Last week two stories that may have gotten little coverage in the mainstream media, yet are equally just as important in the climate energy era.
If you did not know, Arctic sea ice levels continue to melt away National Geographic noted, the new level dropped to 1.58 million square miles.
The new levels even surpassed those of they’re previous level in 2007, which was 1.61 million square meters.
The article noted that climate change played a considerable role in the loss of Arctic Sea ice, as noted below:
Her team determined that human activity can be blamed for some 60 percent of the observed rate of decline since 1979, with the rest due to natural climate variability.
“If you run these climate models and you don’t put in the observed record of greenhouse gases, none of them show the ice declining,” Stroeve said. “None of them are able to capture what’s happening today without including greenhouse gases.”
As the Arctic sea ice melts, there is a greater possibility, the weather will may get more wonkier, than what has been going on the past few years, as Jennifer Francis, a Climatologist with Rutgers University clearly mentions in this following exerpt from the article:
Since jet streams generate and steer storms, she added, their slowing meander can prolong fall and winter weather patterns across the entire Northern Hemisphere.
“Many extreme weather events are associated with weather patterns that are stuck or moving very slowly … including droughts, cold spells, heat waves,” Francis said. (See a graphic of extreme-weather trends.)
“I would not be at all surprised to see another unusual winter around the Northern Hemisphere” this year or next.
So either get your rain coat for an increased chance of a February rainstorm, or dig deep and pull out six layers of winter clothing.
Meanwhile, the Federation Internationale de l’ Automobile (FIA) announced the creation of an electric vehicle racing series called Formula E. The circuit is backed by various investors and it is set to start up in 2014. Rio De Janeiro is already been confirmed to host one of the first races on the championship circuit.
The president of the FIA Jean Todt believes this is the wave of the future for auto racing. He was quoted of saying:
“We are pleased with this agreement with Formula E Holdings as they bring a very strong experience in motor sport. This spectacular series will offer both entertainment and a new opportunity to share the FIA values and objectives of clean energy, mobility and sustainability with a wider and younger audience as well.”
Burkhard Goeschel, President of the FIA Electric and New Energies Championships Commission also gave some excellent context on the importance of digital technology, a beacon, perhaps of moving towards a more environmentally sustainable universe for car racing:
“Formula E will be a milestone for the future of motorsports, driven by the FIA. It follows the global megatrends of our world like sustainability, the growth of the megacities and the digital world of connectivity. I would like to say thanks to all partners, who supported us in creating this new project and also to the partners who will accompany us to a successful launch of Formula E.”
Both the stories of the recent loss in Arctic sea ice and the creation of a new electric car racing circuit provide excellent contrast and hope of where we are headed in the climate-energy era in the following aspects:
- The idea that losing Arctic sea ice, thanks to the amount of carbon dioxide being pumped up the air can, increasing the chances of extreme weather events is not something we should be taking lightly. Sea ice loss just does not affect polar bears or Santa Clause at the North Pole. It could have impacts on a) How much precipitation an area like Winnipeg gets in the winter b) If we get more or less precipitation; c) Will are winters be extremely cold or extremely warm; d) If it is warmer, what form of precipitation does it come down in winter time (snow, sleet, freezing rain or rain); e) Could it cause infrastructure problems in Winnipeg should a freakish rain storm occur in January or February; and lastly f) Is Winnipeg prepared for something like this?
- Would a Canadian city like the one I live in now, Winnipeg, need to seriously look at making upgrading infrastructure to deal with further deluges of torrential rain we would not normally get?
- Are insurance agencies ready to consider the potential of higher costs for their premiums should more vile extreme weather events occur? Will they eat up more costs, or eventually have to change some of their packages, or make customers eat the cost?
- On the flip side, the forming of Formula E shows that electric vehicles, can give auto racing an extreme make over. Auto racing has been often an enemy of many within the environmental community due to it’s high carbon footprint. However, this announcement shows that thanks to the advances in technology, auto racing could seriously have a healthy environmentally sustainable future.
- Also, the Formula E announcement will provide a defy the naysayers who say professional sports cannot be environmentally sustainable.
- Formula E may prove to the general public that electric vehicles are the real deal and can be just as good as normal vehicles.
What are everyone’s thoughts about the climate-energy era? Can you think of other examples of how climate and energy have been connected lately or will be in the near future?