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California scientists are calling for the largest U.S. investment in climate research in years.

That’s all kinds of scary. If there’s one place on Earth that would be the worst possible spot for a giant volcanic chain, it’s beneath West Antarctica. Turns out, it’s not a great situation to have a bunch of volcanoes underneath a huge ice sheet.

In a discovery announced earlier this week, a team of researchers discovered dozens of them across a 2,200-mile swath of the frozen continent. Antarctica, if you’re listening, please stop scaring us.

The study that led to the discovery was conceived of by an undergraduate student at the University of Edinburgh, Max Van Wyk de Vries. With a team of researchers, he used radar to look under the ice for evidence of cone-shaped mountains that had disturbed the ice around them. They found 91 previously unknown volcanoes. “We were amazed,” Robert Bingham, one of the study’s authors, told the Guardian.

The worry is that, as in Iceland and Alaska, two regions of active volcanism that were ice-covered until relatively recently, a warming climate could help these Antarctic volcanoes spring to life soon. In a worst-case scenario, the melting ice could release pressure on the volcanoes and trigger eruptions, further destabilizing the ice sheet.

“The big question is: how active are these volcanoes? That is something we need to determine as quickly as possible,” Bingham said.

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California scientists are calling for the largest U.S. investment in climate research in years.

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How the Cloud Is Going Green

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You already know the many lauded benefits of the cloud — it saves paper, equipment and raw materials, while also providing employees and workplace teams an easier means to access important documents and files. But you may have also heard about how cloud data servers pack a punch in terms of environmental impact.

To minimize their carbon footprint, data centers are going green. Here are the ways companies behind some of the latest cloud-based technologies are working to reduce their environmental impact in the rollout of new products and services.

Starting Small

Like within many other industries, business owners who have previously invested in cloud data centers are starting small with their eco-friendly efforts. But this isn’t to say their current efforts aren’t making a difference. For example, many data centers are swapping out old, incandescent light bulbs for energy-efficient LEDs, which conserve energy and provide massive cost savings on monthly utility bills.

Cloud computing is also a more environmentally friendly practice compared to investing in on-site servers. That’s because these cloud data centers simply don’t need the same amount of infrastructure and space compared to their on-site server counterparts.

In fact, businesses that invest in on-site servers typically have more space than they need to house this bulky infrastructure, particularly if they plan to grow or expand operations. This leads to a number of drives sitting empty in the short or long term that still need to be powered and cooled.

In comparison, cloud data center operators can optimize the number of servers they own and use depending on their client and storage needs. For example, instead of running an on-site, physical customer service department, businesses can invest in a cloud contact center that requires less space and infrastructure.

Using Renewable Energy

Some leading cloud computing companies, like Facebook, Google and Apple, are also paving the way when it comes to investing in renewable energy in their data centers. In fact, all of Apple’s data centers are powered entirely by solar energy, while Facebook installed some of its newest servers in Iowa so the company could take advantage of the area’s wind energy. Microsoft is using both types of renewable energy for its cloud centers: solar energy in Virginia and wind energy in Texas.

These giant corporations have a lot of political power and community clout, and they’re using it to not only enforce stricter regulations on energy use, but to also move the entire industry toward renewable energy.

Optimizing Energy Use

One of the biggest electricity sucks for on-site servers includes maintaining cool temperatures in the spaces that house this infrastructure to prevent overheating. According to REIT.com, an average office space uses three to five watts of power per square foot, whereas a physical data center uses 100 to 300 watts per square foot.

That’s why many on-site data centers are housed in buildings or spaces specifically designed for their use. As the major tech giants have shown, locating operations near water and other renewable energy sources is optimal for conserving energy. However, if that’s not in the cards, some companies are going a different, forward-thinking route: working with contractors to build energy-efficient and even LEED-certified warehouses.

Data center operators have also been examining the airflow in their buildings, so they can separate hot and cold air streams. By keeping cool air near their servers — and moving hot air away from this expensive equipment — companies don’t need to run as many fans to maintain them.

The cloud continues to get greener. Not only is this technology saving companies space, time and money on hosting their own servers — and saving them a lot of paper and filing cabinets — it’s now leading the way in renewable energy and energy optimization. These are the first steps to a more connected, eco-conscious world.

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock

Read More:
How 5G Technology Will Power a Greener Future
5 Top Tips for Recycling Old Technology
How to Finally Go Paperless in the Office

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Latest posts by Earth911 (see all)

How the Cloud Is Going Green – August 14, 2017
Hacks to Stay Cool: Beat the Heat Using Less Energy – July 31, 2017
How to Shop for Clothes with the Earth in Mind – July 28, 2017

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How the Cloud Is Going Green

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The Dynamics of Disaster – Susan W. Kieffer

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The Dynamics of Disaster

Susan W. Kieffer

Genre: Earth Sciences

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: October 21, 2013

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Seller: W. W. Norton


"If you are an amateur weather geek, disaster wonk, or budding student of earth sciences, you will want to read this book." —Seattle Times In 2011, there were fourteen natural calamities that each destroyed over a billion dollars’ worth of property in the United States alone. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast and major earthquakes struck in Italy, the Philippines, Iran, and Afghanistan. In the first half of 2013, the awful drumbeat continued—a monster supertornado struck Moore, Oklahoma; a powerful earthquake shook Sichuan, China; a cyclone ravaged Queensland, Australia; massive floods inundated Jakarta, Indonesia; and the largest wildfire ever engulfed a large part of Colorado. Despite these events, we still behave as if natural disasters are outliers. Why else would we continue to build new communities near active volcanoes, on tectonically active faults, on flood plains, and in areas routinely lashed by vicious storms? A famous historian once observed that "civilization exists by geologic consent, subject to change without notice." In the pages of this unique book, leading geologist Susan W. Kieffer provides a primer on most types of natural disasters: earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, landslides, hurricanes, cyclones, and tornadoes. By taking us behind the scenes of the underlying geology that causes them, she shows why natural disasters are more common than we realize, and that their impact on us will increase as our growing population crowds us into ever more vulnerable areas. Kieffer describes how natural disasters result from "changes in state" in a geologic system, much as when water turns to steam. By understanding what causes these changes of state, we can begin to understand the dynamics of natural disasters. In the book’s concluding chapter, Kieffer outlines how we might better prepare for, and in some cases prevent, future disasters. She also calls for the creation of an organization, something akin to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but focused on pending natural disasters.

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The Dynamics of Disaster – Susan W. Kieffer

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6 Simple Swaps for a Green 4th of July 

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6 Simple Swaps for a Green 4th of July 

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11 Ways to Use Solar Energy Besides the Home

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11 Ways to Use Solar Energy Besides the Home

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10 Products to Green Your Picnic

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10 Products to Green Your Picnic

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Sorry, Donald: Pittsburgh Thinks You Are Wrong About Climate Change

Mother Jones

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On Thursday, President Donald Trump portrayed his decision to pull the United States out of the historic Paris climate deal as a key part of his campaign pledge to put America first. “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” the president said.

There’s just one problem: The citizens of Pittsburgh are strongly supportive of climate action. According to a recent study from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, 68 percent of adults in the Pittsburgh metro area support strict limits on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants—a key element of the US commitment under the Paris deal. For Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, that number is 74 percent. For Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District, which also includes Pittsburgh, it’s 78 percent.

Roughly two-thirds of Pennsylvanians—and Americans as a whole—believe the United States should remain in the Paris agreement, according to the Yale research.

There doesn’t appear to be any data on the popularity of the Paris agreement within Pittsburgh itself, but it’s worth noting that the city’s mayor, Bill Peduto, actually traveled to Paris during the 2015 negotiations to help press for an agreement. “Pittsburgh and other cities are on the front lines of the climate change crisis, and it is our responsibility to address the deep challenges it is creating for us, our children and our grandchildren,” he said in a statement at the time, according to the Pittsburg Post-Gazette.

Peduto took to Twitter Thursday to express his displeasure with Trump’s comments:

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Sorry, Donald: Pittsburgh Thinks You Are Wrong About Climate Change

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Wow. The Grand Canyon Is Being Stolen By a Sea of Fog.

Mother Jones

This story was originally published by HuffPost and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

SKYGLOWPROJECT.COM: KAIBAB ELEGY from Harun Mehmedinovic on Vimeo.

A stunning time-lapse video of the Grand Canyon shows the carved formation as it may have looked millennia ago — but instead of water, it’s filled with what has the appearance of an ocean of fog.

Filmmaker Harun Mehmedinovic has set up his camera at the canyon 30 different times since 2015. During one visit, he managed to witness and film the dramatic changes of a full cloud inversion, which occurs when warm air traps cold air beneath and creates a sea of fog. The inversion lasted the entire day, allowing time for Mehmedinovic to film fog “crashing” on the “shores” of the canyon and swirling through winding passages.

The film made its debut on BBC Earth in early May and has been viewed online millions of times.

The video is part of the Skyglow Project, a crowdfunded operation to record the effects of light pollution from urban areas and contrast them with stunning vistas.

Mehmedinovic is a Bosnian-American who went into hiding in his war-wracked hometown of Sarajevo for three years when he was 9. His family stayed indoors in a cellar of their home to escape the Serbs. He moved to the U.S. when he was 13 and went to film school in Los Angeles.

Check out the Reuters video below for more information about background:

Reuters TV interviews Harun Mehmedinovic from Harun Mehmedinovic on Vimeo.

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Wow. The Grand Canyon Is Being Stolen By a Sea of Fog.

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5 Great Grad Gifts That Are Meaningful and Green

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5 Great Grad Gifts That Are Meaningful and Green

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3 Great Ways to Help Your Prom Dress Go Green

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3 Great Ways to Help Your Prom Dress Go Green

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