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Ski Resorts Environmental Impact And Sustainability Efforts
Skiing and snowboarding are great ways to be outdoors during winter. Nevertheless, the impact of ski resorts on the environment is huge: they rely on a complex and energy-demanding infrastructure, with scores of employees and heavy use of water.  Environmental Impact: Ski Resorts Water Use How do ski resorts make fake snow? Snowmaking is the production of snow by forcing water and pressurized air through a "snow gun," also known as a "snow cannon." Snowmaking is mainly used at ski resorts to supplement natural snow. The production of snow requires low temperatures. The threshold temperature for snowmaking increases as humidity decreases. While many ski-resort owners are switching to environmentally friendly practices such as renewable energy, recycling and composting, some feel that these adjustments fail to mitigate the overall negative effect of ski areas on the environment. What is the solution? 'Making snow' in a warming world! One of the problems is the excessive amount of water use in ski resorts. As a result of global climate change, most ski areas experience winters of increasingly shorter duration. If the snow base falls below a certain level, resort managers must use artificial snow-making systems. Artificial snow is made by mixing large volumes of water and high-pressure air, so the process demands an abundance of water and energy. When the water is taken from the local rivers and streams, it has a negative impact on the surrounding ecosystem. Are there chemicals in artificial snow? There are two main kinds of artificial snow: powders and spray-on aerosols. The powders that turn into artificial snow flakes when mixed with water are sometimes called instant snow. The mixture is almost entirely water (99%), but a very small amount is made out of a non-toxic polymer. {youtube}                                       Behind the Scenes - How Snowmaking at Ski Resorts Works                                       Ski Resorts Environmental Impact And Sustainability Efforts Recommended:  COP25: Can Paris Accord Signatories Beat The Fossil Industry Skiers Wildlife  Disturbance How bad is skiing for the environment? The impact of skiing in mountainous environments is negative as trees need to be cut down to make way for the skiers and ski lifts. Not only is the lack of trees affecting the environment, but it is also affecting the animals that live in the trees. It can be said that skiing is bad for the environment in this sense. Alpine habitats above the tree line are already threatened by global climate change, and disturbance from skiers is one more stressor. These disturbances can come from scaring wildlife or harming their habitat by damaging vegetation and compacting soils. An example: the population of black grouse, a creature that lives in the Swiss Alps, is usually found at half its normal density around ski areas. Photo by: Mike Lane. Two Black Grouse fighting Recommended:  Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected Ski Trails Land Use Change To create ski trails, a large amount of clear-cutting in forested areas is required. The resulting fragmented landscape negatively impacts habitat quality for many bird and mammal species. Also: wind, light, and disturbance levels increase near the open slopes, reducing habitat quality. To create ski trailers, a large amount of clear-cutting in forested areas is required. The resulting fragmented landscape negatively impacts habitat quality for many bird and mammal species. To create new trailers, ski resorts have to remove woody vegetation. The fastest way to achieve that is with a bulldozer, graded to remove tree stumps and any sort of slope irregularity. This process reduces topsoil depth and causes soil erosion. Also: wind, light, and disturbance levels increase near the open slopes, reducing habitat quality. Recommended:  Deforestation: No! Celebrate National Tree Day With WhatsOrb Ski Resorts Environmental Impact: Fossil Fuel Energy Resort skiing is an energy-intensive operation, relying on fossil fuels, producing greenhouse gases and contributing to global warming. For example: ski lifts usually run on electricity, and operating a single ski lift for a month requires about the same energy needed to power 3.8 households for a year. Another one: to maintain the surface of the snow on the ski runs, a resort deploys nightly a fleet of trail groomers each operating on about 5 gallons of diesel per hour and producing carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate emissions. Recommended:  Carbon-Negative Fuel Set: Burning The World To A Better Place A complete estimate of the greenhouse gases emitted in association with resort skiing would need to include those produced by skiers driving or flying to the mountains. Ironically, climate change is affecting most ski regions. As global atmospheric temperatures go up, snowpacks are thinning, and the ski seasons are getting shorter. The environmental costs associated with resort skiing come in multiple dimensions, and so do the solutions. Many ski resorts have made substantial efforts to minimize their environmental impacts. Solar panels, wind turbines, and small hydro turbines have been deployed to supply renewable energy. Improved waste management and composting programs have been implemented, just like green building technologies have been employed. Forest management efforts have been planned to improve wildlife habitat. But it this enough? What did they use for snow in old movies? And it wasn't the only film set to use asbestos in the 1930s. Over the years, filmmakers have used a number of other substances to create the illusion of snow: marble dust in Dr. Zhivago (1965), salt and flour in Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush (1925) and plain old salt in 1978's Superman. The Wizard of Oz, where asbestos was used to make 'fake snow'  Sustainability Efforts: Initiatives You Can Take Research, research, research: it is now possible for skiers to gather information about a resort’s sustainability efforts and make informed consumer decisions. An increasing number of outdoor enthusiasts seek snowy slopes by practicing lower-impact forms of skiing. These backcountry skiers and snowboarders use specialized equipment that allows them to make their way up the mountain on their own power, and then to ski down natural terrain that has not been logged or groomed. These skiers have to be self-sufficient and able to mitigate a multitude of mountain-related safety risks. The learning curve is steep, but backcountry skiing has a lighter environmental impact than resort skiing. Before you go! Recommended:  Earth Matters. Nature And Us: What Was, What’s Left: Hope? Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about your wintersport experience? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Skiing and snowboarding are great ways to be outdoors during winter. Nevertheless, the impact of ski resorts on the environment is huge: they rely on a complex and energy-demanding infrastructure, with scores of employees and heavy use of water.  Environmental Impact: Ski Resorts Water Use How do ski resorts make fake snow? Snowmaking is the production of snow by forcing water and pressurized air through a "snow gun," also known as a "snow cannon." Snowmaking is mainly used at ski resorts to supplement natural snow. The production of snow requires low temperatures. The threshold temperature for snowmaking increases as humidity decreases. While many ski-resort owners are switching to environmentally friendly practices such as renewable energy, recycling and composting, some feel that these adjustments fail to mitigate the overall negative effect of ski areas on the environment. What is the solution? 'Making snow' in a warming world! One of the problems is the excessive amount of water use in ski resorts. As a result of global climate change, most ski areas experience winters of increasingly shorter duration. If the snow base falls below a certain level, resort managers must use artificial snow-making systems. Artificial snow is made by mixing large volumes of water and high-pressure air, so the process demands an abundance of water and energy. When the water is taken from the local rivers and streams, it has a negative impact on the surrounding ecosystem. Are there chemicals in artificial snow? There are two main kinds of artificial snow: powders and spray-on aerosols. The powders that turn into artificial snow flakes when mixed with water are sometimes called instant snow. The mixture is almost entirely water (99%), but a very small amount is made out of a non-toxic polymer. {youtube}                                       Behind the Scenes - How Snowmaking at Ski Resorts Works                                       Ski Resorts Environmental Impact And Sustainability Efforts Recommended:  COP25: Can Paris Accord Signatories Beat The Fossil Industry Skiers Wildlife  Disturbance How bad is skiing for the environment? The impact of skiing in mountainous environments is negative as trees need to be cut down to make way for the skiers and ski lifts. Not only is the lack of trees affecting the environment, but it is also affecting the animals that live in the trees. It can be said that skiing is bad for the environment in this sense. Alpine habitats above the tree line are already threatened by global climate change, and disturbance from skiers is one more stressor. These disturbances can come from scaring wildlife or harming their habitat by damaging vegetation and compacting soils. An example: the population of black grouse, a creature that lives in the Swiss Alps, is usually found at half its normal density around ski areas. Photo by: Mike Lane. Two Black Grouse fighting Recommended:  Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected Ski Trails Land Use Change To create ski trails, a large amount of clear-cutting in forested areas is required. The resulting fragmented landscape negatively impacts habitat quality for many bird and mammal species. Also: wind, light, and disturbance levels increase near the open slopes, reducing habitat quality. To create ski trailers, a large amount of clear-cutting in forested areas is required. The resulting fragmented landscape negatively impacts habitat quality for many bird and mammal species. To create new trailers, ski resorts have to remove woody vegetation. The fastest way to achieve that is with a bulldozer, graded to remove tree stumps and any sort of slope irregularity. This process reduces topsoil depth and causes soil erosion. Also: wind, light, and disturbance levels increase near the open slopes, reducing habitat quality. Recommended:  Deforestation: No! Celebrate National Tree Day With WhatsOrb Ski Resorts Environmental Impact: Fossil Fuel Energy Resort skiing is an energy-intensive operation, relying on fossil fuels, producing greenhouse gases and contributing to global warming. For example: ski lifts usually run on electricity, and operating a single ski lift for a month requires about the same energy needed to power 3.8 households for a year. Another one: to maintain the surface of the snow on the ski runs, a resort deploys nightly a fleet of trail groomers each operating on about 5 gallons of diesel per hour and producing carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate emissions. Recommended:  Carbon-Negative Fuel Set: Burning The World To A Better Place A complete estimate of the greenhouse gases emitted in association with resort skiing would need to include those produced by skiers driving or flying to the mountains. Ironically, climate change is affecting most ski regions. As global atmospheric temperatures go up, snowpacks are thinning, and the ski seasons are getting shorter. The environmental costs associated with resort skiing come in multiple dimensions, and so do the solutions. Many ski resorts have made substantial efforts to minimize their environmental impacts. Solar panels, wind turbines, and small hydro turbines have been deployed to supply renewable energy. Improved waste management and composting programs have been implemented, just like green building technologies have been employed. Forest management efforts have been planned to improve wildlife habitat. But it this enough? What did they use for snow in old movies? And it wasn't the only film set to use asbestos in the 1930s. Over the years, filmmakers have used a number of other substances to create the illusion of snow: marble dust in Dr. Zhivago (1965), salt and flour in Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush (1925) and plain old salt in 1978's Superman. The Wizard of Oz, where asbestos was used to make 'fake snow'  Sustainability Efforts: Initiatives You Can Take Research, research, research: it is now possible for skiers to gather information about a resort’s sustainability efforts and make informed consumer decisions. An increasing number of outdoor enthusiasts seek snowy slopes by practicing lower-impact forms of skiing. These backcountry skiers and snowboarders use specialized equipment that allows them to make their way up the mountain on their own power, and then to ski down natural terrain that has not been logged or groomed. These skiers have to be self-sufficient and able to mitigate a multitude of mountain-related safety risks. The learning curve is steep, but backcountry skiing has a lighter environmental impact than resort skiing. Before you go! Recommended:  Earth Matters. Nature And Us: What Was, What’s Left: Hope? Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about your wintersport experience? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Ski Resorts Environmental Impact And Sustainability Efforts
Ski Resorts Environmental Impact And Sustainability Efforts
Storms Ellen, Francis After Dennis: Extreme Weather Rising?
Storm Dennis left a trail of devastation as it swept across Flanders and the UK on Sunday. Gusts were stronger than last weekend when Storm Ciara had the country in its grip. Two storms in a week isn’t all that exceptional and the worst may not be over. Storms Ellen and Francis could be on the way as early as next weekend (22, 23th of February 2020). Storms Ellen, Francis After Dennis and Ciara: Is Extreme Weather Rising? At the minute it’s too early to offer details. They are coming from the North of the Atlantic. They still need to be formed. Storm Dennis meant gusty conditions and heavy rain especially towards evening. In Stabroek (Antwerp Province, Belgium) gusts of 108 km/h were recorded. Average rainfall of 5 to 15 litres per square metre were measured. Highs at 16.6° C in Brussels remained exceptionally mild.  It was nearly 18°C in the Kempen District. Storm Dennis caused greater damage than Storm Ciara thanks to stronger gusts inland.  Storm Dennis Knocked On Your Door Last Weekend (15/16 February 2020) Jump quickly to subject by clicking on: Extreme Weather Events In Europe On The Rise Damage Statistics Storm And Flood Trends Recommended:  Climate Extremes Australia Floods, Wildfires And Destruction After storm Ciara came storm Dennis. Dennis started in the Atlantic Ocean and reached Ireland and the Uk on Saterday (15th) and the Netherlands on Sunday (16th) afternoon. Storm Dennis generated winds of up to 100 to 120km/h on the northwest coast and on the Wadden Islands. Storm Dennis caused more damage then Ciara. When did the North Sea 'flood'? The 1953 North Sea flood was a major flood caused by a heavy storm that occurred on the night of Saturday, 31 January 1953 and morning of Sunday, 1 February 1953. The floods struck the Netherlands, Belgium, England and Scotland. {youtube}                                           STORM DENNIS to batter UK this weekend with heavy rain and gales Dennis got his name from the Brits, just like Ciara. The names don’t carry any significance, they were sent in by the public, says a Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) spokesperson. The next storm will also get a name sent in by the Brits, but after that, it’s time for one sent in by the Dutch public. Goeree-Overflakkee (Zuid-Holland, Netherlands) during the major flood in 1953 The sixth storm will get the name Francis, after Francis Beaufort, creator of the Beaufort scale used to measure wind speed. The storm after Francis will get the Dutch name Gerda. After that, we’ll have to wait until J and P for the Dutch names Jan and Piet. Does Europe get hit by hurricanes? There is only one modern tropical cyclone officially regarded as directly impacting Europe, Hurricane Vince in 2005, which struck southwestern Spain—having made landfall in the European mainland while still fully tropical. Storms can move around the Bermuda high and turn to the northeast and affect Europe. Storm Dennis Passed: One Storm After Another It seemed we had to wait some more for calm spring weather, as Storm Dennis emerged last Sunday. First it was a nameless storm on Sunday the 9 th  when it appeared. Yes, it was nameless, unlike the recent Ciara because it was significantly weaker, reaching only 98 kilometres, compared to the heavier Ciara which had winds of up to 129 kilometres. Recommended:  Cooling Earth By A Sun Dimming Effect Or Warming By More CO2 Windy, Rainy And Snowy The Rest Of Week 7 Unfortunately, the weather did not significantly improve in week 7 of 2020. It showed it's typical mix of hail, the occasional sunshine peak, long enough only for you to miss it when it was gone, as well as potential wet snow in some places. The wind force also remained substantial at the coasts, reaching level 8, while being level 5 inland.  Was Ciara a hurricane? Storm Ciara was an active extratropical cyclone, and the third named storm of the 2019–20 Ireland, Netherlands and UK windstorm season. Ciara brought heavy rain and severe winds across much of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden and other northern regions in Europe. Ciara is a popular Irish given name. Storm Dennis  Another 'named windy' visitor came last weekend. The weather teased us by becoming somewhat better on Friday (14th of February), but you needed not to be 'worried', there was no calm after the Ciara storm, just more storm. On Sunday Storm Dennis came on our doorway. It also got 15 degrees Celsius in some areas in the south last weekend. What is your weather forecast for this week: first days of spring or last days of winter? Let us know in the comment Boxes below this article. Recommended:  Climate Change Africa, Pakistan: Locust Destroy All Crops Storm Dennis At 'Our Neighbors' Ireland And The UK A number of sailings from Belfast, Dublin and Rosslare had been delayed or cancelled as an orange weather marine warning remained in place, along with a yellow weather snow/ice warning which was in place until midnight last Sunday the 16th of February 2020. Met Éireann issued a number of warnings over the days before as a cold snap set in across the country in the aftermath of a nationwide orange weather warning at the weekend when Storm Ciara made landfall. Storm Dennis on it's way The Met Office in the UK, meanwhile had issued a warning over Storm Dennis which was on the way but predicted not to be as severe as Storm Ciara. Strong westerly winds continuid and high seas resulted in coastal floodings, especially around high tide. Gale force Meanwhile, an orange weather warning for coastal waters was in place as westerly winds reached gale force 8 or stronger gale 9 on all Irish coastal waters and on the Irish Sea. What was the heaviest storm in the UK The Great Storm of 1987 was a violent extratropical cyclone that occurred on the night of 15–16 October, with hurricane-force winds causing casualties in England, France and the Channel Islands as a severe depression in the Bay of Biscay moved northeast. It 'occasionally touched storm force 10', Met Éireann announced. The wind warning prompted ferry operator Stena Line to cancel a number of crossings as a result. In a statement, it stated, Stena Line is continuing to see disruptions to its ferry sailings on the Irish Sea caused by high winds and rough seas in the aftermath of Storm Ciara. As a result, sailings from Belfast to Liverpool have been delayed and Belfast to Heysham sailings have been cancelled. The Dublin to Holyhead route experienced delays of around an hour, while an early morning sailing was cancelled. All sailings from Rosslare were cancelled and resumed at 8am. Overall, the weather forecast for the coming week looked 'unsettled but turning less cold from Thursday (13th of February0'. Ahead of Storm Dennis’ landfall in the UK, the Met Office had issued wind warnings for much of England and Wales for Saturday the 15th. A statement said: 'Storm Dennis brought a range of impacts, including delays and cancellations to transport services, damage to power supplies and large coastal waves. Another spell of very wet and windy ​weather came on Saturday, although Storm Dennis was not expected to be as severe as Ciara disruption came. Below a checklist (UK) of five steps that every household at risk of flooding should implement: Have a home emergency plan in place, which would include what to do in a flood and other scenarios such as a fire. Check that home insurance includes flood cover, and make sure that any changes to the T&Cs in the future do not change the type of cover you think you have. Sign up to receive Floodline alerts – the service is free and messages can be received in different formats (by phone, SMS). If Sepa (or bodies such as the Environment Agency in other parts of the UK) make river level data for a water body near where you live publicly available use this resource. Make use of publicly available resources such as Sepa’s flood risk maps to find out if a property you are considering buying is at risk of flooding. Damage And Fatalities Extreme Weather Events In Europe On The Rise: Before Dennis In the last two decades there has hardly been a year without weather disasters like storms in Europe. There were (mostly river) floods, in Italy, France and Switzerland in 2000, in the upper Elbe and Danube catchments in 2002 and 2013, along the lower Danube in 2006, in the United Kingdom in 2007, in the Adriatic region in 2014, and in Germany and France in 2016. Flood in Dresden (Germany) Severe heat waves and droughts marked the summers of 2003, 2010 and 2018, and large-scale wildfires burned in southern and eastern Europe in 2007, 2010 and 2017. Hailstorms caused a lot of damage in Germany in 2013, and the winter storms Kyrill (2007) and Xynthia (2010) left a trail of destruction in Western Europe. Social Disruption resulted from extreme snowpack in the northern Alps in 2006 and 2019. Storms Like Dennis: Munich Re Has Collected Information On These Events Since 1974  The company’s NatCatSERVICE database on losses caused by natural extreme events is among the world's largest and contains more than 40,000 entries. A distinction is made between disastrous weather events and geophysical events. The latter include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. The weather disasters include winter storms and storm surges, thunderstorms and flash floods, river and lake flooding, landslides, winter hazards, heat waves, droughts, and wildfires.   Damage Statistics: Storms And Floods Dominate 95% of all loss events in the period 1980-2018 are weather-related. Storms make up almost 50% of all events, and flooding almost another third. The so-called 'climatological' events, such as heat waves, droughts, wildfires and frost, account for 16%. The remaining 5% refer to geophysical hazards. A man walks amidst rubble following an earthquake in Pescara del Tronto Winter storms produce losses in excess of one billion dollars practically every year. The most expensive storm disasters since 1990 are winter storms Daria (1990), Lothar (1999), Kyrill (2007), and Xynthia (2010), with overall losses of US$ 7bn, 11.5bn, 9bn, and 6.1bn, respectively. The most expensive weather-related disaster in Europe, affecting large parts of Germany and neighbouring countries, was the 2002 summer flood: two flood events caused a total of US$ 21.5bn (original values, not adjusted for inflation) across the continent. As a result, flood insurance has gained importance. The penetration of flood insurance for private homes in Germany increased countrywide to about 41% in 2018, as compared to around 26% in 2009 and only less than 10% in the year 2002. Recommended:  Climate Change: Cause Of The Next Global Economic Collapse Europe's Average Annual Overall Losses For 1980-2018 Are Equal To US$ 16.2bn. Casualties: 2003 and 2010 heat waves stand out In all 1,719 events in Europe in which at least one person was killed, storms and floods are leading by a long way. However, 2003 and 2010 stand out as years with extremely high numbers of fatalities in Europe caused by heat waves: 70,000 and 56,000, respectively. These two events dominate the number of weather-related fatalities in Europe since 1980: the number of fatalities by all natural hazards combined in the period 1980-2018 is about 155,000. High Temperature And Storms Also Enhance The Wildfire Danger Wildfires in 2003 caused US$ 1.2bn of damage and killed 70 people in southern Europe. In 2010, the fires around Moscow approached a US$ 2bn loss and claimed 130 lives. More recently, in the summer of 2017, 123 people died in several wildfire episodes, 110 of them in Portugal alone. In 2018, 100 people perished in wildfires in Greece.   Storm And Flood Trends? With respect to damage, the number of severe floods seems to be increasing. With respect to fatalities, the mortality risk related to heat waves has been on the rise. Heat wave frequency, duration, and intensity are increasing, while resistance is decreasing because European societies are ageing. Local inhabitants are evacuated from a flooded village of Sokolniki in Southern Poland, May 20, 2010 Altogether, from 1980 to 2018, 4,890 destructive weather events have been recorded in this database for Europe. 837 Of the events occurred in the 1980s, 1,239 in the 1990s, 1,345 in the first decade of the 21stcentury and 1,469 since 2010. The losses of 525 of these events exceeded US$ 100 m (in original values, not inflation-corrected); 92 were above US$ 1bn, and four even topped US$ 10bn. The number of disastrous weather events in the Munich Re database is growing much faster than the number of geophysical events. Is this due to climate change? For a small part at most. Non-climatic factors such as land-use and land-cover change play a role as well. Nowadays, more people and more valuable assets are exposed to disasters because more people live in unsafe areas, such as floodplains. Future Weather Outlook Weather catastrophes constitute a growing burden on national economies and insurance companies, not least because of the costs of precautionary measures. The projections for the future look grim, the authors of this study conclude. The percentage of the European population affected by weather-related disasters may increase by an order of magnitude in a hundred years: from 5% in 1981-2010 to two-thirds by 2100. The record number of heat-related fatalities of 2003 may become the new norm by 2050. Before you go! Recommended:  Climate Change: Hurricane Season With Big And Wet Storms Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about the weather? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Storm Dennis left a trail of devastation as it swept across Flanders and the UK on Sunday. Gusts were stronger than last weekend when Storm Ciara had the country in its grip. Two storms in a week isn’t all that exceptional and the worst may not be over. Storms Ellen and Francis could be on the way as early as next weekend (22, 23th of February 2020). Storms Ellen, Francis After Dennis and Ciara: Is Extreme Weather Rising? At the minute it’s too early to offer details. They are coming from the North of the Atlantic. They still need to be formed. Storm Dennis meant gusty conditions and heavy rain especially towards evening. In Stabroek (Antwerp Province, Belgium) gusts of 108 km/h were recorded. Average rainfall of 5 to 15 litres per square metre were measured. Highs at 16.6° C in Brussels remained exceptionally mild.  It was nearly 18°C in the Kempen District. Storm Dennis caused greater damage than Storm Ciara thanks to stronger gusts inland.  Storm Dennis Knocked On Your Door Last Weekend (15/16 February 2020) Jump quickly to subject by clicking on: Extreme Weather Events In Europe On The Rise Damage Statistics Storm And Flood Trends Recommended:  Climate Extremes Australia Floods, Wildfires And Destruction After storm Ciara came storm Dennis. Dennis started in the Atlantic Ocean and reached Ireland and the Uk on Saterday (15th) and the Netherlands on Sunday (16th) afternoon. Storm Dennis generated winds of up to 100 to 120km/h on the northwest coast and on the Wadden Islands. Storm Dennis caused more damage then Ciara. When did the North Sea 'flood'? The 1953 North Sea flood was a major flood caused by a heavy storm that occurred on the night of Saturday, 31 January 1953 and morning of Sunday, 1 February 1953. The floods struck the Netherlands, Belgium, England and Scotland. {youtube}                                           STORM DENNIS to batter UK this weekend with heavy rain and gales Dennis got his name from the Brits, just like Ciara. The names don’t carry any significance, they were sent in by the public, says a Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) spokesperson. The next storm will also get a name sent in by the Brits, but after that, it’s time for one sent in by the Dutch public. Goeree-Overflakkee (Zuid-Holland, Netherlands) during the major flood in 1953 The sixth storm will get the name Francis, after Francis Beaufort, creator of the Beaufort scale used to measure wind speed. The storm after Francis will get the Dutch name Gerda. After that, we’ll have to wait until J and P for the Dutch names Jan and Piet. Does Europe get hit by hurricanes? There is only one modern tropical cyclone officially regarded as directly impacting Europe, Hurricane Vince in 2005, which struck southwestern Spain—having made landfall in the European mainland while still fully tropical. Storms can move around the Bermuda high and turn to the northeast and affect Europe. Storm Dennis Passed: One Storm After Another It seemed we had to wait some more for calm spring weather, as Storm Dennis emerged last Sunday. First it was a nameless storm on Sunday the 9 th  when it appeared. Yes, it was nameless, unlike the recent Ciara because it was significantly weaker, reaching only 98 kilometres, compared to the heavier Ciara which had winds of up to 129 kilometres. Recommended:  Cooling Earth By A Sun Dimming Effect Or Warming By More CO2 Windy, Rainy And Snowy The Rest Of Week 7 Unfortunately, the weather did not significantly improve in week 7 of 2020. It showed it's typical mix of hail, the occasional sunshine peak, long enough only for you to miss it when it was gone, as well as potential wet snow in some places. The wind force also remained substantial at the coasts, reaching level 8, while being level 5 inland.  Was Ciara a hurricane? Storm Ciara was an active extratropical cyclone, and the third named storm of the 2019–20 Ireland, Netherlands and UK windstorm season. Ciara brought heavy rain and severe winds across much of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden and other northern regions in Europe. Ciara is a popular Irish given name. Storm Dennis  Another 'named windy' visitor came last weekend. The weather teased us by becoming somewhat better on Friday (14th of February), but you needed not to be 'worried', there was no calm after the Ciara storm, just more storm. On Sunday Storm Dennis came on our doorway. It also got 15 degrees Celsius in some areas in the south last weekend. What is your weather forecast for this week: first days of spring or last days of winter? Let us know in the comment Boxes below this article. Recommended:  Climate Change Africa, Pakistan: Locust Destroy All Crops Storm Dennis At 'Our Neighbors' Ireland And The UK A number of sailings from Belfast, Dublin and Rosslare had been delayed or cancelled as an orange weather marine warning remained in place, along with a yellow weather snow/ice warning which was in place until midnight last Sunday the 16th of February 2020. Met Éireann issued a number of warnings over the days before as a cold snap set in across the country in the aftermath of a nationwide orange weather warning at the weekend when Storm Ciara made landfall. Storm Dennis on it's way The Met Office in the UK, meanwhile had issued a warning over Storm Dennis which was on the way but predicted not to be as severe as Storm Ciara. Strong westerly winds continuid and high seas resulted in coastal floodings, especially around high tide. Gale force Meanwhile, an orange weather warning for coastal waters was in place as westerly winds reached gale force 8 or stronger gale 9 on all Irish coastal waters and on the Irish Sea. What was the heaviest storm in the UK The Great Storm of 1987 was a violent extratropical cyclone that occurred on the night of 15–16 October, with hurricane-force winds causing casualties in England, France and the Channel Islands as a severe depression in the Bay of Biscay moved northeast. It 'occasionally touched storm force 10', Met Éireann announced. The wind warning prompted ferry operator Stena Line to cancel a number of crossings as a result. In a statement, it stated, Stena Line is continuing to see disruptions to its ferry sailings on the Irish Sea caused by high winds and rough seas in the aftermath of Storm Ciara. As a result, sailings from Belfast to Liverpool have been delayed and Belfast to Heysham sailings have been cancelled. The Dublin to Holyhead route experienced delays of around an hour, while an early morning sailing was cancelled. All sailings from Rosslare were cancelled and resumed at 8am. Overall, the weather forecast for the coming week looked 'unsettled but turning less cold from Thursday (13th of February0'. Ahead of Storm Dennis’ landfall in the UK, the Met Office had issued wind warnings for much of England and Wales for Saturday the 15th. A statement said: 'Storm Dennis brought a range of impacts, including delays and cancellations to transport services, damage to power supplies and large coastal waves. Another spell of very wet and windy ​weather came on Saturday, although Storm Dennis was not expected to be as severe as Ciara disruption came. Below a checklist (UK) of five steps that every household at risk of flooding should implement: Have a home emergency plan in place, which would include what to do in a flood and other scenarios such as a fire. Check that home insurance includes flood cover, and make sure that any changes to the T&Cs in the future do not change the type of cover you think you have. Sign up to receive Floodline alerts – the service is free and messages can be received in different formats (by phone, SMS). If Sepa (or bodies such as the Environment Agency in other parts of the UK) make river level data for a water body near where you live publicly available use this resource. Make use of publicly available resources such as Sepa’s flood risk maps to find out if a property you are considering buying is at risk of flooding. Damage And Fatalities Extreme Weather Events In Europe On The Rise: Before Dennis In the last two decades there has hardly been a year without weather disasters like storms in Europe. There were (mostly river) floods, in Italy, France and Switzerland in 2000, in the upper Elbe and Danube catchments in 2002 and 2013, along the lower Danube in 2006, in the United Kingdom in 2007, in the Adriatic region in 2014, and in Germany and France in 2016. Flood in Dresden (Germany) Severe heat waves and droughts marked the summers of 2003, 2010 and 2018, and large-scale wildfires burned in southern and eastern Europe in 2007, 2010 and 2017. Hailstorms caused a lot of damage in Germany in 2013, and the winter storms Kyrill (2007) and Xynthia (2010) left a trail of destruction in Western Europe. Social Disruption resulted from extreme snowpack in the northern Alps in 2006 and 2019. Storms Like Dennis: Munich Re Has Collected Information On These Events Since 1974  The company’s NatCatSERVICE database on losses caused by natural extreme events is among the world's largest and contains more than 40,000 entries. A distinction is made between disastrous weather events and geophysical events. The latter include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. The weather disasters include winter storms and storm surges, thunderstorms and flash floods, river and lake flooding, landslides, winter hazards, heat waves, droughts, and wildfires.   Damage Statistics: Storms And Floods Dominate 95% of all loss events in the period 1980-2018 are weather-related. Storms make up almost 50% of all events, and flooding almost another third. The so-called 'climatological' events, such as heat waves, droughts, wildfires and frost, account for 16%. The remaining 5% refer to geophysical hazards. A man walks amidst rubble following an earthquake in Pescara del Tronto Winter storms produce losses in excess of one billion dollars practically every year. The most expensive storm disasters since 1990 are winter storms Daria (1990), Lothar (1999), Kyrill (2007), and Xynthia (2010), with overall losses of US$ 7bn, 11.5bn, 9bn, and 6.1bn, respectively. The most expensive weather-related disaster in Europe, affecting large parts of Germany and neighbouring countries, was the 2002 summer flood: two flood events caused a total of US$ 21.5bn (original values, not adjusted for inflation) across the continent. As a result, flood insurance has gained importance. The penetration of flood insurance for private homes in Germany increased countrywide to about 41% in 2018, as compared to around 26% in 2009 and only less than 10% in the year 2002. Recommended:  Climate Change: Cause Of The Next Global Economic Collapse Europe's Average Annual Overall Losses For 1980-2018 Are Equal To US$ 16.2bn. Casualties: 2003 and 2010 heat waves stand out In all 1,719 events in Europe in which at least one person was killed, storms and floods are leading by a long way. However, 2003 and 2010 stand out as years with extremely high numbers of fatalities in Europe caused by heat waves: 70,000 and 56,000, respectively. These two events dominate the number of weather-related fatalities in Europe since 1980: the number of fatalities by all natural hazards combined in the period 1980-2018 is about 155,000. High Temperature And Storms Also Enhance The Wildfire Danger Wildfires in 2003 caused US$ 1.2bn of damage and killed 70 people in southern Europe. In 2010, the fires around Moscow approached a US$ 2bn loss and claimed 130 lives. More recently, in the summer of 2017, 123 people died in several wildfire episodes, 110 of them in Portugal alone. In 2018, 100 people perished in wildfires in Greece.   Storm And Flood Trends? With respect to damage, the number of severe floods seems to be increasing. With respect to fatalities, the mortality risk related to heat waves has been on the rise. Heat wave frequency, duration, and intensity are increasing, while resistance is decreasing because European societies are ageing. Local inhabitants are evacuated from a flooded village of Sokolniki in Southern Poland, May 20, 2010 Altogether, from 1980 to 2018, 4,890 destructive weather events have been recorded in this database for Europe. 837 Of the events occurred in the 1980s, 1,239 in the 1990s, 1,345 in the first decade of the 21stcentury and 1,469 since 2010. The losses of 525 of these events exceeded US$ 100 m (in original values, not inflation-corrected); 92 were above US$ 1bn, and four even topped US$ 10bn. The number of disastrous weather events in the Munich Re database is growing much faster than the number of geophysical events. Is this due to climate change? For a small part at most. Non-climatic factors such as land-use and land-cover change play a role as well. Nowadays, more people and more valuable assets are exposed to disasters because more people live in unsafe areas, such as floodplains. Future Weather Outlook Weather catastrophes constitute a growing burden on national economies and insurance companies, not least because of the costs of precautionary measures. The projections for the future look grim, the authors of this study conclude. The percentage of the European population affected by weather-related disasters may increase by an order of magnitude in a hundred years: from 5% in 1981-2010 to two-thirds by 2100. The record number of heat-related fatalities of 2003 may become the new norm by 2050. Before you go! Recommended:  Climate Change: Hurricane Season With Big And Wet Storms Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about the weather? 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Storms Ellen, Francis After Dennis: Extreme Weather Rising?
Coronavirus, COVID-19 Symptoms Flu And Global Climate Change
No one will be surprised to hear that there is a worryingly wide range of problems associated with climate change. From extreme weather events to melting ice caps and the extinction of animal species - these have all been well-researched to fall somewhere in the range of ‘likely’ to ‘highly probable’. Perhaps not as obvious is the suddenly rise of the Corona virus and the flu, as a direct result of climate change. How does that even work?  Coronavirus And Climate Change: Winter And Traveling Makes People More Vurnerable 20-2-2020: 2.128+ People died in China, 75.730+ people are proven infected worldwide. The current cases show there is definitely human-to-human transmission. Strongly Recommended : Coronavirus COVID-19: Worse Then Thought: A Must Read Update WHO Declares Public Health Emergency The WHO have declared a public health emergency because of the spread of the COVID-19, Coronavirus outside of China, describing it as an 'unprecedented outbreak'.  Jump quickly to subject by clicking on: Coronavirus Symptons Flu And Climate Change Tips & Tricks To Avoid Colds And Flu A worker in protective mask disinfects a waiting hall at the Nanjing Railway Station, in Nanjing Recommended:  Coronavirus Symptoms Clarified: Males 50+ Are Most At Risk NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: The new cluster of viral pneumonia cases originating in Wuhan, China, marks the third time in 20 years that a member of the large family of coronaviruses (CoVs) has jumped from animals to humans and sparked an outbreak. Top microbiologist states golden window of containment was missed, cost of containment escalating dramatically, virus takes 2-3mo to reach max strength, & morality rates will increase from here. Total scale of outbreak could reach 10x that of SARS. Till recently the Coronavirus mainly occured in vurnerable and elderly people. A 9-month-old baby is the youngest known patient infected with the deadly coronavirus sweeping across China, according to a report. The baby girl was among the 68 coronavirus cases detected in Beijing since the illness emerged last month in the city of Wuhan In order for this coronavirus, or any, to lead to a pandemic in humans, it needs to do three things: Efficiently infect humans Replicate in humans Spread  easily  among humans New Coronavirus Can Spread Person-to-Person Share your experiences We want to know about any additional measures you have encountered in airports in different countries following the coronavirus outbreak. Which airport were you travelling through and were people screened or asked to enter a different way? Do you feel that the measures were adequate? Please write or reply to this article at: WhatsOrb The new coronavirus that began sickening people in China late in 2019 can be transmitted from human to human, China’s health ministry announced last Monday. The mysterious respiratory illness emerged last month in a fish market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, and officials thought it was mostly passed from animals to humans. Recommended:  Coronavirus From Bat To Snake To Humans: Fact Or Hypothesis However, Zhong Nanshan of China's National Health Commission said two people who lived hundreds of miles away caught the virus from a family member who had visited Wuhan. 5 Million residents had left Wuhan before it went into lockdown. This includes people who traveled for the lunar new year festival, as well as those who fled to escape the virus and impending shutdown. How did the coronavirus start in China? Wuhan coronavirus may have been transmitted to people from snakes. A new coronavirus may have been transmitted to people from snakes or bats according to a genetic analysis. The snakes may have caught the virus from bats in the food market in which both animals were sold. The semi-autonomous region of Macau has imposed new restrictions on vistitors from mainland China, AFP’s Hong Kong correspondent reports. Is bat soup sold in Wuhan market in China behind Coronavirus outbreak? While nothing has been officially declared, experts feel that bat soup can be one of the reasons, as it is an unusual but widely consumed Chinese delicacy. In a statement, a scientist has mentioned, "The Wuhan Coronavirus, which can cause pneumonia, the natural host could be bats, but between bats and humans there may be an unknown intermediate."   COVID-19, Coronavirus Symptons: While a person with the virus can show no outward symptoms, early signs can include a fever, diarrhea, a dry cough, shortness of breath and general body aches Some patients also report feeling tired and confused More serious cases of the virus can lead to a high fever, kidney failure and pneumonia While the disease is being treated as an 'imminent threat', some of the symptoms of coronavirus are similar to those seem in other respiratory conditions - such as the flu or the common cold COVID-19, Coronavirus Symptons: Advice If you have recently travelled to a high-risk area - or if you've been in contact with somebody who has - and you develop symptoms, you should contact your doctor by telephone for advice You should not go to the doctor or to hospital, as if you have the virus, you may risk spreading it to others If you have recently travelled to Wuhan you should go in self-quarantine for 14 days and call  your doctor and/ or local authorities to report your recent stay Wag your hands often What is the coronavirus in humans? Coronaviruses are types of viruses that typically affect the respiratory tract of mammals, including humans. They are associated with the common cold, pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and can also affect the gut. Recommended:  Society Collapse: Climate Change, The Environment Or Us? Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, second right, shows visitors from Wuhan receiving health screening at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province on Jan 5. He said on Monday that a Chinese woman found infected with a new strain of coronavirus was in quarantine and being treated in Nonthaburi province. {youtube}                                       Corona Virus, Flu And Climate Change: Is There A Connection?                                  Coronavirus spread is ‘accelerating’ says China as death toll rises to 213 How do you catch coronavirus? Sometimes, but not often, a coronavirus can infect both animals and humans. Most coronaviruses spread the same way other cold-causing viruses do, through infected people coughing and sneezing, by touching an infected person's hands or face, or by touching things such as doorknobs that infected people have touched. The disease has also spread outside China: Two cases were diagnosed in Thailand, one in Japan, one in South Korea and one in Taiwan. The Philippines also reported a suspected case Tuesday and later in Nepal, the UK and France. There are fears the disease could spread further as millions are expected to travel throughout Asia Tuesday for the Lunar New Year. Airports in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco will begin screening passengers coming from Wuhan. The new virus has raised the specter of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), another coronavirus that killed almost 800 people in 2002 and 2003. Zhong, who also helped discover SARS, said the new disease was not as infectious, but was ‘climbing’. How long does the coronavirus live? How long does the virus survive in the environment? Outdoors, the virus can usually only survive for hours or days. Indoors, in dried-up cat litter, it can survive for up to seven weeks. This undated file image released by the British Health Protection Agency shows an electron microscope image of a coronavirus, part of a family of viruses that cause ailments including the common cold and SARS How contagious is the virus? It is too soon to know how easily the virus will spread. It is airborne and we know it can be transmitted between people. Chinese authorities have presented evidence of fourth-generation cases in Wuhan and second-generation infections outside of the city. Yesterday, the World Health Organization heard preliminary calculations for the average number of infections that each infected person may go on to cause, known as R0. This is estimated to be 1.4 to 2.5 people per infected person . In comparison, seasonal flu usually has an R0 of around 1.3. Coronavirus, Flu And Climate: The Corona Virus COVID-19 Has Been Underreported Researchers at Imperial College London also think the new virus has been severely underreported. Officials are also concerned that they do not yet know the exact source of the disease. What concerns me is the source of infection. They have no idea. That's the most important thing. At the moment, it is a bad flu. Yes, it is something to be concerned about and it is probably going to get worse in terms of infections and mortality, because it's winter. Recommended:  Wildfires Globally: Australia, America, Africa, The Arctic, Siberia Virusses In Relation With Air Temperature And Relative Humidity Assessment of the risks posed by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (SARS-CoV) on surfaces requires data on survival of this virus on environmental surfaces and on how survival is affected by environmental variables, such as air temperature (AT) and relative humidity (RH). The use of surrogate viruses has the potential to overcome the challenges of working with SARS-CoV and to increase the available data on coronavirus survival on surfaces. Two potential surrogates were evaluated in this study: transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) and mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) Both were used to determine effects of AT and RH on the survival of coronaviruses on stainless steel. At 4°C, infectious virus persisted for as long as 28 days, and the lowest level of inactivation occurred at 20% RH. Inactivation was more rapid at 20°C than at 4°C at all humidity levels; the viruses persisted for 5 to 28 days The slowest inactivation occurred at low RH. Both viruses were inactivated more rapidly at 40°C than at 20°C. The relationship between inactivation and RH was not monotonic, and there was greater survival or a greater protective effect at low RH (20%) and high RH (80%) than at moderate RH (50%). There was also evidence of an interaction between AT and RH. The results show that when high numbers of viruses are deposited, TGEV and MHV may survive for days on surfaces at ATs and RHs typical of indoor environments. TGEV and MHV could serve as conservative surrogates for modeling exposure, the risk of transmission, and control measures for pathogenic enveloped viruses, such as SARS-CoV and influenza virus, on health care surfaces. Expected humidity (%): 27/1-75, 28/1-70, 29/1-62, 30/1-62, 31/1-39. 1/2-58, 2/2-41, 3/2-33, 4/2-69, 5/2-70, 6/2-85, 7/2-89, 8/2-89. Temperature forecast Wuhan. Temperature year-round Wuhan.   Climate Change And Flu Ironically, initial research seemed to point towards climate change actually benefitting our health. It was thought to be one of the few positives to a very negative, with fewer deaths to mourn as a result of respiratory illnesses. After all, those are common in colder areas, where flu gets to spread like a wildfire as the result of harsh winter days and poor ventilation. Warmer weather would, logically speaking, counteract this. Unfortunately, new research has cast doubt over this hypothesis. In a worrisome twist, some are now concerned that climate change could actually worsen pandemics. This has to do with the way in which viruses, including influenza and HIV, develop and spread. It has already been proven that certain strains of influenza, usually occurring in the winter, are now able to survive in warmer temperatures. Recommended:  Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected What has also been found is that seasonal diseases like the influenza are rearing their ugly heads earlier in the year - all while being more powerful. There appears to be a strong link between warm winters and the consequent flu breakouts immediately after. Meaning, a warm winter with a mild flu season will usually trigger an earlier and more severe flu outbreak in the following year. 2020 on track to be worst US flu season in decades  This explains why these viruses have been found in Asia during their summer months, having been brought over by birds, who have been pushed further north by climate change and warmer winters. This allows them to come in contact with other bird species and, consequently, other forms of influenza. Together, this leads to poultry interchanging flu types and incubating new and potentially dangerous new strains. These feathered migrating creatures then hold the power of spreading these diseases over the world, with our regular influenza seeding in Southeast Asia before taking over the rest of the world in a miserable swoop during our winters. Recommended:  Global Cooling Will Kills Us All. No, Wait Global Warming Will Kill Us! Flu And Climate Change: Older Adults (Above 65 years) According to the CDC , people aged 65 and older are at a greater risk for serious complications from the flu. This is because the immune system typically weakens with age. Flu infection can also worsen long-term health conditions, like heart disease, lung disease, and asthma. Some of this has been contributed to the changing La Niña, an increase in the intensity and frequency of this weather phenomenon, causing different flu types to converge as a result of birds and animals that are normally not found together mixing. Not only does this lead to more creatures being infected, it also moulds influenza genetic material in new combinations. Flu And Climate Change: We Can’t Predict How Bad 2019th & 2020th Year’s Flu Season Will Be The outlook for 2019’s & 2020's flu season is not particularly rosy, based on the relatively mild 2018 season and warm winters. Yet it is nearly impossible to predict until we find ourselves in the midst of the epidemic - at which point there is not much to do but sit it out. And ‘sitting it out’ can be anything from a mild nuisance to a life-threatening event. The influenza illness, or the flu in short, is characterised by a sudden onset of a high fever, chills, muscle aches, tiredness and a dry cough - symptoms that get progressively worse over the first few days. Although most people infected will not require any medical attention, there are instances where high-risk groups, including the pregnant and elderly, could suffer from very dangerous complications. In 2018, the World Health Organisation characterised that year’s flu season as pretty mild. This characterisation is made based on the speed of circulation, the seriousness, and the impact of the  disease. So, in short, how fast it spreads, how many people are hospitalised or even die, and the strain it puts on hospitals and doctors. In 2017, on the other hand, there was a pretty serious outbreak, that started early and had a serious impact on society. And it looks as if 2019 is going to follow in its footsteps. Flu And Climate Change: Flu, Why Is It So Hard To Predict? The problem with making predictions regarding the severity of the flu season is the fact that there are actually four different types of viruses to consider, that can be categorised in influenza types A, with subtypes H1N1pdm09 and H3N2, and B, with lineages B/Victoria and B/Yamagata. Although those at higher risk may choose to get vaccinated, these vaccinations only protect against certain of those (sub)types. What this means is that those vaccinated will not be fully covered against all types - nor will a previous infection with one type protect you against other types. Add to this that influenza viruses are in constant flux, meaning that a certain vaccine or previous infection will not grant immunity for next season’s slightly altered viruses, and it is not hard to see why flu can be such a tough opponent. Predicting flu is very difficult Additionally, it poses a problem for tracking the specific (sub)types: hospitals and doctors generally do not collect information on the specific viruses that they come across in their practice. Not only is this process time-consuming and costly, it does not add anything of value to the treatment plan either. An unfortunate side effect is that it makes it that much harder to observe the circulation pattern of a specific virus, in turn making general flu patterns across seasons hard to predict. Flu And Climate Change: Flu, What’s Happening Elsewhere In The World? Not only is it hard to predict flu trends over time, it is equally hard to find trends over space. Even though increased (air) travel has made it easier for viruses to mutate and find their way across the globe, there is no consistent pattern of flu viruses travelling the globe. During the same flu season, very different viruses can dominate on different continents. Where Is Influenza Most Common? A study in 2015 looked into where influenza is most common, alongside how it spreads around the globe. While there are cases of it appearing all around the world, scientists found that it is far more prominent in the east than in the west, particularly in Southeast Asia. Influenza most common in South-East Asia. Now the Caronavirus! Even the timing can differ. Particularly in (sub)tropical areas, where there are no real winters, there can be multiple flu seasons each year, circulating at vastly different times. Some have pointed at climate or even tourism as the reason for this variation, although a causal relationship is yet to be established. It is notoriously hard to predict those kind of patterns as well, although we are slowly getting to a place where modern technologies and an increased understanding of the flu are allowing for better analysis and tracking. Yet there is still a long way to go. Flu And Climate Change: Definite History Of The Flu Looking back in time, though, we are certainly much more on the ball than we ever were before. We are documenting and analysing far more than our ancestors. The very first reported instances of the flu might date back to 500 BCE, with Greek historians reporting on a so-called ‘three-year plague’, that boasted symptoms much like our flu. However, descriptions were so scarce that many historians are not convinced that it actually was. What we do know is that the disease did not get its name until well in the 14th century, when the term ‘influenza’, the Italian word for ‘influence’, was coined to describe it. This ‘influence’ was contributed to either cold weather or a misalignment of stars and planets. And although many different terms have been used to describe it since, this is the one that stuck. Although the beast had been given a name, it was not until some 80 years ago that scientists actually managed to debunk the flu virus, thanks to the invention of the electron microscope. Pictures of the flu could now be made and shared, with distinctions finally made between the most prominent types. Soon after, the first influenza vaccines hit the market, including those that were capable of preventing more than one strain. As the world evolved, so did the flu and our ways of dealing with it. Unfortunately, with climate change ramping up, we are about to enter a new phase of epidemics, pandemics and the spread of diseases like the flu. Climate change might even amplify its causes and effects and lead to the creation of mutated, vaccine-resistant strains that can be equally hard to control and contain.   Tips & Tricks to Avoid Colds And Flu This Winter That sounds like doom and gloom. Yet it is important to realise that there is always something that we can do about it. What is the best way of staying ahead of the flu, even in this time of climate change possibly amplifying its spread and severity? There are a few tips and tricks that will minimise your chances of contracting it. Wash hands For most of us, washing our hands is a totally normal thing to do. During flu season, you might consider doing so a bit more often. Most viruses are transmitted by air, although they can just as easily be transferred through physical contact. Once we get the disease-spreading germs on our hands, they can easily invade our bodies when we touch our eyes, mouths or noses. By frequently washing our hands with soap and drying them using clean hand towels or paper towels, it will be much harder for a virus to get a hold of us. Dress appropriately Although the concept of ‘having caught a cold’ by standing out in the literal cold has been somewhat debunked, it is still imperative to stay warm and dress appropriately during the colder seasons. Once we are cold, we tend to shiver - an action that affects our immune system, making us more susceptible to lurking viruses. Get yourself a decent sweater and coat, and don’t forget your hat, as we lose quite a bit of our body heat through our head. Avoid crowded spaces One of the preferred breeding grounds for viruses is public transportation, alongside crowded stores and poorly ventilated office buildings. Basically, small and cramped spaces in which a lot of people crowd together. Here, infections spread easily, jumping from one person to the next. The fact that central heating is blasting in most of those spaces does not help either, as this tends to weaken our natural defences and negatively affect our respiratory system. Take vitamins Vitamins are a great way of boosting your immune system. Various minerals and herbs have been proven to help us kick nasty viruses to the curb. Zinc, vitamin C and garlic have been found to reduce the frequency of colds and flu. Echinacea, a plant used by the native Americans to combat infections, is another great booster of our immune system. Taking some kind of multivitamin that includes those minerals and herbs can really do wonders in avoiding the next round of flu going around. Keep an eye on the weather Certain weather conditions have been found to be a real breeding ground for nasty germs. Especially when there are low cloud, dull and misty conditions, so when there is a lot of moist in the air, viruses tend to survive (much) longer. They will attach themselves to the water droplets, while a lack of wind will keep them around, instead of being blown away. So be wary of going outside when this kind of weather is forecast. Sleep well One of the hardest things to do in our busy lives is to ensure that we get a decent night’s sleep. Unfortunately, it is extremely important for our health: a lack of sleep has been found to be a risk factor for contracting the flu or other infections. Yet it is not just getting enough hours of sleep that matters, your state of mind also helps. If you are happy and content, this will reflect positively on your immune system. Being stressed and overworked, on the other hand, will be a sure way of catching that nasty bug going around at work. Drink plenty Drinking plenty of water is one of the most commonly given pieces of advice by doctors and medical professionals worldwide. Water will quite literally flush out all toxins and bad elements from our bodies, making it harder for any viruses to gain a foothold. And even if you find yourself having caught an infection, water will once again be your best friend, helping you to get it out of your system again as soon as possible. Exercise frequently Did you know that regular exercising will summon the so-called natural killer cells in our bodies? These little soldiers are tasked with finding and fighting all kind of invaders, making us more resistant against infections. At the same time, going on a jog or hitting the gym will be a great way of keeping our circulation going. Our bodies are simply better at dealing with any foreign threats when subjected to regular exercise. Recommended:  Getting Healthier By Eating Sustainable Food And Taking Exercise Tips & Tricks To Ease Flu Symptoms Still managed to contract a nasty flu? Then rest assured that you are not alone, as millions and millions of people are hit by this disease each year. And while there really is not much that you can do to prevent or cure it, there are some natural ways of relieving its worst symptoms. How long does it take to get over the flu? In general, healthy people usually get over a cold in 7 to 10 days. Flu symptoms, including fever, should go away after about 5 days, but you may still have a cough and feel weak a few days longer. All your symptoms should be gone within 1 to 2 weeks. Rest at home The healing power of a good nap in your own bed might even outshine that of the commonly prescribed medicines. Make sure that you cancel all and any plans that you may have, preferably for the next few days - as you are now contagious and pretty sick. Make good use of those extra hours in bed to give your ailing body some rest. Drink, drink, and drink some more! Drinking is important in preventing infections, but even if you already find yourself the unfortunate owner of a brand new strain of the flu, drinking is a great way of getting rid of it as soon as possible. It does not necessarily have to be water. If you prefer fruit juices, sports drinks or broth-based soups, they will do the trick as well. Staying hydrated does wonders for your respiratory system and will flush that bug out of your system before you know it. Fight the fever Running a fever means that your body is busy fighting this nasty invader. The best thing for you to do is help it by getting your hands on appropriate over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen, which will both lower your fever and fight the associated aches. Fight the cough While you are already in the pharmacy, you might want to pick up something for that nasty cough that has accompanied the infection. Other ways of clearing your airways and unclogging that runny nose include sitting in a hot, steamy bathroom, using a humidifier, sucking on a lozenge, or trying out a salt-based nose spray. Fighting The Flu Whether you are simply suffering from the ‘sniffles’ or a climate change activist warning against the effect that global warming will have on the flu, it is important to realise that we can do quite a bit in preventing the disease from grabbing a hold of us in the first place. The earlier tips on preventing the flu are vital in staying healthy, although the question remains whether this will sustainable in the long run. With climate change drastically changing the world as we know it, it is likely to also change the way in which we get sick. This might mean that the flu will change from something relatively innocent into something looming and potentially dangerous. New mutations and variations might spread across the world faster than ever before and create more havoc as winters get warmer and flu seasons intensify. Up to us to avoid a future where the simple common cold might actually turn into a killer epidemic. Before you go! Recommended:  Smart Sustainable Lifestyle Changing Tips & Tricks For 2019 Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Re g ister'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
No one will be surprised to hear that there is a worryingly wide range of problems associated with climate change. From extreme weather events to melting ice caps and the extinction of animal species - these have all been well-researched to fall somewhere in the range of ‘likely’ to ‘highly probable’. Perhaps not as obvious is the suddenly rise of the Corona virus and the flu, as a direct result of climate change. How does that even work?  Coronavirus And Climate Change: Winter And Traveling Makes People More Vurnerable 20-2-2020: 2.128+ People died in China, 75.730+ people are proven infected worldwide. The current cases show there is definitely human-to-human transmission. Strongly Recommended : Coronavirus COVID-19: Worse Then Thought: A Must Read Update WHO Declares Public Health Emergency The WHO have declared a public health emergency because of the spread of the COVID-19, Coronavirus outside of China, describing it as an 'unprecedented outbreak'.  Jump quickly to subject by clicking on: Coronavirus Symptons Flu And Climate Change Tips & Tricks To Avoid Colds And Flu A worker in protective mask disinfects a waiting hall at the Nanjing Railway Station, in Nanjing Recommended:  Coronavirus Symptoms Clarified: Males 50+ Are Most At Risk NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: The new cluster of viral pneumonia cases originating in Wuhan, China, marks the third time in 20 years that a member of the large family of coronaviruses (CoVs) has jumped from animals to humans and sparked an outbreak. Top microbiologist states golden window of containment was missed, cost of containment escalating dramatically, virus takes 2-3mo to reach max strength, & morality rates will increase from here. Total scale of outbreak could reach 10x that of SARS. Till recently the Coronavirus mainly occured in vurnerable and elderly people. A 9-month-old baby is the youngest known patient infected with the deadly coronavirus sweeping across China, according to a report. The baby girl was among the 68 coronavirus cases detected in Beijing since the illness emerged last month in the city of Wuhan In order for this coronavirus, or any, to lead to a pandemic in humans, it needs to do three things: Efficiently infect humans Replicate in humans Spread  easily  among humans New Coronavirus Can Spread Person-to-Person Share your experiences We want to know about any additional measures you have encountered in airports in different countries following the coronavirus outbreak. Which airport were you travelling through and were people screened or asked to enter a different way? Do you feel that the measures were adequate? Please write or reply to this article at: WhatsOrb The new coronavirus that began sickening people in China late in 2019 can be transmitted from human to human, China’s health ministry announced last Monday. The mysterious respiratory illness emerged last month in a fish market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, and officials thought it was mostly passed from animals to humans. Recommended:  Coronavirus From Bat To Snake To Humans: Fact Or Hypothesis However, Zhong Nanshan of China's National Health Commission said two people who lived hundreds of miles away caught the virus from a family member who had visited Wuhan. 5 Million residents had left Wuhan before it went into lockdown. This includes people who traveled for the lunar new year festival, as well as those who fled to escape the virus and impending shutdown. How did the coronavirus start in China? Wuhan coronavirus may have been transmitted to people from snakes. A new coronavirus may have been transmitted to people from snakes or bats according to a genetic analysis. The snakes may have caught the virus from bats in the food market in which both animals were sold. The semi-autonomous region of Macau has imposed new restrictions on vistitors from mainland China, AFP’s Hong Kong correspondent reports. Is bat soup sold in Wuhan market in China behind Coronavirus outbreak? While nothing has been officially declared, experts feel that bat soup can be one of the reasons, as it is an unusual but widely consumed Chinese delicacy. In a statement, a scientist has mentioned, "The Wuhan Coronavirus, which can cause pneumonia, the natural host could be bats, but between bats and humans there may be an unknown intermediate."   COVID-19, Coronavirus Symptons: While a person with the virus can show no outward symptoms, early signs can include a fever, diarrhea, a dry cough, shortness of breath and general body aches Some patients also report feeling tired and confused More serious cases of the virus can lead to a high fever, kidney failure and pneumonia While the disease is being treated as an 'imminent threat', some of the symptoms of coronavirus are similar to those seem in other respiratory conditions - such as the flu or the common cold COVID-19, Coronavirus Symptons: Advice If you have recently travelled to a high-risk area - or if you've been in contact with somebody who has - and you develop symptoms, you should contact your doctor by telephone for advice You should not go to the doctor or to hospital, as if you have the virus, you may risk spreading it to others If you have recently travelled to Wuhan you should go in self-quarantine for 14 days and call  your doctor and/ or local authorities to report your recent stay Wag your hands often What is the coronavirus in humans? Coronaviruses are types of viruses that typically affect the respiratory tract of mammals, including humans. They are associated with the common cold, pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and can also affect the gut. Recommended:  Society Collapse: Climate Change, The Environment Or Us? Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, second right, shows visitors from Wuhan receiving health screening at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province on Jan 5. He said on Monday that a Chinese woman found infected with a new strain of coronavirus was in quarantine and being treated in Nonthaburi province. {youtube}                                       Corona Virus, Flu And Climate Change: Is There A Connection?                                  Coronavirus spread is ‘accelerating’ says China as death toll rises to 213 How do you catch coronavirus? Sometimes, but not often, a coronavirus can infect both animals and humans. Most coronaviruses spread the same way other cold-causing viruses do, through infected people coughing and sneezing, by touching an infected person's hands or face, or by touching things such as doorknobs that infected people have touched. The disease has also spread outside China: Two cases were diagnosed in Thailand, one in Japan, one in South Korea and one in Taiwan. The Philippines also reported a suspected case Tuesday and later in Nepal, the UK and France. There are fears the disease could spread further as millions are expected to travel throughout Asia Tuesday for the Lunar New Year. Airports in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco will begin screening passengers coming from Wuhan. The new virus has raised the specter of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), another coronavirus that killed almost 800 people in 2002 and 2003. Zhong, who also helped discover SARS, said the new disease was not as infectious, but was ‘climbing’. How long does the coronavirus live? How long does the virus survive in the environment? Outdoors, the virus can usually only survive for hours or days. Indoors, in dried-up cat litter, it can survive for up to seven weeks. This undated file image released by the British Health Protection Agency shows an electron microscope image of a coronavirus, part of a family of viruses that cause ailments including the common cold and SARS How contagious is the virus? It is too soon to know how easily the virus will spread. It is airborne and we know it can be transmitted between people. Chinese authorities have presented evidence of fourth-generation cases in Wuhan and second-generation infections outside of the city. Yesterday, the World Health Organization heard preliminary calculations for the average number of infections that each infected person may go on to cause, known as R0. This is estimated to be 1.4 to 2.5 people per infected person . In comparison, seasonal flu usually has an R0 of around 1.3. Coronavirus, Flu And Climate: The Corona Virus COVID-19 Has Been Underreported Researchers at Imperial College London also think the new virus has been severely underreported. Officials are also concerned that they do not yet know the exact source of the disease. What concerns me is the source of infection. They have no idea. That's the most important thing. At the moment, it is a bad flu. Yes, it is something to be concerned about and it is probably going to get worse in terms of infections and mortality, because it's winter. Recommended:  Wildfires Globally: Australia, America, Africa, The Arctic, Siberia Virusses In Relation With Air Temperature And Relative Humidity Assessment of the risks posed by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (SARS-CoV) on surfaces requires data on survival of this virus on environmental surfaces and on how survival is affected by environmental variables, such as air temperature (AT) and relative humidity (RH). The use of surrogate viruses has the potential to overcome the challenges of working with SARS-CoV and to increase the available data on coronavirus survival on surfaces. Two potential surrogates were evaluated in this study: transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) and mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) Both were used to determine effects of AT and RH on the survival of coronaviruses on stainless steel. At 4°C, infectious virus persisted for as long as 28 days, and the lowest level of inactivation occurred at 20% RH. Inactivation was more rapid at 20°C than at 4°C at all humidity levels; the viruses persisted for 5 to 28 days The slowest inactivation occurred at low RH. Both viruses were inactivated more rapidly at 40°C than at 20°C. The relationship between inactivation and RH was not monotonic, and there was greater survival or a greater protective effect at low RH (20%) and high RH (80%) than at moderate RH (50%). There was also evidence of an interaction between AT and RH. The results show that when high numbers of viruses are deposited, TGEV and MHV may survive for days on surfaces at ATs and RHs typical of indoor environments. TGEV and MHV could serve as conservative surrogates for modeling exposure, the risk of transmission, and control measures for pathogenic enveloped viruses, such as SARS-CoV and influenza virus, on health care surfaces. Expected humidity (%): 27/1-75, 28/1-70, 29/1-62, 30/1-62, 31/1-39. 1/2-58, 2/2-41, 3/2-33, 4/2-69, 5/2-70, 6/2-85, 7/2-89, 8/2-89. Temperature forecast Wuhan. Temperature year-round Wuhan.   Climate Change And Flu Ironically, initial research seemed to point towards climate change actually benefitting our health. It was thought to be one of the few positives to a very negative, with fewer deaths to mourn as a result of respiratory illnesses. After all, those are common in colder areas, where flu gets to spread like a wildfire as the result of harsh winter days and poor ventilation. Warmer weather would, logically speaking, counteract this. Unfortunately, new research has cast doubt over this hypothesis. In a worrisome twist, some are now concerned that climate change could actually worsen pandemics. This has to do with the way in which viruses, including influenza and HIV, develop and spread. It has already been proven that certain strains of influenza, usually occurring in the winter, are now able to survive in warmer temperatures. Recommended:  Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected What has also been found is that seasonal diseases like the influenza are rearing their ugly heads earlier in the year - all while being more powerful. There appears to be a strong link between warm winters and the consequent flu breakouts immediately after. Meaning, a warm winter with a mild flu season will usually trigger an earlier and more severe flu outbreak in the following year. 2020 on track to be worst US flu season in decades  This explains why these viruses have been found in Asia during their summer months, having been brought over by birds, who have been pushed further north by climate change and warmer winters. This allows them to come in contact with other bird species and, consequently, other forms of influenza. Together, this leads to poultry interchanging flu types and incubating new and potentially dangerous new strains. These feathered migrating creatures then hold the power of spreading these diseases over the world, with our regular influenza seeding in Southeast Asia before taking over the rest of the world in a miserable swoop during our winters. Recommended:  Global Cooling Will Kills Us All. No, Wait Global Warming Will Kill Us! Flu And Climate Change: Older Adults (Above 65 years) According to the CDC , people aged 65 and older are at a greater risk for serious complications from the flu. This is because the immune system typically weakens with age. Flu infection can also worsen long-term health conditions, like heart disease, lung disease, and asthma. Some of this has been contributed to the changing La Niña, an increase in the intensity and frequency of this weather phenomenon, causing different flu types to converge as a result of birds and animals that are normally not found together mixing. Not only does this lead to more creatures being infected, it also moulds influenza genetic material in new combinations. Flu And Climate Change: We Can’t Predict How Bad 2019th & 2020th Year’s Flu Season Will Be The outlook for 2019’s & 2020's flu season is not particularly rosy, based on the relatively mild 2018 season and warm winters. Yet it is nearly impossible to predict until we find ourselves in the midst of the epidemic - at which point there is not much to do but sit it out. And ‘sitting it out’ can be anything from a mild nuisance to a life-threatening event. The influenza illness, or the flu in short, is characterised by a sudden onset of a high fever, chills, muscle aches, tiredness and a dry cough - symptoms that get progressively worse over the first few days. Although most people infected will not require any medical attention, there are instances where high-risk groups, including the pregnant and elderly, could suffer from very dangerous complications. In 2018, the World Health Organisation characterised that year’s flu season as pretty mild. This characterisation is made based on the speed of circulation, the seriousness, and the impact of the  disease. So, in short, how fast it spreads, how many people are hospitalised or even die, and the strain it puts on hospitals and doctors. In 2017, on the other hand, there was a pretty serious outbreak, that started early and had a serious impact on society. And it looks as if 2019 is going to follow in its footsteps. Flu And Climate Change: Flu, Why Is It So Hard To Predict? The problem with making predictions regarding the severity of the flu season is the fact that there are actually four different types of viruses to consider, that can be categorised in influenza types A, with subtypes H1N1pdm09 and H3N2, and B, with lineages B/Victoria and B/Yamagata. Although those at higher risk may choose to get vaccinated, these vaccinations only protect against certain of those (sub)types. What this means is that those vaccinated will not be fully covered against all types - nor will a previous infection with one type protect you against other types. Add to this that influenza viruses are in constant flux, meaning that a certain vaccine or previous infection will not grant immunity for next season’s slightly altered viruses, and it is not hard to see why flu can be such a tough opponent. Predicting flu is very difficult Additionally, it poses a problem for tracking the specific (sub)types: hospitals and doctors generally do not collect information on the specific viruses that they come across in their practice. Not only is this process time-consuming and costly, it does not add anything of value to the treatment plan either. An unfortunate side effect is that it makes it that much harder to observe the circulation pattern of a specific virus, in turn making general flu patterns across seasons hard to predict. Flu And Climate Change: Flu, What’s Happening Elsewhere In The World? Not only is it hard to predict flu trends over time, it is equally hard to find trends over space. Even though increased (air) travel has made it easier for viruses to mutate and find their way across the globe, there is no consistent pattern of flu viruses travelling the globe. During the same flu season, very different viruses can dominate on different continents. Where Is Influenza Most Common? A study in 2015 looked into where influenza is most common, alongside how it spreads around the globe. While there are cases of it appearing all around the world, scientists found that it is far more prominent in the east than in the west, particularly in Southeast Asia. Influenza most common in South-East Asia. Now the Caronavirus! Even the timing can differ. Particularly in (sub)tropical areas, where there are no real winters, there can be multiple flu seasons each year, circulating at vastly different times. Some have pointed at climate or even tourism as the reason for this variation, although a causal relationship is yet to be established. It is notoriously hard to predict those kind of patterns as well, although we are slowly getting to a place where modern technologies and an increased understanding of the flu are allowing for better analysis and tracking. Yet there is still a long way to go. Flu And Climate Change: Definite History Of The Flu Looking back in time, though, we are certainly much more on the ball than we ever were before. We are documenting and analysing far more than our ancestors. The very first reported instances of the flu might date back to 500 BCE, with Greek historians reporting on a so-called ‘three-year plague’, that boasted symptoms much like our flu. However, descriptions were so scarce that many historians are not convinced that it actually was. What we do know is that the disease did not get its name until well in the 14th century, when the term ‘influenza’, the Italian word for ‘influence’, was coined to describe it. This ‘influence’ was contributed to either cold weather or a misalignment of stars and planets. And although many different terms have been used to describe it since, this is the one that stuck. Although the beast had been given a name, it was not until some 80 years ago that scientists actually managed to debunk the flu virus, thanks to the invention of the electron microscope. Pictures of the flu could now be made and shared, with distinctions finally made between the most prominent types. Soon after, the first influenza vaccines hit the market, including those that were capable of preventing more than one strain. As the world evolved, so did the flu and our ways of dealing with it. Unfortunately, with climate change ramping up, we are about to enter a new phase of epidemics, pandemics and the spread of diseases like the flu. Climate change might even amplify its causes and effects and lead to the creation of mutated, vaccine-resistant strains that can be equally hard to control and contain.   Tips & Tricks to Avoid Colds And Flu This Winter That sounds like doom and gloom. Yet it is important to realise that there is always something that we can do about it. What is the best way of staying ahead of the flu, even in this time of climate change possibly amplifying its spread and severity? There are a few tips and tricks that will minimise your chances of contracting it. Wash hands For most of us, washing our hands is a totally normal thing to do. During flu season, you might consider doing so a bit more often. Most viruses are transmitted by air, although they can just as easily be transferred through physical contact. Once we get the disease-spreading germs on our hands, they can easily invade our bodies when we touch our eyes, mouths or noses. By frequently washing our hands with soap and drying them using clean hand towels or paper towels, it will be much harder for a virus to get a hold of us. Dress appropriately Although the concept of ‘having caught a cold’ by standing out in the literal cold has been somewhat debunked, it is still imperative to stay warm and dress appropriately during the colder seasons. Once we are cold, we tend to shiver - an action that affects our immune system, making us more susceptible to lurking viruses. Get yourself a decent sweater and coat, and don’t forget your hat, as we lose quite a bit of our body heat through our head. Avoid crowded spaces One of the preferred breeding grounds for viruses is public transportation, alongside crowded stores and poorly ventilated office buildings. Basically, small and cramped spaces in which a lot of people crowd together. Here, infections spread easily, jumping from one person to the next. The fact that central heating is blasting in most of those spaces does not help either, as this tends to weaken our natural defences and negatively affect our respiratory system. Take vitamins Vitamins are a great way of boosting your immune system. Various minerals and herbs have been proven to help us kick nasty viruses to the curb. Zinc, vitamin C and garlic have been found to reduce the frequency of colds and flu. Echinacea, a plant used by the native Americans to combat infections, is another great booster of our immune system. Taking some kind of multivitamin that includes those minerals and herbs can really do wonders in avoiding the next round of flu going around. Keep an eye on the weather Certain weather conditions have been found to be a real breeding ground for nasty germs. Especially when there are low cloud, dull and misty conditions, so when there is a lot of moist in the air, viruses tend to survive (much) longer. They will attach themselves to the water droplets, while a lack of wind will keep them around, instead of being blown away. So be wary of going outside when this kind of weather is forecast. Sleep well One of the hardest things to do in our busy lives is to ensure that we get a decent night’s sleep. Unfortunately, it is extremely important for our health: a lack of sleep has been found to be a risk factor for contracting the flu or other infections. Yet it is not just getting enough hours of sleep that matters, your state of mind also helps. If you are happy and content, this will reflect positively on your immune system. Being stressed and overworked, on the other hand, will be a sure way of catching that nasty bug going around at work. Drink plenty Drinking plenty of water is one of the most commonly given pieces of advice by doctors and medical professionals worldwide. Water will quite literally flush out all toxins and bad elements from our bodies, making it harder for any viruses to gain a foothold. And even if you find yourself having caught an infection, water will once again be your best friend, helping you to get it out of your system again as soon as possible. Exercise frequently Did you know that regular exercising will summon the so-called natural killer cells in our bodies? These little soldiers are tasked with finding and fighting all kind of invaders, making us more resistant against infections. At the same time, going on a jog or hitting the gym will be a great way of keeping our circulation going. Our bodies are simply better at dealing with any foreign threats when subjected to regular exercise. Recommended:  Getting Healthier By Eating Sustainable Food And Taking Exercise Tips & Tricks To Ease Flu Symptoms Still managed to contract a nasty flu? Then rest assured that you are not alone, as millions and millions of people are hit by this disease each year. And while there really is not much that you can do to prevent or cure it, there are some natural ways of relieving its worst symptoms. How long does it take to get over the flu? In general, healthy people usually get over a cold in 7 to 10 days. Flu symptoms, including fever, should go away after about 5 days, but you may still have a cough and feel weak a few days longer. All your symptoms should be gone within 1 to 2 weeks. Rest at home The healing power of a good nap in your own bed might even outshine that of the commonly prescribed medicines. Make sure that you cancel all and any plans that you may have, preferably for the next few days - as you are now contagious and pretty sick. Make good use of those extra hours in bed to give your ailing body some rest. Drink, drink, and drink some more! Drinking is important in preventing infections, but even if you already find yourself the unfortunate owner of a brand new strain of the flu, drinking is a great way of getting rid of it as soon as possible. It does not necessarily have to be water. If you prefer fruit juices, sports drinks or broth-based soups, they will do the trick as well. Staying hydrated does wonders for your respiratory system and will flush that bug out of your system before you know it. Fight the fever Running a fever means that your body is busy fighting this nasty invader. The best thing for you to do is help it by getting your hands on appropriate over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen, which will both lower your fever and fight the associated aches. Fight the cough While you are already in the pharmacy, you might want to pick up something for that nasty cough that has accompanied the infection. Other ways of clearing your airways and unclogging that runny nose include sitting in a hot, steamy bathroom, using a humidifier, sucking on a lozenge, or trying out a salt-based nose spray. Fighting The Flu Whether you are simply suffering from the ‘sniffles’ or a climate change activist warning against the effect that global warming will have on the flu, it is important to realise that we can do quite a bit in preventing the disease from grabbing a hold of us in the first place. The earlier tips on preventing the flu are vital in staying healthy, although the question remains whether this will sustainable in the long run. With climate change drastically changing the world as we know it, it is likely to also change the way in which we get sick. This might mean that the flu will change from something relatively innocent into something looming and potentially dangerous. New mutations and variations might spread across the world faster than ever before and create more havoc as winters get warmer and flu seasons intensify. Up to us to avoid a future where the simple common cold might actually turn into a killer epidemic. Before you go! Recommended:  Smart Sustainable Lifestyle Changing Tips & Tricks For 2019 Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Re g ister'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Coronavirus, COVID-19 Symptoms Flu And Global Climate Change
Coronavirus, COVID-19 Symptoms Flu And Global Climate Change
Climate Extremes Australia Floods, Wildfires And Destruction
Fires and floods: Australia already seesaws between climate extremes and there's more to come. With climate change, Australia is predicted to face more extreme weather.. Climate Extremes Australia: Unprecedented 'Unprecedented' is the word that keeps being tied to the apocalyptic weather Australia has faced over the past few months. Bushfires have always been a reality in Australia, but never recorded on this scale with such widespread damage. It’s estimated that more than 60,000 sq km have been scorched in New South Wales and Victoria alone. Days of smoke have shrouded Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. And after the fires, flooding at the weekend in NSW and parts of Queensland left thousands without power and dozens of schools closed on Monday. While the country is still grappling with the economic reality and human devastation caused by the fires, it’s easy to think the worst of this disaster is over. But unfortunately other extreme weather may yet occur this summer and these will also require safety preparations and rapid responses. Residents in NSW evacuated already from flooded areas and thousands left without power Climate Extremes: Continental floods Last year 2019 was the driest and hottest year on record in Australia. Some parts of the country have had several years of drought in a row. But all droughts end eventually. At the weekend devastating storms swept through eastern NSW, causing flooding, power outages and commuter chaos. The Bureau of Meteorology says 391.6mm of rain fell over Sydney in the past four days, the most since 414.2mm fell from 2 to 5 February 1990. Historically Australian continental-scale droughts are often broken by widespread heavy rain, leading to an increased risk of flooding, including potentially lethal flash floods. The flood risk from the heavy rains is exacerbated by the bare soil and lack of vegetation caused by the drought and by bushfires that destroy forest and grassland. When a decade-long drought ended in 2009, what followed were two extremely wet years with serious flooding. Flooding also brings the risk that ash might contaminate water supplies. The heavy rain falling on bare soil can also lead to serious erosion. Damage at Collaroy at Sydney's northern beaches Heavy Rain: Positive and Negative Effects By the heavy rain all fires in the state may be out by the end of the week (16 th of February 2020). Evacuation orders are in place for several areas around Sydney, with thousands of homes still without power after Sunday’s rainfall. The Warragamba Dam recouped a year’s worth of water in one weekend, rising 17.7 percentage points to sit at 60.7% at 10.30am on Monday, AAP reports. Some 360,000 megalitres of water flowed into the dam, almost as much as 150,000 Olympic-size swimming pools Greater Sydney dam levels were at 64.2% on Monday morning, up from 41.9% in seven days The ash and debris generated by recent bushfires around the Warragamba area will not affect water quality, and two silt curtains are in place to intercept ash run-off, WaterNSW said Prospect Dam is more than 90% full, and Woronora Dam in Sydney’s south is almost 60% full, jumping 25 percentage points Up to 25 metres of beach at Collaroy and Narrabeen has been swept away by huge waves generated by the east coast low. While properties along the beach have been spared serious damage today, the threat is expected to return in coming days when more storms are forecast. Ausgrid crews are continuing to deal with 3,100 hazards, including fallen powerlines, fallen trees, damaged wires and extensive flash flooding. The company has restored power to 61,000 customers and is continuing efforts to reconnect 79,000 still without power. Climate Extremes Australia: Tropical Cyclones The onset of the tropical wet season over northern Australia has been very much delayed, as predicted in the middle of last year by the Bureau of Meteorology. Most of the Australian tropics have had well below average rainfall in the past few months, and some areas had their lowest November-January rainfall. As well, the tropical cyclone season was late, also predicted by the bureau months ago. In recent weeks there has been some cyclone activity and some rain. But the wait is still on for widespread tropical rains and for more cyclones to cross the coast as Damien did at the weekend. Although rain brought by cyclones are often welcome, these systems can also leave serious damage. Extremes Australia: Southern Heatwaves We are at the riskiest time for heatwaves in southern Australia. The risk usually peaks around the middle to the end of summer. Weather conducive to increased bushfire risk also usually peaks in February for southern states. So although media, community and political attention have focused on the horrendous bushfires we have already suffered, we should not overlook the likelihood of other extreme weather, including cyclones, floods and heatwaves, or think that the bushfire risk is over for the year. It is important to remain vigilant for all weather extremes. It would probably be an understatement to say that Australia and Brazil did not have their best year in 2019 in their existence. World leaders are tripping over each other to offer their assistance to Australia and the troubled Brazilian government, who are still struggling to get a grip on the problem. Meanwhile, hectares and hectares of forestland are catching fire with each passing minute.   Wildfires Globally: Australia, America, Africa, The Artic, Siberia While the Amazon is grabbing headlines with these historically fierce and ferocious fires, it is not the only part of our world that is on fire. Central Africa is facing some of the worst wildfires in its history as well, standing by more or less helplessly as vast areas of savanna are ablaze. And just before those started, we were confronted with the startling headline that the Artic is on fire: with Siberia, a place usually associated with icey cold tundras, now in danger of being burned to the ground. And what about Australia? Its bushfires threaten thousand of people, natura, cities, animals like Koalas. Recommended:  Heatwaves Worldwide: Nothing New! How To Protect Your Self The one thing that really stands out here is that wildfires are becoming much more severe - and occurring in places where these was previously unheard of. Many are exclaiming that this surely means that the world is ‘on fire’, and climate change is shifting to a higher gear. While this does make for some interest-grabbing headlines, it surely would be too easy to say that climate change has caused these fires. Or wouldn’t it be? What we can safely do, is turn the matter around. We do know for a fact that wildfires are active contributors to climate change. They kill millions of trees and vegetation, which function as the lungs of the earth. With fewer trees and plants, the earth cannot remove as many harmful emissions from the air - while a wildfire is pretty much the equivalent of a cigarette, releasing a lot of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Think of it as smoking one pack of cigarettes per day at a time when your lung function is decreasing rapidly as the result of a lung disease of sorts. Wildfires Globally: What On Earth Is Going On? Wildfires Globally. What are the different types of wildfires? There are three basic types of forest fires: Crown fires burn trees up their entire length to the top Surface fires burn only surface litter and duff Ground fires (sometimes called underground or subsurface fires) occur in deep accumulations of humus, peat and similar dead vegetation that become dry enough to burn The numbers are - staggering, to say the least. Take Siberia, where some six million acres have been burned to a crisp. Or Alaska, another part of the Artic, which has already lost 2.5 million acres to wildfires. This is a huge loss for the Artic region, which is actually already suffering disproportionally from global warming, warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Potentially catastrophic, especially as this will lead to an increase in lightning - a leading cause for fire. Recommended:  Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected Here, it seems as if we are entering some sort of vicious circle. As the world gets warmer, wildfires will become more prevalent. And as there are more wildfires, it will leave us with fewer vegetation and higher carbon emissions. This will only serve to speed up global warming, particularly if those wildfires occur in regions - like the Amazon or Arctic - that are powerful catalysts for our climate system.   Complicating matters even further is the unpredictability and variety of wildfires: there is no easy way to categorise them, nor is there a single root cause that can be identified that causes those fires. Some fires may be set intentionally, to obtain land for agricultural purposes, while others are accidental or perhaps more directly linked to global warming, as in the example of the Artic. Wildfires Globally: Australia. First Impression In Australia, beds are burning. So are entire towns, irreplaceable forests and endangered and precious animal species such as the koala. {youtube}                                  Deaths, losses mounting in Australia's disastrous bush fires, 1 of January 2020                                              Wildfires Globally: Australia, America, Africa, The Artic, Siberia What are the linkages between climate change and extreme weather events. The Great Barrier Reef, one of the great wonders of this planet. Subject to the twin assaults of warming-caused bleaching and ocean acidification, it will be gone in a matter of decades in the absence of a dramatic reduction in global carbon emissions. Wildfires Globally. How does a wildfire form? Sometimes, fires occur naturally, ignited by heat from the sun or a lightning strike. However, the majority of wildfires are the result of human carelessness. Causes include arson, campfires, discarding lit cigarettes, not burning debris properly, playing with matches or fireworks. The Blue Mountains, another of Australia’s natural wonders, known for its lush temperate rainforests, majestic cliffs and rock formations and panoramic vistas that challenge any the world has to offer. It too is now threatened by climate change. Wildfires Globally: Australia Gone are the vast expanses of rainforest framed by distant blue-tinged mountain ranges. Instead there are now smoke-filled valleys, with only the faintest ghosts of distant ridges and peaks in the background. The iconic blue tint (which derives from a haze formed from ‘terpenes’ emitted by the Eucalyptus trees that are so plentiful here) was replaced by a brown haze. The blue sky, too, had been replaced by that brown haze. Locals, would volunteer that they have never seen anything like this before. Some even uttered the words ‘climate change’ without any prompting. Wildfires Globally. Does fire reproduce? Fire is a self-sustaining chemical reaction where heat produces flammable gases, which burn and produce more heat. So to answer your question, “Can fire reproduce?”, reproduction is a process by which living creatures perpetuate their species. Fire is not a living thing and therefore does not reproduce The brown skies observed now in the Blue Mountains are a product of human-caused climate change. Take record heat, combine it with unprecedented drought in already dry regions and you get unprecedented bushfires like the ones engulfing the Blue Mountains and spreading across the continent. It’s not complicated. Wildfires Globally: Australia, New South Wales In the worst-affected state, New South Wales, fires have burned more than 4 million hectares (9.9m acres) destroying more than 900 houses. Across the country, 12 people have died - including three volunteer firefighters - with most of the casualties in New South Wales. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Current Situation NSW Hot, dry weather combined with prolonged drought and strong winds have created perfect conditions for fire to spread rapidly. Around 100 fires are burning across the state, with up to half as yet uncontained by firefighters and continuing to threaten lives. The fires have been exacerbated by 40C temperatures and strong winds, creating difficult conditions for the 2,500 firefighters deployed in the field. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Source: new South Wales Rural Fire Service. 31-12-2019 The small town of Balmoral, south-west of Sydney, was largely destroyed and scores of homes were razed amid catastrophic conditions on 22 December. In northern NSW large fires are burning in the region between Port Macquarie and Byron Bay. Wildfires Globally: Australia, Balmoral: A VW Beetle on fire In the countryside to the west of Sydney, there are fears that the vast Gospers Mountain fire, which originated in the Wollemi National Park, may merge with the Green Wattle Creek blaze in the lower Blue Mountains. The fire in the Blue Mountains, a world heritage area and popular tourist destination, has burnt over 64,000 hectares, though much of it is now being controlled, according to the NSW Rural Fire Service. Fire crews in the region took advantage of cooler conditions last week to perform 'back burning', where small areas are deliberately burned to create breaks to stop or slow the main fire. Smoke from bushfires has periodically blown south-eastwards to reach Sydney, causing severe air pollution in Australia's largest city. Further south of Sydney major roads have been closed major roads have been closed at several times during the last week with emergency-level fires spanning a 500km (310 miles) area across New South Wales and the neighbouring state of Victoria. An Australian farmer was forced to shoot 20 of his cows after they were badly injured in the bushfires ravaging the coastal areas of southern New South Wales. Steve Shipton from Coolagolite, between the hard-hit towns of Cobargo and Bermagui, was consoled by neighbouring farmers after the heart-wrenching task of putting down the cattle which had been severely burnt by fires that swept through his property. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Source: new South Wales Rural Fire Service.  To put the fire damage in New South Wales in perspective, 1.8 million hectares burned in the 2018 California wildfires and some 900,000 hectares were lost in the 2019 Amazon fires. Flames up to 70m (230ft) in height have been reported. Wildfires Globally: Australia. The Situation In Other States? In Victoria, the state's Country Fire Authority issued emergency warnings across the region of East Gippsland telling 30,000 people to leave the area before roads became too dangerous. Fires have been burning in the area since late November but the latest warnings for East Gippsland are of bushfire-driven thunderstorms, which would increase the risk of the fires spreading further out of control. In the small town of Mallacoota residents fled to the beach following a warning siren, with only a change in the wind direction keeping the fire from reaching them on the shore. In the state of South Australia, the Cudlee Creek fire is reported to have destroyed more than 80 homes in the Adelaide Hills region. The fires are also thought to have destroyed up to a third of the vines that provide grapes for the Adelaide Hills wine industry. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Are Bushfires Getting Worse? Many Australians are asking that very question and whether these fires are linked to climate change - but the science is complicated. Scientists have long warned that a hotter, drier climate will contribute to fires becoming more frequent and more intense. Australia's deadliest bushfire disaster was 'Black Saturday' in February 2009, when some 180 people died in Victoria. Data shows that Australia has warmed overall by slightly more than one degree Celsius since 1910, with most of the heating occurring since 1950, the Bureau of Meteorology says. Australia is getting warmer Wildfires Globally: Australia. Hottest Day On Record Australia broke its all-time temperature record twice in December. An average maximum of 40.9C was recorded on 17 December, broken a day later by 41.9C, both beating 2013's record of 40.3C. By the end of the month every state had measured temperatures above 40C - including Tasmania. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Maximum temperature 29 December 2019 The main climate driver behind the heat has been a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) - an event where sea surface temperatures are warmer in the western half of the ocean, cooler in the east. The difference between the two temperatures is currently the strongest in 60 years. Wildfires Globally. Are wildfires good? Wildfires, when allowed to burn in areas where they do not impact human development, are regenerative for the forest, revitalizing for the watershed, renew the soil, and reset the clock for the ecosystem. As a researcher on wildfire and streams let me recount the many ways that natural wildfire is beneficial. The Amazon And Indonesia: Intentionally Set Fires The Amazon, though, is a perfect example of a wildfire that was set intentionally. Brazil is looking to expand its presence on the economic world stage, for instance through its growing export of soybeans and cattle. These agricultural products require more land, which can, in the Brazilians’ minds, easily be obtained by ‘borrowing’ it from the rainforest. Recommended:  Brazil Is Burning For Your Beef: Amazon’s Nature, Our Luxury New president Jair Bolsonaro is more focused on the economic gains and is, in doing so, rolling back all kinds of measures that were put in place to protect both the environment as well as the indigenous groups living in the forest. All of this has certainly added to fears of further deforestation, and while numbers of the exact amount of forest that has gone to waste are not yet available, fears are that it will only get worse in years to come. Firefighters at a palm oil plantation in Pekanbaru, Indonesia Southeast Asia is looking at a similar issue. Under pressure to live up to rising demand, more and more agricultural land is ‘forged’ in countries like Sumatra, Borneo and Malaysia. Up to 71% of so-called peat forests have gone to waste in the past three decades, making room for farms producing palm oil. This hazardous practice does not only significantly add to global warming, as peat releases some of the most damaging and polluting gases, it also poses a significant risk to those living around it. Although the government has attempted to call a halt to this trend, it has not really had much of an effect yet: as wildfires are back in full force this year. Recommended:  Amazon’s Fires, Madonna And DiCaprio: Questions & Answers Wildfires Worldwide: The Arctic An area that is new to wildfires is the Arctic, including Alaska, Greenland and Siberia. These areas have not dealt with the issue previously, but are facing the worst effects of global warming thus far - with temperatures rising to record heights and plants and vegetation becoming drier than they have ever been. Combined with the increased likelihood of lightning, it is kind of like throwing a lighted match into a stack of hay.   In total, 180 megatons of carbon dioxide has been emitted as a result from the Arctic wildfires - a massive number that is a multiple of the amount as emitted by entire countries. This is essentially speeding up global warming, the very same thing causing the Arctic to suffer so badly from wildfires and melting glaciers. Wildfires Globally. Why don't trees burn in fires? Trees in fire-prone areas develop thicker bark, in part, because thick bark does not catch fire or burn easily. The species also drops lower branches as the trees grow older, which helps prevent fire from climbing up and burning the green needles higher up the tree. Indigenous leaders call for Arctic cooperation against wildfires California And Africa: The Seasonal Cycle Of Burning One other category of wildfires are those that are expected and - one could say - even needed. The western part of the United States and Africa, to mention just a few, have a seasonal cycle of fires that actually ‘replenish’ the landscape. Take the lodgepole pines, for instance, a staple tree that requires the wildfire heat to release its seeds. In Sub-Saharan Africa, savanna ecosystems are used to their periodical ‘burn’ and will flourish once again not long after the fires have passed. Wildfires Globally: America, California This does, however, not mean that we should stand by and idly watch those wildfires destroy large pieces of land. Often, the root cause will be accidental - like someone dropping a cigarette or a campfire gone wrong. This still sets in motion an event that is potentially dangerous and disastrous to the surrounding area, and that is bound to become even more so in years to come as the direct result of climate change. Research has shown that the Californian wildfires are a staggering 500 percent larger than they would have been without it. They are unnecessarily large, so to speak, endangering both human and animal lives in the process. Wildfires Globally. What plants grow after a fire? Fire-activated Seeds Perhaps the most amazing fire adaptation is that some species actually require fire for their seeds to sprout. Some plants, such as the lodgepole pine, Eucalyptus, and Banksia, have serotinous cones or fruits that are completely sealed with resin. This World Is On Fire While it may feel and look as if our world is quite literally on fire, one should always consider the root cause first. And while some of those huge wildfires that have been raging in the past months have other causes, there are a few that can already be traced back to global warming directly - and all of them can, without a doubt, be considered a major contributor. Funny how it works: global warming-induced wildfires ending up accelerating that very same phenomenon. Although one might wonder if ‘funny’ really is the most appropriate word. Cover photo: Five Australian children were reunited with their parents after their grandparents helped them dramatically escape from blazing bush fires by clinging to a wooden jetty for three hours. Grandfather Tim Holmes alongside his wife and and his daughter's five children had to shelter in the sea to survive the potentially deadly inferno that raged on the shore. Recommended:  Climate Change And Its Effects Like Droughts: The Heat Is On Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about climate change? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Fires and floods: Australia already seesaws between climate extremes and there's more to come. With climate change, Australia is predicted to face more extreme weather.. Climate Extremes Australia: Unprecedented 'Unprecedented' is the word that keeps being tied to the apocalyptic weather Australia has faced over the past few months. Bushfires have always been a reality in Australia, but never recorded on this scale with such widespread damage. It’s estimated that more than 60,000 sq km have been scorched in New South Wales and Victoria alone. Days of smoke have shrouded Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. And after the fires, flooding at the weekend in NSW and parts of Queensland left thousands without power and dozens of schools closed on Monday. While the country is still grappling with the economic reality and human devastation caused by the fires, it’s easy to think the worst of this disaster is over. But unfortunately other extreme weather may yet occur this summer and these will also require safety preparations and rapid responses. Residents in NSW evacuated already from flooded areas and thousands left without power Climate Extremes: Continental floods Last year 2019 was the driest and hottest year on record in Australia. Some parts of the country have had several years of drought in a row. But all droughts end eventually. At the weekend devastating storms swept through eastern NSW, causing flooding, power outages and commuter chaos. The Bureau of Meteorology says 391.6mm of rain fell over Sydney in the past four days, the most since 414.2mm fell from 2 to 5 February 1990. Historically Australian continental-scale droughts are often broken by widespread heavy rain, leading to an increased risk of flooding, including potentially lethal flash floods. The flood risk from the heavy rains is exacerbated by the bare soil and lack of vegetation caused by the drought and by bushfires that destroy forest and grassland. When a decade-long drought ended in 2009, what followed were two extremely wet years with serious flooding. Flooding also brings the risk that ash might contaminate water supplies. The heavy rain falling on bare soil can also lead to serious erosion. Damage at Collaroy at Sydney's northern beaches Heavy Rain: Positive and Negative Effects By the heavy rain all fires in the state may be out by the end of the week (16 th of February 2020). Evacuation orders are in place for several areas around Sydney, with thousands of homes still without power after Sunday’s rainfall. The Warragamba Dam recouped a year’s worth of water in one weekend, rising 17.7 percentage points to sit at 60.7% at 10.30am on Monday, AAP reports. Some 360,000 megalitres of water flowed into the dam, almost as much as 150,000 Olympic-size swimming pools Greater Sydney dam levels were at 64.2% on Monday morning, up from 41.9% in seven days The ash and debris generated by recent bushfires around the Warragamba area will not affect water quality, and two silt curtains are in place to intercept ash run-off, WaterNSW said Prospect Dam is more than 90% full, and Woronora Dam in Sydney’s south is almost 60% full, jumping 25 percentage points Up to 25 metres of beach at Collaroy and Narrabeen has been swept away by huge waves generated by the east coast low. While properties along the beach have been spared serious damage today, the threat is expected to return in coming days when more storms are forecast. Ausgrid crews are continuing to deal with 3,100 hazards, including fallen powerlines, fallen trees, damaged wires and extensive flash flooding. The company has restored power to 61,000 customers and is continuing efforts to reconnect 79,000 still without power. Climate Extremes Australia: Tropical Cyclones The onset of the tropical wet season over northern Australia has been very much delayed, as predicted in the middle of last year by the Bureau of Meteorology. Most of the Australian tropics have had well below average rainfall in the past few months, and some areas had their lowest November-January rainfall. As well, the tropical cyclone season was late, also predicted by the bureau months ago. In recent weeks there has been some cyclone activity and some rain. But the wait is still on for widespread tropical rains and for more cyclones to cross the coast as Damien did at the weekend. Although rain brought by cyclones are often welcome, these systems can also leave serious damage. Extremes Australia: Southern Heatwaves We are at the riskiest time for heatwaves in southern Australia. The risk usually peaks around the middle to the end of summer. Weather conducive to increased bushfire risk also usually peaks in February for southern states. So although media, community and political attention have focused on the horrendous bushfires we have already suffered, we should not overlook the likelihood of other extreme weather, including cyclones, floods and heatwaves, or think that the bushfire risk is over for the year. It is important to remain vigilant for all weather extremes. It would probably be an understatement to say that Australia and Brazil did not have their best year in 2019 in their existence. World leaders are tripping over each other to offer their assistance to Australia and the troubled Brazilian government, who are still struggling to get a grip on the problem. Meanwhile, hectares and hectares of forestland are catching fire with each passing minute.   Wildfires Globally: Australia, America, Africa, The Artic, Siberia While the Amazon is grabbing headlines with these historically fierce and ferocious fires, it is not the only part of our world that is on fire. Central Africa is facing some of the worst wildfires in its history as well, standing by more or less helplessly as vast areas of savanna are ablaze. And just before those started, we were confronted with the startling headline that the Artic is on fire: with Siberia, a place usually associated with icey cold tundras, now in danger of being burned to the ground. And what about Australia? Its bushfires threaten thousand of people, natura, cities, animals like Koalas. Recommended:  Heatwaves Worldwide: Nothing New! How To Protect Your Self The one thing that really stands out here is that wildfires are becoming much more severe - and occurring in places where these was previously unheard of. Many are exclaiming that this surely means that the world is ‘on fire’, and climate change is shifting to a higher gear. While this does make for some interest-grabbing headlines, it surely would be too easy to say that climate change has caused these fires. Or wouldn’t it be? What we can safely do, is turn the matter around. We do know for a fact that wildfires are active contributors to climate change. They kill millions of trees and vegetation, which function as the lungs of the earth. With fewer trees and plants, the earth cannot remove as many harmful emissions from the air - while a wildfire is pretty much the equivalent of a cigarette, releasing a lot of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Think of it as smoking one pack of cigarettes per day at a time when your lung function is decreasing rapidly as the result of a lung disease of sorts. Wildfires Globally: What On Earth Is Going On? Wildfires Globally. What are the different types of wildfires? There are three basic types of forest fires: Crown fires burn trees up their entire length to the top Surface fires burn only surface litter and duff Ground fires (sometimes called underground or subsurface fires) occur in deep accumulations of humus, peat and similar dead vegetation that become dry enough to burn The numbers are - staggering, to say the least. Take Siberia, where some six million acres have been burned to a crisp. Or Alaska, another part of the Artic, which has already lost 2.5 million acres to wildfires. This is a huge loss for the Artic region, which is actually already suffering disproportionally from global warming, warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Potentially catastrophic, especially as this will lead to an increase in lightning - a leading cause for fire. Recommended:  Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected Here, it seems as if we are entering some sort of vicious circle. As the world gets warmer, wildfires will become more prevalent. And as there are more wildfires, it will leave us with fewer vegetation and higher carbon emissions. This will only serve to speed up global warming, particularly if those wildfires occur in regions - like the Amazon or Arctic - that are powerful catalysts for our climate system.   Complicating matters even further is the unpredictability and variety of wildfires: there is no easy way to categorise them, nor is there a single root cause that can be identified that causes those fires. Some fires may be set intentionally, to obtain land for agricultural purposes, while others are accidental or perhaps more directly linked to global warming, as in the example of the Artic. Wildfires Globally: Australia. First Impression In Australia, beds are burning. So are entire towns, irreplaceable forests and endangered and precious animal species such as the koala. {youtube}                                  Deaths, losses mounting in Australia's disastrous bush fires, 1 of January 2020                                              Wildfires Globally: Australia, America, Africa, The Artic, Siberia What are the linkages between climate change and extreme weather events. The Great Barrier Reef, one of the great wonders of this planet. Subject to the twin assaults of warming-caused bleaching and ocean acidification, it will be gone in a matter of decades in the absence of a dramatic reduction in global carbon emissions. Wildfires Globally. How does a wildfire form? Sometimes, fires occur naturally, ignited by heat from the sun or a lightning strike. However, the majority of wildfires are the result of human carelessness. Causes include arson, campfires, discarding lit cigarettes, not burning debris properly, playing with matches or fireworks. The Blue Mountains, another of Australia’s natural wonders, known for its lush temperate rainforests, majestic cliffs and rock formations and panoramic vistas that challenge any the world has to offer. It too is now threatened by climate change. Wildfires Globally: Australia Gone are the vast expanses of rainforest framed by distant blue-tinged mountain ranges. Instead there are now smoke-filled valleys, with only the faintest ghosts of distant ridges and peaks in the background. The iconic blue tint (which derives from a haze formed from ‘terpenes’ emitted by the Eucalyptus trees that are so plentiful here) was replaced by a brown haze. The blue sky, too, had been replaced by that brown haze. Locals, would volunteer that they have never seen anything like this before. Some even uttered the words ‘climate change’ without any prompting. Wildfires Globally. Does fire reproduce? Fire is a self-sustaining chemical reaction where heat produces flammable gases, which burn and produce more heat. So to answer your question, “Can fire reproduce?”, reproduction is a process by which living creatures perpetuate their species. Fire is not a living thing and therefore does not reproduce The brown skies observed now in the Blue Mountains are a product of human-caused climate change. Take record heat, combine it with unprecedented drought in already dry regions and you get unprecedented bushfires like the ones engulfing the Blue Mountains and spreading across the continent. It’s not complicated. Wildfires Globally: Australia, New South Wales In the worst-affected state, New South Wales, fires have burned more than 4 million hectares (9.9m acres) destroying more than 900 houses. Across the country, 12 people have died - including three volunteer firefighters - with most of the casualties in New South Wales. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Current Situation NSW Hot, dry weather combined with prolonged drought and strong winds have created perfect conditions for fire to spread rapidly. Around 100 fires are burning across the state, with up to half as yet uncontained by firefighters and continuing to threaten lives. The fires have been exacerbated by 40C temperatures and strong winds, creating difficult conditions for the 2,500 firefighters deployed in the field. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Source: new South Wales Rural Fire Service. 31-12-2019 The small town of Balmoral, south-west of Sydney, was largely destroyed and scores of homes were razed amid catastrophic conditions on 22 December. In northern NSW large fires are burning in the region between Port Macquarie and Byron Bay. Wildfires Globally: Australia, Balmoral: A VW Beetle on fire In the countryside to the west of Sydney, there are fears that the vast Gospers Mountain fire, which originated in the Wollemi National Park, may merge with the Green Wattle Creek blaze in the lower Blue Mountains. The fire in the Blue Mountains, a world heritage area and popular tourist destination, has burnt over 64,000 hectares, though much of it is now being controlled, according to the NSW Rural Fire Service. Fire crews in the region took advantage of cooler conditions last week to perform 'back burning', where small areas are deliberately burned to create breaks to stop or slow the main fire. Smoke from bushfires has periodically blown south-eastwards to reach Sydney, causing severe air pollution in Australia's largest city. Further south of Sydney major roads have been closed major roads have been closed at several times during the last week with emergency-level fires spanning a 500km (310 miles) area across New South Wales and the neighbouring state of Victoria. An Australian farmer was forced to shoot 20 of his cows after they were badly injured in the bushfires ravaging the coastal areas of southern New South Wales. Steve Shipton from Coolagolite, between the hard-hit towns of Cobargo and Bermagui, was consoled by neighbouring farmers after the heart-wrenching task of putting down the cattle which had been severely burnt by fires that swept through his property. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Source: new South Wales Rural Fire Service.  To put the fire damage in New South Wales in perspective, 1.8 million hectares burned in the 2018 California wildfires and some 900,000 hectares were lost in the 2019 Amazon fires. Flames up to 70m (230ft) in height have been reported. Wildfires Globally: Australia. The Situation In Other States? In Victoria, the state's Country Fire Authority issued emergency warnings across the region of East Gippsland telling 30,000 people to leave the area before roads became too dangerous. Fires have been burning in the area since late November but the latest warnings for East Gippsland are of bushfire-driven thunderstorms, which would increase the risk of the fires spreading further out of control. In the small town of Mallacoota residents fled to the beach following a warning siren, with only a change in the wind direction keeping the fire from reaching them on the shore. In the state of South Australia, the Cudlee Creek fire is reported to have destroyed more than 80 homes in the Adelaide Hills region. The fires are also thought to have destroyed up to a third of the vines that provide grapes for the Adelaide Hills wine industry. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Are Bushfires Getting Worse? Many Australians are asking that very question and whether these fires are linked to climate change - but the science is complicated. Scientists have long warned that a hotter, drier climate will contribute to fires becoming more frequent and more intense. Australia's deadliest bushfire disaster was 'Black Saturday' in February 2009, when some 180 people died in Victoria. Data shows that Australia has warmed overall by slightly more than one degree Celsius since 1910, with most of the heating occurring since 1950, the Bureau of Meteorology says. Australia is getting warmer Wildfires Globally: Australia. Hottest Day On Record Australia broke its all-time temperature record twice in December. An average maximum of 40.9C was recorded on 17 December, broken a day later by 41.9C, both beating 2013's record of 40.3C. By the end of the month every state had measured temperatures above 40C - including Tasmania. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Maximum temperature 29 December 2019 The main climate driver behind the heat has been a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) - an event where sea surface temperatures are warmer in the western half of the ocean, cooler in the east. The difference between the two temperatures is currently the strongest in 60 years. Wildfires Globally. Are wildfires good? Wildfires, when allowed to burn in areas where they do not impact human development, are regenerative for the forest, revitalizing for the watershed, renew the soil, and reset the clock for the ecosystem. As a researcher on wildfire and streams let me recount the many ways that natural wildfire is beneficial. The Amazon And Indonesia: Intentionally Set Fires The Amazon, though, is a perfect example of a wildfire that was set intentionally. Brazil is looking to expand its presence on the economic world stage, for instance through its growing export of soybeans and cattle. These agricultural products require more land, which can, in the Brazilians’ minds, easily be obtained by ‘borrowing’ it from the rainforest. Recommended:  Brazil Is Burning For Your Beef: Amazon’s Nature, Our Luxury New president Jair Bolsonaro is more focused on the economic gains and is, in doing so, rolling back all kinds of measures that were put in place to protect both the environment as well as the indigenous groups living in the forest. All of this has certainly added to fears of further deforestation, and while numbers of the exact amount of forest that has gone to waste are not yet available, fears are that it will only get worse in years to come. Firefighters at a palm oil plantation in Pekanbaru, Indonesia Southeast Asia is looking at a similar issue. Under pressure to live up to rising demand, more and more agricultural land is ‘forged’ in countries like Sumatra, Borneo and Malaysia. Up to 71% of so-called peat forests have gone to waste in the past three decades, making room for farms producing palm oil. This hazardous practice does not only significantly add to global warming, as peat releases some of the most damaging and polluting gases, it also poses a significant risk to those living around it. Although the government has attempted to call a halt to this trend, it has not really had much of an effect yet: as wildfires are back in full force this year. Recommended:  Amazon’s Fires, Madonna And DiCaprio: Questions & Answers Wildfires Worldwide: The Arctic An area that is new to wildfires is the Arctic, including Alaska, Greenland and Siberia. These areas have not dealt with the issue previously, but are facing the worst effects of global warming thus far - with temperatures rising to record heights and plants and vegetation becoming drier than they have ever been. Combined with the increased likelihood of lightning, it is kind of like throwing a lighted match into a stack of hay.   In total, 180 megatons of carbon dioxide has been emitted as a result from the Arctic wildfires - a massive number that is a multiple of the amount as emitted by entire countries. This is essentially speeding up global warming, the very same thing causing the Arctic to suffer so badly from wildfires and melting glaciers. Wildfires Globally. Why don't trees burn in fires? Trees in fire-prone areas develop thicker bark, in part, because thick bark does not catch fire or burn easily. The species also drops lower branches as the trees grow older, which helps prevent fire from climbing up and burning the green needles higher up the tree. Indigenous leaders call for Arctic cooperation against wildfires California And Africa: The Seasonal Cycle Of Burning One other category of wildfires are those that are expected and - one could say - even needed. The western part of the United States and Africa, to mention just a few, have a seasonal cycle of fires that actually ‘replenish’ the landscape. Take the lodgepole pines, for instance, a staple tree that requires the wildfire heat to release its seeds. In Sub-Saharan Africa, savanna ecosystems are used to their periodical ‘burn’ and will flourish once again not long after the fires have passed. Wildfires Globally: America, California This does, however, not mean that we should stand by and idly watch those wildfires destroy large pieces of land. Often, the root cause will be accidental - like someone dropping a cigarette or a campfire gone wrong. This still sets in motion an event that is potentially dangerous and disastrous to the surrounding area, and that is bound to become even more so in years to come as the direct result of climate change. Research has shown that the Californian wildfires are a staggering 500 percent larger than they would have been without it. They are unnecessarily large, so to speak, endangering both human and animal lives in the process. Wildfires Globally. What plants grow after a fire? Fire-activated Seeds Perhaps the most amazing fire adaptation is that some species actually require fire for their seeds to sprout. Some plants, such as the lodgepole pine, Eucalyptus, and Banksia, have serotinous cones or fruits that are completely sealed with resin. This World Is On Fire While it may feel and look as if our world is quite literally on fire, one should always consider the root cause first. And while some of those huge wildfires that have been raging in the past months have other causes, there are a few that can already be traced back to global warming directly - and all of them can, without a doubt, be considered a major contributor. Funny how it works: global warming-induced wildfires ending up accelerating that very same phenomenon. Although one might wonder if ‘funny’ really is the most appropriate word. Cover photo: Five Australian children were reunited with their parents after their grandparents helped them dramatically escape from blazing bush fires by clinging to a wooden jetty for three hours. Grandfather Tim Holmes alongside his wife and and his daughter's five children had to shelter in the sea to survive the potentially deadly inferno that raged on the shore. Recommended:  Climate Change And Its Effects Like Droughts: The Heat Is On Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about climate change? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Climate Extremes Australia Floods, Wildfires And Destruction
Climate Extremes Australia Floods, Wildfires And Destruction
Cooling Earth By A Sun Dimming Effect Or Warming By More CO2
Geoengineering, better known as climate intervention, is a topic that is subject to much debate and, unfortunately, controversy. Many feel that executing such initiatives would constitute ‘playing God’, something that we somehow tend to look at as something to be frowned upon.  Cooling Earth By Sun Dimming Yet would any deity, if given the choice, not opt for saving the planet so aptly created – if needed through drastic changes to the climate? I would think so. One of the most promising initiatives is looking to hit the dim button on our sun, by reflecting her rays back into space when they reach our atmosphere. What is geoengineering and how does it work? Geoengineering (literally "Earth-engineering") is the currently fashionable term for making large-scale interventions in how the planet works to slow down or reverse the effects of climate change. The first is to try to cool the planet by reducing the amount of incoming solar energy. The biggest problem with the sun is that it sends a whole lot of 'heat' (sunrays) in our direction. We can try to counter this by inserting some particles in our stratosphere that act like a sunscreen of sorts. These reflect the sun’s rays back into space, so that they do not reach the earth. The process through which sun dimming takes place is now being investigated, although it has already – accidentally – been tested in the real world.   {youtube}                                                      Geoengineering May Be the Answer to Climate Change   For instance, the eruption of volcano Mount Pinatubo (Philippines) caused some 20 million tones of sulfur dioxide to be spewed into the stratosphere. These finer particles somehow threw up a shield against the sun – a sun screen, if you wish – that resulted in global cooling. The world became about half a degree Celsius colder, which effectively brought us back to pre-Industrial Age times. Recommended:  Taal Volcano: Hazardous Eruption Feared. What Is The Future? Sun Dimming Effect: Turn Down The Thermostat So the idea of switching our earth’s thermostat from ‘automatic’ to ‘manual’ is nothing new. The whole concept of geoengineering has been floating around for several decades, having generated a massive amount of literature and laboratory studies. But also a massive amount of fear.   What are some examples of geoengineering? Examples of this approach include: spraying seawater thousands of metres into the air to seed the formation of stratocumulus clouds that will deflect sunlight; installing sun-shields or mirrors in space to reflect the sun; or injecting sun-blocking particulates into space. This particularly applies to sun dimming. Even Hollywood has taken notice and dedicated several blockbuster movies to the concept of messing with our climate, oftentimes with disastrous consequences. All of this has led to the inherent notion that manually adjusting our climate will disrupt that fragile balance of our ecosystems. Some fear that decreasing sunlight will disadvantage certain regions, that will be faced with sun-deprived crops or disadvantageous shifts in rain patterns. Others fear that it will become a political toy that will increase inequality. Recommended:  Delay Climate Change With Submarines Which Produce Icebergs Recommended:  Cooling By A Grand Solar Minimum Or Global Warming By CO2? The time has now arrived to move past this stage of ‘what-iffing’ and start taking action. The reality is that the drastic consequences of global warming can no longer be avoided. We ought to do something equally drastic. This means either sucking enormous amounts of CO2 out of the air – or artificially adjusting our climate thermostat. Even better would be to start doing both. Cooling Earth By A Sun Dimming Effect: A Modest Test   Thankfully, scientists are now fast moving towards implementing sun dimming. Harvard scientists are looking to inject calcium carbonate in the stratosphere through balloons. Calcium carbonate is the basic ingredient found in products like cement, paper and cake – and could potentially be the ideal particle for reflecting sunlight. Cheap, clean, and highly effective. Harvard scientists will attempt to replicate the climate-cooling effect of volcanic eruptions  This project, that has been dubbed the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment, will be the first real climate engineering project to be tested. Even though its scale is relatively small, its results could prove to be huge. Even though the scientists claim they are merely observing a chemical reaction, there are a lot of environmentalists closely following their every move. What are the benefits of geoengineering? Solar geoengineering could also reduce poleward shifts in species ranges, which has been posing serious risks to tropical fisheries. And it could lessen the amount of sea-ice loss, which could reduce the impacts on high-latitude ecosystems and climate, and help to limit changes in ocean circulation and glacier melt. After all, or so they say, focusing on climate engineering efforts could distract us from the actual problem – our CO2 emissions, that should be cut. Their argument seems valid. After all, it is always better to treat the disease rather than the symptoms. Yet at the same time, sometimes you can only start to administer medicines after ensuring that the patient is stable – achieving this by relieving dangerous symptoms. Nevertheless, the Harvard team is committed to keeping their experiment small to avoid most of this scrutiny, while it has installed an external advisory committee – and generally paying a lot of attention to decent oversight and accountability. Recommended:  Artificial Intelligence For Climate Change And Environment Sun Dimming: Joining Forces In order to make the experiment work, several parties have joined forces and are working on creating an ideal testing environment. The stratosphere in itself is a perfect working environment, as it is relatively easy for particles inserted here to spread all around the earth, providing a full cover. The key is to have them released in a strategic location and at strategic time intervals, to keep this cover up. Once again, this requires the expertise of many different scientists and experts. While some frown upon this lack of one clear expert on the topic, others celebrate the fact that it will truly result in a ‘melting of the minds’, making the experiment more reliable. Cooling Earth: An Eye On The Sky There have been several initiatives before that sought to somehow alter our climate. However, most of these have failed in the early stages of development, more often than not over bureaucratic and political hurdles. This makes Harvard’s SCoPEx project so remarkable, as it has managed to raise funding through philanthropists and angel investors, including Bill Gates. All systems are go, at this stage. This does not mean that everything is set up for success. There are still a lot of uncertainties, such as the size of the particles, the navigation of the balloon dispersing them, and finding a way of measuring the amount of calcium carbonate in the stratosphere so that its effect can be properly measured.   Sun Dimming: Up To The Stratosphere   The scientists running this project are finding solutions for these queries – often relying on external support and initiatives. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Colorado, USA has provided the Harvard team with an instrument that is able to measure the size and number of particles released. An important step forward, as this will allow the team on the ground to measure the effectiveness. Separate teams are working on the balloon and the spraying-system, projects that still involve a lot of uncertainties. The first launches will determine how far they are in combatting climate change through geoengineering.   Cooling Earth By A Sun Dimming Effect We should not be naive and assume that geoengineering is going to solve all of our problems. In fact, the drawbacks have been equally well-documented as the benefits. They might even cancel each other out. The dimming of sunlight could, for instance, result in lower agricultural yields. Additionally, it could cause droughts in other areas, which are equally bad for our agricultural industry. What is most likely to cause dimming? Aerosols have been found to be the major cause of global dimming. The burning of fossil fuels by industry and internal combustion engines emits by-products such as sulfur dioxide, soot, and ash. These together form particulate pollution—primarily called aerosols. Another pressing concern is that of the intellectual, physical and financial requirements for creating a balanced geoengineering system that will protect that earth as a whole. Who will pay for it all, who will be responsible? Who will secure it and how do we ensure that it does not benefit one nation over another? Will it be government-led or will it be an independent organization or enterprise running it? One thing is certain, geoengineering is a route that we should go down if we are to make a fist and fight climate change. While the benefits seem clear, the downsides are still purely theoretical and might not even apply. If we can only get the technology and the politics of it right, we would be stupid to ignore it. And yes, it may only be a short-term symptom reliever. But who would deny additional oxygen if we are suffering from lung failure? While it may not cure the actual disease, it may give us enough literal air to properly fight it. Before you go! Recommended:  Solar Farms In Space: Next Step In Renewable Energy Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Geoengineering, better known as climate intervention, is a topic that is subject to much debate and, unfortunately, controversy. Many feel that executing such initiatives would constitute ‘playing God’, something that we somehow tend to look at as something to be frowned upon.  Cooling Earth By Sun Dimming Yet would any deity, if given the choice, not opt for saving the planet so aptly created – if needed through drastic changes to the climate? I would think so. One of the most promising initiatives is looking to hit the dim button on our sun, by reflecting her rays back into space when they reach our atmosphere. What is geoengineering and how does it work? Geoengineering (literally "Earth-engineering") is the currently fashionable term for making large-scale interventions in how the planet works to slow down or reverse the effects of climate change. The first is to try to cool the planet by reducing the amount of incoming solar energy. The biggest problem with the sun is that it sends a whole lot of 'heat' (sunrays) in our direction. We can try to counter this by inserting some particles in our stratosphere that act like a sunscreen of sorts. These reflect the sun’s rays back into space, so that they do not reach the earth. The process through which sun dimming takes place is now being investigated, although it has already – accidentally – been tested in the real world.   {youtube}                                                      Geoengineering May Be the Answer to Climate Change   For instance, the eruption of volcano Mount Pinatubo (Philippines) caused some 20 million tones of sulfur dioxide to be spewed into the stratosphere. These finer particles somehow threw up a shield against the sun – a sun screen, if you wish – that resulted in global cooling. The world became about half a degree Celsius colder, which effectively brought us back to pre-Industrial Age times. Recommended:  Taal Volcano: Hazardous Eruption Feared. What Is The Future? Sun Dimming Effect: Turn Down The Thermostat So the idea of switching our earth’s thermostat from ‘automatic’ to ‘manual’ is nothing new. The whole concept of geoengineering has been floating around for several decades, having generated a massive amount of literature and laboratory studies. But also a massive amount of fear.   What are some examples of geoengineering? Examples of this approach include: spraying seawater thousands of metres into the air to seed the formation of stratocumulus clouds that will deflect sunlight; installing sun-shields or mirrors in space to reflect the sun; or injecting sun-blocking particulates into space. This particularly applies to sun dimming. Even Hollywood has taken notice and dedicated several blockbuster movies to the concept of messing with our climate, oftentimes with disastrous consequences. All of this has led to the inherent notion that manually adjusting our climate will disrupt that fragile balance of our ecosystems. Some fear that decreasing sunlight will disadvantage certain regions, that will be faced with sun-deprived crops or disadvantageous shifts in rain patterns. Others fear that it will become a political toy that will increase inequality. Recommended:  Delay Climate Change With Submarines Which Produce Icebergs Recommended:  Cooling By A Grand Solar Minimum Or Global Warming By CO2? The time has now arrived to move past this stage of ‘what-iffing’ and start taking action. The reality is that the drastic consequences of global warming can no longer be avoided. We ought to do something equally drastic. This means either sucking enormous amounts of CO2 out of the air – or artificially adjusting our climate thermostat. Even better would be to start doing both. Cooling Earth By A Sun Dimming Effect: A Modest Test   Thankfully, scientists are now fast moving towards implementing sun dimming. Harvard scientists are looking to inject calcium carbonate in the stratosphere through balloons. Calcium carbonate is the basic ingredient found in products like cement, paper and cake – and could potentially be the ideal particle for reflecting sunlight. Cheap, clean, and highly effective. Harvard scientists will attempt to replicate the climate-cooling effect of volcanic eruptions  This project, that has been dubbed the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment, will be the first real climate engineering project to be tested. Even though its scale is relatively small, its results could prove to be huge. Even though the scientists claim they are merely observing a chemical reaction, there are a lot of environmentalists closely following their every move. What are the benefits of geoengineering? Solar geoengineering could also reduce poleward shifts in species ranges, which has been posing serious risks to tropical fisheries. And it could lessen the amount of sea-ice loss, which could reduce the impacts on high-latitude ecosystems and climate, and help to limit changes in ocean circulation and glacier melt. After all, or so they say, focusing on climate engineering efforts could distract us from the actual problem – our CO2 emissions, that should be cut. Their argument seems valid. After all, it is always better to treat the disease rather than the symptoms. Yet at the same time, sometimes you can only start to administer medicines after ensuring that the patient is stable – achieving this by relieving dangerous symptoms. Nevertheless, the Harvard team is committed to keeping their experiment small to avoid most of this scrutiny, while it has installed an external advisory committee – and generally paying a lot of attention to decent oversight and accountability. Recommended:  Artificial Intelligence For Climate Change And Environment Sun Dimming: Joining Forces In order to make the experiment work, several parties have joined forces and are working on creating an ideal testing environment. The stratosphere in itself is a perfect working environment, as it is relatively easy for particles inserted here to spread all around the earth, providing a full cover. The key is to have them released in a strategic location and at strategic time intervals, to keep this cover up. Once again, this requires the expertise of many different scientists and experts. While some frown upon this lack of one clear expert on the topic, others celebrate the fact that it will truly result in a ‘melting of the minds’, making the experiment more reliable. Cooling Earth: An Eye On The Sky There have been several initiatives before that sought to somehow alter our climate. However, most of these have failed in the early stages of development, more often than not over bureaucratic and political hurdles. This makes Harvard’s SCoPEx project so remarkable, as it has managed to raise funding through philanthropists and angel investors, including Bill Gates. All systems are go, at this stage. This does not mean that everything is set up for success. There are still a lot of uncertainties, such as the size of the particles, the navigation of the balloon dispersing them, and finding a way of measuring the amount of calcium carbonate in the stratosphere so that its effect can be properly measured.   Sun Dimming: Up To The Stratosphere   The scientists running this project are finding solutions for these queries – often relying on external support and initiatives. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Colorado, USA has provided the Harvard team with an instrument that is able to measure the size and number of particles released. An important step forward, as this will allow the team on the ground to measure the effectiveness. Separate teams are working on the balloon and the spraying-system, projects that still involve a lot of uncertainties. The first launches will determine how far they are in combatting climate change through geoengineering.   Cooling Earth By A Sun Dimming Effect We should not be naive and assume that geoengineering is going to solve all of our problems. In fact, the drawbacks have been equally well-documented as the benefits. They might even cancel each other out. The dimming of sunlight could, for instance, result in lower agricultural yields. Additionally, it could cause droughts in other areas, which are equally bad for our agricultural industry. What is most likely to cause dimming? Aerosols have been found to be the major cause of global dimming. The burning of fossil fuels by industry and internal combustion engines emits by-products such as sulfur dioxide, soot, and ash. These together form particulate pollution—primarily called aerosols. Another pressing concern is that of the intellectual, physical and financial requirements for creating a balanced geoengineering system that will protect that earth as a whole. Who will pay for it all, who will be responsible? Who will secure it and how do we ensure that it does not benefit one nation over another? Will it be government-led or will it be an independent organization or enterprise running it? One thing is certain, geoengineering is a route that we should go down if we are to make a fist and fight climate change. While the benefits seem clear, the downsides are still purely theoretical and might not even apply. If we can only get the technology and the politics of it right, we would be stupid to ignore it. And yes, it may only be a short-term symptom reliever. But who would deny additional oxygen if we are suffering from lung failure? While it may not cure the actual disease, it may give us enough literal air to properly fight it. Before you go! Recommended:  Solar Farms In Space: Next Step In Renewable Energy Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Cooling Earth By A Sun Dimming Effect Or Warming By More CO2
Cooling Earth By A Sun Dimming Effect Or Warming By More CO2
Climate

Climate change! Currently, the most discussed topic in the world. Climate change occurs when changes in Earth's climate system result in new weather patterns that last for at least a few decades, and maybe for millions of years. Climate change can also result from ‘external forcing’ and include changes in solar output and volcanism.

Human activities can also influence our climate. Debates, posts and answers on (social) platforms about the role of humanity in the climate change process regularly lead to heated discussions

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