Green Rooves
> A green roof or living roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. > The term green roof may also be used to indicate roofs that use some form of green technology, such as a cool roof, a roof with solar thermal collectors or photovoltaic panels. Green roofs are also referred to as eco-roofs, oikosteges, vegetated roofs, living roofs, greenroofs and VCPH[4] (Horizontal Vegetated Complex Partitions).

>BPA leaches into food and water supplies easily. More than 93 percent of the urine samples examined in a CDC studyTrusted Source contained BPA concentrations.

AMPLE RESEARCH SHOWS how surging greenhouse gas concentrations intensify deadly storms, droughts, and heat waves, but cutting them, along with other industrial pollution emissions, will also affect global weather. The effects of emissions reductions are less studied than increases, but understanding how the climate responds to such declines is also critical to protecting people from climate extremes like flooding, heat waves, dry spells, and cyclones. New research by NOAA published today in Science Advances shows that the rise and fall of industrial soot — aerosols — plays a critical role in tropical storm activity all over the world. The research identified some twists that should be of interest to policymakers, said study author Hiroyuki Murakami, a tropical storm researcher at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. **Aerosols often form a reflective shield in the atmosphere that can trap warmth higher up, but reduces the amount of heat reaching the planet’s surface. Murakami’s modeling study suggests that an estimated 50 percent drop in atmospheric aerosol pollution in Europe and North America between 1980 and 2020 led to surface warming of the tropical Atlantic Ocean, where cyclones have increased 33 percent during the same 40-year period, he said.** “Reducing air pollution is not always decreasing the risk of hazards from tropical cyclones,” he said, adding that climate policy needs to consider the pros and cons of different impacts from reducing industrial pollution. If policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions rapidly succeed, it could further reduce aerosol pollution, leading to more heating and more tropical storm activity. Princeton University climate researcher and tropical storm expert Gabriel Vecchi, who was not involved in the study, said the research helps provide a more coherent global picture of how changes in aerosol levels affect tropical storms. “Given the role that has been identified for aerosols in global and regional temperature, hydroclimate, and Atlantic tropical cyclones, it makes sense that they could have had a detectable impact on global tropical cyclone activity,” he said. “The study nicely shows…that aerosols have contributed to a redistribution of tropical cyclone activity—increasing it in some places and reducing it in others.” The study shows that the impact of aerosols is not isolated to the Atlantic, he said, but involves a global shift. Aerosols, he noted, are some of the most volatile elements of the climate system, so he anticipates more studies to explore the uncertainties associated with their impacts. Research on aerosols and tropical storms helps explain when and where to expect these storms to cause significant damage, allowing citizens and governments to prepare accordingly, he said. Murakami said he found the aerosol fingerprint by changing the levels and patterns of human emissions in his model while leaving the other climate factors unchanged. The study did not calculate exactly how much the reduction of aerosols increased ocean warming and tropical storms, he said. The decline of pollution in the Northern Hemisphere also contributed to the increase in Atlantic tropical storm activity by shifting key wind patterns, he said. **As aerosols decline, overall surface warming in mid- and high latitudes pushes the jet stream, a band of strong winds blowing west to east, about 5 to 9 miles up in the atmosphere, poleward. When those westerly winds weaken above the tropical Atlantic, where many major hurricanes form, he said, conditions at the surface are more conducive for tropical cyclones to develop and strengthen.** **Aerosols have other effects on hurricanes. A 2020 paper in Geophysical Research Letters found that they increased precipitation and lightning by a factor of two in the urban area around Houston during Hurricane Harvey, which flooded the area with record rains. And a 2021 study in Nature Communications looked into the past and found that the drop in hurricane activity from the 1960s to 1980s was probably linked with the increase in aerosols during a time when industrial pollution of the atmosphere peaked.**

Rising seas threaten to consume the coastal areas of major metropolises around the world. Now those risks are compounded by an accelerating danger: Most of those cities are also sinking. That means flooding and other disruptions sharpened by future sea-level rise could hit those urban centers far sooner than expected, according to a study in Geophysical Research Letters. Using satellite data to measure subsidence rates in 99 coastal cities, the researchers found that many of those metropolises are sinking faster than sea levels are rising. Coastal subsidence is happening globally, but the biggest problem is in Asia—where rapidly urbanizing areas are increasing demand for groundwater. The study shows that in Jakarta, the dense Indonesian capital that’s teeming with an estimated 11 million people, land subsided nearly 15 times as fast as global mean sea-level rise between 2015 and 2020—making it one of the fastest-sinking cities on Earth. Some of the sinking is tied to natural processes, but it’s greatly accelerated by human activity. The research finds that the main driver of the accelerated subsidence is likely groundwater extraction as booming city populations put more pressure on underground aquifers for washing, cooking and bathing. Oil and gas production and new construction also contribute to the problem. The financial and human costs stand to be significant even in cities where only certain areas are sinking faster than seas are rising, the researchers say. That is true of cities such as Lagos, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous metropolitan area; Taiwan’s capital, Taipei; and Mumbai, India, the world’s seventh-most populous city. In addition to Jakarta, four other cities in Asia—Chittagong, Bangladesh; Tianjin, China; Manila in the Philippines; and Karachi, Pakistan—are all rapidly subsiding, putting a combined 59 million people at risk of increased flooding and related impacts. In Tianjin, a major port city near Beijing, maximum subsidence rates are almost 20 times greater than mean sea level rise. Some cities have taken beneficial steps to curb subsidence. Parts of Jakarta were sinking at up to 280 millimeters a year, according to a 2011 study in the journal Natural Hazards, until the government put in place regulations aimed at reducing groundwater extraction. Officials in Shanghai, Houston, and Silicon Valley in California also took measures to improve groundwater management, highlighting the role regulation can play in addressing land subsidence where human activity is to blame. Other measures have been costly and ineffective, in part because they don’t account for the role subsidence plays. Plans to build a giant sea wall around Jakarta to protect it from sea-level rise have only been partially fulfilled and have been complicated by rapidly accelerating impacts due to climate change, such as more severe storms. [More at link]

Water inflow into Tehran dams has decreased by about 27 percent since the start of the wet season, in Iran which started in November. Mohammad-Reza Bakhtiari, the managing director of Tehran province Water and Wastewater Company, said on Saturday that input of the five dams around the capital has decreased to over 620 million cubic meters, while the figure was about 855 million cubic meters in the same period last year. He added that the current volume of water reserve in Amir Kabir, Latian, Lar, Taleghan and Mamlu dams is 97, 60, 67, 232 and 71 million cubic meters, respectively. According to Bakhtiari, rainfall was also down 31 percent from the beginning of the wet season to 164.1 millimeters, down from 218.9 millimeters in the same period last year. Head of Iran's Geological Survey and Mineral Explorations Organization, Alireza Shahidi, has recently said that the country is in a 30-year drought cycle, noting that the dry spell started about 10 to 20 years ago and now its effects are more observable. [More at link]

“Water and sanitation are indispensable for preventing public health emergencies, integral to supporting economic development and imperative for making communities resilient to climate change,” he said. According to event organizers, access to water and soap will generate $45 billion per year, and reduce the spread of infections in a COVID-19-like epidemic by up to 20 per cent. Approximately 74 per cent of all natural disasters between 2001 and 2018 were water-related, requiring urgent action. Forty per cent of the global population is highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change.  Additionally, universal access to toilets with safely managed waste will generate $86 billion per year in greater productivity and reduced health costs. “Water and sanitation are the foundation of all sustainable development – and key to helping children survive and thrive,” said Catherine Russell, Executive Director of UNICEF.  “When 300,000 children still die every year from diseases linked to unsafe water and inadequate sanitation, we know we need to do more.”   The Sector Ministers’ Meeting will equip political leaders with the evidence and best practices they need to prioritize investments in water and sanitation, which in turn will support the Sustainable Development Goals. It also aims to transform inter-ministerial collaboration at the national level around the human rights to water and sanitation, as well as international learning and cooperation.  It was preceded by a six-month-long preparatory process at both global and national levels, involving 126 governments and organizations.

The unusual, early heat waves sweeping India and Pakistan in 2022 were made 30 times more likely due to the direct impact of climate change, a new study showed. Thirty scientists from 10 countries in The World Weather Attribution Network conducted a rapid analysis of the link between climate change and heat waves based on observations from 20 models. The rise was triggered by a 1.2 degrees Celsius average global temperature rise over pre-industrial levels, they said. Such heat waves will become even more common and intense with further warming, the report pointed out. These conditions would become “an additional factor of 2-20 more likely and 0.5-1.5°C hotter compared to 2022 in case of a 2°C rise”, it predicted. The report put on record that the predicted results are “likely (to be) conservative”, indicating that the actual outcomes may turn out to be harsher. “In countries where we have the data, heat waves are the deadliest extreme weather events. At the same time, they are the type of extremes most strongly increasing in a warming world,” said Friederike Otto from Imperial College, London — one of the contributors of the study. As long as greenhouse gas emissions continue, events like these will become an increasingly common disaster, he added. “High temperatures are common in India and Pakistan but what made this unusual was that it started so early and lasted so long,” said Krishna Achuta Rao from Centre for Atmospheric Sciences of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, another author of the report. We know this will happen more often as temperatures rise and we need to be better prepared for it, he added. **“Thousands of people in this region, who contributed very little to global warming, are now bearing the brunt of it and will continue to do so if emissions are not significantly cut globally,” said Arpita Mondal, co-author and professor of civil engineering and climate studies at IIT Bombay.**

Air pollution caused an estimated 1.6 million deaths in 2019 in India — the highest in the world, according to a new report. The overall pollution-related deaths were also the highest in India (2.4 million); this includes water, lead and occupation-related pollution, the study showed. A majority of these deaths were caused by particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) pollution, it added. Household air pollution was the next largest cause of deaths in the country, according to the report by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health. Air pollution was most severe in the Indo-Gangetic Plain, where New Delhi and many of the most polluted cities are located, the paper noted. Burning of biomass in households was the single largest cause of air pollution deaths in India, followed by coal combustion and crop burning, according to the study. Water pollution killed 0.5 million, occupational pollution-related deaths were 0.16 million and lead exposure killed 0.23 million Indians, the report added. Although the number of deaths from pollution sources associated with extreme poverty (such as indoor air pollution and water pollution) has decreased, these reductions are offset by increased deaths caused due to industrial pollution such as ambient air pollution and chemical pollution. Globally, 9 million deaths were caused by pollution. Air pollution accounted for most of these deaths — 6.67 million, according to the report. Outdoor air pollution caused 4.5 million deaths in 2019, up from 4.2 million deaths in 2015 and 2.9 million in 2000, the research paper said. “Air pollution from industry processes, along with urbanisation, contributed to a 7 per cent increase in pollution-related deaths from 2015 to 2019.” [More at link]

The Karnataka capital Bengaluru, is popularly known as the ‘Silicon Valley of India’ and the ‘start-up capital of India’, but citizens have neglected to upkeep one of its first titles, ‘the garden city’. While employment opportunities and ease of conducting business have soared in the rapidly-growing city, millions today struggle for piped water, having to depend on a horde of privately-run tankers that pull water from wells inside and outside the city and deliver it to homes. Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda launched an awareness campaign across the state on Tuesday in this matter. Called the ‘Janata Jaladhare’, the campaign was launched in Ramanagar, with the senior JD(S) leader saying, "We are in a crisis fighting for every drop of our water, and there is no question of letting farmers down. Let any party invite me for a struggle on water issues. I am ready to take part in it.” **A survey in March this year warned that the shortfall in water supply in 2021, as estimated by the Bangalore water supply and sewerage board (BWSSB), is 650 million litres per day (MLD), which is likely to go up to 1,450 MLD by 2031.** Bengaluru's size has more than tripled in just over a decade to 740 square kilometres, by swallowing dozens of settlements and villages in its periphery. The city's population has also more than doubled to about 13 million since 2001 and is predicted to hit 20 million by 2031, a report said. Bengaluru's administration is therefore said to have been unprepared for the exponential growth in both the city itself and its constantly growing needs. The BWSSB is therefore accused on grounds of not adequately planning to cater for Bengaluru's water requirements. Bengaluru gets its water from a single source, the Cauvery river at Torekadinahalli. Around 18 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of water has been allocated currently to the city. The water board is tasked with pulling nearly all of Bengaluru's water supply from the Cauvery River, which is more than 100 kilometres away from the city. Moreover, water needs to be pumped uphill to reach the sprawling city, which adds a cost of more than 6 million dollars a month in electricity. However, good news is that the board is adding a new pipeline from the Cauvery, which is estimated to give the city an extra 750 million litres of water a day once the project is finished in 2023. Bengaluru generates around 1,440 MLD of sewage, which is called one of the city's prime assets (apart from rain) when it comes to preventing doomsday on when the city runs out of water. So is the city recycling and treating enough sewage to delay the doomsday? While Bengaluru has 24 sewage treatment plants (STPs), none of them treat the wastewater according to the norms prescribed by the Central Pollution Control board, a website reported in 2019. The BWSSB has the capacity to treat only 1,057 MLD of sewage, with 110 villages in the city’s outskirts, which were added to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits in 2005, not having any sewage connections at all, a The News Minute report said. The wastewater from these areas have previously been reported to flow directly into the lakes and ultimately the Vrishabhavathi and the Dakshina Pinakini Rivers. Bengaluru has however finally reached a stage where it has the potential to treat all the waste generated by its residents, The New Indian Express reported. A second STP has been added in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, which has reportedly helped the city attain this milestone. Moreover, the new Vrishabhavathi Valley Plant, adjacent to the Metro station, can treat up to 150 Million Litres Per Day (MLD) of sewage alone, the report said. **What can Bengaluru do to save more water?** Dr. Lingaraju Yale, a geo-hydrologist and former national director of the River Rejuvenation Project at the Art of Living, said, “Geologically, we have to consider the tectonic plates of a particular geographical area and note where the springs, tanks and bore wells are. We then plant trees along the natural path of water flow and increase the soil’s water absorption capacity. As groundwater surges, streams and springs become more affluent and join the river from underground. Over a period of six months, the closest river would have a strong flow and a noticeably significant increase in volume.” Dr. Yale has worked to rejuvenate dying rivers across South India for over four decades. “The Western Ghats here are the groundwater rechargers. Most areas of Bengaluru have lost the capability to absorb rainwater. It is a direct consequence of urbanization. The city also needs a customized sewage management model. We see water seeping away during the monsoons, even causing floods because of our flawed drainage system,” he added. “Hence, the natural paths of water flow must be identified and obstructions to these must be removed. With increasing green cover and letting water flow naturally in its geologically decided path, more water can be conserved. With Bengaluru’s favourable amounts of rain, we could have done wonders and stood as an example for managing water resources,” Dr. Yale said.

Lots of good information on the hydrological issues affecting Chennai, though dated.

For topics involving nature & the environment.

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