13 cities may exceed 2°Celsius temperature rise by 2020s, say scientists

Moscow faces the highest potential increase among more than 100 cities included in a report by the Urban Climate Change Research Network, based at Columbia University. (Reuters)
Updated 09 March 2018
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13 cities may exceed 2°Celsius temperature rise by 2020s, say scientists

EDMONTON, Canada: Thirteen cities worldwide are projected to see temperature hikes that could exceed 2 degrees Celsius (3.6°F) over the next decade or so, according to a new report.
The Russian capital, Moscow, faces the highest potential increase among more than 100 cities included in a report several years in the making by the Urban Climate Change Research Network, based at Columbia University.
“It’s all alarming,” William Solecki, one of the study’s editors, said at a United Nations-backed climate summit.
Cities that could see the steepest temperature increases during the 2020s include Helsinki in Finland (2.5°C), Ottawa in Canada (2.3°C) and Trondheim in Norway (2.3°C), the study showed.
All predictions included a lower limit too. For instance, temperatures in Moscow could increase by as little as 1.1°C.
The new data provides “foundation knowledge” for cities at the forefront of efforts to rein in the effects of global warming, said Cynthia Rosenzweig, an editor of the report and a researcher with NASA.
The new findings come on the heels of a UN draft report already causing alarm with projections that the global temperature rise is on track to exceed a 1.5°C target included in the Paris pact to curb global warming.
In addition, experts say that storms, floods and other extreme weather events that are related to climate change are hitting cities much harder than scientists had predicted.
“How will the cities know how they should develop their resilience plans unless they know what temperature projections, how the climate is supposed to change in their cities?” said Rosenzweig during a press conference.
The findings’ variance — projected increases do not exceed 1°C in a handful of cases — offer a reminder that cities need to develop tailored plans to mitigate the effects of climate change, said Solecki, a professor at Hunter College in New York.
Planning is particularly crucial given growing pressures from urbanization, he said.
About half the world’s population lives in urban areas, and that figure is expected to reach 66 percent by 2050, according to the UN.
The new report was launched in the western Canadian city of Edmonton, on the sidelines of a global summit where scientists and city planners are charting a roadmap for cities to fight the impact of climate change.


Japan space probe Hayabusa2 drops hopping rovers toward asteroid

Updated 21 September 2018
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Japan space probe Hayabusa2 drops hopping rovers toward asteroid

  • If the mission is successful, the rovers will conduct the world’s first moving, robotic observation of an asteroid surface
  • The Hayabusa2 mission was launched in December 2014 and will return to Earth with its samples in 2020

TOKYO: A Japanese space probe Friday released a pair of exploring rovers toward an egg-shaped asteroid to collect mineral samples that may shed light on the origin of the solar system.
The “Hayabusa2” probe jettisoned the round, cookie tin-shaped robots toward the Ryugu asteroid, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
If the mission is successful, the rovers will conduct the world’s first moving, robotic observation of an asteroid surface.
Taking advantage of the asteroid’s low gravity, they will jump around on the surface — soaring as high as 15 meters and staying in the air for as long as 15 minutes — to survey the asteroid’s physical features with cameras and sensors.
So far so good, but JAXA must wait for the Hayabusa2 probe to send data from the rovers to Earth in a day or two to assess whether the release has been a success, officials said.
“We are very much hopeful. We don’t have confirmation yet, but we are very, very hopeful,” Yuichi Tsuda, JAXA project manager, told reporters.
“I am looking forward to seeing pictures. I want to see images of space as seen from the surface of the asteroid,” he said.
The cautious announcement came after a similar JAXA probe in 2005 released a rover which failed to reach its target asteroid.
Next month, Hayabusa2 will deploy an “impactor” that will explode above the asteroid, shooting a two-kilo (four-pound) copper object into the surface to blast a crater a few meters in diameter.
From this crater, the probe will collect “fresh” materials unexposed to millennia of wind and radiation, hoping for answers to some fundamental questions about life and the universe, including whether elements from space helped give rise to life on Earth.
The probe will also release a French-German landing vehicle named Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) for surface observation.
Hayabusa2, about the size of a large fridge and equipped with solar panels, is the successor to JAXA’s first asteroid explorer, Hayabusa — Japanese for falcon.
That probe returned from a smaller, potato-shaped, asteroid in 2010 with dust samples despite various setbacks during its epic seven-year odyssey and was hailed a scientific triumph.
The Hayabusa2 mission was launched in December 2014 and will return to Earth with its samples in 2020.