Climate

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  • 2015 was the hottest year on record

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    01.20.2016

    If you needed further signs that humans are likely warming the planet, you just got it. NASA and NOAA have independently determined that Earth surface temperatures in 2015 were the hottest since record-keeping began in 1880, beating the 2014 average (the previous record) by a sizeable 0.13 degrees Celsius. Most of the on-record warming happened within the past 35 years, too. And you can't pin this on weather patterns like El Niño. While those conditions certainly contributed to 2015's higher temperatures, it was the "cumulative effect" of decades of warming that led to the new high.

  • France wants to make its own cheap electric car

    by 
    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper
    12.03.2015

    The world's politicians are currently huddled in Paris arguing over how much effort they're prepared to make to stop the seas from boiling. As such, France has decided to throw down a well-tailored gauntlet to its partners by announcing a competition to build an electric car that costs under $7,000. The country's ecology minister, Ségoléne Royal (pictured), revealed that she'll launch a project that'll encourage private companies to build an environmentally-friendly ride for the population. How will they be able to keep the costs that low, you ask? By ditching the built-in battery in favor of a country-wide network of stations that'll let people swap cells during their journeys.

  • These seven climate science projects could save the world

    by 
    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper
    05.29.2015

    The human race is doomed, and it's all our own fault. With the quantity of carbon in our atmosphere now well beyond the safe limit, it's almost certain the planet's temperature will continue to rise. Climate change is causing natural disasters of biblical proportions; a situation that's only going to get worse as time progresses. We all need to work harder to improve this situation by using less energy and behaving more responsibly. But since some people will never be convinced the Earth's rapidly approaching the end of its humanity-hospitable era, we're now in dire need of alternative options to save us from ourselves. To help get the word out, we've compiled a list of some of the most exciting scientific projects we've seen of late that could, if successful, undo some or all of the damage we've caused. [Image: Lisa Werner / Alamy]

  • Russia lets anyone use Earth-sensing data from its civilian satellites

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    12.29.2014

    The US government has been willing to loosen its grip on satellite data, but what about the info from other countries? Don't worry, that's opening up as well. Russia has declared that the Earth-sensing data it collects from civilian satellites is now available to the public, not just the government -- if you want to track St. Petersburg's urban sprawl, you probably can. Officials are keen to tout the advantages for Russian businesses that rely on maps, but the move should also help anyone who wants a more complete picture of how the world works. [Image credit: AP Photo]

  • Climate change deal has 194 countries cutting emissions

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    12.15.2014

    Deals to reduce greenhouse gases (such as 1997's Kyoto Protocol) have been in place for years. However, they've typically limited the reductions to richer nations -- poorer countries have objected to previous attempts to broaden the scope due to requirements they see as burdensome. At last, though, a truly global deal is underway. A total of 194 United Nations member states have agreed to submit plans for emissions cuts, with those who are ready delivering their plans no later than March. The terms have countries setting emissions targets beyond their "current undertaking," and wealthier countries will support less fortunate counterparts that are "vulnerable" to financial losses stemming from climate change. Should everything go according to plan, the UN will have a full-fledged pact within a year.

  • UK's £97 million supercomputer will predict the weather in your back yard

    by 
    Steve Dent
    Steve Dent
    10.29.2014

    If someone asks you about UK weather, you can probably say "lousy" with about 75 percent accuracy. But the UK's national weather service, the Met Office, needs a bit more precision than that, so it just purchased a £97 million ($156 million) Cray XC40 supercomputer. With 480,000 CPUs, the 140 tonne (154 ton) machine will run about 13 times faster than its current IBM system. It'll also let the Met provide updates every hour, three times more often than it can now. All that speed will enable forecasts down to a resolution of 1.5km (1 mile), giving UK denizens the weather down to a specific London borough, for instance. It should also provide much better flood and wind warnings, along with more accurate fog, ice and snow reports for airports.

  • It's official: Brits love weather apps

    by 
    Matt Brian
    Matt Brian
    08.11.2014

    In days past, you couldn't call yourself a true Brit unless you'd waited for the six o'clock news to end in order to catch the weather forecast for the coming week. These days, however, more people than ever are pulling out their phone and launching an app. The BBC is keen to reinforce our obsession with unpredictable climates and mobile phones, announcing today that the BBC Weather iOS and Android apps have become its fastest-growing mobile properties, with over 8 million downloads since their launch just over a year ago. According to the Beeb, users love to whip out their mobiles first thing in the morning (7am being the most popular time), with Friday the most popular day, as people attempt to plan for the weekend ahead. In the near future, the BBC says it will add detailed weather warnings to the app, giving you an even firmer excuse for staying indoors with the cats.

  • The Nexus Telegraph: Still moving in WildStar

    by 
    Eliot Lefebvre
    Eliot Lefebvre
    05.20.2013

    The downside to writing about WildStar in this stage of the game's lifecycle is that because of the very nature of beta tests, I'm going to be spending a lot of time speculating instead of talking about certainties. Last week, I speculated. I was wrong on some points, as I found out when I got a letter from Carbine clarifying some things that had previously been ambiguous enough for speculation. The upside to writing about WildStar in this stage of the game's lifecycle is that sometimes I get letters from development staff letting me in on valuable inside information. Aside from being able to clarify my previous incorrect speculation, I also have for you a number of other important bits of information regarding the game this week, including a brief discussion of whether or not the game will allow for flight on a regular basis. So since that's well worth discussing, let's go ahead and just make this column another dialogue about movement.

  • NASA's GROVER eco-rover to examine Greenland's ice sheet (video)

    by 
    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper
    05.02.2013

    It may be fun, but sending NASA scientists on snowmobiles to survey ice floes isn't the most productive use of their time. That's why the agency has sent GROVER to do the job instead. The solar-powered Greenland Rover is an autonomous vehicle with ground penetrating radar that's been designed to examine how the ice flow has changed over time. As the Arctic sun will never drop below the horizon, GROVER will be able to work 24 hours a day, give or take the odd social media break. [Image Credit: Gabriel Trisca, Boise State University]

  • Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat learns habits, matches your neon decor (video)

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    04.10.2013

    Honeywell has had WiFi-capable thermostats on the market for some time, but few of them would be a great match for home interiors that have escaped 1980s beige chic. The company's new Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat is going a long way toward bringing that design fully into the present century. Owners can color match the touchscreen interface with the paint on their walls, down to very exact shades. Of course, the thermostat wouldn't be much of a competitor in the Nest era if it didn't have some of that namesake intelligence underneath. As with its main rival, the Honeywell system has (already existing) Android and iOS apps, and can tell how long it takes to change the temperature; it's also aware of when filters need a change based on furnace behavior. If you're on the cusp of a home renovation and don't want anything so gauche as a differently-colored screen, home improvement shops should have the Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat this May for $249.

  • Access your Nest Thermostat from your Mac menu bar

    by 
    Mel Martin
    Mel Martin
    03.07.2013

    The Nest Thermostat has been a hit since it was announced in late 2011. Apple sells them along with other retailers, and they were created by Tony Fadell, one of the fathers of the iPod when he was at Apple. The Nest can be accessed from a browser, or iOS apps that let you control all aspects of the thermostat from anywhere. On a Mac, there is a web page. Now, developer Joe Workman has improved that by creating a small app for your menu bar called Climate. The US$2.99 app, now available in the Mac App Store, places an item in your menu bar to log into your account. The app persistently displays your minimum and maximum temperature settings. Click it to see a screen similar to what you find on your iOS device or the web. You can change settings, modify your schedule and set the Nest to auto-away mode or do anything you could do from a browser or your iPhone or iPad. %Gallery-181036% Why would you buy an app when you can get the same info for free? First, Nest doesn't have a Mac app. You have to navigate to its web page and log in to your account. I find Climate a lot more convenient to use, and it is always a click away. If there is anything I would change, it's what is displayed in the menu bar. I know my minimum and maximum temp settings, and they rarely change. I'd prefer my current house temperature, or maybe a switch that lets me select outside or inside temperatures, or maybe display both. Those are small quibbles. Climate is a handy app for your Mac, and I think most Nest owners will find it useful.

  • NOVA's Earth From Space documentary shows a super-connected planet (video)

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    02.15.2013

    We've already had a meteorite shower to remind us that Earth is just a small part of a much, much larger universe. If that wasn't enough perspective for you, PBS is offering a follow-up through NOVA's newly streaming "Earth From Space" documentary. The two-hour show illustrates how our planet's individual climates and ecosystems are really part of one larger unit, with ripple effects that we didn't always anticipate until an abundance of earth observation satellites made them clear. You'll have to be an American to watch before the documentary, at least before it arrives in disc form on April 2nd. Every Earth citizen can still watch the trailer after the break.

  • NASA launches Landsat 8 satellite to better study the skies above, water below

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    02.12.2013

    NASA's Landsat program recently turned the big four-oh, and what better way to deal with the mid-life crisis by getting a new satellite as a present? Accordingly, the space agency has just launched Landsat 8 into orbit to give its Earth Science program a new injection of youth. The new vehicle improves the accuracy of existing light and thermal sensors while widening the scope to better reflect modern climate studies -- number 8 now tracks aerosols in the atmosphere, high cirrus clouds and the telltale signs of water quality and consumption levels. We won't get the first USGS-derived results from the new satellite until after a 100-day shakedown period, but we're sure the deeper understanding of our planet will help the Landsat program forget all about those first few gray hairs.

  • ArcheAge's fifth closed beta to feature XP loss, trial system, and more

    by 
    Jef Reahard
    Jef Reahard
    08.16.2012

    ArcheAge's fifth, yes fifth, closed beta test kicks off this week. XLGAMES recently released the latest patch notes, which have been helpfully translated from the original Korean via Google. ArcheAge Source has the full list, and perusing them brings a few interesting points to the fore. For one, there seems to be a form of XP loss on death (though not for avatars below level 10). CBT5 also marks the introduction of the game's trial system, so all you naughty-by-nature folks will likely find out what sort of crime and punishment await you in XL's fantasy sandbox. Finally, there are bits about crop growth and how climate affects it as well as some verbiage about certain regional tradeskill specialties. Massively's got a couple of folks patching up CBT5 as we speak, so look for some up-to-the-minute ArcheAge impressions in the coming weeks. [Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

  • Oregon Scientific's Remote Weather Access Platform links up weather stations to your phone

    by 
    Richard Lai
    Richard Lai
    01.08.2012

    Another phone-related product coming out of Oregon Scientific this year is the Remote Weather Access Platform. As the name suggests, this little box acts as a LAN bridge between Oregon Scientific home weather station sensors (via RF) and the web, thus allowing users to monitor home microclimate from a personal website or an app on their smartphones (Android or iOS). Yep, that's pretty much it, and the hub will cost you a dear $149 when it eventually hits the market.

  • Motorola's Connected Home Gateway makes your house smarter, turns it into a 4Home

    by 
    Tim Stevens
    Tim Stevens
    01.05.2012

    The world of home automation is one full of disparate, fragmented pieces often requiring high-dollar contractors with trucks full of adapters. Motorola's been trying to streamline that with its 4Home standard and the company's latest attempt at smarthome synchronicity has just been unveiled. It's called the Connected Home Gateway and it looks like your average wireless router, but it's actually much more than that -- according to Moto's press release, anyway, which promises the thing can easily tie together home security, automation and climate control into a single, petite box. Once harmonized, the whole package is said to be easily accessible from a mobile device, something that might help homeowners relax a bit more while on vacation -- or while covering a major convention in Las Vegas. We're still lacking a lot of details here (like, how exactly do all these devices connect to the thing) but we'll try to get a demo and more details as soon as possible.

  • NASA shows first global image taken from new satellite; Captain Planet approves

    by 
    Jason Hidalgo
    Jason Hidalgo
    12.17.2011

    From breaking the ice on Jupiter's moon Europa to going Captain Ahab on comets, NASA's been quite busy formulating all sorts of "strategery" for future projects lately. But just because the space agency has to pay Russians to hitch a ride to space these days doesn't mean it has nothing going on in the present. Check out the first image from NASA's NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite. The satellite launched October 28th and, eventually, will be able to measure anything from ocean temps to fire locations. While it can't do all of that just yet, the NPP satellite is at least capable of taking global images with its Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). The satellite is placed in a sun-synchronous orbit that lets it sync with the areas it covers at roughly the same time of day. The result? All images will have the same lighting since the satellite maintains the same angle between the Earth and the sun.

  • Delkin's CF cards handle all weathers, so quit yo' jibber jabber

    by 
    Sharif Sakr
    Sharif Sakr
    08.09.2011

    Delkin sneers at wimps who sit around all day debating whether it's worse to be too hot or too cold. Its new 32GB and 64GB rugged CompactFlash cards relish both extremes, with a claimed operating temperature range of -40 to +85 degrees Celsius. They achieve this by eschewing the cheaper multi-level cell design of namby-pamby mainstream cards in favor of single-level cells that last for up to two million cycles and max out at 105MB/s reads and 95MB/s writes. We wouldn't stick anything else in our SnoMote. Full details in the PR after the break.

  • Daily iPad App: NASA Visualization Explorer

    by 
    Kelly Hodgkins
    Kelly Hodgkins
    08.08.2011

    The NASA Visualization app is your window into the world of NASA research. The app presents the latest NASA research news in an easy-to-digest format. Each article is written for the lay person and amateur scientist with images and video to complement the writing. Topics range from space-based exploration to climate change, another popular area of NASA research. The app itself is pleasantly arranged and can be viewed in either portrait or landscape mode. Each article has a captivating headline image pulled from NASA's impressive photography library. Articles can be viewed by selecting from an index or browsing the headlines individually. Navigation among articles is a bit awkward if you use the arrows,but you can always use the more familiar swiping gestures. The arrows are large and easy to tap, once you get used to them, though. The content is great. The articles are scientific enough to keep the amateur scientist interested, yet basic enough for the average person to understand. They are also topical and not obscure; you get to read about glaciers and solar flares! New articles appear every 2-3 days and a badge tells you how many new articles are available to read. Articles also include extra images and even video clips. The video supports Airplay so you can watch the clips on the big screen if you own an Apple TV. The NASA Visualization app also lets you share content via Facebook, Twitter, or email. You can copy the article's URL and even read it using Mobile Safari. The NASA Visualization app is a must-have for the NASA fan or science buff looking for something to read in their spare time. The app is available for the iPad only and requires iOS 4.3 or later. You can download it for free from the App Store.

  • NASA iPad app helps you discover life on Earth

    by 
    Brian Heater
    Brian Heater
    07.27.2011

    Focusing on the extraterrestrial all day can probably make it pretty easy to forget about all that's going on here on Earth. NASA has shifted its focus a bit for its new iPad app, taking a look at the goings-on of the world around us. The app features videos, stories, and images explaining things like climate change and plant life from the vantage point of the organization's satellites. Like the self-titled NASA iPad app before it, the Visualization Explorer is available now as a free download from iTunes.