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Climate Change

Environment

Do Scientists Know What Causes Solar Storms?

April 11, 2019
solar storms

Most of us only think of the sun in passing. On hot afternoons when we hide beneath the shade, or rainy mornings when we wish for a little light, the sun is a subject of discussion. Otherwise, it’s all too easy to forget that our planet survives on the heat from a fiery ball of hot plasma 1.3 million times its size.

With this enormous number in mind, the concept of a “solar storm” is somewhat frightening. After all, the scale of our sun is immense and its power is incredible. It seems probable we’d eventually have to reconcile the fact that we live a very short distance from it, by astronomical standards.

In truth, solar storms aren’t as dangerous as they sound. They’re part of a cycle of high and low activity that repeats every 11 years. This cycle’s “solar maximum,” or peak, occurred between 2013 and 2014. As NASA predicted, we didn’t see any catastrophic solar events like some feared.

So what exactly are “solar storms” and how do they affect the Earth? Do scientists know what causes them? If so, what are the reasons behind this fascinating phenomenon? We’ll answer those questions and others like them by taking a comprehensive look at the many intriguing aspects of solar storms.
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Oceans

Are We Depleting the Amount of Oxygen in the Ocean?

March 25, 2019
oxygen in the ocean

The level of oxygen in the ocean is falling, an issue scientists say calls for urgent attention. Decreasing oxygen levels could cause substantial harm to the health of the ocean and the life that depends on it.

Across the planet, oxygen levels have fallen by 2 percent in the last 50 years, according to research from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel in Kiel, Germany. If the problem goes unchecked, global ocean oxygen levels could fall by an average of 7 percent by 2100. Another study found that in some tropical regions, oxygen levels declined by as much as 40 percent. For every degree the ocean warms, oxygen concentration decreases by 2 percent.

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Green Technology

What Impact Would a Fourth Industrial Revolution Have on the Planet?

March 18, 2019
fourth industrial revolution

The first industrial revolution started in the 18th century, and most people know it as an era that spurred the development of the steam engine and contributed to more urbanization. Several other industrial revolutions followed, and a common thread among them was that each period had tremendous technological advances. We’re now in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). How might it affect the Earth?

Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, argues that it’s fundamentally different from previous revolutions. The earlier ones helped humans break free from their dependence on animals and gave them access to the digital world, plus furthered mass production. However, this era blends the physical, digital and biological worlds through a range of technologies.

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Oceans

People Are Aware of Ocean Changes. Now, How Do We Stop Those Changes?

March 7, 2019
ocean changes

The effect of climate change on our oceans is inarguable, and more than that, distressing. As acidity levels rise, the delicate balance of marine ecosystems has started to tip, affecting countless species of fish and plant life that depend on environmental stability to survive. We’ve already seen the consequences.

Coral bleaching events have increased in frequency, leaving large areas of the world’s reefs pale and weak. Diseases like white syndrome are gaining traction, compounding the problem, and pollution from packaging, bottles and spills have all contributed to detrimental, large-scale ocean changes across the globe.

While this situation is admittedly upsetting, more and more people are beginning to acknowledge the effect their actions have on the environment. They’ve adopted eco-friendly lifestyles that reduce their emissions and waste, and many have corrected their bad habits, doing away with single-use plastics for green alternatives.

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Oceans

Deadly Threat to Coral Reef From Disease

February 18, 2019

In 2013, researchers off the coast of Christmas Island discovered something shocking. The coral reef they’d visited only five years earlier was skeletal and dead, its tissue destroyed and bone-like. The cause of the deterioration was a disease called white syndrome, and even now, in 2019, scientists are still baffled.

While white syndrome has many of the qualities of coral bleaching — draining the life and color from a coral reef — the disease is far more deadly. Instead of stressing the coral until it expels its algae, white syndrome kills a reef completely, leaving nothing behind but a bare structure of what it once was.

What is white syndrome, and how can researchers hope to address the problem? Let’s dive into the strange and mysterious depths of this growing phenomenon.

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Green Technology

World’s First Plastic-Free Flight Paving the Way for Green Aviation

January 28, 2019
green aviation

The aviation industry’s relationship with sustainability is somewhat complicated. Though industry leaders have acknowledged the environmental impact of air travel, progress is slow, and the damage is considerable. As of 2017, aviation was responsible for 11 percent of transportation-related emissions in the United States.

So how can today’s airlines affect change? Portuguese carrier Hi Fly has proven small changes are the best place to start, taking a significant step toward green aviation with the world’s first plastic-free flight. On December 26, they made a trip between Lisbon and Brazil without any single-use plastic items on board.

In this article, we’ll explore the implications of this simple, but no less important example of sustainability in air travel. As we examine the efforts of Hi Fly and carriers like them, we’ll show how the aviation industry is transitioning toward eco-friendly practices.

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Wildlife

California Wildfires Devastate Humans and Animals

January 21, 2019
california fires animals

The increase of California’s wildfires in recent years has led to severe casualties for humans and animals. Wildfire season has seemed to expand throughout the entire year, as the disasters in 2018 began in February and lasted until late November.

However, the worst of the fires occurred at the end of the year with the Camp Fire, which lasted from Nov. 8 to 25. Now confirmed as the most destructive wildfire in California’s history, the fire affected more than the landscape.

As the town of Paradise perished and the surrounding Butte County area suffered, at least 85 people died in the Camp Fire. But humans weren’t the only victims of the wildfires this year. Animals, whether pets or cattle, were in danger, too. Different kinds of animals had specific needs during the disasters, which caused varying levels of safety.

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Oceans

How Coral Bleaching Is Changing Marine Life Behavior

January 10, 2019
marine life

An aquatic ecosystem is like a scale, delicately balanced, and even a small addition or subtraction can make it tip. There are many examples of these disturbances, like invasive species, natural disasters and resource exploitation, but of all the threats to marine life, coral bleaching is one of the most disruptive.

Bleaching is the stress response of corals under environmental pressure, caused by freshwater inflows, tropical cyclones and anthropogenic pollution. The most significant contributor to bleaching, however, is climate change, and the consequences of global warming on the ocean’s pH levels and temperature.

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Wildlife

6 Best Conservation Movies for the Whole Family

January 7, 2019
best conservation movies

It can be hard for anyone, child or adult, to believe in conservation and climate change when those in power are continually denying its existence. Thankfully, plenty of amazing movies and documentaries can introduce everyone to the idea of conservation, regardless of their age.

Here is a list of six of the best conservation movies you can watch with the entire family.

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