Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Posts Tagged ‘fertilizers’

Legacy of Acid Rain: Rivers Becoming Increasingly Alkaline

Posted by feww on August 28, 2013

River alkalinization threatens water supplies in eastern U-S: Study

Two-thirds of rivers in eastern United States show “significant increasing trends in alkalinity,” according to a new study published by the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Researchers examined 97 rivers from the northeastern state of New Hampshire down to Florida over the past 25 to 60 years and found significantly higher alkaline content.

The rivers provide drinking water to big cities such as Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington, as well as other major metropolises.

“This is because acid rain, acidic mining waste, and agricultural fertilizers speed the breakdown of limestone, other carbonate rocks, and even concrete and cement,” said the researchers. “The result: alkaline particles are washed off of the landscape and into streams and rivers.”

Higher alkaline content in the water can lead to ammonia toxicity and is dangerous for crop irrigation and fish life. It also encourages algal growth and can complicate wastewater and drinking water treatment, as well as causing faster corrosion of metal pipes, the authors said.

Although the airborne pollutants that cause acid rain have somewhat declined in the United States, the legacy of acid rain remains, researchers said.

“The acid rain problem is decreasing. But meanwhile, there are these lagging effects of river alkalinization showing up across a major region of the U.S.,” said lead author, an associate professor and aquatic ecologist at the University of Maryland. “How many decades will river alkalinization persist? We really don’t know the answer.”

“This is another example of the widespread impact of human [activity] on natural systems [which] is, I think, increasingly worrisome,” said study co-author and ecologist Gene Likens of the University of Connecticut.

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Our Dead Zone Largest Ever This Year!

Posted by feww on July 16, 2008

Congratulations! We Are Breaking Another Record: Our Dead Zone in Gulf of Mexico

Alas, the cost of Midwest flooding, the multibillion-dollar crop losses, doesn’t include the damage to our coastal waters and the marine “manna.”

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Summertime satellite observations of ocean color from MODIS/Aqua show highly turbid waters which may include large blooms of phytoplankton extending from the mouth of the Mississippi River all the way to the Texas coast. When these blooms die and sink to the bottom, bacterial decomposition strips oxygen from the surrounding water, creating an environment very difficult for marine life to survive in. Reds and oranges represent high concentrations of phytoplankton and river sediment. Image taken by NASA and provided courtesy of the NASA Mississippi Dead Zone web site.
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The annual dead zone, which stretches from Texas to Louisiana coasts, could grow to about 9,000 square miles (23,300 km²), nearly double the annual average since 1990 of about 4,800 square miles.

This year’s record dead zone is caused by inordinate demand for corn and soybeans which are used to make ethanol to boost gasoline supplies, and by the earlier Midwest flooding.

The massive increases in the use of fertilizers in Midwestern corn country results in the fertilizer run-off that flow down the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico. Nitrogen and phosphorus, the main constituents of fertilizers, promote excessive growth and decay of algae which cause severe reductions in water quality. The decaying aquatic vegetation or phytoplankton (an algal bloom) sinks to the bottom of the waters in the Gulf and is broken down by bacteria which consume the dissolved oxygen in the water and produce carbon dioxide.

The bacterial respiration process kills fish, clams, crabs, shrimp, zooplankton and all other species that swim in the water or dwell on the bottom of the Gulf [and other water bodies] creating dead zones.


Red algae completely covers this municipal reservoir. Credit: CASF. Photo date: July 14, 2008. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

“We’re planting an awful lot of corn and soybeans,” said Eugene Turner, a scientist at Louisiana State University. “It rinses off easily when there is a rain.”

“Excess nutrients from the Mississippi River watershed during the spring are the primary human-influenced factor behind the expansion of the dead zone,” said Rob Magnien, director of the NOAA Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research.

One-third of this year’s U.S. corn crop, or 4 billion bushels, will go to make the alternate fuel ethanol, the U.S. government has projected, compared to 3 billion bushels of the 2007 crop. Reuters reported.

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Gulf of Mexico “dead zone” to hit record size: NOAA

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Posted in Climate Change, energy, environment, food, Global Warming, health, politics, Tourism, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

The Eight Steps that Help Kill More of Our Fish

Posted by feww on May 7, 2008

How Your Car’s Exhaust Emissions Helps Create Dead Zones and Kill Our Fish

Step One: You fill up the tank (gasoline is a processed fossil fuel product).


REUTERS/Sergio Moraes (Image may be subject to copyright!)

Step Two: As you drive around, your car burns the fossil fuel and produces greenhouse gases and other harmful pollutants, which are spewed out through the exhaust pipe.


Houston Evacuation – Hurricane Rita

Step three: Sunlight interacts with greenhouse gases emitted from your car, producing ground-level ozone.


Only about 12.6 percent of the gas your car consumes is used for driving!


Step Four: High ozone levels damage crops such as corn, wheat, and soybeans, reducing growth rates and crop yields, as well as making the crops less resistant to insects and pests. (In 1995, ground-level ozone caused $2.7 billion in crop damage nationwide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.) Current estimates for the crop damages caused by ground-level ozone stand at about $3 billion each year in the US alone.

ozone-plant-damage
(L) Ozone-damaged plant; (R) normal plant. Photo courtesy of Gene Daniels/U.S. EPA.

Step Five: To increase growth rates, boost crop yields and fight pests, farmer use increasingly larger amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.


Applying Chemical Fertilizers. Photo AVRCD. (Image may be subject to copyright!)

Step Six: Nutrient-rich chemical runoffs (pollution) from agricultural fields are washed by rain into streams, storm sewers and rivers and end up into our oceans, seas and other water bodies.


Summer rains wash nutrients, dissolved organic matter and sediment out of the mouths of rivers, into the sea, sparking large phytoplankton blooms. South America presents two excellent examples of river outlets where phytoplankton tends to thrive. Along the northern part of the continent the mouth of the Orinoco River opens into the Caribbean. Along the Eastern side of South America, the mighty Amazon exits its thousand mile journey. (Text NASA)

Step Seven: Dead Zones that cover tens of thousands of square kilometers of waterways are created by pollution-fed algae, which deprive fish and other marine life of oxygen.


Gulf of Mexico: sediment filled water meets the ocean.

Step Eight: Deprived of oxygen, fish and other marine life die.


Dead fish are seen on a basket of a fish farm off a coast of Menidi village in the Amvrakikos Gulf, some 350Km northeast of Athens February 28, 2008. Local marine biologist Vangelis Dimitriou said that up to 800 tonnes of fish including sea bass and sea bream died from a lack of oxygen [hypoxia], after swimming through a large pocket of water where the temperatures suddenly dropped at a drastic rate. REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis (GREECE). Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

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Only One Guess Allowed!

Posted by feww on April 24, 2008

Who said:

  • “I think that ethanol is the most popular whipping boy in the agricultural world at the moment”
  • “So to say that biofuels are the culprit clearly underestimates the demand and really shows a gross misunderstanding of the world food situation,”
  • “We have to grow more food. We have to increase yields”

Hint: To increase yields, farmers are forced to buy lots and lots more fertilizers!

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See the tags for the answer!

Posted in agirculture, agriculture, Bill Doyle, corporate lies, corporate profit, environment, food riots, North America, Potash Corp, soil erosion, topsoil, toxic | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »