Global weather patterns are influenced by environmental conditions in places around the world. One of the world’s major weather creators is the Sahara Desert. The Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world. The only larger deserts of any sort are in the polar extremes of the planet and are thus not hot deserts at all.
The world’s largest floating solar power plant is now operational and connected to the electric grid in China. It is a 40-megawatt facility and floats in water 13 to 30 feet deep in a lake that was created by a former mining operation.
A new carbon capture plant, sitting on top of a waste incineration facility near Zurich, Switzerland, is now sucking CO2 out of the air to sell to its first customer. The plant opened on May 31, and is the first commercial enterprise of its kind.
The methanol economy is an idea that was promoted by the late Nobel-prize-winning chemist George Olah since the 1990s. The idea is to replace fossil fuels with methanol for energy storage, ground transportation fuel, and raw material for hydrocarbon-based products. Methanol is the simplest alcohol and can be produced from a wide variety of sources ranging from fossil fuels to agricultural products to just carbon dioxide. Methanol can be used directly as a fuel or it can be reformed into hydrogen, which can then itself be used as a fuel.
The changing climate has many effects upon the world’s ecosystems, some of which are surprising. One of these relates to the effect of the increasing melting of ice in the Arctic. The ice melt is leading to more life in the Arctic sea.
Most of the world has accepted the analysis of the overwhelming majority of climate scientists that shows that our planet is warming and that our actions are the primary cause. However, some people – notably a number holding high office – reject this analysis. What exactly does it imply to say that climate change is not happening or is not caused by us?
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.
Last year was not the hottest year on record in the United States; it was only the second hottest. 2012 was the hottest because of some searing heat waves that summer. However, 2016 marked 20 above-average temperature years in a row. The five hottest years recorded have all happened since 1998. Every state had a temperature ranking at least in the top seven and both Georgia and Alaska had their hottest years ever. While it was only the second hottest year on record in the U.S., last year was the hottest year for the entire world.
A year ago, nearly 200 countries signed an agreement, known as the Paris Accord, to fight climate change by mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. They each promised to reduce their carbon output as soon as possible, and to do their best to keep global warming well below 2-degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
2016 was the hottest year on record and saw many extreme weather events. How much of what happened resulted from climate change has yet to be assessed. However, the analysis of 2015 – which was the hottest year on record up until last year – has been presented in a special publication by the American Meteorological Society.
From 1998 until 2013, scientists observed a slowing in the rate of global mean surface warming. In other words, global temperatures were not rising as quickly as before. This quickly became known as the “global warming hiatus.”
Most of the blame for climate change has been placed on the growing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but methane also plays a major role. Estimates are that about 1/5 of greenhouse effect warming is caused by methane in the atmosphere. There is far less of it than carbon dioxide, but methane is tremendously more effective at trapping heat.
The top of the world is turning from white to blue in the summer. The ice that has long covered the north polar seas is melting away.
The boom in natural gas drilling by conventional methods and by fracking has led to a spike in methane emissions from pipelines, storage tanks, processing facilities, and other parts of the natural gas system. Natural gas is mostly composed of methane, so these emissions constitute waste and lost revenues. But they also represent a serious environmental problem because methane is 25 times more effective in trapping atmospheric heat than carbon dioxide.
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.