Browsing articles in "Environment"
May 23, 2012
Julia

Facts About Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy is a nonrenewable energy source. Read some interesting facts about nuclear energy.

– Nuclear energy is the energy that is liberated by the decomposition of a nucleus of two atoms or by combining two atomic nuclei into a new atom.

– At the moment, nuclear energy is derived from the conversion of mass into energy during the splitting of the atom. This happened after the famous formula, E = mc2, by Albert Einstein was introduced. The formula says: E [energy] equals m [mass] times 2 by c [c – speed of light]. That is, the released energy is equal to the difference of the masses multiplied by the square of the speed of light.

– Nuclear energy is increasingly referred to as acceptable energy source because it produces no greenhouse gases and the Earth is not heated, unlike other non-renewable energy sources.

– Nuclear energy is produced by a controlled chain reaction and creates heat. This heat is used for the heating of the water, the production of steam and for the operation of the whole turbine.

– Nuclear power plants need much less fuel than the power plants that use fossil fuels. For example, one ton of uranium is the same quantity of energy that can be gained from a few million tons of coal or several million barrels of oil.

– Nuclear energy is the nuclear fission of uranium, plutonium or thorium or the fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium. At the moment, most uranium is used.

– Nuclear energy was accidentally discovered by a French physicist, Henri Becquerel in 1896. He saw that a photographic plate was dark after it was stored in the dark next to the uranium.

– In the U.S., the nuclear power plants generate about 19% of electrical energy. This is equal to the total consumption of electrical energy in three most populous states: California, Texas and New York.

– On the 27th of June 1954, the Soviet Union’s first nuclear power plant is the Obninsk, where electricity was generated and was thereby connected to the electrical grid. It produced approximately 5 MW of power.

May 22, 2012
Julia

Where is the Earth’s Water Stored?

The earth from space is considered a blue planet. This is the color of the water that covers three quarters of its surface. Only the presence of water allows life. On Earth, water is abundant, with 1.4 billion cubic kilometers in total. However, the water on the earth is distributed unevenly. This is why there are many places where there is too much or too little water.

The total amount of water on earth is estimated at 1.4 billion cubic kilometers. Of these, 97 percent is good salt water, while only 2.75 percent (38.5 million cubic kilometers) is fresh water. Although our very early ancestors came from the oceans, the salty taste of our blood reminds us that the apple has not fallen far from the tree. However, we cannot we not live by salt water. We need fresh water.

A large freshwater is found on the Antarctic ice, with a total of about three-quarters of the fresh water (29 million cubic kilometers) in glaciers and ice sheets bound. The 98.5 percent of the liquid fresh water (9.5 million cubic kilometers) is stored as groundwater in the cavities of the lithosphere . And only a small part of it, the small amount of 144,000 cubic kilometers or 0.0001 percent of all water on earth is easily accessible in rivers and lakes, soils, living organisms, and in the atmosphere.

May 19, 2012
Julia

Earthquakes and Tsunamis

Geologists believe that the rising sea level will have implications that could be added more decisive than the weather. The additional weight of millions of cubic kilometers of water could cause strain on the weakest points of the earth’s crust, known as the lithosphere by experts.

This could precipitate earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and geological faults that cause local devastation and would send harmful gases and debris into the atmosphere. There are also increased risks of tsunamis. These tidal waves are generated by undersea earthquakes and can travel thousands of miles around the ocean at speeds of 800 kilometers per hour. They appear without warning and with waves up to 30 meters high.

Geologists predict that the volcano on La Palma in the Canaries could explode at some point in the future. The result could send a mega tsunami 500 meters high across the Atlantic that could swallow parts of the UK.

Global warming is a global phenomenon. Continents, countries, municipalities and communities could be thousands of miles away, but no one lives completely isolated. The impact of man’s irresponsible behavior and the resulting natural disasters affect us and affect everyone.

May 16, 2012
Julia

Methane: One of the Causes of Global Warming

Methane is another extremely potent greenhouse gas, ranking next to carbon dioxide. Methane is produced when organic matter is broken down by bacterias that are under oxygen-starved conditions or anaerobic decomposition.

Anaerobic decomposition is also processed in the intestines of herbivorous animals. With the increase in the amount of concentrated livestock production, the levels of the methane gas released into the atmosphere also increases.

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Methane clathrate, a compound that contains large amounts of methane that is trapped in an ice crystal structure is also another source if methane. As the methane gas escapes from the Arctic seabed, there will also be an increase of global warming’s rate.

 

May 8, 2012
Julia

Germany Promotes Wind Farms Offshore

Germany ‘s chancellor, Angela Merkel, will promote the construction of offshore wind farms and the expansion of the electricity distribution network in Germany within the framework of its policy of energy change, following the decision last year to abandon nuclear energy until 2022.

“We are currently preparing the legal framework for that goal,” Merkel said in the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper. Merkel also announced that the second major project of this policy is to expand the distribution network “for the north wind to come south”.

“We must work together to resolve some important issues about wind farms offshore,” said Merkel, who stresses that “the coming months will be crucial for the implementation of energy exchange”, which focuses on renewables. For its part, Liberal Philipp Rösler, wants to optimize the plan to accelerate the energy shift in Germany and consider “crucial companies to invest now”.

“I therefore propose to optimize the planning process for the expansion of electricity networks and build new power plants,” said Rössler. He also announced that the target will be at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition of the Social Democrats, Sigmar Gabriel, has accused the government of Merkel in failing on their project for the energy change. “Neither in the development of networks, building sanitation, or the promotion of renewables and energy efficiency have advanced a single step,” Gabriel said.

May 7, 2012
Julia

An increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere preceding the last defrost

London, England – The increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of the Earth may be a cause of rising temperatures that led to last thaw. An international team of scientists, led by American, Jeremy Shakun, has reached this conclusion after analyzing the causes of melting, which began 15,000 years ago and ended 12,000 years.

Previously, the data obtained of ice cores from Antarctica had hinted the relationship between carbon dioxide and temperature rise, but left no clear involvement of CO2 in the evolution of glacial cycles. Experts differed if carbon dioxide had a role in the last thaw, and if their influence was secondary or even if it was a result of melting rather than its cause.

This latter hypothesis is the fact that the Antarctic thermal growth began two thousand five hundred years before it began to concentrate carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. According to the study authors, led by scientist at the University of Harvard, Jeremy Shakun, this variation is due to fluctuations in temperature between the two hemispheres and questions the role of carbon dioxide at the end of the last ice age.

An analysis of 80 planktonic microorganisms on the planet who still have thermal data at the time, concluded that although there were other factors that favored regional Earth warming, the only thing that affected the entire land area was the increase in CO2.

Among the causes that helped also included solar radiation warming, rising sea levels or decrease in the ice sheet that covered the Earth. These researchers say that each of the two phases of thermal growth that occurred in the last thaw, the first 17,000 years ago and the second 12 thousand years ago, were preceded by a remarkable growth of carbon dioxide.

May 2, 2012
Julia

Canadian Lynx (Lynx canadensis)

Did you know?

That the size of the lynx population in North America is related to the abundance of their main prey, the hare? It is known that populations of both species fluctuate in cycles associated with periods of about 9.6 years. In these cycles, there is a slight gap between the populations of hare and lynx.

The Canadian lynx is a medium sized cat. It is smaller than its Eurasian cousin. The head-body length varies from 67 to 107 cm, and the tail is short with a length of 5 to 130 cm. These animals weight between 8.5 and 17 kg. On average, males weigh slightly more than females. Like other lynx, the Canadian lynx has a mustache. The ears are triangular at the tip tufts of their long hair black. The legs are very large and hairy, which helps to distribute the their weight when moving on the snow. The body coat is long and thick. Its color varies, but it is usually yellowish-brown. The top may look cold and gray, but the bottom can be brighter. Many individuals have dark spots. The tail often has rings and a black tip. 

The Canadian lynx is a solitary animal. The vast ranges of males and females overlap. The mating season is in February and March. After a gestation period of 9 to 10 weeks, the female gives birth to a litter of 1-5, usually 2-3 kittens, on fallen logs, rocks or similar shelters. Juveniles have a weight of 200 g. They are weaned at 5 months of age but stay with their mother until the mating season next winter. Females reach sexual maturity at 21 months and males at 33 months. The Canadian lynx feeds primarily on snowshoe hares, but opportunistically eat rodents, birds, fowls, young or weakened ungulates, and even fish.

May 1, 2012
Julia

Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)

Did you know?

That the Clouded Leopard has the largest canine teeth relative to body size of any of the cat family? The jaws of a Clouded Leopard can open more than any other cat and the development of the teeth is more like that of the extinct saber-toothed tiger, with canine teeth up to 5 cm long.

The Clouded Leopard named as such because their fur stains provide camouflage in its forest habitat. It is the most arboreal of all species of big cats and is one of the best climbers in the cat family. The Panthers nebulae are able to climb upside down underneath tree branches and hang from the branches with their hind legs. Several adaptations allow them to achieve tree capabilities: short and stout legs provide excellent momentum and a low center of gravity while climbing. Large feet with sharp claws let them get a good grip on the branches of trees. The long tail is very important to help balance. The hind legs have flexible joints in the ankles that allow the foot to rotate greatly. This adaptation allows clouded leopards to descend, like a squirrel, head of a tree.

Apr 27, 2012
Julia

Country Cricket (Gryllus campestris)

 

 

Did you know?

That the fable “The Ant and the Cricket” was written by the Greek poet Aesop over 2,500 years ago? In the fable, the cricket is representing lazy, careless people who indulge in foolish hobbies, and therefore lost.

The Country Cricket (Gryllus campestris) is a very popular and well known bug in the fable “The Ant and the Cricket” but almost never seen by the inhabitants of the modern city. Body size has a range from 19 to 23 mm in males and from 17 to 22 mm in females. They have a black body and wings that resemble an intricate wrought iron work. The color of the wings is dark black / brown with a yellow base on which you can see black veins. A modified area of ​​veins on the wings of the male, known as the “harp”, allows them to produce a “song” used to attract the female. The Country Crickets are not flying. They live in short grasslands, warm, with between 10 and 50% of bare soil. Males dig a burrow at the base of a clump of grass with a bare platform at the entrance from which they attract females with their “song”. Females locate singing males crawling along the ground to them. After mating, either within or outside the burrow, the female lays her eggs on the bare soil areas that have a lot of sunlight. The young nymphs hatch in July and August, and grow rapidly. In early fall, dig a den of hibernation and the nymph overwinters there. They feed on different seeds, other plant material or insects (dead or alive). They can be even if they are very hungry cannibals.

Apr 25, 2012
Julia

Fennec Fox (Vulpes zerda)

Did you know?

That the fennec fox is the smallest canid in the world?

The fennec fox is a very small animal with extremely large ears and a very pointed snout. The head-body length is 35-40 cm, 15-25 cm tail length, 20 cm tall at the shoulder and weighing 1-1.5 kg. The ears are 10-15 cm long, the eyes are large and black and has a very small black pad on the end of the snout is pointed. The fur is very soft and smooth, cream colored with whitish underparts. The legs are hairy. 

The fennec is nocturnal. To avoid the heat of the desert, they live in burrows during the day. At night, they go out to hunt rodents, such as spiny mice, hamsters or gerbils, insects, spiders, scorpions, snakes, lizards and birds. They also eat bird eggs, fruit and leaves.

Apr 9, 2012
Julia

Alinaranja Amazon (Amazona amazonica)

Did you know?

That Alinaranja Amazon male is eating for two, for himself and the female, while incubating the eggs and feed the pigeons? The male regurgitates the food for the female to eat it.

This medium-sized Amazon has a total length of 31-33 cm and a weight of about 300-470g. The plumage is mostly green with a yellow patch on the crown and cheeks. The blue color is separated from the front of the head, while the throat is tinged with blue green. The bases of the secondary feathers are orange. The central tail feathers are green, while the feathers on the side of the tail are green with yellowish green tips. The inner surfaces of the wings are orange red with dark green. The bill is horn in color, becoming dark gray near the tip. The eye ring is white-gray. 

During the day, the Alinaranja Amazon usually travels in pairs. However at night, they congregate in large numbers (often several hundred) to sleep in communal roosts. Like other Amazons, the alinaranja nests can be found in natural cavities of trees or in former woodpecker holes. A clutch can have up to 5 eggs. They feed on fruits, seeds, nuts, berries, buds and leaf buds.

Apr 2, 2012
Julia

Celebration of World Water Day

On the celebration of World Water Day, it is under the theme “Water and food security,” said Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. He also said that water is the “most important finite resource” that must be “used more wisely” especially in the coming decades.

According to UN data, 11%of world population (783 million people) lack access to clean water, of which almost 80% are from rural areas and 40% in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, the planet’s population is seven billion, a two billion increase in 2050.

The UN said that each person drinks daily from 2 to 4 liters of water, most of which is incorporated in ingested food that is consumed. To produce a kilo of beef, for example, it takes 15,000 liters of water, and for a kilo of wheat is 1,500 liters.

A joint study by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2015, 92%of the world population will have better access to drinking water, which is considered especially good for children as 3,000 children die every day due to diarrhea.

Moreover, a report by U.S. intelligence agencies said that drought, floods and shortages of fresh water could cause significant global instability and conflict in the coming decades. An assessment that reflects the consensus of federal intelligence says the risk of water conflicts cause wars in the next ten years is minimal, although it will cause tensions between countries and threaten to disrupt the national and global food markets.

But after 2022, says it will become more likely the use of water as a weapon of war or terrorism tool, particularly in southern Asia, the Middle East and northern Africa. The report is based on a National Intelligence Estimate of secrecy on water security, which was requested by the Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton and completed a few months ago.

Clinton says the flooding, shortages and poor water quality, combined with poverty, social stress, poor leadership and weak governments will contribute to the instability that could cause the failure of many states.