Climate Change: Warming Gas Concentration at New Record High
Concentrations of key gases in our atmosphere are leading to record high global temperatures in 2017 and 2018.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced there is no sign of any setback in this rising trend. In 2017, the carbon dioxide level reached 405 parts per million. This level of carbon dioxide was not ever seen in the past 3 – 5 million years. Concentration is different from emissions in a way that concentration represents what remains in the atmosphere after some of those gases are absorbed by trees, land and sea.
Since 1990 the warming impact of these gases on the climate has increased by 41%. In 2017 the increase continued which is at this point 46 % greater than the levels before the industrial revolution.
It is important to stress that the increase from 2016 to 2017 was somewhat smaller than the rise from 2015 to 2016. The impact of El Nino peaked in 2015 and 2016 which triggered droughts in certain parts of the world and reduced the ability of vegetation and forests in these areas, with more of it staying in the atmosphere.
The WMO scientists believe that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere right now has not been seen in a long time. WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said:
“The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago when the temperature was 2-3C warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now.”
NASA’s Mars Mission
The Nasa’s InSight Mars lander is on a near trajectory. Currently, the probe is in place on its quest to map Mars’ interior. Nasa’s Tom Hoffman said:
“Right now we’re looking really good, and we might be able to skip it…We’ll be working on the final parameters we need over the next few days, so while everybody’s off having turkey, there’ll be a bunch of people at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) making sure we land successfully. “
InSight launched from Earth on 05/05/2018 and it has to hit a “keyhole” in Mars’ atmosphere that measures just 24km by 10km. It is planned for InSight to come down on a landscape of Mars known as Elysium Planitia.
The task of atmospheric entry on another planet, descent, and landing is far from straightforward and two-thirds of all landing attempts on Mars have failed.
An EDL (entry, descent and landing) strategy must be perfect. The most recent effort from 2016 in Europe got it hopelessly wrong and instead of landing, it slammed into the ground. The USA’s Nasa, though, has a pretty good record. Julie Wertz-Chen, part of the InSight EDL team said:
“We’ve done everything we can to try and be successful but it’s a really, really difficult thing to do, to land on another planet. We never want to go into it saying ‘Oh yeah, no problem, this will work easily!’, because you just never know what Mars will throw at you.”
Dead Sperm Whale Found in Indonesia Ingested 6kg of Plastic
A dead sperm whale was found washed ashore in a national park in Indonesia and it had nearly 6kg of plastic waste in its stomach according to the park officials. Items found in the whale included four plastic bottles, two flip-flops, 25 plastic bags and 115 drinking cups.
The carcass of the 31ft mammal was found in waters near Kapota Island in the Wakatobi National Park.
Dwi Suprapti, a marine species conservation and coordinator at WWF Indonesia said:
“Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly awful.” It is not still possible to say whether the wale died due to plastics in his system.
In a tweet, WWF Indonesia gave the exact breakdown of what was found inside the dead sperm whale:
“Hard plastic (19 pieces, 140g), plastic bottles (4 pieces, 150g), plastic bags (25 pieces, 260g), flip-flops (2 pieces, 270g), pieces of string (3.26kg) & plastic cups (115 pieces, 750g).”
This is just another warning for everyone to be careful about our waste since we are not even aware of the larger impact this might have on all creatures on the planet.