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considering & rethinking bathrooms

Why the modern bathroom is a wasteful, unhealthy design (The Guardian):
"Piped water may be the greatest convenience ever known but our sewage systems and bathrooms are a disaster" [more inside]
posted by flex on Jul 22, 2014 - 181 comments

Replaying the Tape

Carl Zimmer writes for Quanta: The New Science Of Evolutionary Forecasting [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 22, 2014 - 3 comments

OK: Now explain midichlorians.

With growing fascination for the large land vertebratomorphs that are so startlingly diverse on Tatooine, I secured Imperial funding for an expedition to Tatooine, to survey the exotic megafauna and search for fossils of Tyrannodraconis that might further illuminate their evolution. My ensuing report summarizes my trilogy of investigations and discoveries from this “holiday in the suns." [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura on Jul 22, 2014 - 5 comments

New research: Reduce your carbon footprint by reducing meat consumption

An Oxford University study of over 50,000 participants, published this month in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change: Dietary greenhouse gas emissions in meat-eaters are twice as high as those in vegans.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jul 18, 2014 - 144 comments

That's a lot of decaying plant matter

Word association time: I say "peat", you say… "Scotland", right? Not necessarily! Peat is found around the world, including in many African countries. Earlier this year, scientists trekked through a Congo swamp, braving gorillas, elephants, crocodiles, and more. Their reward? Discovery of a peat bog the size of England. The team estimates that the bog covers between 100,000 and 200,000 square kilometers (40,000 to 80,000 sq miles), with the peat-layer reaching up to 7m (23ft) beneath the ground.
posted by Lexica on Jul 11, 2014 - 28 comments

Risky Business

The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States (PDF); prospectus (PDF); press coverage (YT) - "The signature effects of human-induced climate change—rising seas, increased damage from storm surge, more frequent bouts of extreme heat—all have specific, measurable impacts on our nation's current assets and ongoing economic activity. [The report] uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences for each region of the U.S.—as well as for selected sectors of the economy—if we continue on our current path..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 24, 2014 - 34 comments

Visualizing the Tropes of ‘Climate Fiction’

As fears about global warming become ever more culturally ingrained, “climate fiction” has gone from a once-fringe genre to a standard literary device. Cli-Fi, as it’s abbreviated, is set in a near or long-term future where the fallout from global warming, be it flooding or mass extinctions, is not only apparent, but an aspect of everyday life. Spanning genres from literary fiction to thrillers, Cli-Fi acts as a barometer of our own ecological anxieties. This project offers a compelling portrait of climate change fears beyond what scientists and pundits can provide. via
PDF of the full visualization of the novels
posted by infini on May 14, 2014 - 30 comments

The end appears to be inevitable.

Warm water is eating away at the bases of West Antarctic glaciers in an irreversible runaway process: West Antarctic Glacier Loss Appears Unstoppable [the damn paper (paywalled)] [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia on May 12, 2014 - 101 comments

National Climate Assessment

This morning the U.S. government released the newest National Climate Assessment, which "concludes that the evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen and that impacts are increasing across the country." You can explore the assessment here. Previously.
posted by brundlefly on May 6, 2014 - 48 comments

A Dangerous Dance of Frost and Flame:

More Than 100 Wildfires Now Raging Along Siberian Melt-Freeze Line [more inside]
posted by eviemath on Apr 24, 2014 - 21 comments

The Moral Question Of Our Time: Can We Share The Planet?

UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 23, 2014 - 50 comments

Dangerous

Years of Living Dangerously is a star-studded 9-part investigative documentary on the real impacts of global warming around the world. The first episode will air on April 13, but it is now freely available online (first link, 1-hour). Series backers and producers include James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Globe says it's "a lavish, gripping production focused on the real effect of climate change in real people’s lives around the world."
posted by stbalbach on Apr 7, 2014 - 35 comments

Spanish for "The Niño"

Since January there have been signs of a possible El Niño brewing in the pacific, the first major one since 1998. While the US-funded ocean-monitoring system is in a state of partial collapse, the data has continued to grow stronger, and this may now be the largest ocean temperature anomoly ever seen. A major El Niño could significantly boost global temperatures, cause severe weather and storms, melt Arctic sea ice and help push the world into a warm phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, accelerating global warming. (more discussion)
posted by crayz on Apr 2, 2014 - 74 comments

Pipeline Primer

Factcheck: The Keystone XL Project. An evenhanded summary of the controversy around the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
posted by bitmage on Mar 15, 2014 - 75 comments

Elegy for a Country’s Seasons

In the end, the only thing that could create the necessary traction in our minds was the intimate loss of the things we loved. Zadie Smith on climate change at a personal level.
posted by Athanassiel on Mar 13, 2014 - 49 comments

the ice caps are melllllllting...

Tiny Tim's stunning prophesy of global warming. You know, for the kiddies.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 1, 2014 - 15 comments

vanishing beauty

Joshua - a time-lapse tribute to the beauty of Joshua trees, native to southwestern U.S. Photographer Sungjin Ahn embarked on his project after learning that climate change could "eliminate Joshua trees from 90 percent of their current range in 60 to 90 years." via PetaPixel
posted by madamjujujive on Feb 12, 2014 - 15 comments

"Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science..."

Climatologist Michael E. Mann, known for introducing the famous "hockey stick" graph, has filed a defamation suit against the National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Jan 31, 2014 - 90 comments

Maple Syrup Revolution: New Discovery Could Change the Business Forever

"In October 2013, Drs. Tim Perkins and Abby van Den Berg of the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center, revealed the findings of a study at a maple syrup conference in New Brunswick, Canada that sent waves through the industry. In 2010, they were studying vacuum systems in sap collection operations. Based on the observation that one of the mature trees in the study that was missing most of its top was still yielding high volumes of sap, they hypothesized that the maples were possibly drawing moisture from the soil and not the crown. Previously, they had presumed that the sap dripping from tap holes was coming from the upper portion of the tree. But, if the tree was missing most of its crown then, they surmised, it must be drawing moisture from the roots. ... They realized that their discovery meant sugarmakers could use saplings, densely planted in open fields, to harvest sap. In other words, it is possible that maple syrup could now be produced as a row crop like every other commercial crop in North America." [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Jan 23, 2014 - 102 comments

Ice flow nowhere to go

Stuck in the Antarctic ice we set out to study - Erik van Sebille of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013 describes his fieldwork in Antarctica. The Guardian has extensive coverage of the expedition, including visiting the remains of a previous expedition, how they became icebound, and their rescue.
posted by Artw on Jan 14, 2014 - 17 comments

Worst Case Scenarios

The Coming ‘Instant Planetary Emergency’ [more inside]
posted by eviemath on Dec 18, 2013 - 254 comments

The will change everything!

How Global Warming Works in 1.2 Minutes (via)
posted by cjorgensen on Dec 16, 2013 - 31 comments

Hot, Hot Climate Science

Climate Models: A calendar of "renowned climate scientists, their research, their favorite datasets, and memorable dates in weather and climate history."
posted by Cash4Lead on Dec 10, 2013 - 6 comments

Fossil of the Day

What would you do with an extra $550 a week? Australia is set to become the first government to repeal laws that put a price on carbon, and will instead begin directly paying polluters to stop, polluting. Called "Direct Action", Australia's freshly minted conservative government claims the scheme "will reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and deliver improvements to our environment" Others think not The government also claims that the world is moving away from market based schemes to direct action schemes, but this claim seems uncertain. The government has also moved to close the Climate Change Authority as well as The Clean Energy Finance Corporation What is Direct Action and how does it differ from an emissions trading scheme? Australia's new Prime Minister has had varying points of view on the science of climate change, and the nations recent attendance at the recent climate change talks in Poland offer a glimpse.
posted by mattoxic on Dec 1, 2013 - 31 comments

A nation underwater

If scientists are correct, the ocean will swallow most of Kiribati before the end of the century, and perhaps much sooner than that. … Before the rising Pacific drowns these atolls, though, it will infiltrate, and irreversibly poison, their already inadequate supply of fresh water. The apocalypse could come even sooner for Kiribati if violent storms, of the sort that recently destroyed parts of the Philippines, strike its islands. For all of these reasons, the 103,000 citizens of Kiribati may soon become refugees, perhaps the first mass movement of people fleeing the consequences of global warming rather than war or famine. This is why [Kiribati's president Anote] Tong visits Fiji so frequently. He is searching for a place to move his people. The government of Kiribati recently bought 6,000 acres of land in Fiji for a reported $9.6 million, to the apparent consternation of Fiji’s military rulers. Fiji has expressed no interest in absorbing the I-Kiribati, as the country’s people are known. A former president of Zambia, in south-central Africa, once offered Kiribati’s people land in his country, but then he died. No one else so far has volunteered to organize a rescue.
[more inside]
posted by bookman117 on Nov 27, 2013 - 36 comments

“Tell your second grade teacher I’m sorry.”

At the elementary school in Brooklyn where I taught first grade, science was a “special,” along with dance, art, and physical education. That meant that students were delivered by their homeroom teachers to the science teacher between one and three times a week for less than an hour each time.

...

“I’M NOT A SCIENTIST, man,” Florida senator Marco Rubio told GQ magazine in an interview published in December 2012, following the first presidential debate season in twenty-eight years to fail to mention climate change. Rubio had been asked how old he thinks the earth is; it is unclear whether he was signaling a fashionable disdain for scientific facts or whether he truly did not know.
[more inside]
posted by tilde on Nov 26, 2013 - 34 comments

2012 sees slowdown in the increase in global CO2 emissions

From the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency... (Interactive Presentation)(Actual Report PDF) Actual global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) reached a new record of 34.5 billion tonnes in 2012. Yet, the increase in global CO2 emissions in that year slowed down to 1.1% , which was less than half the average annual increase of 2.9% over the last decade. This is remarkable, as the global economy grew by 3.5%. This development signals a shift towards less fossil-fuel-intensive activities, more use of renewable energy and increased energy saving. Increases in fossil-fuel consumption in 2012 were 2.2% for natural gas, 0.9% for oil products, and 0.6% for coal.
posted by Long Way To Go on Oct 31, 2013 - 13 comments

GhostFood

"From a street-parked GhostFood truck, Simun and Songster and their team of trained staff will be serving a menu of three items, each of which conjures up a future dining experience for a food whose supply is currently threatened by climate change. " // "Its menu offers a curious collection of substitutes for potentially endangered foods: artificial recreations of chocolate, cod, and peanut butter." // "Pop one of the placebos--or “edible textural substitutes”--in your mouth and enjoy."
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 29, 2013 - 8 comments

IPCC posts fifth update on climate change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released its latest update. [more inside]
posted by smoke on Sep 27, 2013 - 152 comments

With Climate Journalism Like This, Who Needs Fiction?

Tom Yulsman on the ignorant, misrepresentative and fictitious claims promulgated by some conservative journalists.
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Sep 10, 2013 - 37 comments

"Now the only thing they farm is wind.”

The end of American Prairie Farming.
posted by Chrischris on Sep 3, 2013 - 36 comments

The eye of Michele Bachmann will be hitting Florida in a few hours

Climate Name Change "Since 1954, the World Meteorological Organization has been naming extreme storms after people. As scientific evidence shows that climate change is creating increasingly frequent and devastating storms, and with climate scientists declaring these extreme weather events as the new normal, we propose a new naming system. A system that names extreme storms caused by climate change, after the policy makers who deny climate change and obstruct climate policy."
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Aug 28, 2013 - 30 comments

Hotter Weather Actually Makes Us Want to Kill Each Other

A new meta-analysis finds that extreme changes in temperature increase the likelihood of inter-group conflict. (SLA)
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Aug 2, 2013 - 76 comments

What’s Killing Minnesota’s Moose?

The iconic monarch of the North Woods is dying at an alarming rate. Is it climate change, a brain-piercing parasite, or is something else to blame?
posted by brundlefly on Jul 26, 2013 - 40 comments

Burp.

A new article in Nature warns that "the costs of a melting Arctic will be huge", thanks in part to the likely release of "a 50-gigatonne (Gt) reservoir of methane, stored in the form of hydrates" beneath the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, "either steadily over 50 years or suddenly". An abrupt release is "highly possible at any time", says Natalia Shakhova of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, who has observed plumes of methane up to a kilometre wide bubbling to the surface in the area. [more inside]
posted by rory on Jul 25, 2013 - 66 comments

A Song of Our Warming Planet

"University of Minnesota undergrad Daniel Crawford did something very clever: He took surface air temperature data and converted them into musical notes, one for each year from 1880 to 2012, and played them on his cello." Direct Vimeo link.
posted by brundlefly on Jul 18, 2013 - 21 comments

Warmer and wetter

The last decade (2001-2010) was the warmest on record. According to The UN World Metereological Organisation's report, the average land and ocean-surface temperature for 2001-2010 was estimated to be 14.47°C, or 0.47°C above the 1961-1990 global average and +0.21°C above the 1991-2000 global average (with a factor of uncertainty of ± 0.1°C).
posted by dng on Jul 3, 2013 - 38 comments

What concrete things the Romans have ever done for us

"Portland cement is the source of the “glue” that holds most modern concrete together. But making it releases carbon from burning fuel, needed to heat a mix of limestone and clays to 1,450 degrees Celsius (2,642 degrees Fahrenheit) – and from the heated limestone (calcium carbonate) itself. Monteiro’s team found that the Romans, by contrast, used much less lime and made it from limestone baked at 900˚ C (1,652˚ F) or lower, requiring far less fuel than Portland cement." -- How Berkeley Lab scientists discovered the secret of Roman concrete's durability and how it could help make modern concrete more environmentally friendly.
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 21, 2013 - 39 comments

2012 Rise In CO2 Levels Second-Highest In 54 Years

The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air jumped dramatically in 2012, making it very unlikely that global warming can be limited to another 2 degrees as many global leaders have hoped. [more inside]
posted by j03 on Jun 18, 2013 - 111 comments

I'm sure all the CO2 isn't exactly HELPING, but...

Global warming may be caused more by CFCs than CO2. Paper here.
posted by sexyrobot on Jun 3, 2013 - 47 comments

It is not on you to finish the work, but neither are you free to desist

Joseph Tomaras reflects on the Mauna Loa data and concludes that the main tasks of the moment are neither political nor economic, but ethical or moral. [more inside]
posted by Gilgongo on May 15, 2013 - 38 comments

Landsat Annual Timelapse 1984-2012

Explore different views into this global timelapse built from global, annual composites of Landsat satellite images. Watch change across the planet's surface beginning as early as 1984. See Vegas grow! Rainforests Shrink! Coastlines expand, and lakes vanish!
posted by The Whelk on May 10, 2013 - 22 comments

CO2 to hit 400 parts per million next month, highest since the Pliocene

Scripps Institute of Oceanography projects that next month its monitoring station will for the first time measure CO2 at 400 parts per million. Atmospheric CO2 has risen from 280 parts per million before the Industrial Revolution. 400 ppm is an arbitrary milestone that we'll blow right past on our way to 450 ppm within a few decades. This is an unprecedentedly fast rate of increase and it's getting faster. Not all measuring stations are exactly the same: A NOAA station in the Arctic measured CO2 at 400 ppm last year. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Apr 25, 2013 - 127 comments

Al Gore Is Fat, Therefore Global Warming Doesn't Exist

When conservative pundits write about climate change, they're more likely to mention Al Gore than science.
posted by kuujjuarapik on Apr 12, 2013 - 64 comments

"More like Statue of Watery, right?"

How Popular Tourist Destinations Will Look Submerged In 25 Feet Of Water [Pics] [more inside]
posted by laconic skeuomorph on Apr 10, 2013 - 53 comments

What next after capitalism?

Recent posts here, here and here discuss a growing sense that climate change is going to be worse than we thought. A link to Charles Stross's musing on a future that included climate change was discussed on MeFi here. But Kim Stanley Robinson asks a slightly different question: If capitalism is the driver of climate change, what happens next? What does post-capitalism look like?
posted by BillW on Apr 9, 2013 - 90 comments

He's been everywhere, man.

Gunnar Garfors is on a mission to travel to all 198* countries in the world. As of today, he's at 196. [more inside]
posted by Cash4Lead on Mar 28, 2013 - 56 comments

MOOO!

Key to slowing/stalling/reversal of desertification and climate change? More cows (sort of). Holistic Management advocate and biologist Allan Savory, co-founder of the Savory Institute, discusses the counterintuitive tactic of allowing large herds of animals to free-roam marginal lands. [more inside]
posted by lonefrontranger on Mar 15, 2013 - 23 comments

2012 Rise In CO2 Levels Second-Highest In 54 Years

The prospects of keeping climate change below that (2-degree goal) are fading away. Scientists track carbon pollution both by monitoring what comes out of factories and what winds up in the atmosphere. Both are rising at rates faster than worst-case scenarios that climate scientists used in their most recent international projections.
posted by j03 on Mar 6, 2013 - 119 comments

Sense About Science

With a database of over 5,000 scientists, from Nobel prize winners to postdocs and PhD students, Sense About Science works in partnership with scientific bodies, research publishers, policy makers, the public and the media, to change public discussions about science and evidence. They make these scientists available for questions from civic organizations and the public looking for scientific advice from experts, campaign for the promotion of scientific principles in public policy, and publish neat guides to understanding science intended for laypeople. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Feb 28, 2013 - 9 comments

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