Fire Earth

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

Posts Tagged ‘water shortages’

Northern India’s Groundwater is Rapidly Depleting

Posted by feww on August 13, 2009

India’s aquifer depletion poses serious threats in  potable water supplies, farming and food production.

A new study by a team of hydrologists, led by NASA’s Matt Rodell,  says Northern India’s water level is plunging because water is being pumped and consumed faster than the aquifers can be recharged naturally. Their research — published in the August 20 issue of Nature — uses data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE).


The map shows groundwater changes in India during 2002-08, with losses in red and gains in blue, based on GRACE satellite observations. The estimated rate of depletion of groundwater in northwestern India is 4.0 centimeters of water per year, equivalent to a water table decline of 33 centimeters per year. Increases in groundwater in southern India are due to recent above-average rainfall, whereas rain in northwestern India was close to normal during the study period. Credit: I. Velicogna/UC Irvine.
Source: NASA Earth Science News.

“If measures are not taken to ensure sustainable groundwater usage, consequences for the 114 million residents of the region may include a collapse of agricultural output and severe shortages of potable water,” said Rodell.

For more details, see original entry: India faces severe water, farming, food crisis

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Posted in Climate Change, first wave of collapsing cities, global water crisis, iindia water scarcity, India food security | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Iraq Ecocide Nears Totality

Posted by feww on August 1, 2009

See also entry at EDRO:

Iraq Faces Environmental Catastrophe

Once a fertile land, Iraq is being desertified

Iraq is now entering its third year of drought, with no relief in sight. Wells, marshes and riverbeds are drying up, “turning arable land into desert, killing trees and plants, and generally transforming what was once the region’s most fertile area into a wasteland.” EDRO Wrote.

Nearly 30 years of war and occupation is finally taking its toll. As the drought [official corruption,] and mismanagement of land continue, the frequency and extent of sandstorms rise as if proportionally. The storms have become longer-lasting.

Drinking water shortages has plagued much of southern Iraq. “The fabled marshes of southern Iraq, drained by Saddam Hussein and then re-flooded after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, are drying up, and the traditional Marsh Arabs who depend on them for their livelihood are being forced to leave again.”

The Ministry of Agriculture reported that 90% of the land has either turned to desert or is experiencing severe desertification, with the remaining arable land eroding at an annual rate of 5%, LATimes reported.

Falling agricultural production means that Iraq, once a food exporter, will this year have to import nearly 80% of its food, spending money that is urgently needed for reconstruction projects.

EDRO said:

Plagued by frequent dust storms, Iraq is  being transformed from a fertile country to a dust bowl. Man-made disasters drive Iraq to the verge of ecological collapse.War of occupation and the near total destruction of infrastructure, drought and water shortages, desertification and sandstorms, collective ignorance and  pathological violence, fear and  political corruption and mismanagement of resources are accelerating the pace of destruction in Iraq, hastening the collapse of local and regional ecosystems.

A composite view of the Mesopotamian marshlands

A composite view of the Mesopotamian marshlands from a mosaic of four Landsat 1 images and two false-color, near-infrared images, 1973–1976. Dense marsh vegetation (mainly Phragmites australis) appears in dark red, seasonal lakes in blue, agriculture in pink, and permanent lakes in black. The red elongated patches along riverbanks are date palms. The three main marsh areas are Al-Hawizeh, Central, and Al-Hammar, labeled 1, 2, and 3, respectively. The city of Basrah is located at number 4.Modified from Richardson and colleagues (2005). (b) A Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper mosaic taken in 2000. Most of the drained marshes appear as grayish-brown patches, indicating dead marsh vegetation or low desert shrubs and dry ground. The white and gray patches indicate bare areas with no vegetation and, in some areas, salt evaporites or shells covering the bottoms of former lakes. By 2000, 85% of the 8926 square kilometers (km2) of permanent marsh in 1973 marshlands had been destroyed. Only 3% of the Central marsh and 14.5% of the Al-Hammar remained. Sampling sites: A, Al-Hawizeh; B, Central; C, Al-Hammar; D, Al-Sanaf; E, Abu Zarag; F, Suq Al-Shuyukh. MODIS satellite image courtesy of the United Nations Environment Programme, Iraq Marshlands Observation System. Image and caption source: Restoring the Garden of Eden: An Ecological Assessment of the Marshes of Iraq (pdf).

Iraq Dust Storms


Beginning in mid April,  and continuing through may, and June dust storms plagued Iraq. In late June/early July 2009, the worst dust storm in living memory struck Iraq, spreading throughout the region, NASA EO reported. A new storm lashed Iraq again at the end of July.

See early July images

Sandstorms in Iraq


Since the turn of the twenty-first century, the frequency and duration of such storms have increased. Beginning in late June 2009, the worst dust storm in living memory struck Iraq and spread to neighboring countries. Another storm raged over Iraq again at the end of July. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of Iraq on July 30, 2009, the second consecutive day of heavy dust over the country. Thick dust blows southeastward over the Tigris and Euphrates floodplain and the Persian Gulf. The dust is thick enough to completely hide the land surface and water bodies below.

NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Michon Scott. [Edited by FEWW]

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Posted in destruction of infrastructure, drought in Iraq, food self sufficiency, Mesopotamian marshlands, War of occupation | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Image of the Day: Southern Spain

Posted by feww on June 15, 2008

Desertification of Southern Spain


The land of southern Spain has dried, leading to rationing and disputes over water. Photo: Monica Gumm for The International Herald Tribune. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

The average surface temperature in Spain has risen 2.7 degrees compared with about 1.4 degrees globally since 1880, records show. (Source)

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Schwarzenegger Proclaims Water Emergency in Nine Counties

Posted by feww on June 13, 2008

A Shrinking World Series

Could California Turn to Desert by 2011?

Water, water, my bloody kingdom for a drop of water. ~ King Conan

Water Emergency in Calif

As most of the croplands in the Central U.S. is submerged under floodwater, the heart of California’s farming area is feeling the heat. Gov. Schwarzenegger who proclaimed last week a drought in California, declared yesterday a state of emergency in nine counties in Central Valley.

“Just last week, I said we would announce regional emergencies wherever the state’s drought situation warrants them, and in the Central Valley an emergency proclamation is necessary to protect our economy and way of life,” Mr Schwarzenegger said.

“Central Valley agriculture is a $20 billion a year industry. If we don’t get them water immediately the results will be devastating,” he added. “Food prices, which are already stretching many family budgets, will continue to climb and workers will lose their jobs—everyone’s livelihood will be impacted in some way.”

“His declaration covers Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties and directs California’s Department of Water Resources to work with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to deliver more water through the State Water Project to where it is most needed.” Reuters reported.

Conservation Action:

  • Water rationing is imposed in Long Beach, Roseville and the East Bay Municipal Utility District, which serves 1.3 million people in the San Francisco Bay area.
  • Water agencies serving about 18 million people throughout Calif have declared a water supply alerts.
  • Officials are planning for reduced water use through this year because lower water supplies are anticipated next year.
  • Schwarzenegger is asking lawmakers to back a “comprehensive solution” to expanding water and says he needs $11.9 billion bond to finance water projects. (Source)


Coyote Dry Lake, Mojave Desert. Image: Jeff T. Alu via Wikimedia. This file is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.

Coyote Dry Lake is a dry lake bed in the Mojave Desert located about 24 km northeast of Barstow, and north of Interstate 15 in southern California. The lake measures about 10 km long and about 6 km wide at its widest section.

California’s Last Chance: Do a U-Turn, or Turn to Desert!

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feww

Posted in Climate Change, energy, environment, food, Global Warming, health, politics, Tourism, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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