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Background & Climate

Floating Concepts takes its environmental responsibilities seriously and endeavours to always choose the most sustainable options. For example, the ‘Waterliving' exclusive Danish houseboat designs include Co2 reduction options in relation to:-

  • Energy Efficiency: By utilising the latest technology, with careful design and construction considerations, their energy requirement has been reduced dramatically.

  • Renewable Energy: The use of renewable energy sources such as integral heat pumps, solar panels reduces Co2 emissions and, in some locations can get close to energy self sufficiency.

  • Selection of material: No chemically treated materials are used in the construction process and informed conscientious choices are made in the selection of products and materials

  • Geo-Thermal Heat Pumps

  • Re-cycling and waste facilities inside each floating building and in specially provided areas adjacent to the floating buildings, on the land.

  • Garden Areas adjacent on land, at many developments and multiple deck areas for growing your own vegetables, herbs etc (reducing food miles) as well as rain water gathering.

General Climate Facts, from the Met Office:

Climate change is happening and humans are contributing to it

Temperatures provide the clearest evidence that the climate is changing and globally the average temperature has risen by more than 0.7 °C over the last 100 years.

The natural greenhouse gas effect keeps Earth much warmer than it would otherwise be, without it Earth would be extremely cold. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and water vapour behave like a blanket around Earth. These gases allow the Sun's rays to reach Earth's surface but impede the heat they create from escaping back into space.

Any increases in the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere mean that more heat is trapped and global temperatures increase - an effect known as 'global warming'.

There is indisputable evidence from observations that the Earth is warming. Concentrations of CO2, created largely by the burning of fossil fuels, are now much higher, and increasing at a much faster rate, than at any time in the last 600,000 years. Because CO2 is a greenhouse gas, the increased concentrations have contributed to the recent warming and probably most of the warming over the last 50 years. Contact us on 01625 400 802.

Temperatures are continuing to rise

The rise in global surface temperature has averaged more than 0.15 °C per decade since the mid-1970s. Warming has been unprecedented in at least the last 50 years, and the 17 warmest years have all occurred in the last 20 years. This does not mean that next year will necessarily be warmer than last year, but the long-term trend is for rising temperatures.

A simple mathematical calculation of the temperature change over the latest decade (1998-2007) alone shows a continued warming of 0.1 °C per decade. The warming trend can be seen in the graph of observed global temperatures. The red bars show the global annual surface temperature, which exhibit year-to-year variability. The blue line clearly shows the upward trend, far greater than the uncertainties, which are shown as thin black bars. The recent slight slowing of the warming is due to a shift towards more-frequent La Niña conditions in the Pacific since 1998. These bring cool water up from the depths of the Pacific Ocean, cooling global temperatures.

The current climate change is not just part of a natural cycle

Earth's climate is complex and influenced by many things, particularly changes in its orbit, volcanic eruptions, and changes in the energy emitted from the Sun. It is well known that the world has experienced warm or cold periods in the past without any interference from humans. The ice ages are good examples of global changes to the climate, and warm periods have seen grapes grown across much of Britain.

Over the several hundred thousand years covered by the ice core record, the temperature changes were primarily driven by changes in the Earth's orbit around the Sun. Over this period, changes in temperature did drive changes in carbon dioxide (CO2). Since the Industrial Revolution (over the last 100 years), CO2 concentrations have increased by 30% due to human-induced emissions from fossil fuels.

The bottom line is that temperature and CO2 concentrations are linked. In recent ice ages, natural changes in the climate, such as those due to orbit changes, led to cooling of the climate system. This caused a fall in CO2 concentrations which weakened the greenhouse effect and amplified the cooling. Now the link between temperature and CO2 is working in the opposite direction. Human-induced increases in CO2 are driving the greenhouse effect and amplifying the recent warming.

Recent warming cannot be explained by the Sun or natural factors alone

There are many factors which may contribute to climate change. Only when all of these factors are included do we get a satisfactory explanation of the magnitude and patterns of climate change over the last century.

Over the last 1,000 years most of the variability can probably be explained by cooling due to major volcanic eruptions and changes in solar heating.

In the 20th century the situation becomes more complicated. There is some evidence that increases in solar heating may have led to some warming early in the 20th century, but direct satellite measurements show no appreciable change in solar heating over the last three decades. Three major volcanic eruptions in 1963, 1982 and 1991 led to short periods of cooling. Throughout the century, CO2 increased steadily and has been shown to be responsible for most of the warming in the second half of the century.

As well as producing CO2, burning fossil fuels also produces small particles called aerosols which cool the climate by reflecting sunlight back into space. These have increased steadily in concentration over the 20th century, which has probably offset some of the warming we have seen.

Changes in solar activity do affect global temperatures, but research shows that, over the last 50 years, increased greenhouse gas concentrations have a much greater effect than changes in the Sun's energy. Contact us on 01625 400 802.

If we continue emitting greenhouse gases this warming will continue and delaying action will make the problem more difficult to fix

The global average temperature will increase by 2 to 3 °C this century - according to one of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) mid-range estimates (blue line on the graph below). This rise in temperature means that the Earth will experience a greater climate change than it has for at least 10,000 years and it would be difficult for many people and ecosystems to adapt to this rapid change.

These temperature increases are likely to result in an increased frequency and severity of weather events such as heatwaves, storms and flooding. Rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere could set in motion large-scale changes in Earth's natural systems. Some of these could be irreversible - the melting of large ice sheets will result in major consequences for low-lying areas throughout the world.

Climate models predict the main features of future climate

There have been major advances in the development and use of models over the last 20 years and the current models give us a reliable guide to the direction of future climate change.

Computer models cannot predict the future exactly, due to the large number of uncertainties involved. The models are based mainly on the laws of physics, but also empirical techniques which use, for example, studies of detailed processes involved in cloud formation. The most sophisticated computer models simulate the entire climate system. As well as linking the atmosphere and ocean, they also capture the interactions between the various elements, such as cryosphere (ice) and geosphere (land).

Climate models successfully reproduce the main features of the current climate (e.g. rainfall in the map below), the temperature changes over the last 100 years, the Holocene (6,000 years ago) and Last Glacial Maximum (21,000 years ago).

Current models enable us to attribute the causes of past climate change, and predict the main features of the future climate, with a high degree of confidence. We now need to develop the models to provide more regional detail of the impacts of climate change, and a more complete analysis of extreme events. Contact us on 01625 400 802.

What you can do

Although we are committed to some levels of climate change, we can all do things which will help reduce CO2 emissions.

At home...

  • Switch to a green energy provider.
  • Use energy-saving light bulbs - they use 80% less electricity and last 12 times longer than ordinary bulbs.
  • Turn off your lights when you leave a room and turn off electrical appliances at the mains. Standby can use between 30% and 70% of the energy used when an appliance is on.
  • Turn down your central heating thermostat - lowering the temperature by just a degree can cut 10% off energy bills.
  • When replacing electrical appliances make sure that you buy the most energy-efficient model.
  • Insulate your wall cavities and fit aluminium foil behind your radiators.
  • Only boil the water that you need for your cup of tea. If everyone boiled just the water they needed, the energy saved could power more than three-quarters of the UK's street lights. De-scaling your kettle can also reduce the amount of energy you use.
  • Recycle - landfills are the second largest source of methane emissions in the UK. Most local councils provide facilities for you to recycle your paper, cardboard, bottles, cans and plastic.
  • Set up water butts in your garden, so you have your own natural supply. Local councils and water companies often sell them at subsidised prices.
  • Recycle 'grey' water from baths and washing machines.
  • Compost kitchen and garden waste - natural compost is better for your plants and less to throw away means less landfill.
  • Grow fruit and vegetables in your garden - reducing food miles.
  • Try to avoid concreting over your garden - if you do use new permeable products. The risk of flooding is made worse by the paving over front gardens. Hard surfaces increase the rate and volume of rainwater run-off resulting in flash flooding.

 

For more FAQS about Climate Change please follow this link....

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climatechange/guide/faqs/

Contact us on 01625 400 802.