Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Earth’s Most Famous Climate Scientist Issues Bombshell Sea Level Warning


[Mother Jones] In what may prove to be a turning point for political action on climate change, a breathtaking new study casts extreme doubt about the near-term stability of global sea levels.
The study—written by James Hansen, NASA's former lead climate scientist, and 16 co-authors, many of whom are considered among the top in their fields—concludes that glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica will melt 10 times faster than previous consensus estimates, resulting in sea level rise of at least 10 feet in as little as 50 years. The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, brings new importance to a feedback loop in the ocean near Antarctica that results in cooler freshwater from melting glaciers forcing warmer, saltier water underneath the ice sheets, speeding up the melting rate. Hansen, who is known for being alarmist and also right, acknowledges that his study implies change far beyond previous consensus estimates. In a conference call with reporters, he said he hoped the new findings would be "substantially more persuasive than anything previously published." I certainly find them to be.
To come to their findings, the authors used a mixture of paleoclimate records, computer models, and observations of current rates of sea level rise, but "the real world is moving somewhat faster than the model," Hansen says.
Hansen's study does not attempt to predict the precise timing of the feedback loop, only that it is "likely" to occur this century. The implications are mindboggling: In the study's likely scenario, New York City—and every other coastal city on the planet—may only have a few more decades of habitability left. That dire prediction, in Hansen's view, requires "emergency cooperation among nations." Read More

Alaska’s terrifying wildfire season and what it says about climate change

[Washington Post] FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Hundreds of wildfires are continually whipping across this state this summer, leaving in their wake millions of acres of charred trees and blackened earth.
At the Fairbanks compound of the state’s Division of Forestry recently, workers were busy washing a mountain of soot-covered fire hoses, which stood in piles roughly six feet high and 100 feet long. About 3,500 smokejumpers, hotshot crews, helicopter teams and other workers have traveled to Alaska this year from across the country and Canada. And they have collectively deployed about 830 miles of hose this year to fight fires.
An hour north of the state’s second-biggest city, firefighters were attacking flames stretching across more than 31,000 acres, including an area close to the Trans-Alaska pipeline system, which stretches from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. And that’s just one of about 300 fires at any given time.
“People don’t fathom how big Alaska is. You can have a 300,000-acre fire, and nobody knows anything about it, because nothing’s been done about it, because of where it is,” says Tim Mowry, spokesman for the Alaska Division of Forestry.
The staggering 2015 Alaska wildfire season may soon be the state’s worst ever, with almost 5 million acres already burned — an area larger than Connecticut. The pace of the burn has moderated in the last week, but scientists say the fires are just the latest indicator of a climatic transformation that is remaking this state — its forests, its coasts, its glaciers, and perhaps most of all, the frozen ground beneath — more than any other in America. Read More

Satellite cam captures wildfires in southern Russia

[Big News Network] SIBERIA, Russia -- Russia's Lake Baikal, the world's largest freshwater lake by volume, is surrounded by wildfires. On Monday, NASA's Aqua satellite and its MODIS camera captured an aerial perspective of the wildfire plumes rising from southern Russia.
Aqua's Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) observes radiation across 36 different spectral bands, offering scientists one of the most complete image-based surveys of the planet -- newly updated every two days. One of the instrument's primary applications is monitoring wildfires.
Wildfires have plagued the steppe region of south central Russia throughout the spring and summer. The flames were picked up by MODIS' thermal band observations and rendered with the help of NASA scientists.
The situation has been exacerbated by recent droughts in the region, which have seen Lake Baikal's water levels -- already burdened by human pressures -- fall to historically low levels. As the water levels drop, large swaths of quickly drying peat deposits have become exposed. Officials worry these peat reserves could fuel spreading wildfires.
Early this year, smoke from fires in southern Russia drifted all the way across the Pacific Ocean. The haze's arrival in the Pacific Northwest made for some dramatic red sunsets.Brooks Hays

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Into the Matrix

[Huffington Post] For centuries, writers in the science fiction genre have put into words concepts that when viewed at first blush, appear to be set in a framework of fantasy. Is it possible these concepts are so real, yet our mind has no relational context other than through the use of metaphoric analogy?
Could explorers into alternative planes of consciousness be describing their spiritual and mystical journeys in a way where these experiences could best be understood by others?
In recent weeks I had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Mandelker, Ph.D. Scott has an M.A. in Integral Counseling and a Ph.D. in East-West Psychology from CIIS in San Francisco. His dissertation was the basis of his first book, From Elsewhere: Being ET in America, using an ethnographic and qualitative approach focused on 'the subculture of people' who come to know they are "wanderers" or "from elsewhere."
During the introduction and overview of his academic credentials, Dr. Mandelker gave a brief story of how he became interested in his line of work. It seems he had a kind of existential crisis early on in life, and was driven to discover, what he called, "a way forward or a place in this world" -- realizing only later that his experiences were quite characteristic of the group he later studied, those who may be called "wanderers."
To learn more of what the premise of being "from elsewhere" is all about, you may wish to visit his sites, where Dr. Mandelker explains his work in great detail.
In my interview, we considered the idea that there are two veils that limit our comprehension of reality -- veils greatly affecting our understanding of self and the way of self-actualization. Living in a narrow space within a kind of enclosure by the veils, we try to garner knowledge of the world around us in an attempt to learn and become well-adapted humans. Scott refers to these two veils as "the Social Matrix" and "the Cosmic Matrix."
To the metaphysical newcomer, these concepts may sound confusing or even overwhelming. So let's us take a step back and begin by explaining how the term "Matrix" is being utilized.
In Dr. Mandelker's interpretation of the Law Of One (five volumes of channeled work also known as The Ra Material) -- which he has studied for over thirty years -- the Cosmic Matrix is also referred to as "the veil of forgetting", and was designed by what Ra calls, "the One Infinite Creator" or the Logos. But the purpose of this in-built limitation to human experience was to stimulate soul evolution -- and not to harm us in any way.
In this kind of "spiritual forgetting" we are faced with an irritant, like a catalyst or accelerant for personal seeking and development. According to this view, before birth and prior to arriving on the physical plane, we knew the lessons and personal challenges that we'd set forth as a kind of 'life curriculum' for personal development. And after we depart the physical world, we once again reconcile with a broader spiritual knowing, including how we faced those predetermined lessons. Read More

2015: A Year of Record-Breaking Extreme Weather

[New Republic] The “State of the Climate,” released annually by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found that 2014 was a record year for extreme weather: the "warmest year across global land and ocean surfaces since records began in 1880." In other words, it was the hottest year ever recorded on Earth. This year is shaping up to be no different, as 2015 has seen record-breaking heat, cold, precipitation, and drought. Here's a running list of this year's frightening new milestones. 
January
Globally, January was the second warmest on record, and the sea ice cover in the Arctic was at its third smallest.  
February
Boston endured 64.8 inches of snow, the snowiest month in the city's history. The last of the snow didn't melt until July. 
March
New York and Vermont experienced record cold temperatures for the first three months of the year, beating records set almost a century ago.
April
California snowpack shrunk to record low levels, as a result of drought and warmer winter temperatures.
South Dakota had its driest January to April ever, reaching a mere 42 percent of its average precipitation for early spring. 
May
Alaska had its warmest May on record.
Florida had its hottest March to May ever.
Tropical Storm Ana, when it made landfall in South Carolina, became the second-earliest tropical cyclone to hit the U.S. in recorded history.
Oklahoma and Texas had their wettest month of any month on record, with widespread flooding across the region. Read More

The New Biology

[Carnicom Institue] It is generally perceived that the so-called "Morgellons" issue is primarily, if not exclusively, a human condition.  It is not.  It will be found that this condition actually represents a fundamental change in the state and nature of biology as it is known on this earth.  The evidence now indicates and demonstrates that there is, at the heart of the "condition",  a new growth form that transcends, as a minimum,  the plant and animal boundaries.
The precedent for this argument was made some time past in the paper entitled "Morgellons : A New Classification" (Feb 2010); the central theme of that paper remains valid at this time.  The very classification of the domains of life is central to that paper.   Readers may also wish to refer to the papers entitled, “Animal Blood” (Jan 2010) and “And Now Our Children” (Jan 2008), where additional precedents were established. The August 2011 video presentation, “Geo-Engineering & Bio-Engineering : The Unmistakable Link” is also relevant here.
It is to be accepted that this growth form appears to be ubiquitous in the environment, food supply, plants, and animals and that the reference frame for its existence must be fundamentally changed to be in accord with this reality. Read More

Mourning the Changes That Surround Us: Readers Speak Out on Climate

[TruthOut] In early July, I asked Truthout readers to share the weather anomalies they are witnessing on their home turf. Large numbers of readers responded with a range of harrowing observations, from vanishing snow, to shifts in seasons, to skyrocketing temperatures, to wildfires and floods. People often conceptualize climate disruption in very theoretical terms - as if it is a phenomenon that will take place in the future. However, as the Truthout community knows, the impacts of planetary warming are very real - and they are happening now.
Taken together, these readers' observations offer a disconcerting look at the planet changing before our eyes. They also lead us to the inevitable task of dealing with the melancholy that is sure to arise from our paying attention to these dramatic planetary changes.
Vanishing Snowpack
"Here, from the center of town, we can see Mount Blanc, the highest peak in Europe at 4,008 meters," Robert James Parsons, who lives in Geneva, Switzerland, wrote Truthout recently. "It is surrounded by less high peaks. When my sisters and mother visited me in September 1993, they had a rare view of the surrounding peaks without snow. These are slate gray, and their contrast with the dark green on the lower mountains and the white on the Mount Blanc range is quite beautiful."
Parsons explained that this was a rare view because, ordinarily, the snow around Mount Blanc never entirely disappeared. Usually, by the middle of each September, the fall rains had begun in the lower elevations, bringing fresh snows higher up, and that would put an end to the exposed gray rock until the end of the next year's summer.
"But this year, the gray rock was visible already at the end of April," Parsons concluded grimly.
While no single climatological event or phenomenon can be attributed solely to anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), consistent shifts in weather patterns, along with increasing frequency and intensification of events or phenomena, are being tied directly to ACD.
For example, Parson's story evidences the scientific fact that ACD is literally shifting the timing of the seasons.
Gordon Glick has lived in Bremerton, Washington, nearby the Olympic Mountains in Olympic National Park since 1978.
"Bremerton is due east of the Olympic range, particularly the mountains called 'The Brothers,' which are visible from several vantage points around town and environs," he wrote. Read More

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Earthquake experts on ‘The Really Big One': Here’s what will actually happen in Seattle

(Be sure to read the preparedness recommendations. - Lori)
[Geek Wire] This weekend’s New Yorker story about the inevitable earthquake coming to destroy Seattle terrified plenty of people, but a few Seattle-area earthquake experts are assuring people that things probably won’t be as bad as the original article made it seem.
In an Ask Me Anything on Reddit today, questions on how Seattle would fare during the Really Big One were answered by three experts: John Vidale, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network; Debbie Goetz of the Seattle Emergency Management Office; and Sandi Doughton, Seattle Times science writer.
One of the scariest aspects of Kathryn Schulz’s New Yorker piece was the idea of a 100-foot wave sweeping through the city. Turns out that’s not the real concern for the Emerald City.
“The tsunami won’t really be a factor in Seattle or Puget Sound,” Doughton wrote. “By the time the swell gets here, it will be pretty small. But the quake could trigger landslides here that cause localized swamping.”
Transportation routes are another major concern. While many bridges have been retrofitted to deal with the effects of an earthquake, hundreds are still vulnerable.
“Washington’s resilience plan estimates it could be months before all major transport routes are reopened, though emergency routes … will open up before that,” Doughton said. Bridge inspectors will be among the first responders, checking for small cracks that could lead to devastating failures soon after the quake.
With transportation down, supplies are going to be tight. Goetz recommends that residents keep a 7-to-10-day supply of food, water and essentials in case of a major earthquake, along with some supplies at work and in their car.
“Beyond supplies, I always encourage people to talk about their plans,” Goetz said, “especially around communication, which we know will be affected. Where will they be? How can they get back together? Where could they meet if not at home?”
She also suggests staying put once the quake starts. Read More

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Really Big One: An earthquake will destroy a sizable portion of the coastal Northwest. The question is when.

[Excerpted from The New Yorker] Take your hands and hold them palms down, middle fingertips touching. Your right hand represents the North American tectonic plate, which bears on its back, among other things, our entire continent, from One World Trade Center to the Space Needle, in Seattle. Your left hand represents an oceanic plate called Juan de Fuca, ninety thousand square miles in size. The place where they meet is the Cascadia subduction zone. Now slide your left hand under your right one. That is what the Juan de Fuca plate is doing: slipping steadily beneath North America. When you try it, your right hand will slide up your left arm, as if you were pushing up your sleeve. That is what North America is not doing. It is stuck, wedged tight against the surface of the other plate.
Without moving your hands, curl your right knuckles up, so that they point toward the ceiling. Under pressure from Juan de Fuca, the stuck edge of North America is bulging upward and compressing eastward, at the rate of, respectively, three to four millimetres and thirty to forty millimetres a year. It can do so for quite some time, because, as continent stuff goes, it is young, made of rock that is still relatively elastic. (Rocks, like us, get stiffer as they age.) But it cannot do so indefinitely. There is a backstop—the craton, that ancient unbudgeable mass at the center of the continent—and, sooner or later, North America will rebound like a spring. If, on that occasion, only the southern part of the Cascadia subduction zone gives way—your first two fingers, say—the magnitude of the resulting quake will be somewhere between 8.0 and 8.6. Thats the big one. If the entire zone gives way at once, an event that seismologists call a full-margin rupture, the magnitude will be somewhere between 8.7 and 9.2. That’s the very big one.
Flick your right fingers outward, forcefully, so that your hand flattens back down again. When the next very big earthquake hits, the northwest edge of the continent, from California to Canada and the continental shelf to the Cascades, will drop by as much as six feet and rebound thirty to a hundred feet to the west—losing, within minutes, all the elevation and compression it has gained over centuries. Some of that shift will take place beneath the ocean, displacing a colossal quantity of seawater. (Watch what your fingertips do when you flatten your hand.) The water will surge upward into a huge hill, then promptly collapse. One side will rush west, toward Japan. The other side will rush east, in a seven-hundred-mile liquid wall that will reach the Northwest coast, on average, fifteen minutes after the earthquake begins. By the time the shaking has ceased and the tsunami has receded, the region will be unrecognizable. Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA’s Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, says, “Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.”
In the Pacific Northwest, everything west of Interstate 5 covers some hundred and forty thousand square miles, including Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene, Salem (the capital city of Oregon), Olympia (the capital of Washington), and some seven million people. When the next full-margin rupture happens, that region will suffer the worst natural disaster in the history of North America. Roughly three thousand people died in San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake. Almost two thousand died in Hurricane Katrina. Almost three hundred died in Hurricane Sandy. FEMA projects that nearly thirteen thousand people will die in the Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. Another twenty-seven thousand will be injured, and the agency expects that it will need to provide shelter for a million displaced people, and food and water for another two and a half million. “This is one time that I’m hoping all the science is wrong, and it won’t happen for another thousand years,” Murphy says. Read More

Bumblebees Decimated by Climate Change: Study

[Discovery] All bees — all pollinators, actually — are under stress these days, but bumblebees are especially affected by climate change, according to a new study.
Other species are mitigating the effects of warming by expanding their territories northward, but not bumblebees, found the study, published in Science. In fact, bumblebees appear to be contracting their territories.
“One of the important things to me was how many species are being impacted by climate change. That was a bit of a surprise,” said York University Prof. Laurence Packer, an expert on bees and a co-author on the study with lead author Jeremy Kerr of the University of Ottawa, in a press release.
“I’d suspected some may be declining, but not such a large proportion. The fact that at the northern edges of their ranges they are not moving north as the climate changes is actually really quite worrying,” he said.
Bumblebee species are dying out quickly, some as fast as a few decades, said the study.
“For the North American species that I work on, we know that about a third of them are in decline and in some cases this has been quite dramatically, more than 90 percent,” says co-author York University Environmental Studies Prof. Sheila Colla in the release.
Colla added that even species that were widespread just 50 years ago are barely seen now, even within their normal range.
Climate change isn't the only factor killing off bees, experts say.
Tiffany Finck-Haynes, the pollinator expert for Friends of the Earth U.S., had this to say about the new finding: "The bee problem is complex; bees are having trouble for many reasons and the long equation of factors contributing to bee decline include: climate change, pests, disease, loss of habitat and pesticides. Pesticides are a key part of the problem and something in the equation we can fix right now. Reducing the use of pesticides will help bees." Read More


Mid-July frost recorded in central Europe

[Sott Net] After the European heat wave of last week, the pendulum has swung to the other extreme. Currently the weather pattern dominating Central Europe is bringing unusually cold air over the continent, and early this morning regions in a number of countries were hit by ground surface frost. 
Parts of Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic saw surface frost - even down to the lower elevations (Belgium is hardly a mountainous region). German site Wetter24 twittered here a map depicting the frosty areas gripping this 10th of July, 2015. Also see map here. Swiss meteorologist Jörg Kachelmann here writes and supplies a link showing a German video reporting conditions that the German Eifel region woke up to early this morning. At the 1:50 mark the video reports: We saw fields that were snow-white. That on the tenth of July I have never seen before. My colleague Fabian had also never seen this before. It just looked wonderful. We just thought that indeed we are not in autumn or spring; we are actually in July. These pictures impressed us, and that we found this frost."
Apparently the "greenhouse effect" of atmospheric CO2 was unable to trap the heat and prevent frost from forming at ground level. 
Yesterday Aonach Mor and Strathallan in Scotland saw frost. So did Blackpool and Exeter in England! Central Europe and Great Britain were not the only places at the middle latitudes of the northern hemisphere that saw frosty conditions. ABC News here reports that "Tioga Pass was closed from 4 miles west of Jct 395 to the Yosemite National Park entrance gate, due to snow." Also the southern hemisphere has seen cold weather as well. The forecast for Australia is calling for below normal temperatures. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Heart – An Agent of Transformation

[HeartMath.Org] It is no secret that our world is changing fast. As you face this period of accelerated change, do you feel you have the tools you need to deal with and adjust to all that is happening?
Historically, there is evidence the heart could help us navigate the ever-shifting terrain we experience daily. HeartMath Institute’s research shows the heart possesses a unique intelligence that can help you adjust to accelerating change. When you access this intelligence, you will have more clarity and power to quickly clear away unwanted thoughts and feelings and adjust to rapid change with confidence.
It’s no coincidence that ancient cultures from Greece to China looked at the heart as a primary source of feeling, virtue and intelligence. Many faiths and traditions refer to the heart as the seat of the soul and pathway to spirit, or the higher self.
Western languages refer to the heart as both a physical organ and metaphor for feeling and intuition and the center of personality, or being. People often describe the place where they experience emotions such as joy, love, hurt and sadness as the e heart area. Many languages use variations of these English expressions: take heart, heartfelt and look within your heart for the answer.
Scientists discovered only recently a connection between the physical and feeling heart. For example, research at HeartMath Institute shows, someone feeling positive emotions like compassion or appreciation has smooth, balanced heart rhythms. In contrast, someone feeling negative emotions such as anger and anxiety display more erratic and unbalanced rhythms.
HeartMath and other organizations’ research shows the heart can be a powerful agent for emotional transformation. This research provides hope for people with depression, anxiety, and other stress-related disorders. HeartMath has developed powerful, yet simple techniques people can use to improve how they feel, think and perceive life. These techniques help you connect with your deeper heart, increase mental clarity, regulate brain chemicals and hormones and, according to many people, produce a natural high. Read More

The Heart's Intuitive Intelligence: A path to personal, social and globa...

Earth’s history isn’t on our side with new sea-level rise study

[The Hoops News] History isn’t on our side when it comes to climate change or sea-level rise, a new study found. Research conducted by a group of climate scientists from multiple U.S. universities found that the level of sea-level rise seen due to climate change in recent years is mild compared to what we could be experiencing in the coming years. The study indicated that historically speaking, this massive change or shift in the climate, which would leave oceans rising as much as 20 or 30 feet in a matter of just a couple decades – is anything but a dooms day scenario.
While it might seem like the stuff of fiction, the study found that there is legitimate historical context to this theory. The theory suggests that in a period of slow climate change – sea-level rise was as much as 25 feet. However, the study found that the acceleration rate of the sea-level rise was something that happened in a relatively short period of time. That is something that could seriously challenge waterways and could completely change the layout of coastlines around the world.
The research team believes that the water will come from the melting of ice at both of the poles, and while it will have significant impact on wildlife in the north and south – the biggest impacts now will likely be people who live in massive metropolitan spaces along the coastline of the U.S. Specifically, key East and West Coast cities, which thrive on water – and are home to millions and millions of people.
Anders Carlson, a co-author on the study pointed out that, “Studies have shown that both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets contributed significantly to this sea level rise above modern levels.” He went on to point out that, “Modern atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are today equivalent to those about three million years ago, when sea level was at least six meters higher because the ice sheets were greatly reduced.” Read More

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Extreme Weather Watch: June 2015 – Deadly Heat Wave in Pakistan; Powerful Storms Inundate Midwest and East Coast; Northwest Sets Heat Record

[San Diego Free Press] Pakistan’s heat wave took a toll of more than 1200 dead, the deadliest heat wave on record. Power outages added to the misery, leaving many without fans, water or light at the beginning of Ramadan, when many Muslims do not eat or drink during daylight hours. More than 14,000 people were hospitalized in Karachi, the nation’s largest city.
The heat wave came just weeks after torrid temperatures caused nearly 2,200 deaths in neighboring India. This devastating weather is being seen as the effects of human-caused climate change. The Pakistan heat wave will join the heat wave in India as one of the 10 deadliest in world history.
On June 24 powerful rain storms wreaked havoc on the midwest and east coast. Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were without power in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Multiple tornadoes hit Illinois and Michigan. Power was knocked out to thousands of people. More than 50 homes as well as churches were damaged in Portland, Michigan. In Sublette, Illinois 5 people were hurt and one hospitalized with serious injuries when a tornado with winds of 135 mph hit a campground.
More than 90,000 homes remained without power in Michigan four days later. To the south, more than 30,000 were without power in the Fort Wayne area alone, and crews said it could be days before the lights come back on for everyone.
In Ohio, there were reports that a nursing home had to be evacuated on Sunday, June 28th in Deshler as the floodwaters rose.
“An unusual storm for late June began to crank up in the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes late Friday, before sweeping into the Northeast by Sunday,” said weather.com meteorologist Chris Dolce. “The storm brought a swath of heavy rainfall that resulted in flooding across parts of Indiana and Ohio late Friday into early Saturday. The area of low pressure associated with the storm also caused strong winds in the eastern Great Lakes. In Detroit, winds gusted over 30 mph much of Saturday, peaking at 40 mph.”
Wind gusts topping 60 mph blew down scores of trees in and around Fort Wayne, contributing to power outages for about a fifth of Indiana Michigan Power Co. customers in Allen County. The utility company said it had more than 600 separate outages in the Fort Wayne area and that it could take several days for complete restoration.
A torrid heat wave has broken June record highs in at least 10 cities in the Northwest. Additional June or even all-time high-temperature records were in jeopardy across parts of the Great Basin and Northwest.
Furthermore, the extreme heat was predicted to last well into early July and may end up breaking records for longevity as well. Walla Walla,Washington, hit 113 degrees. Boise, Idaho, topped out at 110 degrees. Boise also tied its all-time record streak of 100-degree-plus highs on July 4, a string of nine straight days. Spokane, Washington hit 105 degrees. Seattle is likely to shatter its record streak of 90-degree-plus highs – five straight days in 1981 and 1941 – early this week. Read More

Lake Mead hits a new low, but the drought has a silver lining -- tourism

[LATimes] Bruce Nelson was just a baby when Lake Mead was at its mightiest.
That was 1983 — ancient history to the 32-year-old whose family has run marinas here for three generations — when the lake gushed over Hoover Dam like a desert Niagara Falls.
But that was then. Now, the West remains mired in a lingering drought that has sapped the lake level to its lowest point since Mead was created in the 1930s.
The drop has threatened water supplies for the entire Southwest, prompting officials to consider rationing. In September, the third and deepest intake pipe into the lake will be opened to ensure that Las Vegas-area consumers have water no matter how far Mead falls.
But Nelson says those already penning Lake Mead's obituary are a bit premature.
Tourism here is rebounding and the drought has brought an odd bonus: As waters recede, the lake has given up long-submerged secrets — a ghost town and B-29 bomber among them, history slowly revealed with the gentle care of an archaeologist's brush.
On a recent Friday, Nelson shuts off the engine of his Yamaha pleasure boat and floats in the aqua-green waters just off the dam wall. On either side of him, the rock face soars toward impossibly blue summer skies. Nelson's family opened their first marina here in 1957, and he grew up on this lake. His childhood playground now supports his livelihood.
"It's just so unfair to say this lake is disappearing," he says. "The lake is what it is. Do we prefer more water? Sure. But even with less water, this is still one big, big lake."
Nelson has stopped in a place called Black Canyon, though its walls now bear the black-white contrast of a piano keyboard.
The chalk-colored stone closest to the waterline, covered with residue from the retreating waters, is a measuring stick of just how far the lake level has fallen — from 1,226 feet to 1,075 feet in just 17 years, with most of that in the last few years. Read More

Friday, July 03, 2015

Climate change will see parts of cities under water - Robinson



[Irish Times] Many people living along the coast of cities could find their homes under water with even a moderate sea-level change, former Irish president Mary Robinson has warned.
The United Nations special envoy for climate change said it was predicted 200 million people could be climate displaced people by the end of the century.
“And, if we are not careful, by 2050,” she said.

“We are talking about the fact that an awful lot of people live on the coast in parts of cities will be under water if sea levels rise by even a fairly moderate amount. And the prediction with the 4-degree world will be three times that.”
The former president said although the global goal was stay below 2 degrees, scientists had told her the earth was on course for 4 degrees over this time frame.
Ms Robinson said families in the Pacific Islands were faced with a “real threat to their existence” because of climate change.
“I see communities faced every day with the erosions of their gardens, of their walls,” she said.
“It’s quite incredible that families are faced with a real threat to their existence, in some cases, and certainly to their food production.”
She said a 4-degree rise would be “catastrophic” if it happened.
“It is cyclones beyond belief. It is whole cities like Miami going underwater. And we’re facing that,” she said. Read More