Second lowest minimum for Arctic ice

Second lowest minimum for Arctic ice

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The sea-ice extent on 10 September stood at 4.14 million sq km, some way short of the 3.39 million sq km record low in 2012.

Arctic sea-ice cover grows each autumn and winter, and shrinks each spring and summer.

It has long been regarded as a sensitive indicator of change to the Earth’s climatic system.

The ice extent has been tracked by the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, using satellite measurements.

However, the centre cautioned that the figures were preliminary, adding that changing winds could still push the ice extent lower.

Ted Scambos, NSIDC lead scientist, commented: “It really suggests that in the next few years, with more typical warmer conditions, we will see some very dramatic further losses.”

This year’s minimum is seen as something of a surprise as scientists believed that the low atmospheric pressure and cloudy skies in June and July had slowed down the melt.

“It’s pretty remarkable that this year’s sea-ice minimum extent ended up the second lowest, after how the melt progressed in June and July,” said Walt Meier, a sea ice scientist with Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

“June and July are usually key months for melt because that’s when you have 24 hours a day of sunlight – and this year we lost melt momentum during those two months.”

Record global land and sea surface temperatures in 2015 that continued to shatter records well into 2016 had led many to believe that the Arctic melt would reach a new low mark this year. But some scientists, including experts from Reading University in the UK, argued that their analysis of melt ponds on ice floes indicated that 2016 would not beat 2012.

While tying for the second lowest minimum in the satellite era, this year’s figure is in fact well above the 2012 melt, which saw the ice cover fall to 3.41 million sq km (1.32 million sq mi) – 50% lower than the 1979-2000 average.

Hielo ártico alcanza su segundo nivel más bajo de la historia

Hielo ártico alcanza su segundo nivel más bajo de la historia

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Cada año el hielo ártico se reduce de forma natural en primavera y verano antes de volver a aumentar durante el invierno. Sin embargo, el drástico derretimiento de 2016 ha sorprendido a los científicos.

“Fue un verano tormentoso, nublado y bastante fresco”, dijo Mark Serreze, director del Centro de Datos de Hile y Nieve de EE.UU. (NSIDC), en un comunicado.

“Históricamente este tipo de condiciones climáticas ralentizan la pérdida de hielo en verano, pero aún así llegamos al segundo punto más bajo en los registros por satélite”.

De acuerdo con un nuevo informe publicado por el NSIDC y la NASA, los niveles de hielo ártico se redujeron a su nivel más bajo de este año el 10 de septiembre, donde se llegó a los 4,4 millones de kilómetros cuadrados de hielo, casi lo mismo que en septiembre de 2007.

La extensión del hielo marino más baja de la historia se registró el 17 de septiembre de 2012, cuando disminuyó a solo 3,39 millones de kilómetros cuadrados.

El hielo del Ártico es importante para mantener la temperatura del planeta, según la NASA, además de influir en la circulación de la atmósfera y el océano. Una drástica reducción del hielo marino también puede afectar el ecosistema y las comunidades del Ártico. El monitoreo del hielo marino se inició en 1978.

El doctor Jan Lieser, experto en glaciares marinos del Centro de Investigación australiano para el Clima Antártico y los Ecosistemas, dijo que existe la posibilidad de que en tres generaciones nos quedemos sin hielo marino.

“El hielo marino tiene la capacidad de reflejar una gran cantidad de radiación solar de vuelta al espacio”, dijo.

“Cuanto menos hielo hay, más calientes se volverán los océanos, lo que, a su vez, resulta en mucho menos hielo marino el invierno posterior”.

Claire Parkinson, científica y autora principal del informe, dijo que desde 1986 no ha habido un solo registro máximo de hielo marino del Ártico sino, por el contrario, hubo 75 mínimos históricos.

“El registro deja claro que el hielo no se está recuperando cuando solía hacerlo, incluso en medio del invierno”, dijo en un comunicado.

El hielo del Ártico se derritió rápidamente entre marzo y mayo de 2016, según el informe, antes de disminuir ligeramente en agosto y septiembre, cuando llegaron las bajas presiones atmosféricas y los cielos nublados.

Pero incluso esas temperaturas más bajas no contribuyeron a reducir la velocidad del deshielo. “Esto sugiere que en los próximos años, con condiciones generales más cálidas, veremos pérdidas dramáticas”, dijo Ted Scambos, científico del NSIDC en un comunicado.

La “Escuela Verde”, educación para un futuro más sostenible

La “Escuela Verde”, educación para un futuro más sostenible

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La estadounidense Cynthia y su pareja, el diseñador canadiense John Hardy, han vivido en Bali durante más de treinta años. En 2007, después de abandonar el negocio de la joyería, formaron una escuela particular como alternativa a las escuelas amuralladas existentes en Bali. Se basaron en el modelo de educación del siglo XIX de Rudolf Steiner, que hace énfasis en el aprendizaje experimental. La “Escuela Verde” tiene como objetivo educar a los futuros líderes en sostenibilidad.

El campus está diseñado en torno a los principios de un sistema de permacultura orgánico, y los estudiantes deben cultivar un huerto orgánico, como parte de sus actividades de aprendizaje. Los edificios fueron construidos con recursos renovables, incluyendo bambú, hierba local y paredes de barro tradicionales. El campus ha sido clasificado como un ejemplo del potencial que tiene el bambú para la construcción a gran escala. Se hace referencia, especialmente a “El corazón de la escuela”, una estructura construida con 2500 cañas de bambú de 60metros de altura. La escuela también utiliza materiales de construcción renovables para algunas de sus otras necesidades.

Escuela Verde fue galardonada en el 2012 como ” La escuela más verde de la Tierra” por el Centro de Escuelas Verdes del Consejo de Construcción Verde de Estados Unidos.

A continuación la conferencia de su diseñador y fundador, John Hardy:

Green School Bali: teaching children about sustainable living

Green School Bali: teaching children about sustainable living

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American Cynthia and her partner, Canadian designer John Hardy, have lived on Bali for over thirty years. In 2007, after selling their renowned jewelry company, they formed a school as an alternative to the walled-in international schools around Bali. Based upon the 19thcentury education model of Rudolf Steiner, which emphasizes experiential learning, the Green School aims to educate future leaders in sustainability.

The campus is designed around the principles of an organic permaculture system, and the students cultivate an organic garden as part of their learning activities. Buildings are constructed primarily from renewable resources including bamboo, local grass, and traditional mud walls. The campus has been reported as an example of the large-scale building potential of bamboo architecture, especially “The Heart of the School”, a 60-meter long stilt-structure constructed with 2500 bamboo poles. The school also utilizes renewable building materials for some of its other needs.

Green School was awarded the 2012 “Greenest School on Earth” award by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council.

Learn more about the school in this conference:

Outdoor learning ‘boosts children’s development’

Outdoor learning ‘boosts children’s development’

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Outdoor learning can have a positive impact on children’s development but it needs to be formally adopted, a report suggests.

Childhoods were dramatically changing, with fewer opportunities to spend time outdoors, researchers observed.

The loss of exposure to the natural environment would have negative long-term consequences, they warned.

Establishing an “outdoor learning hub” would help teachers, and help shape policies and strategy, they suggested.

Long-term risks

The report highlighted previous studies that showed that busier family lives, combined with an increased sense of fear in society, children were having fewer opportunities to explore their surrounding natural environment.

This was hampering children’s social skills as well as risking stifling their long-term physical, emotional development and wellbeing. Therefore, it was important that schools did not overlook the opportunities that outdoor learning provided to bridge this gap.

“At the moment, if outdoor learning is part of a school’s curriculum in England, it is largely because the teachers recognize the value of it,” said report co-author, Sue Waite, a reader in outdoor learning at Plymouth University, UK.

“With so much focus on academic attainment, there can be pressure on teachers to stay in the classroom which means children are missing out on so many experiences that will benefit them through their lives.”

Joined-up thinking

Ms. Waite added that the report showed that although there was a significant body of research that supports outdoor learning in both formal and informal contexts, it was likely to remain on the margins of education until the benefits were recognized by policymakers and reflected in policies. The report calls for it to be adopted by national curricula.

The report made a number of recommendations, including the establishment of a “strategic policy/research hub” to “collate existing research, prioritize future research needs and help improve the alignment between research and policy”.

The report also proposed a “Framework for 21st Century Student Outcomes” that could be delivered through regular lessons in natural environments.

The outcomes were grouped into five themes:

  • A healthy and happy body and mind
  • A sociable, confident person
  • A self-directed and creative learner
  • An effective contributor
  • An active global citizen

“We need to be a little bit clearer about what forms of outdoor learning meet what purposes and aims (of curricula),” said Ms. Waite.

“So rather than just being outdoors magically making things happen, activities such as residential outdoor experiences would be particularly effective for developing social skills and leadership,” she said.

“Whereas field studies would be particularly effective for greater awareness of the environment”

“What we argue in the report is for people to think about the purpose and place (of the activity), as well as the people involved, in order to construct different forms of outdoor learning that will meet certain (teaching) aims.”

Ms. Waite said that the findings acknowledged that schools were under pressure to deliver results, and found increasing constraints on time, finance and other resources.

She said that linking outdoor activities to learning outcomes would allow it to become part of a curriculum so there would be “no need to find extra time” for outdoor learning.

She added: “Getting it embedded within policy gives that extra reassurance to teachers that this is something justifiable to do.”

Ms. Waite’s fellow co-author Prof Karen Malone, from Western Sydney University, added: “This report maps the evidence to encourage researchers and policymakers to meet at the interface of research and policy in order to shape a positive future for our children.”

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