Antarctica Faces a Trillion-ton Break off Iceberg

The giant ice chunk that broke off recently in Antarctica is one of the huge icebergs which were already being monitored by scientists for months.

This has created hazards for the many ships across the continent. The iceberg that was measured around a massive one-trillion tons, and was 5800 sq.km, broke off from the Larsen C ice shelf during 10th to 12th July.

 

Iceberg Observation underway via satellite by the European Space Agency

The iceberg had been reported close to down-calving for a past few months and this is why scientists kept a check on its progress via satellite throughout the winter season.

As per the professor of Swansea University – Adrian Luckman “The iceberg is one of the largest recorded and its future progress is difficult to predict,” Adrian was also a lead investigator of the MIDAS project and has kept an eye on the ice shelf for many years.

He further stated “It may remain in one piece but is more likely to break into fragments. Some of the ice may remain in the area for decades, while parts of the iceberg may drift north into warmer waters,”

 

The results of the Iceberg Break off

The ice is likely to increase the hazards and risks for various ships since it has down calved now. Unlike sea ice which is in thin layers, masses of ice are floating on the ice shelves. This ice is highly thick and is also attached to massive grounded sheets of ice. These ice shelves also act similar to buttresses, slowing down and holding back the movement towards the sea that actually feeds them.

“There is enough ice in Antarctica that if it all melted, or even just flowed into the ocean, sea levels [would] rise by 60 meters,” says geosciences professor at Imperial College London – Martin Siegert.

However, the iceberg break off is not likely to impact the sea level, no matter how dramatic it may look apparently.

 

“It’s like your ice cube in your gin and tonic – it is already floating and if it melts it doesn’t change the volume of water in the glass by very much at all,” stated Anna Hogg – Glacier satellite observation expert from the University of Leeds.

Since Antarctica has already struggled through the consequences of Larsen A collapse in 1995 and in 2002, the Larsen B collapse, all eyes and speculations are now turned towards Larsen C.

Professor of Earth Observation – Andrew Shepherd, at the University of Leeds, accepted it, saying, “Everyone loves a good iceberg, and this one is a corker, but despite keeping us waiting for so long, I’m pretty sure that Antarctica won’t be shedding a tear when it’s gone because the continent loses plenty of its ice this way each year, and so it’s really just business as usual!”

“We will have to wait years or decades to know what will happen to the remainder of Larsen C,” says Andrew.

With all the speculations, it is also believed that while there may be a continuous shedding of the iceberg at the ice shelf of Larsen C, it might grow again.

Donald Trump Aims at Mounting Solar Panels Wall on Mexican Border

With the rise in shares of many renewable energy manufacturers all over the United States, Iowa and Trump, first time, publicly described the idea that a 32,000 kilometre (1990-mile) wall along the Mexican border could be used as a solar power plant.

President Trump informed supporters that mounting solar panels – PV on top of the proposed border wall of Mexico will allow the solar project to itself compensate for the wall’s cost.

“We’re thinking of something that’s unique, we’re talking about the southern border. Lots of sun, lots of heat, we’re thinking about building the wall as a solar wall, so it creates energy and pays for itself. And this way Mexico will have to pay much less money, and that’s good. Is that good?” – says Trump

The scepticism against the proposed plan

Analysts have shared some reservations in relation to Trump’s proposed plan. They believe that generating enough power to cover the wall cost would take more than hundred years of these solar panels.

However, as per the analyst of New York Cowen & Co. Company – Jeff Osborne, the only possible reason for Trump mentioning solar power in these positive terms is all about giving a boost to various panel makers in the country.

In a research note – Deutsche Bank AG analyst – Vishal Shah stated that when it comes to the Mexican border wall, the solar power companies that are in the best position to win bids are Fist Solar Inc. and Sun Power, and both of them are founded and based in the United States.

As per the statistics;

First Solar closed at $38.42 i.e. 3.2 percent, after the earlier rise of almost 6.7 percent.

Brad Meikel – analyst of Coler & Palmer Inc. said that the rally is all about module prices than actually Trump himself. For many years, there has been a fall in panel prices. A month ago, the prices were in between 35 to 39 cents which have now climbed up to 41 to 43 cents/watt.

The idea of building solar panels over the Mexican border wall is the deliverance of the promises made by Trump’s campaign earlier.

Gleason is in hopes of good execution of the plan

As opposed to the reservations of many analysts, Thomas Gleason – managing partner in Gleason Partners LLC, believe that the wall will be able to generate enough power to compensate its cost in almost 20 years.

But with that, he also cautioned that the Mexican border is not in a straight line. And the intensity of light changes on a monthly basis and this will change the calculations later on. However, the firm has not yet received the approval of the federal government in order to carry out a full evaluation.

Whereas the business leaders of the renewable energy sector seriously commended the initiative taken by Trump for going solar, they also said that they would rather favour a different purpose and location for the installation of a large solar panel wall.

Gleason said that the panels will be manufactured in the United States for installation purposes, but the concrete would entail extensive shipping, as they would have to get truckloads from Mexico, and that would increase the maintenance cost eventually.

Nonetheless, Gleason and Trump retain high hopes with the project and aim at making everybody happy with the results.

The Hottest Year 2016 – Climate Change is Becoming Agonizing

In December 2015, the met office of the UK had already predicted 2016 to be warmer than all previous years.

Similarly NOAA and NASA also claimed 2016 as one of the hottest years in the record after observing climate extremities in February. The same was reiterated by WMO – World Meteorological organization in July after observing 14 consecutive record breaking months.

As we stepped into 2017 with the statistics of 2016, it became evident that 2016 was 1.1°C warmer than previous year’s average across the world. With the El Nino effects, meteorologists agree that the major reason behind this rising temperature was the frequent climate change issue.

NSW summer faces severe consequences of climate change

Researchers believe that the main cause of record average temperatures and heat wave in NSW was the strong climate change, besetting eastern states of Australia in the last summer season.

Culminating the epic days of February 11 – 12th, repeated heat waves have already broken extreme temperature records along with pushing the mercury 45°C beyond in various areas of the state. A devastating fire and extreme temperatures consumed entire villages and perished wildlife from simple exposure to extreme heat.

As per different research models and analysis;

“It is evident that average summer temperatures like those seen during 2016-2017 are now at least 50 times more likely in the current climate than in the past, before global warming began.”

In extension to that, scientists stated:

“The heat seen this past summer across parts of Australia is still rare in our current climate. However, if greenhouse gas emissions are not dramatically reduced, intense summer heat will become the norm in the future,”

At the local level, the climate change signals are still there. Analyzing the extreme temperature that struck Australia’s city Canberra shows that these weather calamities have almost 50% more possibility of occurring in 2017 than it was previously expected in 2016.

“We see that average summer temperatures like those seen during 2016-2017 are now at least 50 times more likely in the current climate than in the past, before global warming began,” say researchers in a report.

The highest temperature in a single day has also been observed in more likely proportions – by a factor of 10. Previously these temperatures were expected to occur once in 500 years, these calamities are more common now and are observed every 50 years.

As per Geert Jan Van Oldenburg – working on the research presented by Meteorological Bureau of the Netherlands;

“We are moving towards a situation that these kind of attribution studies are not peer-reviewed themselves but based on peer-reviewed methods. Just like a seasonal forecast, or indeed a weather forecast. If the situation has novel aspects we tend to write a scientific article about it afterwards, but I do not think that this one qualifies given the amount of work that has already been published on heat waves and warm seasons in Australia,”

As we see Australia and other countries being badly affected by these climatic changes, there is a dire need for appropriate measures to be taken collaboratively across the world – preventing further consequences.

Renault, Fiat and VW Scam Will Quicken the Surge of Electric Cars

The latest emission rigging probes have been announced on both sides of the Atlantic, hitting diesel cars with many devastating scandals. 

If we consider the accusations as true, car companies are undoubtedly showing serious negligence with regards to human health. But in some way, this negligence can be a gain for the future generation. Moreover, the fallout from ‘dieselgate‘, a year ago, confirms that diesel calamity is likely to raise the surge of electric cars.

As per the director at Transport & Environment – Greg Archer; 

“There has been a real sea change in attitude by the car industry, in favor of electric vehicles and recognizing that this is the beginning of the end of diesel in passenger cars,” 

The scandal of emission rigging is calamitous for VW 

As per the latest news, six executives of VW face criminal charges and the company has been fined with $4.3bn dollars, making it $20bn in total after the company was initially fined by US Environment Protection Agency – EPA. 

Archer also added; “That Fiat issue in the US will not be limited to the US – those vehicles and that engine are being used in Europe as well,”    

KPMG collected stats in a survey of almost 1,000 auto executives and a majority of them agreed that diesel is almost dead now. With that, they called battery electric vehicles as the top trend of the auto industry. 

 VW scandal and political development  

The sale, after the VW scandal, apparently did not affect diesel cars, but there have been significant political developments. With the EU’s latest testing regulations,  diesel cars will become more expensive. Also, considering the subsidy scheme, EU holds a much higher proportion of diesel cars than anywhere else.       

Meanwhile, Athens, Madrid, Paris and Mexico City have too, announced the ban of diesel cars by the year 2025. In France, people who buy electric cars over diesel cars, are given €10,000. 

Similarly, Sadiq Khan – London mayor – has initiated a scheme in which drivers of diesel cars are charged with £10 on entering the center of the city. 

All of these political agendas and the devaluation of diesel cars in the consumers’ eyes emerged from the outrage against VW’s duplicity. 

“Everyone sees which way it is going. Eighteen months ago, the industry was really big on diesel. A load of UK companies was advertising ‘clean diesel’ on TV. I don’t think you’ll see that sort of campaign again. There’s been a shift in priorities of perception that the dieselgate scandal has brought about.” said Archer. 

VW to become the leading electric car manufacturer 

To rebuild its previous reputation, VW has decided to wash off the stigma by building electric cars. The company aims at becoming the leading electric car manufacturer in the world, as announced last November.

VW plans to build almost 1 million electric cars each year by 2025. The uprising regulatory moves and with that, the extreme competition of electric and hybrid vehicles have given rise to the perfect storm. This storm is likely to cause the fall of diesel cars’ market share in this decade as also predicted by the UBS.