Fire Earth

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

Posts Tagged ‘Houston’

Hundreds of Children Hospitalized in Houston due to RSV

Posted by feww on January 10, 2014

Dangerous respiratory virus lands more than 800 Children in Houston hospitals

Hundreds of children have been hospitalized in Houston, Texas, suffering from the highly contagious respiratory virus Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), according to health officials.

Respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus, or RSV, is a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages. Most otherwise healthy people recover from RSV infection in 1 to 2 weeks. However, infection can be severe in some people, such as certain infants, young children, and older adults.  —CDC

RSV is a highly contagious viral disease that can lead to serious health problems—especially among young children and older adults.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Image
The respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is responsible for a common childhood illness. There is no vaccine available to prevent RSV infection. Credit: NIAID

The virus is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia among infants up to 12 months of age in the United States. Additionally, RSV is more often regarded as an important cause of respiratory illness in older adults, according to CDC.

Meanwhile, health officials said at least 13 patients have died from H1N1 virus in Houston, and more than 20 from flu in north Texas since late December.

At least 600 patients tested positive in December for RSV, officials with Texas Children’s Hospital told the Houston Chronicle.

More than 140 pediatric patients have been admitted to another Houston hospital since October 2013, the Chronicle said.

RSV causes influenza-like symptoms and can be life-threatening to infants. The virus is most active during the winter months and has no vaccine.

Posted in Global Disaster watch, health, Significant Event Imagery, significant events | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Global Disasters/ Significant Events – Nov. 22, 2013

Posted by feww on November 22, 2013

32 dead, dozens buried after Latvia mall collapse

At least 32 people have reportedly been killed and dozens more trapped in the rubble after the roof of a shopping mall collapsed in Riga, the Latvian capital.

More than 500 square meters of the roof collapsed at the ‘Maxima’ building in Riga in two separate stages, with the second collapse killing several rescue workers, according to reports.

“At least 70 people may still be trapped in the rubble, according to the latest data,” Riga’s mayor told reporters.

riga shopping mall
Large sections of the roof collapsed at Maxima shopping center on Priedaines Street in Riga. Photo credit:@SergioYurtaev)

Pipeline explodes killing 22 in E China

At least 22  people were killed after a leaky pipeline caught fire and exploded Friday morning in the coastal city of Qingdao in east China’s Shandong Province, officials said.

132910114_11n -xinhua
Original caption: Photo taken with a mobile phone shows the site of a pipeline explosion in Qingdao, east China’s Shandong Province, Nov. 22, 2013. A fire broke out and the blast occurred around 10 a.m. in the Huangdao District when workers were repairing a petroleum pipeline which broke and resulted in an oil leakage around 3 a.m. (Xinhua)

Fog stops ships on Houston Channel: U.S. Coast Guard

Sea fog reduced visibility to unsafe levels along the Houston Ship Channel, forcing vessel pilots to stop steering all ships early Friday (UTC), said the U.S. Coast Guard, Reuters reported.

Pilots stopped steering ships along the 53-mile (85-kilometer) channel from the Gulf of Mexico to the busiest U.S. petrochemical port, said the report.

High winds kill two, leave thousands without power in San Francisco area

“The Napa County Sheriff’s Office ordered an unknown number of people evacuated after a fallen power line sparked a wildfire that grew to between 100 and 200 acres, a dispatcher said,” Reuters reported.

There may have been some gusts in the 50- and 55-miles-per-hour range closer to the coast, but the very strongest winds, including one gust of 120 miles per hour, were in the high terrain of the Sierra Nevada,” said a meteorologist at NWS.

Dangerous Sierra Wind Storm Friday Night through Early Saturday

The National Weather Service (NWS)in Sacramento has issued a High Wind Warning: “Strong high pressure building into the Pacific Northwest
combined with a deep low pressure system off the southern California coast will bring strong east winds to the Sierra and Coastal Mountains … The strongest winds are expected Tonight.”

This post would be updated throughout the day, if additional information becomes available.

Posted in Global Disaster watch, global disasters, global disasters 2013, Significant Event Imagery, significant events | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Texas Eagle Ford Shale Oil Drilling Well on Fire

Posted by feww on August 30, 2013

Ruptured oil well in Texas burning after blowout and explosion

A ruptured oil well in Texas owned by EOG Resources Inc was burning on Thursday hours after a blowout and explosion, the company said.

“The blowout, which EOG called a ‘well control incident and fire,’ occurred Wednesday evening and the blaze was contained though still burning on Thursday,” said a report.

EOG said it didn’t know what caused the rupture and fire, but no one was injured in the blast at its Eagle Ford shale oil drilling operation in Lavaca County, some 134 miles west of Houston.

“EOG is assembling well control experts and specialized equipment to safely control the well and extinguish the fire,” the company said.

“Nabors Industries, which has the world’s largest land-rig fleet, owns the drilling rig at the site that was engulfed in flames,” said the report.

Posted in disaster watch, disaster watch 2013, oil and gas, oil and gas drilling | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Houston: A Nightmare of Lights

Posted by feww on March 22, 2010

Metropolitan Energy Black Hole

Light Pollution in ‘The Energy Capital of the World’

Five of Texas’s coal-fired power plants that pollutes Houston’s sky at night are among the nation’s Top 10 emitters of mercury.

Houston, Texas at Night. The image [acquired January 10, 2010] depicts the roughly 100 kilometer (60 mile) east-west extent of the Houston metropolitan area. Houston proper is at image center, indicated by a “bull’s-eye” of elliptical white to orange-lighted beltways and brightly lit white freeways radiating outwards from the central downtown area. Suburban and primarily residential urban land uses are indicated by both reddish-brown and gray-green lighted regions that reflect a higher proportion of tree cover and lower light density. Petroleum refineries along the Houston Ship Channel are identified by densely lit areas of golden yellow light. Rural and undeveloped land rings the metropolitan area, and Galveston Bay to the southeast (image lower right) provides access to the Gulf of Mexico. Both types of non-urban surface appear dark in the image. Image and caption [sniped for brevity] by NASA.

Some facts about Houston

  • Size: Houston CMSA covers about 2,331,000 hectares (9,000 square miles)
  • Houston CMSA: The Houston-Galveston-Brazoria Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA) consists of the eight counties of Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller.
  • Average Elevation: 13m (43 feet)
  • Population: 2.5 million (Houston is the fourth most populous city in the US, trailing only New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, and is the largest in Texas and the southern U.S.)
  • Houston Metro Population: 5.8 million (Pop Ranking: 6th largest US)
  • The three-airport system saw over 51 million passengers in 2006, including over seven million international travelers.
  • Houstonians eat out more than residents of any other city,  with  11,000 restaurants and eateries.
  • The Port of Houston ranks first in the United States in international waterborne tonnage handled and second in total cargo tonnage handled. It is the tenth largest port in the world.
  • More than 5,000 energy related firms are based in Houston.
  • Energy, aeronautics, and technology industries in Houston make it second only to New York City as a base for Fortune 500 headquarters.
  • Comparing Houston’s economy to a national economy, only 21 countries other than the United States have a GDP exceeding Houston’s regional output (2007).

Texas Coal-Fired Power Plants


Location Map:  Texas Coal-Fired Power Plants. Source: The Western Region Ash Group

Visible Pollution

  • Houston has a serious air quality problem. Since 1999, the Texas city has exchanged titles with Los Angeles as having the most polluted air in the United States defined by the number of days each city violates federal smog standards.
  • Five coal-fired Texas power plants which help keep the lights glaring at night are among the nation’s Top 10 emitters of mercury (Texas is also home to the largest concentration dirtiest coal-fired plants in the nation boasting 7 out of the worst 50).

Houston, we really do have a problem!

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Posted in air pollution, coal-fired Texas power plants, Houston at Night, Top 10 emitters of mercury | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

30 hurt as airliner hits turbulence

Posted by feww on August 3, 2009

Severe turbulence shakes Continental airliner near Dominican Republic

A Continental airliner flying from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Houston, Texas,  Monday experienced severe turbulence at 36,000 feet, injuring more than 30 passengers—at least 4 of them seriously—and forcing the plane to divert to Miami International Airport.

“There were 168 passengers on Flight 128, which was originally headed from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Houston, Texas, according to Lt. Elkin Sierra of the Miami-Dade Fire Department.” CNN reported.

Some of the injured were taken to hospitals in Miami, while others  with less serious injuries were treated on the spot after the plane landed at Miami International Airport at about 6 am ET.

“The Boeing 767 hit turbulence about 50 miles north of the Dominican Republic at about 38,000 feet, according to an official with the Federal Aviation Administration.”

“The airline will decide whether or not to leave the uninjured passengers on the aircraft and continue the flight or disembark the entire aircraft,” Sierra said.

A Report Video

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Posted in air travel, airline safety, Boeing 767, Dominican Republic, Miami International Airport | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

NO More Coal-fired Power Plants Here!

Posted by edro on July 1, 2008

Submitted by a CASF Member:

Too Little, Too Late?

Longleaf Energy Resources Leaves Court with a Red-Coal Face

A Georgia state court invalidated a permit to build a 1,200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Early county, citing the developers’ failure to limit emissions of carbon dioxide. A Fulton County Superior Court Judge, Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore [kudos to judge Moore], reversed a right to pollute permit [aka, air permit] issued earlier this year by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to Longleaf Energy Resources.

POLITICS-US-USA-ENERGY-LEGISLATION
Southern Company’s Plant Bowen in Cartersville, Georgia is seen in this aerial photograph in Cartersville in this file photo taken September 4, 2007. One of the biggest coal-fired plants in the country, it generates about 3,300 megawatts of electricity from four coal-fired boilers. (Chris Baltimore/Reuters; caption: abc News. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

The judge citied a 2007 U.S. Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore decision in which carbon dioxide was ruled to be a pollutant under the existing Clean Air Act and that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.

Anthracite Coal. Credit USGS

How much coal would it take to light a 100W light bulb for one year?

A 100-Watt light bulb consumes about 876 kWh of electricity in one year (100 W × 24 h/day × 365 days = 876,000 Wh = 876 kWh).

Energy density

The energy density of coal, expressed in kilowatt-hours per kilogram, is about 6.67 kWh/kg. The typical thermodynamic efficiency of coal power plants is about 30%. That means only 30% of the coal burned up turns into electricity, with the rest is normally wasted as heat. Coal power plants generate approximately 2.0 kWh per kg of burned coal.

876 kWh ÷ 2kWh/kg = 438 kg of coal

However, the above amount does not take into account a further 5–10% transmission and distribution losses caused by resistance and heating in the power lines AND the initial energy used to mine the coal and ship it to the power plant, which could be equivalent to 10-15% of the total coal consumed.

438 kg ÷ 80% = 547.5 kg of coal {Total amount of coal consumed to light a 100W bulb for one full year!}

How Much Carbon Dioxide?

Carbon dioxide (CO2) forms during coal combustion when one atom of carbon (C) combines with two atoms of oxygen (O2). Carbon has an atomic weight of is 12, and oxygen 16, making the atomic weight of carbon dioxide 44. A kg of coal with a carbon content of 78 percent and a heating value of 32 MJ/kg emits about 2.86 of carbon dioxide. (Source: Carbon Dioxide Emission Factors for Coal)

547.5 kg of coal x 2.86 = 1,566 kg of CO2 {The total amount of CO2 produced.}

[Note: other nasty byproducts include sulfur, which reacts with oxygen to produce SO2, which then combines with moisture in the air to produce acid rain, nitrogen oxides, NOx, and mercury, all of which are extremely harmful to air, water, soil, trees, marine animals and humans.]

Meanwhile, back in Crawford ranch …

White House officials, congressional staff revealed, refused to open e-mail from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, that said climate-warming greenhouse emissions threaten public health and welfare!

The EPA has also told members of Congress that the Defense Department is defying orders over cleaning up toxic pollution at three military bases at Fort Meade in Maryland, McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey and Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.

Related Links:

Posted in Climate Change, energy, environment, food, Global Warming, health, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Project Vulcan

Posted by feww on April 18, 2008

Vulcan’s list of top U.S. polluters by county (million tons of CO2 per year)

[Note; most of the data presented by Vulcan is about 6 years old.]

1. Harris, Houston, Texas, 18.625
2. Los Angeles, L.A., Ca., 18.595
3. Cook, Chicago, Ill., 13.209
4. Cuyahoga, Cleveland, Ohio, 11.144 [Hope T.S., the dishonest attorney, chokes!]
5. Wayne, Detroit, Mich. , 8.270
6. San Juan, Farmington, N.M., 8.245
7. Santa Clara, San Jose, Ca., 7.995
8. Jefferson, Birmingham, Ala., 7.951
9. Wilcox, Camden, Ala., 7.615
10. East Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge, La., 7.322
11. Titus, Mt. Pleasant (!), Texas, 7.244
12. Carbon, Jim Thorpe, Pa., 6.534
13. Porter, Valparaiso, Ind., 6.331
14. Jefferson, Steubenville, Ohio, 6.278
15. Indiana, Indiana, Pa., 6.224
16. Middlesex, Boston metro area, Mass., 6.198
17. Bexar, San Antonio, Texas, 6.141
18. Hillsborough, Tampa, Fla., 6.037
19. Suffolk, New York metro area, N.Y., 6.030
20. Clark, Las Vegas, Nev., 5.955

CO2 maps zoom in on greenhouse gas sources


New analysis by Purdue researchers of greenhouse gases shows that the emissions are greater in the southeastern United States than was previously thought. In this image, the amount of red represents the increased amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from previous estimates, and the blue represents a reduction in atmospheric CO2. Purdue assistant professor Kevin Gurney says the difference appears greatest in winter months when there are more emissions and less vertical air movement. (Purdue University image/Kevin Gurney)

About Project Vulcan

The Vulcan Project is a NASA/DOE funded effort under the North American Carbon Program (NACP)to quantify North American fossil fuel carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at space and time scales much finer than has been achieved in the past. The purpose is to aid in quantification of the North American carbon budget, to support inverse estimation of carbon sources and sinks, and to support the demands posed by the launch of the Orbital Carbon Observatory (OCO)scheduled for 2008/2009. The detail and scope of the Vulcan CO2 inventory has also made it a valuable tool for policymakers, demographers and social scientists.

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Posted in air pollution, environment, government, Kathleen Sebelius, NACP, OCO, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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