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 ‘ground-level ozone’

Beijing Entombed in Smog

Posted by feww on December 5, 2011

Hundreds of flights canceled or delayed at Beijing Capital International Airport, as hazardous smog buries Beijing

Thick fog worsened by air pollution has again buried Beijing forcing  the closure of dozens of highways and cancellation of hundreds of flights.

Disaster Calendar 2011 – December 5

[December 5, 2011]  Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016.  SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,563 Days Left to the ‘Worst Day’ in Human History

  • Beijing, China. Thick fog worsened by air pollution has again entombed  Beijing forcing the closure of dozens of highways and cancellation of hundreds of flights.
    • “As of 2 p.m. Monday, 207 inbound and outbound flights were canceled at Beijing Capital International Airport, while 126 were delayed for at least one hour,” a report said.
    • “Readings by the U.S. Embassy, which measures inhalable particles of 2.5 microns, have described the pollution for days as ‘hazardous’,” according to Reuters.
    • “On Sunday night, the U.S. Embassy’s index topped its ceiling of 500, and it was 356 on Monday afternoon, a reading that was still considered ‘dangerous’.”
    • According to the municipal environmental monitoring center, Beijing’s air pollution index (API) was between 150 and 170 on Monday, a level regarded as ‘moderate’ by Chinese standards, Xinhua reported.
    • Highways in the provinces of Shandong and Hebei, and Tianjin municipality, have also been closed due to poor visibility, the report said.

Lianhua Bridge in downtown Beijing, China, [14:00? ] Dec. 5, 2011. (Xinhua/Fu Chunrong). More photos …

    • China is World No. 1 CO2 Polluter; the US follows closely. [See Report]
    • China’s Air Pollution Deadliest in World. [See Report ]
    • Pollution kills 750,000 [2.5million] people in China every year. [See Report]
    • According to the World bank statistics, China has 16 of the 20 most polluted cities on earth!

Other Global Incidents

  • Peru. The Peruvian President, a former army officer, has declared a state of emergency following mass rallies against a major mining project in Cajamarca region, northern Peru.
    • The protests, which began 11 days ago, have led to violent clashes between police and demonstrators, leaving dozens of people injured.
    • The project plans to divert water from four lakes high in the Andes to reservoirs used for gold-mining .
    • The local peasants and local officials in Cajamarca oppose the project due to water shortages in the region, as well as the fear of pollution associated with mining gold.
    • A drought since late summer has affected the region (population: ~ quarter of a million), which is Peru’s main dairy and livestock hub, forcing water rationing since August.
    • The Conga gold mine project, worth 4.8 billion dollars, is operated by the US-based Newmont Mining.
    • The mine sits more than 4,200 meters high in the Andes, about 1,000km north of the capital Lima.

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UK Smog Triggers Air Quality Warnings

Posted by feww on April 23, 2011

The United Kingdom Cloaked in Toxic Haze

Satellite images showing the UK suffocating in a lethal cocktail of chemicals, particulate matter, dust and dirt particles trapped by a high-pressure system.

The United Kingdom was draped by a pall of smog on April 22, 2011, when  MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite took this photo-like image. The toxic haze,  foretasted to persist through at least Sunday, April 24, has reportedly triggered air quality warnings in England and Wales, NASA-EO reported. Click image to enlarge.

The smog over United Kingdom and Ireland was even more visible a day earlier.  United Kingdom and Ireland Subset – Image by MODIS on Aqua satellite 1km res photo-like  image for April 21, 2011. Click image to enlarge.  Click HERE for largest image.

A view of central London from Parliament Hill (Hampstead Heath, north London, UK)  on April 22, 2011. Photo: AP. Image may be subject to copyright.

Pollution Kills, OK?

Motor vehicles are a major source of ground level ozone and smog. Ozone can inflame the lung’s lining, and repeated episodes of inflammation may cause permanent changes in the lung. (Left) A healthy lung airway and,  (right) an inflamed lung airway. Source EPA.

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World Without Superpowers a Better Place?

Posted by feww on February 22, 2011

Haze Over ‘Unterworld’

What is it the planet has done to deserve this?

  • China is World No. 1 CO2 Polluter; the US follows closely. Report
  • China’s Air Pollution Deadliest in World, Report Says.
  • Pollution kills 750,000 [2.5million] people in China every year. Report
  • According to the World bank statistics, China has 16 of the 20 most polluted cities on earth!

Thick smog covered the North China Plain on February 20, 2011. “The featureless gray-brown haze is so thick that the ground is not visible in parts of this photo-like image taken at 11:35 a.m. by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
(MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. At that time, a weather station at Beijing’s airport reported visibility of 1.9 miles (3.1 kilometers). Visibility dropped as low as 1.1 miles (1.8 km) later in the afternoon.” Source: NASA-EO. Click image to enlarge. Download larger image (2 MB, JPEG)

Haze over eastern China

Haze shrouded eastern China in mid-February 2011.
MODIS on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this photo-like image on February 17, 2011. Source: NASA-EO. Click image to enlarge. Download larger image (4 MB, JPEG)

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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.

(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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Food: Worse times ahead

Posted by feww on May 4, 2008

Climate Change + Higher temperatures + Droughts + Floods + Soil erosion + Loss of topsoil + Pollution + Ground-level Ozone = Much Less Food in the Future

Scientists are warning that global warming would present great challenges on the way to produce more food in the future.

“There certainly are going to be lots of challenges in the future. Temperature is one of them, water is another,” said Lisa Ainsworth, a molecular biologist with the United States Department of Agriculture.

“In Northeastern China, low temperatures, a short growing season and lack of water limit production, so rising temperatures in the future may have beneficial impacts there,” said Ainsworth.

“However, in the southern parts of the country, higher temperatures will likely cause yield losses,” she told the reporters.

Higher temperatures coupled with ground-level ozone, which is produced as a result of sunlight interacting with greenhouse gases, added to extremes of floods and droughts is a recipe for disaster.

Ozone is a growing problem in the northern hemisphere and is already costing farmers billion of dollars in crop damage.

Effect of increasing ozone concentration (left to right: about 15, 80 and 150 ppb) on growth of (A) Pima cotton and nutsedge grown in direct competition with one nutsedge per cotton; (B) tomato and nutsedge
grown in direct competition with nutsedge (two-to-one); and (C) yellow nutsedge grown in the absence of competition. (Photo and caption: David A. Grantz & Anil Shrestha, UC Kearney Agricultural Center )

“In the major rice-growing regions, which are India and China, ground-level ozone concentrations even today are very high and certainly exceed the threshold for damage. Ozone is already decreasing yield potential in many areas,” Ainsworth said.

Significant amounts of rice yield are lost annually due to various abiotic stresses (e.g., salinity, droughts). Rice is the staple diet for about half of the world population, and about 90 percent of the world’s rice is produced in Asia.

UN experts believe that in low-latitude regions, slightest temperature rises of about 1ºC could affect crop yields.

The atmospheric CO2 levels have now reached about 388 parts per million from about 280 ppm prior to the Industrial Revolution.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty in the climate modeling when it comes to the regional level,” said Reiner Wassmann coordinator of the Rice and Climate Change Consortium at IRRI. “But it was clear temperatures would rise.”

A train travels along the flooded Darbhanga-Sitamadhi railway line in Bihar in this August 2, 2007 file photo. Massive monsoon floods in eastern India damaged vast areas of corn and affected the rice crop, government officials and farm experts said on Tuesday, adding that losses are being assessed. REUTERS/Krishna Murari Kishan (image may be subject to copyright!) See FEWW Fair Use notice.

“The other mega trend we see is that we will have more climate extremes. In some places there might be more drought, in others it may be submergence, from floods, in some places it might be both,” said Wassmann.

Lake Hartwell, February 2008, western South Carolina. Photo courtesy South Carolina Department of Natural Resources staff. (Source UNL)

“That is really a new challenge for development of cropping systems and I don’t want to limit it to only plant breeding. We have to be clear that this is no silver bullet and that if we speed-up plant breeding everything will be fine. Certainly not.

“We also have to improve crop management and water saving techniques have come into the picture to cope with drought,” he said. (Source)

High ozone levels can damage leaves on trees and crops (such as corn, wheat, and soybeans), reducing growth rates and crop yields. In 1995, ground-level ozone caused $2.7 billion in crop damage nationwide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Due to its reactive nature, ozone also can prematurely degrade and wear out rubber, paints and other materials. (Source)

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