The upper atmosphere is contracting!

Virginie hilssone Meteored France 4 min
Mesofera
The mesosphere could be cooling and contracting.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are changing temperatures in the troposphere, the layer of the atmosphere closest to the ground. As proof: the numerous episodes of heat that now affect many places on the planet, especially those that have been experienced in the United States and Canada. Now it has been proven that GHGs are also having a remarkable impact on the mesosphere. Lhe layer of our atmosphere that is between approximately 50 and 80 kilometers above the Troposphere.

As surprising as it may seem, the mesosphere could be cooling and, therefore, contracting. This hypothesis had been raised by several researchers in recent years and seems to have been confirmed. Using data from three NASA satellites, collected over a 30-year observation period, lScientists found that the mesosphere was cooling to 2.7 degrees Celsius per decade.

Why is this cooling taking place?

Greenhouse gases trap most of the heat in the troposphere, the lowest layer of the atmosphere, causing the Earth’s surface to heat up and causing global warming.

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Near the surface, the atmosphere is thicker. But above, the mesosphere is thinner and reacts differently to increased greenhouse gasesO. “Carbon dioxide retains heat just like a duvet retains your body heat and keeps you warm. In the lower atmosphere, there are many molecules nearby that easily trap and transfer Earth’s heat between them, keeping it close to the ground. This causes little heat to reach the higher and thinner mesosphere ” , explains James Russell, a co-author of the study and an atmospheric scientist at Hampton University in Virginia.

Up there, molecules are scarce and the heat captured by carbon dioxide escapes into space if it can’t find another molecule to absorb it. As a result, more heat is lost to space and the upper atmosphere cools. As the air cools, it contracts, just like a balloon contracts if you put it in the freezer.

What consequences does it have on the surface?

This cooling does not have a direct consequence in our life but yes it could generate some undesirable effects, indirectly. The more the mesosphere contracts, the more the rest of the upper atmosphere contracts. A) Yes resistance to satellites, which helps clear space debris in particular, could decrease.

Another consequence of the cooling of the mesosphere: it concentrates more water vapor. Therefore, brighter noctilucent clouds form at lower latitudes early in the year.

There is yet another consequence of the cooling of the mesosphere: it concentrates more water vapor. Therefore, se form brighter noctilucent clouds at lower latitudes early in the year. Additionally, in another recent discovery, environmental scientists found that the stratosphere, the layer of the atmosphere immediately below the mesosphere, is shrinking by more than 300 feet per decade and could eventually disrupt radio communications and global positioning systems.

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Climate Policy – EU: 2035 End for new gasoline and diesel cars

In essence, the proposal of the EU authority provides for the consumption of fossil fuels to become more expensive in order to accelerate the switch to climate-friendly technologies. The car industry is also to be imposed even more stringent carbon dioxide limits – by 2035 at the latest, only emission-free cars are to be registered in the EU.

Apart from that, consumers must expect increased costs for the use of conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles and for heating. The Brussels authority wants to create a separate emissions trading system for road traffic and the building sector, which makes CO2 emissions from these areas chargeable. Intra-European flights and cruises could become more expensive due to new energy taxes. In order not to leave people with low incomes alone with rising energy and transport costs, there should be a climate social fund.

“The fossil fuel economy is reaching its limits,” said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen when presenting the plans. It is now a matter of combining the reduction of emissions with measures for nature conservation and placing employment and social balance at the center of the transformation.

Vice President Frans Timmermans, who is responsible for climate protection, openly admitted: “Everything we have presented today will not be easy – it will be damn hard.”

The totality of the proposed measures should enable the EU states to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 55 percent below the 1990 level by 2030. That is why the package is also called “Fit for 55” by the Commission. The long-term goal of the EU is that by 2050 no more climate-damaging gases will be released into the atmosphere. This is how man-made climate change and its consequences are to be stopped. Scientists see global warming as a reason for rising sea levels and weather-related natural disasters such as cyclones, floods and forest fires.

For the auto industry, the EU Commission specifically proposes that by 2030 the greenhouse gas emissions of new cars should decrease by 55 percent compared to 2021. If manufacturers do not adhere to the specifications, penalties should be paid. From 2035 onwards, only emission-free new vehicles are to be registered in the EU. However, there should be a review clause. Accordingly, every two years it should be analyzed how far the manufacturers are; A major test report is to follow in 2028. In theory, the date 2035 could still be postponed.

Vice President Frans Timmermans, who is responsible for climate protection, openly admitted: “Everything we have presented today will not be easy – it will be damn hard.”

The initial reactions to the Commission’s plans were mixed. While environmental organizations such as Greenpeace spoke of an inadequate contribution to climate protection, business representatives expressed concern. The aviation industry warned that the Commission’s plans would put them at a competitive disadvantage. The Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) indicated, among other things, that the proposed 55 percent target would require a very high proportion of e-cars. By the end of the decade, almost two thirds of new cars across the EU should have electric, hybrid or fuel cell drives.

The VDA was alluding to the fact that the EU Commission specifically wants to stipulate that greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles must be reduced by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 2021. If manufacturers do not adhere to the specifications, penalties should be payable. From 2035 onwards, only emission-free new vehicles are to be registered in the EU. However, there should be a review clause. Accordingly, every two years it should be analyzed how far the manufacturers are; A major test report is to follow in 2028. In theory, the date 2035 could still be postponed.

For the change in the transport sector, charging points for electric cars are to be set up every 60 kilometers on major highways in the EU. The Commission estimates the investment costs for the charging infrastructure at a total of 15 billion euros. Hydrogen filling stations are to be built every 150 kilometers.

In order not to put European industry at a disadvantage on the world market, European producers of products such as steel, aluminum, fertilizer and electricity are planned to be protected from foreign competition with less stringent climate protection requirements via a so-called border adjustment mechanism. It provides for a CO2 tax to be introduced on imports of these goods.

The Member States and the European Parliament must now discuss the implementation of the proposals. From the point of view of the EU Commission, speed is of the essence in order to give industry and consumers as much time as possible for the changes and reductions. “This is the all-important decade in the fight against the climate and biodiversity crisis,” commented Commission Vice-President Timmermans.

In the case of the major greenhouse gas emitters such as traffic, buildings, agriculture and garbage, the 27 nation states have to take care of a reduction. According to the EU Commission, Austria should step up a gear here. In Germany, CO2 emissions in these areas are to be reduced by 48 percent by 2030 compared to 2005. This puts Austria above the EU average of minus 40 percent. So far, the so-called effort sharing has been minus 36 percent for the Alpine republic.

Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) welcomed the package and promised rapid and ambitious implementation. A uniform changeover date to clean cars is “very gratifying,” stressed Gewessler. An end to the tax privilege on kerosene is also a really good sign for more climate protection. The climate protection ministry plans to examine further measures such as emissions trading, effort sharing, the introduction of a CO2 border adjustment, a faster switch to renewable energies and a fund for social justice in the coming days. “At first glance, the package presented is good and ambitious – and that’s what we need to achieve our goals,” said Gewessler. Austria will pay particular attention to social justice.

The Chamber of Labor (AK) and the Federation of Trade Unions (ÖGB) meanwhile demanded that the path to climate neutrality must be socially fair. The Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ) pushed for global pressure from the EU for more climate protection, not just in Europe. Environmental organizations consider the climate protection package presented by the EU Commission to be inadequate.

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Storm – the worst is yet to come

Heavy rain flooded streets last night and filled cellars. Was that it now with continuous rain? Not at all, says the weather service DTN. One region in particular is getting it today.

There is lightning, it thunders, it pours like buckets. Heavy rain fell over parts of Germany last night and caused considerable damage in some cases. In the north of Bavaria, in Saxony, but also in North Rhine-Westphalia, roads turned into torrents, rivers burst their banks and cellars overflowed. The district of Hof in Bavaria declared the disaster. The fire brigade went out on hundreds of missions.

In Düsseldorf alone, 90 liters of rain per square meter have fallen since Tuesday, in southern Saxony-Anhalt and parts of Thuringia it was still 50 to 80 liters. Meteorologists warn that the end of the bar has not yet been reached. In the coming hours, the continuous rain will continue, especially in Rhineland-Palatinate and southern North Rhine-Westphalia – with even greater amounts of precipitation.

Heavy continuous rain from the Eifel to the Palatinate

It is not unusual that heavy rain accompanied by thunderstorms occurs at this time of the year. “We observe such events very often in summer. Most of the time it happens very locally because the weather is more limited at this time,” explains chief meteorologist Joachim Schug from the DTN weather service. For the next few hours, he sees the greatest danger in a strip from the Eifel to the Palatinate. “There you can expect continuous rain accompanied by thunderstorms and amounts of precipitation of 100 to 150 liters per square meter. That extends to the Netherlands and Belgium.”

In the evening and into the night, the continuous rain then spreads to the southwest of Germany to Baden-Württemberg, but becomes weaker in the process. “In the rest of the country it remains rather calm, in isolated cases there can also be thunderstorms. In the far north-east and south of Schleswig you probably won’t notice anything at all. There, up to 30 degrees are possible again.”

“The worst weather in all of Europe”

“Bernd,” says Schug with a wink, is to blame for the weather and the heavy rain. “The center of the low pressure area ‘Bernd’ lies above Lower Saxony and ensures that Germany has the worst weather in all of Europe. Everywhere else there is actually mostly nice summer weather.” Nevertheless, the meteorologist has observed longer-term changes in the climate. “Because of global warming, the air on and around our continent is warmer and can therefore absorb more water vapor. The climate is becoming more tropical, which means that larger amounts of rain can fall within a short period of time.”

Schug and his colleagues noticed something else: the thunderstorms are moving away more and more slowly. “Just a few years ago it was common for thunderstorms to move at a speed of around 50 kilometers per hour. But because the wind decreases at a height of three to five kilometers, that changes. Thunderstorms often only move in at 10 to 20 kilometers This has a combined effect: more water vapor in the air and thunderstorms that stay in one place longer. “

According to Schug, the reason for the decrease in wind at altitude is the dwindling temperature difference. “When it is less cold at the North Pole, the difference to the subtropics becomes smaller. Climate change is taking place in many small locations.”

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Storm – the worst is yet to come

Heavy rain flooded streets last night and filled cellars. Was it that now with continuous rain? Not at all, says the weather service DTN. One region in particular is getting it today.

This text appeared on Wednesday after heavy rain and thunderstorms had hit Saxony and northern Bavaria the night before. In the following hours, even more severe storms in western Germany were to claim numerous deaths and cause enormous damage. How this weather situation came about explains the former ZDF meteorologist Gunther Tiersch here in an interview.

There is lightning, it thunders, it pours like buckets. Heavy rain fell over parts of Germany last night and caused considerable damage in some cases. In the north of Bavaria, in Saxony, but also in North Rhine-Westphalia, roads turned into torrents, rivers burst their banks and cellars overflowed. The district of Hof in Bavaria declared the disaster. The fire brigade went out on hundreds of missions.

In Düsseldorf alone, 90 liters of rain per square meter have fallen since Tuesday, in southern Saxony-Anhalt and parts of Thuringia it was still 50 to 80 liters. Meteorologists warn that the end of the bar has not yet been reached. In the coming hours, the continuous rain will continue, especially in Rhineland-Palatinate and southern North Rhine-Westphalia – with even greater amounts of precipitation.

Heavy continuous rain from the Eifel to the Palatinate

It is not unusual that heavy rain accompanied by thunderstorms occurs at this time of the year. “We observe such events very often in summer. Most of the time it happens very locally because the weather is more limited at this time,” explains chief meteorologist Joachim Schug from the DTN weather service. For the next few hours, he sees the greatest danger in a strip from the Eifel to the Palatinate. “There you can expect continuous rain accompanied by thunderstorms and amounts of precipitation of 100 to 150 liters per square meter. That extends to the Netherlands and Belgium.”

In the evening and into the night, the continuous rain then spreads to the southwest of Germany to Baden-Württemberg, but becomes weaker in the process. “In the rest of the country it remains rather calm, in isolated cases there can also be thunderstorms. In the far north-east and south of Schleswig you probably won’t notice anything at all. There, up to 30 degrees are possible again.”

“The worst weather in all of Europe”

“Bernd,” says Schug with a wink, is to blame for the weather and the heavy rain. “The center of the low pressure area ‘Bernd’ lies above Lower Saxony and ensures that Germany has the worst weather in all of Europe. Everywhere else there is actually mostly nice summer weather.” Nevertheless, the meteorologist has observed longer-term changes in the climate. “Because of global warming, the air on and around our continent is warmer and can therefore absorb more water vapor. The climate is becoming more tropical, which means that larger amounts of rain can fall within a short period of time.”

Schug and his colleagues noticed something else: the thunderstorms are moving away more and more slowly. “Just a few years ago it was common for thunderstorms to move at a speed of around 50 kilometers per hour. But because the wind decreases at a height of three to five kilometers, that changes. Thunderstorms often only move in at 10 to 20 kilometers This has a combined effect: more water vapor in the air and thunderstorms that stay in one place longer. “

According to Schug, the reason for the decrease in wind at altitude is the dwindling temperature difference. “When it is less cold at the North Pole, the difference to the subtropics becomes smaller. Climate change is taking place in many small locations.”

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Earth’s energy imbalance doubles

Joana Campos Christian Garavaglia 4 min
energy balance Earth Sun Atmosphere
The balance between solar radiation and the energy that returns to space largely determines the climate of the planet.

During decades, various scientific studies have shown that by adding the incoming radiation and subtracting the outgoing radiation, the result is a positive energy imbalance, which means that the Earth system (atmosphere, land surface, seas and oceans) is gaining energy, what makes the planet this hotter.

In a nutshell, this process subjects the Earth to a greenhouse effect similar to the process that produces heat in garden greenhouses and horticultural facilities.

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Experts have determined that this energy imbalance is increasing as a result of the accumulation of gases such as carbon dioxide or methane (so-called greenhouse gases) in the atmosphere .

Worrisome new data

A study by experts from NASA and NOAA has now shown that this energy imbalance is growing much more than previously thought. The earth’s energy imbalance doubled in the period 2005-2019, as indicated by the authors of this study.

The title of this scientific article, headed by Professor Norman Loeb, leaves no room for doubt: Data from satellites and oceans reveal a sharp increase in the rate of global warming.

Although the imbalance has a minimal percentage (0.3%), it ends up contributing directly to the increase in air and ocean temperatures, causing climate change capable of affecting the entire planet.

The authors note that the Earth’s energy imbalance is relatively small (about 0.3%). This is calculated from the average global solar radiation absorbed and the infrared thermal radiation emitted to space. However, this small percentage is extremely important to maintain temperatures and, in general, for climatic changes.

The origin of the problem

“The study shows that the increased imbalance is, in part, the result of increased greenhouse gases due to anthropogenic activity, along with increased water vapor, which traps more long-wave radiation. In addition, the decrease in cloud cover and sea ice leads to greater absorption of solar energy ”, states a NASA report.

In addition to the part directly related to human activities, researchers found that part of the process may be related to changing the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (known as PDO, in English) from a cold phase to a warm phase.

This oscillation is a pattern of climate variability in the Pacific. This natural internal variability can have far-reaching effects on climate and weather. An intensely hot phase of PDO, which started around 2014 and continued until 2020, it caused a widespread reduction in cloud cover over the ocean and a corresponding increase in the absorption of solar radiation.

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"IRREVERSIBLE EFFECTS": IPCC report predicts famine and water scarcity – WELT news channel

  1. “IRREVERSIBLE IMPACT”: IPCC report predicts famine and water scarcityWORLD news channel
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  3. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: “Irreversible consequences” when the earth is heated to over 1.5 degreesderStandard.at
  4. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns of existential threatsFAZ – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
  5. Weather and climate change: “The worst is yet to come”PICTURE
  6. See “More about this” in Google News

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Weather and climate change: “The worst is yet to come” – News Abroad

Natural disasters, famines, extinction of species – a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change depicts this horror scenario. Should mankind fail to meet the 1.5-degree target of the Paris Climate Agreement, there is a threat of “irreversible effects on people and ecological systems”.

What the organization specifically fears about the individual systems:

Ecosystems

► The report authors point out that in the past it took millions of years for ecosystems, food chains and biodiversity to recover from drastic climate shocks. As a result, completely new species emerged.

► Many ecosystems on land, on coasts, in freshwater and in the ocean are currently “near or beyond” the limit of their ability to adapt to environmental changes such as global warming.

► Increasing extreme environmental events in combination with long-term climate developments bring ecosystems to so-called tipping points. If these tipping points are exceeded, according to the draft report, “abrupt and possibly irreversible changes” are to be feared.

► All global warming scenarios suggest the imminent loss of permafrost. Thawing the ground, which has been frozen for thousands of years, could release huge amounts of carbon dioxide stored in it – which in turn would further accelerate global warming. With global warming of two degrees compared to the pre-industrial era, the IPCC scientists expect a loss of 15 percent of the permafrost soils by the year 2100. This would result in the release of between 36 and 67 billion tons of CO2.

species

► The pace of species extinction has accelerated massively – it is estimated to be a thousand times faster than before the Antropian, the geological age of man.

► Due to rising temperatures, plants and animals migrate from their traditional habitats. The boundaries of ecosystems are expected to shift hundreds of kilometers by the end of this century.

► With global warming of two to three degrees compared to the pre-industrial age, according to the IPCC, up to 54 percent of the world’s species on land and in water will be threatened with extinction in the course of this century. Even if the global temperature rises by two degrees, the animal species in the polar regions such as polar bears, seals and penguins are threatened, and the same applies to the inhabitants of species-rich ecosystems such as coral reefs and mangrove forests.

Woods

► The increase in temperatures, drought and drought has increased the length of the forest fire phases and doubled the area at risk of fire.

► The probability of severe droughts in natural areas of Brazil is expected to quadruple with global warming by two degrees. With high greenhouse gas emissions, droughts and forest fires could turn half of the Amazon rainforest into grasslands. This would be a tipping point at which large amounts of additional carbon dioxide would be released and global greenhouse gas emissions would thus be substantially increased.

► Forest fires used to be uncommon in the arctic tundra and forests in the north. From 1996 to 2015, however, the area destroyed by fires in Siberia increased ninefold.

Seas

► Heat waves in the oceans, which cause damage to coral reefs, kelp forests and seaweed meadows or can destroy them, increased by 34 percent between 1925 and 2016. Their average duration increased by 17 percent over the same period.

► Even if the 1.5-degree target of the Paris Climate Agreement is achieved, experts expect 70 to 90 percent of coral reefs that are home to many species to die off.

► The area of ​​the Arctic Ocean, which is also covered with ice in summer, has shrunk by a quarter since the late 1970s.

Particularly hard hit: the poorest of the poor. But Europe is also moving into focus. Rising sea levels and increasing storms hit coasts from Italy to Usedom.

“The worst is yet to come and will affect the lives of our children and grandchildren much more than ours,” says the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

So far, this is only a draft on which more than 700 experts have worked. In order to save the environment, “we have to redefine our way of life and our consumption”.

According to the AFP news agency, the earth has warmed up by 1.1 degrees since the pre-industrial era. The 2015 Paris Agreement said it would reduce warming by well below two degrees. The earth is currently heading for a warming of around three degrees.

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Mass exodus and diseases: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paints a bleak picture of the future

Mass exodus and diseases
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paints bleak picture of the future

The countries that are most likely to suffer from global warming are those that contribute the least. If the Paris Climate Agreement is not adhered to, it will also have a massive impact on life in Europe. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts, among other things, a higher risk of death and the spread of dangerous diseases.

More heat waves, more hunger, flooded coastal areas, extinction of species – failure to meet the 1.5 degree target of the Paris Climate Agreement has “irreversible effects on people and ecological systems” according to the IPCC. In the draft of a comprehensive IPCC report, the experts assume that global warming by two degrees exposes an additional 420 million people to the risk of heat waves.

In addition, the draft report sees an additional hunger risk for 8 to 80 million people by 2050. The extent of this risk depends on the development of greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the draft report, the collapse of entire ecosystems, water and food shortages and diseases as a consequence of global warming will increase ever faster in the coming decades – even if people manage to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. In the end, humans are the greatest sufferers of the crisis they have caused themselves. “Life on earth can recover from a drastic climate change by spawning new species and creating new ecosystems,” states the 137-page technical summary of the draft report. “Humans can’t do that.”

The earth has warmed up by 1.1 degrees since the pre-industrial age. The Paris Agreement is intended to limit warming to well below 2 degrees, but if possible 1.5 degrees. Even for a warming of 2 degrees, the IPCC draft report shows serious global consequences for humans and nature. At the moment, however, the earth is even heading for a temperature rise of around 3 degrees.

In the past 30 years, climate change has already caused global harvests to decline by four to ten percent – the decline is even more pronounced in Africa and South America. According to the IPCC experts, the world is ill-prepared for the further changes that are to come.

Coastal cities at risk

“The worst is yet to come and will affect the lives of our children and grandchildren much more than ours,” states the IPCC paper. By 2050, if the global temperature rises by 1.5 degrees, around 350 million inhabitants of metropolitan areas will suffer from water shortages due to severe droughts. With a two-degree warming, there would be 410 million people affected.

Coastal cities are moving to the “front line” of the climate crisis because they are hit more and more frequently by storms, which are even more dangerous due to rising sea levels. “The current state of adaptation will be inadequate to address future climate risks,” says the draft report.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, poor countries are particularly hard hit by the effects of the climate. But Europe will also feel the consequences: the damage caused by floods there would increase significantly by the end of the century, even with a high degree of adaptation measures, predict the report authors on the basis of international studies.

The number of people in Europe with a high climate-related risk of death would therefore be three times as high with a global warming of 3 degrees as with 1.5 degrees, especially in Central and Southern Europe. In addition, according to the IPCC, Europe is likely to be confronted with more people seeking help from Africa and increasingly with mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and zika.

Today’s measures have a long-term effect

In addition, the draft report points to the risk that so-called tipping points could be reached, from which a massive acceleration of climate change can no longer be stopped – for example, due to the melting of the ice sheet in Greenland and West Antarctica.

Still, the report’s authors emphasize that every “fraction of a degree of warming” counts. Climate protection measures paid off, especially in the second half of the century, and could save mankind from extinction. It is necessary that individuals, communities, companies and governments now follow a concept of “climate justice”, warn the report authors in their draft. “We have to redefine our way of life and our consumption.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) evaluates scientific studies on climate change for decision-makers around the world and formulates conclusions to guide action for its 195 member states. The 4,000-page draft report is the preliminary results of the IPCC Working Group II, which sheds light on the consequences of global warming.

The final version of the report, on which more than 700 experts are working, is not expected to be published before February. Before that, the UN biodiversity summit will take place in October and the UN climate conference in November.

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Oceans: The earth now has five instead of four oceans

kmpkt Officially recognized

The earth now has five instead of four oceans

Fifth ocean - do you know what it's called?  Southern ocean

Quelle: Getty Images/Mike Hill

Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Arctic Oceans – and what name does the new addition go by? For more than 100 years, geographers disagreed as to whether there was a fifth ocean. You can find out why and where he is here.

DAs our planet has four great oceans, every child learns at school: The Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Arctic Oceans cover the earth to 71 percent with water. Now a fifth ocean joins it: the Antarctic or Southern Ocean.

As early as February, the US weather and oceanography authority, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), categorized the approximately 20,327 million square kilometers of sea around the Antarctic continent as an ocean. It is the second smallest ocean after the Arctic Ocean. At its deepest point, the sea area measures 5805 meters to the sea floor.

So far, however, it has only appeared on a few maps under its name. That should change now. The US publisher National Geographic has been publishing maps and atlases since 1915 – but so far only with four oceans. Now the map manufacturer also wants to name the Antarctic Sea.

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There is a symbolic reason why this is only happening now, although NOAA has officially listed the Antarctic Ocean as a world ocean since February: the publisher announced the innovation right on time for World Oceans Day on June 8th. This would change the worldview of many generations of students in the future, as geographer Alex Tait explains to National Geographic:

As long as the Southern Ocean is not included, the students will learn nothing about its special features and why it is so important.

The knowledge of a fifth ocean is not entirely new

Southern Ocean Fifth Ocean - do you know what it's called?

The Antarctic and the Southern Ocean, which runs roughly up to the 60th parallel

Quelle: Wikimedia Commons/Ivanov, L. and N. Ivanova. BY-SA 3.0

For more than a century, cartographers around the world have debated the existence of a fifth ocean. For a long time the geographers disagreed as to whether the waters around the Antarctic had enough peculiarities to be considered a real ocean of the world. Although several researchers have already come to the conclusion that the Southern Ocean definitely belongs to the great seas of this planet, it was not officially recognized under an international agreement or by an institution until the beginning of the year.

The last such attempt was made in 2000 by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). The organization sets international sea borders. When their 68 member states were asked whether the Southern Ocean should be recognized as a world ocean, only 28 responded. 27 were in favor of a definition of the ocean, only Argentina opposed it. Another point of contention was where the border should run: While half of the members who expressed themselves voted for the 60th parallel, others, such as Australia, pleaded for the ocean to begin at the 50th parallel. For this reason, the Southern Ocean has so far only been considered a sea area for the IHO.

That is why National Geographic had not changed its maps so far:

The Southern Ocean has long been recognized by scientists, but since there was never an agreement internationally, we have never officially recognized it.

More from Antarctica

For the first time the sounds of penguins recorded underwater

Sounds recorded for the first time

The four previous oceans are defined by the boundaries of their respective continents: the Atlantic lies between America, Europe and Africa, the Indian Ocean between Africa and Australia and is delimited to the north by Asia. The Pacific is located between America and Asia, the Arctic Ocean north of the adjacent continents Asia, Europe and North America.

The Antarctic Ocean is cooler and has less salt than other oceans

Fifth ocean - do you know what it's called?  Antarctic Circumpolar Current

The satellite image clearly shows how the Antarctic Circumpolar Current runs (black line).

Quelle: WIkimedia Commons/NASA CC by SA 3.0

The “new” Antarctic Ocean, however, is not determined by the neighboring land masses, but by the so-called Antarctic Circumpolar Current, which flows around the icy continent from west to east approximately at the 60th parallel. Geographers estimate that this cold ocean current formed a good 34 million years ago when the Antarctic continent separated from South America.

The Antarctic Circumpolar Current is colder and slightly less salty than the sea water in the north. Thousands of marine life live there.

In addition, ocean currents, and thus also the Southern Ocean, play an important role in the earth’s climate: they draw warm water from the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and transport it around the entire planet. Meanwhile, the cold, and therefore denser, water of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current sinks towards the sea floor and helps to store carbon in the deep sea.

Glimmer of hope?

Oceans can fully recover by 2050

Confident research team

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Mice and spiders invasion in Australia: phobic, do not watch this video!

In recent days, giant spider webs have been covering South East Australia. A phenomenon locally referred to as a hot air balloon.

To survive the heavy floods that have devastated the country in recent weeks, spiders have woven their webs high, to rise above the water level. As a result, a white veil several meters long covers meadows and shrubs.

And for those of them who would have been spared by spiders, we also have to deal with an invasion of mice, a consequence of global warming. Following a too mild winter, rodents continue to reproduce by the thousands.

At nightfall, hordes of mice invade the farms of farmers completely helpless in the face of the situation.

Like Col Tink, a farmer from New South Wales, who sets makeshift traps in an attempt to get rid of him. “We catch 400 or 500 every night at most. My dad is 93 and it’s probably the worst mouse invasion he’s seen in his life.”

For farms, the damage is considerable: hectares of ravaged fields, tons of unusable hay while the region is barely recovering from long months of drought. For Jeremy Hillam, a farmer in New South Wales, this is a real disaster. “Look, the hay is falling apart, there is nothing to do except start all over again”, laments the farmer. To stem this scourge, the local authorities want to use a very toxic product which is now banned.

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