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2018 Fourth-hottest Year Since 1880; Earth Set to Get Warmer, Says NASA

"The impacts of long-term global warming are already being felt a" in coastal flooding, heat waves, intense precipitation and ecosystem change," said Schmidt

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Earth depletion
Earth depletion, Pixabay

Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2018 were the fourth warmest since 1880 and the planet will warm further, especially since greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to rise, Nasa and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have said.

Global temperatures in 2018 were 0.83 degrees Celsius warmer than 1951 to 1980, according to scientists at Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

Globally, 2018’s temperatures ranked behind those of 2016, 2017 and 2015. The past five years are, collectively, the warmest years in the modern record.

“2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend,” GISS Director Gavin Schmidt said in a statement on Wednesday.

Since the 1880s, the average global surface temperature has risen about 1 degree Celsius.

Kepler, NASA, tissue
NASA. Pixabay

This warming has been driven in large part by increased emissions into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases caused by human activities.

“Weather dynamics often affect regional temperatures, so not every region on Earth experienced similar amounts of warming,” said NOAA.

Warming trends are strongest in the Arctic region, where 2018 saw the continued loss of sea ice.

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“In addition, mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets continued to contribute to sea level rise.

“Increasing temperatures can also contribute to longer fire seasons and some extreme weather events.

“The impacts of long-term global warming are already being felt a” in coastal flooding, heat waves, intense precipitation and ecosystem change,” said Schmidt. (IANS)

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NASA: Sending Back Astronauts to Moon in 2024 Could Cost About $30 Billion

The entire project will be framed as a practice run for a future mission to Mars

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NASA, mars
NASA, which has dubbed its current lunar programme Artemis (after Apollo's twin sister, the Greek goddess of the hunt, the wilderness and the moon), plans to send one male and one female astronaut to the moon in 2024. VOA

Returning astronauts to the moon in 2024 could cost about $30 billion, or roughly the same price tag as the Apollo 11 spaceflight when factoring in inflation, NASA has said.

“For the whole programme, to get a sustainable presence on the moon, we’re looking at between $20 and $30 billion,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a TV interview on Friday, though noting that that figure does not include money already spent on the rocket and space capsule the agency plans to use for the programme, Efe news reported.

The total cost of the Apollo programme that the US launched in 1961 and concluded in 1972 was $25 billion. The climax of that programme came nearly 50 years ago when two astronauts landed on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission, which cost $6 billion at the time, equivalent to $30 billion today.

nasa, moon
Then one male astronaut and – for the first time – a female astronaut would set foot on the lunar surface in 2024. Pixabay

NASA, which has dubbed its current lunar programme Artemis (after Apollo’s twin sister, the Greek goddess of the hunt, the wilderness and the moon), plans to send one male and one female astronaut to the moon in 2024.

Bridenstine recalled that the main difference between the Apollo programme and the Artemis program is that the former culminated with brief stays on the moon while the latter will entail a permanent human presence there.

The plan will involve the recruitment of private companies and international partners, the construction of a lunar space station and manned landings at the moon’s south pole within five years.

NASA, moon
That rocket will send into orbit a new spacecraft known as Orion, whose lead contractor is Lockheed Martin. VOA

The entire project will be framed as a practice run for a future mission to Mars. The programme includes an unmanned mission around the moon in 2020 and a manned mission that also will orbit the moon two years later. Then one male astronaut and – for the first time – a female astronaut would set foot on the lunar surface in 2024.

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The three lunar missions will be delivered into space by the Space Launch System, a rocket being developed by NASA and Boeing that will be the largest ever built once it is fully assembled. That rocket will send into orbit a new spacecraft known as Orion, whose lead contractor is Lockheed Martin.

Besides these missions exclusively handled by NASA, five other launches will be carried out to place in lunar orbit the components for construction of the Gateway mini-space station, which will serve as a staging post for moon landings. Those five missions between 2022 and 2024 will be operated by private companies, according to NASA’s plans. (IANS)