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Archive for the ‘climatology’ category: Page 10

Feb 29, 2024

Can we control superintelligence? With Yoshua Bengio #artificialinteligence

Posted by in categories: climatology, robotics/AI, sustainability

Azeem speaks with Professor Yoshua Bengio. In 2018, Yoshua, Geoff Hinton and Yann LeCun were awarded the Turing Award for advancing the field of AI, in particular for their groundbreaking conceptual and engineering research in deep learning. This earnt them the moniker the Three Musketeers of Deep Learning. I think Bengio might be Aramis: intellectual, somewhat pensive, with aspirations beyond combat, and yet skilled with the blade.

With 750,000 citations to his scientific research, Yoshua has turned to the humanistic dimension of AI, in particular, the questions of safety, democracy, and climate change. Yoshua and I sit on the OECD’s Expert Group on AI Futures.

Feb 28, 2024

Scientists Develop Method To Cool One of the World’s Hottest Cities by 8°F

Posted by in categories: climatology, materials

A recent study from UNSW Sydney demonstrates that significant reductions in the temperatures of major cities located in hot desert climates can be achieved alongside decreases in energy expenses.

The findings, recently published in Nature Cities, detail a multi-faceted strategy to cool Saudi Arabia’s capital city by up to 4.5°C, combining highly reflective ‘super cool’ building materials developed by the High-Performance Architecture Lab with irrigated greenery and energy retrofitting measures. The study, which was conducted in collaboration with the Royal Commission of Riyadh, is the first to investigate the large-scale energy benefits of modern heat mitigation technologies when implemented in a city.

“The project demonstrates the tremendous impact advanced heat mitigation technologies and techniques can have to reduce urban overheating, decrease cooling needs, and improve lives,” says UNSW Scientia Professor Mattheos (Mat) Santamouris, Anita Lawrence Chair in High-Performance Architecture and senior author of the study.

Feb 27, 2024

Deforestation’s Hidden Toll: Impact on Child Health

Posted by in categories: biological, climatology, economics, education, health, sustainability

Do the impacts of deforestation go beyond the environment? What about human health, specifically the health of children? This is what a recent study published in Economics & Human Biology hopes to address as Dr. Gabriel Fuentes Cordoba, who is an associate professor of economics from Sophia University in Japan, investigated how deforestation in Cambodia effects the health of children around the time of their birth. This study holds the potential to help scientists, conservationists, and the public better understand the health effects of deforestation, specifically with the increasing effects of climate change around the world.

For the study, Dr. Fuentes Cordoba analyzed data obtained from the Cambodian Demographic Health Surveys and forest loss to ascertain the health impacts for pregnant women and children under five years of age who reside in areas of deforestation. In the end, Dr. Fuentes Cordoba discover alarming results that suggest deforestation exposure to women less than one year before pregnancy could lead to development of anemia, which is a precursor to malaria. This could result in significant health impacts on children being born, specifically reductions in birth weight, along with overall height and weight as they age.

“This research shows a negative impact of deforestation on child health,” Dr. Fuentes Cordoba said in a statement. “This negative impact may persist into adulthood and affect other aspects of wellbeing such as education acquisition and even wages. My findings indicate that future research should explore this aspect further.”

Feb 27, 2024

Lightning Never Strikes Twice? Ransomware Attackers Seen Regularly Repeating Previous Attacks

Posted by in categories: business, climatology, cybercrime/malcode

Cybersecurity company Cybereason reveals that the actual price of a ransomware attack on a business includes much more than the ransom itself.

When choosing whether to comply and pay the demanded ransom to cyber attackers, there are many different considerations to have in mind. The latest report by Cybereason reveals that only one in two victims who paid ransom actually got their data back uncorrupted, and four out of five were eventually breached again by the same attackers.

According to Cybernews, the company’s researchers went over 1,008 IT professionals who all dealt with breachers at least once in the past two years and found that 84% chose to pay the ransom, averaging $1.4 million in the US. However, only 47% got their data and services back uncorrupted, so this doesn’t appear to have been the optimal strategy.

Feb 26, 2024

Study shows cloud clustering causes more extreme rain

Posted by in categories: climatology, computing

Understanding cloud patterns in our changing climate is essential to making accurate predictions about their impact on society and nature. Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA) and the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology published a study in the journal Science Advances that uses a high-resolution global climate model to understand how the clustering of clouds and storms impacts rainfall extremes in the tropics. They show that with rising temperatures, the severity of extreme precipitation events increases.

Extreme rainfall is one of the most damaging natural disasters costing human lives and causing billions in damage. Their frequency has been increasing over the last years due to the .

For several decades, scientists have been using computer models of the Earth’s climate to better understand the mechanisms behind these events and to predict future trends.

Feb 25, 2024

Newly discovered Carbon Monoxide-Runaway Gap can help Identify Habitable Exoplanets

Posted by in categories: alien life, chemistry, climatology

The search for habitable exoplanets involves looking for planets with similar conditions to the Earth, such as liquid water, a suitable temperature range and atmospheric conditions. One crucial factor is the planet’s position in the habitable zone, the region around a star where liquid water could potentially exist on the planet’s surface. NASA’s Kepler telescope, launched in 2009, revealed that 20–50% of visible stars may host such habitable Earth-sized rocky planets. However, the presence of liquid water alone does not guarantee a planet’s habitability. On Earth, carbon compounds such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and carbon monoxide (CO) played a crucial role in shaping the climate and biogeochemistry and could have contributed to the emergence of life.

Taking this into consideration, a recent study by Associate Professor Kazumi Ozaki from Tokyo Institute of Technology, along with Associate Researcher Yasuto Watanabe from The University of Tokyo, aims to expand the search for habitable planets. Published in the Astrophysical Journal(External site) on 10 January 2024, the researchers used atmospheric modeling to identify conditions that could result in a CO-rich atmosphere on Earth-like planets that orbit sun-like (F-, G-, and K-type) stars. This phenomenon, known as CO runaway, is suggested by atmospheric models to have possibly occurred in early planetary atmospheres, potentially favoring the emergence of life.

“The possibility of CO runaway is critical in resolving the fundamental problem regarding the origin of life on Earth because various organic compounds suitable for the prebiotic chemistry are more likely to form in a CO-rich atmosphere than in a CO2-rich atmosphere,” explains Dr. Ozaki.

Feb 24, 2024

Recycling fertilizers from human excreta exhibit high nitrogen fertilizer value and result in low uptake of pharmaceutical compounds

Posted by in categories: climatology, economics, sustainability

Year 2023 face_with_colon_three


Recycling nutrients is essential for closing nutrient loops within a circular economy. Using locally available resources such as human excreta to produce bio-based recycling fertilizers can substitute mineral fertilizers and thereby promote environmentally friendly food production. To better understand the fertilizer potential and nitrogen value of human excreta, three novel and safe recycling products were evaluated in a field experiment. Two nitrified urine fertilizers (NUFs) and one fecal compost were applied alone or in combination, and compared against the commercial organic fertilizer vinasse. In addition, the uptake of pharmaceuticals was assessed for treatments with compost application. White cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. alba) was cultivated in plots in three different soil types (sand, loam or silt) treated with the fertilizers according to plant needs and mineral soil nitrogen content. The two NUFs resulted in marketable yields similar to those of vinasse in all soil types. Combining fecal compost with a NUF led to increased marketable yield compared to compost alone. The highest yield was recorded from the sandy soil, where vinasse and NUF treatments led to comparable yields, as expected in organic productions systems (up to 72 t ha−1). The cabbage yield and total aboveground fresh biomass followed the following trend in all soils: NUFs ∼ vinasse ≥ compost + NUF ≥ compost. Nitrogen uptake in the cabbage heads and total biomass was significantly higher in sand (69.5–144 kg ha−1) than loam (71.4–95.8 kg ha−1). All compost treatments alleviated the effect of soil type and resulted in comparable nitrogen uptake and yield in all soil types. Plant uptake of pharmaceuticals (Carbamazepin) was higher in sand than in loam, and concentration in the edible part was lower than in the outer leaves. In conclusion, NUF alone appears to be a promising successful fertilizer substitute in horticultural food production. The combined application of NUF and compost led to slightly lower crop yields, but may increase soil carbon content in the long term, promoting climate-friendly food production.

In view of a growing world population and the human alteration of nutrient cycles, including nitrogen (N) and phosphorus ℗ (Rockström et al., 2009), transforming food production is a major challenge of this century (Springmann et al., 2018). Both N and P are essential nutrients for healthy plant growth in crop production; however, their addition to synthetic fertilizers is currently organized in a linear economy. The Haber-Bosch process, used to generate plant-available N from its airborne unreactive form, is energy intensive, depending on fossil fuels such as natural gas, and associated with high greenhouse gas emissions (Wang et al., 2021). P is obtained from finite, depleting phosphate rock resources and its mining is increasingly more expensive and polluting (Desmidt et al., 2015). This background emphasize the need for significant improvements of nutrient management in agriculture and for alternative, circular N and P sources to achieve global food security (Gerten et al.

Feb 22, 2024

What the U.S. can learn from Norway when it comes to EV adoption

Posted by in categories: climatology, government, sustainability

Norway boasts the highest electric vehicle adoption rate in the world. Some 82% of new car sales were EVs in Norway in 2023, according to the Norwegian Road Federation (OFV). In comparison, 7.6% of new car sales were electric in the U.S. last year, according to Kelley Blue Book estimates. In the world’s largest auto market, China, 24% of new car sales were EVs in 2023, according to the China Passenger Car Association.

“Our goal is that all new cars by 2025 will be zero-emission vehicles,” said Ragnhild Syrstad, the state secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment, “We think we’re going to reach that goal.”

The Norwegian government started incentivizing the purchase of EVs back in the 1990s with free parking, the use of bus lanes, no tolls and most importantly, no taxes on zero-emission vehicles. But it wasn’t until Tesla and other EV models became available about 10 years ago that sales started to take off, Syrstad said.

Feb 21, 2024

Global Implications: More Aerosol Particles Than Thought Are Forming Over Siberia

Posted by in categories: climatology, particle physics

Recent research has discovered that, in contrast to earlier assumptions, substantial quantities of aerosol particles are generated across extensive regions of the West Siberian taiga during spring. These findings indicate that rising temperatures can greatly influence the climate due to this phenomenon.

Aerosol particles significantly contribute to the Earth’s cooling process. They can impact the amount of sunlight that reaches the Earth’s surface either directly or indirectly by aiding in cloud formation. These particles originate from various gas molecules and are found all over the planet.

To understand the circumstances in which these particles are formed, researchers conduct measurements in various environments all over the world. For example, the Finnish flagship station SMEAR II has conducted measurements in the boreal forest for 25 years.

Feb 20, 2024

This startup’s tech turns CO2 into seashell dust

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

UCLA spinout Equatic has developed a carbon removal technology it believes can help the world meet its climate change goals — by converting CO2 in the ocean into seashell dust.

The challenge: To prevent the worst predicted effects of climate change, experts say we need to not only slash our carbon emissions, but also remove and permanently store some of the CO2 that’s already been released.

The ocean does this naturally: it already absorbs about 31% of human-made carbon emissions, but there’s a limit to the amount of CO2 that seawater can absorb before it starts to release the carbon back into the atmosphere. Absorbing CO2 from the air also causes ocean acidification, resulting in further environmental damage.

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