Thursday, July 31, 2008
A combination of a record dry spring and sparks — from a flurry of lightning strikes in late June to the bullet that is believed to have sparked the fire near Mariposa — get most of the blame.
But they come atop a pair of more persistent problems: the unnaturally dense buildup of scrub and forest left by decades of fire suppression and the inexorable incursion of people, with their ignition sources and property to be protected, into previously forested areas. Add that all up and you have a lot of charred ground.
About 1.1 million acres have burned in
Climate experts say some of the conditions that set the stage for this year's fires are likely to repeat more frequently as the climate continues to warm. The record dryness in March, April and May is consistent with predictions that from the central Sierra north — or from Yosemite to
"This year furnishes an example of what future years might tend to look like," said Kelly Redmond, regional climatologist at the
An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter dumps water from a 420-gallon extinguishing trough October 23, 2007, onto of one of the many burning areas in California's San Diego County. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chris Fahey, U.S. Navy, Wikimedia Commons
That means more raw sewage will be dumped into the ocean more often, in apparent violation of the Fisheries Act. Senior regional officials and politicians have in the past been threatened with prosecution under this act, although neither the federal nor the provincial government has to date shown any inclination to enforce it.
More raw sewage spills also mean more health risks to people using the inlet for recreation - swimming, windsurfing, sailing and fishing. Environmental groups, including the David Suzuki Foundation, were outraged to hear about the contents of the report. They are calling on regional and civic governments to act now to "avoid potential disasters including extreme impacts on human health caused by system failures."
A Metro Vancouver politician promised that the region is already developing plans to address the situation. But he warned that accelerating the schedule for new sewage treatment facilities would place an additional burden on the region's taxpayers.
…They were produced for Natural Resources Canada by a climate research committee of Engineers Canada, the organization representing 160,000 engineers nationwide. The reports, which deal with seven Canadian communities, look at a wide range of infrastructure, including roads, bridges, buildings, flood protection and water treatment facilities that may not function properly as a consequence of extreme weather events emerging as a result of climate change. The reports represent
A view of False Creek bristling with boats, shot from the Granville St. Bridge by Jon Eben Field, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under Creative CommonsAttribution 2.0 License from Vancouver, BC, Canada
At the same time, another research group said the water quality could be undermined by increased flooding associated with the changing climate and the attendant sewage run-off due to improper housing developments and a lack of proper waste water sewage disposal systems. "We are not dealing with a magic wand," said Eleanor Jones - managing director of Environmental Solutions Limited (ESL) - as she underscored the need to have existing legislation enforced, while at the same time attracting the resources necessary to ensuring their preservation over the long term.
Hydrologist and consultant, Dr Mark Futter, also pointed to the need for additional resources for the water sector, especially given the need to retain the expertise required to manage water resources, such as watersheds. He said, too, that there was need for continued research into the status of the island's water quantity and quality….
Mangroves on the Black River, the widest river in Jamaica, shot by "Stuffreak," Wikimedia Commons, nder the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2
The 14 million people in the internationally important basin – and the additional two million expected to join them by 2026 – also face a future of water shortages. “Climate change is likely to result in hotter, drier summers and warmer, wetter winters. Perversely, this means we will suffer from having both more water, and less, with greater risk from flooding and drought,” said WWF-UK freshwater policy advisor, Dr Tom Le Quesne….The Thames River as seen from Westminster Bridge in London, October 2006, by Ville Miettinen from Helsinki, Finland, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License
Maminul Haque Sarker, head of the department at the government-owned centre that looks at boundary changes, told AFP sediment which travelled down the big Himalayan rivers -- the Ganges and the
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted that impoverished
But Sarker said that while rising sea levels and river erosion were both claiming land in
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
In 2002, with the country partially under the control of rebels, the Democratic Republic of Congo issued a five-year moratorium on new logging contracts as part of efforts to stem rampant deforestation aggravated by the conflict. The measure went largely unheeded and companies continued to sign new deals.
Logging and land clearance for farming are eating away the Congo Basin, home to more than a quarter of the world's tropical forest, at the rate of more than 800,000 hectares a year. Many contracts are expected to be cancelled outright by a review panel made up of government officials and independent experts. "What I'm hoping for is fewer concessions. What I'm hoping for is more revenues for the state. What I'm hoping for is better management of the forestry sector," Environment Minister Jose Endundu told reporters on Wednesday….
Brazzaville, Kinshasa and the Malebo Pool of the Congo River viewed either from a satellite or a guy with a really tall ladder, NASA, Wikimedia Commons
"When I hear what happened, I am not surprised," Stern said by satellite telephone. "The rate we are losing ice is phenomenal. This (climate change) is real," he said. "I think a lot of people don't understand how fast things are changing up here." Stern, a University of Manitoba professor, is leading a major research project – part of the International Polar Year – examining climate change and the loss of sea ice in the Arctic.
…"In November, the Amundsen actually went up to the northwestern side of Banks Island and into McClure Strait. That is the real Northwest Passage. It is almost never open – even in the summer. “The fact that it is open in November is phenomenal. I don't care what anybody says, (the problem) is man-made and we have to deal with it now."….
….Ice shelves can break up for various reasons, not always climate change, Mueller said. It is the lack of new ice forming that shows that global warming is afoot. "There are only five of these ice shelves left," Mueller said. "They are retreating and they are not coming back."...
Brent Glacier (Osborn Range), on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada, flowing down to Tanquary Fjord, with a view on the opposite side of the Mount Kennedy Icecap. Photo by Ansgar Walk, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Unported License
Saying most Australian rice was exported, Dr Craswell questioned why the nation was growing rice for overseas markets when water was running so low. Rice-growing should be left to countries with monsoonal climates like Thailand, he said. Dr Craswell said that using a litre of water to grow vegetables or grapes produced 10 times as much revenue as using that water to grow rice.
In a wet year, 11 per cent of irrigation water is used to grow rice, but that produces just four per cent of the produce by value. Rice has to be flooded and is only grown in Australia in wet years....
Japanese rice symbol from "Le livre des fleurs", by Nyoiti Sakurazawa, DL: 24871 (Editions Ohsawa), Wikimedia Commons
Island Heritage Chief Marketing Officer Nigel Twohey said he spoke to representatives of Munich Re, an active reinsurer in the
…Despite the uncertainty, reinsurers, particularly after very active hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005, have started including the potential future impact of global warming in their pricing methodology. “Many of the catastrophe models do indeed include increasing amount of data to include global warming,” said Mr. Twohey. “For the
Michael Gayle, senior vice president property and casualty at Sagicor General Insurance (Cayman) Ltd. said the concept of insurance relies somewhat on the prediction of future events…..Mr. Gayle confirmed that on the property side of the insurance industry there has been an increased use of modelling as a predictive tool, although he could not say whether the potential effects of global warming were reflected in pricing….Tropical Storm Chris, 2006, from NOAA, Wikimedia Commons
A new paper, published in Biology Letters, make three recommendations that could help Madagascar's biodiversity adapt to climate change: (1) restoration and protection of riverine corridor forests important for migration; (2) maintenance and restoration of connectivity among fragmented forests, especially in regions with high genetic divergence between populations across major riverine corridors; and (3) management of all remaining natural forest to maximize the potential for species migration in response to climate change. The authors, led by Lee Hannah of Conservational International, note that riverine corridors and forest fragments can serve as key migration paths and refugia for species….
A dwarf lemur depicted by Friedrich Specht in The Natural History of Animals by Carl Vogt and Friedrich Specht, 1888. Volume 1, p. 83. Found where else but Wikimedia Commons
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
The study, released in the July 28 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the coral reefs of the eastern tropical Pacific provide a real-world example of the challenges all coral reefs will face under high-CO2 conditions resulting in ocean acidification. This is the first attempt to characterize the impacts of ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems by examining naturally occurring, high-CO2 reef environments.
Lead author, Derek Manzello, a coral reef ecologist at AOML, and his colleagues analyzed the abundance of cements within reef framework structures from the eastern tropical Pacific, which is an entire region exposed to naturally higher levels of carbon dioxide, and compared them to reefs from the
The impact of ocean acidification seems to be a drastic reduction in the production of the cements that allow coral reefs to grow into large, structurally-strong formations that can withstand high wave action. “Reefs are constantly degraded by mechanical, biological, and chemical erosion,” said Manzello. “This study indicates that poorly cemented reefs that develop in an acidic ocean will be much less likely to withstand this persistent erosion. These results imply that coral reefs of the future may be eroded faster than they can grow.”…
Coral reefs that form in environments that are naturally high in carbon dioxide (CO2) are poorly formed and not as stable as those in lower CO2 areas. Photo: UVI (from the NOAA website)
Tropical storm Fung-wong hits China
Times Now.tv, India -
The tropical storm that hit the Fujian province of the country last night was earlier in the form of devastating typhoon when it had hit Taiwan unleashing ...
Typhoon Fung Wong makes landfall in Fujian
CCTV, China -
Typhoon Fung Wong has swept into east China's Fujian Province. It's the eighth tropical storm to hit the country's coast this year. ...
Over 600000 evacuated as tropical storm hits China: reports
The storm was downgraded from typhoon level as it hit Fujian province late Monday after slamming into Taiwan, where it had whipped up strong winds and ...
The challenge to the horse industry is to prepare for this reality and invest in the research needed to understand these diseases and the factors that lead to their emergence. By understanding the factors that influence the development, frequency and distribution of disease, we can develop reliable diagnostic techniques, effective therapies, and appropriate control strategies. This Horse Report presents some background information about infectious diseases and describes three diseases that have emerged recently and that may have a significant impact on horses. A fourth noninfectious condition is also described and is referred to as a syndrome--a group of signs that characterize a previously unrecognized disease. [The list includes:]
- Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
- African Horse Sickness
- Equine Multinodular Pulmonary Fibrosis
- Bone Fragility Syndrome
…Traditionally our approach to managing flood risk has been dominated by the construction of defences but in the future it will not be possible to defend everyone, everywhere, all of the time. We must adapt and change to a broader approach and this will include managing the consequences of flooding, working with natural processes. This broader approach must take a long-term view because climate change is a long-term issue and it will take time to make the changes required.
We must consider how we manage water from the moment it falls onto the land, enters our watercourses, flows through our rivers, past our villages and towns, until it joins the sea. If we can improve the management of water that runs off the land, we can produce economic, environmental and flood risk benefits, both locally and elsewhere.
Changing the way we all work to manage flood risk will take time, there is no quick fix solution. The Environment Agency believes this change can only be achieved by working closely and constructively with a range of land managers and owners, and farmers are key to this success
….The Environment Agency is preparing 10 Catchment Flood Management Plans (CFMPs) to cover
….It is no longer enough to target flooding through piecemeal local action. Climate change is here and it isn’t going to go away so we need to do things differently. CFMPs are about planning for the future and thinking about catchments as a whole and their impact on neighbouring areas and beyond….Elwy River, Cefn, in Wales. Photo: Francis Bedford (1816-1894), 1860s. Wikimedia Commons. On occasion my photo research isn't current.
An international team of scientists from
The results, published in the July-August issue of Agronomy Journal, show that no-tillage management combined with crop rotations including winter cover crops with high amounts of crop residues returned annually to the soil, will most likely maintain soil organic carbon stocks, and most likely mimic natural forested condition for tropical and subtropical areas.
This crop management, if adopted by farmers in tropical and sub-tropical regions, can help to keep land productive and sustainable. Scientist Bill Hargrove from
The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at http://agron.scijournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/100/4/1013.
Monday, July 28, 2008
According to Lucas Miranda, who was speaking on behalf of Urbanism and environment Ministry, while introducing the I National Workshop on Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change, the changing of climate parameters is evident worldwide, that is why it is necessary to take measures for adapting the actions to the ongoing changes.
The actions also include, under the strategic framework, the creation of human foundations, legal and materials for inventory and quantification of sources of greenhouse gas emissions into the sources and emitting agents. Also among other objectives, it serves as a simplified and direct channel for communication of information related to the urgent and immediate needs of the country’s adaptation.
It is also aimed at creating a national capacity of the Angolan experts in vulnerability field and adaptation to climate changes, thus ensuring a favourable environment for the implementation of the referred convention, as well as to facilitate the creation of capacity for preparation of national communication about the subject….
Known as the NCAR Front Range Flash Flood Prediction System, it combines detailed atmospheric conditions with information about stream flows to predict floods along specific streams and catchments. "The goal is to provide improved guidance about the likelihood of a flash flood event many minutes out to an hour or two before the waters start rising," says NCAR scientist David Gochis, one of the developers of the new forecasting system. "We want to increase the lead time of a forecast, while decreasing the uncertainty about whether a flood will occur."
Funding to create the system came from the National Science Foundation (NSF), which is NCAR's sponsor, as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "This project is an excellent example of using basic research findings to improve forecasts important to saving lives," said Cliff Jacobs, program director in NSF's Division of Atmospheric Sciences.
The government in
Some 3,650 security forces and volunteers had been mobilised Sunday to build dykes, help evacuate people and animals in danger and to distribute aid. Authorities expected the torrential rains to ease off later in the day, although a red alert was to remain in force through until Monday afternoon for six north-eastern districts.Map of central and eastern Europe, the Cartographic Section of the United Nations, Wikimedia Commons
“Viewing the regional economy as a whole suggests significant economic resiliency to the flood,” according to
Despite having the distinction of being the costliest U.S. flood of the 20th century – resulting in $20 billion in economic losses – the 1993 flood “caused very minimal or only temporary negative economic impacts in the year of the event, measured by gross domestic product, the unemployment rate and the number of businesses,” Xiao said. “Two years after the event, there were no discernable aggregate effects on these economic indicators at the regional, state and county levels.”
And amid all the mud, muck and destruction, there were even a few silver linings. According to Xiao, who presented her research findings earlier this month at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning-Association of European Schools of Planning Joint Congress in
….While such findings may be cause for optimism for those still mired in recovery efforts resulting from this year’s flooding – as well as for those who may be impacted by future disasters – Xiao’s research revealed that there’s actually more to the economic-recovery picture in many communities than what appears on the surface.
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer, on the website of the
One dead after typhoon pounds Taiwan
TAIPEI (AFP) — Typhoon Fung-wong churned towards China Monday after it slammed into Taiwan, leaving one dead, six injured and forcing the closure of schools ...
More than 270000 people evacuated in as Typhoon Fung Wong approaches
Tian Shan Net, China -
Frontier guards fasten a vessel at a harbor in Fuzhou, capital of southeast China’s Fujian Province, July 27, 2008. The intensifying Typhoon Fung Wong was ...
United Press International -
TAIPEI, Taiwan, July 28 (UPI) -- Taiwanese authorities Monday canceled flights and train and ferry services as Typhoon Fung-wong picked up momentum toward ...
Sunday, July 27, 2008
The scientists, who have formed an international network called the Global Cassava Partnership, said the world community could not continue to ignore the plight of low-income tropical countries that have been hardest hit by rising oil prices and galloping food price inflation.
Widely grown in tropical Africa, Asia and
Cassava is also the cheapest known source of starch, and used in more than 300 industrial products. One promising application is fermentation of the starch to produce ethanol used in biofuel, although FAO cautions that policies encouraging a shift to biofuel production should carefully consider its effects on food production and food security….Dried manioc Manihot esculenta, also known as cassava, displayed in the market of Abong-Mbang, East Province, Cameroon. Shot by Amcaja, Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2
The Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM)/Jason 2 adds to the number of eyes in the sky measuring sea surface and wave heights across Earth's oceans. The increased coverage will help researchers improve current models for practical use in predicting hurricane intensity, while providing valuable data that can be used to improve tsunami warning models.
"When it comes to predicting hurricane intensity, the curve in the last 40 years has been somewhat flat, with little advance in how to reduce error in predicted intensity," said Gustavo Goni, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in
Satellites that measure sea surface height have been running operationally nonstop since November 1992. But more than one is needed to fly at the same time in order to identify all the features that could be responsible for intensification of tropical cyclones all over Earth. The OSTM/Jason 2 mission will help make the additional coverage possible.
…While sea surface height may not necessarily be the most significant parameter for hurricane intensity forecasts, researchers now know that if sea surface height is accounted for in current forecast models, errors in forecasts for the most intense storms are reduced. For weak storms, the reduction in error is not very significant. However, for storms in the strongest category 5 range, the heat content in the upper ocean derived from sea surface height becomes increasingly important. "This is a good thing, because these are the storms that produce the most damage," Goni said.This is what it looked like on the ground: Inside the Astrotech processing facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base, the OSTM/Jason-2 spacecraft is viewed from another angle after being lifted to a vertical position on the tilt dolly. The OSTM, or Ocean Topography Mission, on the Jason-2 satellite is a follow-on to Jason-1. It will take oceanographic studies of sea surface height into an operational mode for continued climate forecasting research and science and industrial applications. NASA, Wikimedia Commons
As climate change affects everything from human health to agriculture, plant scientists are trying to cope with a future that might thwart the task to which they have devoted themselves for decades -- saving all the species of the planet's biological diversity. Although climate change has been identified as a direct contributor to the extinction of only a few species of flora and fauna so far, plant scientists fear that may soon accelerate. ''We may lose 30 percent of the plants by 2050,'' says Kathryn Kennedy, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Plant Conservation in
Others predict even higher losses. A temperature increase of 2 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit -- considered a mid-range rise, neither the highest nor lowest prediction -- could wipe out 22 to 75 percent of plant species by 2050, a team of 19 ecologists wrote in the journal Nature in 2004.
…. ''I think of rare species as canaries in the coal mine,'' says Joyce Maschinski, who heads Fairchild's
"The number of extreme weather events has increased sharply in recent years. Climate change already seems to be having a serious humanitarian impact," John Clancy, spokesman for Commissioner Michel, explained.
"The decision to extend it [DIPECHO] to the southwest
…"The funding targets communities that are already vulnerable because of extreme poverty, isolation due to weak infrastructure and difficult communications, and in
…The new funds would assist communities by establishing cyclone- and flood-resistant schools and clinics, "which can also serve as shelters for the community, and by funding the acquisition of small boats, for example, which allow children to continue to access their schools even in heavily flooded areas."…Map of Mozambique and neighboring countries from the CIA World Factbook, Wikimedia Commons
Speaking to delegates gathered from around the world at a recent session of the Salzburg Global Seminar on Combating Climate Change at Local and Regional Levels: Sustainable Strategies, Renewable Energy, Kabat pointed out that 80 percent of the Netherlands’ economic produce was from areas below sea level.
“But we have stopped seeing climate change as a threat,” Kabat said. “We now see it as an opportunity.”
… Kabat illustrated what the Dutch planners plan to do instead. “Take the case of the Rhine, which flows through the
It’s a very new philosophy,” as Kabat pointed out. “It is the difference between hard infrastructure (as now) and allowing the water to rise and accommodating it as a part of your development.” “Let us not try to keep the water from coming,” Kabat said. “Let it come, when it does. Let us adapt to it. That is the basic idea.”...The Prinses Irenesluizen (locks) in the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal, near the city of Wijk bij Duurstede (the Netherlands), shot by "China Crisis," Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2
Saturday, July 26, 2008
The new report, "Comparing Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta," is a sequel to the Public Policy Institute of California's February 2007 study, "Envisioning Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta," said Ellen Hanak, the institute's associate director, who worked on both studies. The 2007 study looked at various scenarios and concluded that settling on a new strategy was urgent.
The latest report's suggestions include allowing 23 delta islands to flood permanently, transitioning to a new delta management system and developing a new governance framework. Hanak asserted there are two options for the delta - stop pumping water or build an isolated facility, or peripheral canal. The report concludes it's cheaper to build the canal, which it suggests could benefit fish, and address myriad other factors - from sea rise and climate change to seismicity, salinity and water quality, said Hanak…
…There's also been sharp criticism for PPIC's report. Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, campaign director for the Stockton-based Restore the Delta coalition, said the peripheral canal can't fix the state's annual water deficit of 5 million acre feet, nor does it account for increased pressure on urban levees if the 23 delta islands are abandoned. It also doesn't properly analyze salinity and water quality impacts and is heavily biased toward
Hanak said the report suggests moving away from the extremely fragmented management of the delta now, where at least 60 different agencies are involved. Rather, she said, more centralized management is needed. …Hanak said, ultimately, the report tries to find solutions. "If we wait until there's a catastrophe, it's going to be a lot harder to pick up the pieces."The Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gates (foreground) span the Montezuma Slough at the Roaring River intake. Like a heart valve, they allow water to flow in only one direction. In this picture, the three gates are open to allow the freshwater ebb tide from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to push the more saline Grizzly Bay water out of the slough. Photo by US Army Corps of Engineers, Wikimedia Commons
According to one study, some 20 percent of the earth's cropland is now being eroded or otherwise degraded - a potential catastrophe given the need to double world food production by 2050 to feed a population of more than nine billion. Rebuilding good soil structure and encouraging biological processes in soil increases its capacity to produce crops, the delegates declared in a Framework for Action adopted at the end of a three-day technical meeting on Investing in Sustainable Crop Intensification and Improving Soil Health.
They urged "a rapid shift, whenever and wherever conditions permit it, to management systems based on minimal soil disturbance, increased soil cover, and appropriate crop rotation". The Framework for Action also called on donors and policy-makers to promote such systems into their programmes for agricultural development and to mitigate the current food crisis….FAO logo found on Flickr, on Jaume d'Urgell's stream, under Creative Commons 2.0 license
Wrongly or rightly, carbon emission curbs have become the kernel of the West’s anti-climate change policies. The only existing multilateral carbon curbs are those enshrined in the Kyoto Protocol. …
….It is obvious
It is important to realise the threat
The recently completed Delhi metro, shot by Ankur, Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2
…On this single day, Aug. 14, fighting the Zaca cost more than $2.5 million. By the time the blaze was out nearly three months later, the bill had reached at least $140 million, making it one of the most expensive wildfire fights ever waged by the U.S. Forest Service.
A century after the government declared war on wildfire, fire is gaining the upper hand. From the canyons of
Across the country, flames have blackened an average of 7.24 million acres a year this decade. That's twice the average of the 1990s. Wildfires burned more than 9 million acres last year and are on pace to match that figure in 2008. At 240,207 acres, the Zaca was the second-biggest wildland blaze in
…Wildfire costs are busting the Forest Service budget. A decade ago, the agency spent $307 million on fire suppression. Last year, it spent $1.37 billion. Fire is chewing through so much Forest Service money that Congress is considering a separate federal account to cover the cost of catastrophic blazes. In
"We've lost control," said Stephen J. Pyne, a professor of life sciences at
...."There are three things that are driving it: climate, development, fuel loads.. . . . And they're all unequivocally going in the wrong direction," said Geoffrey Donovan, a Forest Service researcher in Portland, Ore. "I don't see how anybody could think we're anywhere close to being at the worst of this."....
The Zaca fire, shot by John Newman ("from the interagency," whatever that means), Wikimedia Commons
BC Chemistry Professor Paul Davidovits and Aerodyne Principal Scientist Timothy B. Onasch say their novel spectrometer allows researchers to better understand what happens to these sub-microscopic particles that can absorb and scatter light and influence the lifetime of clouds.
"For scientists looking at climate change, the biggest uncertainty has to do with the effect of aerosol particles in the air," says Davidovits. "The issue is made that much more complex because aerosols can have different effects on climate. That means the target is constantly shifting."
The historic role of carbon-laden soot in climate change has been identified by researchers, particularly through ice samples taken from glaciers. Now scientists are focusing on tiny airborne particles of black carbon released into the atmosphere today in order to better understand the lifecycle of these aerosols in the atmosphere.
To that end, nearly 20 researchers from across the country brought other devices to the Davidovits lab this month to test and fine-tune these new tools developed by scientists from universities, industry and national laboratories at the forefront of this path-breaking science of the sky.
….Aerosols are somewhat fleeting. Unlike carbon dioxide, which can remain in the atmosphere for years, aerosols have an atmospheric life of about 10 to 20 days. In that time, they can absorb other molecules that alter their original state.
….Linked closely to the atmospheric effects of aerosols is a range of public health concerns, says Onasch. "There is a need on many fronts – from the climate to public health – for greater understanding of the role aerosol particles play in our lives and what's happening here is the scientific community rising to meet those needs," says Onasch.This image, taken by Terra/MODIS instrument in December 2004 shows thick haze and smoke over the Ganges Basin in northern India. Major sources of aerosols in this area are believed to be smoke from biomass burning in the northwest part of India, and air pollution from large cities in northern India. NASA, Wikimedia Commons
Friday, July 25, 2008
"Deforestation and forest degradation together are the second leading man-made cause of global warming," said Joëlle Chassard, Manager of the World Bank's Carbon Finance Unit. "They are responsible for about 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and the main source of national emissions in many developing countries. For that reason, we have been eager to initiate this partnership and assist countries while building a body of knowledge on how best to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by protecting forests and helping the people who benefit from them."
The 14 developing countries include six in Africa (the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar); five in Latin America (Bolivia, Costa Rica, Guyana, Mexico, Panama); and three in Asia (Nepal, Lao PDR, and Vietnam). The countries will receive grant support as they build their capacity for REDD, including establishing emissions reference levels, adopting strategies to reduce deforestation, and designing monitoring systems….Deforestation in Amazonia, seen by satellite, NASA/JPL, Wikimedia Commons
However, resisting pressures to convert wetlands is vital to avoid destroying ecosystems that provide a suite of services essential to humanity, including safe, steady local water supplies, preserving biodiversity and the large-scale capture and storage of climate warming greenhouse gases, according 700 leading world experts concluding a week-long meeting in Cuiaba, Brazil.
The experts issued the Cuiaba Declaration (appended) July 25, the final day of the 8th INTECOL International Wetlands Conference, convened on the northern edge of the world's largest tropical wetland, the Pantanal.
Wetlands include marshes, tidal marshes, peat bogs, swamps, river deltas, mangroves, tundra, lagoons and river floodplains. Among other services, they trap and store carbon in submerged organic matter, sustain biodiversity, and produce renewable natural resources, such as fish, natural pasture, timber, and wildlife. The statement stresses the rising value of wetlands in an increasingly urbanized world, especially such services as water storage and purification, and recreation.
Wetlands are under assault, however, due to agriculture, grazing, aquaculture, dams, waste disposal, invasive species and other problems caused by human activity...
A wetlands in the Matra mountains of Hungary, shot by "Susulyka," Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2
A particular change in climate can have a very different effect on different people and places, leading to different risk levels. For example, high temperatures could cause damage to some road surfaces, but not to others due to the different melting point of the material used, and whether the road is mostly in shade due to roadside trees.
...Ensuring we have the capacity to reduce any disruption and deal with the remaining consequences can be described as building resilience....
The study -- the first ever to examine the chemistry of stream water and sediments that were being washed out to sea while a typhoon was happening at full force -- will help scientists develop better models of global climate change.
Anne Carey, associate professor of earth sciences at
They study two types of weathering: physical and chemical. Physical weathering happens when organic matter containing carbon adheres to soil that is washed into the ocean and buried. Chemical weathering happens when silicate rock on the mountainside is exposed to carbon dioxide and water, and the rock disintegrates. The carbon washes out to sea, where it eventually forms calcium carbonate and gets deposited on the ocean floor.
If the carbon gets buried in the ocean, Carey explained, it eventually becomes part of sedimentary rock, and doesn't return to the atmosphere for hundreds of millions of years. Though the carbon buried in the ocean by storms won't solve global warming, knowing how much carbon is buried offshore of mountainous islands such as Taiwan could help scientists make better estimates of how much carbon is in the atmosphere -- and help them decipher its effect on global climate change….A flood in Taiwan (on the Zhongshan North Road). Photo by Rico Shen, Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2