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 ‘louisiana wetlands’

Mississippi River breaks flood record at Natchez

Posted by feww on May 12, 2011

Mississippi River Tops 58.65 feet (17,88m) at Natchez

America’s largest river to crest at  64feet (19.51m) on May 21

Having broken the previous record of 58.04 ft set on February 21, 1937, America’s largest river is expected to crest at a whopping 64feet (19.51m; flow rate of 2,380kcfs ) on May 21.

Kcfs: Thousand cubic feet per second – multiply by 28,317 to get liters per second

Historical Crests
(1) 58.04 ft on 02/21/1937
(2) 57.03 ft on 04/24/2008
(3) 56.70 ft on 05/13/1973
(4) 56.60 ft on 05/04/1927
(5) 56.30 ft on 03/26/1997
(6) 55.70 ft on 05/31/1983
(7) 55.30 ft on 04/26/1922
(8) 55.20 ft on 04/29/1945
(9) 54.60 ft on 04/23/1979
(10) 54.50 ft on 06/05/1929

Map of Mississippi River Basin. Source: University of Missouri

The Mississippi River Flooding Impact

So far the flooding has :

  • Forced tens of thousands of people along the river and its tributaries to  evacuate
  • Inundated dozens of river towns
  • Swamped about 3.5 million acres of farmland (at least 3 million acres in three states of  Arkansas  Mississippi, Tennessee)
  • Put in need of shelter tens of thousands of farm animals
  • Threatens  New Orleans and Baton Rouge (Morganza Spillway in Louisiana may have to be opened to relive some of the pressure)
  • Threatens to swamp more than 3 million acres of farm and wetlands in Louisiana

The flooding has also shut down  16 casinos in  Mississippi  (a silver lining?) threatening to swamp another two in Vicksburg, according to Mississippi Gaming Commission, where the river is expected to crest at 57.5ft (flow rate: 2,340kcfs) on May 19.

Related Links

Global Mega Disasters

Posted in drought and deluge | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Texas Coast Attacked by Oil Spill

Posted by feww on May 10, 2010

Image of the Day:

The Big Oil State Under Attack

The spill is moving west toward the coast of Texas, according to various reports.

Geologist from Hell?

BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward has admitted that the ruptured oil well could continue gushing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico for weeks, even months, before it could be brought under control.

The Deepwater Horizon wellhead is now gushing oil at an estimated minimum rate of 5,000 bpd. Some experts believe, however, that the leak is bleeding at 25,000bpd [nearly 4,000,000 liters per day] or 5 times the official estimate.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Gulf of Mexico is seen an aerial view of area off the coast of Mobile, Alabama. Handout photo was taken from a U.S. Coast Guard aircraft on May 6, 2010 and released to media on May 9, 2010. Credit: U.S. Coast Guard.

The trajectory shows the actual and forecast oil spill movement for the 3-day period 9-12 May. Click image to enlarge.

Fragile ecosystems on the coast wetlands of Texas could be devastated by the BP oil spill

Texas bays and Gulf waters are home to thousands of fish, shellfish, birds and other animals, all of which depend on the coast’s diverse habitats for food and shelter. Humans, too, share the coast, building homes and ports, harvesting seafood and enjoying the many kinds of recreation the coast has to offer. Credit: University of Texas.

Who Needs Wetlands, Swamps …

What’s the big deal about coastal ecosystems? Do they actually do anything for us?

Here’s a partial list valuable goods and services produced by coastal Texas wetlands; environmental quality functions and socioeconomic values (after Tiner 1984 and Hefner et al., 1994). [Source: National Wetlands Inventory Report.]

Environmental Quality Functions

Water Quality Maintenance

  • Sediment Trapping & Stabilization
  • Chemical & Toxicant Trapping
  • Nutrient Absorption & Cycling

Hydrologic Functions

  • Groundwater Recharge/Discharge
  • Saltwater Intrusion Prevention
  • Flow Stabilization

Primary Production/Energy Transfer
Ecosystem Stabilization
Biological Diversity
Biogeochemical Cycling
Fish & Wildlife Habitat

  • Invertebrates
  • Fish & Shellfish
  • Reptiles & Amphibians
  • Waterfowl, Wading Birds, Shorebirds & Other Birds
  • Furbearers & Other Mammals
  • Endangered & Threatened Species

Socioeconomic Values

  • Finfish & Shellfish
  • Forage & Hay
  • Timber
  • Food Products
  • Fur and Other Wildlife Products
  • Aquaculture/Mariculture

Recreation & Nature Tourism

  • Fishing & Crabbing
  • Hunting & Trapping
  • Nonconsumptive Fish & Wildlife Uses
  • Boating & Swimming
  • Camping & Picnicking
  • Hiking, Trail Walking/Jogging
  • Visual Aesthetics & Photography

Water Supply
Wastewater Treatment
Flood Control
Erosion Control
Storm Buffering
Education & Scientific Research

Shrimp Harvest

Shrimp Harvest could soon be a painful memory. Credit:ESTUARINE SYSTEM

Is that all wetlands do? Well, not quite, but it’ll do for now!

Did You Know?

Since 1990, BP subsidiaries in the US have been convicted 3 times, including two felonies, for committing environmental crimes in the states of Alaska and Texas.

BP’s worst disaster, prior to the ongoing catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico,  occurred  in 2005, when an explosion ripped through its Texas City refinery near Galveston, killing 15 employees, and injuring at least 180 others. The toxic plumes released during the blast forced thousands of nearby residents to stay indoors for a period of time to avoid serious harm.

In a subsequent investigation, BP was found responsible for the blast and it pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the Clean Air Act. BP was fined $50 million and sentenced to 3 years probation. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) fined BP $87 million after its inspectors found 270 standing safety violations that BP should have fixed but hadn’t, as well as 439 new violations.

Official Site of Deepwater Response Unified Command

The Official Site of Deepwater Response Unified Command is posting photos and charts on its Flickr site. The majority of the photos are taken by employees of government organization, US Coast Guard and Navy personnel. Yet, for some inexplicable reason each and everyone of these photos, charts, and graphs carries a copyright notice. Could someone from the command explain why?

New Documents

Related Links:

Serial No 1,704. Starting April 2010, each entry on this blog has a unique serial number. If any of the numbers are missing, it may mean that the corresponding entry has been blocked by Google/the authorities in your country. Please drop us a line if you detect any anomaly/missing number(s).

Posted in energy security, gulf of mexico, gulf of mexico oil leak, Gulf of Mexico oil Spill | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »