists who argue that both strategies must be pursued at once.

A striking example of the change occurred recently in the state of New York, where the Public Service Commission ordered Consolidated Edison, the electric utility serving New York City and some suburbs, to spend about $1 billion upgrading its system to prevent future damage from flooding and other weather disruptions.

The plan is a reaction to the blackouts caused by Hurricane Sandy. Con Ed will raise flood walls, bury some vital equipment and conduct a study of whether emerging climate risks require even more changes. Other utilities in the state face similar requirements, and utility regulators across the United States are discussing whether to follow New York’s lead.

But with a global failure to limit greenhouse gases, the risk is rising that climatic changes in coming decades could overwhelm such efforts to adapt, the panel found. It cited a particular risk that in a hotter climate, farmers will not be able to keep up with the fast-rising demand for food.



When supply falls below demand, somebody doesn’t have enough food,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a Princeton University climate scientist who helped write the new report. “When some people don’t have food, you get starvation. Yes, I’m worried.”

The poorest people in the world, who have had virtually nothing to do with causing global warming, will be high on the list of victims as climatic disruptions intensify, the report said. It cited a World Bank estimate that poor countries need as much as $100 billion a year to try to offset the effects of climate change; they are now getting, at best, a few billion dollars a year in such aid from rich countries.

The $100 billion figure, though included in the 2,500-page main report, was removed from a 48-page executive summary to be read by the world’s top political leaders. It was among the most significant changes made as the summary underwent final review during an editing session of several days in Yokohama.



The edit came after several rich countries, including the United States, raised questions about the language, according to several people who were in the room at the time but did not wish to be identified because the negotiations were private. The language is contentious because poor countries are expected to renew their demand for aid this September in New York at a summit meeting of world leaders, who will attempt to make headway on a new treaty to limit greenhouse gases.

Many rich countries argue that $100 billion a year is an unrealistic demand; it would essentially require them to double their budgets for foreign aid, at a time of economic distress at home. That argument has fed a rising sense of outrage among the leaders of poor countries, who feel their people are paying the price for decades of profligate Western consumption.

Two decades of international efforts to limit emissions have yielded little result, and it is not clear whether the negotiations in New York this fall will be any different. While greenhouse gas emissions have begun to decline slightly in many wealthy countries, including the United States, those gains are being swamped by emissions from rising economic powers like China and India.

For the world’s poorer countries, food is not the only issue, but it may be the most acute. Several times in recent years, climatic disruptions in major growing regions have helped to throw supply and demand out of balance, contributing to price increases that have reversed decades of gains against global hunger, at least temporarily.

The warning about the food supply in the new report is much sharper in tone than any previously issued by the panel. That reflects a growing body of research about how sensitive many crops are to heat waves and water stress. The report said that climate change was already dragging down the output of wheat and corn at a global scale, compared with what it would otherwise be.

David B. Lobell, a Stanford University scientist who has published much of the recent research and helped write the new report, said in an interview that as yet, too little work was being done to understand the risk, much less counter it with improved crop varieties and farming techniques. “It is a surprisingly small amount of effort for the stakes,” he said.

Timothy Gore, an analyst for Oxfam, the antipoverty group that sent observers to the proceedings in Yokohama, praised the new report as painting a clear picture of the consequences of a warming planet. But he warned that without greater efforts to limit global warming and to adapt to the changes that have become inevitable, “the goal we have in Oxfam of ensuring that every person has enough food to eat could be lost forever.”