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The world’s oceans are warming faster than predicted

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The world’s oceans are rising in temperature faster than previously believed as they absorb most of the world’s growing climate-changing emissions, scientists said Thursday.

Ocean heat — recorded by thousands of floating robots — has been setting records repeatedly over the last decade, with 2018 expected to be the hottest year yet, displacing the 2017 record, according to an analysis by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

That is driving sea level rise, as oceans warm and expand, and helping fuel more intense hurricanes and other extreme weather, scientists warn.

The warming, measured since 1960, is faster than predicted by scientists in a 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that looked at ocean warming, according to the study, published this week in the journal Science.

“It’s mainly driven by the accumulation of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to human activities,” said Lijing Cheng, a lead author of the study from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The increasing rate of ocean warming “is simply a signature of increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” Cheng said.

The Argo system uses almost 4,000 drifting ocean robots that dive to a depth of 2,000 metres every few days, recording temperature and other indicators as they float back to the surface. (Argo)

Leading climate scientists said in October that the world has about 12 years left to shift from still rising emission toward cleaner renewable energy systems, or risk facing some of the worst impacts of climate change.

Those include worsening water and food shortages, stronger storms, heat waves and other extreme weather, and rising seas.

For the last 13 years, an ocean observing system called Argo has been used to monitor changes in ocean temperatures, Cheng said, leading to more reliable data that is the basis for the new ocean heat records.

The system uses almost 4,000 drifting ocean robots that dive to a depth of 2,000 metres every few days, recording temperature and other indicators as they float back to the surface.

More powerful storms

Through the data collected, scientists have documented increases in rainfall intensity and more powerful storms such as hurricanes Harvey in 2017 and Florence in 2018.

Cheng explained that oceans are the energy source for storms, and can fuel more powerful ones as temperatures — a measure of energy — rise.

Storms over the 2050-2100 period are expected, statistically, to be more powerful than storms from the 1950-2000 period, the scientist said.

Cheng said that the oceans, which have so far absorbed over 90 per cent of the additional sun’s energy trapped by rising emissions, will see continuing temperature hikes in the future.

Through the data collected, scientists have documented increases in rainfall intensity and more powerful storms such as hurricanes Harvey in 2017 and Florence, seen in a NOAA satellite image, in 2018. (NOAA)

Because the ocean has large heat capacity it is characterized as a “delayed response” to global warming, which means that the ocean warming could be more serious in the future,” the researcher said.

“For example, even if we meet the target of Paris Agreement (to limit climate change), ocean will continue warming and sea level will continue rise. Their impacts will continue.”

If the targets of the Paris deal to hold warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, or preferably 1.5 C can be met, however, expected damage by 2100 could be halved, Cheng said.

For now, however, climate changing emissions continue to rise, and “I don’t think enough is being done to tackle the rising temperatures,” Cheng said. 

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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