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The New Normal: The Impact of Climate Change on Nor’easters by City Tech Blogger Kristy Kim

Climate change is likely a major factor in the frequency and severity of the nor’easters this year. The increasing temperature of the ocean may provide more energy and moisture content for nor’easters to potentially intensify the rain and snow fall that can precipitate on the East Coast. The significant impact of nor’easters on affected populations in the U.S. this year alone, show that issue of climate change must be researched, as it can have a substantial influence on extreme weather conditions we face in the United States. Despite arguments about climate change and its link to the weather, ignoring the likelihood of this idea is impossible. Any significant changes to our environment can eventually affect our lives. Sooner or later we must adapt to any future climate changes in order to prepare ourselves for the uncertainty of this weather, and to reduce the risks it poses to society as a whole.

https://www.climate.gov/news-features/event-tracker/nor%E2%80%99easters-pummel-us-northeast-late-winter-2018

The current weather phenomena in every newspaper are about the recent string of nor’easters going up the coast of the Northeastern part of the United States. A nor’easter is a weather-related phenomenon with a strong area of low pressure on the East coast of the U.S., usually with winds from the northeast from the Atlantic Ocean. With every nor’easter, the possibility of heavy rainfall, snow, flooding, and strong winds can negatively impact affected areas and populations. According to an article on Weather.com, “The U.S. East Coast is an ideal spot for nor’easters, especially during the winter months. This is because the polar jet stream transports cold air southward out of Canada into the U.S., then eastward toward the Atlantic Ocean where warm air from the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic tries to move northward.” Essentially, nor’easters develop when there are differences  in temperature of cold and warm air on land.

In the month of March 2018, four nor’easters have affected the East Coast alone. Populations can be affected in a severe way, especially with the occurrence of multiple nor’easters, one after another within the same month. Many areas may suffer from power outages, which is potentially dangerous for those living in suburban areas that lack immediate resources in comparison to an urban area. The rain and snow affect most New Yorkers (and any area with a high volume of commuters); all methods of mass transit can be suspended or have extended delays due to the dangerous traveling conditions. Accidents on the road increase because    it is difficult to navigate due to the rain and snow falling and creating less than ideal driving conditions. Areas that may potentially be affected by nor’easters should be on alert and abide by the warnings and advice aired on local and national weather stations to stock up on food, stay at home if possible, and move to an area on higher ground if located near the coast (coastal flooding).

All things considered, the string of nor’easters that have hit the east coast are a clear indication more needs to be done to address climate change, regardless if you believe it actually exists or not. So while the weather continues to be unpredictable, areas like New York City will continue to come to a screeching halt because we as a society are too busy arguing instead of trying to figure out solutions. If we continue to be in denial, we can no longer say, “April showers bring May flowers” because we do not know what the weather will bring us.

 
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Global Warming Related To Extreme Weather and Possible Solutions by City Tech Blogger Lok Ting Wong

Some people may ask, what is the relationship between extreme weather and global warming? I can affirm the two components are indeed related to each other. Many extreme weather events have taken place all around the world, and recent data has shown extreme is more frequent and severe than ever before. As we know, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing each year. Carbon dioxide emissions do not only increase the temperature of the earth, but it also causes extreme weather events to occur more frequently in forms of prolonged droughts, heat waves, storms, and heavy snowfall. People use fossil fuels as an energy resource, and in doing so, more carbon dioxide is released into the air contributing to extreme weather events.  For example, the rise of sea levels, which is the result of glaciers melting because ocean temperatures have increased, or the high temperatures evaporating the water in the air causing rainstorms and floods to occur more often.

 

The graph above is the Global Temperature change from 1880 to 2016. The data shows how the temperatures have increased each year, as well as when record-breaking temperatures occurred.  There is no  evidence that the temperature will decrease in the future if people keep harming the environment. What can we do now in order to reduce the temperature? A simple solution would be to reduce energy consumption. For example, people should take public transportation or walk to their destination. The earth needs everyone to protect it. If people do not change their lifestyle and get out of their comfort zone, the earth will  get worse every year. If everyone  makes one small decision in order to protect the environment, the city will  get better too. It is the most effective way to prevent the extreme weather that takes place in our world.

Besides affecting the environment, extreme weather events can cause direct loss of property and human life. The graph above shows the number of natural loss events that took place  in the United States, and how that number of natural events has increased each year. This is a result of Global warming. The earth is the only place we can live; we should protect it, not to harm it. Therefore, if people want to reduce the natural events, everyone should do more in order to save our earth, such as  doing more geo-scientific research  so we can have a better understanding of  how to efficaciously prevent the environment from becoming worse and reduce the damage of these natural events.

Finally, we can see the relationship between extreme weather and global warming. If people keep harming the earth, the extreme weather will continue to increase and it will  cause a lot of damage to every human being on earth. People should find a way to reduce the increasing temperatures in our earth in order to reduce the extreme weather patterns. Therefore, everyone has the responsibility to protect our earth.

 
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Shell Maps Radical Plan for its Energy Future & Ours: HYDROGEN by ClimateYou Senior Editor George Ropes

Royal Dutch Shell gets it; other Big Oil firms still do not. Shell sees hydrogen gas providing 10% of global energy consumption by 2070, with many cars, trucks, and even airplanes running on hydrogen, despite the current enthusiasm for battery-electric vehicles. Shell is being pushed by activist shareholders to be more transparent and more environmentally responsible. The Anglo- Dutch firm plans to convert some of its natural gas plants to produce hydrogen. Shell sees the demand for oil stagnating in the 2020s, with natural gas declining in the 2040s, as governments mandate that many grids be powered 100% by wind, solar, and hydro. All the measures it foresees in its just released Sky scenario, will only limit global temperature warming to 1.7-1.8°C, which is under the Paris target of 2°C but above the aspirational target of 1.5°C.  The biggest impact governments could have on meeting the Paris goals would be to tax or price carbon by 2030. So, while Shell is relatively more enlightened than its peers, and recognizes that governments must complement energy industry efforts, it is vague on how it plans to achieve its ambitious targets, and it is silent on how to encourage its peers to match or exceed those targets. It is also silent on how to pressure governments to price carbon and curtail carbon subsidies.

 
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How My Academic Major Relates to Climate Change by City Tech Blogger Eduardo Bravo

I am an applied chemistry major at New York City College of Technology. In this field of study, multiple applications are used to solve the problems of the world, from synthesizing new chemicals, to using medicine, or creating energy. One of those applications is analyzing the pH levels in rivers, oceans, and other bodies of water.  By finding the pH level of a certain location, we can identify the materials that are contaminating the water  and figure out a way to stabilize the pH level, so it does not affect the  aquatic ecosystems.  At NYCCT, I am working on a project which uses Polyoxometalates and Porphyrin compounds to reduce metals in polluted water. Many nuclear plants pollute the water when they release toxic materials into the ocean or rivers, exposing the aquatic life to hazardous metals.  Our goal, as chemists, is to analyze the contaminated water to determine how to reduce the toxic metals and collect solid particles found in the sample. When adding a solution of polyoxometalates and porphyrin compound to water, we can observe metal nanoparticles in the sample. This will indicate whether or not the metal nanoparticles are present in the water so it can be removed Green chemistry is the branch of chemistry that has to do with climate change. Scientists are trying to create biodegradable material that people can use in order to decrease the pollution on earth. Chemists are highly involved in climate research because of their knowledge on the chemical elements from the periodic table. Many of the chemists are creating new ways to reduce CO2 and O3, which are the gases that are increasing the effect of global warming and create deadly diseases for humans. Other chemists are trying to find a way to reduce radioactive material, so certain locations do not end up like the radioactive Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

 

https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/styles/article_small/public/thumbnails/image/2017/01/23/14/gettyimages-72450926.jpg

 

Chemistry is a large branch of science that can be applied to anything, but the most important part of the discipline is it can be used to take care of our mother earth. As a chemist, I would like to work for a company that removes toxic materials from the water. For example, collecting liquid petroleum after a ship has spilled it out into the ocean, or decreasing the effects of radioactive material that affects all living organisms in nature. A promising discovery reported on in a recent story in ScienceDaily is about how physico-chemists at the University of Bonn have discovered a new way to remove the inert greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere with the help of laser pulses and then reusing the carbon as a basic material for the chemical industry.

 
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Long-term Urban CO2 Observations in Salt Lake City by City Tech Blogger Justin Brock

A new paper published in PNAS details a long-term study of carbon dioxide levels in Salt Lake City, Utah. Salt Lake City is unique in that it has an extensive network of CO2 monitors in place since 2004. Other cities such as Pasadena, California and Heidelberg, Germany for the last 10 years also have CO2 monitoring projects that include only one site in each city. Salt Lake City’s large network includes stations in the surrounding countryside for rural “control” measurements. This allows researchers to analyze CO2 concentrations over time and space with much finer granularity.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/03/in-salt-lake-city-suburban-sprawl-is-bad-news-for-climate-change/

One of the great takeaways from this study is that over time the development of urban sprawl will have a large effect on CO2 emissions. The researchers found increasing emissions was dependent on population density, particularly in rural areas. This is due to things like increased on-road emissions from vehicles. Urban and established suburban areas also saw population growth, but an increase in emissions wasn’t as high as the growth in population relative to rural areas. The findings of a growing population can lead to increase CO2 emissions is not groundbreaking, but it does illustrate how CO2 monitoring, on a more granular scale, can provide important data about CO2 emissions in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Monitoring allows for a more target approach that can help reduce the CO2 emissions more efficiently, cheaply, and quickly.

 
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