Fire Earth

Mass die-offs from human impact and planetary response to the assault could occur by early 2016

Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change’

Climate Change Causing China Drought

Posted by feww on March 29, 2010

Drought in southwestern China caused by climate change: Chinese experts

Chinese meteorologists say the ongoing severe drought in southwest China is caused by climate change.

The drought has left more between 18 and 62 million people and 11.7 million to more that 20 million livestock with insufficient drinking water “over a region encompassing the southwestern provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the municipality of Chongqing, data from the Ministry of Civil Affairs showed.”

[Note: the figures vary widely depending on each day's published definition of "affected by drought" and "short of drinking water." See also data entries in 2010: Year One of Human-Enhanced Disasters.]


A parched reservoir in Green Pool Dame at Shilin County, Kunming City, Yunnan Province (February 2, 2010). Photo:AFP/Getty Images. Image may be subject to copyright. Click image to enlarge.

“The direct reason for the drought is light rain and high temperatures,” Ren Fuming, a leading expert at China’s National Climate Center, told Outlook Weekly, a popular magazine in China, Xinhua said.

Zhang Peiqun, another senior meteorologist with the center, who agrees with Ren Fumings, aid the rainfall in worst-affected Yunnan province is the lowest in living memory while the average temperature since the beginning of winter has been the highest on record.

“The decreased rainfall during the rainy season led to less water in store and high temperatures resulted in greater evaporation, directly causing the severe drought,” Zhang said.

Zhang believes complicated ocean currents and anomalous atmospheric circulation are responsible for the drought. [See: Kelvin waves in Your Worst Fears About El Niño.]

“Zhang said the lingering cold air mass that formed last September in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau had fenced off the warm and moist currents from the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal, and at the same time the cold air from the north has had difficulty reaching the Yunnan-Guizhou plateau hinterland.” Xinhua reported.

“The cold and warm currents can’t converge to produce rain, so there is little rain,” Zhang said.

Sun Honglie, director of the national expert committee on climate change, said he believed the drought was was caused by anomalous atmospheric currents.

“It is not an environmental or ecological problem,” he said. “But the drought is bound to have an impact on the ecological system.”

“Another expert, Chen Yiyu, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, also said the year has seen anomalous climate conditions globally and that the drought in China is part of the phenomenon.” Xinhua said.

[Note: They are probably refering to the impact of El Niño.]

Water Severely Rationed

In Fuyuan County there has been no tap water since late 2009, residents said, complaining that “rationed water supply has not been steady, and that they have had to fetch water themselves from a village three miles away.” Epoch Times said.

“Each family is given four water tickets every two weeks and each ticket entitles the bearer to 100 kg (about 26 gallons) of water, which is not enough for daily use at all, especially for a large family of six or seven. So we have to fetch water from somewhere else. I haven’t taken a shower for a few months.” a resident was reported as saying.

Statistics released recently indicated that as of March 17, 2010, some “43,486,000 hectares (about 17.6 million acres) of crops were affected by the drought, among which 940,000 hectares (about 380,566 acres) yielded zero production, causing a direct economic loss of 19 billion yuan (US$2.8 billion).”

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Posted in disasters, Drought, drought and deluge, human-enhanced disasters, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

SW China on the precipice of catastrophe

Posted by feww on March 20, 2010

Worst Ever Drought in SW China is Getting Even Worse!

The numbers of people and livestock short of drinking water in SW China have risen from 11 million and 2 million respectively just 5 days ago to more that 20 million people and 12 million  livestock today.

The deadly drought is now spreading to other parts of China including the northwest, north and northeast China.

Up to 60 million people throughout  China are now affected by severe drought, and experts say it can only get worse.


A massive dust storm swept across eastern China on March 12, 2010. The dust appears to have been transported by winds from the west, which is consistent with soil erosion caused by the drought. Source NASA. Click image to enlarge.

Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in south China, one of the country’s poorest areas is suffering its worst drought in 58 years ever, with only 2.2 mm of rain since October 2009, People’s Daily reported.

“Since last September, rainfall in Guangxi, as well as neighboring Yunnan and Guizhou provinces, has fallen to the lowest levels since 1952, said the China Meteorological Administration. Coupled with persistent high temperatures, the lack of rain has resulted in a severe drought that is affecting about 11 million people.”

That report was released 5 days ago. The ongoing drought, which has lasted 3 harvests, has affected more than 6.5 million hectares of farmland across the country, today’s media report said.

“Relief work is becoming difficult because the dry conditions have lasted for such a long time, reducing available water sources.”

“Southwest China is facing the most severe situation. Nearly 90 per cent of China’s drought-affected farmland is in Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Sichuan and Chongqing. And more than half of that is in Yunnan province.” Zhang Xu, Dep. Director-General of Drough Relief HQ, was reported as saying.

“We should detail a water supply plan, consolidate water management, economize our use of water, and use every method to ensure water supply.”


Farmers in China’s Yunnan province face a bleak future, if the drought continues. Image captured from CCTV news. Image may be subject to copyright. Click image to enlarge.

The drought has affected the last three harvest seasons. Experts say the hot and dry weather will continue in southwest China for the foreseeable future.

These conditions in the region are described as the “worst  in a century.” But no one really knows how bad the worst conditions might have been then.

The government is urging people to use water sparingly. The irony of it being that there is NO water to use, sparingly or not. The authorities were also quoted as saying that the “choice of whether to use water for people or farming is becoming more difficult.”

Surely, someone must have mistranslated that last line. They couldn’t possibly have meant that. Could they?

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Posted in Drought, drought and deluge, human impact, severe drought, Sichuan drought | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Dinosaurs Asteroid Extinction: ‘Crotch Science’

Posted by feww on March 7, 2010

Submitted by a reader:

Keep Freudian Politics Out of Science!

Dinosaur Extinction Highly Improbable as a Result of a Single Event


Barringer Crater from space. [The crater is also known as 'Meteor Crater' and 'Canyon Diablo Crater.'] Barringer Crater,  is a 1,300-meter (0.8 mile) diameter, 174-meter (570-feet) deep hole in the flat-lying desert sandstones 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) west of Winslow, Arizona. Since the 1890s geologic studies here played a leading role in developing an understanding of impact processes on the Earth, the moon and elsewhere in the solar system. This view was acquired by the Landsat 4 satellite on December 14, 1982. Diablo Canyon arroyo is to the west (left). The ghost town of Diablo Canyon is on the canyon to the north and out of the picture. The bulk of the meteorite is believed to be embedded in the south side of the crater under the rim. Credit: NASA Visible Earth.

The following excerpts are from a news report by Cambridge University,  England:

Asteroid killed off the dinosaurs

“Our work lets us visualise the astonishing events of the few minutes after impact. The front of the asteroid hit the Earth while the far side was still out in the upper atmosphere [sic,] punching a hole though the Earth’s atmosphere.

[Note: Readers would recall that the asteroid is believed to have been about 10km long.]

“As the asteroid vapourised explosively, it created a crater 30 km deep and 100 km across, with sides as high as the Himalayas. However within only two minutes the sides collapsed inwards and the deepest parts of the crater rebounded upwards to leave a wide, shallow hollow.

“These terrifying events led to darkness and a global winter, resulting in the extinction of more than 70% of known species. The tiny shrew-like mammals which were around at that time proved better adapted to survival than the cumbersome dinosaurs, and the removal of these dominant animals paved the way for the radiation of the mammals and eventual emergence of humans on Earth.” — Dr Penny Barton, who led the seismic survey and a co-author of the review

Just about every single paragraph of the review, the ones available on the internet that this author has read, features a glaring improbability.


Animation showing the Chicxulub Crater impact. Credit: University of Arizona, Space Imagery Center. Click image to enlarge and animate.

Science Fiction, or Crotch Science?

The Chicxulub asteroid impact and mass extinction at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary
Summary or Review

The Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary approximately 65.5 million years ago marks one of the three largest mass extinctions in the past 500 million years. The extinction event coincided with a large asteroid impact at Chicxulub, Mexico, and occurred within the time of Deccan flood basalt volcanism in India. Here, we synthesize records of the global stratigraphy across this boundary to assess the proposed causes of the mass extinction. Notably, a single ejecta-rich deposit compositionally linked to the Chicxulub impact is globally distributed at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. The temporal match between the ejecta layer and the onset of the extinctions and the agreement of ecological patterns in the fossil record with modeled environmental perturbations (for example, darkness and cooling) lead us to conclude that the Chicxulub impact triggered the mass extinction. AAAS Review

Was the impact of 10-km bolide that formed the Chicxulub crater so catastrophic that it drove 70 percent of the world species to extinction in a short period?

The Chicxulub Paradox:

  1. The adverse environmental impact of the Chicxulub Asteroid, which lasted for a relatively short period [years,] drove dinosaurs, 70 percent of all species to extinction.
  2. Dinosaurs eventually became extinct over a relatively long period [millions of years.]

If the K-T extinction occurred as a direct result of the Chicxulub impact that led to “environmental perturbations (for example, darkness and cooling),” it must have necessarily led to a global ‘famine’ also, necessitating a rapid [and total] occurrence.

The comprehensive mechanisms needed for large-scale species extinction cannot be driven by a single event, albeit of a catastrophic magnitude, whose consequences  could have only lasted for a relatively short period.

A single catastrophic event capable of wiping off large percentage of all species, could only occur if it occurs in totality, for example, by vaporizing the ocean water, consuming the entire range of flora, extracting the air from the atmosphere, or flooding the entire planet. In that case, the remaining 50, 40, or even 30 percent of fauna, whose survival depended on the same shared resources, natural services and environmental factors, could not have survived.

Conclusion:

The environmental damage caused by the Chicxulub impact was not total, and could not have had lasting consequences, either. The planet would have recovered from the effects of the impact in a few seasons.

A plethora of evidence suggests that dinosaurs and the other 70 or so percent of the species that allegedly became extinct, did not all die off in a few short seasons.

[You cannot blame the extinction of dinosaurs on an asteroid impact, if the extinction  occurred over a period of couple of million years after the impact!]


Another View of Barringer Crater. Source: USGS

Note: Fire-Earth moderators may comment on the above at a later date.

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Last Edited: April 21 at 02:35UTC

Posted in Chicxulub asteroid, Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction, K-T extinction, mass extinction, Scripps Institution of Oceanography | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

AVATAR !!!

Posted by feww on March 5, 2010

CANADA’s AVATAR SANDS

The largest oil exporter to the United States,  Canada extracts about 50 percent of its crude oil supplies from the dirty oil sands.


High Res (5.3 MB PDF)

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Posted in dirty energy, energy dinosaurs, oil industry, oil sands, TAR SANDS | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Mountaintop Removal: Satellite Images

Posted by feww on March 3, 2010

Dreaming of a Flat Earth!

Mountaintop removal is a major violation of nature with deadly consequences—Fire-Earth

“There has been a global, 30-year increase in surface mining, which is now the dominant driver of land-use change in the central Appalachian ecoregion of the United States. One major form of such mining, mountaintop mining with valley fills, is widespread throughout eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, and southwestern Virginia. Upper elevation forests are cleared and stripped of topsoil, and explosives are used to break up rocks to access buried coal. Excess rock (mine ‘spoil’) is pushed into adjacent valleys, where it buries existing streams.” Mountaintop Mining Consequences, M. A. Palmer et al.

Growth of Mountaintop Removal, West Virginia, 1984-2009

Click images to enlarge

large image
(0.73 MB, JPEG)             acquired September 17, 1984


large image
(683 KB, JPEG)                            acquired June 2, 2009

ohio valley env coalition
Closeup: Mountaintop removal. Photo by Vivian Stockman; source: OVEC; flyover courtesy SouthWings. [Original caption: What does it say about human nature that we allow this kind of destruction to go on?]

The following is a recent feature article by NASA Earth Observatory :

Mountaintop Mining, West Virginia

Below the densely forested slopes of southern West Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains is a layer cake of thin coal seams. To uncover this coal profitably, mining companies engineer large—sometimes very large—surface mines. This time-series of images of a surface mine in Boone County, West Virginia, illustrates why this controversial mining method is also called “mountaintop removal.”

Based on data from NASA’s Landsat 5 satellite, these natural-color (photo-like) images document the growth of the Hobet mine as it moves from ridge to ridge between 1984 to 2009. The natural landscape of the area is dark green, forested mountains, creased by streams and indented by hollows. The active mining areas appear off-white, while areas being reclaimed with vegetation appear light green. A pipeline roughly bisects the images from north to south. The town of Madison, lower right, lies along the banks of the Coal River.

In 1984, the mining operation is limited to a relatively small area west of the Coal River. The mine first expands along mountaintops to the southwest, tracing an oak-leaf-shaped outline around the hollows of Big Horse Creek and continuing in an unbroken line across the ridges to the southwest. Between 1991 and 1992, the mine moves north, and the impact of one of the most controversial aspects of mountaintop mining—rock and earth dams called valley fills—becomes evident.

The law requires coal operators to try to restore the land to its approximate original shape, but the rock debris generally can’t be securely piled as high or graded as steeply as the original mountaintop. There is always too much rock left over, and coal companies dispose of it by building valley fills in hollows, gullies, and streams. Between 1991 and 1992, this leveling and filling in of the topography becomes noticeable as the mine expands northward across a stream valley called Stanley Fork.

The most dramatic valley fill that appears in the series, however, is what appears to be the near-complete filling of Connelly Branch from its source to its mouth at the Mud River between 1996 and 2000. Since 2004, the mine has expanded from the Connelly Branch area to the mountaintops north of the Mud River. Significant changes are apparent to the ridges and valleys feeding into Berry Branch by 2009. Over the 25-year period, the disturbed area grew to more than 10,000 acres (15.6 square miles).

According to a report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, nearly 40 percent of the year-round and seasonal streams in the Mud River watershed upstream of and including Connelly Branch had been filled or approved for filling through 1998. In 2009, the EPA intervened in the approval of a permit to further expand the Hobet mine into the Berry Branch area and worked with mine operators to minimize the disturbance and to reduce the number and size of valley fills.

Still, some scientists argue that current regulations and mitigation strategies are inadequate. After doing a survey of research on mountaintop mining and valley fills, the scientists concluded that the impacts on stream and groundwater quality, biodiversity, and forest productivity were “pervasive and irreversible” and that current strategies for mitigation and restoration were not compensating for the degradation.

Links related to article and references

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Posted in coal energy, Kentucky, surface mining, valley fills, West Virginia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Noise from Oil Exploration, Tourist Boats Kills 150 Whales

Posted by feww on December 28, 2009

Our thanks to TEAA for the links

Noise Pollution from NZ Oil Exploration, Tourist Boats and Toxic Pollution Strand 150 Whales to Their Deaths

Up to 150 whales died in less than 48 hours after two beachings, New Zealand’s  Department of Conservation reported.


Dead whales in Colville Bay on the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. Photo credit: Sally and Doug Morrison/ The Southland Times. Image may be subject to copyright. See Fair Use Notice.

About 30 pilot whales died after they became stranded on Coromandel peninsula yesterday and will be buried by the local Maori.

Meanwhile, up to 120 long-finned pilot whales, both calves and adults, were found dead  at the Farewell Spit on Boxing Day.

“More offshore wells have been drilled in the last two years than the rest of the decade combined: 35 on and offshore wells were drilled between January 2008 and July 2009 alone,” said a report.


Dead whales lie on the beach at Farewell Spit on New Zealand’s South Island December 28, 2009. More than 100 pilot whales died after being stranded at Farewell Spit, according to local media. The beached whales were discovered by a tourist plane on Saturday. Photo: New Zealand Department of Conservation/Handout via Reuters.

Each year about 2.5 million tourists visit New Zealand, straining its fragile ecosystems to the breaking point, creating a massive litany of different pollutions, including noise.

Mendo Coast Current wrote: “Studies show that these cetaceans, which once communicated over thousands of miles to forage and mate, are losing touch with each other, the experts said at a U.N. wildlife conference in Rome.”

“The sound of a seismic test, used to locate hydrocarbons beneath the seabed, can spread 1,800 miles under water, said Veronica Frank, an official with the International Fund for Animal Welfare. A study by her group found that the blue whale, which used to communicate across entire oceans, has lost 90 percent of its range over the past 40 years.”

Environmental experts are studying numerous cases of beached whales and dolphins that are believed to have been caused by sound pollution, according to Simmonds.

Just two weeks ago at least five whales died after nine were beached in Mediterranean off the  southern coast off Italy, an unusual place for whales to beach themselves.

‘A massive beaching is extremely rare in the Mediterranean,’ biologist Maurizio Wurtz at the University of Genoa said.

Noise pollution from seismic surveys for oil and gas as well as naval activities are believed to have confused whales by interfering  with their communication, thus leaving them stranded and ultimately dead,  many  Conservationists and biologists say.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) says man-made ocean noise inhibits cetaceans’ communication and disrupts their feeding.

The level of ocean noise in some regions is doubling each decade, according to IFAW.  “Humanity is literally drowning out marine mammals.”

[NOTE: We are also reminded that Coromandel peninsula is the same area where NZ Public Medical Office of Health reported “particularly high” levels of paralytic shellfish poison. See: Toxic shellfish from New Zealand can cause paralysis and respiratory failure within 12 hours of being consumed.  http://newzeelend.wordpress.com/2009/01/07/global-food-safety-alert-toxic-nz-shellfish-warning/ ]

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Posted in eco-terrorism, Endangered Species, ocean, Ocean Acidity, Seismic Surveys | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Reclaim Power: Block the System

Posted by feww on December 16, 2009

‘Black Shirt’ Nazis Beat Protesters

Unprecedented Police Brutality at Copenhagen Climate Conference

Most nations no longer beat even their animals like the bacon-head is hitting the demonstrator!


Protesters march towards the Bella Center, where the UN Climate Change 2009 Conference is taking place, during a demonstration in Copenhagen December 16, 2009. Credit: REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski. Image may be subject to copyright.

Perhaps you ought to block the system instead, and remove its ignorant politicians and their brutal police forces


Protesters march towards the Bella Center, where the UN Climate Change 2009 Conference is taking place, during a demonstration in Copenhagen December 16, 2009.  Credit: REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski. Image may be subject to copyright.

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Posted in Copenhagen climate, police brutality, Protest in Europe, Reclaim Power, UN Climate Change 2009 | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Ten Climate Change Lies, Myths and Misconceptions (9)

Posted by feww on December 11, 2009

Climate Change Lie # 9

Mobilizing Forces to Fight Climate Change

Profile of the “Climate Change Knight,” the ones who buy this misconception:

Sigmund Freud viewed nature as a malignant force to fight and overcome. “Humanoids fight nature trying their damnedest to prevent her from doing what she does best: Sustaining life!” MSRB said.

In The Death of Homo Sapiens Sapiens a colleague wrote:  “Our lives are based on an abstraction [syn: misconception, lie] that forms the basis of the modern economic theory. Homo economicus model tells us that our total wants are insatiable, that we can make no value judgments and that whatever we desire must be normative. To ensure that the theory stands, however, we are bombarded with advertising.”

Global Climate Change, is NOT of our own doing because “whatever we desire must be normative.” It’s all nature’s fault [sic.] It’s nature that has failed to provide us unlimited resources to satisfy our insatiable wants, and boundless supply of toilet paper to clean our mess.  Nature is denting our lifestyles. Nature is harming us. Nature is a terrorist.

We need defending ourselves against Nature. We must fight her and win the war. We must use the full force of our technology to attack nature and subject the wild beast to our will (!)

Freud said:

“Against the dreaded external world one can only defend oneself by some kind of turning away from it, if one intends to solve the task by oneself. There is, indeed, another and a better path: that of becoming a member of human community, and, with the help of a technique guided by science, going over to attack against nature and subjecting her to human will.”

Unsurprisingly, the Homo economicus misconception, in its fight to defend us,  has fatally wounded nature through its inordinate consumption of energy, particularly fossil fuels. The [misconception] has driven our ecosystems (life support systems) to the verge of imminent collapse.

Take the Al Gore Campaign, For example:

A colleague submitted: “Al Gore the environmental champion and proud winner of Nobel Peace Prize [It was an unfortunate Freudian slip that Henry A. Kissinger won it in 1973, and Barack "Just War" Obama in 2009] is urging young people to stop the construction of coal plants that lack carbon storage facility by engaging in civil disobedience.”

What’s the problem with that?

“The problem is being economical with the inconvenient truth: Failing to advise the same young people on the vital need for a ‘radical’ change in the system of economy.  If the young people are advised to engage in civil disobedience, they should do it for the fundamental reasons that go beyond just scratching the surface. You can’t cure a terminal case of cancer by treating the symptoms.”

What are the causes of world’s cancer?

The Exponential Growth Economy: We live on a finite planet. However the system of political economy that condemns our future, thrives on exponential growth, which means infinite growth. We have reached the collision point.

Overconsumption: Humanoids are overusing earth’s ecosystems services, and depleting her finite natural capital, including the polluting fossil fuels, and eroding its capacity to renew its services by at least 177.43% [as of April 2008.] As a result the planet’s ecosystems face eminent collapse.

Centralization: Centralization, a process fueled by globalization and fired by militarization, is resource-intensive, wasteful and destructive to the planet’s ecosystems. The United States and ROW must opt for decentralization to avoid collapse.

So, there are the naked facts—”An Inconvenient Truth.

Yes: To Al Gore’s call for civil disobedience to protect the planet.

No: To superficial measures that barely scratch the surface of the terminal socioeconomic ills responsible for looming ecocide!

Conclusion: Climate Change Misconception #9 is all about doing business as usual.

As President “Just War” Obama said:  “We must fight Climate Change!” “If we fail we risk catastrophe”

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Posted in 10 Climate Change Lies, Barack Obama, collapse, Homo economicus, modern economic theory | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thousands Protest in Europe Ahead of the UN4C

Posted by msrb on December 6, 2009

Climate Change demonstrators march in London, England.


About 50,000 protesters rallied ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen on Saturday, organizers said. Photo: EPA/ANDY RAIN. Image may be subject to copyright.

What the Politicians and ‘Religicians’ Said:

“I think the people of the world, being outspoken as we’ve seen in the demonstration today… they’re propelling us as leaders to take the action that is necessary,” UK PM Golden Brown said.

“The scientific evidence is very clear, that there is a climate change problem we’ve got to address.” He added.

“All of the world now recognises this at a national government level and that’s why Copenhagen is going to be the coming-together of governments to make an international plan to deal with climate change.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the leader of the world’s Anglicans, said: “We are part of a great interwoven system of life. Don’t please listen to those that say there is some kind of choice to be made between looking after human beings and looking after the Earth.”

The Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, the leader of England’s Catholics, added: “Only when we are prepared to change the way we live will politicians be able to achieve the change that we want to see. Live simply so others may simply live.”

According to our colleagues at EDRO climate change could directly affect about half the population in the UK  in the next 3 to 5 years.

Posted in Climate Change, Collapsing Cities, extreme rain event, flood, UK Flooding | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Climate Change Feared Twice as Bad, Seas Up 2m

Posted by feww on November 25, 2009

Why Are ‘Scientists’ Deferring Impacts of Global Catastrophes?

Sea level rise projections for 22nd Century sideline impacts of current climatic catastrophes and make them seem like someone else’s problem!

Why don’t scientists report the short term impact of the climate change? What’s happening now? What’s going to happen next year, in 2 years, 3 years and 5 years from now?


Like them or not,  you can’t live without them. Polar bears are ‘canaries in ice’; they tell you how much time you have left.
Photo Credit: Dan Crosbie

Perhaps they have the best of intentions. Perhaps they don’t! Perhaps they want to give the governments a last chance to act. But that’s not the job of scientists.

In February 2005 our colleagues at MSRB postulated that the ‘Point of No Return’ would be reached by about June 2006.

Unless global energy consumption is reduced rapidly—by mid 2006—to levels below 60EJ/year (6E+19 joules/year), the runaway positive feedback loops that are destroying Earth’s ecosystems including ozone holes, global heating, extreme climatic events, toxic pollution, resources depletion, unethical conduct, war, and disease pandemics would reach the point of no return, overwhelm our life support systems and render most of our population centers uninhabitable by as early as 2015, possibly earlier, according to our dynamic energy models.

And argued:

Failure to rein back global energy consumption to levels below 60 exajoules by June 2006 would render the concept of sustainable management redundant (it seems highly unlikely that post industrial civilization would voluntarily sacrifice its perceived privileges and values in favor of sustaining life on Earth).

Then in November 2007 colleagues at EDRO revealed that, based on their models, about 20 percent of the world  cities could collapse partially or completely by as early as 2012, citing a list of probable mechanism that would accelerate the collapse.

[About 20 percent of the] world’s cities [could] collapse completely or partially by or before 2012 in the first wave of collapse. The collapse would be caused by a combination of failing ecosystems, human-enhanced environmental catastrophes; failing infrastructure; food, water and fuel shortages; infectious disease; war, civil conflict and other dynamics. Following the first phase of collapse, massive waves of human migration from the affected areas create a domino effect that causes the collapse of the remaining population centers shortly after.

Now 26 ‘experts’ who have authored a new report [Update] called The Copenhagen Diagnosis have urged world governments to cap rising greenhouse gas emissions by 2015 or 2020 [thanks for the 5-year grace period] to avoid the deadliest impacts of climate change.  Ironically, many of these authors were on the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and they in 2007 effectively downplayed the sea level rises, limiting the upcoming disaster to between 18 cm and 59 cm (7-24 inches) by 2100 [they were completely surprised when melting of Greenland and Antarctica ice accelerated.]

Current sea-level rise underestimated: Satellites show recent global average sea-level rise (3.4 mm/yr over the past 15 years) to be ~80% above past IPCC predictions. This acceleration in sea-level rise is consistent with a doubling in contribution from melting of glaciers, ice caps, and the Greenland and West-Antarctic ice-sheets. —The Copenhagen Diagnosis

In a  joint statement the group citing catastrophic factors including the Arctic sea ice retreat in summer and accelerated melting of  Greenland ice sheets and Antarctica said:

Climate change is accelerating beyond expectations.

Richard C. J. Somerville,  Professor Emeritus at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, and a Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report said:

Carbon dioxide emissions cannot be allowed to continue to rise if humanity intends to limit the risk of unacceptable climate change.

For heaven’s sake, give it to them straight: QUANTIFY!

Arguably the most prominent member of the group Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Professor of Theoretical Physics and Director of the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany, Chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) and a longstanding member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said:

This is a final scientific call for the climate negotiators from 192 countries who must embark on the climate protection train in Copenhagen.

The report doesn’t tell us what the members think about the short term impact of climate change. Colleagues at EDRO do! In a recent conversation

EDRO estimated that climate change could directly affect about half the population in the UK  in the next 3 to 5 years.

Related Links:

The Copenhagen Diagnosis, 2009: Updating the world on the Latest Climate

Posted in collapse, Copenhagen Diagnosis, energy consumption, global change, melting of glaciers, sea level rise | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Could Dust Storms Bury Sydney, Australia?

Posted by feww on October 15, 2009

Yet Another Dust Storm Shrouds Australia’s New South Wales

Less than a month ago, on September 22 – 24, 2009, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and much of New South Wales, Australia experienced 100 kph winds whipping up heavy dust storms followed by severe  thunderstorms.

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.

“This is unprecedented. We are seeing earth, wind and fire together,” said Australia’s Weather Channel presenter.

The storm was one of the worst dust storms in Australia.

There were more dust storms on the following days. Four days later, on September 26, another intense storm swept eastern Australia, covering much of Queensland and New South Wales across to the Pacific Ocean in a thick blanket of dust.

The dust storms are certain to continue. As temperatures rise, more droughts set in and the winds intensify, all of which trends have long been repeated, the question becomes one of not if, but when the dust storms would bury Sydney.

Australia_AMO_2009287
The dust storm that started the previous day had intensified by the time the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite flew over on October 14, 2009. The large image, which encompasses a wider area, shows that the dust plume stretches tens of kilometers south of the area shown here. NASA Earth Observatory images courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek. [Edited by FEWW]

How Much Dust Would  it Take?

Just how much dust would it take, and under what circumstances could it make Sydney uninhabitable?

FEWW Moderators have asked their friends at EDRO to provide a realistic estimate, the details of which would be posted here.

UPDATE

Here’s a link to a reply prepared by  EDRO TEAM:

How Large Is Your Dust Storm?

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Posted in ashes to ashes, australia, australian dust storms, bushfires, clean energy ruse, drought and deluge, Images of 'Doomsday', life for lifestyle, man-made disasters, Queensland, sand storm, sydney dust storm, Uranium Dust | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Manila Flooding Could Trigger Quakes

Posted by feww on September 28, 2009

The Wrath of Ketsana

The wrath of Ketsana in the Philippines may not have ended.

Torrential rainfall caused by TS Ketsana, which resulted in epic flooding throughout western Luzon, may lead to yet another deadly hazard: Earthquakes.

Millions of tons of floodwater, massive landslides and unprecedented volumes of mud avalanches flowing in western Luzon could lead to regional  ‘climate-triggered’ earthquakes measuring about 4.5 Mw.

Ketsana, strengthened to typhoon force, is heading toward Vietnam

rb-l -Typhoon Ketsana
Typhoon Ketsana – Rainbow Enhancement satellite image – still image. To update and enlarged, click on the image. Source: NOAA/NHC/NWS

manila EPA  MandC
A handout photo released by the Philippine Air Force shows aerial view of flooded areas in Marikina City in northeastern Manila, Philippines, 27 September 2009. Up to 200 people have been killed with many reported missing as tropical storm Ketsana battered a wide area in Luzon, Philippines, dumping record rainfall (549 mm reported in one area)  on the capital that caused the worst flooding in living memory.  Thousands of people spent the night on the roofs of their submerged houses in Manila and surrounding provinces. The government weather bureau said the rainfall recorded in Manila was the city capital’s ‘greatest’ amount of rain since 1967. EPA/REY BRUNA/PHILIPPINE AIR FORCE/HO [Caption Monsters & Critics, edited by FEWW.] More Photos Posted Here!

The weather prospects don’t look too good for Vietnam, and China’s Hainan Island. Both areas seem to have an uneasy week ahead of them. However, the worst of Ketsana may yet strike Thailand and Myanmar.


Image from NASA TRMM – Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission

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Posted in Cainta, Climate Change, deluge in Philippines, energy dinosaurs, philippines disaster areas, philippines flood, Rizal province, World CO2 Emissions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Philippines Worst Ever Flood Casualties Climb a Notch

Posted by feww on September 27, 2009

100 Dead, Many Missing after Typhoon Ketsana

Philippines govt has appealed for international aid as 250,000 people are forced to abandon their homes


“We’re appealing for more donations of food, water and warm clothes,” the country’s Defense Secretary said.

The death toll from Typhoon Ketsana [aka TS Ondoy] has risen to about 100 with scores more reported missing.

flood Manila AFP
Pedestrians cling to a rope as they cross a heavily flooded street in Manila, Phillipines. Picture: AFP/GETTY. Image may be subject to copyright.

Although the storm is now clearing up,  some reports estimate that up to 90% of the capital, Manila, is still submerged under water.

Many people are stuck either on their roofs or in the top floor of their homes, a report said, while the entire city is without clean water and electricity, and road have turned into deep rivers submerging cars even buses.

Typhoon Ketsana, which struck the Philippines main island of Luzon with winds of more than 100 kph on Saturday, is now heading toward the South China Sea.

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Posted in global deluge, Ketsana, Luzon, manila flood, State of Calamity, TS Ketsana, TS Ondoy, typhoon Ondoy | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 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 »

14 pct of World Population Losing Habitat

Posted by feww on September 21, 2009

The world’s major river deltas are sinking

Most of the world’s major river deltas are sinking from human activity, increasing the risk of flooding which would affect hundreds of millions of people.

According to a new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder, “24 out of the world’s 33 major deltas are sinking and that 85 percent experienced severe flooding in recent years, resulting in the temporary submergence of roughly 100,000 square miles of land.”

About 14 percent of the world’s population, more than half a billion people who live on river deltas, will be affected.

Researchers calculated that 85% of major deltas have experienced severe flooding in the last decade, concluding that the area of flood prone zones will increase by about 50% in the next few decades as sea levels rise and more of the river deltas sink.

Media Report is included in full:

World’s River Deltas Sinking Due to Human Activity, Says New Study Led by CU-Boulder

A new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder indicates most of the world’s low-lying river deltas are sinking from human activity, making them increasingly vulnerable to flooding from rivers and ocean storms and putting tens of millions of people at risk.

While the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report concluded many river deltas are at risk from sea level rise, the new study indicates other human factors are causing deltas to sink significantly. The researchers concluded the sinking of deltas from Asia and India to the Americas is exacerbated by the upstream trapping of sediments by reservoirs and dams, man-made channels and levees that whisk sediment into the oceans beyond coastal floodplains, and the accelerated compacting of floodplain sediment caused by the extraction of groundwater and natural gas.

Figure below: An image of the Pearl River Delta in China taken by NASA’s space shuttle Endeavour during the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission in 2000. The areas below sea level are shown in purple. Image courtesy NASA, CSDMS, University of Colorado.

 Mekong & Myanmar & Pearl

The study concluded that 24 out of the world’s 33 major deltas are sinking and that 85 percent experienced severe flooding in recent years, resulting in the temporary submergence of roughly 100,000 square miles of land. About 500 million people in the world live on river deltas.

Published in the Sept. 20 issue of Nature Geoscience, the study was led by CU-Boulder Professor James Syvitski, who is directing a $4.2 million effort funded by the National Science Foundation to model large-scale global processes on Earth like erosion and flooding. Known as the Community Surface Dynamic Modeling System, or CSDMS, the effort involves hundreds of scientists from dozens of federal labs and universities around the nation.

The Nature Geoscience authors predict that global delta flooding could increase by 50 percent under current projections of about 18 inches in sea level rise by the end of the century as forecast by the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. The flooding will increase even more if the capture of sediments upstream from deltas by reservoirs and other water diversion projects persists and prevents the growth and buffering of the deltas, according to the study.

“We argue that the world’s low-lying deltas are increasingly vulnerable to flooding, either from their feeding rivers or from ocean storms,” said CU-Boulder Research Associate Albert Kettner, a co-author on the study at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and member of the CSDMS team. “This study shows there are a host of human-induced factors that already cause deltas to sink much more rapidly than could be explained by sea level alone.”

Other study co-authors include CU-Boulder’s Irina Overeem, Eric Hutton and Mark Hannon, G. Robert Brakenridge of Dartmouth College, John Day of Louisiana State University, Charles Vorosmarty of City College of New York, Yoshiki Saito of the Geological Survey of Japan, Liviu Giosan of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Robert Nichols of the University of Southampton in England.

The team used satellite data from NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, which carried a bevy of radar instruments that swept more than 80 percent of Earth’s surface during a 12-day mission of the space shuttle Endeavour in 2000. The researchers compared the SRTM data with historical maps published between 1760 and 1922.

“Every year, about 10 million people are being affected by storm surges,” said CU-Boulder’s Overeem, also an INSTAAR researcher and CSDMS scientist. “Hurricane Katrina may be the best example that stands out in the United States, but flooding in the Asian deltas of Irrawaddy in Myanmar and the Ganges-Brahmaputra in India and Bangladesh have recently claimed thousands of lives as well.”

The researchers predict that similar disasters could potentially occur in the Pearl River delta in China and the Mekong River delta in Vietnam, where thousands of square miles are below sea level and the regions are hit by periodic typhoons.

“Although humans have largely mastered the everyday behaviour of lowland rivers, they seem less able to deal with the fury of storm surges that can temporarily raise sea level by three to 10 meters (10 to 33 feet),” wrote the study authors. “It remains alarming how often deltas flood, whether from land or from sea, and the trend seems to be worsening.”

“We are interested in how landscapes and seascapes change over time, and how materials like water, sediments and nutrients are transported from one place to another,” said Syvitski a geological sciences professor at CU-Boulder. “The CSDMS effort will give us a better understanding of Earth and allow us to make better predictions about areas at risk to phenomena like deforestation, forest fires, land-use changes and the impacts of climate change.”

For more information on INSTAAR visit instaar.colorado.edu/index.html. For more information on CSDMS visit csdms.colorado.edu/wiki/Main_Page. —  © Regents of the University of Colorado

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Posted in Geoscience, global delta flooding, low-lying river deltas, Pearl River Delta, sea level rise | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Chikungunya Makes West Nile Look Like Nappy Rash

Posted by feww on September 19, 2009

Chikungunya is coming!

Chikungunya is hyper-endemic in the islands of the Indian Ocean. Travel by air will import the infected mosquitoes and humans —Dr James Diaz

The ink hadn’t quite dried on

Arctic ice cover third-smallest area on record

in which the FEWW Moderators, discussing the dire effects of climate change on human health,  wrote:

‘Warmer [and dirtier] waters increase mosquito reproduction, which in turn increase the incidence of  mosquito-borne infectious diseases.’

When the news of  Chikungunya arrived.

Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne disease, much worse than the West Nile virus, could become the next nightmare epidemic in the US and Europe.

Aedes aegypti mosquito biting human
Stegomyia aegypti (formerly Aedes aegypti) mosquito siting on a human. Photo: USDA.

Who’s Afraid of Chikungunya?

“We’re very worried,” Dr. James Diaz of the Louisiana University Health Sciences Center told a meeting on airlines, airports and disease transmission sponsored by the independent U.S. National Research Council.

“Unlike West Nile virus, where nine out of 10 people are going to be totally asymptomatic, or may have a mild headache or a stiff neck, if you get Chikungunya you’re going to be sick,” he said.

“The disease can be fatal. It’s a serious disease [and] there is no vaccine.” Diaz added.

The virus can be carried by the Asian tiger mosquito, which is abundant in  Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as Europe, the Americas.

Chikungunya has also been reported in the islands of Mauritius, Seychelles and Reunion, in the Indian ocean, which are among prime beach resorts destinations visited by European tourists.

“It is hyper-endemic in the islands of the Indian Ocean,” Diaz told the meeting.

“Travel by air will import the infected mosquitoes and humans. Chikungunya is coming.” Diaz added.”

What’s Chikungunya

Chikungunya fever is a viral disease transmitted to humans by the bite of infected mosquitoes.  Chikungunya virus is a member of the genus Alphavirus, in the family Togaviridae. Chikungunya fever is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., joint swelling), laboratory testing, and the possibility of exposure to infected mosquitoes. There is no specific treatment for chikungunya fever; care is based on symptoms. Chikungunya infection is not usually fatal. Steps to prevent infection with chikungunya virus include use of insect repellent, protective clothing, and staying in areas with screens. Chikungunya virus was first isolated from the blood of a febrile patient in Tanzania in 1953, and has since been cited as the cause of numerous human epidemics in many areas of Africa and Asia and most recently in limited areas of Europe.—CDC

Chikungunya Distribution and Global Map

ChikV_WorldMap

The geographic range of chikungunya virus is mainly in Africa and Asia.  Given the current large chikungunya virus epidemics and the worldwide distribution of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, there is a risk of importing chikungunya virus into new area through infected travelers. —CDC

Countries where people have become infected with chikungunya virus.
Benin Mayotte
Burundi Myanmar
Cambodia Nigeria
Cameroon Pakistan
Central African Republic Philippines
Comoros Reunion
Congo, DRC Senegal
East Timor Seychelles
Gabon Singapore
Guinea South Africa
India Sri Lanka
Indonesia Sudan
Italy Taiwan
Kenya Tanzania
Laos Thailand
Madagascar Uganda
Malawi Vietnam
Malaysia Zimbabwe
Mauritius
This list does not include countries where only imported cases have been reported.

Chikungunya Fact Sheet (CDC update: March 4, 2008)

Chikungunya fever is a viral disease transmitted to humans by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Chikungunya virus was first isolated from the blood of a febrile patient in Tanzania in 1953, and has since been cited as the cause of numerous human epidemics in many areas of Africa and Asia, and most recently in a limited area of Europe.

What causes chikungunya fever?

Chikungunya fever is caused by a virus which belongs to the genus Alphavirus, in the family Togaviridae.

How do humans become infected with chikungunya virus?
Humans become infected with chikungunya virus by the bite of an infected mosquito. Aedes aegypti, a household container breeder and aggressive daytime biter which is attracted to humans, is the primary vector of chikungunya virus to humans. Aedes albopictus has also played a role in human transmission.

What can people do to prevent becoming infected with chikungunya virus?
The best way to prevent chikungunya virus infection is to avoid mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or preventive drug currently available. Prevention tips are similar to those for other viral diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, such as dengue or West Nile:

  • Use insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 on exposed skin. Always follow the directions on the package.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants (ideally treat clothes with permethrin or another repellent).
  • Have secure screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Get rid of mosquito sources in your yard by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren’t being used.
  • Additionally, a person with chikungunya fever should limit their exposure to mosquito bites to avoid further spreading the infection. The person should use repellents when outdoors exposed to mosquito bites or stay indoors in areas with screens or under a mosquito net.

What is the basic chikungunya virus transmission cycle?
Mosquitoes become infected with chikungunya virus when they feed on an infected person. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other humans when they bite them. Monkeys, and possibly other wild animals, may also serve as reservoirs of the virus. Aedes aegypti, a household container breeder and aggressive daytime biter which is attracted to humans, is the primary vector of chikungunya virus to humans. Aedes albopictus (the Asian tiger mosquito) has also played a role in human transmission is Asia, Africa, and Europe. Various forest-dwelling mosquito species in Africa have been found to be infected with the virus.

What type of illness does chikungunya virus cause?
Chikungunya virus infection can cause a debilitating illness, most often characterized by fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, rash, and joint pain. “Silent” chikungunya virus infections (infections without illness) do occur; but how commonly this happens is not yet known. Chikungunya virus infection (whether clinically apparent or silent) is thought to confer life-long immunity. Acute chikungunya fever typically lasts a few days to a couple of weeks, but as with dengue, West Nile fever, o’nyong-nyong fever and other arboviral fevers, some patients have prolonged fatigue lasting several weeks. Additionally, some patients have reported incapacitating joint pain, or arthritis which may last for weeks or months.

What is the incubation period for chikungunya fever?

The incubation period (time from infection to illness) can be 2-12 days, but is usually 3-7 days.

Can pregnant women become infected with chikungunya virus and pass the infection to their child?
Pregnant women can become infected with chikungunya virus during all stages of pregnancy and have symptoms similar to other individuals. Most infections will not result in the virus being transmitted to the fetus. The highest risk for infection of the fetus/child occurs when a woman has virus in her blood (viremic) at the time of delivery. There are also rare reports of first trimester abortions occurring after chikungunya infection. Pregnant women should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Products containing DEET can be used in pregnancy without adverse effects.

Can the virus be transmitted to a child by breastfeeding?
Currently, there is no evidence that the virus is transmitted through breast milk

What is the mortality rate of chikungunya fever?
Fatalities related to chikungunya virus are rare and appear to be associated to increased age.

How is chikungunya virus infection treated?

There is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment currently available for chikungunya fever. Treatment is symptomatic and can include rest, fluids, and medicines to relieve symptoms of fever and aching such as ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, or paracetamol. Aspirin should be avoided. Infected persons should be protected from further mosquito exposure (staying indoors in areas with screens and/or under a mosquito net) during the first few days of the illness so they can not contribute to the transmission cycle.

Where does chikungunya virus occur?
The geographic range of the virus is primarily in Africa and Asia. For information on current outbreaks, consult CDC’s Travelers’ Health website (http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/default.aspx). Given the current large chikungunya virus epidemics and the world wide distribution of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, there is a risk of importation of chikungunya virus into new areas by infected travelers.

Content source:

Division of Vector Borne Infectious Diseases
National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases

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Posted in Alphavirus, Asian Tiger mosquito, Louisiana University Health Sciences Center, Tanzania, Togaviridae, U.S. National Research Council, West Nile virus | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Doctors Talk Climate, Finally

Posted by feww on September 16, 2009

Alas, they couldn’t break out of the ‘matrix’ that is structured around the U.N.

What did the doctors say?

The world will face a “global health catastrophe” unless governments agree deep cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as part of  a new U.N. treaty in Copenhagen in December, say 18 of the world’s medical organizations.

“What’s good for the climate is good for health,” said their editorial in the British Medical Journal and The Lancet today.

Florida seminole
Florida’s Seminole coal-fired power plant is one of about 400 power generating plants  across the United States that emit GHG. (Photo courtesy of Seminole Electric Co-op)

“There is a real danger that politicians will be indecisive, especially in such turbulent economic times as these,” said a letter signed by leading doctors from 18 medical colleges and medical organizations globally.

They warned: “Should their response be weak, the results for international health could be catastrophic.”

Unless  a solid agreement is reached in Copenhagen by the 190 participating nations to curb GHG emissions, “heatwaves, floods and desertification that would disrupt water supplies and cause malnutrition and disease, especially in poor nations.” A report said.

“Failure to agree radical reductions in emissions spells a global health catastrophe,” said the editorial authors Michael Jay, chair of the Merlin medical relief charity, and Michael Marmot, director of the International Institute for Society and Health, media reported.

“The measures needed to combat climate change coincide with those needed to ensure a healthier population and reduce the burden on health services. A low carbon economy will mean less pollution,” the editorial said.

“A low-carbon diet (especially eating less meat) and more exercise will mean less cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Opportunity, surely, not cost.”

[How about grounding world's fleets of military and passenger jets, too?]

“While the poorest in the world will be the first affected, none will be spared,” the editorial said. ” As leaders of physicians across many countries, we call on doctors to demand that their politicians listen to the clear facts that have been identified in relation to climate change and act now,” they wrote.

“Even without climate change, the case for clean power, electric cars, saving forests, energy efficiency, and new agriculture technology is strong.

“Climate change makes it unanswerable.” They wrote.

“A low-carbon economy will mean less pollution. A low carbon-diet (especially eating less meat) and more exercise will mean less cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.”

Copenhagen will host representatives from about 190 nation, December 7-18,  who plan to draw up a comprehensive treaty as a follow-on to the Kyoto Protocol, which was designed to obligate developed nations to cut GHG emissions.

FEWW has no estimate concerning the carbon footprint of the UN Copenhagen extravaganza.

Copenhagen Climate Conference 2009 would probably be as successful as the Kyoto Protocol, possibly worse!

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Posted in British Medical Journal, COPENHAGEN Climate Conference 2009, global health catastrophe, low carbon economy, The Lancet, U.N. treaty in Copenhagen, world's collapsing cities | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Nature Rejects More Cars

Posted by feww on September 8, 2009

Images of the Day: Cars NOT Welcome!

Tlanepantla mexico ap
Vehicles piled up by flood waters after heavy rains inundated Tlanepantla, Mexico. (Photo: The Associated Press/Eduardo Verdugo). Image may be subject to copyright.

Landslide- Chile - AFP
The landslides are blamed on heavy rains that have fallen instead of the usual winter snowfall. Photo: AFP. Image may be subject to copyright.

Heavy rain triggered rock and mud avalanches near the capital Santiago, killing at least two people and leaving one missing, Reuters reported.

The first avalanche buried homes and cars and swept a woman into a river, killing her on Sunday. The victim’s 1-year-old daughter is missing, AP reported the authorities as saying.

A second avalanche at Anglo American’s Los Bronces copper mines wept away buildings, killing a security guard and injuring  at least 10 others.

About 1,500 people , mostly tourists, have been stranded, according to various reports.

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Chile: Mudslides leave at least two dead and one missing

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Posted in Anglo American mines, chile, Extreme Rain Events, floods, landslides, Los Bronces copper mines, mudslides, Santiago landslides | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nature’s Assault on Cars Continues

Posted by feww on September 5, 2009

Image of the Day: Heavy rain causes widespread damage in NE Scotland

Heavy Rain Floods Parts of Scotland - Getty
Police view the damage of a bridge that has been washed away during flooding in the Burnbank area on Friday in Fochabers, Scotland. Heavy rain has caused widespread damage to the north east parts of Scotland. (JEFF J MITCHELL, GETTY IMAGES/September 4, 2009). Iamge may be subject to copyright.

About 500 homes in the Elgin and Fochabers, Moray, Scotland, were evacuated due to the rivers Lossie and Spey flooding their banks after a record amount of rainfall. The residents were forced to spend the night in makeshift shelters.

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Posted in Elgin, Fochabers, Moray, river Lossie, river Spey, Scotland | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Planet Earth 2009

Posted by feww on August 14, 2009

Images of the Week: Coping with Human Abuse!

This is what Earth looked like in 2009—just a few years before she…

As of August 14, 2009 some 116 people confirmed dead in Taiwan with hundreds more uncounted for, feared to have been buried alive by mudslides…

laonung  taiwan afp -
Roads, bridges, riverbanks, homes, hotels and business all demolished and swept away by floods and mudslides in
Shaolin Village, southern Taiwan. Photo: AFP. Image may be subject to copyrights.

Taiwan-8_599688a AFP
Southern Taiwan after Morakot. More than 2,500mm of rain, the entire year’s quota,  fell in just 2 days. Photo AFP. Image may be subject to copyright.

Japan-typhoon_599632a kobe shimbun
Collapse: A bridge collapses on the Maruyama River, Asago city, Northern Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. To the Northeast of Taiwan, typhoon Etau killed 13 people in western Japan, when local rivers burst their banks, destroying houses and drowning people in their vehicles. Etau, with winds approaching 130km per hour,  dumped as much as 640mm of rain on Hyōgo and Okayama prefectures and the island of Shikoku. Photo; The Kobe Shimbun/EPA. Image may be subject to copyright.

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Posted in china floods, Extreme Rain Events, Maruyama River, mudslides, south taiwan floods, Typhoon Morakot | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Alaska on Fire

Posted by feww on August 4, 2009

First the Beetles Attacked!

Climate change is permanently changing the face of Alaska, Earth

In Alaska, 35 percent forest, climate change is causing irreversible changes including droughts, forest fires, and infestations of tree-killing insects like spruce beetles and spruce budworm moths. In the last 15 years, the spruce beetles, which thrive in warmer climates, have destroyed a total of about 3 million acres (1.21 million hectares) of spruce forest in south-central Alaska.

More Than 1 Million Acres Burning in Interior Alaska

Bonanza__TMO_2009214
Bonanza__TMO_2009214_fc
Large wildfires that began in July continued to burn in interior Alaska in the first week of August 2009. These images from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on August 2 show some of the state’s largest blazes and the thick pall of smoke they were creating. The top image is a natural-color (photo-like) view of the area, while the lower image combines visible, shortwave-, and near-infrared light to make burned areas (brick red) stand out better from unburned vegetation (bright green). In this kind of false-color image, the bright pink areas along the perimeters of the fires are often a sign of open flame.

According to the August 3 report from the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center, 483 fires were burning across the state, affecting about 2.4 million acres. The Railbelt Complex was the largest at an estimated 462,298 acres. The Tanana River appears to be creating a natural firebreak at the northern edge of the fire, which is spreading to the south. To the east, the smaller Wood River Fire (107,634 acres) has bright pink spots along both its northern and southern perimeters. Both these fires, as well as the Big Creek Fire (145,652 acres) and Little Black One Fire (292,907 acres) along the Yukon River, were triggered by lightning. NASA images courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey.

References: Alaska Interagency Coordination Center Situation Report, Monday–08/03/2009

Alaska Warming Rapidly

Alaska has experienced an average warming of 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 °F) and about 4.5 °C (8°F) in the inner regions in winter months since the 1960s, the largest regional warming of anywhere in the U.S., according to records.

The warmer temperature means Alaska’s peat bogs, which are nearly 14,000 years old, are drying up. Ed Berg, an ecologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has discovered that shrubs and other plants have been rooting in areas of peat big normally too soggy for woody plants to grow during the last three decades.

As the areas of beetle-infested forest grow, more land is clear-cut and land speculation frenzy grows.

Wetlands are a natural defense mechanism retarding forest fires. The warmer weather and drier forest therefore could lead to more forest fires.

Drying or burning peat bogs, which comprise 50-60 percent carbon, would release additional carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, to the atmosphere.

Yoho National Park in British Columbia
An unusual pattern is left by forest fire as seen in this photograph of a mountain in Yoho National Park in British Columbia west of the Alberta border in this August 8, 2005 file picture. REUTERS/Andy Clark. Image may be subject to copyright.

Human activity is ultimately responsible for the intensity and frequency of most present-day forest fires like Alaska’s; to call them ‘wildfires,’ therefore, is disingenuous and unintelligent.

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Posted in Big Creek Fire, carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases, Little Black One Fire, wildfires, Wood River Fire, Yukon River | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Fire in Spain Stays Mainly in the Forest

Posted by feww on July 30, 2009

Image of the Day: Forest Fire in The Spanish Province of Avila

spanish fires
A forest fire in the Spanish province of Avila continues burning. Thousands of hectares of woodland in France, Greece, Italy (Sardinia),  Spain and Turkey have been destroyed by wildfires fulled by dry conditions, high temperatures and strong winds rage on. At least 8 people have been killed by the fires including six firefighters in Spain were two major fires were still burning, reports said. Photo: AFP. Image may be subject to copyright.

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Posted in europe forest fires, Greek Fires, Italian fires, rising global temps, Wildfires in Europe | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

STOP Chocking Nature to YOUR Death!

Posted by feww on July 26, 2009

Southern Europe Fires Spreading

Wildfires still spreading across France, Greece, Italy,  Spain and Turkey

As temperatures reach the mid-forties Celsius (113ºF) in some Mediterranean areas and  rising more devastation across the region is expected.

fire in sardinia
A fire near Nuoro in the center of Sardinia Island. Photo: GETTY. Image may be subject to copyright.

Thousands of hectares of woodland in France, Greece, Italy (Sardinia),  Spain and Turkey have been destroyed by wildfires fulled by dry conditions, high temperatures and strong winds rage on.

At least 8 people have been killed by the fires including six firefighters in Spain were two major fires were still burning, reports said.

europe fires map
Source EFFIS via BBC. Image may be subject to copyright.

Summary of Fire Damage

  • Thousands of hectares of bush, woodland and forest have been destroyed in Spain.
  • At least 10 villages were left without water and electricity in Spain’s southern province of Almeria.
  • As many as 30,000 hectares of bush and woodland have been consumed in Spain.
  • Thousands of people including tourists were evacuated from central Greece and southern Italy as firefighters tried to contain fierce blazes.
  • A major fire is consuming a large tract of forest and bush in the French island of Corsica.
  • As temperatures in southern Europe continue to rise even higher new outbreaks of wildfire are expected.
  • In Greece’s southern Peloponnese and the island of Evia at least 350 fires were reported, destroying thousands of acres of bushes, forests and farmlands.
  • In Turkey, hundreds firefighters worked through the night to control fires in the resort village of Bodrum.

Fires caused by tracer rounds
The fire erupted Wednesday after personnel from the French Military Intelligence used tracer rounds. Photo: AFP. Image may be subject to copyright.

French army rapped over blaze as Europe battles fires

The French army faced mounting flak Friday after a military exercise sparked a sweeping wildfire on the outskirts of Marseille, as firefighters battled blazes across southern Europe.

The French army faced mounting flak Friday after a military exercise sparked a sweeping wildfire on the outskirts of Marseille, as firefighters battled blazes across southern Europe.

“This fire was clearly triggered by a professional mistake,” Prime Minister Francois Fillon said late Thursday after the blaze ripped through 1,300 hectares (3,211 acres) of brush and damaged homes near France’s second city. AFP reported.

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Posted in Bodrum fire, Greek Fires, island of Evia, Italian fires, Peloponnese | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Soon All The ‘Paradise’ Would Be Lost!

Posted by feww on July 14, 2009

Image of the Day:

Tikehau Atoll, French Polynesia

tikehau_ali_2009181
The islands and coral atolls of French Polynesia, located in the southern Pacific Ocean … This image from the Advanced Land Imager on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite shows the southern part of Tikehau Atoll, one of the 78 coral atolls that make up the Tuamotu Archipelago. Patches of coral make star-like spots across the turquoise expanse of the lagoon. A line of tree-covered islets encircles the lagoon. At the southernmost tip of the atoll, a large islet accommodates a small village and an air strip. NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using EO-1 ALI data provided courtesy of the NASA EO-1 Team. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey. [Image was reportedly acquired June 30,2009.]

tikehau_ali_2009181_lrg - small
Tikehau Atoll (Full View) magnified image [dated 2005] is available at Google earth  15º 07′ 13 ” S, 148º 13′ 56″ W.

FEWW estimates that human activity emitted about 222 times more CO2 in 2008 than the total sum of  all carbon dioxide spewed from volcanic eruptions that year.

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Posted in French Polynesia, Ocean Warming, rising sea levels, southern Pacific Ocean, Tuamotu Archipelago | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Reduce Harmful Emissions by Wealthy Individuals

Posted by feww on July 7, 2009

Why Wealthy Individuals Allowed to Produce More Climate-Changing Emissions?

More than half the planet’s greenhouse gasses emissions come from less than a billion of the population

In Carbon Footprint of Your Dollar our colleagues at CASF and EDRO calculated how much carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, your money made.

Our colleagues at MSRB and CASF showed the amount of CO2 made by the world richest individuals in The Billionaires’ contribution to CO2 pollution.

The Moderators emphasize that it’s the total wealth of the individual which is responsible for the amount of CO2e emissions, not necessarily the individual’s  lifestyle. For example, while Richard Branson’s personal lifestyle is responsible for up to a 1,000 times more harmful emissions than Bill Gate’s  and Warren Buffet’s put together, the total harmful emissions generated as a result of the combined assets of the world’s richest duo is about 40 times more than the airline owner’s.

In a new report submitted to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers wrote that it makes sense to track the these rich individuals when setting national targets to reduce CO2 emissions.

Here’s the Report’s Abstract:

Sharing global CO2 emission reductions among one billion high emitters

We present a framework for allocating a global carbon reduction target among nations, in which the concept of ‘‘common but differentiated responsibilities’’ refers to the emissions of individuals instead of nations.We use the income distribution of a country to estimate how its fossil fuel CO2 emissions are distributed among its citizens, from which we build up a global CO2 distribution. We then propose a simple rule to derive a universal cap on global individual emissions and find corresponding limits on national aggregate emissions from this cap. All of the world’s high CO2-emitting individuals are treated the same, regardless of where they live. Any future global emission goal (target and time frame) can be converted into national reduction targets, which are determined by ‘‘Business as Usual’’ projections of national carbon emissions and in-country income distributions. For example, reducing projected global emissions in 2030 by 13 GtCO2 would require the engagement of 1.13 billion high emitters, roughly equally distributed in 4 regions: the U.S., the OECD minus the U.S., China, and the non-OECD minus China. We also modify our methodology to place a floor on emissions of the world’s lowest CO2 emitters and demonstrate that climate mitigation and alleviation of extreme poverty are largely decoupled.

“You’re distributing the task of doing something about emissions reduction based on the proportion of the population in the country that’s actually doing the most damage,” said one of the study’s authors, Shoibal Chakravarty of the Princeton Environment Institute.

“As countries develop—India, China, Brazil and others—over time, they’ll have more and more of these individuals and they’ll have a higher share of carbon reductions to do in the future,” he said.

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