New research from a major national lab projects that the rate of climate change, which has risen sharply in recent decades, will soar by the 2020s. This worrisome projection — which has implications for extreme weather, sea level rise, and permafrost melt — is consistent with several recent studies.
The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) study, “Near-term acceleration in the rate of temperature change,” finds that by 2020, human-caused warming will move the Earth’s climate system “into a regime in terms of multi-decadal rates of change that are unprecedented for at least the past 1,000 years.”
In the best-case scenario PNNL modeled, with atmospheric carbon Read more…
Here’s a definition that should send chills down the spines of investors: “An unpredictable or unforeseen event, typically one with extreme consequences.” This sums up a black swan event. Nassim Nicholas Taleb mainstreamed the concept through his writings. His points became particularly topical through his book, The Black Swan, around the time of the financial crisis — a major, destructive event that many people found unexpected and, beforehand, maybe even impossible.
There’s a similar risk brewing on the horizon. Climate change could be the next black swan event that causes an ugly ripple effect through our lives and economies. The majority of current investment strategy comes up short on modeling, even considering that this as a legitimate concern, at least for our lifetimes.
Here’s a lesson in extreme irony: The term originated when people didn’t believe black swans existed at all. Because no one had ever seen one, it certainly looked as if Read more…
Our little planet faces many poorly understood perils from beyond
Photograph by: Associated Press, NASA , London Daily Telegraph, The Associated Press
Considering the dangers lurking out there, it’s a wonder that our little planet is not in the firing line more often. We are just 150 million kilometres from a star that, while mostly well-behaved, occasionally has temper tantrums that could bring our civilization to its knees. Our solar system is home to a swarm of comets, rocks, boulders and flying mountains, tens of thousands of which are big enough to wipe out anything from a small city to the entire biosphere. And further out lurk delinquent stars whose death explosions are the largest since the Big Bang. If one of these went off nearby, it would be curtains for all of us.
In fact, Earth can be considered rather lucky to have not suffered a total cataclysm in at least 3.5 billion years – the period during which we have an unbroken record of life existing on the Earth’s surface. Before then, global sterilization events, caused by collisions with huge space rocks, almost Read more…
Arctic sea ice in the summer. Creative Commons: Guido Appenzeller, 2011
“The record or near-records being reported from year to year in the Arctic are no longer anomalies or exceptions. Really they have become the rule for us, or the norm that we see in the Arctic and that we expect to see for the forseeable future” – Jackie Richter-Menge, US Army Corps of Engineers
Last week’s ‘State of the Climate’ report confirmed it: ice is melting in the Arctic at one of the fastest rates in human history. Researchers and climate scientists monitoring ice melt in the Arctic have started using the ominous term ‘death spiral’ to describe what’s happening at the top of the world. But what does it mean? And is Read more…
The Apparent reversal of solar wind is actually a second solar wind. This is a 2D simulation and wind that is moving away from point of view may actually show up as a reversal. The arrows on simulation indicate wind speed so reversals with long arrows could be very close to a reversal. Since solar wind cannot reverse the only conclusion one can draw is that we are seeing a second wind from a second star.
LONDON – The discovery by NASA rover Curiosity of evidence that water once flowed on Mars—the most Earth-like planet in the solar system—should intensify interest in what the future could hold for mankind.
The only thing stopping Earth having a lifeless environment like Mars is the magnetic field that shields us from deadly solar radiation and helps some animals migrate, and it may be a lot more fragile and febrile than one might think.
Scientists say earth’s magnetic field is weakening and could all but disappear in as little as 500 years as a precursor to flipping upside down.
It has happened before—the geological record suggests the magnetic field has reversed every 250,000 years, meaning that, with the last event 800,000 years ago, another would seem to be overdue.
“Magnetic north has migrated more than 1,500 kilometres over the past century,” said Conall Mac Niocaill, an earth scientist at Oxford University. “In the past 150 years, the strength of Read more…