Earlier this year, I dived into the New York City public school application mechanism and studied everything inside out, upside down. By May, my family got the letter from the Department of Education notifying us that my son got into our dream school. And his first couple of weeks in this school have been nothing but perfect.
Now this is about something that is also close to my heart but is way out of my control, or out of control by our species at large. (Someone correct me if I am wrong , please!) I have also studied the question of climate crisis for a number of years and it is worrisome, and alarming to be precise.
First, take a look at the 20-year difference between these what I’d call heat maps, color coding the temperatures’ anomalies compared against the 1951-1980 average. In August 20 years ago, only Antarctica was boiling like a hot pot. This past month, the world map looks as orange (and red) like a U.S. presidential nominee. I don’t think there’s anything else that needs to be said about such a drastic change in just a generation. (For more about the maps and to generate your own months or versions, click on the links on “NASA” in captions.)
Anomaly map of world temperatures in August 1996 vs. 1951-1980 (via NASA)
Anomaly map of world temperatures in August 2016 vs. 1951-1980 (via NASA)
[Before and after ice fall on July 17. Images showing June 24 and July 21, 2016 via NASA, original post here]
“On July 17, 2016, a huge stream of ice and rock tumbled down a narrow valley in the Aru Range of Tibet. When the ice stopped moving, it had spread a 30-meter-thick pile of debris across 10 square kilometers. Nine people, 350 sheep, and 110 yaks in the remote village of Dungru were killed during the avalanche. ”
Ganges River near Patna on August 10, 2015 and August 21, 2016, via NASA
In August 2016, heavy monsoon rains pushed the Ganges and other rivers in eastern and central India to the breaking point.These images use a combination of infrared and visible light to increase contrast between water and land. Water is blue. Vegetation is green. Notice that the water is a slightly lighter shade of blue in the lower image due to all the suspended sediment in the water.
March 27 vs July 28, 2016 along the Yangtze River
Photo by Wild China Film
When I invited my friend Xi Zhinong’s latest documentary, Mystery Monkeys of Shangri-La, to Asia Society for a pre-PBS Nature broadcast theatrical screening on the Earth Day in 2015, I knew this film will remain a piece of gem. This past week, I learned that it received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Nature Programming. I am proud I helped bring this project to American audiences on three occasions, once in New York and twice in Washington, D.C.
50F = 10C, 68F = 20C, 86F = 30C
纽约的这点雾霾（以上右图）对于见过世面的国人来说最多也就是点雾吧（这里看到的所谓的霾应该大多是臭氧）。即使就这点雾霾，也令地表空气和地面温度陡然升高，比海水高出近20华氏度，专家说，这些颗粒物和水汽会散发红外波段的“长波热辐射”，地面在阳光和这些辐射的共同作用下，温度就比周围环境高出许多。幸好雾霾在北京的夏天不是爆发季。拍摄者是 Nickolay Lamm，是几年前的一个7月用热成像相机在纽约拍摄的。
The water remains relatively cool (blue) all day while the Statue of Liberty warms up when exposed to the sun (red). A haze layer exits near the ground, and the particles and droplets in this layer emit “longwave thermal radiation” in the far infrared portion of the spectrum. The haze closest to the ground is relatively warm (red, orange), while the temperature decreases with increasing altitude (yellow to green to blue). The ground is heated both by sunlight and the longwave radiation emitted by the atmosphere. Haze layers over urban areas increase the longwave heating, especially overnight, and promote warmer temperatures.
空气污染和二氧化氮的监测及趋势（2005 – 2014）
NO2 concentrations in Asia between 2005 and 2014, with the blue indicating 0 and the red indicating 5,000 trillion molecules per cubic centimeters; China has witnessed an expansion of high NO2 pollution. [Images: NASA]
沙湖曾是武汉市仅次于东湖的第二大“城中湖”，2000年以来被房地产开发潮不断蚕食；卫星图显示2000.11.1 – 2016.2.20 【新华社原文】
This year’s rainy season and floods have wrecked havoc on the city of Wuhan, which was home to 127 lakes in its urban areas. Now the city has 38 lakes remaining. Even though this many have survived the dramatic urbanization and land reclamation over the past few decades, they have most likely shrunk a great deal. With many new neighborhoods on low-lying lands that used to be lakes, the battle against floods this year is a particularly difficult one. Here below are a couple of examples viewed from space, thanks to Google Earth and those who care to find these images. [Tap on the link in the above image’s caption for original Xinhua post in Chinese language.]
Shahu Lake (or literally translated as sandy lake) used to be the second largest lake after the East Lake in Wuhan City. Since 2000, due to the encroaching real estate development and urbanization, the lake has been divided by a road and surrounded by high-rise buildings (above). Read More