Visualizing Climate Change

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Climate Change is Rewriting the History Books is an infographic from Climate Central that uses a heatmap design style to show how average temperatures have changed over the last 137 years.

This March clocked in as the second warmest March on record when compared to the 20th century average, according to newly released data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NASA data published last week came to the same conclusion, comparing temperatures to a 1951-1980 baseline.

The NOAA data shows the planet was 1.9°F (1.05°C) above the 20th century average for March, the first time any month has breached the 1°C threshold in the absence of El Niño. This March is the latest freakishly hot month following three years in a row of record heat.

NOAA and NASA baselines don’t really tell the whole story. How much the world has warmed since pre-industrial times is a crucial measuring stick for international climate talks and a more accurate representation of how much climate change is altering the planet.

Using the baseline of 1881-1910, a new, more dire picture of global warming emerges. This March was 2.4°F (1.3°C) above the pre-industrial average by that measure. More notably, this March marks a whopping 627 months in a row of warmer than normal temperatures. If you were born after December 1964, you’ve never experienced a month cooler than average on this planet.

To understand what that looks like, take a peek at the global temperature chart below. Each month is represented by a box. Cool blues have been disappearing, replaced by a wave of…

Higher temperatures could trigger an uptick in damselfly cannibalism

As youngsters, damselflies sometimes engage in good old-fashioned cannibalism, when larger nymphs make a meal out of smaller ones. A new study shows that rising temperatures could exacerbate this phenomenon.

A warmer climate could put some damselflies in distress, as others get bigger and hungrier.

Because of differences in hatching time, nymphs — the immature form of the insects — vary in size. Sometimes when ponds are overcrowded, other food options are scarce or size differences are…

Some Corals Have Started Adapting to Warmer Temperatures

This new study reveals evidence that some corals are adapting to warming ocean waters — offering great hope following recent reports of coral die-offs due to rising temperatures.

Researchers observed how reefs in two Kenyan marine national parks responded to extreme temperature exposure over time. They found that 11 of the 21 coral species that they studied showed less of the destructive coral bleaching than others.

Looking at two similarly severe warming events in 1998 and 2016, Wildlife Conservation Society zoologist Tim McClanahan found that the number of pale and bleached coral colonies declined from 73% to 27%, and 96% to 60%, in the two parks with different background temperatures. About half of the most common species did not bleach strongly in 2016.

CHECK OUT: Nations Unite to Create World’s Largest Marine Reserve…

Is Trader Joe’s Pour-Over Bag the Ultimate in Coffee Convenience?

Photos by Claire Lower

People who really love their coffee are always looking for ways to drink good coffee in spaces that are not conducive to brewing good coffee, and Trade Joe’s seeks to fill this need with a handy little brew-in-the-bag coffee pouch, complete with spout.

This bag will set you back about two bucks.

The concept is simple: you just twist off the tip of the spout and open the top of the bag, pour hot water in up to the fill line, let it sit for four minutes, and pour the coffee into cups. It’s a great idea, but the product is really only as great as the coffee it makes, so I called in my snobby coffee friend—you may remember Chris from this little experiment—to help me evaluate the situation.

Here you can see the filter the coffee has to pass through before hitting the spout.

The first thing Chris pointed out to me is that, while it is called a “pour-over coffee brewer,” the system is actually more of filtered/French press hybrid, which TJ’s acknowledges on the back of the bag. In terms of customizing your brew, there are a few things you can adjust to affect the flavor and strength. Though you can’t adjust grind size—which is finer than the typical French press grind but coarser than drip—you can adjust the…

Mystery Of Antarctica’s Blood Falls Is Finally Solved

Take A Peek at NASA’s Massive James Webb Space Telescope

Blood Falls at the mouth of Taylor Glacier in East Antarctica
Blood Falls at the mouth of Taylor Glacier in East Antarctica

Credit: Wikipedia.org

Blood Falls at the mouth of Taylor Glacier in East Antarctica

The longstanding mystery surrounding Antarctica’s Blood Falls has finally been solved. The deep red falls were first discovered in Antarctica in 1911 where scientists noticed a river had stained the surrounding cliff of ice with a dark red color. Previously, they had believed it was due to algae discoloring the water, however that hypothesis was never verified.

Now, thanks to research by the University of Alaska Fairbanks, we know the true origin of the Blood Falls flowing from the Taylor Glacier. The deep red coloring is due to oxidized iron in brine saltwater, the same process that gives iron a dark red color when it rusts. When the iron bearing saltwater comes into contact with oxygen the iron oxidizes and takes on a red coloring, in effect dying the water to a deep red color.

The research team transected the glacier in a grid using radio-echo sounding (RES) to map out the features below the glacier. Thankfully, the super saturated brine that makes up the river allows for a stark density contrast in RES compared to the non-saline (fresh) ice. The research team calculates that the brine water takes approximately 1.5 million years to finally reach the Blood Falls as it makes its way through fissures and channels in…

Watch David Lynch’s (Mostly Straightforward) Weather Reports

David Lynch, the visionary director of surreal films such as Mulholland Drive and Eraserhead, has some perfectly offbeat hobbies. He records dance music. He designs night clubs. He makes furniture. He is a crusader for transcendental meditation. But weirdest of all just may be his predilection for weather reporting.

In the mid-2000s, Lynch enjoyed sitting at his desk at home in Los Angeles and describing the weather, and regularly put videos of his…

A Warm Winter May Prompt a Maple Syrup Shortage

Breakfast lovers, beware: Thanks to an unseasonably warm winter that’s impacting some farmers’ production and quality levels, the price of maple syrup may eventually soar, Food & Wine reports.

February’s balmy temperatures caused crops across the country to start growing early, but syrup makers in the northeast U.S.—particularly Somerset County, Pennsylvania, the state’s top syrup-producing county—were hit particularly hard by the phenomenon, according to The Wall Street Journal. Some of them have produced around half of last year’s syrup yield, because the warmer weather makes it harder for farmers to tell when their sugar and red maple trees should be tapped.

Ideal sap-flowing…

Earth’s mantle may be hotter than thought

Earth's mantle
HOT STUFF Temperatures in Earth’s mantle are higher than previously thought, results from a new experiment suggest.

Temperatures across Earth’s mantle are about 60 degrees Celsius higher than previously thought, a new experiment suggests. Such toasty temperatures would make the mantle runnier than earlier research suggested, a development that could help explain the details of how tectonic plates glide on top of the mantle, geophysicists report in the March 3 Science.

“Scientists have been arguing over the mantle temperature for decades,” says study coauthor Emily Sarafian, a geophysicist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and at MIT. “Scientists will argue over 10 degree changes, so changing it by 60 degrees is quite a large jump.”

The mostly solid mantle sits between Earth’s crust and core and makes up around 84 percent of Earth’s volume. Heat from the mantle fuels volcanic eruptions and drives plate tectonics, but taking the mantle’s temperature is trickier than dropping a thermometer down a hole.

Scientists know from the paths of earthquake waves and from measures of how electrical charge moves through Earth that a boundary in the mantle exists a few dozen kilometers below Earth’s surface. Above that boundary, mantle rock can begin melting on its way up to the surface. By mimicking the extreme conditions in the deep Earth — squeezing and heating bits of mantle that erupt from undersea volcanoes or similar rocks synthesized in the lab — scientist can also determine the melting temperature of mantle rock. Using these two facts, scientists have estimated that temperatures at the boundary depth below Earth’s oceans are around 1314° C to…