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EARTH: Thirsty business -- How the tech industry is bracing for a water scarce future

October 04, 2016

Alexandria, VA - Server farms do the heavy lifting to meet public demand for information, from emails and tweets to credit card transactions and video streaming. Buildings that house the servers require tremendous amounts of energy to keep the servers running, and even more water to keep them functioning and cool. As the need for warehouses of servers has grown, tech giants like Facebook, Google and Microsoft have started building data centers in seemingly out-of-the-way places for good reason: because the local climates can reduce the energy and water needs for the operations. Not to be left behind, the semiconductor industry - led by companies like Intel - are also innovating to reduce their water usage.

The October issue of EARTH Magazine explores the multitude of ways the tech industry is trying to address the hard reality of water as a finite resource. These solutions range from submerging server rooms underwater, using creative programming to maximize processing during daily temperature cycles, employing sensing equipment, and using dry chemical reactions and high frequency sound waves to reduce water used during the cleaning processes associated with microchip development. These efforts are not just a safeguard for the environment; disruption in chip manufacturing or data centers could have the potential to wreak havoc on profits.

EARTH finds that there is a community of businesses, sustainability organizations and creative engineers at the helm, navigating the tech industry into a more sustainable and predictable future, not as reliant on the natural cycles of the planet. Read the full article at: http://bit.ly/2d2m7FW.

The October Issue of EARTH Magazine is now available for digital download from http://www.earthmagazine.org, or in print in the September/October dual issue. In it, you'll find stories about how lack of afterslip following the Nepal earthquake is hinting at mounting plate tensions, how clouds can form in the absence of nucleating particles, and new research that suggests that the reaches of the Milky Way may now be invisible to a third of humanity. Read these stories and many more in EARTH Magazine.
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> Keep up to date with the latest happenings in Earth, energy and environment news with EARTH Magazine online at: http://www.earthmagazine.org. Published by the American Geosciences Institute, EARTH is your source for the science behind the headlines.

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.

American Geosciences Institute

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