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Humanicsxian Economics Is Here Here
All-For-One and One-For-All
Jessie May Peters
First Published: September 24: 2015
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The Humanion UK Online Daily

 

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This Is the Only Mother We Have on This Entire Universana: Save Mother Earth

 

 

 

 

 

Ecology

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Ecology Arkive

Majestic Dolphins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ecology is Not What is Out There, Irrelevant, Far Away, Remote, Outside and Beyond Us But Our Home: If, We Let It Become Devastated Ruins We Let Ourselves Live and Suffer in This Devastation, as Well as, Ruining and Devastating the Entire Web of Life. We Can Not Live Well, If, We Do Not Seek to Ensure Everything Lives Well for These Dolphins Can Not Live Well, If, the Oceans are Poisoned. As an Individual Human Soul, a Human Can Not Exist Well, If, the Entire Society is Poisonous or the Earth is Poisoned with Polluted Air or Water. Therefore, Selfishness is Anti-Existence, Anti-Humanity, Anti-Nature, Anti-Life, Anti-Science and Anti-Reason. Commonness, Connections, Oneness and Unison in Goal, Work and Creation is What Humanity is About. If, We Need Support for This View Just Bring in Mind the Human Physiology and See How It All Works in Oneness and Unison So to Ensure Existence is Not Only Sustainable But, Also, Being at Homeostasis, It is Ensured to Continue to Flow.....

 

 
Sulphur Dioxide Concentrations Drop by 40% Over India During COVID-19

 

|| Thursday: July 02: 2020 || ά. Concentrations of sulphur dioxide in polluted areas in India have decreased by around 40% between April 2019 and April 2020. Using data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, from the European Union Copernicus programme, scientists have produced new maps, which show the drop in concentrations across the country in times of COVID-19. In a Report by Greenpeace last year, India was named the world’s largest emitter of anthropogenic sulphur dioxide, which is a significant contributor to air pollution.

Sulphur dioxide causes many health-related problems, can harm sensitive eco-systems and is, also, a precursor to acid rain. While some atmospheric sulphur dioxide is produced from natural processes, such as, volcanoes, a substantial amount is produced by human activities, predominantly from power plants burning fossil fuels. In India, emissions of sulphur dioxide have strongly increased over the last ten years, exacerbating haze problems over large parts of the country. However, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, human and industrial activity dropped considerably since the beginning of its lockdown on March 25, 2020.

The maps, published on the ESA website, show the averaged sulphur dioxide concentrations in April 2019, compared to April 2020. The darker shades of red and purple depict greater concentrations of sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere, while the black dots indicate the locations of the large, coal-fired power plants.

Sulphur dioxide concentrations have dropped significantly compared to the previous year, notably, over New Delhi, over many large coal-fired power plants, as well as, other industrial areas. Some large plants in the northeast states of Odisha, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh have maintained a substantial level of activity, while others appear to have ceased entirely.

This analysis was produced by using data from the Tropomi instrument on the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite. A recent algorithm improvement, completed by the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy:BIRA-IASB, allows the team to better picture the evolution of anthropogenic sulphur dioxide emissions over the country.

Nicolas Theys, from BIRA-IASB, comments, “We are very pleased with the new algorithm development as it is very sensitive to low sulphur dioxide concentrations caused by anthropogenic activities. As compared to the operational processor, the sensitivity and accuracy for anthropogenic emission detection has increased by an order of magnitude.”

ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P Mission Manager, Mr Claus Zehner, says, “With our operational product, we can reliably measure strong sulphur dioxide concentrations emitted by volcanoes but, we have problems in detecting anthropogenic sulphur dioxide emissions. This new algorithm will enable new applications, for example, in verifying existing sulphur dioxide emission inventories, after it has been implemented into the operational Sentinel-5P processing chain at the German Aerospace Centre.”

About the Copernicus Sentinels: The Copernicus Sentinels are a fleet of dedicated EU-owned satellites, designed to deliver the wealth of data and imagery, that are central to the European Union's Copernicus environmental programme. The European Commission leads and coordinates this programme, to improve the management of the environment, safeguarding lives every day. ESA is in charge of the space component, responsible for developing the family of Copernicus Sentinel satellites on behalf of the European Union and ensuring the flow of data for the Copernicus services, while the operations of the Copernicus Sentinels have been entrusted to ESA and EUMETSAT.

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Conditions Are Rife for the Next Pandemic Unless Urgent Action Is Taken: New WWF Report Warns

 

 

|| Wednesday: June 17: 2020 || ά. In a new Report, ‘COVID 19: Urgent Call to Protect People and Nature’, WWF says that the environmental factors, driving the emergence of zoonotic diseases are: the trade and consumption of high-risk wildlife, land-use change, leading to deforestation and conversion, expansion of agriculture and unsustainable intensification and animal production. While the world continues to grapple with the devastating consequences of COVID-19, WWF is calling for urgent global action to address the key drivers it has identified, which will cause future zoonotic disease outbreaks. 

Numerous warnings from scientists and thought leaders, such as, the World Economic Forum:WEF, have been made about the risk of a global pandemic. WEF ranked pandemics and infectious diseases as one of the top global risks over a decade ago, posing ‘an acute threat to human life’. Mr Marco Lambertini, the Director General of WWF International, said, “We must urgently recognise the links between the destruction of nature and human health or, we will soon see the next pandemic.

We must curb the high risk trade and consumption of wildlife, halt deforestation and land conversion, as well as, manage food production sustainably. All these actions will help prevent the spill-over of pathogens to humans and, also, address other global risks to our society like bio-diversity loss and climate change. There is no debate and the science is clear; we must work with nature, not against it. Unsustainable exploitation of nature has become an enormous risk to us all. ”

Questions remain about the exact origins of COVID-19 but, all available evidence suggests that it is a zoonotic disease, meaning it jumped from wildlife to humans. The government of China announced a comprehensive ban on the consumption of wild animals on February 24, which WWF supports and now, the  National People’s Congress:NPC is supporting the revision of the existing law on the protection of wildlife, which, if, implemented in full, could position China’s Wildlife Protection Law as one of the world's most robust and stringent. Other governments must, also, follow suit and close their high-risk wildlife markets and end this trade once and for all.

However, addressing high-risk wildlife trade and consumption in isolation will not be enough to prevent the next pandemic; our unsustainable global food system is driving large-scale conversion of natural spaces for agriculture, fragmenting natural eco-systems and increasing interactions between wildlife, livestock and humans. Since 1990, 178 million hectares of forest have been cleared, which is equivalent to the size of Libya, the 18th largest country in the world and  around 10 million hectares of forest are still being lost each year through conversion to agriculture and other land uses.

A current tragedy is unfolding too in Brazil with a surge in deforestation accelerating due to cuts in enforcement by the federal government and this was after a 64% increase in deforestation had already been seen in April compared to last year. The COVID-19 crisis demonstrates that systemic changes must be made to address the environmental drivers of pandemics. WWF is advocating a ‘One Health’ approach, linking the health of people, animals and our shared environment and wants this to be included in decision making on wildlife and land use change. This should be incorporated within all business and financing decisions, particularly, related to global health. 

“In the midst of this tragedy there is an opportunity to heal our relationship with nature and mitigate risks of future pandemics but a better future starts with the decisions governments, companies and people around the world take today.” said Mr Lambertini.  “World leaders must take urgent action to transform our relationship with the natural world. We need a New Deal for Nature and People, that sets nature on the path to recovery by 2030 and safeguards human health and livelihoods in the long-term.”

WWF highlights the upcoming UN Bio-diversity Summit, scheduled to take place in September 2020, as a key moment for world leaders to accelerate action on nature ahead of critical decisions on the environment, climate and development, now due to be taken in 2021. Together, these decisions represent an unmissable opportunity to transform our relationship with nature and secure a sustainable future for people and the planet.

About the New Deal for Nature and People: Human activities are pushing nature dangerously into the red. We urgently need to change course, to safeguard human health, well-being and livelihoods. With world leaders scheduled to take critical decisions on the environment, climate and development in the next year, we have a momentous opportunity to secure a New Deal for Nature and People, that sets nature on the path to recovery by 2030, in support of climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals.

About WWF: WWF is an independent conservation organisation, with over 30 million followers and a global network active in nearly 100 countries. Our mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future, in which people live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. panda.org

Read the Report  

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Exxpedition Round the World: Promoting Women in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Through Research and Learning About the Marine Plastic Pollution

 

 

|| Tuesday: March 10: 2020 || ά. On March 08, on International Women’s Day an international all-female crew began preparing to set sail in the remote Pacific Ocean from Easter Island towards Tahiti on the eighth leg of a pioneering two-year sailing voyage and research mission around the world. Despite significant progress, women are still underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and maths:STEM sectors. Globally, women occupy only 13% of the STEM workforce, including, health professionals.

The unseen nature of women in STEM and sailing, coupled with the unseen challenge of microplastics became the catalyst for developing the all-female programme with the aim of ‘making the unseen, seen’. The aim of eXXpedition Round the World is to investigate the causes of and solutions to ocean plastic pollution under the directorship of award-winning ocean advocate Dr Emily Penn. Connected by a passion to protect our shared ocean the mission will enable 300 women to go to sea as hands-on crew and experience first-hand the challenges the world faces from single-use plastics while contributing to scientific research and solutions-based thinking.

eXXpedition Round the World is a 38,000 nautical mile journey that started in October 2019 and will end in September 2021 in the UK. On board S V TravelEdge, eXXpedition Round the World crews explore plastic and toxic pollution in the oceans. The journey will take them via four of the five oceanic gyres and the Arctic. So far over 80 multi-disciplinary women have taken part from 26 countries. Dr Emily Penn, the Mission Director eXXpedition says, “Having researched plastic at sea for several years, I began to understand that the real challenge we face is microplastics; tiny pieces, smaller than your little fingernail, that can get into the food chain along with other chemical pollutants, pesticides and flame retardants, that exist in our ocean. I took part in a study to see which of these chemicals were inside me.

Shockingly, 29 out of the 35 toxic chemicals, banned by the United Nations, were in my blood. Of these, most were endocrine disruptors, which mimic our hormones and stop important chemical messages, moving around our bodies, which for women, when you think about pregnancy and the fact we can pass them to our children, made me realise that this is quite a women centred issue.

That’s why for the first eXXpedition in 2014 we decided to tackle it with a team of women. We set off on our first voyage thinking it was going to be a one-off trip but, we had such a positive experience from taking a group of women to sea, the powerful bonds, that were formed, that we decided to carry on!’’

Previous scientific research has highlighted the endemic nature of microplastics within the ocean environments globally. The eXXpedition focus now is to advance a better understanding of the plastics issue as a whole and to work with industry to pinpoint innovation and policy at a global level by addressing knowledge-gaps and delivering evidence to inform effective upstream solutions on land.

The multi-disciplinary participants come from a broad range of professional and personal backgrounds. Bursaries are available to support diversity. While on board, they share their own experiences, support novel and innovative scientific research, participate in workshops to find where they fit in creating solutions and explore collaboration opportunities with other members of the team. 

Invigorated by their first-hand experience at sea the Ambassadors are equipped and supported to be able to inspire and affect behavioural change in their personal and professional communities back on dry land. Each eXXpedition voyage is designed to encourage collaboration between crew members and community groups and to open conversations around female leadership, personal and environmental awareness, and cultural and societal shifts.  All costs of the not-for-profit expedition are covered by crew contributions, sponsorships and partnerships.

Key financial support has come from Travel Edge, TOMRA, Red Ensign Group, 11th Hour Racing, Slaughter and May and SAP.

“If, you look around, you can see this beautiful pristine beach. But get closer and this is what you see: loads and loads of tiny fragments of plastic, so small amongst the sand. How are we going to clean them up? The solutions have to lie upstream.’’ says Ms Cary Somers, Fashion Activist. 

Ms Kirana Agustina, Postgraduate Student and Ocean Conservationist, Indonesian, says, ‘’I could not imagine a better way to understand this issue than by seeing it first-hand. Joining eXXpedition completely shifted my perspective towards this issue and I’ve had a chance to really think and reflect upon how this journey has shaped the way I see life now. In helping me to understand the issue better, it has allowed me to carry out my work at Global Plastic Action Partnership in Indonesia with a deeper understanding and to share this knowledge with the people of Indonesia.’’

Ms Claire McCluskey, Artist, Ireland, ‘’I love everything about the eXXpedition mission: from mobilising a practical and energetic solution-focused approach to a global problem, to empowering women in sailing and STEM!’’

Ms Emily Butler, Environmental Science Graduate, UK, says, “Most whale sightings they just pop up and go away. This one followed us for almost two hours and it was just amazing. The waves behind the boat were quite big and you could just see this ominous shape following us in the water. When we reached Antigua, we saw an abandoned fishing net in the water and we’d seen other bigger bits of plastic, at one point a garden chair. Seeing that and thinking about the whale and the dolphins we saw on the trip and how you hear about them being found dead with fishing gear in their stomachs brought it all home."

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What Does the Immune System Have to Do With Climate Change: Much Is the Short Answer

 

|| Thursday: February 20: 2020: Lund University News || ά. Researchers have, for the first time, found a connection between the immune systems of different bird species and the various climatic conditions in which they live. The researchers at Lund University in Sweden believe that as the climate changes, some birds may be exposed to diseases, that they are not equipped to handle.

The results of the Study indicate that evolution has calibrated the immune systems of a number of bird species over millions of years, enabling them to deal with diseases, specific to the particular environment and climate in which they live. Rapid climate change increases the risk, that these tailor-made immune systems may be insufficient and this does not only apply in birds. Ms Emily O'Connor, one of the biologists behind the Study, believes that the results could apply to certain other animals as well, as the immune system genes they examined are common to all vertebrates.

“Evolution may not be able to keep up with climate change. There is a risk, that many animals simply will not be able to cope with changes in the number and type of pathogens, that they will be exposed to.” Ms O’Connor says.

When the climate changes and, for example, northern Europe becomes warmer and wetter, diseases, that previously have not existed in temperate climates could start to appear. This may present a challenge for some animals. Ms O'Connor and her colleagues studied 37 different bird species, living in different climatic regions. They investigated diversity in immune system genes in each species, which influences how effectively the immune system is able to combat diseases.

They, also, looked at temperature and precipitation for the different areas from 1901 to 2017. In this way, they have demonstrated that diversity of immune system genes a species has is related to the climate it lives in. Species, that live their entire lives in tropical, rainfall-rich areas and do not move, have the most diverse immune system genes. This high diversity enables these species to handle more pathogens, according to the researchers.

Migratory birds, that spend their winters in tropical areas and breed in temperate climates have immune systems similar to those of European resident birds. According to the researchers, this could be because they are able escape disease by moving.

The Paper: Publication in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Wetter climates select for higher immune gene diversity in resident, but not migratory, songbirds https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2019.2675

::: Caption: Emily O'Connor: Image: Aron Hejdström :::   

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Otter Genome to Help Understand the Genetic Legacy of the Pollution Crisis and Secure the future of the Species

 

|| Thursday: February 20: 2020: Cardiff University News || ά. One of Britain’s best-loved mammals is set to receive a boost with the sequencing and release of the first high-quality Eurasian otter genome by scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in partnership with the Cardiff University Otter Project. The genome was published through Wellcome Open Research, where it will be openly available for use by the research community.

It will enable organisations like the Otter Project to make the most of the wealth of data, stored in DNA archives, in order to better understand the biology of otters and inform on-going conservation efforts. In the 1970s, accumulation of pollutants in the environment caused a dramatic crash in British otter populations, which fell by up to 94%. As otters sit at the top of the food chain, the decline was a warning sign that Britain’s river eco-systems were in serious trouble.

Since a ban on many of the worst pollutants, contaminant levels have gradually declined. Otters have made a comeback and returned to rivers from which they had been missing for decades. But threats remain, with chemicals, suspected of disrupting hormones in animals and humans, widely used in pesticides, that can find their way into rivers. The implications of these chemicals for Eurasian otters are not known but, the species remains at risk and is listed as ‘Near Threatened’  on the IUCN Red List.

The Cardiff University Otter Project was set up in the 1990s to understand the population crash and today it works to discover how otters interact with their environment and monitor for new threats. Analysing the health and behaviour of otters can provide insights into what is happening with other members of the ecosystem, such as, fish, birds, insects and bacteria. These insights, also, have implications for humans, since pollutants affect the water we drink and swim in, as well as, some of the food, that we eat.

The Cardiff University Otter Project provided samples of Eurasian otter DNA to scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. A sample was then sequenced to generate the first, high-quality Eurasian otter reference genome. Dr Frank Hailer, of the Cardiff University Otter Project, said, “The otter genome will give researchers access to the goldmine of information stored in otter sample archives. This will make it possible for us to explore the genetic traces left in an otter’s DNA recording how the individual was affected by and adapted to, changes in their environment.”

Dr Elizabeth Chadwick, of the Cardiff University Otter Project, said, “It has been fantastic to see the resurgence of otters in Britain in recent decades but, we must be alert to current and emerging threats to our otters and rivers. The otter genome will allow us to see how environmental changes, such as, the introduction or ban of a particular chemical, have affected wild otters and their ability to survive. I hope, it will, also, enable us to pre-empt future threats to wild otters and, also, signpost emerging threats to humans.”

The otter genome is published as part of the Wellcome Sanger Institute’s 25 Genomes project. It will, also, contribute to the Darwin Tree of Life Project, which will see partner organisations sequence and assemble the genomes of all 60,000 animal, plant, fungal and protist species across Britain and Ireland.

The high-quality genomes will enable scientists to make new discoveries about how British and Irish species are responding to environmental pressures and what secrets they hold in their genetics that enables them to flourish, or flounder.

Professor Mark Blaxter, Programme Lead for the Tree of Life programme at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said, “Otters in Britain and Ireland have been severely impacted by human activity in the recent past. My hope is that genomic data will help inform policy-making that protects and preserves our amazing wildlife in the near future and beyond.”

::: Caption: Otter: Image: Mary Rothwell Hughes :::

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The Mackerel to the Humpback Whales: Don’t Show Off Because You Are Big: We Can Easily Beat You: New Research Shows How Small Fish Beat Ocean Giants in Speed and Power Jumping Out of Water

 

 

|| Tuesday: February 11:2020 || ά. New research by the University of Roehampton has shown how small fish, such as, mackerel, can jump out of the sea, a behaviour, known as, ‘breaching’ at the same maximum speed as humpback whales and how the breaching powers of mullets can match apex predators like the great white shark.

The Study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, was led by Professor Lewis Halsey from the University of Roehampton’s Department of Life Sciences, which provides vital new information on how speed and power of breaching scales with animal size. Professor Halsey, who worked with Dr Gil Iosilevskii from Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, evaluated hours of detailed video archives of 14 species of fish and cetaceans, spanning in length from 20 centimetres to 14 metres and devised complex mathematical equations to reach the fascinating results.

The findings display how the maximum breaching speed of fish and cetaceans increases with size until it begins to plateau with species, that are around 02m long and the speeds of far bigger cetaceans, such as, orcas and humpback whales do not surpass that of the 01m mackerel. To put this in figures, both mackerels and humpback whales have a similar maximum speed when jumping out of the water, 09 metres per second, and mullets and white sharks are, also, matched for breaching speed, 06m:s The common bottlenose dolphin exhibits the highest maximum speed of all the species analysed, at around 11m:s.

When it comes to the power, generated by the different species during breaching, smaller fish were found to deliver higher rates of energy output for their size. For example, the power of a mullet as it thrust through the water surface, a fish typically less than 50cm long, is about 40 Watts per kilogram of body weight:W:kg, which is 10 times more power than exhibited by the great white shark. Indeed, all of the smaller fish in the analysis, from the 20cm Congo tetra up to the metre-long mackerel, show maximum power levels during breaching of around 40 W:kg.

Species greater than about 01m in length show progressively lower power productions for their mass. This suggests that pound for pound the maximum power exerted by any breaching species is around 40W:kg, potentially, representing a power ceiling for any swimming species going flat out. Indeed, these maximum power values, may, well, represent the top-end power production of any species under any situation, breaching, swimming, running or flying. To put this figure into context, a breaching 10kg mackerel is producing as much energy or heat, as four brightly burning lantern candles.

The Lead Author of the Study, Professor Lewis Halsey, said, “These findings provide an important insight into the physical capabilities of aquatic animals and how their speed and power output relates to their size. There are general expectations that powerful animals known to hunt, such as, orcas or great white sharks, would come out top in terms of maximum speed but, our results disprove this.

We hope, this will form the foundations for further research as we discover more about the maximum energy outputs of different animals and the underlying factors, impacting this fundamental measure of an animal’s physical capacity and how they are adapted to their habitats.”

14 species of fish and cetaceans spanning in length from 20cm to 14m were analysed as part of the research. These include: the African tetra, basking shark, common bottlenose dolphin, Gulf sturgeon, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, mackerel:kingfish, mako shark, mobulid ray, mullet, orca:Killer whale, silver carp, spinner dolphin and white shark.

University of Roehampton: The University of Roehampton London, is an established international higher-education institution, providing a high-quality learning and research experience with the aim of developing personal growth and driving social change. The University has a proud and distinguished history dating back to the 1840s and it was one of the first institutions in the UK to admit women to its colleges of higher education. This tradition of commitment to equality continues to be part of the ethos of the University, which has one of the most diverse and thriving communities of students in the UK; its 9,000-student body includes international students from over 146 countries. Today the University is renowned for its broad range of expertise across teacher training, business, social sciences, the arts and humanities, as well as, human and life sciences, with world leading and internationally recognised research in these fields.

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Climate Change and Global Warming: The Antarctic Continent Posts a New Record Temperature at 18.3°C: Does the World Have Time to Act With the Urgency Speed Commitment and Resolve That This Requires Because the World Is Busy With Puddle-Matters

 

|| Friday: February 07:2020 || ά. Fresh fears of accelerating damage to the planet’s ice sheets and sea level rise have been fuelled by confirmation from the World Meteorological Organisation:WMO, that the Antarctic likely saw a new temperature record of more than 18°C on Thursday. Speaking to journalists in Geneva, the Agency’s Spokesperson Ms Clare Nullis said that the record reading, taken in the north of the continent, would be considered unusual, even, during the current warmer summer months.

“The Argentine research base, which is called Esperanza, it’s on the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula; it set a new record temperature yesterday: 18.3°C, which is not a figure you would normally associate with Antarctica, even, in summertime. This beat the former record of 17.5°C, which was set back in 2015.” Experts at WMO will now verify whether the temperature extreme is a new record for the Antarctic continent, which is defined as the main continental landmass. It should not be confused with the Antarctic region, which is everywhere south of 60 degrees latitude and where a record temperature of 19.8C was recorded on Signy Island in January 1982.

The WMO experts are expected to examine the meteorological conditions, surrounding the event, particularly, whether it is associated with a weather phenomenon known as ‘foehn’. A common feature of life in Alpine regions, episodes of foehn, often, involve high winds at altitude and the rapid warming of air as it heads down slopes or peaks, driven by significant air pressure differences.

“It’s among the fastest-warming regions of the planet.” Ms Nullis said of the Antarctic. “We hear a lot about the Arctic but, this particular part of the Antarctic peninsula is warming very quickly.  Over the past 50 years it’s warmed almost 03°C.”

Amid steadily warming temperatures, Ms Nullis, also, noted that the amount of ice lost annually from the Antarctic ice sheet increased, at least, six-fold between 1979 and 2017. ‘’Most of this ice loss happens when ice shelves melt from below, as they come into contact with relatively warm ocean water. she said.

Turning to glacier melt, Ms Nullis warned that around 87 per cent of glaciers along the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula have retreated in the last 50 years, with most of these showing an accelerated retreat in the last 12 years.

Concern is, particularly, high over the main glacier tributaries to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, in particular, the Pine Island glacier, where two large rifts, that were first spotted in early 2019 have each grown to some 20 kilometres long.

“They’ve been growing rapidly over the past few days. The European Union has a satellite, called, Sentinel, that’s been measuring and monitoring these and there are pretty dramatic images.”

Roughly twice the size of Australia, the Antarctic is cold, windy and dry. The average annual temperature ranges from about -10C on the Antarctic coast to -60C at the highest points of the interior.  Its immense ice sheet is up to 04.8 kilometres thick and contains 90 per cent of the world’s fresh water, enough to raise sea level by around 60 metres, were it all to melt.

In a key Report last September from the highly respected UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change:IPCC, researchers warned that hundreds of millions of people were at risk from melting ice in the planet’s polar regions, linked to sea level rise.

::: Caption: Aerial view of melting glaciers on King George Island, Antarctica: Image: UN Photo:Eskinder Debebe :::

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How Tall Are You Downy Birch: Look at My Weight: And We Will Get Your Height From Your Weight: Well I Do

 

 

|| Tuesday: February 04: 2020: University of Helsinki News: Elina Raukko Writing || ά. Trees are known for their great but, not unlimited, trunk height and diameter. They have evolved to develop a heavy, above-ground biomass but, this integral feature poses a challenge to the trunk’s stability. Despite its evident importance, the principle by which plant stems respond to their increasing weight remains unknown.

To address this question, a theory of ‘vertical proprioception’, a mechanism, that balances the radial growth of the stem with the weight increase, has been developed. To study the theory, researchers at the University of Helsinki, University of Cambridge and Natural Resources Institute Finland, manipulated the aerial weight of downy birch, Betula Pubescens. The authors observed that the tree was, indeed, able to adjust its stem radial growth in response to the added weight and the strength of this response varied along the length of the stem.

Furthermore, a degree of lateral stem movement was required for this response: static trees did not grow as thick as free-moving ones. “Even, though, the idea of plants sensing their own weight and thickening their stem accordingly sounds intuitive our Study is the first one to address this question in trees.” says Mr Juan Alonso-Serra from the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

One approach to understand how this weight-sensing mechanism works is by comparing normal plants with plants lacking this ability. The researchers took advantage of a naturally occurring birch mutant, named, elimäki. This exceptional tree grows upright for three months, after which its stem suddenly bends at the very base and the whole tree collapses.

The researchers showed that, unlike normal trees, elimäki trees fail to properly adjust their width to their increasing weight, which makes them less stable mechanically. According to the researchers, the lack of a proper response in elimäki trees is linked to a single position, locus, in the birch genome, enabling the future identification of the mutated gene.

The use of mutant trees was a key part of the project. In most plant models, such as, Arabidopsis, genetic studies are feasible because a new generation can be produced within months, whereas the same, typically, takes decades with trees. However, birches are exceptional as they are among the few tree species, where flowering can be induced at six months’ age. This provides a unique opportunity to address basic and applied questions, concerning the life and development of trees.

The Paper: ELIMÄKI locus is required for vertical proprioceptive response in birch trees: Juan Alonso-Serra, Xueping Shi, Alexis Peaucelle, Pasi Rastas, Matthieu Bourdon, Juha Immanen, Junko Takahashi, Hanna Koivula, Gugan Eswaran, Sampo Muranen, Hanna Help, Olli-Pekka Smolander, Chang Su, Omid Safronov, Lorenz Gerber, Jarkko Salojärvi, Risto Hagqvist, Ari Pekka Mähönen, Ykä Helariutta, Kaisa Nieminen: Published in Current Biology: January 30: 2020.

::: Caption: Secondary growth inside a stem of birch, showing cellulose in magenta and pectin rich tissues in green: Image: Matthieu Bourdon and Juan Alonso-Serra ::: 

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Davos: Climate Emergency Must Come at the Top of the Agenda

 

 

|| Wednesday: January 22: 2020 || ά. Decision makers attending the World Economic Forum in Davos this week must transform our economic system away from fossil fuels by the end of the decade to prevent climate chaos, Amnesty International and other human rights groups, as well as, key environment, labour and social justice groups said in a statement.

The activist leaders are calling for every government and business leader attending Davos to declare a climate emergency within their sphere of influence and to end fossil fuel use and exploration. Governments must redistribute fossil fuel subsidies to social protection and responsibly produced renewable energy and put a meaningful price on emissions to make polluting industries pay.

“The climate emergency is the burning issue at Davos. Climate change threatens the rights of hundreds of millions of people to water, food, and health.  Leaders at  Davos can support human rights or they can support fossil fuels; they can not do both.” said Ms Clare Algar, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Research Advocacy and Policy. "There are still ways to avert the worst-case scenario but, this will require governments, businesses, investors and civil society to take rapid action.

To limit global warming to 01.5°C we must halve global emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050 but, that goal is slipping out of reach. Davos brings together the most powerful people on the planet and we urgently need them to show they’re on humanity’s side, beginning with formal declarations of a climate emergency. True, leaders don’t cover their eyes and ears; it’s time to face up to reality.”

The joint statement calls on governments to ensure the transition from fossil fuels is just and advances the rights of disadvantaged communities. It calls on companies to respect human rights and the environment, including, by identifying, disclosing and addressing their negative impacts.  Both must respect the fundamental rights of activists working on these issues to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

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The World Meteorological Organisation Confirms 2019 As the Second Hottest Rear on Record: On the Current Path of Carbon Dioxide Emissions We Are Heading Towards a Temperature Increase of 03 to 05 Degrees Celsius by the End of Century

 

 

|| Wednesday: January 15: 2020 || ά. The year 2019 was the second warmest year on record after 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organisation:WMO’s consolidated analysis of leading international datasets. Average temperatures for the five-year, 2015-2019 and ten-year, 2010-2019, periods were the highest on record. Since the 1980s each decade has been warmer than the previous one. This trend is expected to continue because of record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The averaged across the five data sets used in the consolidated analysis, the annual global temperature in 2019 was 01.1°C warmer than the average for 1850-1900, used to represent pre-industrial conditions. 2016 remains the warmest year on record because of the combination of a very strong El Niño event, which has a warming impact and long-term climate change. “The average global temperature has risen by about 01.1°C since the pre-industrial era and ocean heat content is at a record level.” said WMO Secretary-General Dr Petteri Taalas.

“On the current path of carbon dioxide emissions, we are heading towards a temperature increase of 03 to 05 degrees Celsius by the end of century.”

Temperatures are only part of the story. The past year and decade have been characterised by retreating ice, record sea levels, increasing ocean heat and acidification and extreme weather. These have combined to have major impacts on the health and well-being of both humans and the environment, as highlighted by WMO’s Provisional Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2019, which was presented at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP25, in Madrid. The full statement will be issued in March 2020.

“The year 2020 has started out where 2019 left off, with high-impact weather and climate-related events.  Australia had its hottest, driest year on record in 2019, setting the scene for the massive bushfires, which were so devastating to people and property, wildlife, eco-systems and the environment.” said Dr Taalas.

“Unfortunately, we expect to see much extreme weather throughout 2020 and the coming decades, fuelled by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.” said Dr Taalas. More than 90 percent of the excess heat is stored within the world’s ocean and so ocean heat content is a good way to quantify the rate of global warming.

 A new Study, published on January 13, in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences , https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs00376-020-9283-7.pdf with data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: National Centre for Environmental Information and the Institute of Atmospheric Physics showed that ocean heat content was at a record level in 2019. The past five years are the top five warmest years in the ocean historically with modern instruments and the past ten years are, also, the top ten years on record.

Modern temperature records began in 1850. WMO uses datasets, based on monthly climatological data from Global Observing Systems, from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the United Kingdom’s Met Office Hadley Centre and the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit in the United Kingdom. 

It, also, uses reanalysis datasets from the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts and its Copernicus Climate Change Service and the Japan Meteorological Agency.  This method combines millions of meteorological and marine observations, including, from satellites, with models to produce a complete reanalysis of the atmosphere. The combination of observations with models makes it possible to estimate temperatures at any time and in any place across the globe, even, in data-sparse areas, such as, the polar regions.

The spread between the five data sets was 0.15°C with both the lowest, 01.05°C and the highest, 01.20°C, being more than 01°C warmer than the pre-industrial baseline.

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Climate Change and Global Warming: Decade Ending 2019 Is Likely to Be the Hottest on Record: If We Do Not Take Urgent Climate Action Now Then We Are Heading for a Temperature Increase of More Than 03°C by the End of the Century

 

 

|| Tuesday: December 03: 2019 || ά. Exceptional global heat, driven by greenhouse gas emissions, mean this decade will most likely go down as the warmest on record, according to the World Meteorological Organisation:WMO, which released its provisional statement on the State of the Global Climate on Tuesday, December 03.

The Agency, also, finds that 2019 is on track to be the second or third warmest year in history, with the global average temperature during January through October, roughly, 01.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era. “If, we do not take urgent climate action now, then, we are heading for a temperature increase of more than 03°C by the end of the century, with ever more harmful impacts on human well-being.’’ said the WMO Secretary-General Dr Petteri Taalas.

“We are nowhere near on track to meet the Paris Agreement target.” he added, referring to the 2015 international accord to limit global warming to 01.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The Report finds that concentrations of carbon dioxide:CO2 in the atmosphere, which hit record levels last year, also, continued to rise in 2019.

Additionally, the sea level rise has increased due to melting of the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, while ocean heat is at record levels, with vital marine eco-systems being degraded. Several United Nations agencies provided input to the Report, which, also, details how weather and climate have an impact on health, food security, migration, eco-systems and marine life.

Climate variability and extreme weather events are among key drivers of the recent rise in global hunger, which now affects more than 820 million people.  “On a day to day basis, the impacts of climate change play out through extreme and ‘abnormal’ weather. And, once again in 2019, weather and climate related risks hit hard.” said Dr Taalas.

“Heatwaves and floods, which used to be ‘once in a century’ events are becoming more regular occurrences. Countries ranging from the Bahamas to Japan to Mozambique, suffered the effect of devastating tropical cyclones. Wildfires swept through the Arctic and Australia.”

Record-setting temperatures are increasingly putting health at risk, according to input provided by the World Health Organisation:WHO.  Major heatwaves in Japan in late July to early August caused more than 100 deaths and some 18,000 hospitalizations, for example.

About half the global population is now threatened by dengue as changes in climatic conditions are making it easier for the Aedes mosquito species to transmit the dengue virus. Southern Africa has experienced extensive dry periods due to a delay in the start of the seasonal rains, the Food and Agriculture Organisation:FAO reports. As cereal output is forecast to be around 08% below the five-year average, some 12.5 million people in the region will face food insecurity.

Climate-related disasters are, also, increasing displacement.  Figures from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, show more than 10 million new internal displacements were recorded during the first half of the year, with seven million forced to move as a result of disasters, such as, cyclones and flooding. New displacements associated with weather extremes could more than triple, to around 22 million by the end of the year.

The provisional Report was released as governments meet in Madrid for the UN climate change negotiations, known as COP25. WMO will publish the final Statement on the State of the Climate, with complete 2019 data, in March.

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The Delhi Declaration: Countries Agree to Make Land Degradation Neutrality by 2030: Now It Is Time to Translate What Is Declared

 

 

|| Monday: September 16: 2019 || ά. A major United Nations Conference on fighting desertification agreed on Friday to make the Sustainable Development Goal target of achieving ‘land degradation neutrality’:LDN, a national target for action for all nations.

The Governments, which are party to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification:UNCCD, met in the Indian capital of New Delhi over ten days for COP14, adopting a series of new measures in the accord, known as, the Delhi Declaration.

Besides the LDN agreement, whereby countries have pledged to halt the degradation of land to the point where eco-systems and land use can no longer be supported, there was a landmark decision to boost global efforts to mitigate and manage the risks of crippling drought.

Countries will, also, now be expected to address insecurity of land tenure, including, gender inequality, promote land restoration to reduce land-related carbon emissions and mobilise innovative sources of finance from public and private sources to support the implementation of these decisions at national levels.

“We have woken up to the fact that we will see more frequent and severe droughts, a phenomenon, that will be exacerbated by climate change.” said Mr Ibrahim Thiaw, the Executive Secretary of the UNCCD.

“To my mind, this was the COP where we put people at the heart of what we do; with Parties adopting a breakthrough decision on land tenure rights and drawing on the unique voices, experiences of youth and women.”

Mr Thiaw drew attention to the contribution of COP 14 to the upcoming Climate Action Summit in New York, stressing that land restoration, at scale, is one of the cheapest solutions to address the global crises of climate and biodiversity loss.

He said that the key message to the upcoming New York Summit was clear, investing in land, unlocks multiple opportunities.

He said that it was important for businesses to be incentivised to help conserve land for sustainable use, through national regulations, that support sustainable land management and reward conservation, restoration and innovation. 

The Conference drew the