How Infrared Technology Helps the Environment
Our planet has gone through at least five major ice ages, several volcanic eruptions, and a meteor strike or two, but it has still managed to survive for more than four-and-a-half billion years. Despite Earth’s resilient nature, we are slowly but surely producing enough waste – whether this is energy waste or just general rubbish – to damage our atmosphere and several essential ecosystems along with it.
As the effects of global warming and climate change are becoming apparent, people are growing more and more concerned with the state of the planet, resulting in a huge drive to be more eco-friendly citizens. Experts are always on the lookout for the next groundbreaking piece of technology that might help us save the planet, and in recent years infrared has become an increasingly important tool to conservationists around the world.
So how is infrared being used to help the environment?
Thermal Imaging Tech
Monitoring Endangered Species
Scientists have been using infrared technology to map distant galaxies for some time now. This technology detects infrared heat and converts it into a visual image that the human eye can see, which allows us to now see solar systems that are far further away than we could ever see before. This has helped astronomers to monitor the universe and generate predictions about our planet.
Recently, Dr Serge Wich, a conservationist based at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), had the idea to point that device in the other direction and use it to monitor what’s happening on planet Earth. He teamed up with Dr Steve Longmore, an astrophysicist also based at LJMU, to test the system’s effectiveness in monitoring endangered species.
As it stands, conservationists monitor the numbers of endangered animals by physically counting them, which generally produces inaccurate results. This technology will allow conservationists to detect and count endangered animals by their individual heat signatures; even through thick tree-cover, infrared can be used to locate and identify different species.
By gathering data that is more accurate, conservationists can put a firmer plan in place to protect these species, and can inspire people to be more cautious of their environment-harming habits.
Monitoring the Earth’s Surface Temperature
This won’t be the first time that thermal imaging technology has been used for the benefit of the planet, because environment experts have been using infrared to monitor changes in Earth’s surface temperature. This technology has been used to focus on the emissions of particular cities and towns, allowing researchers to pinpoint environment-damaging problem areas.
Experts can use these insights to establish a long-term strategy for reducing global warming and to predict any future fluctuations in Earth’s heat pattern.
Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide trap heat within Earth’s atmosphere, causing the planet to warm up, thereby damaging key ecosystems. Much of this is down to our emissions, through our vehicles and our power-plants, but natural events occur every now and again, which can potentially produce alarming amounts of greenhouse gases – we’re talking about forest fires.
Forest fires are notoriously difficult to monitor due to the sheer size of the dry forests that cover the globe. Pair this with the inability to detect a fire through thick jungle canopies, and you’ve got the recipe for a rapidly growing fire.
Forest fires account for the release of 290 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year in the United States alone, meaning that preventing these fires would dramatically reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere.
Experts are currently testing the use of infrared thermal imaging devices to monitor forests for the beginnings of forest fires. Detecting these fires early on is key to preventing them from turning into devastating blazes that destroy habitats and release carbon dioxide into Earth’s atmosphere.
What You Can Do
Infrared is used by scientific experts worldwide to protect the planet, and that probably leaves you wondering what that means for you at home. Well, environment-friendly infrared technology has made its way into everyday processes that would otherwise be harmful to the environment.
Infrared heating panels now harness the power of radiation to transfer heat directly to objects within rooms (including people!). This means that the spaces heat up faster, allowing you to cut your energy consumption in half. These heaters are equipped with smart-controls that allow you to maintain a room temperature without leaving the heating on continuously, reducing the amount of energy used overall.
This is great for the environment, because power-plants burn (dwindling amounts) of fossil fuels to generate the energy that powers your home. In creating this energy, power-plants release greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming, meaning that infrared technology has the potential to dramatically reduce your carbon footprint.
Save Earth One Step at a Time
Whether you’re already a hardened eco-warrior, or you’re just now learning the basics of being more environmentally friendly, our blog is full of useful advice to help save the planet. Stay on top of the latest technology trends that are helping homeowners become more eco-friendly.