Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Welcome to the "Anthropocene"

27.08.2004


Earth has entered the "Anthropocene", a new geological era in which humans rival nature in their impact on the global environment, say scientists speaking at the EuroScience Forum in Stockholm today.

“Mankind’s use of Earth’s resources has grown so much that it seems justified to denominate the past two centuries and into the future as a new geological era,” says Professor Paul Crutzen, the Nobel prize-winning atmospheric chemist who first coined the term.

Speaking at a EuroScience symposium* on the future of the Earth organized by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (www.igbp.kva.se), Professor Crutzen and others point to the dramatic change in human activities, especially since the 1950s. "The increase in human activity since the Second World War - world economy, resource use, telecommunications, transport and global connectivity - has been astounding," notes Dr Will Steffen, IGBP Chief Scientist, "The consequent human imprint on Earth’s environment is now unmistakable."



"Such a rapid, global-scale increase in pressure on the planet is likely to lead to increasing instability in our environment, and indeed we may already be seeing evidence of this," adds Steffen. “The Antarctic ozone hole is a classic case of a chemical instability, an unforeseen consequence of the use of hydrofluorocarbons (CFCs),” says Professor Crutzen. “The chemicals that caused this instability were thought to be harmless and their ultimate impact occurred in a place far from their release into the atmosphere”.

A second well-known example is the North Atlantic Current. The collapse of this current could lead to a massive regional shift in climate. “Data from Greenland ice cores and deep sea sediments reveal that large and abrupt changes (within~10 years) have occurred frequently in the past,” says Professor Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. “There may well be other instabilities in the global environment that cannot be foreseen given our current understanding. However, we do know that the harder we push the planet the more likely we are trigger surprises, “says Dr Steffen. “The “Anthropocene” is a very different era from the relatively stable and nurturing environment in which humans and our societies have evolved. We should expect more instability in the future,” says Dr Steffen.

Susannah Eliott | alfa
Further information:
http://www.igbp.kva.se

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Listening in: Acoustic monitoring devices detect illegal hunting and logging
14.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>