Category Archives: Solar System

Maps of various things

These are  really neat.

 

This map shows what is on the other side of the world from where you are standing.  For the most part it will probably be water.

This map shows what is on the other side of the world from where you are standing.  For the most part it will probably be water.

This map shows the world divided into 7 sections (each with a distinct color) with each section containing 1 billion people.

This map shows the world divided into 7 sections (each with a distinct color) with each section containing 1 billion people.

This map shows the most photographed places in the world.

This map shows the most photographed places in the world.

This map shows the longest straight line you can sail.  It goes from Pakistan all the way to Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia for a total of 20,000 miles.

This map shows the longest straight line you can sail.  It goes from Pakistan all the way to Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia for a total of 20,000 miles.

This map shows the countries that heavily restricted Internet access in 2013.

This map shows the countries that heavily restricted Internet access in 2013.

This map shows the countries (in blue) where people drive on the left side of the road.

This map shows the countries (in blue) where people drive on the left side of the road.

This map shows how much space the United States would occupy on the moon.

This map shows how much space the United States would occupy on the moon.

This map shows countries (in white) that England has never invaded.  There are only 22 of them.

This map shows countries (in white) that England has never invaded.  There are only 22 of them.

This map shows (in white) where 98 percent of Australia's population lives.

This map shows (in white) where 98 percent of Australia’s population lives.

This map shows (in red, orange, and yellow) the world's largest donors of foreign aid with red being the biggest donor.

This map shows (in red, orange, and yellow) the world’s largest donors of foreign aid with red being the biggest donor.

This map shows (in blue) places where Google street view is available.

This map shows (in blue) places where Google street view is available.

This map highlights the countries (in red and orange) with the most skyscrapers.

This map highlights the countries (in red and orange) with the most skyscrapers.

This is a map of the highest paid public employees in the United States.

This is a map of the highest paid public employees in the United States.

This is a map of the all the rivers in the United States.

This is a map of the all the rivers in the United States.

This is a map of 19th century shipping lanes that outlines the continents.

This is a map of 19th century shipping lanes that outlines the continents.

These are all the rivers that feed into the Mississippi River.

These are all the rivers that feed into the Mississippi River.

The line in this map shows all of the world's Internet connections in 1969.

The line in this map shows all of the world’s Internet connections in 1969.

It may not come as a surprise but more people live inside the circle than outside of it.

It may not come as a surprise but more people live inside the circle than outside of it.

Apparently you can't get Big Macs everywhere.  This map shows (in red) the countries that have McDonalds.

Apparently you can’t get Big Macs everywhere.  This map shows (in red) the countries that have McDonalds.

And this map shows all the places where you can get eaten by a Great White shark!

And this map shows all the places where you can get eaten by a Great White shark!

And this is what the world would look like if all the countries with coast lines sank.

And this is what the world would look like if all the countries with coast lines sank.

Germany’s 10 Huge Lessons About Solar Energy

Check this out from Germany who have embraced solar energy. Why can’t we? This is a must read. Click here for the full article or read an excerpt below.

 

http://climatecrocks.com/2013/02/11/germanys-10-huge-lessons-about-solar-energy/

 

Electricity suppliers get their electricity on the grid through a bidding process. The suppliers that can sell their electricity to the grid for cheapest win. Because the costs of solar and wind power plants are essentially just in the process of building them (the fuel costs are $0 and the maintenance costs are negligible), they can outbid pretty much every other source of power. As a result, 1) they win the bids when they produce electricity; 2) they drive down the price of wholesale electricity.

Because solar power is often produced when electricity demand is the greatest (and electricity is, thus, the least available and most expensive), it brings down the price of electricity even more than wind.

 

 

A CANADIAN NOBEL WINNER TALKS CLIMATE CHANGE, FLOODPLAINS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO ALL OF US TODAY

This was interesting to listen to. I guess the tropical rainfalls are causing more fertilizer to runoff into the lakes and cause cyanobacteria blooms which kill our lakes and severely impact our drinking water. I can’t imagine where rainfall is going to end up (monsoons?) if the scientists are correct about temperature warming. Click here to hear the entire interview and the full transcription or read an excerpt below.

 

Jim Bruce – Well what we’re finding is that both for water quantities and water quality the changing climate which IPCC says is going to continue and get worse is having pretty serious effects, particularly as the atmosphere warms. We get more water vapour or what engineers like to call precipitable water in the atmosphere by 7% per every degree Celsius of warming and this means not that were getting more rainfall but that whenever the atmosphere gets organized to rain it rains more heavily so it doesn’t just rain, It pours and this means we’re getting more surface runoff events in the summer and in the off snow melt season. 

Bob Brouse – When you talk about the hard precipitation these are what we all see on the lead on the news. These are these fierce storms that we’re speaking of. Is that the case? 

Jim Bruce – Yes indeed and it is resulting in things like the big Toronto flood last year and the big flood in Calgary in June of last year. 

Bob Brouse – And according to you this is because there is more water vapour in the air that wasn’t there before? What was the case before? I don’t even know how to put this. What was the case before? 

Jim Bruce – Well, as I say, as the atmosphere warms it is able to hold more water vapour. It holds more water vapour to the tune of 7% for every 1 degree Celsius of warming. 

Bob Brouse – Wow. So if the atmosphere gets 1 degree warmer globally it could hold 7% more water than it used to. That is what you are saying? 

Jim Bruce – Yes. 

Bob Brouse – That is amazing Jim. So the practical reality of this to cities around the world, I guess, is they have to deal and cope with more extreme weather. Besides that, is this more or less predictable? Like for instance, I know Milwaukee has been doing tremendous rainwater mitigation, trying to trap it and get it off the wastewater systems. Is this what you’re seeing around the world? 

Jim Bruce – We’re not seeing as much good work as we are seeing in Milwaukee and a few other places but there needs to be a great deal of effort. I should say when we get those runoff events with the heavy rains, the runoff picks up lots of phosphorous and other contaminants from agricultural areas and also from cities and urban areas so when we look at the Great Lakes, Lake Erie is seriously back-sliding back in its eutrophic state and that’s because it’s getting more polluted runoff in these heavy rain events and there is apparently more phosphorous on the land and on the urban areas that gets into the runoff and into the lakes and is destroying the improvement that was made in Lake Erie back in the 1990s and early 2000s. 

Huge Antarctic ice sheet collapsing

Is this a sign of the Tipping Point? Click here to read the full article or an excerpt below.

 

“It’s bad news. It’s a game changer,” said Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, who wasn’t part of either study. “We thought we had a while to wait and see. We’ve started down a process that we always said was the biggest worry and biggest risk from West Antarctica.”

The Rignot study sees eventually 1.2 meters of sea level rise from the melt. But it could trigger neighboring ice sheet loss that could mean a total of 3 to 3.7 metresof sea level rise, the study in Science said, and Rignot agreed.

The recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change don’t include melt from West Antarctic or Greenland in their projections and this would mean far more sea level rise, said Sridhar Anandakrishnan, professor of geosciences at Pennsylvania State University. That means sea level rise by the year 2100 is likely to be about three feet, he said.

 

Early warning of climate tipping points

Interesting document with graphics. Click here for the entire article and please share; I`m sure someone could definitely use this information. Thanks.

Cyanobacteria: Washington state the center of climate change solutions

I am really not sure about this technology given that we don’t know a whole lot about what it is capable of. Click here for the full article or read an excerpt from their website.

 

Our synthetic and systems biology approach has led to several game-changing breakthroughs. We’ve engineered strains of cyanobacteria that can both produce high levels of lipids (oils) internally or secrete them externally. We’ve developed tools and the capability to genetically engineer multiple species of cyanobacteria. We’ve profiled the expression and metabolite patterns of multiple strains of cyanobacteria which allow us to unlock regulatory bottlenecks and identify new pathway opportunities.

 

 

Cyanobacteria Fossil: Stromatolites a window into Earth’s history

I think scientists will now be able to use these fossils to study how global warming will impact our world.

I disagree that tides, temperature and sunlight are the only things that control the growth of cyanobacteria because the bacteria have been found in pristine mountain lakes in Switzerland. This 2012 thesis supports my opinion where it states:

“… climate change may increase eutrophication in many water bodies due to
complex interactions with increased amounts of rainfall and snowfall, changes in water
temperature, alterations of mixed layer depth, and changes in species composition to
favor cyanobacteria (Dokulil et al., 2009). Eutrophication remains a challenge to manage
because of the complex interactions of factors that can drive its occurrence in lakes, and
different lakes may have different sensitivities to different factors.”

Click here to read the full article or an excerpt below.

Fossils offer a glimpse of what organisms have lived on Earth, such as woolly mammoths and Tyrannosaurus rex, and most don’t exist today. Some fossils resemble modern-day counterparts, such as ferns and petrified wood, and others have living examples, such as stromatolites.

Stromatolites are structures created by cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae). The internal structure resembles a cabbage while the outside can look mushroom-shaped, loaf-shaped or cauliflower-shaped.

Cyanobacteria create stromatolites by growing in layers in shallow marine water. Cyanobacteria grow in mats with nearly three billion cyanobacteria covering one square meter. As sediment is deposited over the cyanobacteria from tides and wave action, the cyanobacteria grow up through the sediment. Layers of sediment then alternate with layers of cyanobacteria.

If you’ve noticed the rocks around the base of the Kootenai River swinging bridge, they look like cream and black cabbages sliced open–these are fossilized stromatolites. The black layers are carbon-rich layers from when there was little deposition of sediment and the creamy layers are from periods of higher deposition.

Stromatolites grow slowly, so slowly that it can take 100 years for five centimeters of growth or 2,000 years for a stromatolite to reach one-meter high.

When living stromatolites were discovered in 1956 by scientists in Shark Bay, Australia, they were the first ever recorded examples of a structure previously only found as a fossil in ancient rock.

Stromatolites are one of the oldest fossils on Earth. Worldwide, the oldest fossilized stromatolites are found in South Africa and date back 3.2 billion years. The stromatolites around the Kootenai bridge are part of the Belt formation, a Precambrian sedimentary formation dated between 600 million and 800 million years old.

Stromatolites and the cyanobacteria that created them played a crucial role in shaping the atmosphere of Earth. Like all green plants, cyanobacteria absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, use the carbon to build tissue and then release the oxygen.

During the Precambrian, the atmosphere contained very little oxygen. With the growth of stromatolites and the spread of cyanobacteria around the Earth, the atmosphere became more oxygen-rich and less carbon-rich.

The harsh conditions of the Precambrian, with its carbon-rich atmosphere, hot temperatures and intense ultraviolet radiation set the stage for cyanobacteria to thrive at that time since little else could.
Living stromatolites are found in three places on Earth today: Shark Bay and two places in the Bahamas. Cyanobacteria thrive in Shark Bay because the water is twice as salty as normal seawater due to the restricted flow of the bay. In the Bahamas, stromatolites are found in sub-tidal channels where the currents are very strong and few animals can survive.

Burrowing and grazing marine animals are the demise of stromatolites because they destroy the layers. Therefore, as marine animals populated the oceans, the range of stromatolites decreased to places that were too hostile for animals to survive.

While there may only be a few places on Earth to view living stromatolites, those places offer an opportunity to study a living example of a fossil and determine what affects growth. Scientists have determined tides, temperature and sunlight control the growth of cyanobacteria. So not only do scientists have insight into the conditions on Earth three billion years ago but living stromatolites are keeping a diary of the current conditions on Earth.