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2019 Was a Record Year for Ocean Temperatures, Data Show

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Last year was the warmest year on record for the world’s oceans, part of a long-term warming trend, according to a study released Monday.

“If you look at the ocean heat content, 2019 is by far the hottest, 2018 is second, 2017 is third, 2015 is fourth, and then 2016 is fifth,” said Kevin E. Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and an author on the study

The study, published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, follows an announcement last week by European scientists that Earth’s surface temperatures in 2019 were the second-hottest on record.

Since the middle of last century, the oceans have absorbed roughly 93 percent of the excess heat caused by greenhouse gases from human activities such as burning coal for electricity. That has shielded the land from some of the worst effects of rising emissions.

For the new study, Dr. Trenberth and his colleagues overcame some of the gaps in the historical ocean temperature record by exploiting an understanding of how a temperature reading in one area relates to ocean temperatures across the ocean overall gleaned from data from the Argo system. The new method allowed them to take the limited temperature observations from the pre-Argo era and extrapolate them into a broader understanding of past ocean temperature.

“What we find is that we can do a global reconstruction back to 1958,” Dr. Trenberth said. That year was when systematic temperature observations began in Antarctica, creating enough temperature points for the extrapolation to be feasible.





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Send your kids to Wizarding World of Science Spring Break Camp

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Send your kids to Wizarding World of Science Spring Break Camp

Posted: 8:16 PM, Feb 23, 2020

Updated: 2020-02-23 21:28:14-05

The Wizarding World of Science Spring Break Camp.png

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A local museum has some magical fun planned over Spring Break.

The Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History is hosting the Wizarding World of Science Spring Break Camp.

“Your young wizard or witch will participate in a multitude of educational, scientific experiments that are sure to delight including potions, charms, wand making and many more,” their event page says.

The camp runs from March 9 to March 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with before and after care options.

Here is a breakdown of the pricing for members and non-members.

Camp Pricing

  • Non-Members (Full Week) – $200 for One Child & $180 Each Additional Sibling
  • Members (Full Week) – $180 per Child
  • Drop-In (Daily Rate) – $55 per Child / per Day

Child Care Pricing:

  • Full Week – $10 per Day
  • Drop-In (Daily Rate) – $15 per Day

You can sign up your children here. First 100 registrations get a free camp t-shirt.

The Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History is open today from Noon to 5pm!

Just a reminder, we are now enrolling for our Spring Break Camp!

www.ccmuseum.com

Posted by Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History on Sunday, February 23, 2020

Copyright 2020 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.





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Smart Polymer Lights Up Under Stress | Asian Scientist Magazine

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AsianScientist (Feb. 24, 2020) – A research group in Japan has created a stress-detecting ‘smart’ polymer that shines brighter when stretched. Their findings, published in Chemical Communications, could be used to track the wear and tear on materials used in engineering and construction industries.

By the time cracks or other visible defects appear in construction materials, the structural integrity of a building may already be compromised. In the present study, researchers led by Dr. Ayumu Karimata at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), Japan, have created a copper-containing polymer that lights up proportionately to the amount of mechanical force exerted on it, paving the way for early detection of mechanical strain.

The scientists created their polymer by incorporating copper complexes—structures formed by linking copper atoms to carbon-containing molecules—with polybutylacrylate. The copper complexes, which hold the polybutylacrylate chains together, naturally glow when exposed to ultraviolet light, a property known as photoluminescence.

When the polymer is stretched, the copper complexes emit light at a greater intensity, leading to a brighter glow. The copper complexes therefore act as mechanophores—compounds which undergo a change when triggered by a mechanical force.

Most mechanophores are made from organic compounds which change color or emit light when mechanical stress breaks a weak chemical bond. However, Karimata noted that a relatively large force is required to break the chemical bond, so the mechanophore is not sensitive to small amounts of stress.

“Also, the process of breaking the bond is often irreversible, so these stress sensors can only be used once,” he said.

In contrast, the new copper mechanophores are sensitive to much smaller stresses and can respond quickly and reversibly. The scientists reported that their polymer film immediately brightened and dimmed in response to being stretched and released.

Karimata proposes that the acrylic polymer could eventually be adapted to create a stress-sensing acrylic paint for coating different structures, such as bridges or the frames of cars and aircraft.

“As we can see even from the direct visualization of the polymer, stress is applied across a material in a non-uniform way,” said Karimata. “A stress-sensing paint would allow hotspots of stress on a material to be detected and could help prevent a structure from failing.”

The article can be found at: Karimata et al. (2020) Highly Sensitive Mechano-controlled Luminescence in Polymer Films Modified by Dynamic Cui-based Cross-linkers.

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Source: Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.





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The Fires Are Out, but Australia’s Climate Disasters Aren’t Over

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RAINBOW FLAT, Australia — Standing in thick mud between burned trees and a concrete slab where his house had been, Peter Ruprecht admitted that he was not sure how or when to rebuild.

He was still dizzied by what Australia’s increasingly volatile climate had already delivered: first a drought, then a devastating bush fire, then a foot of rain from a tropical storm.

“It’s unstoppable,” said Mr. Ruprecht, a former dairy farmer. “We speak about the warmth of Mother Nature, but nature can also be vicious and wild and unforgiving.”

“The trees are just falling across roads all over the place,” Ms. Couzins said. “I’ve just come back from a drive on the road. I saw a car with the front end all damaged; a tree fell on their car.”

The extremes have been especially severe north of Sydney, where Mr. Ruprecht and his wife are living in a converted metal shed, for now.

First came the drought, which wore on for years, leaving farms and forests dusty, brown and brittle. When the fires arrived in October and November, before summer had even officially started, anyone with knowledge of the bush knew there would be months of pain and struggle.

“It was a bomb ready to go off,” said Ian McMullen, 56, a third-generation timber owner, who estimates that he lost a half-million Australian dollars to the fires.

He was sitting on a bench near the shore in Hallidays Point, talking to a friend from childhood, Tim McNamara, who owns a nearby cattle farm. They said they had been discussing climate change even before I arrived, because they could not help it.

In front of them, huge waves rose like muddy mountains, the usually clean water full of ash and debris from the fires. Cyclone Uesi had weakened before drifting so far south, but its mere appearance pointed to yet another climate trend: the drift of tropical weather into areas where it had not been before.

Up the road, in a shop for local artists, 63-year-old Jenny Dayment said, “Change is certainly happening all around us.” She cited little things, like rising humidity and shifts in the bird population.

After so many years of people praying for rain, the recent downpours have been bittersweet, Mrs. Dayment said. Even as they have turned the ground green again, they have brought the ominous crack of falling trees.

“Maybe we’ll get some normalcy back in our day-to-day routines,” she said. “But people are going to be wary for a very long time. I don’t think we can ever be the same.”

Her daughter’s house had burned to the ground, she said. She pulled up a photo of what was left: a fireplace surrounded by crumpled chaos. Her daughter was not sure what to do next; she and her husband were thinking about buying temporary container housing.

The Ruprechts also cannot decide on the next step. Mr. Ruprecht said the biggest challenge had been “the absence of structure in government.”

“Most inhabitants of first-world countries view themselves as being quite resilient,” he said. “This has tested that.”

Like many others in areas affected by climate-induced extremes, the Ruprechts have listened carefully to federal and local officials, but they hear mixed signals. Sometimes there are hints of “don’t rebuild, it’s too dangerous”; at other times, moving quickly and keeping the economy humming seems to be the priority.

“It’s really affected our confidence to rebuild,” Mr. Ruprecht said. “Without some sort of vision and leadership, we’re not quite sure what to do.”

“It’s not a question of if we’re going to have another disaster,” she said. “It’s when, and how we’re going to deal with it then.”

Michelle Elias contributed reporting from Sydney.



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