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Warning of 'Ecological Armageddon' After Dramatic Plunge in Insect Numbers

           

Flying insects caught in a malaise trap, used by entomologists to collect samples. Photograph: Entomologisher Verein Krefeld

Three-quarters of flying insects in nature reserves across Germany have vanished in 25 years, with serious implications for all life on Earth, scientists say

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Plos One - More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas

theguardian.com - by Darian Carrington - October 18, 2017

The abundance of flying insects has plunged by three-quarters over the past 25 years, according to a new study that has shocked scientists.

Insects are an integral part of life on Earth as both pollinators and prey for other wildlife and it was known that some species such as butterflies were declining. But the newly revealed scale of the losses to all insects has prompted warnings that the world is “on course for ecological Armageddon”, with profound impacts on human society.

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The Great Thaw of America's North is Coming

Vladimir Romanovsky crouches as he collects temperature recordings beneath the forest floor (Credit: Anthony Rhoades)

Image: Vladimir Romanovsky crouches as he collects temperature recordings beneath the forest floor (Credit: Anthony Rhoades)

bbc.com - Sara Goudarzi - October 17th 2017

Vladimir Romanovsky walks through the dense black spruce forest with ease. Not once does he stop or slow down to balance himself on the cushy moss beneath his feet insulating the permafrost.

It’s a warm day in July, and the scientist is looking for a box that he and his team have installed on the ground.

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Hurricane Maria Just Became the Latest Category 3 Storm

Satellite imagery of Hurricane Maria. NASA / AP.

Image: Satellite imagery of Hurricane Maria. NASA / AP.

theatlantic.com - Marina Koren - September 18th 2017

The Caribbean is preparing for another “dangerous” major hurricane less than two weeks after Irma struck the region, devastating entire islands, flattening homes and buildings, and killing more than 30 people.

The National Hurricane Center on Monday upgraded Hurricane Maria to a Category 3 storm packing 120-mile-per-hour winds with stronger gusts. “Additional rapid strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria is expected to be a dangerous major hurricane as it moves through the Leeward Islands and the northeastern Caribbean Sea,” the center said in its latest advisory.

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This is how your world could end

The 2014 El Portal fire burning near Yosemite National Park, California. Scientists have warned that rising global temperatures will lead to more wildfires in Yosemite and elsewhere. Photograph: Stuart Palley/EPA  theguardian.com - Peter Brannen - September 9th 2017

Image:  The 2014 El Portal fire burning near Yosemite National Park, California. Scientists have warned that rising global temperatures will lead to more wildfires in Yosemite and elsewhere. Photograph: Stuart Palley/EPA

theguardian.com - Peter Brannen - September 9th 2017

Many of us share some dim apprehension that the world is flying out of control, that the centre cannot hold. Raging wildfires, once-in-1,000-years storms and lethal heatwaves have become fixtures of the evening news – and all this after the planet has warmed by less than 1C above preindustrial temperatures. But here’s where it gets really scary.

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Nation's largest oil refinery forced to shut down as Harvey floods Port Arthur

money.cnn.com - Julia Horowitz and Jill Disis - August 30th 2017

The largest oil refinery in the country is shutting down as Hurricane Harvey causes more catastrophic flooding, and more have followed suit.

Early Wednesday, Motiva said it started closing its Port Arthur refinery "in response to increasing local flood conditions." The plant won't open until flood waters recede.

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Global fuel prices jump as Harvey's impact ripples beyond U.S. Gulf

reuters.com - Erwin Seba and Devika Krishna Kumar - August 31st 2017

Tropical Storm Harvey’s impact on the energy industry spread worldwide as flooded U.S. refiners and closed fuel pipelines threatened to squeeze national supply, roiling global fuel markets and rerouting millions of barrels of fuel to the Americas to avert shortages.

The storm, which lashed Louisiana with rain on Thursday, has pummeled the U.S. Gulf Coast, immersing Houston, Texas, and the surrounding area in several feet of water and forcing the closure of about a quarter of U.S. refining capacity.

Benchmark U.S. gasoline prices RBc1 and margins RBc1-Clc1 surged anew on Thursday.

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Fukushima: Robot Images Show Massive Deposits Thought to be Melted Nuclear Fuel

           

An underwater robot found solidified lava-like rocks at Japan’s destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant. Photograph: Supplied/AFP/Getty Images

Robot spots suspected debris of melted fuel for first time since 2011 earthquake and tsunami destroyed the plant

theguardian.com - Associated Press - July 22, 2017

Images captured by an underwater robot on Saturday showed massive deposits believed to be melted nuclear fuel covering the floor of a damaged reactor at Japan’s destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant.

The robot found large amounts of solidified lava-like rocks and lumps in layers as thick as 1m on the bottom inside a main structure called the pedestal that sits underneath the core inside the primary containment vessel of Fukushima’s Unit 3 reactor, said the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co.

On Friday, the robot spotted suspected debris of melted fuel for the first time since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused multiple meltdowns and destroyed the plant. 

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TEPCO Chair: Nuclear Plant Must Release Contaminated Water

           

Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s new Chairman Takashi Kawamura speaks during an interview at the TEPCO headquarters in Tokyo on Thursday, July 13, 2017. Kawamura said the utility needs to stop dragging its feet on plans to dump massive amounts of treated but contaminated water into the sea and make more money if it’s ever going to succeed in cleaning up the mess left by meltdowns more than six years ago at the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

abcnews.go.com - by Mari Yamaguchi - July 13, 2017

. . . Takashi Kawamura, an engineer-turned-business leader who previously headed Hitachi's transformation into a global conglomerate, is in charge of reviving TEPCO and leading the cleanup at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant. In an interview Thursday with selected media including The Associated Press, Kawamura said despite the massive costs of the cleanup and meeting tighter safety requirements, nuclear power is still vital for Japan's national security.

Below are highlights from the interview, where Kawamura spoke in Japanese:

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Carbon in Atmosphere Is Rising, Even as Emissions Stabilize

           

The Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station in Tasmania. Credit Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization

nytimes.com - by Justin Gillis - June 26, 2017

CAPE GRIM, Tasmania . . . For more than two years, the monitoring station here, along with its counterparts across the world, has been flashing a warning: The excess carbon dioxide scorching the planet rose at the highest rate on record in 2015 and 2016. A slightly slower but still unusual rate of increase has continued into 2017.

Scientists are concerned about the cause of the rapid rises because, in one of the most hopeful signs since the global climate crisis became widely understood in the 1980s, the amount of carbon dioxide that people are pumping into the air seems to have stabilized in recent years, at least judging from the data that countries compile on their own emissions.

That raises a conundrum: If the amount of the gas that people are putting out has stopped rising, how can the amount that stays in the air be going up faster than ever? Does it mean the natural sponges that have been absorbing carbon dioxide are now changing?

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Why People Have to Learn to Live with Wildfires

           

REUTERS/Noah Berger

CLICK HERE - STUDY - PNAS - Adapt to more wildfire in western North American forests as climate changes

grist.org - by Bobby Magill - April 17, 2017

Communities across the Western U.S. and Canada may have to adapt to living with the ever-increasing threat of catastrophic wildfires as global warming heats up and dries out forests across the West, according to a University of Colorado study published Monday.

Residents living in neighborhoods adjacent to forests — known as “wildland-urban interface” zones — will have to accept that many wildfires may have to be allowed to burn and that building new homes in fire-prone forests should be discouraged, the study says.

Firefighters and policymakers will also have to adapt in new ways as catastrophic wildfires burn more land and destroy more homes than ever before.

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