#EarthOvershootDay; #regenerationOfEarthEcosystem; #GlobalFootprintNetwork
Ottawa, July 29 (Canadian-Media) Earth Overshoot Day (EOD) is being observed today all over the world, media reports said.
World Overshoot Day. Image credit: Pinterest
EOD marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.
This year the world is observing the EOD much earlier, three months earlier than 20 years ago.
Earth Overshoot Day is hosted and calculated by Global Footprint Network (GFN), an international research organization that provides decision-makers with a menu of tools to help the human economy operate within Earth’s ecological limits and promotes real-world solutions that that accelerate the transition to one-planet prosperity
The concept of Earth Overshoot Day was first conceived by Andrew Simms of the UK think tank New Economics Foundation, which partnered with Global Footprint Network in 2006 to launch the first global Earth Overshoot Day campaign. At that time, Earth Overshoot Day fell in October. World Wide Fund (WWF), the world’s largest conservation organization, has participated in Earth Overshoot Day since 2007.
Earth Overshoot Day is not just one special day of the year. It is an effort to celebrate biocapacity, our planet’s biological power to regenerate life. This primary productivity of nature is the source for all life, including human life.
With rising relevance of biocapacity and how we manage determines humanity’s future as we face the daunting challenges of climate change and resource constraints.
Understanding biocapacity’s relevance enables us to better understand how to design cities and economies with significantly higher chances of long-term success. This, and more, is explained in Ecological Footprint: Managing Our Biocapacity Budget.
This book demonstrates how ecological overshoot is shaping the 21st century and shows that the only path forward, for humanity’s sake, is to run our economies on nature’s regeneration, not on natural capital liquidation.
And we emphasize that it can be done. The key tool for the job is Footprint and biocapacity accounting, applied to countries, cities and companies.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Penn State (U.S.), July 28 (Canadian-Media): A volcano will not send out an official invitation when it's ready to erupt, but a team of researchers suggest that scientists who listen and watch carefully may be able to pick up signs that an eruption is about to happen, physics.org news reports said.
In a study of Hawaii's Kīlauea volcano, the researchers reported that pressure changes
in the volcano's summit reservoirs helped explain the number of earthquakes—or seismicity—in the upper East Rift Zone. This zone is a highly active region where several eruptions have occurred over the last few decades, including a spectacular one in 2018.
"We are interested in looking at the mechanisms that trigger seismicity at a very active and dynamic volcano, like Kīlauea Volcano in Hawaii," said Christelle Wauthier, assistant professor of geosciences and Institute for CyberScience co-hire, Penn State. "There are several physical processes that can drive seismicity and, in this study, we were trying to find out which one was the most likely."
Pressure changes in the summit reservoirs of Kīlauea may help explain the number of earthquakes — or seismicity — in the volcano’s upper East Rift Zone. Image Credit: USGS
According to Wauthier, the pressure changes that occur in the summit reservoir—an underground chamber hosting hot magma—causes stresses in the rocks and ground that surround the magma, even not at its immediate proximity. These stress changes can trigger small magnitude volcano-tectonic earthquakes, most of the time imperceptible to humans but that are picked up by the sensitive seismic equipment that monitor the volcano. This seismic activity, then, may better predict magma movements and resulting eruptions.
The researcher's work challenges a previous theory that suggested the seismic activity in the rift zone was being triggered by the volcano's gradual slip toward the sea. The southern flank of Kīlauea is gradually moving toward the ocean at about six centimeters a year.
While most people picture volcanoes violently erupting at their summits, Kīlauea is different because its sprawling system of underground tunnels and chambers where magma flows results in eruptions that can happen at various points miles from its summit. When magma travels out of these chambers and onto the Earth's surface, it is called lava.
"Underneath, there is a conduit system that is extremely long—we're talking 20 miles or so," said Wauthier. "And it's just like the plumbing in a house. A volcano's plumbing system can be plugged up or blocked and that just might lead to an eruption."
By better understanding the forces that are triggering seismicity, scientists monitoring seismic activity at other volcanoes could predict future eruptions more accurately, according to the researchers, who reported their findings in a recent issue of Geology. Because Kīlauea is one of the world's most closely and densely monitored volcanic systems, it serves as a living laboratory to study volcanic activity that can be applied to study other volcanoes, added Wauthier, who worked with Diana C. Roman, staff scientist, Carnegie Institution for Science, and Michael P. Poland, scientist-in-charge, Yellowstone Volcano Laboratory, U.S. Geological Survey.
"While there are only a few volcanoes that are as highly instrumented as Kīlauea, which has a super-dense seismic network and GPS, so it's very well-monitored, but other volcanoes are not monitored like that," said Wauthier. "However, for volcanoes that have good seismic networks—and there are many of them—you can apply the exact same approach as this one to look if your volcano-tectonic seismicity—these small earthquakes—are due to magma being injected into a magma reservoir, or due to something else."
The team used both seismic and satellite imagery data from mid- to late-2007 for the study. Seismic analysis was conducted with data collected on the upper East Rift Zone from the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO). Using information from global positioning satellites, also collected by HVO, the researchers were also able to analyze physical changes to the mountain's shape and paying particular attention to ground surface deformations at the summit. They then looked at how these factors correlated with models of the stress changes caused by inflations and deflations of the summit reservoir.
By carefully analyzing movements to a volcano's summit reservoir, researchers may be able to better predict when and where eruptions are likely to occur, then, according to the researchers. However, more work needs to be done, said Wauthier. Future research plans include looking at seismic activity and ground deformation data from other time periods of the volcano.
"We've been looking at the period in 2007, but that's just a subset," said Wauthier. "We could imagine just looking at a longer time period where we have other inflation-deflation events happening and see if we still conclude that same thing that it's magma reservoir inflating that triggers the seismicity. It is likely that over the course of a long-term eruption like the 1983-2008 one, things are changing."
Bringham, July 26 (Canadian-Media): Fun fact: The microscopic worms Brigham Young University (BYU) professor Byron Adams studies are not only the most abundant animal species on earth, they also make up four-fifths of animal life on this planet. That's right, four out of every five animals on earth are nematode worms, Science X Newsletter reports said.
BYU biology professor Byron Adams travels annually to Antarctica and the Arctic north to carry out research. Image credit: BYU
A new study of soil nematodes co-authored by Adams reveals that there are 57 billion of them for every single living human being—much greater than previously estimated. They also have a total biomass of about 300 million tons, approximately 80 percent of the combined weight of Earth's human population.
The study, co-authored by Adams and published Wednesday in Nature, provides conclusive evidence that the majority of these tiny animals live somewhere experts did not expect: high latitude arctic and sub-arctic soils (i.e. tundra, boreal and temperate forests, and grasslands).
"Until recently, life beneath our feet has pretty much been terra incognita" says Adams. "Since we didn't know much about life in the soil, most scientists just assumed that patterns of abundance below ground would match what we see above ground. We figured the tropics must be where it's at. Turns out, that's not true at all. The reason this paper is kind of a big deal is that we show just the opposite is true."
Knowing where these tiny worms live matters because nematodes play a critical role in the cycling of carbon and nutrients and heavily influence CO2 emissions. An important finding of the paper is that nematode abundance is strongly correlated with soil carbon (more carbon = more worms). Understanding the little organisms at a global level is critical if humans are going to understand and address climate change.
Microscopic soil nematodes in action. Credit: Brigham Young University
For the study, researchers took 6,759 soil samples representing every continent, and every environment, from arctic tundra to tropical rainforest. They used microscopes to analyze the density of each type of nematode and generate a representative global dataset. Using the information, they built models which predict nematode populations for each square kilometer and create the first global high-resolution maps of soil nematode density.
For the past 17 years Adams, has traveled annually to the ice-free areas of Antarctica to study nematodes, tardigrades (water bears) and other microscopic creatures. His research program studies the roles these animals play in fundamental ecosystem processes as well as how they survive in extremely cold and dry environments.