Antarctic Floods

Six BILLION tonnes of water have possibly been drained into the ocean due to a huge amount of flooding under Antarctica. The cause: a crater lake, covering about 260 square kilometres, almost 70m deep, of area that used to be layered  in a sheet of ice 2.7 km thick. The ice slumped as the water from the lake exited, in an area located towards the east of the continent, thus rendering the effect visible to satellites in orbit. Scientists estimate that at its peak, the flow of the water would’ve equalled twice that of the River Thames and the amount of water was more than is contained in the famous Lock Ness.

At the moment, Antarctica is losing mass at a rate of nearly 50-100 billion tonnes a year. This lake alone represents 5-10% of this figure. This is adding to the rise in sea levels, causing places such as the Maldives, to be evacuated due to their proximity to sea level. Holland is currently below sea level as well._68499321_68496473

 

KL Haze

Over the past week in South East Asia, you will no doubt have noticed the heavy haze hanging over cities such as Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, the effects of which have been placing countless numbers of people in hospital and closing schools all over the place.

The cause of this haze can be traced back to companies in Sumatra using slash and burn techniques to burn the rain forests down, rain forests home to over 10,000 plant species, and more than 200 mammals (UNESCO world heritage site – a 2.5 million hectare reserve alone.). Slash and burn is used by farmers in small areas of the forest, but it is currently being used by bigger palm oil industries in order to create palm oil plantations. However, the fires have been spreading and the Sumatran fire department is having trouble keeping them under hand. The fires are releasing countless numbers of carbon emissions into the atmosphere as well.

The result of which means that the smoke and haze is being blown up by a south west wind, falling directly over Singapore and KL. The quality of air, at its worst was 746 on the API scale. Also, June and July are some of the driest months of the year, and the lack of rain means the haze lingered. The annual KL marathon has had to be pushed back to September due to the unsafe quality of air.

I will, however, admit, that many student (including myself) were very happy about the extra 3 day holiday we got due to the haze!

Twin towers and central KL in haze

Twin towers and central KL in haze

Farting Cows

Most of you already know that cows are contributing to global warming with their incredible amounts of farts. Some scientists say that to stop this, the human population should stop eating so much meat and become vegetarians. Others suggest that we feed cows oregano (an aromatic herb, part of the mint family) based products. According to dairy scientist Alexander Hristov, feeding cows oregano based products reduces their methane emissions by 40%. Not only that, but it also boosts the cows milk production.  Methane, with  21 times more heat trapping and global warming potential  than Carbon Dioxide is a gas we should fear too. In 2006, the UN’s report showed Methane as the second most important Green house effect. So if you’ve got a Dad going around the house farting every second or two, feed him some oregano based products and tell him it’s for the good of our Earth.