Saturday, December 29, 2007
DIfferent colors of the same fountain lights at Millennium Park, Chicago. Such an asset to Chicago.
Dont miss it if you happen to visit Chicago!!
Friday, December 28, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Ominous Arctic Melt Worries Experts - Dooms Day is here... Sooner than expected... Is this theh POINT OF NO RETURN???
Ominous Arctic Melt Worries Experts
By SETH BORENSTEINAP Science Writer
AP Photo/JOHN MCCONNICO
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Ominous Arctic Melt Worries Experts
WASHINGTON (AP) -- An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this summer, a warning sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed an ominous tipping point. One even speculated that summer sea ice would be gone in five years.
Greenland's ice sheet melted nearly 19 billion tons more than the previous high mark, and the volume of Arctic sea ice at summer's end was half what it was just four years earlier, according to new NASA satellite data obtained by The Associated Press.
"The Arctic is screaming," said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the government's snow and ice data center in Boulder, Colo.
Just last year, two top scientists surprised their colleagues by projecting that the Arctic sea ice was melting so rapidly that it could disappear entirely by the summer of 2040.
This week, after reviewing his own new data, NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally said: "At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions."
So scientists in recent days have been asking themselves these questions: Was the record melt seen all over the Arctic in 2007 a blip amid relentless and steady warming? Or has everything sped up to a new climate cycle that goes beyond the worst case scenarios presented by computer models?
"The Arctic is often cited as the canary in the coal mine for climate warming," said Zwally, who as a teenager hauled coal. "Now as a sign of climate warming, the canary has died. It is time to start getting out of the coal mines."
It is the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels that produces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, responsible for man-made global warming. For the past several days, government diplomats have been debating in Bali, Indonesia, the outlines of a new climate treaty calling for tougher limits on these gases.
What happens in the Arctic has implications for the rest of the world. Faster melting there means eventual sea level rise and more immediate changes in winter weather because of less sea ice.
In the United States, a weakened Arctic blast moving south to collide with moist air from the Gulf of Mexico can mean less rain and snow in some areas, including the drought-stricken Southeast, said Michael MacCracken, a former federal climate scientist who now heads the nonprofit Climate Institute. Some regions, like Colorado, would likely get extra rain or snow.
More than 18 scientists told the AP that they were surprised by the level of ice melt this year.
"I don't pay much attention to one year ... but this year the change is so big, particularly in the Arctic sea ice, that you've got to stop and say, 'What is going on here?' You can't look away from what's happening here," said Waleed Abdalati, NASA's chief of cyrospheric sciences. "This is going to be a watershed year."
2007 shattered records for Arctic melt in the following ways:
- 552 billion tons of ice melted this summer from the Greenland ice sheet, according to preliminary satellite data to be released by NASA Wednesday. That's 15 percent more than the annual average summer melt, beating 2005's record.
- A record amount of surface ice was lost over Greenland this year, 12 percent more than the previous worst year, 2005, according to data the University of Colorado released Monday. That's nearly quadruple the amount that melted just 15 years ago. It's an amount of water that could cover Washington, D.C., a half-mile deep, researchers calculated.
- The surface area of summer sea ice floating in the Arctic Ocean this summer was nearly 23 percent below the previous record. The dwindling sea ice already has affected wildlife, with 6,000 walruses coming ashore in northwest Alaska in October for the first time in recorded history. Another first: the Northwest Passage was open to navigation.
- Still to be released is NASA data showing the remaining Arctic sea ice to be unusually thin, another record. That makes it more likely to melt in future summers. Combining the shrinking area covered by sea ice with the new thinness of the remaining ice, scientists calculate that the overall volume of ice is half of 2004's total.
- Alaska's frozen permafrost is warming, not quite thawing yet. But temperature measurements 66 feet deep in the frozen soil rose nearly four-tenths of a degree from 2006 to 2007, according to measurements from the University of Alaska. While that may not sound like much, "it's very significant," said University of Alaska professor Vladimir Romanovsky.
- Surface temperatures in the Arctic Ocean this summer were the highest in 77 years of record-keeping, with some places 8 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, according to research to be released Wednesday by University of Washington's Michael Steele.
Greenland, in particular, is a significant bellwether. Most of its surface is covered by ice. If it completely melted - something key scientists think would likely take centuries, not decades - it could add more than 22 feet to the world's sea level.
However, for nearly the past 30 years, the data pattern of its ice sheet melt has zigzagged. A bad year, like 2005, would be followed by a couple of lesser years.
According to that pattern, 2007 shouldn't have been a major melt year, but it was, said Konrad Steffen, of the University of Colorado, which gathered the latest data.
"I'm quite concerned," he said. "Now I look at 2008. Will it be even warmer than the past year?"
Other new data, from a NASA satellite, measures ice volume. NASA geophysicist Scott Luthcke, reviewing it and other Greenland numbers, concluded: "We are quite likely entering a new regime."
Melting of sea ice and Greenland's ice sheets also alarms scientists because they become part of a troubling spiral.
White sea ice reflects about 80 percent of the sun's heat off Earth, NASA's Zwally said. When there is no sea ice, about 90 percent of the heat goes into the ocean which then warms everything else up. Warmer oceans then lead to more melting.
"That feedback is the key to why the models predict that the Arctic warming is going to be faster," Zwally said. "It's getting even worse than the models predicted."
NASA scientist James Hansen, the lone-wolf researcher often called the godfather of global warming, on Thursday was to tell scientists and others at the American Geophysical Union scientific in San Francisco that in some ways Earth has hit one of his so-called tipping points, based on Greenland melt data.
"We have passed that and some other tipping points in the way that I will define them," Hansen said in an e-mail. "We have not passed a point of no return. We can still roll things back in time - but it is going to require a quick turn in direction."
Last year, Cecilia Bitz at the University of Washington and Marika Holland at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado startled their colleagues when they predicted an Arctic free of sea ice in just a few decades. Both say they are surprised by the dramatic melt of 2007.
Bitz, unlike others at NASA, believes that "next year we'll be back to normal, but we'll be seeing big anomalies again, occurring more frequently in the future." And that normal, she said, is still a "relentless decline" in ice.
On the Net:
National Snow and Ice Data Center on 2007 Arctic sea ice:
NASA's "Tipping Points" panel and slide show materials:
Purchase this AP story for reprint.
Source: WIRED.COM - CondéNet, Inc
Sunday, December 02, 2007
And today I had the baap (hindi for the father) of all visions...
Let me describe it very very briefly:
It is just the combination of White and Black.
I call White as the Color of Everything and Black the Color of 'Nothing that I know'. I am not sure if 'Nothing that I know' is actually absence of anything or absence of something or presence of something that I am not capable of detecting...
Back to the Vision...
I think I experienced a singularity, as the physicists would call it. A single point... One Dimensional... or is it Zero Dimensional? or one with Infinite dimensions that are beyond my cognition? Whatever it is, it embodies everything that can be expected to exist... it holds all my and our universe - I dont want to talk about the Humongous and odd-sounding numbers of galaxies and stars, though being a great fan of Astronomy and Physics, I somehow feel that all the numbers and calculations are a trick; a trap to fool the observers into things more and more complicate and inherently confusing; same with the atoms, sub atomic particles, they say they have found out 200+ particles that compose atoms; I would say they would keep finding hundreds of thousands of such varieties, there is no limit because there are infinite possibilities... to make the observers confused, to make the observers not focus on what it actually is all made of - I talk of the bigger picture, the Cognitive Universe or Mental Universe or however it can be called by what I explain it as here - It is everything we know of, we might come to know, we think of, we imagine, we expect... all of that... all we can possibly perceive.
The Singularity is one such point that has all that we (CAN) perceive.
I like MIB for what they say Size doesnt matter - true! size is what we perceive in 3 Dimensions. A being can exist in many different dimensions but still possess the energy (or whatever can be perceived) for the observers who operate or can perceive different dimensions.
Again, my vision has an infinite space with a Singularity in the middle... that undeniable White Glow (the glow of everything, termed White for the lack of better word or the lack of ability to describe it). And when I look at the Singularity everything around seems to be perfectly Black... may be that was meant to describe the relative nature of the whole process of perception, because when I turn away from my White-point (I m going to call it by this stupid-sounding name, coz I consider myself the most stupid of all living organisms... infact each organism should consider the same about itself and strive to improve), the Black area suddenly turns white... again that perfect white... would be blinding if seen with eyes, but when perceived outside of the physical or metaphysical existence... when perceived with that sense which symbolizes the non-existence... when I am neither attached nor detached... when I am nowhere... when perceived from that sense, the bright light seems to be the best place to be in... there is everything you want in that light... infinite happiness and sorrow together... its the ABSOLUTE being...
Wherever I see I only find the Bright Light of EVERYTHING, yet when I look back at my white-point, everything fades to Black. Thats what prompts me to say that it is a singularity and whatever I see when looking elsewhere is the projection of the Singularity in one of its infinite ways and is actually not the complete picture.
1. The relative nature of the existence or perception... specially Truth and otherwise. I know now that truth is one such all-inclusive being, the 'otherwise' only exists when you find the absolute truth. Otherwise the Truth manifests itself on the 'Otherwise' and you have something that is neither true nor false...
2. The future of lives and time... or the Past Present and Future of it... because this is a stagnant and never-changing view of the existence... the absolute can never change, but its projection can...
3. This also tells me that the Future is bright... if I look the right way I have infinite opportunities, but even if I look at the options that are not the best, I still have more White than Black... more perceived good than Bad... more brightness than darkness...
This vision of today, has totally confused me, yet told me everything I wanted to know about truth... everything that can be... may be what I saw was not the True TRUTH, but I am sure this is one manifestation of what the truth is and is the Best thing that I have ever known...
Thanks for reading through this, if you actually Managed to...
Thursday, November 29, 2007
New Delhi, India — Biggest study yet from a unique coalition of major development and environment groups reveals scale of climate impacts in India - immediate action needed before India goes ' Up in Smoke'
New Delhi 19th November 2007: A new report – Up in Smoke? Asia and the Pacific – with a foreword by Dr R.K. Pachauri, Chairman of the Nobel prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – says that without immediate action, global warming is set to reverse decades of social and economic progress across Asia, home to over 60 per cent of the world's population. The report is published in the wake of evidence that a majority of Industrialised countries are reneging on targets for emissions reductions set to tackle climate change.
As world leaders prepare for the next UN talks to determine the international response to climate change, in Bali at the beginning of December, Up in Smoke: Asia and the Pacific, shows how the human drama of climate change will largely be played out in Asia, where almost two thirds of the world's population live, effectively on the front line of climate change.
"While going through the foreword that I wrote for the 2004 volume of "Up in smoke", I find that the concerns and priorities that I had touched on as part of that write-up, if anything, have become stronger, and the uncertainties associated with what I had stated then have been reduced significantly. The IPCC findings provide the evidence for the same." Dr RK Pachauri, Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute and Chairman, IPCC.
India is large country with close to 700 million people living in rural areas who depend on climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture, forests, and fisheries for their livelihoods. Its ecosystems such as riversheds, mangroves, coastal zones, forests and grasslands are already overburdened by environmental pressures from commercialization , excessive resource use and indiscriminate dumping of industrial and agricultural waste.
The report highlights the potential devastating impacts of climate change in India, for example, that:
India has already 250 million people that live in absolute poverty with little capacity to cope with climate change. 400 million people living in the Ganga Basin will be further affected by water shortages in the near future. Many more will be affected by floods and droughts due to erratic monsoons and the fast depletion of Himalayan glaciers.
Around 600 million Indians depend on agriculture, which, unlike the rest of the economy, has been crawling along at a growth rate of less than 2% per annum. Production has been stagnant, per capita availability of food is declining, farmer suicides and hunger deaths are on the rise, and agrarian distress is acute and widespread. These trends will be further accentuated due to climate change.
Some vulnerable sections of society like women, tribal communities, scheduled castes will bear the brunt of the impacts of climate change. Women, for example, will spend a greater and greater amount of their time in arranging for food, fuel and water for their families.
In the Sundarbans, already four islands have been completely submerged, displacing about 6,000 families. These families have the misfortune of being India's foremost Climate Refugees.
There is growing consensus about the current human and environmental challenges facing Asia, and what is needed to tackle them. There is already enough knowledge and understanding to know what the main causes of climate change are, how to reduce future climate change, and how to begin to adapt.
Alongside new evidence of the devastating impact that climate change is already having on communities across Asia, Up in Smoke Asia and the Pacific, shows positive measures that are already being taken – by governments, by civil society and by local people – to reduce the causes of climate change and to overcome its effects. It shows examples of emissions reduction; alternative water and energy supply systems; preservation of strategic ecosystems and protected areas; increasing capacity, awareness and skills for risk and disaster management; and the employment of effective regulatory and policy instruments. The challenge is clear and many of the solutions are known: the point is, to act.
Immediate decisions needs to be made on the following:
1) Appropriate policy and fiscal measures for dealing with the immediate future impacts of climate change
2) Move towards sustainable, low carbon intensity energy pathways, while not compromising on development goals
3) Planned adaptation measures in climate sensitive sectors, especially water and agriculture
4) Disaster risk reduction and disaster preparedness in vulnerable areas.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
This is something I keep thinking of and keep observing every single day. It is we, the Humans (Highly Unreliable Malignant And Nasty Species), who have changed the complexion of the planet and we are constantly degrading the nature/climate at the same time being dependent on and being a part of the nature!
We are so busy with work and in trying to achieve, earn, or succeed that we forget the little joys of sitting by the side of a pond and seeing the ripples from beneath the surface; walking by the side of a stream to listen the calming sound of running water; playing with your pals and pets in cool rain on a hot summer day; cycling on a warm spring morning and taking a break in the cool shade of a beautiful green tree (forget A/Cs... I hate them especially it reminds me of the prison called the workplace); waking up to the sweet chirping of birds or the blunt (yet sweet) sounds of the not-so-melodious crows;
Suddenly, we face a fate of over-heated earth - we hear the word 'Global Warming' at a more frequent rate than ever, and that is not a good news! And there seems to be no solution to it... we are all neck deep into things that aid to this degradation of our own planet... but we can at least try...
And that is the essence of April 22 (or of March 20 or any other day you would like to celebrate as) the Earth Day... honor our planet, praise the nature, value our lives and the wonderful system of interdependencies and sigh at the helplessness induced by this same sweet-but-sadistic nature!
And yes, there is something more worthwhile than Celebrating that you can do on this day or on any day (preferably everyday!)... try on your part not to contribute to the degradation, try to help sustain the balance and retain the vigor of our Nature...
This is my humble attempt at venting the frustration I share when I see the dark clouds of smoke from the 'Taxi's and 'Maruti's alike, the heaps of plastic lying by the roadside, when I see the A/Cs working like tanks on the war-front. This my humble request to you all to think and try to do what best can be done to save this beautiful planet, coz there is no other option that I can see to remedy... I am helpless, as everybody else is, when alone!
I dont like the vision of our next generation playing in an indoor-pond inhabited by test-tube-grown-declared-safe
With a vision of a clearer, healthier and a 'Natural' Nature... I give you this message of Earth Day, from the official EarthDay site... www.earthsite.org
By John McConnell
Four billion years ago
Our lonely Earth
Set sail on cosmic seas
Guided by an unseen hand
Of nature, God or chance.
As life evolved
Through endles eco-cycles
Man was born, destined
To destroy or enrich
the Precious Ship.
And now his hand
Has seized the tiller
But his ear has not
Yet caught the Captain's
The sails are down, the ship becalmed,
Its fragil life at stake.
No longer do we ride the gentle swells of
Silent seas and breathe
The fragrant air.
Broken are the rhythms
Of our cyclic plants
And other living things.
But now the Captain speaks again
Our quiet thoughts at last reveal his voice.
"Hoist the sails, Earth Man.
Set them for celestial winds.
Hold the tiler firm,
The course ahead is clear."
Be He nature, God or chance
His voice is heard
And we shall heed
The Captain's quiet command.
Thanks for reading till here...
Thanks for sparing a thought...
More thanks if you think my effort was worthwhile!
And do share this message if you feel this would inspire any of your pals... your wish may not come true if you do so, but my wish of spreading this message of Nature-compliance will be fulfilled a step further!!