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Posts Tagged ‘desertification’

Nature’s Warnings Exponentially Intensifying

Posted by edro on April 14, 2011

EDRO Models: Mass Die-Offs Looming

Energy Models show large scale die-offs occurring by 2016

Dynamic simulations are consistent with the rate at which nature’s warnings are intensifying.

The warnings are becoming more direct and less ambiguous. Nature seems to be focusing more intensely on certain mechanisms to defend herself. See The Dynamics of Collapse.

The Earth is fighting to stay alive. IF she loses the fight we would all die!

Latest Probable Episodes

JPTRMT1 – Megathrust earthquakes are forecast to strike Japan Region releasing megabursts of energy, a total of about 80EJ of energy by 2016. See Forecast.

The Next Phase of Collapse: Global Wars for Hegemony Over World’s Resources. See Nuking Earth for Lifestyle

Background

U.S., the world, stake the future on high-energy strategies. Energy models’ simulations show all such strategies ending in collapse.

The first wave of collapse of world cities would be caused by a combination of failing ecosystems, human-enhanced environmental catastrophes; failing infrastructure; food, water and fuel shortages; infectious disease; war, civil conflict and other dynamics. Following the first phase of collapse, massive waves of human migration from the affected areas create a domino effect that causes the collapse of the remaining population centers shortly after.

In 2010, FIRE-EARTH said; In line with its concept of ‘Shrinking World,’ and based on simulations of FEWW EarthModel and EDRO Energy Models, Fire-Earth Moderators believe at least one disaster could strike somewhere on the planet each day, throughout 2010. The outlook for 2011 and beyond …

Global Disasters in 2011 Could Impact 1/3 to 1/2 of the Human Population.

The impact of anthropogenic and human-enhanced natural disasters on the population will be 600 percent more severe in 2011 compared with 2010: Fire-Earth Forecast

Nearly all of the anthropogenic and human-enhanced disasters that will occur on the planet in the 2011-2012 period would have been preventable.

However, Humans continued to devour energy at a rate of 17.3terrawatt in 2011, when maximum ‘safe’ limit was less than 1.9terrawatt.

Based on their research, EDRO Moderators Have concluded that a series of man-made cataclysms will drive the earth’s population to near extinction.

Links

UPDATED April 16, 2011

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Posted in 6th Great Extinction, die-offs, energy dinosaurs | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.

Related Links:

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

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

When Will Food Riots Break Out Across the U.S.?

Posted by edro on November 25, 2008

See main Entry at >> The Land of Plenty [of hungry people]

Loss of topsoil, land degradation and desertification are global phenomena, which are rapidly destroying our ability to feed the world population

Unless comprehensive action is taken globally to stop the deadly trends, food riots will be commonplace throughout the world in the very near future.


Severely degraded land. Photo: Unesco. Image may be subject to copyright.

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Posted in climate change, energy, future, lifestyle, Loss of topsoil | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Desertification: A Most Powerful Mechanism of Collapse

Posted by edro on November 22, 2008

About 35 % of China’s agricultural land is affected by desertification

The world must help China reverse its collapse feedback!

See News Entry >> China’s Topsoil Nightmare Is Real


Dead/withered trees near the Minqin oasis caused by falling level of groundwater. Photo Credit: Benoit Aquin, The Walrus. Image may be subject to copyright. Click here for photo album.

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Posted in food production, land degradation, Mechanism of Collapse, traditional agriculture, Wild Facts | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Land Erosion Rates Accelarate

Posted by edro on July 2, 2008

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

Main entry: Land degradation threatens 1.5 billion people


“A goat walks along the sun-baked bed of Cyprus’s largest reservoir at Kouris, March 20, 2008. Cyprus announced on Monday emergency water cuts to deal with a crippling drought.” REUTERS/Stringer [Image may be subject to copyright. See EDRO  Fair Use Notice!]

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Posted in atmosphere, climate change, economy, energy, environment, future, lifestyle, pollution, soil, war | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »