According to NASA, 2019 Was the Second Hottest Year on Record

According to NASA and the NOAA, 2019 was the second hottest year on record. Image Credit: NASA/GISS

NASA and the NOAA just announced that 2019 was the second hottest year on record. It barely edged out 2016, the previous warmest year. And both 2019 and 2016 are part of the global warming trend: the last five years have been the warmest five years on record. And the last decade was the warmest decade.

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New Satellites Will Tell Us Exactly how Quickly the Oceans are Rising

One week's worth of data from NASA's Earth observing satellites show the rising sea level on Earth between Oct. 29 and Nov. 7, 2019. Areas in red show higher levels, while blue show the lowest. The joint U.S.-European Sentinel-6/Jason-CS mission will continue efforts to track sea level rise. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

One of the clearest signs of global warming, unless you live next to a glacier, are rising oceans. Now a joint mission involving the US and European countries is launching a pair of satellites to monitor the rising sea levels. The two satellites will monitor the oceans until 2030.

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This Artificial Leaf Turns Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Into Fuel

Beads of rainwater on a poplar leaf act like lenses, focusing light and enlarging the leaf's network of veins. Credit: Bob King

There is no doubt that climate change is a very serious (and worsening) problem. According to a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), even if all the industrialized nations of the world became carbon neutral overnight, the problem would continue to get worse. In short, it’s not enough to stop pumping megatons of CO2 into the atmosphere; we also have to start removing what we’ve already put there.

This is where the technique known as carbon capture (or carbon removal) comes into play. Taking their cue from nature, an international team of researchers from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, have created an “artificial leaf” that mimics the carbon-scrubbing abilities of the real thing. But rather than turning atmospheric CO2 into a source of fuel for itself, the leaf converts it into a useful alternative fuel.

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Weekly Space Hangout: October 16, 2019 – Jeffrey Kargel Talks Climate Change on Earth and Beyond

Hosts:
Fraser Cain (universetoday.com / @fcain)

Allen Versfeld (https://www.urban-astronomer.com/ / @uastronomer)

Dr. Morgan Rehnberg (MorganRehnberg.com / @MorganRehnberg & ChartYourWorld.org)

Moiya McTier (https://www.moiyamctier.com/ / @GoAstroMo)

Jeff Kargel is a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona. He is a geologist, a glaciologist, and a planetary scientist. Climate change is a major thread, and that is what he is here today to talk about.

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There’s A Fire in Greenland… Again. It’s 10 Degrees Hotter Than Normal

This fire in Greenland is near Sisimiut, in Western Greenland. It was likely caused by a hiker. Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

As global warming ramps up, expect to see Greenland in the news a lot. That’s because its ice sheet is under threat of melting. But that’s not the only reason. The other reason is fire.

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New Study Shows How Breaching “Carbon Threshold” Could Trigger Mass Extinction in Earth’s Oceans

This view of Earth’s horizon was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station, using a wide-angle lens while the Station was over the Pacific Ocean. A new study suggests that Earth's water didn't all come from comets. Credit: NASA
This view of Earth’s horizon was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station, using a wide-angle lens while the Station was over the Pacific Ocean. A new study suggests that Earth's water didn't all come from comets. Credit: NASA

Between the scientific community, governments, humanitarian organizations, and even military planners, climate change is considered to be the single greatest threat facing humanity today. Between the increases in famine, disease, flooding, displacement, extreme weather, and chaos that result, it is clear that the way we are causing our planet to get warmer is having dire consequences.

But there a number of scenarios where the harm being done now could result in a runaway effect leading to mass extinctions. This possibility was illustrated in a recent study conducted by MIT professor Daniel Rothman with the support of NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF). According to Rothman, we are in danger of breaching a “carbon threshold” that could lead to a runaway effect with Earth’s oceans.

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Airplane Contrails are Contributing to Global Warming Too

A commercial airliner produces a condensation trail in the skies over California. Credit: Mick West

To the scientifically uninitiated, it might seem like a frivolous idea: That those slight, wispy clouds that trail behind jet aircraft at such high altitudes could contribute to climate change. But they do.

Scientists love to measure things, and when they measured these contrails, which is short for condensation trails, they found bad news. Though they look kind of beautiful and ephemeral on a summer day, they pack an oversize punch when it comes to their warming effect.

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NASA’s Long-Term Climate Predictions have Proven to be Very Accurate, Within 1/20th of a Degree Celsius

The map shows temperature changes for the last decade—January 2000 to December 2009—relative to the 1951-1980 mean. Credit: NASA

There are a handful of major science institutions around the world that keep track of the Earth’s temperature. They all clearly show that the world’s temperature has risen in the past few decades. One of those institutions is NASA.

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Today is the Highest Concentration of Atmospheric CO2 in Human History. 415 Parts Per Million. Last Time it Was This High, There Were Trees at the South Pole

Think about this for a minute: We humans and our emissions are helping turn back the climatological clock by 2 or 3 million years, possibly more. Not since that time, called the Pliocene Epoch, has the CO2 ppm risen above 400.

Way back then, the CO2 helped keep the Earth’s temperature 2 to 3 degrees C warmer than it is now. And the Earth was a much different place back then.

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