Posts in category: Uncategorized

Jul

22
2015

Farmers beg for assistance as Mississippi River overtops levee near the Morganza Spillway | News | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Jodde     Uncategorized     0

Theadvocate.com reports that...

But this year, Graham and several other Pointe Coupee landowners and farmers will lose as much as $4 million in unharvested crops because of unseasonably late flooding of the Mississippi River that already has begun to submerge more than 4,000 acres of farmland near the Morganza forebay.

Read more at theadvocate.com


Jul

14
2015

Report on Canadian Wildfires

Jodde     Uncategorized     0

Snow drought afflicted western Canada is currently afflicted by several wildfires. In Saskatchewan alone, over 12,000 people have been forced from their homes. Several fire departments are helping contain blazes in Alberta and B.C., with firefighters coming from as far away as Mexico in Alberta. In B.C., they are using firefighters from across the globe, all the way from Australia. More international aid may be necessary to contain the fires which are threatening homes and harming air quality through vast swaths of the western provinces and the US. Professor Mike Flannigan from the University of Alberta, an expert on wildfires, blames the upsurge in fires on global warming. “I’m not saying every year is going to be a bad fire year,” he says, “but we are going to see a lot more fires on the landscape.” The western Canadian provinces have what are referred to as tinderbox conditions, and they are not alone. The fires are going to be extremely difficult to contain, and new ones can and likely will crop up throughout the summer.

 

A contained fire is not the same thing as an extinguished fire. For a fire to be contained simply means that it is surrounded by a fire line. Fires require three things to burn and spread. Oxygen, a heat source, and fuel. It is difficult to eliminate oxygen and heat, although these two strategies can be employed. Foam fire extinguishers, there are several different types, suppress oxygen. Water bombing cools fires. The fire line is a trench that firefighters dig around the fuel source. If you have a fire that is 100 units across, and firefighters dig a 10 unit trench, then the fire is 10% contained. The fire cannot spread beyond the trench, or at least it cannot without very heavy winds. Beyond fire lines, they use retardants to mitigate this possibility. The upshot of this discussion is twofold. Firstly, the fact that hundreds of firefighters from all over the world are being flown in to dig these trenches should convey some sense of scale.   Secondly, even when all these fires are 100% contained, they may still be burning. In fact, they are expected to be burning until at least fall, at which point the first snowfall will extinguish them. That means that toxic smoke will be around for the whole summer, and parts of the fall as well. This is of course bad news for anyone with respiratory diseases like asthma or COPD.

There are over 800 fires currently burning throughout Canada, mostly in western Canada, controlled to varying degrees.   117 of those fires are listed as uncontrolled. The situation is expected to get even worse next week, despite all the help from the National Guard and abroad. Already we have exceeded the national average for fires, with over 4,672 throughout Caanda, vs. 3,437 in normal years. That is 36% more than usual. While the increase is certainly stunning, it is nothing compared to the area burned with these fires. 2,649,305 ha (6,546,575.2 acres) have burned vs. 1,114,014 (2,752,788.5 acres) as a ten year average. Not only are we having more fires this year, but they are burning more intensely.

Unfortunately, the tragic events we reported on are in no way a full reflection of what has been going on in the world.  If you would like to see all of our headlines from the past week, please click here.

 


Jun

12
2015

Rain hampers search for dozens missing in Nepal landslide – Yahoo News

Jodde     Uncategorized     0

News.yahoo.com reports that...

KATHMANDU, Nepal AP — Rescuers searched through piles of rocks and debris Friday after a landslide swept through six mountainous Nepalese villages, killing 24 people and leaving dozens more missing.

Read more at news.yahoo.com


May

22
2015

Problems with snow and ice

Jodde     Uncategorized     0

We have been reporting for the last couple months that the snowpack is fairly sparse.  That low snowpack is likely to cause or exacerbate  drought, which disturbs crops, local economies and ecosystems.  Arid conditions can even trigger flash flooding, which we may soon see in California as they are dealing with exceptional drought.  Now, the Colorado River, which feeds such centers as Las Vegas, Los Angeles and parts of Arizona is running dry.  The snowpacks feed this major river and they have all mostly melted to be whisked away to far away places, not where it is needed.  There is more to be said about drought.  Several nations around the world are experiencing the devastating effects of drought, namely Brazil and Zimbabwe.  However, the biggest story as of late is not about snow melting too early, but ice.  The Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica, which partially broke away in early 2002, is weaker than ever before.  NASA scientists predict that within the next five years it may break away altogether.  That is 618 square miles (995 square kilometres) of ice that will melt into the ocean.

What’s really bad about that is that it’s not just normal ice.  Glaciers have extremely dense ice.  They form when snow gets buried so deep in new layers of snow that they are compressed into ice.  The process is called firnification.  The firns, later get compacted even further into glacial ice.  Glacial ice is 850kg/m3, and water is 1000kg/m3. That means roughly 85% of that mass will become seawater.  In 2002, the depth of the ice that broke off was 200m.  Assuming it is the size, we will see an increase in seawater of 16,915 liters (4,468 gallons).  While it is hard to predict the exact effects this volume of water will have, it may affect currents and cause some sea level rise.


Apr

13
2015

Oregon governor’s drought emergency declaration expanded | The Japan Times

Jodde     Uncategorized     0

Japantimes.co.jp reports that...

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a drought emergency on Monday in three southern and central Oregon counties, expanding upon earlier drought declarations the Democrat made in March, as the state faces record low snowpack levels.

Read more at www.japantimes.co.jp


Apr

02
2015

For Drinking Water in Drought, California Looks Warily to Sea

Jodde     Uncategorized     0

Nytimes.com reports that...

CARLSBAD, Calif. — Every time drought strikes California, the people of this state cannot help noticing the substantial reservoir of untapped water lapping at their shores — 187 quintillion gallons of it, more or less, shimmering so invitingly in the sun.

Read more at www.nytimes.com


Jan

13
2015

Fire among disastrous weather events this week.

Jodde     Uncategorized     0

A series of about a hundred fires are burning out of control in Chile.  Some of them, firefighters classify as “highly resistant to control.”  As it stands, over 35,000 acres (14,161 ha).  Sadly, it has not only been tracts of wilderness that gone up in smoke, but also 15 houses.  Australia is also battling wildfires, which are threatening several vineyards in the wine growing region, Adelaide Hills.  Wine, it turns out, is very sensitive to smoke, and what is known as smoke taint is bad news for vintages.  The smoke gets into grapes’ skins and the resulting wine tastes like an ashtray; obviously an unpopular drink.  While there is no estimate of damages from smoke taint just yet, in previous years it has easily topped $7 million.  Sadly, hundreds of animals have also been killed in the fires.  In the US, another cash crop might be in trouble; chile peppers.  The ongoing US drought in the Southwest is forcing farmers to rely more on well water than water from the Rio Grande.  This well water is saltier than river water and it results in weakened, smaller crops.  Farmers fear that within a few years they will not be able to grow the crop at all.  Brazil is also having trouble with crop production, even as drought recovery is beginning.  Coffee trees will not recover easily from the extreme heat and drought in 2014.

Also in Australia, in the Northern Territories and surrounding areas, three people were successfully rescued from flash flooding.  One man was not so lucky.  He was reported missing after tire-tubing along a riverbed and police recovered his body.  Police are urging residents to use extreme caution while the rain continues, as there is a risk of further flash flooding.  Travellers are advised to check road conditions before going anywhere.  In other news, the Middle East is facing a new humanitarian threat.  Lebanon, Syria, and several other countries are being covered in snow.  Refugee camps in Syria were not prepared for the arctic blast, and at least two refugees are dead as a result.  More deaths will likely follow, as temperatures are expected to plummet to -17ºC (1.4ºF.)  While this is on par with what Canadians experience annually, it is dramatic for Lebanon.  Meanwhile, in Myanmar, four people are dead after a landslide at a jade mine.  Heavy rain triggered this fatal event.

This summary in no way reflects all of what has been going on in the world.  If you would like to see all of our headlines from the past week, please click here.

 

 


Jan

12
2015

Drought threatens New Mexico chile farmers | KTSM News Channel 9 | News, Weather and Sports | El Paso, Las Cruces, Juarez

Jodde     Uncategorized     0

Ktsm.com reports that...

Farmers say the drought – which has crippled much of the southwest – has made things so bad soon that could be a reality.

Read more at www.ktsm.com


Jan

12
2015

B.C. winter storm hits Interior, Fraser Valley – British Columbia – CBC News

Jodde     Uncategorized     0

Cbc.ca reports that...

The first major winter storm forecast for 2015 brought mainly rain to Vancouver Island and Metro Vancouver, but caused significant snowfall in other parts of B.C.

Read more at www.cbc.ca


Jan

12
2015

Power gradually being restored across Quebec after ice storm | Montreal Gazette

Jodde     Uncategorized     0

Montrealgazette.com reports that...

Lenny Colesio returns to her home on Elmhurst Ave. in Montreal Sunday night January 4, 2015 where power had been out since the morning.

Read more at montrealgazette.com