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 ‘topsoil’

970 MMT of Soil Lost to Erosion Each Year in EU

Posted by feww on September 1, 2015

600 million m³ of topsoil lost to water erosion annually

The greatest loss of soil in Europe is due to erosion by water compared to other erosion processes, such as wind, says the EU in-house science service (JRC).

“Soil erosion by water is one of the major threats to soils in the European Union, with a negative impact on ecosystem services, crop production, drinking water and carbon stocks.”

About 68.3% of total soil losses occurs in agricultural lands, while forests account for less than 1%, says the report.

Italy (8.46 t ha−1 yr−1) has the highest average annual rates of soil erosion by water, followed by Slovenia (7.43 t ha−1 yr−1) and Austria (7.19 t ha−1 yr−1).

Selected Report Highlights

  • The mean soil loss rate in European Union is estimated to 2.46 t ha−1 yr−1 (agricultural, forests and semi-natural areas)
  • Arable and sparse vegetation have the highest soil loss rates.
    • 12.7% of European arable lands have soil loss >5 t ha−1 yr−1
    • Four million hectares of EU croplands have unsustainable rates of soil loss
  • Average annual rate of soil formation in Europe is about 1.4 Mt per hectare.
    • It takes 100 years to form 1 cm of new soil under natural temperate grasslands


Soil loss by water erosion in the European Union

Additional Notes and Discrepancies

Main statistical findings: Agricultural holdings

  • EU-28 total land area: 4,324,782 km² (432.5 million hectares)

 

 

 

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65% of Africa’s Arable Land ‘Too Damaged’ for Food Production

Posted by feww on January 14, 2015

NO ORDINARY MATTER:

Soil degradation affecting 180 million people in SSA alone

The impacts of land degradation in Africa are substantial: 65% of arable land, 30% of grazing land and 20% of forests are too damaged for food production, according to a report published by the Montpellier Panel—a group of agriculture, ecology and trade experts from Africa and Europe.

“Affecting nearly one-third of the earth’s land area, land degradation reduces the productive capacity of agricultural land by eroding topsoil and depleting nutrients resulting in enormous environmental, social and economic costs. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) an estimated 180 million people are affected, while the economic loss due to land degradation is estimated at $68 billion per year.”

africa soil degradation
Types of soil degradation in Africa. Source: MONTPELLIER PANEL December 2014 Report.  Read more…

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Posted in Climate Change, environment, Global Disaster watch, global disasters, News Alert | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

YESTERDAY Was World Soil Day 2014

Posted by feww on December 6, 2014

CRITICALLY LOW LEVELS of Topsoil Have Already Been Reached: FIRE-EARTH, EDRO

Did you know?

Soil is the basis for food, feed, fuel and fibre production and for services to ecosystems and human well-being. It is the reservoir for at least a quarter of global biodiversity, and therefore requires the same attention as above-ground biodiversity. Soils play a key role in the supply of clean water and resilience to floods and droughts. The largest store of terrestrial carbon is in the soil so that its preservation may contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation. The maintenance or enhancement of global soil resources is essential if humanity’s need for food, water, and energy security is to be met. FAO

And now, the rest of the story:

Topsoil

[The following was published by our colleagues at EDRO on February 18, 2008. Reprinted with permission from EDRO. ]

No Good for Farming!

“A [farmer] took up land [in Saskatchewan], dug a cellar and built a frame house on top of it; ploughed up the prairie and grew wheat and oats. After 20 years he decided the country was no good for farming, for eight feet of his soil had gone and he had to climb up into his house.” —Richard St. Barbe Baker, My Life, My Trees [Quoted by John Jeavons in How to Grow More Vegetables]

Land Use And Topsoil

once-a-forest.jpg
Once A Forest!
Photo credit: UNEP

Topsoil

Measuring an average of about 6.6 inches (16.76 centimeters) deep, topsoil is the upper layer of earth’s crust. Topsoil comprises of a mix of humus, mineral and composted materials giving rise to most of the soil’s biological activity and supplying nutrients to plants and therefore to animals. After air and water, topsoil is Earth’s most vital resource.

Topsoil: Wild Facts

topsoil-af8.png
Table TS1. Topsoil: Wild Facts
Note: The average bulk density of topsoil is calculated at about 1.4 gcm
-3

Causes of soil degradation

  • Soil erosion, salination, deforestation, overexploitation for fuelwood, overgrazing, nutrient depletion, large scale agricultural activities, industrialization and desertification.
  • The rate of degradation is increased exponentially against large scale agriculture.
  • Severe loss of arable land is affecting our ability to feed the world population.
  • Soil degradation is occurring globally, both in poor and wealthy countries.

Land Use and Degradation

soil-land-degradation-s.jpg
Table TS2. Earth: Land use and degradation

Note: The estimates for Biologically Productive Land are from a 2002 FAO report: The State of Food and Agriculture FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS Rome, 2005, ISBN 92-5-105349-9

References [accessed February 1-17, 2008]

Posted in Global Disaster watch, News Alert | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

What’s Happening in Cyprus?

Posted by feww on March 23, 2013

In 2008, CASF Team analyzed  the impact of “extreme environmental stress” in Cyprus and forecast the island’s early collapse triggered by the ecological time bomb.

The post is reproduced below with the permission of our CASF and EDRO:

.

Cyprus Collapse May Be Imminent!

Posted by edro on July 19, 2008 – Submitted by a CASF Member

Cyprus’s extreme environmental stress may lead to early collapse!

Ex-govt official: “We are going through a visual process of desertification.”

Main Causes of Collapse

Climate Change
– Persistent Droughts
– Disruption in climatic patterns
– Low Precipitation
– Higher than normal temperatures
– Heatwaves
– Wildfires and other natural phenomena [disasters] exacerbated by warming

Land
– Urbanization
– Land use and land cover change
– Loss of topsoil
– Soil degradation, especially salination
– Soil erosion caused by high temperatures, low precipitation and hot dry winds

Water
– Extreme water shortages throughout the island worsened by additional [including unforeseen] factors

Tourism
– Causing additional environmental stress
– Creating excessive waste and pollution
– Weakening the Island’s natural defense mechanisms

Main Effects

– Reduced ability to produce food
– Crop failure
– Continued water scarcity (compounded by economic/monetary issues)
– Breakdown of sewage, water and sanitation systems
– Spread of disease pandemics
– Overshoot of Carrying Capacity: The Island may have already passed the tipping point
– Resumption of the Cypriot civil war between the north and south enclaves reignited by the specter of ecological collapse
– Collapse of local ecosystems
– Desertification
– Land abandonment
– Population displacement/climate refugees

Possible Timeline

2011- 2013

Country Data

Estimated Population: 793,000 (July 2008 Estimate)
Area:
Total: 9,250 sq km (of which 3,355 sq km are in north Cyprus)
Land: 9,240 sq km
Water: 10 sq km

No. of Tourists: About 3,000,000

Land use:
Arable land: 10.81%
Permanent crops: 4.32%
Other: 84.87% (2005)

Irrigated land: 400 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources
: 0.4 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
Total: 0.21 cu km/yr (27%/1%/71%)
Per capita: 250 cu m/yr (2000)

Primary Energy Consumption year 2007: 0.13 Quad BTU [CASF estimate based on EIA data]
Percentage rise compared to year 2000: 20.8 percent

Fossil Fuel consumption (excluding aviation fuel) year 2007: 2,431,399 tonnes of oil [source]
Percentage rise compared to year 2000: 18.4 percent

CO2 Emissions From Consumption of Fossil Fuels year 2007 : 9.65 MMT [CASF estimate for 2007]
Percentage rise compared to year 2000: 22.5 percent

Natural hazards: moderate earthquake activity; droughts

Environment – current issues:
water resource problems (no natural reservoir catchments, seasonal disparity in rainfall, sea water intrusion to island’s largest aquifer, increased salination in the north); water pollution from sewage and industrial wastes; coastal degradation; loss of wildlife habitats from urbanization.

Human Rights Issues
Cyprus [like New Zealand] is primarily a destination country for a large number of women trafficked from Eastern and Central Europe, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic for the purpose of sexual exploitation; traffickers continued to fraudulently recruit victims for work as dancers in cabarets and nightclubs on short-term “artiste” visas, for work in pubs and bars on employment visas, or for illegal work on tourist or student visas. (Source CIA Factbook, Wikipedia, others)

Population density: It is estimated that at peak tourist season, the effective population density of [Southern] Cyprus exceeds that of the Netherlands (ranked world’s 25th most densely populated).


Location map: Cyprus (dark green) / European Union (light green) / Europe (dark grey). Credit: User 3meandEr, via Wikimedia Commons

Water Facts

  • After little winter rainfall, the drought in Cyprus is now in its fifth year.
  • Cypriot water reserves are at their lowest for 100 years; however, the effective population of Cyprus (citizens and tourists) have multiplied by about 150 folds.
  • “As long as the population remained [as] low [as] in the pre-industrial period, the water was sufficient for supplying cities which received water either from the mountains through the aqueducts or through the groundwater supply.” Said Chris Schabel, medieval historian at the University of Cyprus.
  • The entire island including both the Turkish Cypriot north and the Greek Cypriot south divisions are drought stricken.
  • The Island has an annual requirement of about 210 million cubic meters of water.
  • As of July 16, 2008 the water reservoirs were only about 6.5 percent full. Down one percent in the last three weeks (33 percent of the level 12 months ago).
  • Southern Cyprus’ 17 main reservoirs currently contain a paltry 17,733 cubic meters of water, some of which may be unsuitable for drinking.
  • Emergency measures have limited the supply of running water to homes to only twice weekly.
  • Most of the municipal wells have been shut down to avoid the risk of seawater contamination.
  • “The British policy of drilling boreholes throughout the island resulted in a serious depletion, due to excessive pumping of the groundwater reserves, in the main water bearing areas of Famagusta, Morphou and Akrotiri. It was calculated a few years ago that groundwater resources of Cyprus are over-pumped every year by 40 per cent over the allowable safe yield.” (Source)
  • Cyprus is buying from Greece 8 million cubic meters (2.1 billion gallons) of water to be delivered by November 2008 at a cost of €40 million (US$64 million). The water will only be distributed in the Greek Cypriot south.
  • The first ship carrying water from Greece arrived June 30 at Limassol (Cyprus’ main port). The officials then realized they could not pump the water from tanker because their makeshift pipeline was 10 feet short. Because of the delay, the water turned “odorous” and was deemed unsafe for drinking. The entire tanker load of 40,000 cubic meters was subsequently pumped into the ground, instead of the city’s water network due to contamination fears!
  • Under the initial agreement, two water-laden tankers were scheduled to leave Elefsina near Athens bound for Cyprus every day for six months (6 tankers delivering 200 shipments) between June and November 2008.
  • The Turkish Cypriot north is negotiating a separate arrangement with Turkey for their water needs.
  • The Greek Cypriot south plans to build a third desalination plant.

Agriculture, Wildfires, Desertification

“Extremely hot and dry weather conditions in Cyprus, combined with strong winds led to a disastrous upsurge of forest fires and wildfires in the Troodos Montain area on 29 June 2007. … Small villages had to be evacuated. Some houses were destroyed. Cyprus reported severe material damages in the area. Moreover, two forest fires hit Cyprus on 16 July 2007 in touristic areas of the Island. The first hit the vicinity of the Kalavasos village area … The other was close to Kornos village, which is located 20 km south of Nicosia [capital city]. The total burnt area … in Cyprus measured from satellite imagery on 31 July 2007 was 12 286 hectares.” European Civil Protection.

Climate change is pointing at us “like a loaded gun,” warned the EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel at a conference on water policy last week.

“Global warming is happening,” she said. “It’s taken thousands of years for global temperatures to rise by just one degree. In this century we expect to see an increase in global temperatures of between two and six degrees Celsius.”

“Climate change has arrived. Drought has arrived. We need to take out insurance now. Good business sense demands better use of water. For those farmers caught unprepared, climate change could be a sledge hammer,” said Boel. “Maybe there are areas that will benefit from this, like in the north, but we expect climate change to leave a wave of destruction. We expect more heat waves, drought, floods and crop failures.”

We are going through a visual process of desertification. Krasochorio near Limassol, has lost its environment [Ecosystems have collapsed]. Around 85 per cent of the population has left. In Lania, 30 villas are surrounded by burnt land after the fires. What can the villagers do with them now?” Said the former Cypriot Agriculture Ministry official, Antonis Constantinou.

“What Cyprus is not good at is holding water, avoiding erosion, adapting to water shortage, and not giving incentives which can’t guarantee a better future for the island. We are also not so good at keeping greenery, avoiding fires, fighting fires, giving incentives to people to manage land, even non-agricultural land owners,” he added. (Source)

Recent History

Cyprus is situated in the eastern Mediterranean south of Turkey, north of Egypt, and east-southeast of Greece, It is the third-largest Mediterranean island and a busy tourist destination, attracting about 3 million tourists each year.

A former British colony, it gained independence from the UK in 1960 claiming sovereignty over 97% of the island and surrounding waters, with the United Kingdom controlling the remaining three percent. It became a member of the European Union May 1, 2004.

In 1974, following a period of violence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and an attempted Greek Cypriot coup d’état aimed at annexing the island to Greece and sponsored by the Greek military junta of 1967-1974, Turkey invaded and occupied one-third of the island. This led to the displacement of thousands of Cypriots and the establishment of a separate Turkish Cypriot political entity in the north. Cyprus is thus divided to:

  • The area under the effective control of the Republic of Cyprus in the south of the island
  • The Turkish-occupied area in the north, calling itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (recognized only by Turkey)
  • The United Nations-controlled Green Line, separating the two
  • Two “Sovereign Base Areas” or military bases Akrotiri and Dhekelia, where United Kingdom is the sovereign despite Cypriot independence. (Source: Wikimedia)


Map of Cyprus: WSBA and ESBA (British military bases at Akrotiri and Dhekelia) are in pink, UN buffer zone dividing the northern (Turkish) and southern (Greek) administrations is shown in gray. The map is adapted from the CIA World Factbook map. (Source).

Related Links:

edro

Posted in Global Disaster watch, global disasters, global disasters 2013 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

WARNING: Global Disasters – June 21, 2011

Posted by feww on June 21, 2011

***PLEASE DISTRIBUTE WIDELY***  

WARNING: About 20 percent of the global population could perish by 2016

FIRE-EARTH’s population model shows mass die-offs resulting from human impact on the planet and the planetary response to the anthropogenic harm  could occur by early 2016.

  • RANDOM. The mass die-offs would occur randomly.
  • UNSTOPPABLE. Once triggered, the chain-reaction created by the dynamics of mass die offs would burst out of control.

On May 15, 2011 symbolic countdown to the ‘worst day’ in human history began...

FIRE-EARTH Climate Models show climate change forcings and feedbacks switching global weather patterns onto “primordial tracks.”

The extreme weather events triggered by anthropogenic climate change have a four-prong impact on humans over the next 50 months. FIRE-EARTH models forecast:

Food production:

  • Average decline of 22% in the global agricultural output
  • Loss of topsoil and worsening of soil quality
  • Increases in the size and occurrence of dead zones
  • Large decline in marine food sources

Spread of Disease

  • Substantial increases in the spread of diseases
    • vector borne
    • Air borne
    • water borne
    • food borne
  • Increase in the spread of human immunodeficiency
  • Significant decline in air quality (and corresponding increase in chronic respiratory diseases)
  • Worsening of water pollution

Physical Safety

Major increases in the number of deaths and injuries, as well as large scale displacements due to the loss of shelter and livelihood caused by extreme weather and geophysical events including:

  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes
  • Storms and Extreme Weather
  • Flash Flooding
  • Drought and Deluge
  • Extremes of Temperature
  • Wildfires
  • Loss of “Seasons”
  • Earthquakes*
  • Tsunamis*
  • Volcanic activity*

The Combined Effect

Social upheaval, regional conflicts and wars caused by mass migrations and scarcity of basic resources resulting from the combined effects of the above.

[June 21, 2011]  Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016.  SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,730 Days Left to the ‘Worst Day’ in Human History

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Washington: Thousands of Tons of Topsoil Lost in Dust Storm

Posted by feww on October 6, 2009

Recommended by EDRO

Plume of Dust Plague Blinds Eastern Washington

Dust Plagues: An Increasingly Significant Threat as a Collapse Mechanism

Dust Storm in Eastern Washington [NASA Earth Observatory]

DUST wash_TMO_2009277
Visibility dropped to zero in parts of eastern Washington on October 4, 2009, as a large dust storm blew through. This image of the storm was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite shortly after noon (Pacific Daylight Time). According to local news, the storm brought strong winds gusting to 43 miles per hour in places that propelled the dust across the southeast corner of the state. After numerous multi-vehicle accidents, sections of Interstate 90 near the town of Moses Lake and several local roads had to be closed for several hours.

The dust storm persisted for several hours and was still visible when Aqua MODIS flew over the region at 2:00 p.m. local time. The Terra MODIS image shown here is available in multiple resolutions from the MODIS Rapid Response System.

A thick, rippling plume of dust runs northeast to southwest through the center of the image. Dust stretches as far south as the cities of Pasco and Kennewick, which sit on opposite banks of the Columbia River. In the north, the dust seems to rise primarily from the pale golden squares of fields farmed using dryland agriculture, a common practice in arid eastern Washington. The dryland fields are larger and less colorful than the bright green and gold fields of irrigated agriculture near the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the center of the image.

Dryland farmers rely entirely on rainfall to sustain their crops, and as a result, do many things to preserve moisture in the soil. Some of these practices—leaving a field fallow after harvest to allow water to build in the soil for a year or covering the field with dry soil to prevent underlying moisture from evaporating—make dryland agriculture very prone to dust storms. These fields are likely either fallow or newly planted, probably with winter wheat, a common dryland crop in eastern Washington.

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey and Holli Riebeek. [Edited by FEWW]

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    Posted in Columbia River, dryland fields, Dust Plague, dust storm, dust to dust, Eastern Washington, Kennewick, Moses Lake, multi-vehicle accidents, Pasco | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Never Mind the Enviro Impact of China’s Dams

    Posted by feww on June 19, 2009

    Dams on tributaries of China’s Yellow River could collapse anytime!

    At least five newly built dams on branches of the Yellow River in arid Gansu province, northeast China face imminent collapse, just a year or so after they were built, said China Daily.

    “Improper construction procedures, disqualified workers, embezzlement of construction funds and mismanagement of local water resource departments are threatening the safety of the dams, according to China Youth Daily.”

    “One dike more than 80-m long and 20-m high, built in 2006 in Yuanxian county on the middle and upper reaches of the Yellow River, has developed a breach about 10 meters wide in the middle.According to nearby villagers, at least five newly-built dams are in very fragile condition, the newspaper said.”

    The dams, paid for by the central government, are managed by the Ministry of Water Resource, under their “soil and water conservation project of the Yellow River” program.

    “With a length of 5,464 km, the Yellow River, dubbed the “mother river” of China, suffers the most serious soil erosion in the world, especially along its middle and upper reaches. The average amount of mud and sand washed into the river every year reaches 1.6 billion tons.” China Daily said.

    “Since 2003, China has poured a total of 83 billion yuan ($12 billion) into tackling soil erosion along the river and constructed more than 160,000 dams, according to Xinhua News Agency.

    “As flood season approaches in July, August and September, China’s dam safety is coming under heavy pressure and inspections show many of them are not in good condition, Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei said last month.”

    The Chilling Statistics:

    • Total number of dams, dikes and reservoirs in China: 91,500 units
    • Units in potential danger: 37,000  (or just over 40 percent of the country’s total)
    • Reinforced:  Under 3,650 dams
    • In need of immediate reinforcement: More than  7,600 Units
    • Chen Lei said that between 1999 and 2008,  some 59 dams were breached in China, 30 as a result of torrential rains and another 29 due to defects arising from poor construction.

    Following quotes are from Ecology and Biodiversity, The University of Hong Kong: Conservation & Management of Freshwater Ecosystems ENVM8016 (2008)

    • North-south water transfer from Yangtze to Yellow River (& northern cities); seen as essential for >100 million people depending on the river
    • Yellow River did not reach the sea (no measurable flow) in 22 of the years between 1972 & 1997; duration of annual dryness in lower course was ~8 days in 1970s, 11 days in 1980s & 226 days in 1997
    • 3,382 dams on Yellow River can store >90% of mean annual discharge; since 1997 flow has been optimized (by controlled release) to ensure that some water flows to the sea throughout the year; involves difficult trade-offs due to absolute water scarcity
    • On large scales, dams reduce the downhill transfers of material from land to sea (e.g. amount & quality of water) & trap >30% of global sediment flux (retard SW silica inputs). Other effects could include blockage of uphill transfers of material.
    • Dams (& overfishing) can reduce or prevent upstream breeding migrations of salmon, with significant effects on stream & riparian ecosystems – as seen in NW North America

    Related Links:

    Posted in China, Drought in China, Official corruption, poor construction, soil and water conservation | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Southern South America Gripped by Drought

    Posted by feww on March 1, 2009

    Drought in Southern South America

    Earth Observatory acquired image January 17, 2009 – February 1, 2009

    More than mere colors on the page, the blotches of brown and cream—with only faint dustings of green— in this image represent the impact of one of the worst droughts in southern South America in decades. Each tiny dot of brown is a two-kilometer square of land (250 meters per pixel in the large image) where plants were struggling to grow in the hot, dry weather. Since northern Argentina, Uruguay, and southern Brazil contain rich, intensively cultivated land, the dots include fields of corn, cotton, soy, wheat, or pastureland for grazing cattle. The brown tones reveal that these plants were growing far less vigorously than average in late January 2009.

    From mid-November 2008 through mid-February 2009, unusual weather patterns brought extreme temperatures and low rainfall to this normally productive agricultural region. The period is critical for many crops, including cotton, wheat, soy, and corn. As a result, crop yields in the three countries were expected to dip, with Argentina suffering the worst blow, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Even Argentina’s famous beef industry had been affected by the drought, reported BBC News, as pastureland disappeared, and cattle starved.

    Considered individually, many of the brown dots in the image represent a personal disaster, a farmer facing the prospect of a poor harvest or a herd of malnourished or dying cattle. As a whole, the image conveys something of the severity and extent of the disaster. In simple terms, the vegetation index is a scale of the amount of light plants absorb during photosynthesis. By comparing current vegetation index values with values recorded at the same period in previous years, scientists can tell how well plants are growing. While the impact of drought on vegetation is occasionally visible in photo-like satellite imagery, the vegetation index comparison is a more precise way to evaluate the impact of drought.

    This image, based on observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite, compares the vegetation index for January 17–February 1, 2009, to the average vegetation index during the same period from 2000 through 2008. Brown shows where the current vegetation index is lower than average, meaning that less photosynthesis was occurring; cream shows where conditions were average; and the few spots of green show where the vegetation index was higher than average. Darker shades of brown stretch from the Pampas grasslands of Argentina to the croplands in southern Brazil. Severe drought clearly impacted the entire region.

    References

    • Foreign Agricultural Service. (2009, February). World Agricultural Production. Published in Crop Explorer.

      • United States Department of Agriculture.
      • Accessed February 27, 2009.
    • Piette, C. (2009, February 23). Drought sucks life from Argentina’s farms. BBC News.

      • Accessed February 27, 2009.
    • NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data provided by Inbal Reshef, Global Agricultural Monitoring Project. Caption by Holli Riebeek.
    • Instrument: Terra – MODIS

    Posted in argentina, crop failure, southern Brazil, southern South America, Uruguay | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    More Droughts in 2009

    Posted by feww on February 25, 2009

    Argentina’s 2009 crop production was 40-70 lower than in 2008, depending on the crop

    Drought in Argentina


    NASA Earth Observatory Image: acquired February 23, 2009


    NASA Earth Observatory Image: acquired February 22, 2008

    USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) reported a severe drought in southern South America, which had severely affected corn, cotton, and soybean crops in Argentina. Total rainfall since December was far below normal in most areas, and the rain that did fall often did not coincide with key points in crops’ growing cycles. Dust storms occurred in January and again in February, despite some late-to-arrive rains.

    [NOTE: Dust storms destroy topsoil and accelerate land erosion. According to estimates made by our colleagues at EDRO, by 2012 critically low levels of top soil will have been reached at which point significant crop failures would occur worldwide.]

    This pair of natural-color (photo-like) images from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite contrasts 2009 conditions (top) in southern Buenos Aires province with the conditions in 2008 (bottom), a more normal year. The province is one of the country’s major corn-growing areas. The difference in overall greenness is dramatic. In 2008, the area was a checkerboard of lush green, a sign that crops were healthy. In the 2009 image, the landscape was pale green and tan, reflecting the struggle that natural and cultivated vegetation was having with the hot, dry summer.

    FAS analyst Denise McWilliams said 2009 crop production was 30-60 percent of what it was in 2008, depending on the crop. Drought stress made the corn crop susceptible to insect pests, and in some fields, farmers simply baled the stunted corn crop for use as livestock forage. Likewise, extreme heat and drought struck the season’s first soybean crop during its flowering and seed pod development phase. Meanwhile, the drought and heat caused wide differences in the height and maturity level of cotton crops, even within the same field, which was expected to complicate the harvest.

    References:

    • USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Office of Global Analysis. (2009, February). World Agricultural Production. (pdf) Accessed February 23, 2009.

    NASA images by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey [with minor editions made by FEWW], with input provided Denise McWilliams, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.

    Instrument:  Terra – MODIS

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    Posted in anthropogenic CO2, Climate Change, crop failure, Dust storms, human impact | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    No Fertile Land, No Food!

    Posted by feww on July 2, 2008

    Accelerated land degradation threatens food security of a quarter of the world’s population: FAO

    Main entry: Land degradation threatens 1.5 billion people


    A dried up river filled with sand winds its way across the desert in eastern Chad, June 5, 2008. REUTERS/Finbarr O’Reilly.
    Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

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    Posted in Climate Change, energy, environment, food, Global Warming, health, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Environmental Disasters: Too Close for Comfort?

    Posted by feww on June 14, 2008

    submitted by a reader

    “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

    Beginning to feel that the environmental disasters are getting up close and personal?

    One minute you are in your comfortable home near Paradise, north of Sacramento, the next minute you are being consoled by the firefighters as you stand in the front garden watching your home turn into blackened cinder. They apologize for failing to help you, but it wasn’t their fault. They ran out of water!

    Wondering why?


    Butte Valley fire, Humboldt, Thursday night. Image: Jason Halley / Chico Enterprise-Record. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

    Into the SUV with what little you could snatch away from the mouth of the fire heading east to Iowa to stay with Aunt Molly. On interstate 29 a twister is about to touch down. Whoosh! You swerve out of the way just in time.


    Parkersburg Tornado.
    Photo AP. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

    Aunt Molly’s house in Cedar Rapids wasn’t so lucky. It didn’t have wheels to drive away and avoid the floodwater; it is completely deluged.


    An aerial photo shows a flooded area of downtown looking North over Cedar Rapids, Iowa June 13, 2008. Interstate I-380 can be seen at top while Mays Island, with Cedar Rapids City Hall, is seen on the left with its bridges under water. Floodwaters have inundated about 100 city blocks of Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second-largest city with 200,000 residents. REUTERS/Ron Mayland. Photo AP. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

    Five hours and a dozen phonecalls later, you are finally heading to the calm of Wisconsin to stay with Cousin Thelma and her family. Turn the radio on. Homes on Lake Delton in central Wisconsin have been ripped apart by deadly storm and washed away by floodwaters. Chilly gooseflesh grow on your forearms. Something tingles deep inside your gut, that uncomfortable feeling something is wrong. And you are right! Well, It’s Friday the 13th, you hear yourself murmuring.


    Lake Delton is a popular tourist spot south of the Wisconsin Dells. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

    Distant Cousin Joe and his family are in deep mourning in Loveland. Two of their kids with four of their classmates and a teacher didn’t make it back from a fishing trip. And his 5,000 acre cornfield is submerged in floodwater …


    Corn crop submerged in floodwaters near Loveland, Iowa, June 12, 2008.
    REUTERS/Dave Kaup. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

    Back to Iowa to stay with an old classmate who lives in Marshal Town, Iowa, and who invited you to visit her last summer. A rain check is as good as … a rain check! Finally you arrive in Marshal Town. But the whole town has been evacuated and the power plants have been shut down!

    Well, at least you have the good old, reliable SUV, and it’s not as if the world is running out of corn to make ethanol for you!

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    The Climate Change Crusades

    Posted by feww on June 10, 2008

    Are YOU a Climate Change Crusader?
    How Do YOU Fight Climate Change?
    Should YOU Crusade Against the Climate Change, or just STOP heating the globe?

    A Shrinking World Series

    Make No Mistake: Nature Always Has the Last Word!

    Midwest Flood Update:

    A dam near the Wisconsin Dells resort area broke on Monday, causing mudslides that swept away homes, as torrential rains caused more flooding across the U.S. Midwest.

    Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle declared a state of emergency in 30 counties in the south of the state. In Iowa, where 33 counties were flooded, and Indiana, where flooding forced hundreds of people to evacuate homes in the central and western parts of the state, similar declarations have been made. Parts of Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota have been affected by flooding.

    “This is an area that’s been bombarded with rain over the weekend, anywhere from 5 to 10 inches, and you’re dealing with saturated soils. So any rain that falls becomes run-off,” the National Weather Service’s Pat Slattery said.

    OUCH! Too Close to the bank! Like the Kubeniks and the Pekars (see image caption), rivers are “living” creatures; they need room to complete their cycle of life!


    The homes of the Kubeniks (R) and the Pekars are damaged after a dam broke at man-made Lake Delton, Wisconsin June 9 2008. REUTERS/Allen Fredrickson. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice.

    “Flood damage estimated in the tens of millions of dollars were being added to recent storm damage in Iowa, including a tornado that flattened the town of Parkersburg two weeks ago.” Reuters reported.

    In Iowa:

    • The water treatment plant in Mason City was swamped by the Winnebago River.
    • Three of four bridges in the town of Charles City were swept away by flooding of the Cedar River.
    • The town of New Hartford was evacuated.

    Corn and soybean fields were submerged under the floodwater in Midwestern states. Iowa and Illinois account for about 35% of U.S. corn and soybeans, usually the world’s largest harvests of those crops. However, the prospects of a bumper crop year were further eroded, following a wet spring that had already delayed planting. (Source)

    Related Video:

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    The World’s one harvest from starvation!

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