Coral Bleaching and the Paris Summit


Coral bleaching is happening now and globally! Bleaching, Acidification, Sea Level Rise, loss of sea ice…Climate is an ocean issue, which is why the Paris Climate Summit beginning Monday has to succeed. With the return of a strong El Niño in the Pacific Ocean and ever warmer seas, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has declared the third global coral bleaching event in history (the first two took place in 1998 during an earlier El Niño and in 2010 the hottest year on record until 2014 and now 2015). Coral bleaching is an indicator sign that the ocean is heating up. Overly warm water causes living coral polyps to expel the photosynthetic algae, called zooxanthellae that give them their varied colors and about 70% of their nutrients. If the bleaching lasts too long, the corals starve to death. After the 1998 bleaching 16% of the world’s corals were dead.

Ninety-five percent of U.S. corals, which are mostly concentrated off the coasts of Hawaii and Florida, are likely to be exposed to conditions that can cause bleaching in 2015 and 2016.

Tropical coral reefs cover less than 1% of the ocean, but they are home and nursery to 25% of all marine species; billions of fish, mollusks and other creatures rely on reefs for their food and shelter. Their wonder and beauty generates needed tourism dollars for many poor nations, and they act as natural barriers providing storm surge protection for many millions of coastal residents.

Unfortunately, they are especially fragile in the face of pollution, ocean acidification, overfishing and climate change. Most are not expected to survive this century.

There is some hope. Emerging science suggests coral reefs that are fully protected from pollution and overfishing are more resilient to the impact of climate change. That’s one reason a coalition of Hawaii-based groups is —> Read More

What You Need To Know About The Paris Climate Summit

On Nov. 30, more than 100 world leaders will gather in Paris in what many consider one of the last remaining attempts to squelch the growing scourge of climate change. They’ll be joined by many of the planet’s leading scientists, who for decades have urged countries to scale back the emission of greenhouse gases to stave off a slew of unprecedented consequences.

The meeting — the 21st Conference of the Parties, or COP21 — will feature talks from the leaders of the world’s worst polluting countries, namely United States President Barack Obama, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping and India’s Narendra Modi. Environmentalists hope officials will come away from the summit with a sweeping plan to curb emissions and increase investment in renewable energy without any negative economic impacts, because (good news!) climate action is a sound investment.

The conference comes at a dire moment. The world has shattered record after climate record, with 2014 ranking as the hottest year in recorded history. The planet’s glaciers are melting at the fastest rates ever seen. Underwater, coral reefs are suffering from an assault of bleaching, spurred by ever-warmer oceans.

All of these effects have prompted harsh warnings about the potential impact on humanity. Rising seas from melting glaciers could inundate some of the world’s largest metropolises. Warmer summers could force the evacuation of certain cities that may see days with a heat index upwards of 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

And yet, there is still time to act.

Those attending the meeting hope to hash out an actionable strategy to limit emissions below a warming threshold that, scientists agree, would ward off the worst of the predicted threats. That level — 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial temperatures —> Read More

UAE Launches NanoSatellite Outreach Program

Dubai, UAE (SPX) Nov 30, 2015

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has launched the NanoSatellite Outreach Program (NSOP), which provides the opportunity for all universities across the UAE to nominate a group of their students to design, build and launch a nanometric satellite in coordination with the Centre.

The program is primarily designed to enhance the capabilities and skills of university students from v —> Read More

The hottest white dwarf in the Galaxy

Tubingen, Germany (SPX) Nov 27, 2015

Astronomers at the Universities of Tubingen and Potsdam have identified the hottest white dwarf ever discovered in our Galaxy. With a temperature of 250,000 degrees Celsius, this dying star at the outskirts of the Milky Way has already even entered its cooling phase.

The researchers also were the first to observe an intergalactic gas cloud moving towards the Milky Way – indicating that gal —> Read More

The Ins and Outs of NASA’s First Launch of SLS and Orion

Washington DC (SPX) Nov 30, 2015

NASA is hard at work building the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems needed to send astronauts into deep space. The agency is developing the core capabilities needed to enable the journey to Mars.

Orion’s first flight atop the SLS will not have humans aboard, but it paves the way for future missions with astronauts. Ultimately, it will help NASA prepa —> Read More

Russia, Kazakhstan deciding on rocket carriers for Baiterek Space Complex

Moscow (Sputnik) Nov 30, 2015

Russia and Kazakhstan will decide which type of rocket carrier to use for the Baiterek Space Complex under construction within the next two months, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Friday.

“We decided to create a joint research group that will work over the next two months and give proposals on the most optimal rocket carrier to use that we have today, which is the Proton, —> Read More

China launches Yaogan-29 remote sensing satellite

Taiyuan (XNA) Nov 30, 2015

China’s Yaogan-29 remote sensing satellite was launched on Thursday at 5:24 a.m. from Taiyuan launch site in Shanxi Province, north China.

The satellite will be used for experiments, land surveys, crop yield estimates and disaster relief.

Yaogan-29 was carried by a Long March-4C rocket, the 219th mission for the Long March rocket family.

China launched the first “Yaogan” series —> Read More

American Nobel Laureates Feted at the ‘Oscars’ of DC


Our nation’s capital had the honor of feting the four American Nobel Laureates before they head to Oslo for the official celebration: Dr. William C. Campbell (Medicine), Dr. Aziz Sancar and Dr. Paul L. Modrich (Chemistry), and Dr. Angus Deaton (Economics). The Laureates and their families had a big day in fine tradition: first, a symposium at The House of Sweden where they explained (or more accurately, made their first of many attempts at explaining) the work for which they were awarded the prize. You’d never think that a Nobel Laureate would struggle with anything, but struggle they did… simplifying 40, 50, 60+ year careers down to three minutes is not easy! But, as our host, Ambassador, H.E. Björn Lyrvall said, this is only a practice round before the Laureates give their full lectures in early December. And it was a practice round for all those in the audience as well, to help us learn what it takes to be a Nobel Laureate and how their achievements impact our society.

The Ambassador of Sweden H.E. Björn Lyrvall, IFE Digital Ambassador Devika Patil, IFE Founder & CEO Coach Kathy Kemper, IFE Fellow Joanne Ke, IFE Distinguished Fellow The Honorable Dr. R. David Edelman, US First Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil and co-host of CNBC’s Make Me a Millionaire Inventor George Zaidan.

Then the Nobels all met with President Obama in The Oval Office, where they discussed their work and the situation of science and research in the U.S. Finally, they ended the day at a sumptuous black tie dinner hosted by the Swedish Ambassador, H.E. Björn Lyrvall, and the Norwegian Ambassador, H.E. Kåre R. Aas at the stately Swedish Residence. At the dinner, which all consider to be the OSCARS of DC, the Laureates poked fun at themselves and each other, but —> Read More

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