Great Barrier Reef might lose ability to recover - Chinadaily USA
Climate change leading to rising sea temperatures has resulted in Australia's Great Barrier Reef losing more than half its corals over the last 25 years, a new study has found.
A man snorkels in an area called the "Coral Gardens" near Lady Elliot Island, on the Great Barrier Reef, northeast of Bundaberg town in Queensland, Australia, June 11, 2015. [Photo/Agencies] Climate change leading to rising sea temperatures has resulted in Australia's Great Barrier Reef losing more than half its corals over the last 25 years, a new study has found. Work done by the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Queensland found that repeated episodes of so-called bleaching were leading to significant coral decline right across the world's largest reef system. "There is no time to losewe must sharply decrease greenhouse gas emissions ASAP," its report said. Scientists compared the health and size of coral colonies in 1995 and 2017, and noticed drops of more than 50 percent across all species and sizes of coral, most particularly types known as branching and table-shaped corals, which are habitats for marine life. Bleaching is the process whereby zooxanthellae algae, which give corals their color, are driven out of the living organism by stress. It can be reversed, but takes decades. "Our results show the ability of the Great Barrier Reef to recover, its resilience, is compromised compared to the past, because there are fewer babies, and fewer large breeding adults," said the report's lead author, Andy Dietzel. The reef, which stretches more than 2,300 kilometers, was designated a World Heritage site in 1981 because of its "enormous scientific and intrinsic importance", but altered sea conditions mean it has struggled to survive, particularly in recent years. The reef was worth an estimated $4 billion a year in tourism revenue for the Australian economy before the coronavirus pandemic. "We used to think the Great Barrier Reef is protected by its sheer size, but our results show that even the world's largest and relatively well-protected reef system is increasingly compromised and in decline," said report co-author Terry Hughes. Global warming Globally, since preindustrial times, temperatures have risen by around 1 C, and the United Nations has warned that should that figure reach 1.5 C, as much as 90 percent of the world's coral could be destroyed. Hughes said countries sticking to the terms of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change would play a huge role in what happened next. "It takes about a decade for a half-decent recovery for the fastest-growing species, so the chances of us getting decades between the future sixth, seventh and eighth bleaching events is close to zero because temperatures are going up and up and up," he said. Even if corals did recover, he added, they were unlikely to return to how things were before. "We don't think they'll rebuild into the mix of species that we've known historically," he added. "The trajectory is changing very, very quickly. We're shocked and surprised by how quickly these changes are happening, and there's further change ahead."
Fears of virus 2nd wave as toll surpasses 200k - Chinadaily USA
The US death toll from COVID-19 tops 200,000 on Tuesday, accounting for one-fifth of the global casualties from the pandemic, as experts warned of further increases in infections and mortality as cooler fall weather moves people indoors.
FILE PHOTO: A man walks near Nasdaq MarketSite in an empty Times Square as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues in New York City, U.S., March 29, 2020. [Photo/Agencies] The US death toll from COVID-19 tops 200,000 on Tuesday, accounting for one-fifth of the global casualties from the pandemic, as experts warned of further increases in infections and mortality as cooler fall weather moves people indoors. As of Tuesday morning, 200,182 people in the US had died from COVID-19, with 6.87 million infected with the novel coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, which registered a global death toll of 966,152. That means the US toll doubled in four months in late May the country reported 100,000 deaths from the infection. "These are not numbers; these are human beings. These are friends and family," Dr Ali H. Mokdad, chief strategy officer of the Population Health Initiative at the University of Washington (UW), told China Daily. "I'm concerned that we're coming into fall and winter where we'll have more infection and we'll have much more mortality, unfortunately," he said in a video interview. On Monday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) withdrew guidance that had said airborne transmission was thought to be the main way the coronavirus spreads. It said the draft recommendation was "posted in error" on Friday. Commenting on the sudden reversal, Mokdad said it was confusing and that people may lose trust if the messaging is not consistent and made without explaining why the change was made. "Potentially (there will be) another 200,000 deaths between now and January, (so) we have to be very careful, since we are moving indoors, because cold weather is coming," he said. "It's better to make sure that we are on the conservative side with our recommendations in that regard." In its update to global COVID-19 mortality projections last week, UW's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) predicted that cumulative deaths by Jan 1 would hit 378,320. The institute cited "steeper than expected declines" in several states as the factors for lowering its estimate of 415,000 deaths by year's end that it had predicted on Sept 10. But it cautioned deaths could surge to more than 3,000 per day by the end of December. "So far we have been underestimating by a little bit the mortality for several reasons. We assumed that when a state reaches eight deaths per day per million, they will go to a lockdown," Mokdad said. "Unfortunately, we underestimate because we assume that states will do something, and states sometimes don't do (that)." The IHME said that increasing mask use to 95 percent could save nearly 115,000 lives, reducing the expected number of deaths by 62.7 percent. Mokdad, a UW professor of health metrics, said that in the US, every state decided to do something different. "CDC China had a very consistent message and told people exactly what they need to do. Sometimes when people didn't wear a mask, there was enforcement," he said. "We know in the United States when you recommend something and you don't enforce it, sometimes it doesn't work." He added that the US could have done better by locking down earlier and "making sure we stay locked down until we control the virus, then open up". US President Donald Trump, who previously admitted to playing down the risk of the virus early on because he did not want to "create a panic", continued to say the US would soon see a light at the end of the tunnel. "We are rounding the corner on the pandemic, with or without a vaccine ... and we've done a phenomenal job not just a good job a phenomenal job," Trump said Monday. He made similar remarks at a rally Saturday night, claiming that the country was emerging from COVID-19 even without a vaccine. Asked to comment on the president's rally remarks, Scott Gottlieb, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, said that the US could expect "at least one more cycle with this virus heading into the fall and winter". "If you look at what's happening around the country right now, there's an unmistakable spike in new infections," Gottlieb said Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation. "There's about 15 states with a positivity rate of 10 percent or higher, which is deeply concerning. There's about 30 states where the Rt the rate of transfer is above 1, meaning they have an expanding epidemic," he said. The situation in the country has prompted serious reckoning from academics. Charles Silver, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and David A. Hyman, a law professor at Georgetown, said the pandemic was the third great crisis of the 21st century and it has already inflicted a greater toll in lives lost and economic hardship than 9/11 and the 2008 financial collapse combined. "The federal government was not ready for COVID-19, even though it has dealt with epidemics and pandemics for more than a century," they said in a report titled "COVID-19: A Case Study of Government Failure", which was posted last week on the website of the Cato Institute, a Washington-based libertarian think tank. The downplaying of the coronavirus, as well as opposition to mask wearing and other precautions, has had real consequences for health and safety, noted Jonathan Rothwell, a nonresident senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, and Christos Makridis, a research professor at Arizona State University. "But the polarization of the pandemic has had another unfortunate side effect: Exacerbating economic harm," they wrote in an analysis titled "Politics is wrecking America's pandemic response".
Mars probe makes midcourse maneuver - Chinadaily.com.cn - Chinadaily USA
China's Tianwen 1 Mars probe carried out its second midcourse correction maneuver on Sunday night, according to the China National Space Administration.
Mars probe makes first mid-course correction. [Photo/Xinhua] China's Tianwen 1 Mars probe carried out its second midcourse correction maneuver on Sunday night, according to the China National Space Administration. The robotic spacecraft ran its four 120-Newton thrusters for 20 seconds at around 11 pm after receiving control signals from its ground controllers, the administration said in a statement on Monday morning. By Monday morning, Tianwen 1 had traveled 160 million kilometers in an Earth-Mars transfer trajectory toward the red planet and was nearly 19 million km from Earth, it added. China launched Tianwen 1, the country's first independent Mars mission, on July 23 at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province, opening the nation's planetary exploration program. On July 27, the probe sent back a photo of Earth and the moon, which was taken by its optical navigation sensor when it was about 1.2 million km from Earth. The photo was the only image from the spacecraft that has so far been made public. The probe made its first midcourse correction on Aug 2 when it was about 3 million km from Earth. Next, it will conduct three more midcourse corrections and one deep-space maneuver to ensure it is precisely aimed at Mars. If everything goes according to schedule, the 5-metric-ton Tianwen 1, which consists of an orbiter and the landing capsule, will travel more than 470 million km before being captured by the Martian gravitational field in February. The mission's ultimate goal is to land a rover around May 2021 on the southern part of Mars' Utopia Planitiaa large plain within Utopia, the largest recognized impact basin on Mars and in the solar systemto make scientific surveys, the space administration said. In another development, China launched its latest oceanographic research satellite, the HY-2C, on a Long March 4B carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert on Monday afternoon, the administration said. Developed by the China Academy of Space Technology in Beijing, HY-2C is the third in the HY-2 series marine satellite fleet, and, like its two predecessors, is tasked with studying the marine dynamic environment. In 2021, the next satellite in the series, HY-2D, will be launched to join those already in orbit to form a network monitoring the marine dynamic environment around the clock, according to the administration.
China's Mars probe continues trip to red planet - Chinadaily USA
China's Tianwen 1 Mars probe carried out its second mid-course correction maneuver on Sunday night, according to the China National Space Administration.
Mars probe makes first mid-course correction. [Photo/Xinhua] China's Tianwen 1 Mars probe carried out its second mid-course correction maneuver on Sunday night, according to the China National Space Administration. The robotic spacecraft ran its four 120-Newton thrusters for 20 seconds around 11 pm after receiving control signals from its ground controllers, the administration said in a statement on Monday morning. By Monday morning, Tianwen 1 had travelled 160 million kilometers in an Earth-Mars transfer trajectory toward the red planet, and was nearly 19 million km away from the Earth. The administration added the spacecraft was in good condition. China launched Tianwen 1, the country's first independent Mars mission, on July 23 at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province, opening the nation's planetary exploration program. On July 27, the probe sent back a picture of Earth and the moon, which was taken by its optical navigation sensor when it was about 1.2 million km away from Earth at the time. The picture is the first image from the spacecraft that has been made public. It made its first mid-course correction on Aug 2 when it was about 3 million km away from the Earth. If everything goes according to schedule, the 5-metric ton Tianwen 1, which consists of an orbiter and landing capsule, will travel more than 470 million km before getting captured by Mars' gravitational field in February. The mission's ultimate goal is to soft-land a rover around May 2021 on the southern part of Mars' Utopia Planitia a large plain within Utopia, the largest recognized impact basin on Mars and in the solar system to make scientific surveys.
Payloads on China's retired lunar probe still operating - Chinadaily USA
After more than 2,400 days on the near side of the moon, China's Chang'e 3 lunar mission continues to help scientists unravel the unknown about the Earth's companion in space.
Screen shows the photos of the Chang'e-3 moon lander (L) and the Yutu moon rover during the mutual-photograph process, at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, Dec 15, 2013. [Photo/Xinnhua] BEIJING -- After more than 2,400 days on the near side of the moon, China's Chang'e 3 lunar mission continues to help scientists unravel the unknown about the Earth's companion in space. As of Sept. 1, the Chang'e-3 lunar mission has been on the moon for 2,453 Earth days, and some of the scientific payloads carried by the lander are still operating, according to the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration. After analyzing the transmitted data, Chinese researchers recently reported finding multilayered young lava flows in the northeast of Mare Imbrium, also called Sea of Rains, where the Chang'e-3 mission made a soft landing in December 2013. The surface of the Moon features numerous large basins caused by bombardments of asteroids about 3.9 billion years ago. They were filled with dark basalt lava flows from volcanic eruptions. The eruptions produced successive layers of basalt stacked in a vertical sequence, which, scientists believe, harbors the history of the moon. The lunar penetrating radar on board helps see below the surface. Researchers from China University of Geosciences, Yangtze University, and Ningbo University of Finance and Economics reported that they ascertained three layers of thin young mare basalts underlying the lunar soil at Chang'e-3's landing site. In previous studies, the region is thought to be formed by one layer of a thick lava flow. The researchers calculated the spatial variation and distribution of thickness of each layer and built a 3D stratigraphic model of young mare basalts. According to the researchers, the young lava flows in the northern Mare Imbrium probably erupted from the same source as that in the southwest. The research findings have been published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. China's Chang'e-3 moon mission delivered the rover Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, and a stationary lander to the lunar surface on Dec. 14, 2013, marking the first moon landing since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 mission in 1976. It touched down on the northern Mare Imbrium, a region not directly sampled before and far from the U.S. Apollo lunar landing sites. Yutu traveled a total of 114 meters following a zigzagging route, before coming to a halt due to technical glitches. The findings based on the data gathered by the mission have been published in leading international scientific journals. Scientists believe that the lunar probe will help in understanding the early history of the earth as the earth and the moon share similar experiences in their origins. The early history of the earth, which has been erased by frequent geological activities, can be studied on the moon.
How much growth is enough for human need? - Chinadaily USA
Seven Olympic-sized swimming pools. That's what the water from the melting ice sheet in Greenland last year would have filled every second. In absolute terms the Greenland ice sheet shrank by 532 billion tons in 2019, equivalent to a million tons per minute.
Free-floating ice jammed into the Ilulissat Icefjord during unseasonably warm weather creates an otherworldly landscape near Ilulissat, Greenland, on July 30, 2019. [Photo/VCG] Seven Olympic-sized swimming pools. That's what the water from the melting ice sheet in Greenland last year would have filled every second. In absolute terms the Greenland ice sheet shrank by 532 billion tons in 2019, equivalent to a million tons per minute. Scientists led by Ingo Sasgen, of the Alfred Wagener Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany, attributed the extreme loss last year (double the annual average since 2003) to "blocking patterns" of weather that kept warm air over Greenland for longer periods due to worsening climate change. At this rate, Greenland could soon become the "green land" of Eric the Red, the Norwegian who navigated and explored Greenland at the turn of the last millennium and is said to have sold swathes of the island as "green" and therefore highly fertile land. The scientists, whose study was published in the Communications Earth& Environment journal used data from NASA's Grace satellites which, by taking gravity measurements, weighs the mass of ice in Greenland. Climate change is heating the Arctic at double the rate and the ice cap is the single largest contributor to rising sea levels. Catastrophically, the sea levels would rise by up to six meters if the entire Greenland ice sheet melts. The only consoling thought is that the scientists are not yet certain whether the ice sheet has passed the point of no return, although it could take centuries to slow the melting even if carbon emissions are reduced. Not surprisingly, it is such conjectures of scientiststhat it could take centuries to slow ice melting even if emissions are reducedthat climate skeptics and self-proclaimed saviors of the Earth and benefactors of humankind latch onto to claim that climate alarmism prevents us from working out and implementing smart climate solutions. For example, they claim that instead of trying to reduce carbon emissions to keep the global temperature rise to below 2 degree Celsius in a bid to prevent the impending climate cataclysm, the world should carry on business as usual to further boost global economic growth, because the more wealth we (read big business) create the better we can deal with climate issues. Unusually heavy downpours over longer periods of time and the ensuing floods, which large parts of China have been battling with this summer, can be effectively tackled with higher economic growth, they claim. Faster wealth generation is also the solution to droughts, wildfires, more frequent cyclones, receding lakes and underground water tables, vanishing forests and accelerating desertification. And far from being treated as a climate emergency that demands immediate corrective measures, Greenland's melting ice sheet is cause for celebration in many circles as it will open new, shorter and hence more profitable trade routes. As for rising sea levels, they are a minor irritant as they will displace only a tiny percentage of the global population, a problem that can be solved by further exploiting Mother Natureextracting more minerals, chopping down more forests, depleting and contaminating more water sources, and emitting more toxic gases. Anyway, climate change is not the highest concern of a majority of people around the world. In fact, they may be more concerned about mobile phones and internet access than climate change. Of course, at the moment, people's biggest concern is the novel coronavirus, which poses a serious threat to human health and life. Yet the general public may not be aware of the havoc climate change has been wreaking on the world and by default on the peopleand the level of destruction it will cause in the future. They may also be unaware that the hundreds, if not thousands, of types of bacteria and viruses buried in the ice sheets, glaciers and permafrost for thousands of years will be released in the atmosphere once they melt. Worse, some of these viruses could be many times deadlier than the novel coronavirus, and a few of the bacteria released by the melting ice sheets and glaciers could have a much higher fatality rate than mycobacterium tuberculosis that claims more than 1.7 million lives a year. Similarly, by chopping down forests, we could release undiscovered bacteria and viruses into the atmosphere against which we may not have any defenseand it could take decades for us to develop antidotes for them. For instance, we are yet to find a permanent cure for cancer, although we know the viruses, the usual infectious agents, which cause cancer, and that other pathogens such as bacteria and parasites also a play a role in the disease. Since we know that among the inevitable consequences of unfettered economic growth is continuous chopping down of forests and melting glaciers, ice sheets and permafrost, the decision is for us to make whether to continue with business as usual in the hope that accumulation of more wealth will solve all our problems or choose to change our perception of growth and aim for sustainable development that will protect nature and therefore human life. The author is a senior editor with China Daily.
Mars probe makes 1st mid-course correction maneuverd - Chinadaily USA
China's Tianwen 1 Mars probe carried out its first mid-course correction maneuver on Sunday morning, according to the China National Space Administration.
Mars probe makes first mid-course correction maneuverd. [Photo/Xinhua] China's Tianwen 1 Mars probe carried out its first mid-course correction maneuver on Sunday morning, according to the China National Space Administration. The administration said in a statement that the maneuver took place at 7:00 am when one of the spacecraft's main engines was activated and worked 20 seconds. By that time, Tianwen 1 had flown more than ninedays and 18 hours in an Earth-Mars transfer trajectory toward the red planet, travelling about 3 million kilometers, the statement said, adding that the probe was in good condition. During the probe's seven-month spaceflight toward Mars, it willmake several mid-course corrections and deep-space maneuvers to make sure it is precisely aimed at the planet. China launched Tianwen 1, the country's first independent Mars mission, on July 23 at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in South China's Hainan province, opening the nation's planetary exploration program. If everything goes according to schedule, the five-metric ton Tianwen 1, which consists of two major parts the orbiter and the landing capsule -- will travel more than 400 million kilometers before getting captured by the Martian gravitational field. The mission's ultimate goal is to soft-land a rover on the Martian soil to make scientific surveys. The spacecraft has begun to conduct its scientific operations as the Mars Energetic Particle Analyzer, mounted on the orbiter, has been activated and transmitted data back to the ground control. It is the first of the 13 scientific apparatus on the probe to start operating and will be the longest working device during the journey toward the Martian gravitational field. Earlier this week, the Tianwen 1 probe sent back a picture of Earth and the moon, which was taken by its optical navigation sensor when it was about 1.2 million kilometers away from Earth at the time the photo was shot, to ground control. The picture is the first image from the spacecraft that has been made public.
Pink snow on Alps sends a chilling message about global warming - Chinadaily USA
The appearance of large quantities of fairytale-like pink snow in the Italian Alps may sound like the perfect backdrop for the romantic date of a lifetime but likely indicates climate change is worsening, scientists have warned.
Italian Alps are seen amidst dense fog and smog in Milan, Italy, Jan 8, 2020. [Photo/Agencies] The appearance of large quantities of fairytale-like pink snow in the Italian Alps may sound like the perfect backdrop for the romantic date of a lifetime but likely indicates climate change is worsening, scientists have warned. The pink stuff, which now coats part of the Presena glacier, between the northern regions of Trentino and Lombardy, was likely caused by a type of algae that accelerates the effects of climate change. Biagio Di Mauro, a researcher at the Institute of Polar Sciences at Italy's National Research Council, told the Guardian newspaper something similar has been studied in Greenland, and in the polar regions. "The alga is not dangerous, it is a natural phenomenon that occurs during the spring and summer periods in the middle latitudes but also at the poles," Di Mauro said. Despite being harmless, the plant, which is believed to be Ancylonema nordenskioeldii, is causing the ice to melt in Greenland's so-called Dark Zone because the darker surface it creates means more of the sun's heat is absorbed. Di Mauro thinks something similar is happening in the Alps. "Everything that darkens the snow causes it to melt because it accelerates the absorption of radiation," Di Mauro said. "We are trying to quantify the effect of other phenomena besides the human one on the overheating of the Earth." Past studies have shown algae have become more prevalent because of global warming and that they have multiplied as they have caused the ice to melt. Di Mauro is believed to be the first person to scientifically study the phenomenon in the Alps. Similar explosions of algae have been seen this year in the Antarctic, where different types have caused both red and green snow near the South Pole, also flagging increased warming. A United Nations report published in 2018 says global temperatures will rise by 1.5C between 2030 and 2052, and by 3C by the end of the century, triggering the melting of ice caps and glaciers. The BBC said half of the 4,000 glaciers in the Alps mountain range could be gone in 30 years because of global warming. CNN noted that pink snow has been observed in the Alps for 200 years, where some call it "watermelon snow" but that the phenomenon is markedly worse this year. The broadcaster said an alga called Chlamydomonas nivalis may also be a candidate for the change in color. Di Mauro said light snowfall and high temperatures this year have opened the door to the explosion of algae, saying: "This creates the perfect environment for the algae to grow." Elisa Pongini, a tourist from Florence, Italy visiting the Presena glacier, told the AFP news service the Earth seems to be "giving us back everything we have done to it".