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Seed Hunters July 13, 2009

Filed under: Earth — sapphire14 @ 12:28 pm
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Hey,

Hi again and I hope you have watched the videos that I have posted last time and sorry for not being able to post it directly on the blog. This time I would like to talk about what measures we have taken to not prevent but to proceed on with life after cataclysmic events.

I would like to talk about the seed hunters in particular. Seed hunters is a documentary shown in National Geographic, about finding seeds to regain agricultural activities after disastrous events and mainly due to the global food shortage due to the global climatic changes. As explained in the article before, global warming is causing tremendous stress on earth, so due to the increased temperature many crops may stop producing fruits and seeds. These groups of scientists are not only on a quest to find any seed  types but to collect traditional farm varieties and the mother plant, the wild species that has lead to modern farm plant. They want those seeds toughness, its potential resilience to diseases, pests and climate. Its DNA could be used to breed new, hardy hybrids that will grow in other places where climatic change and poor soils is putting pressure in agriculture.

They have been interested in particular wild chick peas which are said to be the ‘green gold’. Chick peas are the ultimate food for dry zones, rich in protein and nutrients; the meat you can grow when you can’t afford meat. But after collecting all these seeds where do you store them? You can’t just store them in any warehouse but in a specially constructed vault that can withstand almost any disaster. So they store their seeds in the icy cliffs of Svalbard in the Arctic Circle known as the ‘Doomsday Vault’.

It is a vast concrete locker that could be the key to human to the survival of humanity.  

Bye,

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We’re Melting :( July 4, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — sapphire14 @ 4:29 pm

Hey,

Good to write again.

So, now I am going to talk about a situation that has been taking place on our earth for some time now. I am sure you know what I am talking about, it is Global Warming. Before we go on any further, I need to explain what global warming is.

The greenhouse effect is a naturally occurring process that aids in heating the Earth’s surface and atmosphere. As energy from the sun passes through the atmosphere a number of things take place. A portion of the energy is reflected or scattered back to space by clouds and other atmospheric particles. About 19% of the energy available is absorbed by clouds, gases and particles in the atmosphere. Of the remaining 55% of the solar energy passing through the Earth’s atmosphere, 4% is reflected from the surface back to space. On average, about 51% of the sun’s radiation reaches the surface. This heat helps to keep the temperature on earth stable.

The amount of heat energy added to the atmosphere by the greenhouse effect is controlled by the concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. All of the major greenhouse gases have increased in concentration since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. More gases accumulating in the atmosphere caused more heat to be trapped within so, this results in enhanced greenhouse effect. This is what in turn becomes what we now call Global Warming, the average temperature of the planet slowly rising.

The consequences of global warming are wide and ranges from polar icecaps melting to hurricanes becoming more frequent.

Weather Patterns

The high temperatures causes the oceans to warm up hence, the ocean has more energy. This causes stronger tropical storms to occur. The number of category 4 and 5 storms has greatly increased over the past 35 years, along with ocean temperature.warning signs today shows increasing strong weather patterns. The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active Atlantic hurricane season in recorded history, with a record 27 named storms, of which 15 became hurricanes. Seven of the hurricanes strengthened into major storms, five became Category 4 hurricanes and a record four reached Category 5 strength.Hurricane Katrina of August 2005 was the costliest and one of the deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history.

Warmer temperatures could increase the evaporation rate hence causing drought and wildfires. Here are some examples, the 1999-2002 national drought was one of the three most extensive droughts in the last 40 years. Warming may have lead to the increased drought frequency that the West has experienced over the last 30 years.The 2006 wildland fire season set new records in both the number of reported fires as well as acres burned. Close to 100,000 fires were reported and nearly 10 million acres burned, 125 percent above the 10-year average.Firefighting expenditures have consistently totaled upwards of $1 billion per year.

Warmer temperatures can also lead to heavier rainfall in some areas as drought is caused in others. The national annual precipitation has increased between 5 and 10 percent since the early 20th century, largely the result of heavy downpours. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that intense rain events have increased in frequency during the last 50 years and human-induced global warming most likely contributed to the trend. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Northeast region had its wettest summer on record in 2006, exceeding the previous record by more than 1 inch.

Health

Hotter weather enables deadly mosquitoes to travel greater distances and this increases related diseases in areas that are before not prone to them.

More frequent and severe heat waves will result in a greater number of heat-related deaths. In 2003, extreme heat waves claimed as many as 70,000 lives in Europe. In France alone, nearly 15,000 people died during two weeks of soaring temperatures, which reached as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Much of North America experienced a severe heat wave in July 2006, which contributed to the deaths of over 140 people, including some who owned working air conditioners. In the 1995 Chicago heat wave, 739 heat-related deaths occurred in a one-week period.

Global warming could increase smog pollution in some areas and intensify pollen allergies and asthma. The number of pollen allergy and asthma sufferers has increased worldwide over the last several decades. Some researchers have suggested that this could be an early health effect of human-caused climate change. Air pollution makes allergies worse: Diesel exhaust particles can interact with pollen and deliver it deeper into the lung. Rising temperatures increase ground-level.

Wildlife

Rising temperatures ravage coral reefs and melt the habitats of polar bears and Antarctic penguins. Ecosystems, pushing to extinction those species that cannot adapt. A study found species in alpine areas to be moving vertically at a rate of 20 feet per decade in the second half of the 20th century. Some polar bears are drowning because they have to swim longer distances to reach ice floes. The U. S. Geological Survey has predicted that two-thirds of the world’s polar bear sub-populations will be extinct by mid-century due to melting of the Arctic ice cap. In Washington’s Olympic Mountains, sub-alpine forest has invaded higher elevation alpine meadows. Bermuda’s mangrove forests are disappearing. In areas of California, shoreline sea life is shifting northward, probably in response to warmer ocean and air temperatures. Over the past 25 years, some Antarctic penguin populations have shrunk by 33 percent due to declines in winter sea-ice habitat. The ocean will continue to become more acidic due to carbon dioxide emissions. Because of this acidification, species with hard calcium carbonate shells are vulnerable, as are coral reefs, which are vital to ocean ecosystems. Scientists predict that a 3.6 degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature would wipe out 97 percent of the world’s coral reefs.

Glaciers and Sea Levels

Artic summers could be ice – free by 2040, and sea levels could rise as much as 23 inches by 2100 if current warming patterns continue.

Rising global temperatures will speed the melting of glaciers and ice caps and cause early ice thaw on rivers and lakes.

After existing for many millennia, the northern section of the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica — a section larger than the state of Rhode Island — collapsed between January and March 2002, disintegrating at a rate that astonished scientists. Since 1995, the ice shelf’s area has shrunk by 40 percent. According to NASA, the polar ice cap is now melting at the alarming rate of nine percent per decade. Arctic ice thickness has decreased 40 percent since the 1960s. Over the past 3 decades, more than a million square miles of perennial sea ice (an area the size of Norway, Denmark and Sweden combined) has disappeared. Multiple climate models indicate that sea ice will increasingly retreat as the earth warms. Scientists at the U.S. Center for Atmospheric Research predict that if the current rate of global warming continues, the Arctic could be ice-free in the summer by 2040. At the current rate of retreat, all of the glaciers in Glacier National Park will be gone by 2070.

Current rates of sea-level rise are expected to increase as a result both of thermal expansion of the oceans and melting of most mountain glaciers and partial melting of the West Antarctic and Greenland ice caps. Global sea level has already risen by 4 to 8 inches in the past century, and the pace of sea level rise appears to be accelerating. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that sea levels could rise 10 to 23 inches by 2100, but in recent years sea levels have been rising faster than the upper end of the range predicted. In the 1990s, the Greenland ice mass remained stable, but the ice sheet has increasingly declined in recent years. This melting currently contributes an estimated one-hundredth of an inch per year to global sea level rise. Greenland holds 10 percent of the total global ice mass. If it melts, sea levels could increase by up to 21 feet.

Bye,

 

Watch This !! June 29, 2009

Filed under: Earth — sapphire14 @ 2:10 pm

Hey,

Watch these exciting videos….

Ten Ways: Robots Inherit the Earth

http://science.discovery.com/videos/ten-ways-shorts-robots-inherit-the-earth.html

Super Volcanoes

http://science.discovery.com/videos/ten-ways-shorts-super-volcanoes.html

Doomsday Asteroid

http://science.discovery.com/videos/ten-ways-shorts-doomsday-asteroid.html

Monster Plague

http://science.discovery.com/videos/ten-ways-monster-plague.html

The Big freeze

http://science.discovery.com/videos/ten-ways-big-freeze.html

Invasion of the Grey Goo

http://science.discovery.com/videos/ten-ways-shorts-invasion-of-grey-goo.html

Killer Mutants

http://videos.howstuffworks.com/science-channel/30687-10-ways-the-world-will-end-killer-mutants-video.htm

 Bye,

 

Terminator Unleashed

Filed under: Uncategorized — sapphire14 @ 2:05 pm

Hey,

I have had really great time writing about these different means in which we might have a difficult time in surviving here on earth. I have penned about volcanic eruptions and extraterrestrial rocks that could strike our earth and the possibility that the sun might die. These events were out of the hands of humans to stop it but the one that I am going to talk about now is totally due to human actions; I am talking about robots taking over our world. This is story that first emerged in the terminator but as shocking as it is this is definitely possible.

Being in the 21st century, scientists have been developing many types of robots for manufacturing products and to do other actions, but these actions were programmed into the robots and they are not able to do anything else then what they are programmed to carry out. But scientists are beginning to work on artificial intelligence where they would be able to manipulate objects and navigate by themselves.

The robots at this point are mostly programmed to do activities. But since the discovery of mirror neurons in the early 1990’s, scientists have been curious about using these neurons and duplicate it into chips and add them to the robots to try and develop brains for the robot so that it can learn just like a child learning new things. There have been labs around America trying to achieve this but it is proving to be harder than thought. The iCub robot is one of these kinds of robots that is like a child and will learn from its experiences. The EU-funded RobotCub project is sending its 6 labs to train these iCub robots.

There has been a starfish shaped robot built which is teaching itself how to walk. But this has proved to be disappointing as it is learning to walk in its own way different from the ordered directions. This as caused some stir among the scientists as the robots although can teach itself is not following specific instructions, this could be a problem in a long run.

If robots start to learn about how things work and realize that they are more stronger and smarter than humans it’s not before they start attacking us and ruling the world. Well this is the theory of what will happen if robots gain intelligence. This is quite similar to another situation that is taking place on earth right now. We humans being more intelligent than the other creatures on this are taking control to how the animals live. We are taking away their habitat and creating more space for us. So can’t this happen with the robots too.

Well at this point this may be just a myth but no one can surely know what will happen in the future. So , we have to just hope that even if they develop this technology it is not going to end up in the wrong hands

Bye,

 

Glowing Out June 24, 2009

Filed under: Earth — sapphire14 @ 3:00 pm

Hey there, here I am again……

Hope you liked the last articles; now hear is another scenario which is definitely possible….

The sun, a glowing star in the middle of our solar system, providing the earth with the energy it needs to survive. Even though our sun is not the biggest out of the billions of stars around the galaxy, but it is just the right size for providing life on our earth with the light energy it needs to survive. The sun seems like a permanent object in the sky but technology has enabled us to see that stars also are born, live and grow, and die.

So, let’s first see the life cycle of a star. Our space may seem empty but it is actually filled with thinly spread gas and dust particle. In some places these gases and dust particles are close together in  big cloud. This is the birthplace of the star called the nebula. Our sun probably also started as a nebula about 5 billion years ago. Then the cloud of gas turns to a luminous globe of gas producing its own heat and light by nuclear reactions, this is called a star. This is known as the main sequence where the star spends most of its life. The third stage occurs when the outer layers called the planetary nebulae are lost and a large bright star with a cool surface is formed. This star is called the red giant; in its centre hydrogen and helium is running out but the star is brighter than the latter stage as it is large but the surface temperature is about 2000 – 3000 degrees Celsius when the star has a surface temperature from 2000 to above 3000 degrees Celsius. In this stage the star he core will collapse under its own weight and the outer layer will become unstable hence, expanding. This will probably happen to the sun in 4 billion years. The dying core eventually forms a white dwarf – a spherical diamond the size of the Earth, made of carbon and oxygen. From this point on the Sun will gradually fade away, becoming dimmer and dimmer until its light is finally snuffed out. If the star was slightly bigger than the sun it would die out with an explosion known as a supernova.

Well, other than the fact that the sun will die, which is billions of years ahead of us, there is no other near danger ahead. But there is another danger other than the sun vanishing that would end life. This will happen earlier, even though this won’t happen in the near future, the consequences are disastrous. When the sun enters its third stage which is the red giant, the sun begins to expand and it may engulf the inner solar system. So, our earth may one day be engulfed by a fireball. Life on earth may end well before it gets engulfed as the growing heat causes temperatures to rise and the temperature could become too hot to bear and thus, we’re extinct.

So, how would it feel to live on earth seeing day by day as the sun appears to come closer and getting larger? The temperature slowly rising, causing forests to catch fire and melting the polar caps; these changes would feel like extensive global warming. The rising sea levels due to the polar caps melting will engulf coastal regions.  The rising temperatures will cause more hurricanes and tornadoes to occur devastating urban regions. At the end any species that can’t survive the heat will die and eventually the earth will become molten again and engulf all remaining living things.

So, this is another cause that is possible to occur; but there is something that does comfort us for now, the fact that this will take billions of years to occur.

Yet again is seems scary to think about but there are lot more scenarios that are as likely to happen as this one but might occur more quickly.

So, keep coming back and see what else danger is up ahead.

Bye,

 

Falling Stars June 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — sapphire14 @ 4:12 pm

Hey, here I am again……

So I hope you have read my article on the super volcano scenario. That is an event that can happen due to our earth but now the danger is from outer space. Space is one of the ventures that in unpredictable even though we have learnt quite a bit about it.

Meteorites, asteroids and comets are extraterrestrial objects that will strike earth if they come close to earth’s gravitational field. These rocks strike earth every time and are very common; it is mostly the small meteorites that fall in the oceans. But the possibility that bigger meteorites can strike is inevitable. Huge meteorites have struck earth before; there are many craters that can be found on earth like the Baringer crater in the USA. The extinction of the dinosaurs was because of a meteorite strike and during this huge impact the earth’s climate changed a lot and caused the extinction of many plant species.

If this occurs again which it will probably, the changes will be devastating. There has been close impacts with large comets before but was missed by earth due to slight changes in the comets direction. Like the super volcano the impact will cause huge pressure on life. First, these huge rocks cannot be diverted by a rocket very easily, you need a lot of nuclear power and then also there is little chance of diverting it.

At the moment the meteorite crashes onto the land, a huge fireball will be blown in all direction and the rock will push deeply into the soil. The heat from the meteorite will melt the rocks forming a pool of lave in the crater. Electromagnetic waves from the impact site will destroy all electronics with a computer chip in it. At impact rocks fly into the sky and some even into space, these rocks fallback on earth causing a shower of fireballs, and after some time there will be ashes clouding the sky blocking out sunlight completely and there will be showers of heavy ash and acid rain due to the injection of gases into the atmosphere. The temperature of the earth will rise dramatically well over the normal range causing forest fires to break out. Then after some days of soldering heat, the temperature at parts could plummet below zero degrees due to no sunlight; thus an ice age may form. If the meteorite lands in the ocean alongside these effects, tsunamis will occur and flood coastal regions. These changes will destroy all plant life and few humans will survive as evacuation at an huge size is just impossible. The plants can’t grow as there is no sunlight hence no photosynthesis but fungi will thrive as they don’t depend on photosynthesis.

But there is always hope even though these effects would destroy everything. Our earth has always recovered itself after global catastrophes and there is always a chance that people with shear will power would survive this event and animals and plants that can handle harsh conditions will thrive. So, never forget there are always good chance things will become normal again even if it seems like the end of the world.

Hope you like this….

Do come back for more……

See you,

 

The Aftermath of the Super Eruption

Filed under: Uncategorized — sapphire14 @ 3:47 pm

Hey, hope you liked my last report…

 

Here is the devastating aftermath of the super volcanic eruption.

 

The effects of a super-eruption on the areas in the immediate vicinity of the volcano are completely catastrophic. Explosive super-eruptions produce pyroclastic flows, which can cover thousands to tens of thousands of square kilometres in thick deposits of hot ash. No living beings caught by a pyroclastic flow survive.

 

Volcanic ash fallout from a super-eruption will probably have severe effects, one centimetre thickness of volcanic ash is easily enough to disrupt most forms of agriculture. The substantial part of the global economy would inevitably be devastated. There would also be severe disruption of aviation.

 

Large explosive volcanic eruptions eject huge amounts of volcanic dust and gas into the stratosphere. The gases are dominatedby water vapour, but also include sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide and chlorine. Dust and gases injected by an eruption into the stratosphere reflect solar radiation back to space and absorb heat themselves, cooling the lower atmosphere and causing winter to occur.

 

So this will be the most dramatic effect of these eruptions causing endless darkens as the sunlight is blocked. Plants won’t survive and die and any human unprotected would freeze to death. There may even be an ice age which could kill thousands of plant and animal species. These effects are really horrific to think about. All we can do for now it keep an eye on the volcanoes and pray for the best.

See you soon,