Rising Sea Levels Putting 40% of World Population at Risk

When you consider global warming – melting glaciers, rising temperatures, forest fires, and increasing sea levels – are some of the major impacts that pop to mind almost immediately. Thanks to the massive campaigns for restoring the ecosystem worldwide, everyone is aware of the potential dangers of global warming. However, it will not be an overstatement to say that very little is being done on the grass-root level to avoid the inevitable.

With more and more cars running on the roads emitting toxic fumes, more CFC emitting devices, and increased industrialization leading to the cutting down of forests, the global temperature is rising and causing a major climatic change despite the efforts environmental agencies are putting in to save the environment. Studies suggest that the 100-year projections are still very bleak.

IPCC’s Projection on Rising Sea Levels:

According to projections made in 2019 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a UN body that reports on climatic changes, the sea levels would rise roughly by a maximum of 1.10 meters (3.61 feet) by the end of this century. A more conservative approach suggested that if the environmental protection agencies continued to actively engage in reinforcement of climate protection measurements, the sea level rise may be limited to 0.61 meters (2 feet).

The projections were made taking into account current climatic changes, greenhouse gas emissions, ocean warming, and the behavioral changes adopted by humans to reduce their carbon footprints.

Sea Levels Rising Much Faster than IPCC Projections:

However, many scientists believe that the IPCC’s model to calculate the rising sea levels is failing to take into account historical patterns and the sea levels might be rising at a rate faster than projected.

Environmental scientists from the University of Copenhagen and the Bjerknes Center for Climate Research in Norway joined hands and derived a new way to measure the direct impact of rising global temperatures on the sea levels. Their findings were published in February 2021, in the Ocean Science Journal and have raised serious concerns.

According to the study, looking through the lens of historical data, the sea levels are actually projected to rise by half a meter if the temperature rises only half a degree Celsius. However, given the current rate, the global temperature might go up to 2 Celsius causing a correspondingly higher rise in sea levels by the end of 2100

Nearly 40% of the global population is at risk given that they live near the coastlines and projections of the recent study suggest that the rise in the sea levels might go beyond 1 meter if the temperatures continue to rise.

Depleting the Carbon Budgets:

The study further suggests that to prevent the risks associated with such an alarming rise in sea levels, the global economy must reduce carbon emissions by 200 billion metric tons in addition to the actual carbon emission reduction required to meet the climate goals for the century.

The co-author of the study and geophysicist from the University of Copenhagen, Aslak Grinsted said that the global carbon budget has depleted even more and the current projections are too conservative to call for drastic measures.

Drawing a comparison between the IPCC projections and the research paper findings, the scientists have proposed that the upper levels of rising sea levels in the IPCC reports are too low and the IPCC hasn’t taken historical data into account thus calling for more urgent and active measures to stop the global temperatures from rising.

Energy from Black Holes

Commonly known as a space phenomenon that sucks everything into a central singularity, black holes can emit radiation. Even though a typical perception paints an uncongenial representation of black holes, relativity’s general theory gives an extraordinary prediction. The theory of Einstein envisages black holes as an efficient and enormous source of untapped energy.

Unarguably, the most enigmatic celestial object, black holes, are now believed to be energy powerhouses. For several decades, astrologists and scientists have contributed to decrypting the mystery of black holes. Roger Penrose discovered that the development of black holes is a prediction of the theory of relativity. Stephen Hawking theorized the entire phenomenon “Hawking Radiation.”

Energy and space colonization

Populating space might be the highest frontier that humans have ventured on. The vision of large, manned habitats on the moon and or elsewhere in the solar system has so far been science fiction. However, new research hints towards the realization of the ultimate fantasy of every astrophysicist. According to a study at Colombia University and Universidad Adolfo Ibanez in Chile, the energy from black holes could be extracted through the charged plasma particles. These particles could be harvested right before the event horizon to extract that energy.

Luca Comisso, the research scientist at Colombia University, proposed the acceleration of plasma particles to negative energy, resulting in the possible extraction of black hole energy. The theory makes black holes the endless source of energy for possible colonization in deep space. The discovery makes it easier for astronomers to formulate accurate estimations and theories regarding the spin and emissions of black holes.

As far as the theory goes, human habitats in space seem like a reality. Asenjo, the coauthor of the study, postulated that energy extraction is possible because of the high relative velocity between captured and escaping plasma particle streams. Plasma energization is known to produce maximum efficiency due to the black holes “leak energy”. Leak energy is an accumulation of negatively charged particles in black holes reducing energy. Comisso’s theory is subjected to the polarity of the plasma shot against the spin of the black hole and not with the spin of the black hole.

Can the future have a celestial realization?

The discovery of black hole energy might just help us claim life in space. Researchers always believed that humans need watery bodies to survive and live; but the potential of black hole energy is changing the dynamics of life in space.

Earth Spinning

A common perspective is that one rotation of Earth on its axis is equal to 24 hours that make up to 86400 seconds. Did you know that the Earth’s revolution in the year 2020 was a millisecond faster than average? Not even the Earth’s rotation was left unscathed in the dreadful year of 2020. The year 2020 holds the record for 28 fastest days in the year, which means that the world experienced 28 shortest days after decades—and no, that’s not just a figure of speech.

The accelerating rotation varies all the time because of variations in the atmospheric pressure, winds, ocean currents and movement in the Earth’s core. However, these variations can be troublesome for the timekeepers who are responsible for setting the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The UTC is used to set clocks and whenever the astronomical time differs by 0.4 seconds from UTC; UTC is adjusted. 

Before the year 2020, scientists would add a leap second after every year and a half to keep the Earth’s spin and global time in line. However, the accelerating spin and shortening rotational time might result in the addition of a negative leap second. In other words, the scientist and timekeepers might have to subtract a complete second from the year to cater for the spinning speed. To elaborate, an average astronomical day is about 86400 seconds long, but the year 2021 would begin 0.05 second earlier than average day-length. Summing the entire time lag for 2021, the New Year would be 19 milliseconds shorter than an average year.

Even though it is a tiny margin, the lag indicates the increasing spin speed of Earth, making the scientists worry about the time in future. Scientists blame rapidly increasing global warming which has led to quicker melting of the glaciers. The speedy meltdown of glaciers leads to inappropriate and non-uniform distribution of mass.

There’s no doubt that global warming has disturbed most natural habitats, processes and ecology, but it could not be the only cause of the increase in spin speed. No matter what the factors and reasons are, the addition of a negative leap second could have catastrophic impacts on modern technologies. To avoid any disastrous consequence, some scientist suggests to let the difference between astronomical and atomic times expand until the addition of leap hour is required. 

The International Earth Rotation and Reference System Service (IERS) in Paris will make the final decision regarding adjusting time. Currently, the organization has not issued any report that would state the highly anticipated addition or subtraction of a new leap second. 

Human-made Biomass outweighs everything

Recent reports have revealed the massive impact of human beings on planet earth, as man-made products surpass all that exists in the world confirming the creation of a new geologic epoch called the Anthropocene.

Human Beings often hid behind the “we are just specks” in a greater galaxy when it came to the impact of their doings on the planet. However, a recent paper by Nature has revealed that global humanmade stuff now outweighs all living biomass.

From roads, smartphones, buildings, chairs, telephones to bricks, blocks and bottles, have now dominated most of the Earth. According to the stats, the humanmade mass totals up to 1.1 million metric tons. This amount means that biomass created by men now dominates most of the Earth, a result caused by modern development to urban society.

Plastic alone acquires more space than marine and terrestrial animals, statistically, double the weight. Whereas buildings and other infrastructure have surpassed shrubs and trees. In simpler words, the material created by man has become the dominant force in 2020 and will continue to do so. Thus, human beings may not be just a trivial speck anymore. Now that we are the principal force, it shows the power that we hold. With this power, human beings also become responsible for the resulting consequences.

“We cannot hide behind the feeling that we’re just a small species, one out of many,” says study co-author Ron Milo.

Human-made biomass from 1900 – Present

Scientists say that this increase was bound to happen at some time. However, the process of expansion of humanmade products sped up after 1900. In 1900, the Earth made up only 3% of the humanmade biomass, which means that the materials have doubled up within the gap of 20 years. The scientists say that most of the construction is in infrastructure, concrete, and asphalt used between World War II and the oil crisis of 1973. That was the time when first-world countries were actively building new estate.

In 2020, we are living in a reality that is much closer to Anthropocene. A new geological epoch where the humans are the dominant force, and that actions of every living person is driving the changes.

“It is an indication that, indeed, the transition happened and the name is appropriate,” Milo says

What it means for the future

The increase of humanmade biomass is not unexpected. However, the decrease of the total biomass on Earth is a cause for concert. The research shows that total biomass on Earth has declined about 1100 billion tons since the year 1900. This decline could be attributed to deforestation and extinction. In this case, the increase in manufactured products made by man is somewhat problematic for human health. If the speed with which mass is increased in 2020 persists, the humanmade products will increase three times more by 2040, eventually turning into waste and a threat to human life.

A Rare Commodity – Water Makes It To WSJ Futures Commodity

Water is all set to join the expensive commodities on earth like gold and oil on Wallstreet futures commodity. In an unexpected turn of events, water now sits next to the rare-valued items. 

 

Wallstreet futures commodity is a separate section where people in the relevant fields can bet on the price and worth of an item in the future. Earlier, rarities such as gold, copper, and diamonds acquired several spots. However, with water running scarce in many parts of the world, the Wallstreet Journal has added this to their futures commodity. 

 

This addition will allow the farmers, investors, and municipalities to bet on the worth of water in future. As water becomes a rare commodity for many, investors took this opportunity to bet on it by adding it to futures rare materials. CME Group launched the contract, which is tied to $1.1 B of California spot water market, according to Bloomsburg. 

 

The contracts were laid out in September, whereas the trading began on December 7. During the month of September, when the contract was initially laid out, California was experiencing high temperatures, long drought and scarcity of water. The deficiency of water in a developed country only hinted at more dangers to come across the world. 

 

Netizens are raging over Wallstreet journals’ addition of water into their betting services, as it may have a significant impact on prices of water in future. For example, in dry areas where water may be expensive during summers, people can offset the cost on futures commodity to reset the rates of water. However, this can work the other way around as well in order to reduce rates of water.

 

Patrick Wolf, the lead product developer with Nasdaq Global indexes, told CNN that this could be used for a good cause as well, as the contract will bring transparency to market pricing whenever water became scarce. 

 

“California has long periods of dry conditions followed by short periods of very wet conditions. And that affects the price a lot,” Patrick Wolf said. 

 

A report revealed by food and agriculture organization confirmed that around 1.2 B people in the world are experiencing a high level of water shortage. Another report confirmed the scarcity by revealing that the availability of freshwater resources per person has decreased by more than 20% in the past twenty years. 

 

“Climate change, droughts, population growth, and pollution are likely to make water scarcity issues and pricing a hot topic for years to come,” RBC Capital Markets managing director and analyst Deane Dray told Bloomsberg

 

Despite the rage and anger, it is a moment of truth of human beings. Water is becoming increasingly scarce in different parts of the world due to repetitive droughts, dry weather due to global warming, and heat. As the earth is ageing, the impact of human activities is speeding up the process of natural damage to the Earth, resulting in droughts and bad weather conditions.

 

Quintessence – A New Element That May Rip the Universe Apart

Every unexplainable event in Space is generally attributed to dark energy. So was the unexpected expansion of the Universe. However, many scientists suggest that “Quintessence” might be responsible for the expansion.

Generally considered as Space’s intrinsic element, dark energy has been found to form 68% of everything that exists in the universe. Fortunately, scientists now have a name for it.

To understand Quintessence, one must go back to the ‘Big Bang,’ that formed a universe. A blast, for example, blows up and then culminates into nothing by collapsing. Similarly, the universe was expected to collapse. However, there are three ways in which this could stop:

  • The gravitational force takes over, resulting in a Big Crunch.
  • Expansion overpowers the gravity, and universe freezes into a Big Rip.
  • Both the forces balance out one another, shutting down the collapse.

Making sense of Quintessence

First discovered in 1988 by Ratra and Peebles, the idea of Quintessence later matured into a whole concept in Robert R. Caldwell, Rahul Dave, and Paul Steinhardt’s paper in 1998. The authors breathed life into this hollow concept which was later considered as the fifth element by many scientists.

To explain the expansion, scientists’ first guess was that dark energy is something that inherently existed in Space. They implied that dark energy per unit of Space is fixed as a “cosmological constant.” However, not all scientists were on the same page. These were the scientists who first coined the term Quintessence, derived from the fifth element.

According to a cosmologist at Dartmouth College, Robert Caldwell, “Quintessence is a tangible medium that has fluctuations of its own,” and is a mix of matter and the cosmological constant.

Big Rip Vs the Big Crunch

When the Big Bang took place, the universe was hot, dense, and full of matter. It had anti-matter, energies, and radiations. Scientists discovered and made sense of many elements. However, missing out on Quintessence birthed many false theories.

The data collected since the year 1990 is proving that Big Crunch may not happen and a new matter that defines the universe in the 21st century may change everything forever.

Scientists have already predicted the final fate of the universe. According to cosmologists, the universe will eventually wrap up in a big crunch. However, the accelerating rate of expansion is contrary to all theories. The universe is swelling faster than ever, instead of crunching. Scientists now believe that a Big Rip is more likely to end the universe than a Big Crunch, and the mysterious element Quintessence would be responsible for that.

Cosmologists are still working on confirming the presence and impact of the fifth element; however, if the component does prove to be the force behind expansion. It would help scientists determine the fate and age of the Universe.