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Archive for August 25th, 2009

World’s beaches turned killing fields

Posted by feww on August 25, 2009

Death on the Beach

Human activity transforming world’s beaches, coastal waters into killing fields

Saint-Michel-en-Greve, Brittany, France

Thousands of tons of noxious algae are piling up on northern beaches of France emitting deadly hydrogen sulfide. The latest reported victim was a horse which collapsed and died after inhaling the deadly gas.

The concentration of hydrogen sulfide recorded in the bay at Saint-Michel-en-Greve, produced by rotting algae, has reached 1,000 parts per million (PPM), twice the 500PPM level that is potentially fatal if inhaled, according to a report commissioned by France’s Ecology Minister.

Green algae covers the beach at Saint-Michel-en-Greve, western France, August 20, 2009. Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) produced by mounds of decomposing green algae is now a major concern across the Brittany region. (Image: ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images). Image may be subject to copyright.

The horse’s rider reportedly lost consciousness and could have died, had he not been be dragged out of  a deep pool of decomposing sludge.

Excess nitrogen [and phosphorus] farm runoff and sewage flow washed off into the world’s coastal waters [and all other water bodies,] fuel algal blooms.

“Environmentalists are demanding action to promote organic farming in the region, where 60 percent of French pigs are reared.” Reuters reported.

Green tides are usually caused by a proliferation of chlorophytas (usually ulvas, occasionally enteromorphas). These blooms develope  every spring and summer on several European coasts: in Limfjord and the fjord of Roskilde in Denmark; the Veerse Meer, the Netherlands; the lagoon of Venice. In France green tides appear in the lagoons situated on the coast of the Languedoc region (gulf of Lyon), in the Atlantic bay of Arcachon (in this case the proliferation is due to Monostroma obscurum), and on some  50 of Breton beaches. The latter eutrophication process is caused by the species called Ulva armoricana and Ulva rotundata [the edible seaweeds.]

A green tide in Brittany, beach of Saint-Michel en Grève/Saint Efflam ((photograph by J.Y. Piriou, Ifremer). Image may be subject to copyright.

Northern Beaches of the North Island, New Zealand

“Mysterious” death has claimed hundreds of animals on New Zealand Beaches, including  dolphins, penguins, pilchards and local dogs

Extensive farm runoff and sewage contamination in New Zealand coastal waters, which spurs growth of potentially deadly algal blooms [cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, or Cyanophyta,] toxic algae poisoning may prove to be the main cause of the animal deaths.

Deadly fish have been found washed up on the Petone foreshore, prompting a warning to the public to steer clear of them.  Photo: PHIL REID/The Dominion Post. Image may be subject to copyright. [Source: New Zeelend Blog.]

“Touching a dead animal on the beach could be enough to endanger human life, said Cawthron Institute algae specialist Paul McNabb.” NZHerald earlier reported.

“People can die from this,” Mr McNabb said.

“If you put a slug in your mouth, you’d be vomiting and your entire body would be tingling.

“Within minutes you’d be paralysed. Your heart and lungs would shut down and you’d be dead within the hour.

“Or if you touched it and it was all over your hands and you went and ate a sandwich …” [Source: NZ Beach poison will kill you in an hour]

Related Links:

Posted in 1080, algal blooms, auckland beaches, Brodifacoum, cyanobacteria, death from toxic poisoning, Mysterious Deaths, New Zealand Beaches, rodenticides, Sodium fluoroacetate, toxic algae poisoning | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »

El Niño Update [24 Aug 2009]

Posted by feww on August 25, 2009

ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions

The following UPDATE is prepared by

Climate Prediction Center / NCEP – 24 August 2009

The latest weekly SST departures are:

  • Niño 4   ~ 0.8ºC
  • Niño 3.4  ~ 0.7ºC
  • Niño 3 ~ 0.9ºC
  • Niño 1+2 ~ 0.8ºC

El Niño Map. [SOURCE: NOAA/ Climate Prediction Center / NCEP]

Niño Region SST Departures (ºC) –  Recent Evolution

sst anom 24 aug 2009

SST Departures (°C) in the Tropical Pacific During the Last 4 Weeks:
During the last 4-weeks, equatorial SSTs were at least 0.5°C above-average across the Pacific Ocean and at least 1.0°C above average near the Date Line and in the eastern Pacific.

Global SST Departures
During the last four weeks, equatorial SSTs were above-average in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Also, above-average SSTs covered large areas of the Northern Hemisphere mid-to-high latitudes.

Weekly SST Departures for the Last Four Weeks

  • During the last four weeks, SST anomalies have been positive across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • During the last month, there has been little change in SST anomalies across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

Sub-Surface Temperature Departures in the Equatorial Pacific

  • During late-June through mid-August 2009, positive sub-surface temperature anomalies weakened in the eastern half of the Pacific Ocean.
  • The most recent period shows positive anomalies across the equatorial Pacific, with the largest anomalies near 125m depth in the west-central Pacific.

Pacific Niño 3.4 SST Outlook

  • Most ENSO models indicate El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.
  • The models disagree on the eventual strength of El Niño (SST anomalies ranging from +0.5°C to +2.0°C), but a majority of the models indicate at least a moderate strength El Niño (greater than +1.0°C) during November-December-January 2009-10.

model forecasts of enso

Figure provided by the International Research Institute (IRI) for Climate and Society (updated 18 Aug 2009).


  • El Niño is present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Sea surface temperatures (SST) remain +0.5 to +1.5 above-average across much of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Current observations and dynamical model forecasts indicate ElNiño is expected to strengthen and last through Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-10.

See  El Niño Home Page for previous entries and related links.

Related Links:

El Niño Updates

Posted in El Niño, Indian Ocean, Ocean SST, Pacific Ocean, Positive SST | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »