Satellites orbiting the earth are becoming an increasingly powerful tool for counting and monitoring wildlife populations and to answer a host of other questions about the natural world.
The amount of solar energy striking the surface of the earth in two hours is enough to supply all of humankind’s needs for an entire year. For this reason, it is widely thought that solar energy should be our primary source of electricity. If this is to happen, however, there must be cost-effective ways to obtain solar electricity regardless of the time of day, weather, or seasonal changes. Essentially, there must be ways to store the energy from the sun to use it when we need it.
The battery industry is currently dominated by lithium-ion batteries. We have them in our phones and computers. They power electric cars. And they are increasingly being used to store energy generated by solar panels and other renewable energy sources.
One of the arguments some people make when discussing human causes of climate change is that people can’t cause such massive changes. However, there is a long historical record of human-driven ecological and climatic change in Europe, North America and New Zealand, among other places.
Geothermal energy uses the heat trapped beneath the Earth’s surface to generate electricity. Typically, geothermal energy plants tap into the steam from natural sources such as geysers, or they draw water from hot, high-pressure underground sources. The hot vapors are then used to drive electric turbines.
Amphibians are one of the most threatened groups of animals on the planet. Since the late 1980s, scientists have measured dramatic population declines from locations all over the world. The plummeting amphibian populations are perceived to be one of the most critical threats to global biodiversity. According to the IUCN, about 1 of every 3 amphibian species is facing extinction. Some of the greatest threats facing amphibians include climate change, disease, and habitat destruction.
With the forthcoming administration change, it appears that the federal government is likely to start backing away from tackling climate change and may even be obstructive towards efforts to mitigate the growing problem of greenhouse gas emissions.
Global climate change is typically referred to as global warming and that name implies that things are getting warmer all the time. Well, the planet as a whole is, as measured by the planet-wide mean temperature, which continues to rise over time.
Two years ago, NASA reported that the sea ice surrounding Antarctica reached a new record high extent, surpassing levels mapped since the late 1970s. This seemed to be quite contrary to the global warming trend that is leading to the melting of the Arctic and glaciers worldwide. And in fact, it does seem rather puzzling.
NASA data show that the Earth’s temperature in July was the highest recorded since record-keeping began 136 years ago. It was also the 10th straight month of record-breaking temperatures and was .18 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the previous hottest July in 2011.
Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. Estimates are that it comprises 75% of all matter. There is plenty of it here on earth too, but almost none of it is in its elemental form. It is mostly bound up in compounds like water.
Geothermal heat pumps use the heat stored in the earth’s surface to heat homes and buildings. Even in the dead of winter, the temperature not very far below ground remains at a temperature typically in the 50s. Geothermal systems tap into this immense thermal resource. Conversely, this same temperature sink can be used to provide cooling during the summer. It takes electricity to run the heat pumps, but is vastly more efficient than using electricity directly to produce heat or to cool air.