An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. It is believed that there are over 100,000 islands in the world. It’s difficult to put a figure to the exact number as there are different kinds of them in various water bodies including oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers. There is even an island within a lake that is situated on an island located in a lake on an island. Only 322 of them are larger than 1000 km2 (386 sq mi). Here are the top 18 largest islands on Earth. Why 18? Because this is the number of islands that have a land area of greater than 100,000 square kilometers (38,610 square miles).
Continue reading Top 18 Largest Islands on Earth
According to a new study published this week in the AGU (American Geophysical Union) journal Geophysical Research Letters, several spots on the East Antarctic Plateau reach temperatures of nearly -100 °C (-148 °F) during the Antarctic winter. Researchers re-examined the data from several Earth-observing satellites and found that the coldest place on Earth is even colder than previously thought.
Continue reading Coldest place on Earth: New satellite data reveals lowest temperature recorded in Antarctica
Around 66 million years ago, an asteroid or comet at least 10 kilometers (6 miles) in diameter impacted a few miles from the present-day town of Chicxulub in Mexico (hence it is dubbed as the “Chicxulub impactor”), at around 64,000 kilometers per hour (40,000 mph). The impact has created a crater (Chicxulub crater) more than 180 km (110 miles) in diameter. But, what’s more, the energy of the impact (which is equivalent of about ten billion Hiroshima atom bombs) vaporized the rock which was rich in sulfur compounds, filling the air with a thick cloud of dust, similar to that created by a catastrophic volcanic eruption.
This cloud blocked out the sun at least for a decade and caused a global, dark winter: even in the tropics the temperatures were barely above freezing, and the average global temperature was below 0°C (32°F). Before the impact, the average global temperature was around 26°C (47°F), so this means a huge drop. And the recovery time was more than 30 years! The dinosaurs which had dominated the Earth for more than 150 million years were used to living in a lush climate and were already in decline, so non-avian dinosaurs couldn’t survive after the last deadly blow.
Continue reading Dinosaur-killer Asteroid Triggered a Global Warming which lasted 100,000 Years
If we limit global warming to 1.5°C rather than 2°C above the pre-industrial levels by the year 2100, the impacts of climate change would be much less dramatic, a new study says. According to the researchers, for vertebrates and plants, the number of species losing more than half their geographic range by 2100 will be halved when warming is limited to 1.5°C, compared with projected losses at 2°C. It would be even better for insects, the most diverse group of animals on Earth: the number is reduced by two-thirds.
Continue reading Most species hold their geographic range if we limit global warming to 1.5°C, study says
According to measurements from Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, with 410.31 ppm (parts per million), the level of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere hit a new high in April 2018. This is the highest point for the last 800,000 years.
Last year’s (April 2017) value, 409.00 ppm, was also a record high. As you can see in the graph below, which shows recent monthly mean carbon dioxide measured at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii, it’s a continuing trend.
Continue reading Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Reached the Highest Levels in 800,000 years
The dynamics of the ocean and the atmosphere are strongly influenced by the Earth’s rotation. Currently, our planet rotates from west to east (prograde, which appears counterclockwise) with a linear velocity of 465.1013 m/s (1674.365 km/h or 1040.40 mph) at the equator. What would happen if the Earth started spinning backward (from east to west)?
Continue reading What Would Happen If the Earth Started Spinning Backward?
The future of our carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions will decide how many degrees will planet Earth be warmer by 2100 (relative to pre-industrial temperatures). Using the data from Climate Action Tracker, the online publication that shows how living conditions are changing, Our World In Data has published a chart showing future greenhouse gas emission scenarios and how each scenario would result in an estimated global warming by 2100.
Continue reading Global Warming: Future greenhouse gas emission scenarios
You can help NASA on some projects: for instance, citizen scientists helped NASA identify an aurora-related celestial phenomenon, now called STEVE. Want to become a citizen scientist? You can find projects on the NASA website.
Continue reading Want to Become a Citizen Scientist for NASA?
Iceland was extensively forested when it was first settled. When the Vikings first arrived in the 9th century, the Nordic island was covered in 25 to 40 percent forest, compared to 1% in the present day. In the late 12th century, Ari the Wise (Ari Thorgilsson, 1067–1148 AD), Iceland’s most prominent medieval chronicler, described it in the Íslendingabók (Book of Icelanders Notes 1) as “forested from mountain to sea shore”. Unfortunately, after the permanent human settlement, the forests were heavily exploited for firewood, timber and to make room for farming. Within a few centuries, almost all of Iceland’s trees were gone. This rapid deforestation has resulted in massive soil erosion that puts the island at risk for desertification. Today, many farms have been abandoned. Three-quarters of Iceland’s 100,000 km2is affected by soil erosion, 18,000 km2 (6,900 sq mi) serious enough to make the land useless.
Today, the Icelandic Forest Service Notes 2 has taken on the mammoth task of bringing back the woodlands. They plant around three million seedlings each year in the island’s soil. With the help of forestry societies and forest farmers, Iceland’s trees are slowly beginning to make a comeback. But there are many difficulties. For example, as the climate getting warmer, the winters have become milder. As a result, many of the trees planted back in the 1950s, especially Siberian larch (Larix sibirica) are literally dying after several decades of being reasonably good. Watch this short film by Euforgen (published by the National Geographic channel) to learn more about how their efforts are working to benefit Iceland’s economy and ecology through forestry.
Continue reading Watch: Iceland Is Growing New Forests for the First Time in 1,000 Years
Today I stumbled upon on a beautiful web site: the Climate Reanalyzer. In fact, Chris Hadfield, the retired Canadian astronaut and also who was the first Canadian to walk in space, tweeted about the web site, saying “The current bulge of cold”. Then I visited the web site and found it really informative.
Continue reading Climate Reanalyzer: Visual Climate and Weather Datasets