World scientists – we can’t raise the temperature by more than two degrees Celsius

The official position of planet Earth at the moment is that we can’t raise the temperature more than two degrees Celsius.

Some context: So far, we’ve raised the average temperature of the planet just under 0.8 degrees Celsius, and that has caused far more damage than most scientists expected. (A third of summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone, the oceans are 30 percent more acidic, and since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the atmosphere over the oceans is a shocking five percent wetter, loading the dice for devastating floods.)

Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees.

We’re not getting any free lunch from the world’s economies, either. With only a single year’s lull in 2009 at the height of the financial crisis, we’ve continued to pour record amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, year after year. In late May, the International Energy Agency published its latest figures – CO2 emissions last year rose to 31.6 gigatons, up 3.2 percent from the year before.

  • America had a warm winter and converted more coal-fired power plants to natural gas, so its emissions fell slightly
  • China kept booming, so its carbon output (which recently surpassed the U.S.) rose 9.3 percent
  • Japanese shut down their fleet of nukes post-Fukushima, so their emissions edged up 2.4 percent.

 

Keep reading: Rolling Stone – Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math

 

 

Continue reading World scientists – we can’t raise the temperature by more than two degrees Celsius

Radioactive ocean currents reach Southern California

Radioactive particles released in the nuclear reactor meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami were detected in giant kelp along the California coast, according to a recently published study.

Radioactive iodine was found in samples collected from beds of kelp in locations along the coast from Laguna Beach to as far north as Santa Cruz about a month after the explosion, according to the study by two marine biologists at Cal State Long Beach.

The levels, while most likely not harmful to humans, were significantly higher than measurements prior to the explosion and comparable to those found in British Columbia, Canada, and northern Washington state following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, according to the study published in March in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

The highest levels were found in Corona del Mar.

via LA Times

Before, after, and a year later – satellite images of the devastation from the Japanese tsunami

On the 1-year anniversary of the earthquake/tsunami that hit Japan, Google Maps updated its imagery all along the coast. This included side-by-side shots of two specific regions, the Shiogama Port and the Sanriku Bridge.

The photos are: years before, days after, one month after, and a year after.

The devastation is incredible, but so is the recovery.

 

Shiogama Port, Miyagi

 

Bridge of Minami Sanriku Town, Miyagi

The last man in Fukushima – emptiness, evacuated cities, men in radiation suits

Today marks the anniversary of the devastating earthquake that hit Japan. One survivor shares his tale.

Only Naoto Matsumura remains inside the exclusion zone, without electricity and running water and braving the loneliness and the constant threat of exposure to elevated levels of radiation to feed a menagerie of animals.