Noise pollution is drowning out nature even in protected areas – study
|| the Guardian UK
Human noises are often 10 times that of background levels, impairing our enjoyment of natural parks and impacting animal behaviour, scientists have found
“The sounds of the natural world are being overwhelmed by the blare of human activity, even in protected wildlife areas, new research has revealed.
The racket is not only harming people’s enjoyment of natural havens, which are known to have significant benefits for both physical and mental health, but it is also affecting wildlife, with animals less able to escape predators and birds less able to find mates.
Scientists used over one million hours of sound recordings from 492 locations in protected areas in the US to calculate that in about two-thirds of places, the noise pollution from human activities was double the background sound levels. A fifth of the protected areas suffered human noise levels that were 10 times background levels, the researchers found.
“Next time you go for a walk in the woods, pay attention to the sounds you hear – the flow of a river, wind through the trees, singing birds, bugling elk. These acoustic resources are just as magnificent as visual ones, and deserve our protection,” said Rachel Buxton, at Colorado State University and who led the study published in the journal Science on Thursday.
“They make us feel good and are important for our physical and emotional wellbeing,” she said. “We actually have research that shows that natural sounds improve our mood, increase our memory retention and restore our senses.”
Animals use noise for many essential functions, such as dodging predators, finding food and mates and maintaining relationships in social groups, Buxton said: “So not being able to hear these sounds has serious consequences.”
The impact of noise can cascade across entire ecosystems, she said, even leading to effects on plants as the wildlife that interact with them changes. “Although plants can’t hear, many animals that disperse seeds or pollinate flowers can hear, and are known to be affected by noise,” said Buxton, adding that plant grazers could also become more abundant if noise drives their predators away.
The researchers identified the key causes of noise pollution as roads and air traffic, settlements and the extractive industries, such as forestry, fracking and mining. With a tenfold increase in background noise, as found in a fifth of the protected areas, natural sounds that would have been detectable 100m away can only be heard when 10m away.
The researchers note that protected area laws in the US do not include measures to monitor or manage noise pollution from human activities: “This is a conspicuous missed opportunity, as techniques to manage noise pollution are readily available.”
Such techniques, already in place in some protected areas, include providing shuttle services to cut back on visitor traffic and confining noise into specific corridors by aligning flight patterns over roads. There have also been moves to cut the noise from motor boats and snowmobiles in Yellowstone national park and to reduce aircraft flyovers over the Grand Canyon.”
….Continue reading @ theGuardianUK
– GeoEngineering Watch
More @ GeoEngineeringWatch
Michael Crichton > Quotes > Quotable Quote
““You think man can destroy the planet? What intoxicating vanity. Let me tell you about our planet. Earth is four-and-a-half-billion-years-old. There’s been life on it for nearly that long, 3.8 billion years. Bacteria first; later the first multicellular life, then the first complex creatures in the sea, on the land. Then finally the great sweeping ages of animals, the amphibians, the dinosaurs, at last the mammals, each one enduring millions on millions of years, great dynasties of creatures rising, flourishing, dying away — all this against a background of continuous and violent upheaval. Mountain ranges thrust up, eroded away, cometary impacts, volcano eruptions, oceans rising and falling, whole continents moving, an endless, constant, violent change, colliding, buckling to make mountains over millions of years.
Earth has survived everything in its time.
It will certainly survive us. If all the nuclear weapons in the world went off at once and all the plants, all the animals died and the earth was sizzling hot for a hundred thousand years, life would survive, somewhere: under the soil, frozen in Arctic ice. Sooner or later, when the planet was no longer inhospitable, life would spread again. The evolutionary process would begin again. It might take a few billion years for life to regain its present variety. Of course, it would be very different from what it is now, but the earth would survive our folly, only we would not.
If the ozone layer gets thinner, ultraviolet radiation sears the earth, so what? Ultraviolet radiation is good for life. It’s powerful energy. It promotes mutation, change. Many forms of life will thrive with more UV radiation. Many others will die out. Do you think this is the first time that’s happened?
Think about oxygen. Necessary for life now, but oxygen is actually a metabolic poison, a corrosive glass, like fluorine. When oxygen was first produced as a waste product by certain plant cells some three billion years ago, it created a crisis for all other life on earth. Those plants were polluting the environment, exhaling a lethal gas. Earth eventually had an atmosphere incompatible with life. Nevertheless, life on earth took care of itself.
In the thinking of the human being a hundred years is a long time. A hundred years ago we didn’t have cars, airplanes, computers or vaccines. It was a whole different world, but to the earth, a hundred years is nothing. A million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can’t imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven’t got the humility to try. We’ve been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we’re gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.”
― Michael Crichton,
….Continue reading more @ GoodReads.com
Study: Carbon-Hungry Plants Impede Growth Rate of Atmospheric CO2
– Berkeley Lab
Berkeley Lab-led research underscores need to protect vital ecosystems
“New findings suggest the rate at which CO2 is accumulating in the atmosphere has plateaued in recent years because Earth’s vegetation is grabbing more carbon from the air than in previous decades.
That’s the conclusion of a multi-institutional study led by a scientist from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). It’s based on extensive ground and atmospheric observations of CO2, satellite measurements of vegetation, and computer modeling. The research is published online Nov. 8 in the journal Nature Communications.
To be clear, human activity continues to emit increasing amounts of carbon, and the atmospheric concentration of CO2, now at 400 parts per million (ppm), continues to rise. But the scientists found that between 2002 and 2014, the rate at which CO2 increased in the atmosphere held steady at about 1.9 ppm/year. In addition, the proportion of the CO2 emitted annually by human activity that remains in the atmosphere declined by about 20 percent. This slowdown can’t keep pace with emissions, so the overall amount of human-caused CO2 in the atmosphere increased, just not as quickly. And for that, new research suggests, we can thank plants.”
“This highlights the need to identify and protect ecosystems where the carbon sink is growing rapidly,” says Trevor Keenan, a research scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Climate & Ecosystem Sciences Division and the corresponding author of the paper.
The scientists attribute the stalled CO2 growth rate to an uptick in land-based photosynthetic activity, fueled by rising CO2 levels from fossil fuel emissions. It’s a snowball effect: as CO2 levels rise in the atmosphere, photosynthetic activity flourishes and plants take in more carbon, sparking more plant growth, more photosynthesis, and more carbon uptake.
They also identified another player. Plant respiration, a process in which plants use oxygen and produce CO2, did not increase as quickly as photosynthesis in recent years. This is because plant respiration is sensitive to temperature, and it was affected by the recent slowdown in global warming that was observed most significantly over vegetated land. So, between 2002 and 2014, plants took in more CO2 through photosynthesis, but did not “exhale” more CO2 into the atmosphere through respiration.
“These changes decreased the amount of anthropogenic CO2 that stays in the atmosphere, and thus slowed the accumulation of atmospheric CO2,” says Keenan.
Their findings provide a possible answer to a climatic mystery. The growth rate of atmospheric CO2 climbed steadily during the latter half of the 20th century, from 0.75 ppm/year in 1959 to 1.86 ppm/year in 2002. But Keenan and colleagues discovered an inflection point last year when they analyzed the latest data from the Global Carbon Project, which quantifies carbon emissions and their sources annually. Since 2002, the growth rate has remained flat.
This pause is especially surprising because it has occurred as human activity pumps more and more carbon into the atmosphere. All that CO2 must be going somewhere, so the scientists suspected something about the carbon cycle has recently changed in a big way.
“We believed one of the planet’s main carbon sinks had unexpectedly strengthened. The question was: which one?” says Keenan.
The scientists ruled out oceans as a dominant cause because most computer models agree the amount of carbon taken in by oceans has increased steadily in recent years. That left terrestrial ecosystems, which undergo a large year-to-year variability in carbon uptake, and the two biggest influences on this variability are photosynthesis and plant respiration.
To study these influences, the scientists used ten “global dynamic vegetation models” that predict how the terrestrial carbon cycle changes over time.
They also used a model that incorporates satellite measurements of vegetation cover and plant activity to predict global photosynthesis and respiration rates. They validated the model by comparing its results with data from AmeriFlux and FLUXNET, which are networks of eddy-covariance research towers that measure ecosystem carbon, water, and energy fluxes in North and South America. Berkeley Lab manages AmeriFlux for the Department of Energy.”
…..Continue reading more @ https://newscenter.lbl.gov/
Gov’t Research Says Plants Are Already Stopping Global Warming
– Daily Caller
“New research published over the weekend by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that plants are significantly slowing global warming far more than previously suspected.
Scientists found as carbon dioxide (CO2) levels increased worldwide, plants responded by sucking more CO2 out of the air than before. Researchers used satellite measurements of vegetation cover to determine that global rates of photosynthesis and respiration had sharply increased, largely due to the extra CO2.
“The scientists attribute the stalled CO2 growth rate to an uptick in land-based photosynthetic activity, fueled by rising CO2 levels from fossil fuel emissions,” states a summary of the research. “It’s a snowball effect: as CO2 levels rise in the atmosphere, photosynthetic activity flourishes and plants take in more carbon, sparking more plant growth, more photosynthesis, and more carbon uptake.”
Effectively, the DOE researchers found that plant growth caused by global warming ultimately reduced temperatures by significant margins.
“The growth in greenery is a consequence of climate change. As the planet heats up, places that were once too chilly for most plants to grow have become steadily more hospitable,” The Economist reported. “That extra vegetation, in turn, exerts its own effects on the climate.”
The research was separately funded by the Laboratory Directed Research Development Program of Berkeley Lab and the Energy Department’s Office of Science.
Independent researchers from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of California, Irvine previously found plants use water more efficiently when exposed to higher concentrations of CO2, meaning that any droughts caused by global warming would be much less severe than previous estimates. Rising CO2 emissions will not cause global agriculture to collapse and could even boost agricultural yields, the study suggests.”
….Continue reading @ Daily Caller
Flight Red Bluff (RBL) – Mount Shasta – Shelter Cove (0Q5) – Point Reyes – Petaluma
…More @ Youtube
Why California’s northern coast doesn’t look like Atlantic City
– LA Times
“All week long, the ultimate destination was the Sonoma County coast.
Even though I’m a native Californian, I’d done very little exploring up there where the misty shore is rocky, elk run wild and giant redwoods creep down to the sea.
But I was eager to get to the place where the state’s coastal preservation movement took root four decades ago in a David-and-Goliath battle, and I knew I’d be meeting some of the visionaries to whom all Californians owe a debt of gratitude. Their story and the lessons learned are more important than ever, given project proposals big and small that could forever alter the California coast.
One hero of the movement was the late Hazel Mitchell. As some tell it, the Tides restaurant waitress — who used to serve Alfred Hitchcock during the filming of “The Birds” — overheard PG&E executives at her table talking about the power plant. Town folk had thought it was going to be a steam plant, but Hazel got a big scoop. It was an atomic power plant, not a steam plant. And it was going to be built smack dab on the San Andreas fault.”
….Continue reading the excellent article by Steve Lopez @ LA Times
America’s vanishing West: California losing most land to development
– San Jose Mercury News
“The natural landscape of the American West is gradually disappearing under a relentless march of new subdivisions, roads, oil and gas production, agricultural operations and other human development, according to a detailed mapping study released Tuesday.
The report — at www.disappearingwest.org — was produced by scientists at Conservation Science Partners, a non-profit research organization based in Truckee, , who spent a year analyzing more than 30 large databases and a decade of satellite images over Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
But only 12 percent of all the land in the 11 Western states enjoys such protections, the report found. The most is in California, where 24 percent of the state is protected, followed by Nevada at 14 percent and Utah at 13 percent. The least: New Mexico with 6 percent and Montana with 7 percent.”
…Continue reading @ MercuryNews.com
Nuclear Plant’s future further divides Bernie Sanders and Clinton
– Guardian UK
“The Indian Point Energy Center, a controversial and ageing nuclear plant near New York City, has split the Democratic presidential candidates .
As campaigning continued before the New York primary on 19 April, Bernie Sanders called the facility “a catastrophe waiting to happen”. Hillary Clinton said only that it needed more oversight.
A senior member of the Union of Concerned Scientists told the Guardian “the whole New York metropolitan area is potentially imperiled by an accident at Indian Point”.
Last week, the company that runs Indian Point revealed that 227 bolts holding the interior of a nuclear reactor at the site have “degraded” or gone missing. In February, the plant reported that a radioactive material, tritium, had leaked into groundwater.
The plant, about 40 miles north of midtown Manhattan on the eastern bank of the Hudson river, has a 40-year history of accidents, fires and complaints. Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered an investigation into February’s “unacceptable” leak. He has called for the plant to close.
“In my view, we cannot sit idly by and hope that the unthinkable will never happen,” Sanders said in a statement. “It makes no sense to me to continue to operate a decaying nuclear reactor within 25 miles of New York City where nearly 10 million people live.”
…Continue reading @ The Guardian
Focus: California’s energy and water are in short supply
– OC Register
“The Aliso Canyon gas storage facility is an important contributor to Southern California’s electric grid. Gas storage acts like a shock absorber when variations in the electric grid are in great demand. In summer and winter, Aliso Canyon’s gas storage supports electric reliability. But until the facility is allowed to refill, residents relying on its fuel for power on peak days will have higher blackout risks.”
…Continue reading the detailed artricle by Kurt Snibbe @ OC Register
Nuclear Engineer Reports Fukushima Radioactivity Is Spreading Beyond TEPCO Control
“One man who understood right from the beginning the horrible consequences of the TEPCO Fukushima nuclear power plant melt downs was Arnie Gundersen, nuclear engineer and founder of Fairewinds Nuclear Energy Education in Burlington, Vermont. In the first days of the March 2011 catastrophe, Arnie told media that Fukushima was “Chernobyl on steroids.” Arnie meant that the Fukushima disaster would turn out to be much worse than the April 1986, core explosion at the Ukraine Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
The reason? Three of the TEPCO nuclear reactor units melted into the ground. Five years later, how deep have they gone? Many experts believe the missing Fukushima cores have melted through the concrete floors and are contaminating any water that reaches them — from the surrounding mountain runoffs and any groundwater they touch.
Currently, 400 tons of groundwater enter the TEPCO radioactive reactor basements every day! TEPCO’s only control over all that dangerous water is to put it in endlessly increasing numbers of tanks. As of Fall 2015, nearly 800,000 tons of radioactive water was being stored in more than 1,000 TEPCO industrial tanks crowded together on the Fukushima site.”
…Continue reading @ EarthFiles.com
Look At The Millions Of Bags Of Radioactive Dirt That Japan Has No Plan For
“Delano was reluctant to spend much time in the area himself, and carried a Geiger counter and wore a mask while he worked. “I always do my work and get out,” he says. “For example, one hot spot I found in 2012 would expose you to the equivalent of an additional year of natural radiation exposure within 24 hours, if you were to sit there. For obvious reasons, I did not linger there.”
For him, the disaster was personal—he’s lived in Japan for two decades and has Japanese family. Even in Tokyo, the food supply has been affected, and foods are now labeled with the prefecture where they were grown. “You can be careful, but once you go to a restaurant or buy a bento box lunch, all bets are off,” he says.
He also wanted to show how much the area—which was once a peaceful, Vermont-like region of farms—has changed. “It is some of the most beautiful country in Japan,” he says. “This natural beauty only reinforces the sense of loss.”
…Continue reading @ Nuclear-news.net
Environmental Barbarism –
Japan kills 333 whales – including more than 200 pregnant females – in latest Antarctic haul as it continues to reject international orders to stop hunting
– Daily Mail UK
“Japan has admitted to killing 333 whales – including more than 200 pregnant females – in its latest Antarctic hunt.
The last of Japan’s four whaling ships returned to port yesterday after a four-month expedition, which the country claims is for ‘scientific’ purposes.
Their haul is a ‘significant increase’ over their 2014 hunt, which saw 252 whales captured.
It comes despite an international outcry about their conduct.
Japan has continued to reject international orders to stop whale hunting and a ruling by the UN’s International Court of Justice, which said the hunt was a commercial venture masquerading as science.
Under the International Whaling Commission, to which Japan is a signatory, there has been a ban on hunting whales since 1986.
But Japan continues persists in the practice using a loophole in the ban that allows for lethal research.
Tokyo claims it is trying to prove the whale population is large enough to sustain a return to commercial hunting, and says it has to kill the mammals to carry out its research properly.
However it makes no secret of the fact whale meat is sold in stores in Japan [though few Japanese still buy it].
Patrick Ramage, from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said: ‘If our Japanese friends really care about science and international law, it’s time to put down the harpoon and chopstick, stop cutting these creatures into bits in the name of science, and join Australia, New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries studying living whales in their ocean environment in the 21st century.’
Environmental campaign group Greenpeace labelled the hunt ‘unnecessary’ and said it violated the UN court ruling.
‘It is completely unacceptable for the Japanese government to ignore the ICJ’s findings and furthermore, completely unnecessary to go ahead with lethal research,’ said Greenpeace Japan executive director Junichi Sato.
Greg Hunt, the Australian environment minister, said his government opposed whaling ‘clearly, absolutely and categorically’.
‘It is in my view abhorrent and a throwback to an earlier age,’ he said. ‘There is no scientific justification for lethal research.’
…Read more @ Daily Mail UK
Japan Kills 200 Pregnant Minke Whales
– National Geographic
“As marine mammal biologist Leah Gerber told National Geographic in 2014:
Once a Japanese ship lands a whale, there is some semblance of scientific activity, including collecting organs for use in research, Gerber said. But the bulk of the whale goes to market, she said, where it’s sold for consumption.
After the international court ruling, Japan halted its whaling activities briefly, but thenresolved to begin whaling again in the 2015-2016 season. It revised its program to be more scientific, and it lowered its quota of whales by about two-thirds.
Still, many scientists derided the new plan, and the International Whaling Commission could not reach a consensus on whether it met requirements. And while the quota reduction looked good on paper, it didn’t make much of a difference in practice, according to Astrid Fuchs, the whaling program manager for the nonprofit organization Whale and Dolphin Conservation. In previous years, Japan has killed between 200-400 Antarctic minke whales each year. This year’s 333 isn’t out of the ordinary.
Also part of its plan: targeting females. Japan maintains that it must capture and kill juvenile and adult females in order to determine the age at which minke whales reach sexual maturity. Japan wants to use this data in its quest to demonstrate the minke whale population is healthy enough for regular whaling, Fuchs said.
And because it’s breeding time in the southern seas, 90 percent of the females Japanese whalers killed were pregnant.
The expedition was part of a 12-year plan to kill nearly 4,000 whales in Antarctic waters. The conservation status of Antarctic minke whales is unclear, but some analyses have found a 60 percent reduction when comparing the 1978–91 period and the 1991–2004 period, which would qualify it for endangered status.”
….Continue reading @ National Geographic
– Note: this mindless barbarism doesn’t say much for current Japanese “culture.” What modern day country would continue such barbarity against mammals? /CJ
New York City’s nuclear power plant leaking ‘uncontrollable radioactive flow’ into Hudson River
“New York governor Andrew Cuomo recently called for an investigation after Indian Point, a nuclear power plant on the Hudson River, reported a leak of radioactive material flowing into the groundwater. Now, new samples taken from the local groundwater show that contamination levels are 80% higher than previous samples, prompting experts to claim this leak is spreading in “a disaster waiting to happen” and calling for the plant to be shut down completely. The Indian Point nuclear power plant is located just 25 miles north of New York City, and it’s a crucial source of of power for over 23 million people living in the greater NYC metropolitan region.”
Read more @ Inhabitat.com
– This is a very serious situation if even the headline may not be entirely accurate. Any leakage into ground water is serious, incomprehensible that the nuke is 25 miles north of NYC.
More Obama EPA MIA.
Weed California may declare water emergency
– RecordSearchLight – Redding CA
“Worried about losing a major source of water this summer, the Weed City Council will meet Wednesday to consider declaring an emergency over its water supply.
The council will also consider applying for two grants to help pay for alternate sources of water, in case the city isn’t able to negotiate a new contract that provides the city with about 50 percent of its water.
The city has a 50-year-old contract to purchase 2 cubic-feet per second of water on a continuous basis from Roseburg Forest Products, but that agreement expires June 29.
Ron Stock, Weed’s city administrator, said the community needs to take action, in case Roseburg and the city are unable to agree on a contract before it expires.
“Our hope is to continue to negotiate with Roseburg and not have to follow one of these temporary approaches,” Stock said.
The city plans to apply for two separate grants from a state bond fund, Proposition 84, and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. One is for $250,000 to pay for delivering tanker trucks of water to the city.
It would take about 45 truckloads of water a day to meet the city’s current needs, according to a press release the city sent out. The city would also need to deliver 2,000 cases of water to residents weekly, the release states.
The other, $1.5 million grant, would pay for connecting water lines from the north to the south sides of Weed, Stock said.”
…Continue reading @ Redding.com
Where is Weed California?
Weed airport in Northern California
Where Your Cat Goes Can Now Be Tracked with Cat Tracker
– National Geographic
“Cat Tracker, a new crowdsourced mapping project, encourages owners to put GPS collars on domestic cats to monitor their movements and activities around—and sometimes well beyond—the ‘hood.
The resulting data could help conservationists save wildlife that the cats prey on, as well as reveal new insights into cat behavior, experts say.
Our pet cats are a pretty lazy bunch, sleeping or at least lying around well over 90 percent of the time. But still, when that screen door shuts behind them, our felines are prone to roam.”
Read more here @ Cat Tracker at National Geographic
El Niño Storm Dumps 30 Inches of Snow in Big Bear, Causes Dangerous Driving Conditions
– KTLA Jan 08
So much for Jerry Brown, his drought and global warming. Thirty inches.
More here @ KTLA News
The Biggest Source of California’s Contribution to Climate Change is a Gas Leak Gov Moonbeam won’t fix now
– Yahoo Jan 2016
“A gas leak caused by a broken well at the Southern California Gas Co.’s storage site at Aliso Canyon is becoming the state’s largest single source of climate change, according to David Clegern from the California Air Resources Board, theGuardian reported. The leak is not expected to be fixed until February.
“It is in California at this point the single largest source point of global warming,” Clegern told the Guardian. “We haven’t been able to see anything anywhere near this size.”
– As the record is written, it is becoming increasingly apparent that Gov Jerry Brown will go down as having one of the worst environmental records since the Gold Rush, while trying to portray himself as an environmentalist globally. What an absolute fraud.
– More here @ Yahoo News
Read more about Jerry Brown trying to benefit from oil on his property while penalizing you for using it, @ Washington Times
California Declares State Of Emergency Over L.A. Methane Leak – Finally
– HuffingtonPost – Jan 2016
“SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Wednesday over a massive natural-gas leak that has been spewing fumes into a Los Angeles neighborhood for months.
In a statement, Brown said he acted based on the requests of local residents in the community of Porter Ranch and the “prolonged and continuing” nature of the gas blowout at the underground storage facility.
The well, owned by Southern California Gas Co., has been spewing up to 1,200 tons of methane daily, along with other gases. The leak was first reported in October.”
– Read more here @ HuffingtonPost
– Finally, after three months, Gov Moonbeam finally gets around to doing something, anything for the 3,500 families displaced by the gas leak.
Instead of flying around the world spewing hot air and carbon pollution, Jerry Brown needs to stay in California and do the work he was elected to do as governor, and that is look out for Californians. It should not take three months for him to finally get around to doing what he should have done in October of last year.
Water – Dec 2015
California Grows 80% of the World’s Almonds During Drought – Consumes More Water Than All California’s 39 Million Indoor Users Combined
– Seattle Times
“Branded “the poster child of all things bad in water” by one almond grower, the popular crop consumes more water than all the showering, dish washing and other indoor household water use of California’s 39 million people.
People around the world are eating over 1,000 percent more California almonds than they did just a decade ago, and last year almonds became the top export crop in the nation’s top agriculture state. China’s booming middle class is driving much of the demand.
That strong Asia market is producing up to 30 percent returns for investors, prompting agribusinesses to expand almond planting in the state by two-thirds in the past decade. The crop has come to be dominated by global corporations and investment funds.”
Read the Seattle Times coverage here: Seattle Times
– Clearly the Drought, Water and Who Benefits at the expense of the many are askew. Creating a demand for a high profit crop, funded by speculators, subsidized by the California taxpayer is a bad recipe for water resources. Mother Jones and other weigh in below:
California Goes Nuts
“Almond products—snack mixes, butters, milk—are flying off supermarket shelves. The value of the California almond market hit$4.8 billion in 2012—that’s triple the level of a decade earlier. Only dairy is worth more to the state than almonds and grapes. In fact, almonds, along with California-grown pistachios and walnuts, are becoming so lucrative that big investment funds, eager to get in on the boom, are snapping up land and dropping in trees.
There’s just one problem: Almond orchards require about a third more water per acre than grape vineyards. In fact, they’re one of California’s thirstiest crops. It takes a gallon of water to produce a single almond—more than three times the amount required for a grape and two and a half times as much for a strawberry. There’s more water embedded in just four almonds than there is in a full head of lettuce. But unlike row crops, which farmers can choose not to plant during dry spells, almond trees must be watered no matter what.”
– So what happens when a drought strikes in the middle of massive speculation on almond crops? Are Californians obligated to subsidize almond growers who export the crop for profits? Must they make major life style and quality of life changes for the sake of private profit?
Read the rest of the story by Tom Philpott @ MotherJones
NASA: California Drought Causing Valley Land to Sink
“This study represents an unprecedented use of multiple satellites and aircraft to map subsidence in California and address a practical problem we’re all facing,” said JPL research scientist and report co-author Tom Farr. “We’re pleased to supply the California DWR with information they can use to better manage California’s groundwater. It’s like the old saying: ‘you can’t manage what you don’t measure’
Land near Corcoran in the Tulare basin sank 13 inches (33 centimeters) in just eight months — about 1.6 inches (4 centimeters) per month. One area in the Sacramento Valley was sinking approximately half-an-inch (1.3 centimeters) per month, faster than previous measurements.”
Read the full report here @ jpl.nasa.gov
Central Valley sinking fast in drought, NASA study shows
“Portions of the San Joaquin Valley floor are sinking at an alarming rate as farmers pump ever more groundwater during California’s extended drought, according to a NASA study released Wednesday.
The report, generated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the state Department of Water Resources, sheds new light on the phenomenon known as subsidence.
While the land is sinking just a few inches a year, subsidence has been hastened by the drought, and the consequences can mushroom as the dry years pile up. Gravity-fed canal systems don’t function as well. Portions of the Delta-Mendota Canal, which brings water to much of the San Joaquin Valley, have buckled and had to be propped back up. In Firebaugh, west of Fresno, a motor-vehicle bridge has sunk so low it practically sits atop an irrigation canal.
“It is one of those long-term, slow and cumulative impacts,” said Jeanine Jones, interstate resources manager at the Department of Water Resources. “The thing we’re especially concerned about is the damage, long-term damage, to water infrastructure. Over time, that diminishes the ability to move water.”
FAA Issues Temporary Flight Restrictions Over Porter Ranch Amid Leaking Methane Gas Well
“As Porter Ranch residents continued to express concerns over a leaking methane gas well, the Federal Aviation Administration banned planes from flying over the area until early next March.”
– The gas leaking into the atmosphere at Porter Ranch has been going on for six weeks, with no immediate plans to cap or rectify it.
– Governor Jerry Brown has been in Paris for the past week fixing global problems, which is not his job, but can’t seem to find the time to address this health emergency.
More here @ KTLA
Fear at the tap: Uranium contaminates water in the Central Valley
– An excellent and very sad story on how water contaminated with uranium is contaminating drinking water in the California Central Valley while Gov Brown does nothing.
“An Associated Press investigation in California’s central farm valleys — along with the U.S. Central Plains, among the areas most affected — found authorities are doing little to inform the public at large of the growing risk.
That includes the one out of four families on private wells in this farm valley who, unknowingly, are drinking dangerous amounts of uranium, researchers determined this year and last. Government authorities say long-term exposure to uranium can damage kidneys and raise cancer risks, and scientists say it can have other harmful effects.
In this swath of farmland, roughly 250 miles long and encompassing major cities, up to one in 10 public water systems have raw drinking water with uranium levels that exceed federal and state safety standards, the U.S. Geological Survey has found.”
Read the whole story here @ SFGate by Ellen Knickmeyer and Scott Smith
– Again where is Gov Jerry Brown on this?
Porter Ranch gas leak increasing California’s greenhouse gas output by 25 percent
– KPCC Nov 26
“Natural gas has been spewing from a ruptured well near Porter Ranch for a month, and the state Air Resources Board estimates the leak is so large that it’s increasing California’s atmospheric load of methane — the primary component of natural gas — by 25 percent.”
by Sharon McNary @ KPCC
– The leak is still spewing at this point, while our state and UC leaders are busy preparing to head off to Paris to discuss how to cut back on greenhouse gases.
Our tax dollars at work: UC brings California’s climate change message to Paris
On topic from Scientific American ClimateWire, this article on the Artic Permafrost on Nov 19, 2015:
““[The boreal] is such a large biome on the planet and, as a consequence, changes in that system have direct impacts on the global climate,” she said one evening, sitting on a dock jutting out into Goose Lake. Flies flitted around, and a loon laughed in the background.
“I’m not doing a very good job explaining this,” she said suddenly, with a sigh.
The boreal covers 5.3 million square miles in Europe, Asia and North America, and is an ancient carbon sink. About 20,000 years ago, ice sheets that had covered all of Canada rolled back into the Arctic. Coniferous forests rapidly expanded northward, their roots firmly planted on permafrost.
As the planet entered the summer-like Holocene Epoch 11,500 years ago, some of the southern reaches of the permafrost thawed and forests there turned to bogs and fens, which are known in Canada as muskeg. In that sense, the boreal has always been a shifting landscape.”
by Gayathri Vaidyanathan and ClimateWire
– My takeaway is that this happened before and the Earth dealt with it. Read it and decide for yourself.
Not sure I’d agree with the tone of the headline.
How to Determine the Scientific Consensus on Global Warming
“An academic feud swirls around how best or even whether to express the scientific consensus around climate change”
– Great comments in that section, e.g. –
“There is lessons to be learned from history here. As an example, Thomas Edison, who was a master at experimentation and research, was so influenced by his own prejudice on the transmission of electricity that he went so far as to use political influence and vast sums of money to disprove the work of Tesla and his work on alternating currents. Had the world listened to Edison and his investors we would be spending huge amounts of money on the much less efficient transmission of power using direct current generation. Edison may have been partially right when it comes to power needed for electronics which need to convert AC to DC but it would certainly been a huge ball and chain for industrial motors, lighting and heating systems that powered industry.
The lesson to be learned is obvious. Before we listen to any scientists we need to research into who funds them and what their political agenda is. It’s as easy as looking at the references and footnotes they offer and the media channels or blog sites they use to get their message out. This is part of the process of peer review and one of the most important observations. When scientists allow corporate influence to skew their conclusions they deserve to be chastised in the peer review process.”
“Cook’s shenanigans do not inspire trust, though. If his data are so strong, why does he not share them? Why does he claim that the data sharing is prohibited by confidentiality agreements that do not exist? Why did he take months to anonymize data that were never attributed to people? Why did he not test for inter-rater reliability?”
36 Cool Photos Show How Silicon Valley went from prune orchards to the Center of the Tech Universe
“Here’s how Silicon Valley went from prune orchards to aerospace research labs to the capital of the connected world….
The “Traitorous Eight” teamed up with businessman Sherman Fairchild to create Fairchild Semiconductor, which picked up with silicon transistors where Shockley left off. It was originally founded in this tiny office in Palo Alto. Fairchild gets a lot of credit for helping make computers smaller, faster, and cheaper with its transistor and circuit research and inventions.
When the USSR put Sputnik I into orbit in 1957, it was Fairchild that the newly-formed NASA tapped to make the computer components for the first manned mission to the moon. It was a successful project that seriously put Fairchild and the region on the map.”
– By Matt Weinberger @ BusinessInsider.com
Jerry Brown wants to ban fossil fuels unless…. they’re on his property
“Doug Powers at the Boss Emeritus’ site calls Brown an eco-hyopcrite, and not without justification. Brown has actually tried to boost California’s oil business too, as the AP’s story notes, but often lectures on climate change and the need to fight it like World War II. Last month, Brown signed a law that will require half of California’s electricity to come from renewables by 2030, which prompts the question of what Brown wanted to do with any oil he might have found on his property anyway.”
“California is at the beginning of a $100 billion project to run a medium-speed electrical train along and over the the San Andreas Fault in large part to give travelers an option to get from LA to Frisco without feeling guilty about global warming. Airplanes, which make the trip more quickly and with far less government subsidies, use fossil fuels — and Governor Jerry Brown and the state of California don’t like fossil fuels. That is, they don’t like them unless Jerry Brown can find some under his family’s property … and the Associated Press reports that Brown used state resources to do some prospecting on the ol’ homestead:
Read the whole story here:
POSTED AT 6:21 PM ON NOVEMBER 5, 2015 BY ED MORRISSEY
California Water Issues – Fish or Families for the Central Valley?
Federal regulations and court battles are having unintended consequences in the State with everything at stake.
More on California Water Issues:
“The big controversy still clusters around freshwater flows into, and out of, the estuary. These flows are tightly controlled by California’s vast network of dams, canals and pumps and the demands of the people and crops that depend on that infrastructure….
Because California has fully tapped the state’s available water resources – parceling the flows among homes, farms, industry and wildlife – any adjustment to benefit fish necessarily comes at a cost to urban or agricultural water consumers.”
The debate in Congress over the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act include this presentation from Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA) 22nd District
“In an average year, the entire state of California receives about 200 million acre-feet of water through precipitation. More than 50% evaporates into the atmosphere, percolates into the soil or is used by native vegetation. The remaining water, approximately 82 million acre-feet, flows into rivers. Of this amount, California dedicates 48% to the environment – the single largest use of water in California. The remaining water is used by agriculture (41%) and cities (11%). Of the water that reaches the Delta, the vast majority, approximately 76%, flows into the San Francisco Bay.”
The Congressman makes his case here:
Electricity ratepayers stuck with higher rates and clean up tab for San Onofre Nuke while Edison breaks the law with CPUC
Two great articles which go a long way to explain the corruption and dysfunction of the current state govt.
BTW/ why isn’t California Attorney General Kamala Harris (who’s running for Senate next year) looking into this? 40 million dollars is a lot of money for California right now.
“Judge Darling could have recommended a fine of $41.8 million, but based her lower assessment on a number of mitigating factors. For one, “SCE understands the problem and is acting to reduce or eliminate it.” The “problem” is Edison holding private conversations about public matters with CPUC officials and not reporting it, as required by law. ”
– by Ken Brody @ allgov.com/usa/us
Read the whole article at:
California Coastal Commission approves:
“America’s largest beach-front nuclear waste dump.”
Plus another great article, same web site, regarding the misuse of funds for a controversial idea at the former and still radioactive nuke in San Onofre:
“Associated Press reported over the weekend that already-shuttered plants, like the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station between San Diego and Los Angeles, have been dipping into funds for decommissioning facilities in the future, with the government’s blessing, to pay for storing on site the spent fuel the feds failed to take off their hands as promised.
In light of the seemingly endless delay, Southern California Edison proposed moving 2,700 spent fuel assemblies at San Onofre from highly vulnerable above-ground pools to steel canisters, wrapped in concrete, topped with steel and more concrete, and buried beneath the bluffs by the ocean. The waste would lay 125 feet from a seawall and be dangerously radioactive for thousands of years.
Earlier in the month, the California Coastal Commission approved what one critic called “America’s largest beach-front nuclear waste dump.”
– Ken Broder @ allgov.com/usa/us
Read the entire article here:
Traffic jam: California’s going nowhere on immigration control | Mulshine
Some plain talk from New Jersey about California:
“Schneider directed me to a 1966 quote from David Brower, then the executive director of the Sierra Club: “We feel you don’t have a conservation policy unless you have a population policy.”
The Sierra Club has since abandoned that goal. Dissident members, many of them scientists, formed CAPS to call attention to the need to curb immigration, which worsens every environmental problem from water shortages to loss of open space, Schneider said.
“Those of us in CAPS understand that none of those problems can be solved with the growth of people,” he said. “Every increment of new people cancels out the efficiency improvements the people living here are asked to make.”
That’s certainly true of the drought now turning the Golden State brown. If California doesn’t have enough water for its current population, how will it accommodate millions more residents?
And it’s also true when it comes to another issue currently in the news in California, the issuance of driver’s license to undocumented aliens. Half a million signed up immediately and another million are expected to do so in the next few years.
That will exacerbate a problem that plagues everyone across the political spectrum: traffic. Back in the 1960s, when I also attended the University of California, the state was mostly rural with a few pockets of civilization. I rarely encountered a traffic jam except at the height of rush hour.
But these days, Schneider said, “Rush hours are not rush hours. They’re rush three and four hours.”
– By Paul Mulshine | The Star Ledger
Read the entire article here from NJ.com:
California Then and Now
California has grown, unplanned and unmanaged for 50 years. What does that mean for the future?
Millions of Gallons of Water are Being Pumped Out of California from Federal forests by private bottlers without Federal oversight
In the midst of an ‘historic drought’ millions of gallons of pristine water on Federal land is being pumped by private corporations for private profit with little or no oversight or transparency.
“While the Nestlé news in California has garnered a significant amount of media attention, this is hardly the only instance where bottled water companies have taken precedence over local ecosystems.
Crystal Geyser Water Company opened a facility in Mount Shasta in 2014, much to the dismay of local residents, without performing an environmental impact report. Like Nestlé, Crystal Geyser is not closely monitored by the Forest Service but submits water usage reports. According to the Forest Service, the impact of the company’s water use on groundwater supplies and aquifers is “unknown.” Apparently, “unknown” is the new “okay.”
According to the National Resources Defence Council, “Other springs in national forests across the country have been tapped for use by bottled water companies, including Nicolet National Forest in Wisconsin, Ocala National Forest in Florida, Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee, Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia, Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina, and Sumter National Forest in South Carolina. Information on the consequences is hard to come by.”
Read more in detail here and what you can do about:
Drought apparently doesn’t seem to affect some Billionaires in California
What a story. They seem to own everything, enough money for several lifetimes, after all how much money do you really need? A billion just isn’t what it used to be I guess.
Talk about Beverly Hill-billies. Farm in the valley live in the hills.
Since the southernmost part of the San Joaquin Valley has traditionally been semi-arid, importing water to grow almonds makes no sustainable sense.
Sense is no match for money for some people.
– From: Chloe Sorvino FORBES STAFF
NASA Study: Antartica is Not Shrinking – Nov 2015
– Breitbart- Nov 3, 2015:
Antarctica is growing not shrinking, according to the latest study from NASA. Furthermore, instead of contributing to rising sea levels, the still-very-much-frozen southern continent is actually reducing them by 0.23 mm per year.
What accounts for the difference in this study from others?
“But the satellite measurements used in the latest NASA report tell a different story. Unlike previous studies – many largely based on guesswork because the continent is so vast and inhospitable, meaning that data is extremely limited – they use satellite altimeters to calculate changes in the surface height of the ice. What they show is that the amount of ice lost by glaciers collapsing into the sea has been exceeded by the gain in ice mass from accumulated snow.”
Read the story here:
Read more from the NASA web site:
““We’re essentially in agreement with other studies that show an increase in ice discharge in the Antarctic Peninsula and the Thwaites and Pine Island region of West Antarctica,” said Jay Zwally, a glaciologist with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study, which was published on Oct. 30 in the Journal of Glaciology. “Our main disagreement is for East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica – there, we see an ice gain that exceeds the losses in the other areas.” Zwally added that his team “measured small height changes over large areas, as well as the large changes observed over smaller areas.”
San Onofre Nuclear Waste to remain on-site until 2049 – SCE
The latest proposal for the storage of the spent nuclear waste is for that radioactive waste remain on site at the seaside nuke plant well into the foreseeable future.
Read the whole story here from the OC Register:
Citizens group sues California agency over Nuclear Waste in San Onofre
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – A civilian watchdog group sued a California coastal agency on Tuesday, seeking to overturn its decision to allow 1,800 tons (1,632 tonnes) of radioactive waste from a closed nuclear power plant to be buried in containers not far from a beach.
Citizens Oversight Inc. asked a San Diego Superior Court to reverse an Oct. 6 ruling by the California Coastal Commission that Southern California Edison could bury uranium fuel rod assemblies in steel casks on the property of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, which closed in 2012 after unexpected equipment failures.
“This is the dumbest nuclear dump ever,” said lawyer Michael Aguirre, who represents the group. “It isn’t safe, it isn’t smart and it places every Southern California resident under a nuclear sword of Damocles.”
Read more at:
California Lets Billions Of Gallons Of Fresh Water Flow Straight Into The Ocean
A great and illumining interview with urban water expert Andy Lipkis details some interesting questions and more interesting answers.
“Why make freshwater when we could collect the water that falls from the sky? Even on the driest year in recorded history in 2013, it still rained 3.6 inches in Los Angeles. An inch of rainfall in L.A. generates 3.8 billion gallons of runoff, so you’re talking about more than 12 billion gallons of water that could be captured, but that flows within hours down our concrete streets and into the ocean. There’s enough rainwater to be harvested to produce 30-50% of the entire city’s water needs.”
read the full interview here:
Scientists more worried than public about world’s growing population
– Pew Research
“Asked whether or not the growing world population will be a major problem, 59% of Americans agreed it will strain the planet’s natural resources, while 82% of U.S.-based members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science said the same. Just 17% of AAAS scientists and 38% of Americans said population growth won’t be a problem because we will find a way to stretch natural resources.”
– George Gao, Pew Research, June 2015
Read the full report here:
How Many Is Too Many? The Progressive Argument for Reducing Immigration Into the United States
“If they think about population at all, most Americans see it as a problem for the “developing world.” But at 320 million people, the United States is the third-most-populous nation on earth, and given our high per-capita consumption rates and outsize global ecological footprint (carbon emissions, demands on ocean fisheries, and the like), a good case can be made that we are the world’s most overpopulated country right now. Furthermore, our 1 percent annual growth rate—higher than many developing nations—has America on track to double its population by the end of this century.
Whether we look at air pollution or wildlife-habitat losses, excessive water withdrawals from our rivers or greenhouse-gas emissions, Americans are falling far short of creating an ecologically sustainable society—and our large and growing numbers appear to be a big part of the problem.”
– Prof. Phil Cafaro, Colorado State University
Read the entire case here at: