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Archive for the ‘desertification’ Category

Killer Dust Storms Strike India, Middle East

Posted by feww on May 12, 2010

Desertification: A Major Mechanism of Collapse

Killer Dust Storms Wreak Havoc in India, Middle East

On May 7, 2010 a dust storm and squall struck two Indian states of Uttar Pradesh (pop. 192 million) and Bihar (pop. 85 million) killing at least 57.

The following MODIS images show dust storms over a large section of Middle East including Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as the U.S. State of Washington:

Dust over Syria, Turkey and Iraq

Dust blankets Syria’s Fertile Crescent in this natural-color image from May 11, 2010. The pale cloud of dust masks the farm-lined Euphrates River in the right half of the image and extends to the Turkish border. The dust is blowing east toward Iraq. MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image on the afternoon of May 11.  Daily images of Syria are available from the MODIS Team. Image and Caption: NASA E/O [edited for brevity.] Click image to enlarge. Download large image (4 MB, JPEG)
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Dust Storm over Afghanistan and Pakistan

On May 5, a thick band of dust extended along hundreds of kilometers of the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. This photo-like image, taken by MODIS on NASA’s Terra satellite, shows the southernmost portion of the plume. The large image shows the entire plume over a broader region. The dust is thick enough to hide the ground from view. It is not clear from this image where the dust is coming from, but dry wetlands in this region are a common source of dust. One such wetland, the Hamun-i-Mashkel is in the lower left corner of the image. The dried wetland is a lighter shade of brown than the surrounding desert. Image and Caption: NASA E/O [edited for brevity.]
Click image to enlarge. Download large image (732 KB, JPEG)

Spring Dust Storm in Washington

A dark plume of dust extends across nearly half of Washington state in these natural-color images from May 3, 2010. MODIS acquired the image from NASA’s Terra satellite at 12:40 p.m. local time.Image and Caption: NASA E/O [edited for brevity.]
Click image to enlarge. Download large 12:40 p.m. image (281 KB, JPEG)

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Posted in desertification, dust storm in India, Dust Storms in Middle East, Mechanism of Collapse, squall | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Second Sandstorm Blasts Beijing

Posted by feww on March 22, 2010

Beijing Blasted by Sandstorms Twice in Two Days

Mothers, tell your children NOT to do what they have done!

Beijing was hit Monday by a second sandstorm just two days after a severe sandstorm struck on Saturday. The sandstorm originated from Mongolia and arrived in Beijing Monday morning, but was expected to subside by the evening.


Tourists visit the Tian’anmen Square in Beijing amid a massive sandstorm, March 22, 2010. The Central Meteorological Station issued a blue alert for sandstorms at 6 AM on Monday. (Xinhua/Sang Quanli). Image may be subject to copyright.

“The sandstorm from Mongolia arrived in Beijing Monday morning, and is expected to weaken by Monday evening,” said Zhang Mingying, senior engineer with the Beijing Meteorological Station, official news agency Xinhua reported.

The Sandstorm spawned by strong winds has swept over north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, as well as Shanxi and Hebei provinces, he was reported as saying.

“Dust and sand left from Saturday’s sandstorm was still affecting Beijing Monday,” Zhang said.

“Although the sky was not as orange as Saturday, the smell of the dust was stronger on Monday,” said Li Nan, a Beijing resident.


Lanzhou, Gansu province, shrouded by a thick yellow-orange haze produced by thousands of tons of airborne sand. March 19 -20, 2010. [Photo/Xinhua] Image may be subject to copyright.

What’s Behind the Sandstorms?

In short, it’s the economy. The impact of exponential growth economy has driven China’s fragile ecosystems to the verge of collapse. The environmental stress caused by overconsumption of water, deforestation, land-use change and severe droughts, enhanced by climate change, are accelerating the desertification in northern China.

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Posted in desertification, Drought, dust storm, Mongolia sandstorm, Sandstorm | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Australia: World’s Smallest Continental Dust Bowl

Posted by feww on October 28, 2009

Another Dust Storm Sweeps North Central Australia

dust storm aust naus_amo_2009299
Another dust storm blew across Australia’s Northern Territory and Queensland on October 26, 2009, as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite passed overhead. This true-color image shows the dust plume traveling eastward. In Northern Territory, the dust passes south of Newcastle Waters. In Queensland, the plume skirts a cluster of fires—roughly marked by red outlines—that send their smoke plumes northward.
NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption by Michon Scott. Edited by FEWW

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Australian Oil Disaster Links:

Posted in Australian Coal, australian dust storms, carbon-intensive economy, Climate Change, desertification, Drought, dust to dust, exponential growth, First Wave of World’s Collapsing Cities, Sydney | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Australia: What can burn, will!

Posted by feww on September 29, 2009

ashes to ashes …

Australia fires and dust_AMO_2009270
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image on the afternoon of September 27, 2009. Red dots and plumes of smoke mark the locations of dozens of fires burning throughout Queensland. The large image provided above has a resolution of 250 meters per pixel, MODIS’ maximum resolution. The image is available in additional resolutions from the MODIS Rapid Response System.

The thick wall of dust that blew across Australia on September 26, 2009, hung in a slightly thinner veil over the Coral Sea on September 27. Ripples and waves shape the dust in reflection of turbulence in the air. The dust will gradually settle over the ocean, where it will provide a source of iron to phytoplankton, microscopic plant-like organisms that grow in sunlit surface water. The iron acts as fertilizer, making it possible for large phytoplankton blooms to develop. While phytoplankton are an important source of food for marine life, too much phytoplankton can rob the ocean of oxygen, creating dead zones. It is certain that ocean biologists will watch closely to see if and how the immense dust storms of September 2009 will affect Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, visible as blue-green dots in the top center of the image. NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek. [Edited by FEWW.]

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Posted in Australian Coal, australian dust storms, clean energy ruse, Climate Change, Coral Sea, desertification, Drought, drought and deluge, dust to dust, First Wave of World’s Collapsing Cities, FWWCC, Images of 'Doomsday', man-made disasters, phytoplankton blooms, sand storm | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Australia: Uranium Dust Threat Real?

Posted by feww on September 28, 2009

Future storms may contain radioactive dust, if mine proposal goes ahead—Environmentalist

An Australian documentary maker says that  future dust storms in the country may contain radioactive materials, if the mining company BHP Billiton’s proposal to turn a uranium mine into an open-cut mine goes ahead.

David Bradbury, a renowned filmmaker and environmental activist, who has made four documentaries on nuclear issues, says an  environmental impact study suggest that about 70 million tons of radioactive tailing would be deposited at South Australia’s Olympic Dam uranium mine grounds each year.

The tailings are contaminated with alpha radiation, he says, which is proven to be carcinogenic to all animals, including humans.

“My grave concern is that with the open-cut mine expansion that BHP Billiton wants permission from state and federal governments to go ahead with, that the radioactive tailings left behind will blow over the eastern coast centres of the most populated cities of Australia,” he said.

Bradbury concerns came amid last Wednesday  worst ever dust storm in the Sydney and Brisbane areas as  red dust blown in from the outback shrouded the region, causing problems for people, especially those with asthma, and others with heart and lung conditions.

“[Since] the dust storms…  originated from Woomera, and which is right next door to the Olympic Dam mine at Roxby Downs, these [storms] could blow those tailings across the face of Australia,” said Bradbury.

However, Australian scientists are playing down fears, assuring the public that there is nothing to worry about [sic.]

Barry Noller an Associate Professor from the University of Queensland, whose research projects include Risk Assessment of Mined Land,  was quoted as saying that most of the particles from the uranium mines in the outback are simply too heavy to be carried by the wind over long distances.

“In a big dust storm, the dust is not going to come from one isolated site, it is going to be mixed in with dust from a [wide] area and diluted considerably,” said Noller.

FEWW Comments:

Come again? What if the storms were stronger and blew more sand more frequently, say, twice more, perhaps five times, or ten time as much every year? The recent atmospheric trends and new patterns set by climate change certainly suggest such extreme scenarios as highly probable!

That’s the most ridiculous comment an Associate Professor could possibly make, even one from the University of Queensland, without quantifying the extent of the problem. The stronger the storms the more dust they carry over populated areas, and with it goes more of the heavier particles.

Here’s what the Aussies, even their corporate media, should demand to know:

How much stronger must the storms be, and how frequently must they below before they pose,  (i) some risk, (ii) significant risk to the public health, threatening human and animal well being?

Should this professor make similarly stupid, biased and unqualified remarks again, the Moderators will have to investigate his role and function as a government scientist with regulatory bias.

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Posted in Australian Coal, australian dust storms, australian uranium, clean energy ruse, Climate Change, desertification, Drought, drought and deluge, dust to dust, First Wave of World’s Collapsing Cities, FWWCC, Images of 'Doomsday', man-made disaster, sand storm, sydney dust storm | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

And dust to dust …

Posted by feww on September 23, 2009

Images of ‘Doomsday?’

Another man-made disaster strikes Australia

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia: 100 kph winds whipped up heavy dust storms followed by severe  thunderstorms in Sydney and much of New South Wales last night, media reported.

Road traffic slowed down to a crawl, ferries canceled, flights diverted or canceled as dust storm shrouded Sydney, and suffocating haze forced the residents to stay indoors.

Reuters: “This is unprecedented. We are seeing earth, wind and fire together,” said Dick Whitaker from The Weather Channel.

Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth, and the NSW state government recently cut the state’s 2009/10 wheat crop estimate by 20 percent because of hot, dry weather across the grain belt.

The country is one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change, but also the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter per capita as it relies on coal-fired power stations for the bulk of its electricity.

sydney DS
Red dust and gale force winds have severely disrupted flights into and out of Sydney (ABC online User submitted: Amber Hooper). Image may be subject to copyright.

Karen from Sydney’s inner western suburb of Dulwich Hill said she woke up to find the red dust had covered her floors and birds had been blown out of their nests.

“It did feel like Armageddon because when I was in the kitchen looking out the skylight, there was this red, red glow coming through,” Karen told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

“In the south, where there are showers, people will find it is falling as mud this morning, but that will help clear the dust from the air,” said the BOM spokeswoman.

neutral-bay-before-after
(Top) A shot of Neutral Bay on a normal day, and (bottom) this morning. Photo: Lauren Jarrott, smh.com.au reader photo. Image may be subject to copyright.

Associated Press: Sydney’s fiery dawn was caused by the sun hitting a blanket of dust that was whipped up by wild weather in parched areas of the New South Wales outback.

dust storm
People exercising at Coogee Beach. The Age.com.au reader Photo: Peter Rae. Image may be subject to copyright.

dust on car
A person takes pictures of the dust on his car during a dust storm in Sydney. Photo: AP Photo/Rob Griffith.
Image may be subject to copyright.

dust storm sat img
An enhanced colour satellite image shows the dust storm covering over eastern Australia in this handout picture dated September 23, 2009. REUTERS/Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology/Handout

Photo Gallery: The Age – Australia

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Posted in Australian Coal, clean energy ruse, desertification, Drought, drought and deluge, sand storm | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

The Mesopotamian Dust Bowl

Posted by feww on August 18, 2009

Image of the day: Another Dust Storm Over Iraq and Kuwait

Iraq_AMO_2009227
Thick clouds of dust blew from the agricultural lands between the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers in Iraq on August 15, 2009. The pale dust obscures most of Kuwait and culminates in a distinct plume over the Persian (Arabian) Gulf. One plume on the east side of the storm is darker than the rest of the airborne dust. This plume either comes from a different type of source—exposed agricultural soil instead of desert, perhaps—or it is a plume of smoke from a fire. Red dots mark where the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) detected fires, but in this case, a fire may be hidden from the sensor by the dust storm. Ongoing drought may be contributing to the frequent and severe dust storms Iraq has experienced in 2009.

The MODIS sensor flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image on August 15, 2009. Twice-daily images of Iraq and Kuwait are available from the MODIS Rapid Response System.  NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.

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Posted in desertification, Environmental Catastrophe, global climate change, soil erosion, World’s Collapsing Cities | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Photos from Down Under

Posted by feww on February 18, 2009

Australia: A Failing Continent

Killmore East-Murrindindi Complex Fire, Victoria


Among the areas devastated by bushfires in Victoria, Australia, in early February 2009 were Kinglake National Park and the surrounding rural and agricultural areas. The park is located on the slopes of the Great Dividing Range Mountains that arc northward through Victoria and along Australia’s East Coast. The park is only 65 kilometers (about 40 miles) north of Melbourne, and it is important to the city not just as a recreation area, but also because it protects some of the rivers and streams that supply the nearly four million city residents with water. Image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS,  and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. Caption [truncated
] by Rebecca Lindsey. Date image acquired: February 14, 2009 ; Posted: February 18, 2009]


There are reports more than 100,000 head of cattle have died in the flooding. A Georgetown grazier says the wet season has devastated many properties. (Photo taken February 2009 - exact date unknown - ABC Net North Qld - User submitted)

Debris left behind from the floodwaters hangs from a cane rail bridge at Upper Stone, west of Ingham, in north Qld, on February 7, 2009. (ABC Net - User submitted via ABC Contribute: macad)

Bushfires burn around Maroondah Dam on February 11. Photo: Craig Abraham. theage.com.au Image may be subject to copyright

Bushfires burn around Maroondah Dam on February 11. Photo: Craig Abraham. theage.com.au Image may be subject to copyright

The Moderators can clearly see what is happening to Australia. Why have the Australian government and scientific community buried their heads in the sand?

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4 images; 6 links; 270 words

Posted in desertification, Failing Continent, Melbourne, Victoria, Water pollution | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Oceans, Where Life Started, Are Dying – Part I

Posted by feww on March 14, 2008

WILD FACTS SERIES – Our Oceans Are Now Dying!

Ocean “deserts” are expanding much faster than predicted, according to a new study by the University of Hawaii and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA.

It is believed that the ocean “desertification,” which is caused by the warming of sea surface waters, may result in the population decline of many fish species.

globe2s.jpg
Black areas in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are the least productive. (Credit NOAA)

“Between 1998 and 2007, these expanses of saltwater with low surface plant life in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans grew by 15 percent or 6.6 million square kilometers, according to the study which appears in Geophysical Research Letters. The expansion is occurring at the same time that sea surface temperatures are warming about one percent or .02 to .04 degrees Celsius a year. The warming increases stratification of the ocean waters, preventing deep ocean nutrients from rising to the surface and creating plantlife.”

The evidence of this expansion comes from data collected by a sensor aboard NASA’s orbiting SeaStar spacecraft. The Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor, called SeaWiFS, is a unique tool that maps ocean biological productivity around the globe. This visual sensor reads reflective color to measure the density of chlorophyll in phytoplankton, the microscopic plants that are the base of the marine food web.”

These barren areas are found in roughly 20 percent of the world’s oceans and are within subtropical gyres—the swirling expanses of water on either side of the equator.”

globe1-s2.jpg
Dark blue areas in this figure of the global distribution of chlorophyll
are the areas with the least surface chlorophyll. (Credit NASA)

As for the remaining 80 percent area of world’s oceans …

See Oceans, Where Life Started, Are Dying – Part II


References:

  • Landry, C.A., S. Manning, and A.O. Cheek. 2004. Hypoxia suppresses reproduction in Gulf killifish, Fundulus grandis. e.hormone 2004 conference. Oct. 27-30. New Orleans.
  • Murphy, C. . . . P. Thomas, et al. 2004. Modeling the effects of multiple anthropogenic and environmental stressors on Atlantic croaker populations using nested simulation models and laboratory data. Fourth SETAC World Congress, 25th Annual Meeting in North America. Nov. 14-18. Portland, Ore.
  • Johanning, K., et al. 2004. Assessment of molecular interaction between low oxygen and estrogen in fish cell culture. Fourth SETAC World Congress, 25th Annual Meeting in North America. Nov. 14-18. Portland, Ore.
  • Nutrients in the Nation’s Waters–Too Much of a Good Thing? U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1136.

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See Also:  Our Dying Oceans (Parts II,III, and IV)

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Posted in Climate Change, desertification, fish, life, oceans, plantlife | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »