Google Earth is proving more invaluable every day. Not just to track the Olympics but for some impressive data integration projects.
Google Earth Blog has been identifying the most inspirational stuff and have now picked up on this extraordinary work...
What happens when you merge art, science, volunteers for an experiment, GPS, a Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) device, cameras, Greenwich and Google Earth? An emotion map of people living and working and what they see and feel. This is one of the most amazing multifaceted applications of Google Earth seen yet!
The group [from Greenwich, London] have created a web site which describes their progress and provides the Google Earth network link for their emotion map. The key to the project is the Biomap Device which allows the wearer to record their Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), which is a simple indicator of emotional arousal in conjunction with their geographical location. The volunteers also use a GPS, a digital camera, and somehow take notes of their feelings at particular points as they move about the environment. It's nice that Greenwich has particularly high resolution aerial photos in GE.
Once you load the emotion map, you will see a lot of information. You are seeing all the data for a dozen or so people. The camera icons show the photos they have taken, and if you tilt the view you see the "graphs" in different colors showing the emotion indicators for each participant.
You can reduce the clutter by going to the Places area and right clicking the main folder "Greenwich Emotion Map" and selecting "Hide Contents" (this turns off everything).
Then select a particular person and turn on their photos and Bio Mapping Walks. As you turn on each person, you can follow their Emotion map.
The evidence for global warming seems to be building...
In the far North, short summers thaw only the top layer of the frozen ground. Beneath this shallow layer, the soil is permanently frozen—permafrost. The permafrost is like the cement bottom of a swimming pool. Water saturates the soil above the permafrost and collects on the surface of the tundra in tens of thousands of lakes. However, temperatures are climbing in the Arctic, and the bottom of the pool appears to be cracking. Using satellite imagery, scientists have documented that in the past two decades, a significant number of lakes have shrunk or disappeared altogether as the permafrost thaws and lake water drains deeper into the ground.
As the Arctic warms, loss of snow and ice make the region less efficient at reflecting incoming sunlight, which accelerates warming. As a result, the Arctic is warming faster than Earth’s middle or equatorial latitudes.
[Tech stuff: The images use near-infrared, red, and green wavelength data from the Landsat MSS sensor (1973) and the Landsat ETM+ sensor (2002).]
Ben Saunders, 27, and Tony Haile, 28, intend to walk across the Antarctic.
1,800 miles. 400lb sledges. Temperatures below -45°C. Icefalls, crevasses and wind-scoured plateaus. Frostbite, altitude sickness and isolation.
Four months in a place that wants them dead.
From Scott's Hut the team must first cross the Ross Ice Shelf, here the sledge weights will be at their heaviest and the going will be slow. Slowly all signs of life will fade behind them as they penetrate further South. The team must be constantly on guard for crevasses made invisible by treacherous snow bridges. Every 100km they will bury a depot of food and fuel for the return journey and mark it as a GPS waypoint. These tiny caches will be the expedition's lifeline home.
The team are due to reach the Pole on Christmas Eve, and it is here the race begins. Leaving their sledges behind at the pole and switching to backpacks the team will hope to significantly improve their speed as they ski from depot to depot. They will be under twin deadlines, they must reach the shore before the last ship leaves McMurdo, but they are also in a race against their bodies as the miles slowly take their toll.
I'm sponsoring Mile 43... You can support them too. Just click on the photo.
"Any progress achieved in addressing the goals of poverty and hunger eradication, improved health, and environmental protection is unlikely to be sustained if most of the ecosystem 'services' on which humanity relies continue to be degraded," the report states.
"This report is essentially an audit of nature's economy, and the audit shows we've driven most of the accounts into the red," commented Jonathan Lash, the president of the World Resources Institute.
"If you drive the economy into the red, ultimately there are significant consequences for our capacity to achieve our dreams in terms of poverty reduction and prosperity."
There is an excellent summary of the findings here.
Context - Human well-being is highly dependant on ecosystems and the benefits they provide such as food and drinkable water. Over the past 50 years, however, humans have had a tremendous impact on their environment.
To better understand the consequences of current changes to ecosystems and to evaluate scenarios for the future, the UN has launched a comprehensive scientific study, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.
Even if humans stop burning oil and coal tomorrow—not likely—we've already spewed enough greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to cause temperatures to warm and sea levels to rise for at least another century.
That's the message from two studies appearing in tomorrow's issue of the journal Science.
Researchers used computer models of the global climate system to put numbers to the concept of thermal inertia—the idea that global climate changes are delayed because it water takes longer to heat up and cool off than air does. The oceans are the primary drivers of the global climate.
"Even if you stabilize the concentration of greenhouse gases, you are still committed to a certain amount of climate change no matter what you do because of the lag in the ocean," said Gerald Meehl, a climate scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.
Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide collect in the atmosphere and are believed to act as a blanket, trapping heat and causing the Earth to warm. To stop this warming, many scientists say humans must reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they emit.
Human activities that make the largest contributions to greenhouse gases include exhaust fumes from automobiles and commercial jets and emissions from power stations and factories.
"The longer you wait to do something, the more climate change you are committed to in the future," Meehl said.
An hour after the Indian Ocean quake that triggered the Southeast Asian tsunami, seismologists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks "could actually detect the entire state of Alaska undulating up and down, rising and falling an inch or more every 30 seconds for several minutes."
It also "triggered a second earthquake beneath Mount Wrangell, a 14,000-foot volcano about 50 miles east of Glennallen.... The phenomenon of one earthquake triggering another earthquake at a distance of 6,000 miles – a quarter of the circumference of the Earth – has never been seen before.
Now that it has happened, scientists are hoping it will provide insight into volcanic activity in Alaska and elsewhere. Gaining clues as to when volcanoes may become active again could be an important tool in saving lives."