2017 was the warmest year on record for the global ocean according to an updated ocean analysis from Institute of Atmospheric Physics/Chinese Academy of Science.
Owing to its large heat capacity, the ocean accumulates the warming derived from human activities; indeed, more than 90% of Earth’s residual heat related to global warming is absorbed by the ocean. As such, the global ocean heat content record robustly represents the signature of global warming and is impacted less by weather-related noise and climate variability such as El Niño and La Niña events. According to the IAP ocean analysis, the last five years have been the five warmest years in the ocean. Therefore, the long-term warming trend driven by human activities continued unabated.
Source: 2017 was the warmest year on record for the global ocean
A COMPETITION FOR THE BEST IDEAS TO IMPROVE FINANCIAL SECURITY
Financial security is beyond the reach of millions of Americans. Nearly one-fourth of adults can’t pay their monthly bills, and roughly the same number have little or no access to a bank. Many have no retirement savings or aren’t sure how to manage them. Financial insecurity damps growth and prosperity in the consumer-driven U.S. economy.
The Wall Street Journal’s Financial Inclusion Challenge, sponsored by MetLife Foundation, is seeking entries from for-profit and nonprofit enterprises whose products or services help to improve financial resilience, via innovative, scalable, sustainable and socially positive solutions.
Enter the competition
Deadline: Noon ET, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018
Source: The Financial Inclusion Challenge – Decision Science News
In an advance that could push cheap, ubiquitous solar power closer to reality, researchers have found a way to coax electrons to travel much further than was previously thought possible in the materials often used for organic solar cells and other organic semiconductors.
Source: Semiconductor breakthrough may be game-changer for organic solar cells
Just as atmospheric shifts can bring droughts and nasty heat waves on land, shifts in weather or ocean circulation also can spark deadly marine heat waves, which can thoroughly scramble life at sea. But until recently scientists understood little about what role climate change might play in these extreme sea events.
Now, new first-of-its-kind research is making clear that human emissions of greenhouse gases made the appearance of each patch of hot water many times—in some cases dozens, even hundreds of times—more likely to occur.
Source: Human Emissions Made Ocean Heat Wave 53 Times More Likely
Just one atom thick (or thin, depending on how you think about it), graphene is among the strongest materials in the known universe, with 100 times the strength of steel, an astonishing amount of flexibility, and a whole lot of other talents lurking beneath the surface.
Do you remember that classic scene from The Simpsons in which Homer is offered “wax lips,” described by the salesman as “the candy of 1,000 uses?” Well, graphene is the wax lips of the material science world. And while we don’t have time to detail 1,000 uses, here are some of the most exciting graphene discoveries made so far.
Source: 9 amazing uses for graphene, from filtering seawater to smart paint
There is a “very high risk” that the most ambitious global warming limit set in the Paris climate agreement is likely to be exceeded by the 2040s, according to a draft United Nations (UN) report.
Only a dramatic and unprecedented shift away from fossil fuels will enable world governments to limit warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial times, it said.
Hitting this target would “involve removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” said the report compiled by scientists on the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Source: Global warming set to exceed Paris agreement’s ambitious 1.5C limit by mid-century, according to dr.3aft UN report
A bipartisan group of more than 100 House lawmakers are urging President Trump to name climate change a major security threat after he declined to include it in the administration’s national security strategy.
In a letter sent to the White House Thursday, 106 members, including 11 Republicans, implore Trump to “reconsider this omission.”
“We have heard from scientists, military leaders, and civil personnel who believe that climate change is indeed a direct threat to America’s national security and to the stability of the world at large,” write Reps. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who co-authored the letter.
Source: More than 100 lawmakers call on Trump to designate climate change a security threat
Global warming affects more than just plant biodiversity – it even alters the way plants grow. A team of researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) joined forces with the Leibniz Institute for Plant Biochemistry (IPB) to discover which molecular processes are involved in plant growth. In the current edition of the internationally renowned journal Current Biology, the group presents its latest findings on the mechanism controlling growth at high temperatures. In the future this could help breed plants that are adapted to global warming.
The concentration of methane in the atmosphere has risen sharply—by about 25 teragrams per year — since 2006. In recent years, different research teams have come up with viable but conflicting explanations for the increase.
Some teams have published evidence showing that emissions from biogenic sources is driving the increase. Wetlands, ruminants, and rice paddies—all home to methane-producing microbes—are some of the major sources of biogenic methane.
Other teams have argued that a simultaneous increase in atmospheric ethane, a key component of natural gas, implies that fossil fuels are the culprit. Extracting and transporting fossil fuels add both ethane and methane to the atmosphere via leaks in wells, pipes, and other infrastructure.
Source: What is Behind Rising Levels of Methane in the Atmosphere? : Image of the Day
The study found that some freshwater ecosystems have become more acidic with rising pCO2 (partial pressure of CO2). They also show in lab studies that increases in freshwater pCO2 can have detrimental effects on at least one keystone species, a tiny freshwater crustacean, leaving them less able to sense and defend themselves against predators. The findings suggest that increasing CO2 levels may be having widespread effects on freshwater ecosystems.
“Ocean acidification is often called the ‘climate change’s equally evil twin,’ and many current investigations describe tremendous effects of rising CO2 levels on marine ecosystems,” says Linda Weiss at Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany. “However, freshwater ecosystems have been largely overlooked. Our data indicate another pCO2 problem: pCO2-dependent freshwater acidification.”
Source: Rising CO2 is causing trouble in freshwaters too, study suggests