This week Nasa and Noaa reseachers both presented their conclusions of their calculations on weather and climate data collected during 2014. Using different data analysis tools, they came to the same result: 2014 is the warmest year ever since records began in the late 19th century. (more…)
Photo of the week: The Desolenator
Desalination of water usually is an energy-intensive and expensive process. The Desolenator is aiming to change that: it’s a cheap and easy-to-use solution to produce clean drinking water in regions where water scarcity is a problem. With the sun as only driving force, this piece of engineering is able to produce up to 15litres of clean water a day – enough for cooking and drinking of a small family. Not only salt water but also contaminated and dirty water can be transformed. The contaminated water is first heated up by the sun until it reaches boiling temperature, then electricity generated by the soler panel is used to boil it further and to vaporize the water. The condensed vapor is safe to drink. The Desolelanor has a price tag of 450$ but the team is working hard to get the price down so it becomes affordable for families who lack access to clean water. CEO Janssen: “… [water scarity, red.] will get worse—by 2025, close to 3 billion people will deal with water scarcity daily. We want to give them something that’s an affordable, family-sized device.”
Find out more: desolenator.com
Photo of the week: Holiday lights
By examining data from the Suomi NPP satellite, scientists of NASA have identified interesting patterns in nighttime light intensity during holiday seasons. In the Western World an increase of 30-50% in suburban areas is noted during Christmas and New Year’s time, while an increase is seen in the Middle East during the holy month of Ramadan. The data reveals patterns in the usage of energy in different societies and cultures. When we want to reduce greenhouse gases, it is necessary to understand such social phenomena that drive energy consumption. The data of the Suomi NPP satellite and processed by an algorithm which filters out reflection of the moon and influances of the clouds, will help scientists to do so.
Lima climate deal: business as usual or step forward?
Sunday 15th of December the yearly UN Climate Conference in Lima finished, two days late, with a deal between all 194 represented nations. For the first time in history, an agreement has been reached that commits every nation to reducing its rate of greenhouse gas emissions. The deal outlines the framework which will be the core of the necessary deal to take serious global action, to be agreed upon during the climate top in Paris in December 2015.
Photo of the week: “Poo-bus”
Last Thursday, Great-Britain’s first ‘poo bus’ made its maiden ride. Powered enirely by human feces and food waste, the Bio-bus can travel up to 186miles on one tank of the biomethane gas produced out of the waste by anaerobic bacteria. The bus will transport passengers between Bath city centre and Bristol airport, around 10 000 people a year. The engine is very similar to common Diesel engines, yet carbon dioxide emissions are at least 30% lower. Most important, the fuel is completely renewable and sustainable. It’s an example that with current technology it’s possible to create sustainable public transport which doesn’t compromise on comfort and yet increases the air quality.
Photo of the week: Brazil’s ongoing drougth
California is not the only place who’s suffering historical droughts. The Canteira system is at its lowest level on record, posing a serious threat to water provisions of South-America’s largest city Sao Paullo. The government was forced months ago to install daily rationing. If the current situation doesn’t change dramaticcaly, Sao Paola can fall dry by February next year. Brazil relies heavily on hydropower and has to start up very polluting coal plants since no water means no hydropower. In the meantime, many speculate about the reasons behind this unseen drought. Antonio Nobre (one of country’s most respected Earth scientists and climatologists) believes the far going deforestation in the Amazon and the almost complete disappearance of the Atlantic forest are the main reason. The forest used to cool down the region and inforced a water cycle which is now broken.