The Oceans Are Warming Faster Than We Thought, a New Study Says

The planet’s oceans are warming a lot quicker than estimated, highlighting the perils of unchecked climate change, according to a new study.

New data published by the journal Science on Thursday, indicates that ocean temperatures have consistently risen since the 1950s and are rising 40% faster than calculated by scientists in a 2014 U.N. report. According to Lijing Cheng, one of the study’s authors, temperatures down to 2,000 meters rose about 0.1 degree Celsius (0.18F) between 1971-2010, according to Reuters. The fallout could include rising sea levels, destruction of corals, severe weather systems and a decrease in ice sheets and glaciers. According to the study, sea levels could rise by 30cm by the year 2100.

The earth’s oceans have absorbed more than 90% of heat caused by greenhouse gases trapped in the atmosphere, according to the New York Times, making them a vital regulator for the planet’s thermostat. However, their role was relatively unnoticed because of insufficient and imprecise data. The new study analyzed earlier published information and data compiled by Argo, an international system of nearly 4,000 floats that measures temperature and saline levels in the upper parts of the world’s oceans.

The study is the latest in a number of warnings from the scientific community, urging people to change their ways and address global warming. In October 2018, a report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that the planet has only until 2030 to avoid devastating climate change effects. Governments are becoming more aware of their responsibilities, with almost 200 nations pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the 2015 Paris climate accord.

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Source:: Time – Science


The Hubble Space Telescope’s Main Camera Is Suffering Tech Problems

(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) — The Hubble Space Telescope’s premier camera has shut down.

NASA says the camera suspended operations Tuesday because of a hardware problem. Hubble’s three other science instruments are still working fine, with celestial observations continuing.

This third incarnation of the camera was installed by spacewalking shuttle astronauts in 2009. NASA says the camera has backup electronics that could be called into action, if necessary.

The camera has captured stunning images of stars, galaxies stretching far back in time and assisted in deep sky surveys. It’s also studied objects in our own solar system, discovering some of the tiny moons around Pluto, as well as a 14th moon around Neptune. It takes pictures in both visible and ultraviolet light, as well as near infrared.

The telescope was launched in 1990.

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Source:: Time – Science


IBM Wants to Use Your Data to Create Hyper-Accurate Weather Forecasts

IBM on Tuesday unveiled a global weather modeling system that will combine data from smartphones and aircraft to produce what it says will be hyper-accurate local forecasts.

The system, called the IBM Global High-Resolution Atmospheric Forecasting System, or GRAF, will create a one-day forecast updating every hour at a resolution of 3 kilometers, or about 1.9 miles — a notable upgrade for many parts of the world. The company is pitching GRAF as particularly useful in industries that depend on accurate short-term weather forecasting, like agriculture and transportation, and especially in developing nations with less sophisticated meteorological infrastructure.

“This is the first introduction of crowdsourced data, and to me, it’s really opening a new era equivalent to what happened when we got satellite data in the 1980s,” says Mary Glackin, VP of Weather Business Solutions at IBM. “Cell phone pressures are the start of this, but one could imagine data coming off of vehicles, smart buildings, even wearables doing into the future.”

GRAF forecasts will be created in part with location and atmospheric pressure data collected from smartphones running The Weather Channel app. (IBM acquired that app along with the rest of The Weather Company, minus the TV channel, in 2016.) That data collection will be opt-in, meaning IBM is betting that at least some of the world’s approximately 2.5 billion smartphone users will be willing to share with it some of their most sensitive information. That’s a gamble, especially at a time when many people are rethinking the amount of information they hand over to technology companies.

Indeed, there may be good reason to take pause. The City of Los Angeles on Thursday filed suit against The Weather Company, alleging that it shared and profited from information collected by The Weather Channel app. IBM has denied wrongdoing. “The Weather Company has always been transparent with use of location data; the disclosures are fully appropriate, and we will defend them vigorously,” the company said in a statement about the suit. Other weather apps have also faced questions over their handling of users’ location data.

Still, IBM won’t require that users submit data for crunching by GRAF to access the forecasts it creates; they will be available to all users across a range of the company’s websites and apps. And despite recent missteps by technology companies like Facebook, tech users have shown a willingness to trade their personal data for a service …read more

Source:: Time – Science