A tipping point is a point in time when a small thing can make a big change happen. The term was popularized in sociology in recent decades, but really comes from physics where is refers to adding a small amount of weight to a balanced object causing it to topple over.
On several occasions, we have talked about the enormous amount of plastic that litters the world’s oceans. Bits of bottles, bags, toys, fishing nets and other objects collect in gyres, or so-called garbage patches, which have grown and grown over the decades.
This time of the year, sea ice in the Arctic is on the rise as winter sets in. A combination of unusually high air temperatures and a warmer than normal ocean led to a record low for Arctic sea ice extent in November. In the Southern Hemisphere, Antarctic sea ice extent also hit a record low for the month.
Sea levels are rising around the world because of melting ice as well as warming waters since water expands as its temperature goes up. Average sea levels around the world are predicted to rise by about three feet by the end of the century as a consequence of the warming climate.
What do climate change and radioactive waste have in common? It turns out a lot more than we’d like. According to research, which was was led by York University in collaboration with the University of Zurich and recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, rising global temperatures could lead to the release of – yep, you guessed it – radioactive waste.