Connect with us

Stephen Hawking turned seventy five this year, and as you probably know he has ALS. His mind and tongue, or at least his text-to-speech program, remain as sharp as ever, and Hawking had some strong words regarding President Donald Trump during an interview with BBC.

Out of all of Trump’s recent controversies, one that draws great attention is his decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, also known as the Paris Climate Accord and the Paris Climate Agreement. The agreement is designed to help countries reduce CO2 pollution to minimize the effects of climate change. Hawking believes that Trump’s outright disdain for the agreement could result in the Earth becoming inhospitable.

“We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible,” explained Hawking. “Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid.”

While I cannot claim that Trump understands how climate science works (he thinks that eight inches of concrete prevent chrlorofleurocarbons from escaping into the atmosphere and eating away at the ozone), I will argue that Hawking’s dire prediction probably won’t come true, primarily because, according to Scientific American and The New York Times, Trump legally cannot withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement for four years. Trump can give one year’s notice to back out in three years, but his withdrawal won’t take effect until one day after the 2020 elections have concluded. If Trump is elected again, then his plan can proceed unhindered, but if he isn’t, the next president could easily (and probably) will bring the U.S. back into the Accord. Furthermore, if Trump tries to back out before the allotted period or tries to prevent the U.S. from fulfilling its promises to the Paris Climate Agreement, he will have violated international law. Basically, Hawking shouldn’t worry about Trump destroying the world, because the President’s hands are tied, at least until 2020, and Trump’s steadily decreasing approval rating makes his reelection seem like a pipe dream.

While I would not doubt that Trump could potentially damage the environment, the wording of the Paris Agreement makes Hawking’s prediction seem no more reliable than a “The End Is Nigh!” doomsayer sign.

All you have to do to get my attention is talk about video games, technology, anime, and/or Dungeons & Dragons - also people in spandex fighting rubber suited monsters.

Environment

Stark Warning: Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley” has been found to have dangerous levels of toxic gas

blank

Published

on

blank

High levels of toxic gas used in petrochemical manufacturing have been detected in Louisiana, surpassing safe limits by a significant margin.

This particular chemical is ethylene oxide, a highly flammable and colorless gas that has a faintly sweet odor. It is utilized in various industries for the manufacturing of antifreeze, detergents, fibers, and bottles. In addition, it is utilized for sterilizing medical and food production equipment.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University recently conducted a study in southeastern Louisiana to measure the levels of ethylene oxide in the air. They used two vans equipped with advanced technologies to accurately monitor the gas in real-time.

This region of the state encompasses “Cancer Alley,” a corridor along the Mississippi River connecting New Orleans and Baton Rouge, which unfortunately experiences alarmingly elevated rates of cancer and various health concerns among its population. Coincidentally, the area is home to numerous petrochemical plants that release a wide range of industrial chemicals, such as ethylene oxide.

Exposure to ethylene oxide at concentrations exceeding 11 parts per trillion can have detrimental effects on human health. This is because it has the potential to directly harm DNA and elevate the risk of developing cancer.

Surprisingly, this study discovered levels reaching as high as 40 parts per billion in areas in close proximity to industrial facilities. The concentrations turned out to be significantly higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s estimates.

blank

 

It was anticipated that ethylene oxide would be present in this region. However, the levels we observed were far beyond our expectations and significantly exceeded the estimated levels provided by the EPA,” stated Peter DeCarlo, an associate professor of Environmental Health and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

“As we drove through the industrial areas, we observed concentrations reaching 40 parts per billion, a level that exceeds the accepted risk for lifetime exposure by over a thousand times,” DeCarlo explained.

Researchers have issued a warning about the potential increased cancer risk for individuals residing in close proximity to ethylene oxide manufacturing and usage facilities.

Our discoveries carry significant implications for the well-being of community residents, particularly infants and children. According to Keeve Nachman, an associate professor of Environmental Health and Engineering and the co-director of the Risk Sciences and Public Policy Institute, it has been demonstrated that ethylene oxide can cause direct harm to DNA. This implies that exposures to this substance during early life are particularly hazardous.

The latest research was recently published in the esteemed journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Continue Reading

Environment

Was cloud seeding responsible for the unusual floods in Dubai? Experts are skeptical

blank

Published

on

blank

Traditionally linked to dry sand and heavily air-conditioned megacities, many areas of the Gulf region have recently experienced a substantial amount of rainfall. Dubai, located in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), encountered an amount of rainfall in a single day that is equivalent to what it typically receives in a year and a half. This resulted in floods and disorder in the city.

There has been widespread speculation that the torrential rainfall was either caused by or made worse by cloud seeding. This procedure commonly entails dispersing minute particles, such as silver iodide, into the atmosphere to serve as “nuclei” for water droplets to gather around. This process enhances the development of ice crystals, hence augmenting the likelihood of precipitation in the form of rain or snow.

The UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) is widely recognized for its regular utilization of cloud-seeding techniques to alleviate the country’s water scarcity issues. Nevertheless, there is no empirical data to suggest that the act of seeing clouds has any correlation with the precipitation that occurred this week. Conversely, meteorologists have observed that the occurrence in Dubai is connected to broader weather patterns.

A mesoscale convective system, which consists of medium-sized thunderstorms formed by sizable thunderclouds, is most likely what caused these storms. This occurs when heat causes moisture to rise into the sky. These weather phenomena have the capacity to generate substantial quantities of precipitation. When they happen across a broad region and in succession, they can result in extremely intense rainfall. According to Professor Maarten Ambaum, a meteorologist at the University of Reading who has researched rainfall patterns in the Gulf region, these events can quickly cause floods in surface water, as demonstrated at locations like Dubai airport.

Currently, there is no technology available that has the capability to originate or significantly alter this type of rainfall occurrence. Ambaum clarified that there had been no cloud seeding operations conducted in this area recently.

The NCM has confirmed this perspective by asserting that no cloud seeding operations occurred during the recent heavy rainfall. The National state-owned daily said that the NCM did not carry out any seeding activities during this occasion.

Cloud seeding requires the deliberate targeting of clouds in their first stages, prior to the onset of rainfall. Once a severe thunderstorm condition arises, it becomes impractical to carry out any seeding operations.

Ensuring the safety of our personnel, aviators, and aircraft is of utmost importance to us. The NCM stated that it does not carry out cloud seeding activities during severe weather conditions.

Cloud seeding frequently becomes the subject of conspiracy theories. In February of this year, a pilot program aimed at artificially inducing rainfall by seeding clouds in California was held responsible for causing two significant storms that struck the southern regions of the state, resulting in the occurrence of floods and landslides. Nevertheless, authorities emphasized that cloud seeding was not conducted during the two significant storms and, moreover, clarified that cloud seeding cannot directly generate storms.

Continue Reading

Environment

What will happen to Lake Mead in 2024?

blank

Published

on

blank

After a record-setting summer of found bodies in 2022 and historically low water levels that cut off the Colorado River’s connection to the sea, Lake Mead still seems to be feeling the effects of climate change and population growth, as its water levels have dropped quickly over the past few years.

Lake Mead is the biggest reservoir in the United States by volume. It provides water to about 25 million people in the area between Nevada and Arizona. At full pool, Mead is 104.6 kilometers (65 miles) long, starting at the Hoover Dam, and can be as wide as 9.3 miles (15 kilometers). It can hold about 36 trillion liters (9.3 million gallons) of water.

But as the environment changes and more people use water, the lake’s size is quickly shrinking. In July 2022, the area had the lowest water level ever recorded, at 317 meters (1,040 feet). The next year, 2023, wasn’t much better. At the end of the year, the water level was only 324 meters (just under 1,065 feet), which was much lower than the regular 365 meters (1,200 feet) seen in the 1980s and 1990s.

As of the beginning of 2024, the lake’s water levels are high, which is a big change from the previous year. Lake conditions looked better at the start of the year than they did at the same time in 2023, when the water level was 325.5 meters (1,068 feet) and rose to a peak of 328 meters (1,076 feet).

Newsweek talked to Jennifer Pitt, the Colorado River program director for the National Audubon Society. “The combined storage of Lakes Powell and Mead, the two large reservoirs on the Colorado River, has declined somewhat since the beginning of the year,” Pitt said.

But “Lake Mead, which receives water released from Lake Powell and makes releases to water users downstream, has since January 1 increased by about 7 percent, or around 600,000 acre-feet.”

Although water levels typically decline in March as summer approaches, this year’s unusually high water levels are projected to persist into the summer due to above-average snowpack levels.

Snowpack is the accumulation of snow on the ground in hilly areas. When this snow melts, it serves as a crucial water source for several lakes and rivers. Elevated snowpack levels in the adjacent mountains will result in augmented water resources when they gradually thaw over the warmer months and stream into the Colorado River, which accounts for 97 percent of the influx into Lake Mead.

Regrettably, this serves as only a transient solution for a somewhat more substantial problem concerning Lake Mead. Despite a promising start to the year, predictions show that water levels at the end of the year will be even lower than in 2023, a year in which higher-than-average snowpack levels also had an impact.

According to a recent 24-month operation plan by the US Bureau of Reclamation, the water levels in the reservoir are projected to decrease steadily for the remainder of this year, resulting in a decrease of 5 meters (17 feet) by December. By 2025, it is projected that the water levels in December may reach a mere 318 meters (1,044 feet), which is only a little more than 1 meter above the unprecedented low recorded in 2022. If the water level of the reservoir ever dropped below the critical point of 273 meters (895 feet), it would be incapable of supplying water to the states of Nevada, California, and Arizona, as well as some areas of Mexico.

The increased supply demands brought about by a growing population, the impact of climate change on rainfall patterns that result in protracted droughts, and the rising rate of evaporation are all having a significant negative impact on the health of this essential water source. Furthermore, the diminished water levels are adversely affecting the quality of the remaining water, indicating that the situation in the area is unlikely to ameliorate without implementing dramatic measures.

Pitt highlighted that the disparity between supply and demand will increase as climate change persists in reducing the size of the Colorado River, resulting in quicker depletion of the reservoirs.

“The decision-makers responsible for the Colorado River are currently engaged in negotiations to establish new regulations for the reservoirs,” she informed Newsweek. “Their ability to effectively manage the equilibrium between supply and demand will be crucial in ensuring a reliable water supply for all organisms reliant on this river.”

Managing the lake is challenging because of its large size. However, the loss of its resources will have a significant impact on millions of people, as it is one of the most crucial reservoirs in the United States.

Continue Reading

Trending