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Seeding Socioeconomic Avalanches! [Hacked by WordPress; filtered by Google!]

What Florida Might Look Like in 2014

Posted by edro on December 7, 2009

The World Is Rapidly Collapsing

To fathom the reasons for world’s rapid collapse, the following basic premises should first be understood:

  • The sum total of human activities on the planet is exponentially INCREASING.
  • Humans consumptions of energy and resources continue to increase in parallel to its activities.
  • Pollution including  greenhouse gas emissions resulting from increased energy consumption is accumulating.
  • The increase in the consumption of energy and resources is enlarging humans ecological footprint.
  • The impacts of humans’ ever-enlarging ecological footprint and the accumulating pollution have driven most of the planetary-scale ecosystems to the verge of collapse.
  • In the absence of any intervention by the forces of nature, the large-scale ecosystem such as the atmosphere, climate, oceans, soil … will completely collapse, rendering the planet unable to support large species.
  • We can say with the maximum degree of certainty that in the absence of any ‘remedial action’ by natural forces the state of our planet would progressively worsen [NOT improve] with time.
  • Based on the evidence, including enhanced seismic and volcanic activity, WE BELIEVE, the earth is trying to maintain planetary “homeostasis.”
  • However, there is a high price to pay for the nature’s balancing act functions.
  • Planet earth is effectively becoming “smaller,” less hospitable. The quality of nature’s services are generally deteriorating, becoming more rudimentary
  • The effect of Nature’s balancing act functions, as harsh as they may be, should be viewed as desperate last measures: Survival of some, or extinction of all.

EDRO Moderators believe that the impact of global climate change, including extreme rain events, storm tides, and rising sea levels caused by both melting ice and slowing down [or disappearance ] of Gulf Stream could flood large swaths of eastern United States, especially the coastal areas of Florida.

Cities and population centers both on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts could experience complete or partial inundation for some of the year, most of the year, or permanently.

About 40 percent of Florida’s more densely inhabited areas, home to more than 65 percent of the population, could be impacted by the climatic events, rendering most of the existing cities effectively uninhabitable and affecting up to 90 percent of Florida’s population.

USGS Digital Elevation Map of The United States

Click on image to get map

The elevations correspond to the following legend:


Plotted on these maps are:

  • White – State, country, coast outlines
  • Gray – County outlines
  • Black – Rivers and major streams
  • Red – US Highways
  • Light red – Interstate Highways
  • Magenta – National Parks and Monuments

USGS Digital Elevation Map of Florida


Some of the areas most prone to flooding are marked on the map. The markings are meant as an indication only. They do not represent exact locations. Source of images: Unisys Weather. Images may be subject to copyright.

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Posted in civilization, climate change, Collapse, collapse mechanisms, collapsing ecosystems | Tagged: , , , , | 25 Comments »

Why Dubai Developments Failed

Posted by edro on December 1, 2009

Camel Through the Eye of a Needle

Dubai Developments: A Major Ecological Disaster caused by Poor Judgment All Around

Let’s for a moment not mention the sea-level rises and just talk about herding 1.7 million mostly wealthy people into “an area of empty desert and sea.”


Nakheel’s Dubai Coast developments: (L to R): The artificial island of Palm Jebel Ali “under construction.”   The Palm Jumeirah, located about 14km  east of the Palm Jebel Ali. Immediately to the east of Palm Jumeirah, are The World and The Universe Tourist/ Leisure areas. Extreme Right: Palm Deira, the largest of the three palm-shaped artificial islands/ island sites that are located off the coast of Dubai.

Nakheel Property of Dubai says on its website:

The Palm Jebel Ali is a landmark commercial, residential, and tourism development for Dubai, which, along with the Waterfront project, will transform an area of empty desert and sea into a bustling international community, with an estimated population of 1.7 million people by 2020.

Bomber Pilot to Navigator: “I can see the 15 pyramid-sized mountains of garbage produced by Palm Island residents that they wanted us to incinerate!”


Navigator to Pilot: “No, we’re still in Egypt air space, and that’s the great pyramid of Giza to the left.”

Holy Camel, 1.7 million people?

Could you even imagine an additional 1.7 million people living in one of the most fragile ecosystem in the world?

What would their environmental impact be like? Where would they get their food and water from? How about traveling, commuting, shopping,  entertainment… ENERGY?

Here’s the infrastructure needed for the [luxury] housing of an international community with 1.7 million people:

IN:

  • 50 Gigawatts of power [Remember this is a leisure community]
  • 400 billion liters of water annually
  • 6 billion liters of drinking water [flown in from Europe and trucked into the Palm Islands, no doubt!]
  • 20 MMT of food  [161,000 jumbo loads per year, or 442 landing per day for food imports alone!]
  • A minimum of 1.5 million tons of clothing and consumer goods
  • An estimated 1.5 million cars, trucks and other vehicles
  • 500,000 sailing boats, powerboats, yachts, ski jets …

Out:

  • Sewage: How will they dispose an estimated 2 million tons of domestic sewage each year?
  • Trash: And 4 million tons of garbage (MSW). [In volume, that amount is the equivalent of 15  Great Pyramid of Giza each year. ]
  • Gray water: How about 400 billion tons of gray water annually? (MSW).
  • Co2 pollution: 250 MMT of Co2 per year
  • Damage to the marine environment: Have you ever visited Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong? The Dubai stench in the Persian Gulf would be several orders of magnitude worse.

A few back of the envelope calculations could have saved tremendous amount of material and time waste, not to mention tens of billions of dollars of other people’s money. But hey, the banks aren’t there to make sensible lending decisions.

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Posted in coast of Dubai, Palm Deira, Palm Jebel Ali, Palm Jumeirah, persian gulf ecosystems | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Major Blackout Plunges Brazil into Darkness

Posted by edro on November 11, 2009

Another Warning Shot by Nature

Power failure in Brazil plunges its two largest cities into darkness

Tens of millions of people sat at home by candlelight as police urged then not to venture outside to prevent an upsurge in street crime.

A major power failure brought chaos to Brazil’s two largest cities,  Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, for several hours starting at 22:00local time (22:00 UTC).

Street lighting, stop lights, elevators, metro system and everything else that depended on electricity stopped functioning, exposing human vulnerability to electrical power loss.

brazil
A map of Brazil. Source: US govt.

Thousands of passengers were stranded as the metro railway systems in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo shut down.  Sao Paulo is home to nearly 20 million people, and Rio to another 15 million.

Tens of thousands of passengers had to walk along the underground tracks to reach stations, where buses provided an emergency service.

To prevent an upsurge in street crime, extra police were put on the streets, and residents in Sao Paulo and Rio were urged not to venture outside their homes.

The power failure was most likely caused by a major fault at the giant Itaipu hydroelectric dam, where a loss of up to 20,000 megawatts was reported after the distribution system was shut down by a storm.

itaipu 2
Itaipu hydroelectric dam, Paraguay/Brazil. The world’s largest hydroelectric facility. Credit: Itaipu Binacional.

The hydroelectric generator at Itaipu dam, which supplies up to 22 percent of Brazil’s electricity, simply lost its entire output for several hours,  affecting at least 9 of Brazil’s 27 states.

Paraguay [population: 6.5 million,] which also relies on the Itaipu dam for 90% of its electricity, plunged  into darkness for about 15 minutes.

[Note: Brazil has a population of about 192 million.]

Soon, the US, EU countries, China, Japan … could experience similar disruptions…

See also: Murphy’s law is void of a time vector!

Related Links:

Posted in 286W, energy dinosaurs, failing ecosystems, First Wave of Collapsing Cities, Giga Trends, Human Impact on Nature, Itaipu hydroelectric dam, Next Phase of the Future, power, vulnerability to power loss | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Could Sydney, Australia Be Buried by Dust Storms

Posted by edro on October 19, 2009

How Large Is Your Dust Storm?

On September 23, 2009 our colleagues at FEWW posted the following on their blog:

FEWW entry summarized a phenomenal dust storm which had started a day earlier ( September 22),  sweeping across Australia’s eastern states of New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (Qld), reaching Sydney, the country’s largest city, and Brisbane.

The dust plume measured about 500 kilometres wide and at least 1,000 km long, covering dozens of communities, towns and cities in both states.

Recently, they posted details of another dust storm

They have now asked EDRO Moderators the following questions:

‘How much dust would it take, and under what circumstances could it make Sydney uninhabitable?’

Desertification of farmlands, villages and small communities have been commonly occurring throughout history. In recent times, countries like China have experienced accelerated rates of desertification. Up to 3 million km² of land in China have already desertified.  The country’s annual desertification rates have  more than doubled to 3,400 km²  since the 1970s (1,560 km²) and have increased by 62 percent compared with the 1980s (2,100 km²). Thousands of villages have been lost to encroaching deserts.

According to a report by the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), “some 24,000 villages, 1,400 kilometres of railway lines, 30,000 kilometres of highways, and 50,000 kilometres of canals and waterways are subject to constant threats of desertification.”

“Dust-laden blasts have buried villages before blowing into cities and suffocating urban residents.”

Historic examples are abound about large cities in Africa, Asia, Near and middle East that were lost to desert.

Chilean town of Chaitén is one of the latest examples of a town lost to [human-enhanced] natural phenomena, namely lahar caused by volcanic ash deposits, and other pyroclastic materials.

Well, Could it Happen to Sydney, Australia?

The short answer is yes!

Given  copious supplies of dust [or sand,] sufficiently strong winds,  as well as extremes of climatic and atmospheric conditions conducive to precipitating large amounts of airborne dust on the ground, dust storms could bury any village, town or city in their path and make them partially or completely uninhabitable.

Under the said conditions, one or more dust storms blowing within a critical period of time, with wind forces lasting long enough to deposit significantly large amounts of dust over a critically large portion of the city could trigger a partial or total collapse of Sydney [or other cities in eastern Australia.]

How Much Dust?

Australia’s CSIRO estimated that the September 22-24 storm carried a record-breaking 16 million tons of dust from the deserts in the heart of Australia [The Lake Eyre Basin was reportedly the main region, where the dust came from.] Interestingly enough, the media boasted how the benevolent storms had dumped a million tons of iron-rich topsoil from Australia’s outback into the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean.

Most of the dust spread over a vast area precipitating on the continental Australia, Indian ocean to the west,  and Tasman Sea to the east, reaching as far as the North Island, New Zealand.

EDRO Team designed a basic model and, using the available data, ran  a few dozen simulations. The  simulations showed that the amount of dust needed to ‘bury’ central Sydney [an area about 100 km²,] so as to make the entire city mostly uninhabitable, would be about 10-12 times the dust blown off in the Septemeber 22-24 dust storm.

Notes:

  1. The simulations were based on optimally extreme climatic and atmospheric conditions conducive to precipitating large amounts of airborne dust in a relatively small area.
  2. Dust diameters of (i) less than 60 micrometer, and (ii) 62 – 65 micrometer, were used in the simulations.
  3. The maximum air particle concentration levels reached over 45,000 micrograms/m³ of air.
  4. As the air particle concentration levels rose above about 25,000 micrograms/m³ of air, the number of casualties dramatically increased.

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Posted in australian coal, carbon-intensive economy, Chaitén town, climate change, collapsing cities, desertification, drought, ghost towns | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Has Dallas Found its Nemesis?

Posted by edro on October 13, 2009

Dallas: The First Major US City to Collapse?

Air, water and soil contamination may cause collapse of population centers

For more information see: The First Wave of World’s Collapsing Cities

Dallas

  • Estimated population:  1.3 million
  • State ranking: Third largest city in Texas [After Houston and San Antonio]
  • National ranking: Main city and economic hub of the 12-county metropolitan area [Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington]  with a population of 6,500,000
  • Population Growth: Fourth largest and number one fastest-growing metropolitan area in the United States in2008.

Continued…

Contaminants in air around Texas gas town: study

By Ed Stoddard

DALLAS (Reuters) – High concentrations of harmful compounds have been found in the air in a north Texas town that is in the heart of the region’s gas industry, according to a report released this month by an environmental consultancy.

The study by Wolf Eagle Environmental Engineers and Consultants found high concentrations of carcinogenic and neurotoxin compounds in the atmosphere at seven locations around the rural town of DISH, which is about 50 miles northwest of Dallas.

Carcinogens are linked to cancers while neurotoxins are toxins that act on nerve cells.

The report said the levels of several of the substances exceeded those that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) uses as benchmarks or triggers that could prompt it to investigate or take action.

The TCEQ is conducting its own studies in the area.

DISH is on the Barnett Shale, a large geological formation in north Texas that contains vast amounts of natural gas. In and around the town are pipelines, wells and several compressor stations owned by a number of energy companies including Chesapeake, Atmos and Crosstex.

The town hired the consultancy to do the study.

“The chemicals and concentrations that we found are consistent with other facilities that we have tested in and around the Barnett Shale. Many of these chemicals are related to the scenting process of natural gas because natural gas has no odor,” said Alisa Rich, president of Wolf Eagle.

“I’m extremely confident that this is linked to the gas industry,” she told Reuters in an interview. The data was collected over a 24-hour period in August.

She said the compressor stations were a special cause for concern because of the volumes of gas pumped through them.

“Atmos Energy does not believe that its operations in the DISH area make any significant contribution to the emissions of the chemicals listed in the Wolf Eagle Engineering study,” Atmos said in response to an e-mail query from Reuters.

“Atmos Energy is aware that the TCEQ is planning additional emissions testing in this area in the near future and will cooperate fully with those efforts,” it said.

Chesapeake and Crosstex declined to comment.

DISH’s Mayor Calvin Tillman told Reuters he would like to see the compressor stations shut down “until we can know with confidence that they are not emitting these toxins.”

The report is the latest to link environmental and health hazards with America’s booming gas industry.

In August, U.S. government scientists announced that they had found for the first time found chemical contaminants in drinking water wells near natural gas drilling operations, fueling concern that a gas-extraction technique is endangering the health of people who live close to drilling rigs.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Christian Wiessner)

http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE59B5AS20091012

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Posted in Atmos Energy, Barnett Shale, chemical contaminants, Chesapeake, collapse mechanisms, Crosstex, drinking water, energy, energy dinosaurs, natural gas, nerve cells | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

East Africa Driven to the Verge of Catastrophe

Posted by edro on October 6, 2009

Drought, Hunger and Destitution Are Driving East Africa to the Verge of Collapse

Severe drought threatens 23 million east Africans in seven countries

More than 23 million people in 7 countries in East Africa including the worst affected nations of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda, face starvation amid a 2-year drought.

“The Ethiopian government puts the number in need at 5.3 million. Pastoralist communities in the country’s southern Borena area have been particularly hard hit by the lack of rain.” Reuters reported.

“Some 6.2 million Ethiopians hit by two-year recurrent drought are facing starvation and need emergency assistance,” a charity organization spokeswoman told Reuters.

India

Floods triggered by more than a week of heavy rains have left 2.5 million Indians homeless.The flooding, described as the worst in living memory, has killed more than 250 people in south India, in the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, and

More than five million people have taken shelter at temporary government relief centers.

Millions of hectares of cropland, including sugarcane plantations have been flooded by torrential rains, prompting worries about a fall in sugar output in Karnataka, one of the country’s top three producers.

Philippines

An estimated one million people have been severely affected after Tropical Storm Ketsana (locally known as Ondoy) triggered epic flooding in the Philippines.

The storm brought in sever rains and caused the worst flooding in living memory, leaving 80 to 90 percent of Manila completely submerged in floodwater. The official death toll stands at about 300, with another 50 or so missing. The worst problems in the affected areas are

  • Access to Food and medicine
  • Disruptions in the supply of power and telecommunications
  • Shortages of drinking water
  • Sanitation concerns and threat of supply shortages

Cambodia

Meanwhile, 60,000 people have been affected as a result of flooding and landslides caused by storm Ketsana, with about 20 deaths including a pregnant woman and up to 100 injuries including 20  serious cases and up to 50,000 hectares of crops and rice fields destroyed by flood waters.

According to a report by  an aid organization, some 1,519 houses, 55 public buildings, 160 irrigation systems, channels, dams, embankments, 40 km of roads  and 3 bridges were damaged, or destroyed, causing major disruptions throughout the flooded areas.

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          Posted in Andhra Pradesh flooding, Borena drought, Cambodia flooding, desertification, food shortages, hunger in east africa, Karnataka flooding, Karnataka sugar output, Ketsana death toll, ketsana land slides, Manila flooding, mud slides, Ondoy storm, Tropical Storm Ketsana | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

          Human activity is sinking river deltas

          Posted by edro on September 22, 2009

          Hundreds of millions of people face flooding

          Most of the world’s major river deltas are sinking from human activity, increasing the risk of flooding which would affect hundreds of millions of people.

          According to a new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder, “24 out of the world’s 33 major deltas are sinking and that 85 percent experienced severe flooding in recent years, resulting in the temporary submergence of roughly 100,000 square miles of land.”

          About 14 percent of the world’s population, more than half a billion people who live on river deltas, will be affected.

          Researchers calculated that 85% of major deltas have experienced severe flooding in the last decade, concluding that the area of flood prone zones will increase by about 50% in the next few decades as sea levels rise and more of the river deltas sink.

          Media Report is included in full:

          World’s River Deltas Sinking Due to Human Activity, Says New Study Led by CU-Boulder

          A new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder indicates most of the world’s low-lying river deltas are sinking from human activity, making them increasingly vulnerable to flooding from rivers and ocean storms and putting tens of millions of people at risk.

          While the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report concluded many river deltas are at risk from sea level rise, the new study indicates other human factors are causing deltas to sink significantly. The researchers concluded the sinking of deltas from Asia and India to the Americas is exacerbated by the upstream trapping of sediments by reservoirs and dams, man-made channels and levees that whisk sediment into the oceans beyond coastal floodplains, and the accelerated compacting of floodplain sediment caused by the extraction of groundwater and natural gas.

          Figure below: An image of the Pearl River Delta in China taken by NASA’s space shuttle Endeavour during the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission in 2000. The areas below sea level are shown in purple. Image courtesy NASA, CSDMS, University of Colorado.

           Mekong & Myanmar & Pearl

          The study concluded that 24 out of the world’s 33 major deltas are sinking and that 85 percent experienced severe flooding in recent years, resulting in the temporary submergence of roughly 100,000 square miles of land. About 500 million people in the world live on river deltas.

          Published in the Sept. 20 issue of Nature Geoscience, the study was led by CU-Boulder Professor James Syvitski, who is directing a $4.2 million effort funded by the National Science Foundation to model large-scale global processes on Earth like erosion and flooding. Known as the Community Surface Dynamic Modeling System, or CSDMS, the effort involves hundreds of scientists from dozens of federal labs and universities around the nation.

          The Nature Geoscience authors predict that global delta flooding could increase by 50 percent under current projections of about 18 inches in sea level rise by the end of the century as forecast by the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. The flooding will increase even more if the capture of sediments upstream from deltas by reservoirs and other water diversion projects persists and prevents the growth and buffering of the deltas, according to the study.

          “We argue that the world’s low-lying deltas are increasingly vulnerable to flooding, either from their feeding rivers or from ocean storms,” said CU-Boulder Research Associate Albert Kettner, a co-author on the study at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and member of the CSDMS team. “This study shows there are a host of human-induced factors that already cause deltas to sink much more rapidly than could be explained by sea level alone.”

          Other study co-authors include CU-Boulder’s Irina Overeem, Eric Hutton and Mark Hannon, G. Robert Brakenridge of Dartmouth College, John Day of Louisiana State University, Charles Vorosmarty of City College of New York, Yoshiki Saito of the Geological Survey of Japan, Liviu Giosan of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Robert Nichols of the University of Southampton in England.

          The team used satellite data from NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, which carried a bevy of radar instruments that swept more than 80 percent of Earth’s surface during a 12-day mission of the space shuttle Endeavour in 2000. The researchers compared the SRTM data with historical maps published between 1760 and 1922.

          “Every year, about 10 million people are being affected by storm surges,” said CU-Boulder’s Overeem, also an INSTAAR researcher and CSDMS scientist. “Hurricane Katrina may be the best example that stands out in the United States, but flooding in the Asian deltas of Irrawaddy in Myanmar and the Ganges-Brahmaputra in India and Bangladesh have recently claimed thousands of lives as well.”

          The researchers predict that similar disasters could potentially occur in the Pearl River delta in China and the Mekong River delta in Vietnam, where thousands of square miles are below sea level and the regions are hit by periodic typhoons.

          “Although humans have largely mastered the everyday behaviour of lowland rivers, they seem less able to deal with the fury of storm surges that can temporarily raise sea level by three to 10 meters (10 to 33 feet),” wrote the study authors. “It remains alarming how often deltas flood, whether from land or from sea, and the trend seems to be worsening.”

          “We are interested in how landscapes and seascapes change over time, and how materials like water, sediments and nutrients are transported from one place to another,” said Syvitski a geological sciences professor at CU-Boulder. “The CSDMS effort will give us a better understanding of Earth and allow us to make better predictions about areas at risk to phenomena like deforestation, forest fires, land-use changes and the impacts of climate change.”

          For more information on INSTAAR visit instaar.colorado.edu/index.html. For more information on CSDMS visit csdms.colorado.edu/wiki/Main_Page.
          © Regents of the University of Colorado

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          Posted in 286W, 2nd-home mentality, collapsing cities, Global Food Shortages, Land Erosion Rates, lowland rivers, Tuvalu | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

          New Hubble Images

          Posted by edro on September 9, 2009

          Cosmic Wonder Snaps

          The following images taken by the recently repaired Hubble telescope were released September 9, 2009.

          Colorful Stars Galore Inside Globular Star Cluster Omega Centauri hs-2009-25-q-large_web
          NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope snapped this panoramic view of a colorful assortment of 100,000 stars residing in the crowded core of a giant star cluster.
          The image reveals a small region inside the massive globular cluster Omega Centauri, which boasts nearly 10 million stars. Globular clusters, ancient swarms of stars united by gravity, are the homesteaders of our Milky Way galaxy. The stars in Omega Centauri are between 10 billion and 12 billion years old. The cluster lies about 16,000 light-years from Earth.

          Object Name: Omega Centauri (NGC 5139)
          Object Description: Globular Star Cluster
          Position (J2000): R.A. 13h 26m 45s.9
          Dec. -47° 28′ 37″
          Constellation: Centaurus
          Distance: 16,000 light-years or 4,800 parsecs
          Dimensions: This image is 1.4 arcminutes (6.3 light-years or 1.9 parsecs) wide.

          Jet in Carina: WFC3 UVIS Full Field
          hs-2009-25-l-large_web
          Full-field image of a stellar jet in the Carina Nebula, imaged by Hubble’s WFC3/UVIS detector. See bottom image for more information.

          Jet in Carina: WFC3 IR
          hs-2009-25-j-large_web
          Hubble WFC3 image of a stellar jet in Carina, observed in infrared light.
          See bottom image for more information.

          Butterfly Emerges from Stellar Demise in Planetary Nebula NGC 6302
          hs-2009-25-f-large_web
          What resemble dainty butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The gas is tearing across space at more than 600,000 miles an hour—fast enough to travel from Earth to the Moon in 24 minutes!

          Object Name: NGC 6302 (Butterfly Nebula, Bug Nebula)
          Object Description: Planetary Nebula
          Position (J2000): R.A. 17h 13m 43s.3
          Dec. -37° 06′ 10″
          Constellation: Scorpius
          Distance: 3,800 light-years (1,200 parsecs)
          Dimensions: This image is 2.4 arcminutes (2.7 light-years or 0.8 parsecs) wide.

          Galactic Wreckage in Stephan’s Quintet
          hs-2009-25-c-large_web
          An assortment of stars across a wide color range, from young, blue stars to aging, red stars. This portrait of Stephan’s Quintet, also known as Hickson Compact Group 92, was taken by the new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) aboard NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Stephan’s Quintet, as the name implies, is a group of five galaxies. The name, however, is a bit of a misnomer. Studies have shown that group member NGC 7320, at upper left, is actually a foreground galaxy about seven times closer to Earth than the rest of the group.  Galaxy group Stephan’s Quintet is located in the constellation Pegasus.

          Object Name:      Stephan’s Quintet (HCG 92)
          Object Description:     Interacting Galaxy Group
          Position (J2000):     R.A. 22h 35m 57s.51
          Dec. +33° 57′ 35″.68
          Constellation:     Pegasus
          Distance:     Thes Quintet is 290 million light-years (90 million parsecs) away. The foreground, superposed NGC 7320 is 40 million light-years (12 million parsecs) away.
          Dimensions:     This image is 4 arcminutes (345,000 light-years or 106,000 parsecs) wide.

          Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 6217
          hs-2009-25-bc-large_web
          This is the first image of a celestial object taken with the newly repaired Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). The camera was restored to operation during the STS-125 servicing mission to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope.  The barred spiral galaxy NGC 6217 was photographed on June 13 and July 8, 2009, as part of the initial testing and calibration of Hubble’s ACS. The galaxy lies 6 million light-years away in the north circumpolar constellation Ursa Major.

          Object Name:      NGC 6217
          Object Description:     Barred Spiral Galaxy
          Position (J2000):     R.A. 16h 32m 39s.2
          Dec. +78° 11′ 53″
          Constellation:     Ursa Minor
          Distance:     6 million light-years or 21 million parsecs
          Dimensions:     This image is 2.2 arcminutes (44,000 light-years or 13,400 parsecs) wide.


          Gravitational Lensing in Galaxy Cluster Abell 370
          hs-2009-25-ao-large_web
          Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) has peered nearly 5 billion light-years away to resolve intricate details in the galaxy cluster Abell 370, one of the very first galaxy clusters where astronomers observed the phenomenon of gravitational lensing, where the warping of space by the cluster’s gravitational field distorts the light from galaxies lying far behind it. This is manifested as arcs and streaks in the picture, which are the stretched images of background galaxies.

          Gravitational Lens Detail in Abell 370
          hs-2009-25-aq-large_web

          Object Name:     Abell 370
          Object Description:     Cluster of Galaxies
          Position (J2000):     R.A. 02h 39m 49s.90
          Dec. -01° 34′ 26″.70
          Constellation:     Cetus
          Distance:     4.9 billion light-years (1.5 billion parsecs)
          Dimensions:     This image is 2.4 arcminutes (3.4 million light-years or 1 million parsecs) wide.

          Stars Bursting to Life in the Chaotic Carina Nebula
          hs-2009-25-h-web_print
          These two images of a huge pillar of star birth demonstrate how observations taken in visible and in infrared light by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope reveal dramatically different and complementary views of an object. The pictures demonstrate one example of the broad wavelength range of the new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) aboard the Hubble telescope, extending from ultraviolet to visible to infrared light.

          Composed of gas and dust, the pillar resides in a tempestuous stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina. The pair of images shows that astronomers have a much more complete view of the pillar and its contents when distinct details not seen at visible wavelengths are uncovered in near-infrared light.

          The top image, taken in visible light, shows the tip of the 3-light-year-long pillar, bathed in the glow of light from hot, massive stars off the top of the image. Scorching radiation and fast winds (streams of charged particles) from these stars are sculpting the pillar and causing new stars to form within it. Streamers of gas and dust can be seen flowing off the top of the structure.

          Nestled inside this dense structure are fledgling stars. They cannot be seen in this image because they are hidden by a wall of gas and dust. Although the stars themselves are invisible, one of them is providing evidence of its existence. Thin puffs of material can be seen traveling to the left and to the right of a dark notch in the center of the pillar. The matter is part of a jet produced by a young star. Farther away, on the left, the jet is visible as a grouping of small, wispy clouds. A few small clouds are visible at a similar distance on the right side of the jet. Astronomers estimate that the jet is moving at speeds of up to 850,000 miles an hour. The jet’s total length is about 10 light-years.

          In the image at bottom, taken in near-infrared light, the dense column and the surrounding greenish-colored gas all but disappear. Only a faint outline of the pillar remains. By penetrating the wall of gas and dust, the infrared vision of WFC3 reveals the infant star that is probably blasting the jet. Part of the jet nearest the star is more prominent in this view. These features can be seen because infrared light, unlike visible light, can pass through the dust.

          Other infant stars inside the pillar also appear to emerge. Three examples are the bright star almost directly below the jet-producing star, a fainter one to its right, and a pair of stars at the top of the pillar. Winds and radiation from some of the stars are blowing away gas from their neighborhoods, carving out large cavities that appear as faint dark holes.

          Surrounding the stellar nursery is a treasure chest full of stars, most of which cannot be seen in the visible-light image because dense gas clouds veil their light. Many of them are background stars.

          Object Name:      Jet in Carina
          Object Description:     Stellar Jet/Young Stellar Object
          Position (J2000):     R.A. 10h 43m 51s.30
          Dec. -59° 55′ 21″.0
          Constellation:     Carina
          Distance:     7,500 light-years (2,300 parsecs)
          Dimensions:     This image is 3 arcminutes (6.6 light-years or 2.0 parsecs) wide.

          Images and captions [edited] courtesy of Hubble Site News Center.  Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team

          Posted in Abell 370, carina nebula, dark matter, Gravitational Lensing, Jet in Carina | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

          India faces severe water, farming, food crisis

          Posted by edro on August 13, 2009

          Northern India’s Groundwater is Rapidly Disappearing

          Northern India’s water tables have fallen by about a fifth more than expected because of excessive use, a major crisis which pose serious threats to the county’s farming, food and potable water supplies, according to a study by NASA hydrologists.

          378068main_water_table illus_full
          Groundwater resides beneath the soil surface in permeable rock, clay and sand as illustrated in this conceptual image. Many aquifers extend hundreds of feet underground and in some instances have filled with water over the course of thousands of years. Credit: NASA. Source: NASA Earth Science News.

          378542main_india_gw_rate1

          A team of hydrologists, led by NASA’s Matt Rodell said the water is being pumped and consumed faster than the aquifers can be recharged through natural mechanisms. Their research — published in the August 20 issue of Nature — was based on observations from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE),  NASA Earth Science Team said.

          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, who led the study.

          According to Rodell, groundwater across the three  northern Indian states of Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryan has dropped by about 4cm a year between 2002 and 2008.

          “The northern Indian states of Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana have all of the ingredients for groundwater depletion: staggering population growth, rapid economic development and water-hungry farms, which account for about 95 percent of groundwater use in the region.” NASA Earth Science Team said.

          378061main_indiagroundh2o_img2_full“Data provided by India’s Ministry of Water Resources suggested groundwater use was exceeding natural replenishment, but the regional rate of depletion was unknown. Rodell and colleagues had their case study. The team analyzed six years of monthly GRACE gravity data for northern India to produce a time series of water storage changes beneath the region’s land surface.
          The map, showing groundwater withdrawals as a percentage of groundwater recharge, is based on state-level estimates of annual withdrawals and recharge reported by India’s Ministry of Water Resources. The three states included in this study are labeled. Credit: NASA/Matt Rodell. Source: NASA Earth Science News.

          “They found that groundwater levels have been declining by an average of one meter every three years (one foot per year). More than 109 cubic km (26 cubic miles) of groundwater disappeared between 2002 and 2008 — double the capacity of India’s largest surface water reservoir, the Upper Wainganga, and triple that of Lake Mead, the largest man-made reservoir in the United States.”

          “We don’t know the absolute volume of water in the Northern Indian aquifers, but GRACE provides strong evidence that current rates of water extraction are not sustainable,” said Rodell. “The region has become dependent on irrigation to maximize agricultural productivity, so we could be looking at more than a water crisis.”

          The Indian government has released an environmental report recently warning that an increasing percentage of its groundwater was unsuitable both for drinking  and irrigation, Reuters said.

          378066main_indiagroundh2o_viz_540x304
          As animated here, groundwater storage varied in northwestern India between 2002 and 2008, relative to the mean for the period. These deviations from the mean are expressed as the height of an equivalent layer of water, ranging from -12 cm (deep red) to 12 cm (dark blue). Credit: NASA/Trent Schindler and Matt Rodell. Source: NASA Earth Science News.

          “This illustrates that degraded water quality can contribute to water scarcity as it limits its availability for both human use and the ecosystem,” the Indian report said.

          “At its core, this dilemma is an age-old cycle of human need and activity — particularly the need for irrigation to produce food,” said Bridget Scanlon, a hydrologist at the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas in Austin. “That cycle is now overwhelming fresh water reserves all over the world. Even one region’s water problem has implications beyond its borders.”

          Related News Links:

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          Posted in Haryana, northern india water crisis, potable water shortages, Punjab, Rajasthan | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

          Iraq Faces Environmental Catastrophe

          Posted by edro on July 31, 2009

          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.

          Plagued by frequent dust storms, Iraq is  being transformed from a fertile country to a dust bowl.Iraq dust storm AP
          Iraq dust storms. July 4, 2009. U.S. soldiers walk through dust at Forward Operating Base Warhorse in Baqubah, Iraq. Decades of war and mismanagement, compounded by two years of drought, are transforming what was once the region’s most fertile area into a wasteland.

          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.”

          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. LATimes reported.

          iraq_amo_2009210
          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. [Acquired: July 30, 2009]  NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Michon Scott.

          july 5 dust storm over Iraq
          Iraq dust storms. A satellite image of  dust storm over Iraq on July 5. Since the start of 2009 summer, the storms have struck the country almost daily.

          For earlier images of dust storms over Iraq click here.

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

          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.

          The director-general of the ministry’s Department for Combating Desertification said:

          Severe desertification is like cancer in a human being… . When the land loses its vegetation cover, it’s very hard to get it back. You have to deal with it meter by meter.

          Sandstorms are just one of the massive problems that Iraq faces. According to the LATimes report:

          The effects extend far beyond the immediate inconveniences of dust storms. Drinking water is scarce in many areas of the south as seawater leaches into the depleted rivers. 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.

          Now, Iraq faces a very certain future with most of its fragile ecosystem dramatically collapsing, almost on a daily basis.

          Baghdad dust storm - AP
          Iraqis cover their faces during one of Baghdad’s increasingly frequent dust storms. Officials say decades of war and mismanagement, compounded by two years of drought, are wreaking havoc on the ecosystem. Photo Karim Kadim/Associated Press. Caption LATimes. Image may be subject to copyright.

          Vanishing Marshes of Mesopotamia

          landsat_mesopotamia  1973-1975Landsat satellite imagery reveals that in the last 10 years, wetlands that once covered as much as 20,000 square km (7,725 square miles) in parts of Iraq and Iran have been reduced to about 15 percent of their original size. Through the damming and siphoning off of waters from the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, the ecosystem has been decimated and, as a result, a number of plant and animal species face possible extinction.

          The top image is a false-color composite made from data collected by the Multi-Spectral Scanner (MSS) aboard Landsat from 1973-76. Four Landsat scenes were stitched together to make an image of the whole region. In this scene, dense marsh vegetation (mainly phragmites, or marsh grass) appears as dark red patches. The elongated red patches along the banks of the Shatt-al-Arab River are Date Palm groves. The Shatt-al-Arab begins where the Tigris and Euphrates meet and carries their waters southeastward into the Persian Gulf.

          The middle image (not shown above; click to see the full resolution) shows the state of the marshlands on September 7, 1990, shortly after the Iran-Iraq war. This image was acquired by the MSS aboard Landsat 5. The scene reveals that a large eastern swath of the Central and Al Hammar Marshes as well as the northwestern and southern fringes of the Al Hawizeh Marsh (the large red areas immediately above and below the Euphrates River, running west to east toward the bottom of this scene) had dried out as a result of causeways constructed to ease military transport in otherwise difficult terrain.

          The bottom image is a false-color composite of data from the Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), acquired on March 26 and May 4, 2000. In this scene, most of the Central Marshes appear as olive to greyish-brown patches indicating low vegetation cover on moist to dry ground. The very light to grey patches are areas of exposed ground with no vegetation, which may actually be salt flats where before there were lakes. The Al Hawizeh Marsh (straddling the Iran-Iraq border just east of the Tigris River) appears to be all that remains of the region’s natural wetlands, and it has been reduced in size by about half.

          Today, river flow into the Mesopotamian marshlands has been cut by 20-50 percent, and the spring floods that sustained the marshlands have been eliminated. The end result is what was once a lush wetland environment roughly the size of the state of New Jersey has been reduced by about 85 percent in area to roughly the size of the small island nation of the Bahamas. What was once a vast, interconnected mosaic of densely-vegetated marshlands and lakes, teeming with life, is now mostly lifeless desert and salt-encrusted lakebeds and riverbeds.

          Even for the 1,270 square km (490 square miles) of marshlands that still remain, quality of life has been adversely impacted by a decline in water quality. Human irrigation practices render the Tigris and Euphrates waters saltier than they originally were. And, with the boom in agriculture, there have been dramatic increases in the levels of chemicals as well as a rise in urban and industrial effluents in the rivers. Conversely, most of the load of natural sediments and silts the rivers used to carry now remains trapped behind multiple dams. Lower levels of silt decrease plankton and levels of organic carbon in the water which, in turn, adversely affect fish populations as well as soil fertility along the riverbanks and in the marshlands.

          All of these negative trends point to the inevitable demise of the Mesopotamian marshland ecosystem within 2-3 years unless steps are taken soon to reverse the damage being done. Regarded by historians as one of the cradles of civilization, the Mesopotamian Fertile Crescent has supported Marsh Arab society for millennia. The culture of the half million or so Marsh Arabs living in the region is rooted in the dawn of human history, dating back to ancient Sumeria about 5,000 years ago.

          This caption was based upon a study conducted by United Nation Environment Programme’s Division of Early Warning and Assessment. Click to access the entire UNEP report (in PDF format), entitled The Mesopotamian Marshlands: Demise of an Ecosystem.

          Images courtesy Hassan Partow, UNEP; animation by Lori Perkins, NASA GSFC Science Visualization Studio, based on data from the Landsat 7 science team and the USGS EROS Data Center. Original caption. Source: Earth Observatory/NASA.

          Related Links:

          EDRO  Links

          Posted in 286W, baghdad, Euphrates, First Wave of Collapsing Cities, marshlands, Mesopotamian marshlands, Tigris | Tagged: , , , , | 10 Comments »

          Bury your car, before it buries YOU!

          Posted by edro on July 26, 2009

          First the car takes your food, then it buries you!

          Original entry: Car burial day in S. Korea

          “Human induced climate change is wreaking havoc across the globe. Extreme rain events and incidents of flooding, landslides … are increasing both in frequency and severity, burying building, cars, humans and everything else in their paths.”


          Flooding in Busan South Korea July 16, 2009. Photo: AFP. Image may be subject to copyright.

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          Posted in 286W, accelerating climate change, biofuel, CO2e, corn for fuel | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

          Riyadh City May Collapse by 2010

          Posted by edro on July 12, 2009

          Riyadh, the Saudi capital, may collapse catastrophically within 12 – 18 months

          The moderators believe the city of Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, may collapse catastrophically within the next 12-18 months with a certainty of 80 percent.

          Riyadh is located in the historical regions of Nejd and Al-Yamama in the center of the Arabian Peninsula.  Home to about 5 million people, Riyadh’s collapse may be triggered by a number of collapse mechanisms including

          Human-Enhanced Natural Phenomena

          • Climate Change
          • Drought
          • Sandstorms
          • Earthquakes

          Conflict and War

          • Oil
          • Social and political unrest
          • Economic turmoil

          Others

          • Various other collapse mechanisms

          Related Links:

          Posted in drought, Economic turmoil, First Wave of World Collapsing Cities, Saudi Oil, Social and political unrest | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

          A Superfield of Intelligence

          Posted by 286w on June 20, 2009

          A superfield of consciousness crosses our timespace

          A superfield of intelligence coincided with our timespace in May 2009. This may be a rare chance for anyone who intends to make a leap in consciousness.

          Tune in! You’d be amazed what could be awaiting you.

          Related Links:

          Posted in a leap in consciousness, core values, fields of consciousness, unifying values, waves of intelligence | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

          Volcanic Eruptions and Earth’s Energy Budget

          Posted by edro on June 15, 2009

          Sarychev Peak a Russian Volcano in Matua Island, central Kurils,  spewed  two ash plumes

          sarychev Peak june 14 UTC
          Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite passed overhead at 2:10 p.m. local time (2:10 a.m. UTC). The volcano had apparently produced a high-altitude ash plume. In this photo-like image, the brown ash plume forms a circular opaque cloud immediately southwest of Ostrov Matua, casting a large shadow to the north. Farther away from the summit, thinner ash plumes mingle with clouds. Clouds and ash swirl in von Karman vortices west of the volcanic island. The red outline along the ash cloud’s edge indicates a hotspot of high surface temperature resulting from volcanic activity. NASA image courtesy MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Michon Scott.

          For more information see:

          In the Majestic Earth’s Service: Sarychev Peak Spews Two Plumes of Ash, Helping to Balance Earth’s Energy Budget

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          Posted in anthropogenic warming, climate change, earth's defense mechanisms, natural mitigation, solar radiation | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

          Emerging dominant mechanisms of collapse

          Posted by edro on April 17, 2009

          UPDATE: The First Wave of Collapsing Cities

          Coming in May 2009

          The moderators are debating the type of data, degree of detail as well as extent and depth of information that should be posted on this site.

          For background see:

          The First Wave of World’s Collapsing Cities

          Posted in Collapse, collapsing cities | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »