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The Congo River is the world’s second-largest river system after the Amazon. More than 75 million people depend on it for food and water, as do thousands of species of plants and animals that live in the swamps and peatlands it supports. The massive tropical rainforest sprawled across its middle helps regulate the entire Earth’s climate system. The amount of water in the system, however, is something of a mystery. 

Hydrologists and climate scientists rely on monitoring stations to track the river and its connected water bodies as they flow and pool across six countries, and to measure precipitation. But what was once a network of some 400 stations has dwindled to just 15, making it difficult to know exactly how climate change is affecting one of Africa’s most important river basins. 

“To take action, to manage water, we need to know about our water resources,” says Benjamin Kitambo, a geologist with the Congo Basin Water Resources Research Center in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. “But we can’t know something that we don’t measure.” 

Researchers around the world are increasingly filling data gaps on the ground using information gathered from space. Satellites equipped with remote sensing instruments can peer into places where “in situ” measurements—those taken on site—are outdated, hard to gather, or kept private. 

Kitambo spoke by video call from Toulouse, France, where he’s conducting PhD research at the Laboratory of Space Geophysical and Oceanographic Studies. These days, he’s analyzing troves of satellite measurements and hydrological models to understand how the Congo River’s tributaries, wetlands, lakes, and reservoirs are changing. That includes studying records from more than 2,300 “virtual” gauging stations, which estimate two key metrics throughout the basin: “surface water height,” or the water’s level above a reference point, and surface water extent. 

He says most of the region’s field data dates back to before 1960, the year most countries in the region gained independence from European colonizers. Since then, research there has sharply declined, and collecting data on surface water has proved difficult. 

machine data on satellite image
Fritz Policelli and his team at Goddard Space Flight Center are creating maps like this preliminary one of the Ohio River by combining machine learning with data collected by the Sentinel-1 in order to track stream widths.NASA GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER/UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND

About five years ago, the Congo Basin research center began installing a network of water-monitoring stations to address the “severe lack of basic knowledge” about the river’s main navigable channels, which often serve as roads. But some places in the vast basin were too remote or rugged for researchers to reach. In others, people removed the newly installed instruments to sell the materials, or because they feared being spied on.

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Many parts of the world face similar challenges. Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have seen a “dramatic decline” in ground-based measurements since the 1980s, according to a 2018 assessment published in the journal Water Resources Research. In the Mekong River basin—which extends through six nations from China to Vietnam—countries closely guard their data on water availability, if they gather it at all.

Yet measuring water is key to helping people prepare for natural disasters and adapt to climate change, experts say. Rising global temperatures are projected to increase the risk of storms and flash floods in certain areas and severe drought in others. Meanwhile, massive infrastructure projects and sprawling urban development are altering and straining freshwater resources like rivers and lakes.

This need to know is driving a series of ambitious research initiatives using remote sensing tools. As the technology for gathering and analyzing data from space evolves, scientists are gaining a clearer picture of how water flows across Earth and circulates in the atmosphere.

Satellites observing

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By: Maria Gallucci
Title: How to measure all the world’s fresh water
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2021/12/22/1041323/remote-sensing-freshwater-climate-hydrologist/
Published Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2021 10:00:00 +0000

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LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys

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Bitso, a leading cryptocurrency platform operating in Latin America, and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), today announced the joint launch of the first collectible NFT of the Mexico National Team’s jerseys that was acquired in cryptocurrencies.

This morning through their social media platforms, the FMF and Bitso announced the opportunity to acquire the new official National Team fan jerseys ahead of the team’s participation in the 2022 World Cup. In just 20 minutes, the entire collection sold out.

bitsonftjeysey
The NFTs of the jerseys have an exclusive design for the metaverse – each is unique on the blockchain and can be resold by its owner in subsequent transactions.

The collection consisted of 100 official physical jerseys, each with a corresponding NFT version of the jersey that fans’ avatars can wear within the Decentraland metaverse. Each physical and NFT jersey set sold for the equivalent of $1,800 MXN in ethers.

“Our mission is to make cryptocurrency useful in the everyday life of Mexicans; we are committed to spreading the technology through innovative opportunities that help people throughout the country familiarize themselves with this new world. We are very excited to offer the incredible, historic opportunity for the fans of our National Team so that through their Bitso account, they can wear the colors of the National Team on and ‘off’ the field in the metaverse.”
– Bárbara González Briseño, General Director of Bitso México

Jersey NFTs

Created by Bitso, the virtual jersey sports the official colors of Mexico and the new National Team shield, characteristics that will make it stand out when users wear it in the virtual world of Decentraland.

The post LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/29/latam-crypto-exchange-bitso-and-fmf-launch-nft-of-mexicos-national-team-jerseys/
Published Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2022 15:19:02 +0000

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Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth

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EXMO, a crypto exchange platform operating since 2014, announced this week a rebranded visual identity with includes a new logo, brand colors, and design features. This new branding comes as EXMO continues to grow its crypto platform while also seeking to expand its presence in other jurisdictions.

Some new developments underway at EXMO:

Soon, users will be able to earn passive income from EXMO’s new staking platform.Plans to launch an EXMO crypto debit card.Expansion of its services in international markets with the opening of offices in Poland and Lithuania.

EXMO’s new logo

The rationale for the re-brand:

“At EXMO, we have a vision of a world where crypto is in every wallet. Hassle-free. We want to achieve this by making crypto as simple and accessible to everyone as possible. And we know that you already appreciate EXMO for offering user-friendly services and helpful support. Also for the opportunity to trade anywhere and anytime, closing deals in just a few taps. Such important changes required a rethinking of our corporate style, which has long needed a massive upgrade. So today we are introducing a new brand identity for EXMO with a completely new visual concept. We are launching a new logo, brand colors, and design elements. Our key design principles are simplicity, boldness, and a pinch of fun. But most importantly, we have changed our logo. Simple and easily recognizable, it represents the humanity of our brand. The logo stands out due to the wavy letter ‘m’ which symbolizes exchange rate charts and also resembles a spring that will launch you into the crypto world.”
– The EXMO Team regarding the re-branding

The post Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/26/long-running-crypto-exchange-exmo-unveils-lively-rebrand-amidst-growth/
Published Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 08:10:38 +0000

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Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens

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The blistering heat waves that set temperature records across much of the US in recent days have strained electricity systems, threatening to knock out power in vulnerable regions of the country. 

The electricity has largely stayed online so far this summer, but there have been scattered problems and close calls already. 

Heavy use of energy-sucking air-conditioners is the biggest problem. But intense heat can also reduce the output of power plants, blow transformers, and force power lines to sag. Severe droughts across large parts of the country have also significantly reduced the availability of hydroelectric power, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). 

It’s unlikely to get better soon. A number of grid operators may struggle to meet peak summer demand, creating the risk of rolling blackouts, the NERC report notes.

The nation’s isolated and antiquated grids are in desperate need of upgrades to keep the lights, heat, and air-conditioning on in the midst of extreme weather events that climate change is making more common, severe, and dangerous. One clear way to ease many of these issues is to more tightly integrate the country’s regional grids, stitching them together with more long-range transmission lines. 

If electricity generated in one area can be more easily shared across much wider regions, power can simply flow to where it’s needed at those moments when customers crank up air-conditioners en masse, or when power plants or fuel supply lines fail amid soaring temperatures, wildfires, hurricanes, or other events, says Liza Reed, a research manager focused on transmission at the Niskanen Center, a Washington, DC, think tank.  

The problem is it’s proved difficult to build more long-range transmission and grid interconnections for a variety of reasons, including the permitting challenges of erecting wires through private and public lands across cities, counties, and states and the reluctance of local authorities to forfeit control or submit to greater federal oversight.

The case of Texas

The unreliability of the US grid is not a new problem. Severe heat and winter storms have repeatedly exposed the frailty of electricity systems in recent years, leaving thousands to millions of people without power as temperatures spiked or plunged.

One of the fundamental challenges is that the grids today are highly fragmented. There are three main electricity networks within the US: the Eastern Grid, the Western Grid, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). But there are numerous regional transmission organizations within those first two systems, including the California Independent System Operator, Southwest Power Pool, PJM Interconnection, New York ISO, and more. 

These grids form a complex web of networks operating under different regulators, rules and market structures, and often with limited connections between them.

Map USA grid
A variety of regional transmission organizations oversee different parts of the nation’s aging and fragmented grids, which operate under different rules and with often limited connections between them.
legend

ERCOT is especially isolated, in part because of the desire among local politicians, citizens, and power companies to avoid added competition, the hassle of following other states’ rules, and oversight from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). But the state offers a case study in why that can be a serious problem amid increasingly harsh climate conditions, Reed says.

The Texas grid operator pleaded with customers several times earlier this month to cut electricity use as blistering summer temperatures created  demand surges that threatened to outstrip supply and require rolling blackouts.  Low wind conditions, cloud cover, and outages at fossil-fuel power plants added to the strains.

Shutting off the electricity needed to run air-conditioning in triple-digit temperatures

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By: James Temple
Title: Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/07/28/1056483/stitching-together-the-grid-will-save-lives-as-extreme-weather-worsens/
Published Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 08:00:00 +0000

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