There’s no doubt that the climate is changing and that there are disagreements as to why. While we can have our differences it’s also good to be proactive, and there are positive technology signs on the horizon. New technologies keep emerging that can help protect the environment.
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The changing climate has raised many threats, but increased ocean temperatures are among the most significant. Average sea surface temperatures have been higher in the past three decades than any other time in recorded history. That’s caused rising sea levels, increased severe weather, threatened ocean species, and could jeopardize global trade.
Thankfully, new technology can help the environment. Here’s a look at how.
Ocean temperatures have risen so dramatically because they absorb more than 90% of heat in the atmosphere. This trapped heat comes from increasing levels of greenhouse gasses. So, to reduce ocean warming, the world needs to decrease its greenhouse gas emissions.
These gasses have many sources, and new tech can address them. Here are a few ways that is happening.
Transportation is the most significant source of emissions, so a lot of green technology focuses on clean transport. Electric vehicles (EVs) are the most straightforward solution here, but different types are available. Battery-electric cars like Teslas are the most recognizable, but fuel cell vehicles show potential, too.
Fuel cell EVs convert hydrogen into electricity, emitting just water vapor and warm air. Their biggest advantage is that they’re more efficient than even gas vehicles, letting them go farther without refueling. As a result, they’re ideal for long-haul trucks and even ships and planes.
Fuel cells used to be too expensive to be viable, but much like battery-electric cars, they’re getting cheaper all the time. More people will use this technology as it improves and produces fewer emissions.
Energy is the next biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions. New tech is helping make this green through renewables like solar and wind. Some solutions are even pulling double duty, generating zero-emissions power while actively cooling the water’s surface.
Floating solar farms shade the water below them, slowing evaporation and cooling it as they generate power. This cooling is significant enough to offset a decade of climate change in some areas. It could also help the panels generate electricity 12.5% more efficiently.
Oceans cover more than two-thirds of the world’s surface, so there’s plenty of real estate for floating solar farms. Relying on these sources could also help avoid deforestation and other habitat disruption that sometimes occurs with on-shore solar farms.
Greenhouse gas emissions also come from natural sources that modern life has taken to extremes. Cows, for example, release a substantial amount of methane when they burp. Large-scale farming means there are a lot of cow belches emitting a lot of methane, but technology can help.
New wearable devices can reduce these methane emissions by 60% by capturing and oxidizing the methane in cow burps. Since they sit comfortably on cows’ noses, they don’t interfere with their diet or everyday activity, either. With tech like this, farms can keep raising large herds without contributing much to warming oceans.
Reducing ocean-warming emissions is the most important step in protecting the environment, but not the only one. Some technologies help reduce pollution in the meantime, slowing climate change while other initiatives target its source. Carbon capture technologies are some of the most promising innovations in this area.
Carbon capture removes carbon dioxide from emissions sources and stores it. Facilities then either keep the CO2 underground or put it in containers to use as a resource in things like fertilizer.
There are already 26 large-scale carbon capture facilities worldwide, with many more in development. This technology could remove more than 90% of carbon emissions from industrial facilities. That provides more time to transition to clean energy before it’s too late.
Understanding The Changing Climate
Another important role technology plays in the fight against climate change is providing data to understand it. Climate change doesn’t happen at a consistent scale or rate. Sea temperatures in the Gulf of Maine have heated faster than 99% of the global ocean, for example. New technology can help monitor these changes.
Some machine learning algorithms combine predictions from 30 models to provide a better look at how the climate is shifting. These algorithms can also run simulations of how different strategies could affect climate change. Scientists and policy-makers can then find the best path forward.
Satellites and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors can provide more data to make these predictions more accurate. As more of these devices pop up, some AI models can even adapt in real-time, ensuring climate policies stay effective.
The oceans may be warming at an alarming rate, but the world still stands a fighting chance. New technologies like these give humanity the information and tools it needs to slow and eventually stop climate change and its impact on the ocean.
More green technologies will emerge as environmental efforts ramp up. The world’s arsenal of climate tech will grow, leading to even more impressive steps toward a greener future.
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Last Updated on February 24, 2022.