Hexbyte Glen Cove More record-smashing heat forecast as Canada, US northwest bake thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove More record-smashing heat forecast as Canada, US northwest bake

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A man cools off in the Salmon Street springs fountain in Portland, Oregon on June 28, 2021, as a heatwave moves over much of the United States.

Schools and COVID-19 vaccination centers closed Monday while community cooling centers opened as western Canada and parts of the western United States baked in an unprecedented heat wave that broke several temperature records.

Lytton in British Columbia broke the record for Canada’s all-time high Monday, with a temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit (47.9 degrees Celsius), just one day after the village set the previous record at 116 degrees.

Temperatures in the US Pacific Northwest cities of Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington reached levels not seen since record-keeping began in the 1940s: 115 degrees in Portland and 108 in Seattle, according to the National Weather Service.

“It’s a desert —very dry and hot,” David Phillips, a senior climatologist for Environment Canada, told AFP.

“We are the second coldest country in the world and the snowiest,” he said. “We often see cold snaps and blizzards but not often do we talk about hot weather like this.”

“Dubai would be cooler than what we’re seeing now.”

The extreme heat, combined with intense drought, created the perfect conditions for several fires to break out over the weekend, and one blaze on the California-Oregon border had already burned some 600 hectares (1,500 acres) by Monday morning.

Climate change is causing record-setting temperatures to become more frequent. Globally, the decade to 2019 was the hottest recorded, and the five hottest years have all occurred within the last five years.

“Normally it’s probably like, maybe 60, 70 degrees is a great day—everybody is outside in shorts and T-shirts—but this is… ridiculous,” one Seattle resident told AFP Sunday, when the mercury hit 104 Fahrenheit. “I feel like I’m in the desert or something.”

Oregon’s biggest city, Portland, hit 44.4 degrees Celsius (112 degrees Fahrenheit).

Amazon opened part of its Seattle headquarters to the public as a cooling-off location Monday, with space available for 1,000 people.

Most homes in the city—usually known for its cool and wet climate—do not have air conditioning.

Residents in Portland also found refuge in cooling centers set up by local authorities, resting on mattresses and folding chairs.

In nearby Eugene, organizers were forced to postpone the final day of the US Olympic track and field trials, moving afternoon events to the evening.

‘Prolonged, dangerous and historic’

Across the border in Canada, stores sold out of portable air conditioners and fans, while cities opened emergency cooling centers and outreach workers handed out bottles of water and hats as more than 160 local heat records were set, including in the ski resort town of Whistler.

Several COVID-19 vaccination clinics were canceled and schools announced they would close due to the .

In Vancouver, officials set up temporary water fountains and misting stations on street corners, while forest and fisheries services warned of extreme wildfire risks and low lake and river water levels impacting fish.

Beaches and pools were packed while emergency services, overwhelmed with calls, warned of delays for ambulances.

Cities have opened emergency cooling centers as the mecury soars across the Pacific Northwest.

Several people without cooling at home told AFP they slept overnight in their air conditioned cars or in underground parking garages, some with their pets.

Others shared instructions on how to assemble makeshift chillers using a fan attached to a box filled with bags of ice.

Environment Canada issued alerts for British Columbia, Alberta, and parts of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon and the Northwest Territories, saying the “prolonged, dangerous and historic heat wave will persist through this week.”

The NWS issued a similar warning, saying Monday the “dangerous,” “oppressive” and “unprecedented” heat would stick around in the region until midweek.

“Residents are urged to stay in air-conditioned buildings, avoid strenuous outdoor activities, drink plenty of water, and check on family members/neighbors.”

The scorching heat has been blamed on a high-pressure ridge trapping warm air in the region.

This heat dome poses “serious” health concerns, said Phillips, noting the last major heatwave in Canada left nearly 70 people dead in 2018.

“And it’s not just a one-day wonder. It’s a seven-day kind of thing,” he said, with temperatures forecast to reach 47 degrees Celsius (117 Fahrenheit) or higher.

Nick Bond, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington, said the freak weather event was not entirely due to , but was exacerbated by it.

“Climate change is a factor here, but definitely a secondary one,” he said.



© 2021 AFP

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More record-smashing heat forecast as Canada, US northwest bake (2021, June 29)
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Hexbyte Glen Cove Icebergs as tall as Eiffel Tower once flowed past Outer Banks to Florida, study finds thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Icebergs as tall as Eiffel Tower once flowed past Outer Banks to Florida, study finds

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Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

A series of mysterious lines carved on the seafloor off North Carolina’s Outer Banks have been identified as “highly unexpected” proof that icebergs once filled the horizon along the East Coast.

It is believed the massive chunks of ice drifted up to 5,000 miles from Canada, and could be seen as far south as the Florida Keys, according to research supported by the U.S. Geological Survey.

“When you think of the Florida Keys, icebergs are probably not the first things that come to mind,” the USGS wrote on Facebook. “But over 30,000 years ago, towering, bright white chunks of ice drifted south from the Hudson Bay in Canada, past Cape Hatteras in North Carolina, and all the way to the Florida Keys … These icebergs were enormous. Measuring about 300 meters, they were similar in stature to the Eiffel Tower.”

The research, published June 16 in Nature Communications, used high-resolution seafloor mapping to find nearly 700 “scours” plowed into the seafloor. Photos show the lines are not unlike the ancient geoglyphs carved 2,000 years ago in Peru’s Nazca Desert.

They appeared at depths of 557 feet of 1,246 feet, according to The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, which worked with the USGS on the research.

“To figure out when and why these icebergs ended up in unexpected waters, a team of researchers sailed a boat to South Carolina and extracted long, skinny tubes of sand, mud and shells from the seafloor,” the USGS reported.

“The scientists used on the tiny shells (foraminifera) in the sediment to figure out when the icebergs left their mark on the seafloor.”

The rough estimate for timing is about 31,000 years ago, during a “period of massive iceberg discharge known as Heinrich Event 3,” the report states.

Among the more mysterious parts of the discovery is the fact that icebergs were flowing south against the Gulf Stream, the report states. That led researchers to conclude a “large scale but brief” flood of melted ice water was powerful enough to sweep the ice along.

The icy current also helped the icebergs survive long enough to reach subtropical areas, the study found.

“What our model suggests is that these icebergs get caught up in the currents created by glacial melt water, and basically surf their way along the coast,” according to Alan Condron, a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution climate modeler who worked with USGS geologist Jenna Hill on the research.

“When a large glacial lake dam breaks, and releases huge amounts of fresh water into the ocean, there’s enough water to create these strong coastal currents that basically move the icebergs in the opposite direction to the Gulf Stream, which is no easy task,” Condron said.

The data suggests melting icebergs may have a big impact on climate change, the report concluded. A glut of cold carried by the ocean current could “significantly weaken … the amount of heat transported north by the ocean (current) … increasing the chance that Europe could get much colder,” the researchers wrote.



©2021 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Icebergs as tall as Eiffel Tower once flowed past Outer Banks to Florida, study finds (2021, June 29)

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Hexbyte Glen Cove New type of metasurface allows unprecedented laser control thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove New type of metasurface allows unprecedented laser control

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The shape of the laser beam can be fully controlled to project a complex hologram, such as the one above. Credit: Christina Spägele/Harvard SEAS

The ability to precisely control the various properties of laser light is critical to much of the technology that we use today, from commercial virtual reality (VR) headsets to microscopic imaging for biomedical research. Many of today’s laser systems rely on separate, rotating components to control the wavelength, shape and power of a laser beam, making these devices bulky and difficult to maintain.

Now, researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a single that can effectively tune the different properties of light, including wavelength, without the need of additional optical components. The metasurface can split light into multiple beams and control their shape and intensity in an independent, precise and power-efficient way.

The research opens the door for lightweight and efficient optical systems for a range of applications, from quantum sensing to VR/AR headsets.

“Our approach paves the way to new methods to engineer the emission of optical sources and control multiple functions, such as focusing, holograms, polarization, and beam shaping, in parallel in a single metasurface,” said Federico Capasso, the Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering at SEAS and senior author of the paper.

The research was published recently in Nature Communications.

The tunable laser has just two components—a and a reflective metasurface. Unlike previous metasurfaces, which relied on a network of individual pillars to control light, this surface uses so-called supercells, groups of pillars which work together to control different aspects of light.

The incident light can be split into three independent beams, each with different properties — a conventional beam (right), a beam known as a Bessel beam (center) and an optical vortex (left). Credit: Christina Spägele/Harvard SEAS

When light from the diode hits the supercells on the metasurface, part of the light is reflected back, creating a laser cavity between the diode and the metasurface. The other part of the light is reflected into a second beam that is independent from the first.

“When light hits the metasurface, different colors are deflected in different directions,” said Christina Spägele, a graduate student at SEAS and first author of the paper. “We managed to harness this effect and design it so that only the wavelength that we selected has the correct direction to enter back in the diode, enabling the laser to operate only at that specific wavelength.”

To change the wavelength, the researchers simply move the metasurface with respect to the laser diode.

“The design is more compact and simpler than existing wavelength-tunable lasers, since it does not require any rotating component,” said Michele Tamagnone, former postdoctoral fellow at SEAS and co-author of the paper.

The researchers also showed that the shape of the laser beam can be fully controlled to project a complex hologram—in this case the complex, century-old Harvard shield. The team also demonstrated the ability to split the incident into three independent beams, each with different properties—a conventional beam, an optical vortex and a beam known as a Bessel , which looks like a bullseye and is used in many applications including optical tweezing.

“In addition to controlling any type of laser, this ability to generate multiple beams in parallel and directed at arbitrary angles, each implementing a different function, will enable many applications from scientific instrumentation to augmented or virtual reality and holography,” said Capasso.



More information:
Christina Spägele et al, Multifunctional wide-angle optics and lasing based on supercell metasurfaces, Nature Communications (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-24071-2

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New type of metasurface allows unprecedented laser control (2021, June 29)
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Hexbyte Glen Cove World's smallest hog released into wild in India by conservationists thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove World’s smallest hog released into wild in India by conservationists

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A dozen of the world’s smallest pigs have been released into the wild in northeastern India as part of a conservation programme to boost their population.

A dozen of the world’s smallest pigs have been released into the wild in northeastern India as part of a conservation programme to boost the population of a species once thought to have become extinct.

The pygmy hog, which has the scientific name porcula salvania, lives in tall, wet grasslands and was once found along plains on the Himalayan foothills in India, Nepal and Bhutan.

Its declined in the 1960s, leading to fears it had become extinct until it was rediscovered in India’s northeastern state of Assam in 1971, conservationists say.

By 1993, it was only found in a few pockets of Assam’s Manas National Park, which borders Bhutan.

The Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme, involving several organisations including from state and national governments, established a captive breeding scheme with six hogs in 1996 to try and revive their population.

“This time we are releasing 12 pygmy hogs including seven male and five female,” the programme’s field scientist Dhritiman Das told AFP at the release site in Manas National Park on Saturday.

Eight of the hogs were released in Manas on Tuesday and four more on Saturday. Some 14 were released last year.

The programme looks after around 70 captive hogs and is breeding more to be released.

The pygmy hog, which has the scientific name porcula salvania, lives in tall, wet grasslands.

The past week’s releases take the number of pigs reintroduced into the wild by the programme to 142.

The wild population is estimated to be less than 250, conservationists say.

“In next four years, we target to release 60 hogs… so that they can build their own population in the wild,” Das added.

The programme has also sought to rehabilitate the grasslands home to the tiny creatures, which measure about 25 centimetres (9.8 inches) in height and 65 centimetres in length and weigh around 8-9 kilogrammes (17.6-19.8 pounds).

The species’ survival has been threatened by the loss and degradation of its habitats due to such as settlement and agriculture, and the improper management of such areas, experts say.



© 2021 AFP

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World’s smallest hog released into wild in India by conservationists (2021, June 27)
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Hexbyte Glen Cove Portland records hottest day ever amid Northwest scorcher thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Portland records hottest day ever amid Northwest scorcher

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People gather at the Sandy River Delta, in Ore., to cool off during the start of what should be a record-setting heat wave on June 25, 2021. The Pacific Northwest sweltered Friday as a historic heat wave hit Washington and Oregon, with temperatures in many areas expected to top out 25 to 30 degrees above normal in the coming days. Credit: Dave Killen/The Oregonian via AP

Utility workers and wildlife managers across the Pacific Northwest were trying to keep people and animals safe Saturday as a historic heat wave scorched the region, toppling records and sending residents searching for relief.

Stores sold out of portable air conditioners and fans, hospitals canceled outdoor vaccination clinics, cities opened cooling centers, baseball teams canceled or moved up weekend games, and utilities braced for possible power outages.

Portland, Oregon, had the hottest day ever recorded—reaching 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42.2 degrees Celsius) Saturday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. The previous record for Oregon’s largest city was 107 F (41.7 C), a mark hit in 1965 and 1981.

Seattle reached 101 F (38.3), making it the hottest June day on record and only the fourth time in recorded history the usually temperate city had topped 100 degrees.

Other cities and towns from eastern Washington state to southern Oregon were also expected to break records, with temperatures in many areas expected to top out up to 30 degrees above normal.

It’s a dangerous forecast for a region accustomed to mild weather, and where many don’t have air conditioning.

James Bryant, a Seattle resident, picked up an air conditioner in anticipation of the extreme heat.

Heat waves distort a street scene in the Sodo neighborhood of Seattle on Wednesday., June 23, 2021. It’s been an unseasonably hot June in the Seattle area, and warmer temperatures are on the way, forecast to last into next week. Credit: Amanda Snyder/The Seattle Times via AP

“My house is already hot, and so with the added heat over the next few days, I’ve got kids. I got to make sure they don’t get too hot as well,” Bryant said. “It seems to be a trend … So I’m not sure what’s driving it, but it’s not fun, that’s for sure.”

The hot weather had berry farmers scrambling to pick crops before they rot on the vine and fisheries managers working to keep endangered sockeye salmon safe from too-warm river water.

Officials in Multnomah County, Oregon were asking for volunteers to help staff cooling centers as older people, homeless residents and others struggled with the heat. Cascades Street Outreach, an advocacy group for people experiencing homelessness, was going to homeless camps in the region to encourage people to use the cooling centers.

Peter Tiso, who works with Multnomah County’s Joint office of Homeless Services, told the Oregonian/OregonLive.com that the Oregon Convention Center can hold about 300 people, but no one will be turned away from the cooling shelter. The shelter also allows pets, he said.

Sarah O’Sell transports her new air conditioning unit to her nearby apartment on a dolly in Seattle on Friday, June 25, 2021. O’Sell snagged one of the few AC units available at the Junction True Value Hardware as Pacific Northwest residents brace for an unprecedented heat wave that has temperatures forecasted in triple-digits. Credit: AP Photo/Manuel Valdes

“We don’t want anyone to be making the dangerous decision between leaving their pet behind or not,” he said.

Unusually hot weather was expected to extend into next week for much of the region.

Columbia Basin fisheries managers are worried about how the heat wave will affect endangered Snake River sockeye and other species of protected salmon.

State, tribal and are trying to mitigate rising in the lower Snake River, the Lewiston Tribune reported, in part by releasing 42 F (5.56 C) water from Idaho’s Dworshak Reservoir. They began releasing the water earlier this week, hoping to keep the water temperature at the Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River at or below 68 F (20 C). Officials fear a repeat of 2015, when water temperatures in Columbia and Snake river reservoirs reached lethal levels for sockeye salmon.

Grant Holloway wins the first heat in the men’s 400-meter hurdles at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials Friday, June 25, 2021, in Eugene, Ore. Credit: AP Photo/Ashley Landis

In eastern Washington, berry farmer Jason Morrell said the sun was rapidly drying out his strawberries, leaving them at risk of rotting if they aren’t picked fast. Morrell, the owner of Walters’ Fruit Ranch near Spokane, told television station KREM that normally farmers have about three weeks to get their strawberry crop picked. With Spokane expected to reach 109 F (42.78 C) on Monday, he expects to have just a few days to get the job done.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee lifted COVID-19 capacity restrictions on publicly owned or operated and non-profit cooling centers in light of the heat. Capacity is currently limited to 50% until the state fully reopens next Wednesday. In Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown suspended capacity limits for movie theaters and shopping malls—places with air-conditioning—as well as swimming pools ahead of a statewide reopening Wednesday.

In Seattle, a few new city lifeguards went through last-minute training at a beach on Lake Washington. Case Berrysmith has been a lead lifeguard for 15 years. This is the hottest stretch he has ever seen.

  • Thea DeBroux , left to right, Matthew Ryan, Anna Matsumoto and Maia Buswell enjoy the water at Lake Union Park, Thursday, June 24, 2021 in Seattle. The Pacific Northwest sweltered Friday and braced for even hotter weather through the weekend as a historic heat wave hit Washington and Oregon, with temperatures in many areas expected to top out up to 30 degrees above normal. Credit: Amanda Snyder/The Seattle Times via AP
  • A family orders ice cream at a food truck on Friday, June, 25, 2021, in the Sellwood neighborhood of Portland, Ore. The Pacific Northwest sweltered Friday as a historic heat wave hit Washington and Oregon, with temperatures in many areas expected to top out 25 to 30 degrees above normal in the coming days. Credit: AP Photo/Sara Cline
  • A chalk drawing on the sidewalk in a residential neighborhood in Southeast Portland, Ore., Friday, June 25, 2021, represents a funny take on how hot the temperature is supposed to be during the weekend. The Pacific Northwest sweltered Friday as a historic heat wave hit Washington and Oregon, with temperatures in many areas expected to top out 25 to 30 degrees above normal in the coming days. Credit: AP Photo/Sara Cline
  • Carl Goodwin, manager of Seattle Sausage, takes a water break while selling bottles of water to baseball fans leaving the Mariners game on a warm Wednesday afternoon, June 23, 2021, in the SoDo neighborhood of Seattle. Forecasts say extreme heat will roast the Puget Sound region from Saturday through Monday. Credit: Amanda Snyder/The Seattle Times via AP

“Most rescues are going to be over-estimated ability,” Berrysmith said. “Stay safe. Stay hydrated.”

The sweltering temperatures expected on the final weekend of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field trials in Eugene, Oregon, also prompted USA Track and Field to reschedule several weekend events to times earlier in the day to avoid the peak heat.

Roughly 3,000 people signed up to compete in the Ironman race in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on Sunday, when temperatures could reach a record 101 F (38 C). The triathlon includes a 2.4-mile (3.9-km) swim, a 112-mile (180-km) bike ride and a marathon run.

The extended “heat dome” over the Pacific Northwest was a taste of the future as climate change reshapes weather patterns worldwide, said Kristie Ebi, a professor at the University of Washington who studies global warming and its effects on public health.

“We know from evidence around the world that climate change is increasing the frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves. We’re going to have to get used to this going forward,” she said.



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Portland records hottest day ever amid Northwest scorcher (2021, June 27)
retrieved 28 June 2021
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Hexbyte Glen Cove Senate OKs bill to certify farm practices limiting emissions thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Senate OKs bill to certify farm practices limiting emissions

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In this April 5, 2021 file photo, farmer Rick Clifton drives a spray tractor across one of his fields, applying herbicide to cover crops that occupied the ground during fall and winter in Orient, Ohio. The U.S. Senate has approved a measure intended to encourage greater use of farming and forestry practices that prevent greenhouse gas emissions and remove planet-warming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Credit: AP Photo/John Flesher, File

The U.S. Senate has approved a measure intended to encourage greater use of farming and forestry practices that prevent greenhouse gas emissions and remove planet-warming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

It authorizes the federal Department of Agriculture to create a program helping farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners earn payments through private markets for planting offseason cover crops, reducing tillage and taking other steps to lock up carbon in soils and trees.

“Solving the climate crisis is a critical challenge for all of us … and we are taking landmark steps toward supporting agriculture and forestry leadership in addressing this,” Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat and the bill’s chief sponsor, said Thursday before it passed on a 92-8 vote.

It now goes to the House, which is considering a similar proposal.

Federal policies have long supported environmentally friendly practices such as planting buffer strips to prevent soil and nutrient erosion that feeds harmful algae blooms in waters.

Some of those actions also work against climate change. Pulling marginal lands out of crop production, for example, can make way for carbon-absorbing grasses, trees and wetlands.

The National Academy of Sciences estimates agricultural soils could take in 250 million metric tons (276 million tons) of annually, which would offset 5% of U.S. emissions. If scaled up significantly, farm and forestry actions could offset the yearly carbon output from nearly 110 million automobiles, Stabenow said.

In recent years, companies wanting to shrink their environmental footprints have begun purchasing credits for carbon and other greenhouse gases stored in farmlands and forests, working through brokers who contract with farmers to use the best-management practices.

Under the Senate bill, the agriculture department program would certify those who provide technical assistance to farmers entering carbon markets—and third-party experts who verify that the emission-preventing steps are taken.

Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican who voted against the bill, argued the federal program wasn’t needed and could hamper innovation.

“It would insert the federal government into a market that is blossoming on its own, imposing burdensome regulation and picking winners and losers in the carbon credit marketplace,” Lee said.

Some environmental advocates contend voluntary actions by farmers won’t do enough to prevent climate change.

“Rather than embracing offset schemes, we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground and transition away from emissions-intensive agricultural practices like factory farming and large scale monoculture,” said Mitch Jones, policy director of Food & Water Watch.

But the bill drew support from other environmentalists—and farm groups which which they are often at odds.

The Department of Agriculture is “perfectly positioned to define science-based best practices for measuring, reporting and verifying agricultural carbon credits,” said Elizabeth Gore, senior vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Without the department’s involvement, it could be risky for farmers to participate in the markets and hard to determine whether the credits represent genuine emissions prevention, she said.

Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federatioin, said lack of access to reliable information about markets and a shortage of technical assistance have deterred some landowners.

The bill “acknowledges the potential of climate-smart farming while ensuring farmers would be respected as partners who can build on our strong foundation of environmental stewardship,” Duvall said.



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Senate OKs bill to certify farm practices limiting emissions (2021, June 26)
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Hexbyte Glen Cove NASA completes additional tests to diagnose computer problem on Hubble space telescope thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove NASA completes additional tests to diagnose computer problem on Hubble space telescope

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Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA

NASA is continuing to diagnose a problem with the payload computer on the Hubble Space Telescope after completing another set of tests on June 23 and 24. The payload computer halted on June 13 and the spacecraft stopped collecting science data. The telescope itself and its science instruments remain in good health and are currently in a safe configuration.

The spacecraft has two payload computers, one of which serves as a backup, that are located on the Science Instrument and Command and Data Handling (SI C&DH) unit. There are various pieces of which make up both payload computers, including but not limited to:

  • a Central Processing Module (CPM), which processes the commands that coordinate and control the science instruments
  • a Standard Interface (STINT), which bridges communications between the ‘s CPM and other components
  • a communications bus, which contains lines that pass signals and data between hardware
  • and one active memory module, which stores operational commands to the instruments. There are three additional modules which serve as backups.

Additional tests performed on June 23 and 24 included turning on the backup computer for the first time in space. The tests showed that numerous combinations of these hardware pieces from both the primary and backup payload computer all experienced the same error—commands to write into or read from memory were not successful.

Since it is highly unlikely that all individual hardware elements have a problem, the team is now looking at other hardware as the possible culprit, including the Command Unit/Science Data Formatter (CU/SDF), another module on the SI C&DH. The CU formats and sends commands and data to specific destinations, including the instruments. The SDF formats the from the for transmission to the ground. The team is also looking at the power regulator to see if possibly the voltages being supplied to hardware are not what they should be. A power regulator ensures a steady constant voltage supply. If the voltage is out of limits, it could cause the problems observed.

Over the next week, the team will continue to assess hardware on the SI C&DH unit to identify if something else may be causing the problem. If the team determines the CU/SDF or the power regulator is the likely cause, they will recommend switching to the backup CU/SDF module and the power regulator.



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NASA completes additional tests to diagnose computer problem on Hubble space telescope (2021, June 26)
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Hexbyte Glen Cove Hydrofracking environmental problems not that different from conventional drilling thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Hydrofracking environmental problems not that different from conventional drilling

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Shaded areas indicate some of those major regions producing natural gas in the U.S. In this study, researchers select four U.S. states to study that are located within important shale zones including the famous and prolific shale play – Marcellus. Credit: Syracuse University

Crude oil production and natural gas withdrawals in the United States have lessened the country’s dependence on foreign oil and provided financial relief to U.S. consumers, but have also raised longstanding concerns about environmental damage, such as groundwater contamination.

A researcher in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences, and a team of scientists from Penn State, have developed a new machine learning technique to holistically assess water quality data in order to detect samples likely impacted by recent methane leakage during oil and gas production. Using that model, the team concluded that unconventional drilling methods like hydraulic fracturing—or hydrofracking—do not necessarily incur more environmental problems than conventional oil and gas drilling.

The two common ways to extract oil and gas in the U.S. are through conventional and unconventional methods. Conventional oil and gas are pumped from easily accessed sources using natural pressure. Conversely, unconventional oil and gas are acquired from hard-to-reach sources through a combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Hydrofracking extracts natural gas, petroleum and brine from bedrock formations by injecting a mixture of sand, chemicals and water. By drilling into the earth and directing the high-pressure mixture into rock, the gas inside releases and flows out to the head of a well.

Tao Wen, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences (EES) at Syracuse, recently led a study comparing data from different states to see which method might result in greater contamination of groundwater. They specifically tested levels of methane, which is the primary component of natural gas.

The team selected four U.S. states located in important shale zones to target for their study: Pennsylvania, Colorado, Texas and New York. One of those states—New York—banned the practice of hydrofracking in 2015 following a review by the NYS Department of Health which found significant uncertainties about health, including increased water and air pollution.

Wen and his colleagues compiled a large groundwater chemistry dataset from multiple sources including federal agency reports, journal articles, and oil and gas companies. The majority of tested water samples in their study were collected from domestic water wells. Although methane itself is not toxic, Wen says that methane contamination detected in shallow groundwater could be a risk to the relevant homeowner as it could be an explosion hazard, could increase the level of other toxic chemical species like manganese and arsenic, and would contribute to global warming as methane is a greenhouse gas.

Their model used sophisticated algorithms to analyze almost all of the retained geochemistry data in order to predict if a given groundwater sample was negatively impacted by recent oil and .

The data comparison showed that methane contamination cases in New York—a state without unconventional drilling but with a high volume of conventional drilling—were similar to that of Pennsylvania—a state with a high volume of unconventional drilling. Wen says this suggests that unconventional drilling methods like fracking do not necessarily lead to more environmental problems than conventional drilling, although this result might be alternatively explained by the different sizes of groundwater chemistry datasets compiled for these two states.

The model also detected a higher rate of methane contamination cases in Pennsylvania than in Colorado and Texas. Wen says this difference could be attributed to different practices when drillers build/drill the oil and gas wells in different states. According to previous research, most of the released into the environment from gas wells in the U.S. occurs because the cement that seals the well is not completed along the full lengths of the production casing. However, no data exists to conclude if drillers in those three states use different technology. Wen says this requires further study and review of the drilling data if they become available.

According to Wen, their machine learning model proved to be effective in detecting , and by applying it to other states/counties with ongoing or planned oil and it will be an important resource for determining the safest methods of gas and oil .

Wen and his colleagues recently had their findings published in the journal Water Research.



More information:
Tao Wen et al, Detecting anomalous methane in groundwater within hydrocarbon production areas across the United States, Water Research (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2021.117236

Citation:
Hydrofracking environmental problems not that different from conventional drilling (2021, June 26)
retrieved 26 June 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-06-hydrofracking-environmental-problems-conventional-drilling.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Biologists discover that more intense predation in the tropics can limit marine invasions thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Biologists discover that more intense predation in the tropics can limit marine invasions

Hexbyte Glen Cove

To find out if predation changes the composition of the community of invertebrates, researchers enclosed some of the panels with a mesh cage. On the Pacific side of Panama, predation was greater than on the Atlantic side, and some species were only found in enclosed panels on the Pacific, rarely on open panels. Predation was also greater in the tropics than further north. The results of this study indicate that conserving the biodiversity of a site and protecting the predators may limit marine invasions. Credit: STRI

What makes a successful invasion? What keeps invaders out? Are some geographic locations more vulnerable to invasion than others?

Smithsonian marine biologists and colleagues at Temple University tested predictions about biological invasions, first in Panama and then in an experiment of unprecedented geographic scale. Their results are published in companion papers in the journal Ecology.

Night and day, oil tankers, yachts and stacked with shipping containers ply the 80-kilometer (50-mile) waterway through the jungles of Panama between the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean: about 40 ships every 24 hours. But even though the Canal is fed by freshwater rivers that empty through the locks on each end, a system that generally prevents fish and smaller marine invertebrates from hopping from ocean to ocean, some still manage to get through, clinging to the hulls of ships. Other arrive from far-flung ports, dumped with ballast water as ships prepare for transit.

“Panama is a major shipping hub that provides amazing opportunities to test key ideas about marine invasions by studying two very different oceans at the same latitude,” said Mark Torchin, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), “I can check sites in the ocean in front of my lab at the Pacific entrance to the Canal and then drive to the Atlantic coast in an hour to check sites there. Where else in the world can you do that?”

Since the Canal opened in 1914, the human population of the world has catapulted from 2 billion to almost 8 billion. And as people move around the globe, other organisms move as well. Fish breeders in the United States imported carp from Asia to clean their ponds; now Asian Carp have worked their way up the Mississippi River system to Canada, destroying natural bird and fish habitat along the way. Likewise, cane toads were introduced in Australia to control beetles, but because they have no there, toad numbers exploded. But most invasions are inadvertent, as animals (or viruses, for that matter) hitch rides on boats or planes.






“We have very practical reasons to test ideas about the success of invaders in different locations as we learn how to predict and manage invasions,” said Amy Freestone, associate professor at Temple University and research associate at both STRI in Panama and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Maryland. “With these paired experimental studies, we wanted to know if marine invaders are equally successful in all environments and how important predators are to keep them in check.”

First the team asked whether marine invaders are more successful in one ocean basin compared to the other. Is the proportion of non-native higher in the less-diverse Pacific compared to the more-diverse Atlantic as theory predicts? And is there asymmetrical exchange between oceans in Panama, with more species introduced from the Atlantic to Pacific than in the opposite direction?

To find out, they suspended PVC panels as habitat patches for colonization. About the size of patio tiles, panels were placed in the water at 10 different sites near each end of the Panama Canal. They waited for 3 months for marine invertebrates to colonize the panels. Then they removed these standard collectors, photographed the results and identified the species on the panels, classifying them as either native, non-native or species of unknown origin.

They found more non-native species in the less-diverse Pacific where there were 18 non-native species, 30% of all Pacific species, than in the more-diverse Atlantic where there were 11 non-native species, 13% of all Atlantic species. And there was a higher influx of invaders from the Atlantic to the Pacific than vice versa.

Along the way they reported 9 new non-native sessile invertebrates in the Pacific and 7 in the Atlantic that were previously unknown from these areas. One of the important contributions of this project was a collaboration with the Panama Canal Authority (Autoridad del Canal de Panama, ACP) and the Panama Maritime Authority (Autoridad Maritima de Panama, AMP), with support from Panama’s Secretariat for Science and Technology (SENACYT) to create an online database called Pan-NEMO of non-native species as part of the National Estuarine and Marine Exotic Species Information System (NEMESIS).

Mark Torchin, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and research manager, Carmen Schloeder, harvesting a sample of marine invertebrates in Panama. Credit: STRI

The team also combed through previous scientific papers, pulling together the cumulative record of all non-native marine species reported to date in Panama. They found the same thing: eight times more non-native species were reported from the Pacific than from the Atlantic in this area.

Next they looked for evidence of a concept called biotic resistance, the idea that, in biodiverse environments, it is harder for invaders to gain a foothold because they have to compete with the natives and survive alongside native predators. To test effects of predators, they compared caged and uncaged panels in two companion studies. They suspended uncovered panels, panels with mesh cages to keep predators out, and panels with mesh along the sides but open at one end at 3 sites per ocean, waited three months, and then identified the invertebrates and weighed them.

Predation substantially reduced biomass and changed non-native species composition in the Pacific, but not on the Atlantic coast. Some of the dominant non-native species were particularly susceptible to predation in the Pacific, supporting the hypothesis that predation reduces the abundance of certain non-.

Based on the results of the Panama experiments the research team secured funding from the US National Science Foundation to also test the idea that predation is stronger the closer you get to the equator and to find out how it impacts communities of marine invertebrates. To do this, they put out PVC panels, with and without cages at 12 sites in 4 regions: subarctic, Ketchikan, Alaska; temperate, San Francisco, California; subtropical La Paz, Mexico and tropical Panama City, Panama.

“These projects not only provide interesting data,” said Carmen Schloeder, research manager in the Torchin lab and co-author of both studies, “but also a great experience working for extended periods of time in different environments with collaborators from many different cultural backgrounds. I’m proud to be part of a diverse core team which includes many women: to be able to work with and learn from inspiring colleagues is an essential part of science. “

Results of the second experiment showed that indeed, predators closer to the equator were more diverse, predation rates were higher, predators were larger and they spent more time interacting with their prey. Predation is a much more important force in the tropics than further north. In the tropics, the effects of predators were obvious: they reduced the biomass on the plates and changed the composition of the organisms. In the North, this didn’t happen. Communities of marine invertebrates are hit harder by predators in the tropics.

“We show that predators are a critical component of these marine ecosystems, particularly in the tropics, and can limit the abundance of introduced species,” Freestone said. “Protect the predators—that is, protect these diverse environments—and you are protecting the world’s oceans from invasions by species that may radically alter the balance of marine ecosystems.”

“Healthy ecosystems resist invasions,” said Gregory Ruiz from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC). “Along with global efforts to reduce organism transfers by ships, conservation of native predator populations plays a critical role in biosecurity to prevent new invasions.”



More information:
Amy L. Freestone et al, Stronger predation intensity and impact on prey communities in the tropics, Ecology (2021). DOI: 10.1002/ecy.3428

Mark E Torchin et al, Asymmetry of marine invasions across tropical oceans, Ecology (2021). DOI: 10.1002/ecy.3434

Citation:
Biologists discover that more intense predation in the tropics can limit marine invasions (2021, June 26)
retrieved 26 June 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-06-biologists-intense-predation-tropics-limit.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Nanotech OLED electrode liberates 20% more light, could slash display power consumption thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Nanotech OLED electrode liberates 20% more light, could slash display power consumption

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

A new electrode that could free up 20% more light from organic light-emitting diodes has been developed at the University of Michigan. It could help extend the battery life of smartphones and laptops, or make next-gen televisions and displays much more energy efficient.

The approach prevents light from being trapped in the light-emitting part of an OLED, enabling OLEDs to maintain brightness while using less power. In addition, the electrode is easy to fit into existing processes for making OLED displays and light fixtures.

“With our approach, you can do it all in the same ,” said L. Jay Guo, U-M professor of electrical and computer engineering and corresponding author of the study.

Unless engineers take action, about 80% of the light produced by an OLED gets trapped inside the device. It does this due to an effect known as waveguiding. Essentially, the that don’t come out of the device at an angle close to perpendicular get reflected back and guided sideways through the device. They end up lost inside the OLED.

A good portion of the lost light is simply trapped between the two electrodes on either side of the light-emitter. One of the biggest offenders is the that stands between the light-emitting material and the , typically made of indium tin oxide (ITO). In a lab device, you can see trapped light shooting out the sides rather than traveling through to the viewer.

“Untreated, it is the strongest waveguiding layer in the OLED,” Guo said. “We want to address the root cause of the problem.”

By swapping out the ITO for a layer of silver just five nanometers thick, deposited on a seed layer of copper, Guo’s team maintained the function while eliminating the waveguiding problem in the OLED layers altogether.

“Industry may be able to liberate more than 40% of the light, in part by trading the conventional electrodes for our nanoscale layer of transparent silver,” said Changyeong Jeong, first author and a Ph.D. candidate in electrical and .

This benefit is tricky to see, though, in a relatively simple lab device. Even though light is no longer guided in the OLED stack, that freed-up light can still be reflected from the glass. In industry, engineers have ways of reducing that reflection—creating bumps on the glass surface, or adding grid patterns or particles that will scatter the light throughout the glass.

“Some researchers were able to free up about 34% of the light by using unconventional materials with special emission directions or patterning structures,” Jeong said.

In order to prove that they had eliminated the waveguiding in the light-emitter, Guo’s team had to stop the light trapping by the glass, too. They did this with an experimental set-up using a liquid that had the same as glass, so-called index-matching fluid—an oil in this case. That “index-matching” prevents the reflection that happens at the boundary between high-index glass and low-index air.

Once they’d done this, they could look at their experimental set-up from the side and see whether any light was coming sideways. They found that the edge of the light-emitting layer was almost completely dark. In turn, the light coming through the glass was about 20% brighter.

The finding is described in the journal Science Advances, in a paper titled, “Tackling trapping in -emitting diodes by complete elimination of waveguide modes.”

This research was funded by Zenithnano Technology, a company that Guo co-founded to commercialize his lab’s inventions of transparent, flexible metal electrodes for displays and touchscreens.

The University of Michigan has filed for patent protection. The device was built in the Lurie Nanofabrication Facility.



More information:
“Tackling light trapping in organic light-emitting diodes by complete elimination of waveguide modes” Science Advances (2021). advances.sciencemag.org/lookup … .1126/sciadv.abg0355

Citation:
Nanotech OLED electrode liberates 20% more light, could slash display power consumption (2021, June 25)
retrieved 25 June 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-06-nanotech-oled-electrode-liberates-slash.html

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