Forests soak up third of fossil fuel emissions: study

mangrove trees
Clouds’ reflection in the mangroves. Photo source: ©©AussieGall

Excerpts; AFP

Forests play a larger role in Earth’s climate system than previously suspected for both the risks from deforestation and the potential gains from regrowth, a benchmark study released Thursday has shown.

The international team of climate scientists combined data, covering the period 1990 through 2007, showed that the world’s forests combined are a net “sink”, or sponge, for 1.1 billion tonnes of carbon, the equivalent of 13 percent of all the coal, oil land gas burned across the planet annually.

“…forests are even more at the forefront as a strategy to protect our climate.”

This is the first complete and global evidence of the overwhelming role of forests in removing anthropogenic carbon dioxide…

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A Giant Brought To Its Knees: The Atlantic Coastal Forest

Madagascar’s Coastal Deforestation

Drawing Up A Global Red List Of Vanishing Ecosystems

Mangrove Forests In Worldwide Decline

Banning plastic grocery bags just got easier in California

plastic bag pollution
Photo source: ©©Greg

Excerpts: Los Angeles Times

The California Supreme Court says Manhattan Beach can ban retailers from using plastic bags without going through a lengthy environmental study on the increased use of paper bags.

“This is a great day for the Pacific Ocean,” Dan Jacobson, legislative director for Environment California, praised the ruling. “Cities and counties can now move forward with plans to protect our environment, and to safeguard the significant portion of our economy that depends on a healthy ocean and beaches.”…

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US West Coast Erosion Spiked In Winter 2009-10, Previewing Likely Future As Climate Changes

By U.S. The Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey

Knowing that the U.S. west coast was battered during the winter before last by a climatic pattern expected more often in the future, scientists have now pieced together a San Diego-to-Seattle assessment of the damage wrought by that winter’s extreme waves and higher-than-usual water levels. Getting a better understanding of how the 2009-10 conditions tore away and reshaped shorelines will help coastal experts better predict future changes that may be in store for the Pacific coast, the researchers say.

“The stormy conditions of the 2009-10 El Niño winter eroded the beaches to often unprecedented levels at sites throughout California and vulnerable sites in the Pacific Northwest,” said Patrick Barnard, USGS coastal geologist. In California, for example, winter wave energy was 20 percent above average for the years dating back to 1997, resulting in shoreline erosion that exceeded the average by 36 percent, he and his colleagues found.

Among the most severe erosion was at Ocean Beach in San Francisco where the winter shoreline retreated 184 ft., 75 percent more than in a typical winter. The erosion resulted in the collapse of one lane of a major roadway and led to a $5 million emergency remediation project. In the Pacific Northwest, the regional impacts were moderate, but the southerly shift in storm tracks, typical of El Niño winters, resulted in severe local wave impacts to the north-of-harbor mouths and tidal inlets. For example, north of the entrance to Willapa Bay along the Washington coast, 345 ft. of shoreline erosion during the winter of 2009-10 destroyed a road.

The beach erosion observed throughout the U.S. west coast during the 2009-10 El Niño is linked to the El Niño Modoki (‘pseudo’ El Niño) phenomenon, where the warmer sea surface temperature is focused in the central equatorial Pacific (as opposed to the eastern Pacific during a classic El Niño). As a result of these conditions, the winter of 2009-10 was characterized by above average wave energy and ocean water levels along much of the west coast, conditions not seen since the previous major El Niño (classic) in 1997-98, which contributed to the observed patterns of beach and inlet erosion.

As even warmer waters in the central Pacific are expected in the coming decades under many climate change scenarios, El Niño Modoki is projected to become a more dominant climate signal. When combined with still higher sea levels expected due to global warming, and potentially even stronger winter storms, these factors are likely to contribute to increased rates of beach and bluff erosion along much of the U.S. west coast, producing regional, large-scale coastal changes.

The study, “The impact of the 2009-10 El Niño Modoki on U.S. West Coast beaches”, published in The American Geophysical Union’s “Geophysical Research Letters” on July 9, was led by the USGS in collaboration with the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, University of California-Santa Cruz, Washington Department of Ecology, Oregon State University and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The authors took advantage of up to 13 years of seasonal beach survey data along 148 miles of coastline and tracked shoreline changes through a range of wave conditions.

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Japan Quake Makes 2011 Costliest Disaster Year

japan tsunami
“Sans Titre” by Vivien Isnard (1987). Pigment on canvas. MAMAC NICE, Museum of modern and contemporary Art Nice,Cote d’Azur. Photo by ©© J. Luc


The 9.0-magnitude quake on March 11, the strongest ever registered in Japan, and devastating tsunami, caused losses of 210 billion euros and 15,500 people perished, making it the costliest natural catastrophe on record…

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Japan Says Nuclear Plant Clean-Up And Decommissioning Will Take Several Decades

Nuclear Plant And Tsunami Risk: 3,000 Years Of geological History Disregarded

Why We Build Nuclear Power Stations In Earthquakes Zones?

China’s Northeast Coast: A Second Oil Spill

Photo source: © Greenpeace


China National Offshore Oil Corporation, recently accused of covering up a huge spill, is cleaning up another slick after a breakdown at a rig off China’s northeast coast.

The oil giant is trying to contain the spill covering an area measuring one square kilometre (0.4 square miles) of Bohai Bay, the State Oceanic Administration said, the third accident to hit CNOOC in recent weeks…

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Oil Spill Into Gulf Of Bohai

Shifting Sands and Rising Seas

By Celie Dailey & Orrin H. Pilkey

Edingsville Beach (SC), Batik on silk by Mary Edna Fraser
2009, 79” x 35”

One important societal need, in the face of climate change, is to stop hardened structures from being placed along our sandy barrier island shorelines.

Unlike buildings, which the hard structures are supposed to protect, barrier islands are flexible, dynamic, and are even capable of landward migration in response to sea level rise.

Two of the problems with hard structures are that they cause the eventual loss of the beach and rarely protect the buildings from the really big storm. A beachside lot on a barrier island loses its mystique when there is no beach. The desire for a beach house or hotel view of the ocean overrides the obvious hazards of beachfront living and the eventual need for hard structures contributing to the loss of beaches.

In a time of rising seas, it is senseless and dangerous to build on barrier islands. With sea level rise expected to reach 3 feet above the present level by 2100, barrier island development will become impossible unless protected by massive seawalls around entire islands.

An entire Atlantic Coast barrier island community getting wiped out is not new news. Over the years a number of small communities have disappeared. Some have been lost to the waves of big storms, such as Edingsville, South Carolina, in 1893. Others have fallen into the sea more gradually because of a combination of storms and shoreline erosion, such as Broadwater, Virginia, in 1941. Still others were abandoned in the face of perceived future storm hazards, a wise move. Diamond City, North Carolina, for examples, was abandoned and its buildings moved to safer sites on the mainland after three close calls with closely spaced hurricanes in the late 1890s but before significant damage to buildings had occurred.

In pre-Civil War South Carolina, Edingsville was a high-end resort community with sixty houses, two churches, and a tavern. Wealthy people from Charleston and nearby Edisto Island escaped to the resort to enjoy the seabreeze and avoid the summer malarial mosquitoes on the nearby coastal plain interior. A drawing of the community shows people promenading on the beach, fully attired in formal clothing, following the customs of the day. An 1851 Geodetic Survey chart shows the houses neatly spaced across the entire island. After the Civil War, the wealth that supported the island community diminished and the town fell into disrepair. The end came when the great Sea Island Hurricane of 1893 struck and destroyed all the houses.

Subsequent erosion and island migration reduced the island to a narrow strip of sand less than a hundred feet wide. The old village, perhaps a harbinger, is now four hundred meters (one-quarter mile) offshore. Still, bits of brick, pottery and nails from the village often wash ashore in storms.

Mary Edna Fraser caught the image that inspired her batik in 1983 with her Nikon 35mm film camera. Orrin Pilkey recognized the beach as the former Edingsville location. The art was created in 2009 at Orrin’s request. Mary Edna considers this scene her “aerial backyard,” south of Charleston, South Carolina. Mary Edna often depicts regions that are free of the marks of man across the landscape, inspiring reverence for the dynamic power of the Earth.

The batik on silk of Edingsville Beach is featured in Our Expanding Oceans, a comprehensive art and science exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh which features the collaboration of Mary Edna Fraser and Orrin H. Pilkey and supports the newly published text by Duke University Press, Global Climate Change: A Primer.

The book is co-authored by geoscientist Orrin H. Pilkey and his son, Keith C. Pilkey, with art by Mary Edna Fraser. The exhibit, Our Expanding Oceans, is on view until November 6, 2011 and is scheduled to travel in 2012.

Our Expanding oceans, And Global Climate Change: A Primer, Article And Video, Coastal Care

Artist And Scientist Make A Natural Pair: United They Are An Educational Force, Coastal Care

Nil Delta Desert Islands: An Artist And A Scientist Symbiotic Point Of View, Coastal Care

Delete Apathy

Lilly and Minot Visit the New Orleans Oil Spill

A children’s book written by William Sargent, Illustrated by Julia Purinton

Strawberry Hill Press Publishing just released Lilly and Minot Visit the New Orleans Oil Spill ,
a children’s book from the Lilly and Minot series, which provide a whimsical look at the environment.

“Lilly and Minot live at a dairy farm in the little town of Ipswich, north of Boston. They became famous when Lilly taught kids how to ride her bull-friend, Minot.

Their unbounded curiosity and desire to help others have led to great adventures around the world, from marching in the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans to learning about Minot’s Indian bovine counterparts.

In this witty and charming book, Lilly and Minot travel to New Orleans to help clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of New Mexico.”

william sargent LM

William Sargent is a consultant for the NOVA Science Series and has authored more than a dozen books on environmental science and coastal issues.

Olympia Hypothesis: Tsunamis Buried the Cult Site On the Peloponnese

Olympia a sanctuary of ancient Greece in Elis, is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times. Altis, around 18 kilometers away from the Ionian Sea, was a location in what is today Peloponnese, Greece. The Philippeion was a circular building erected by Philip II of Macedonia, memorial of ivory and gold, which contained statues of Philip’s family, Alexander the Great, Olympias, Amyntas III and Eurydice I. It was made by the Athenian sculptor Leochares in celebration of Philip’s victory at the battle of Chaeronea (338 BC) and was the only structure inside the Altis dedicated to a human.Wikipedia. Photo source: ©© Santi MB


Olympia, site of the famous Temple of Zeus and original venue of the Olympic Games in ancient Greece, was presumably destroyed by repeated tsunamis that travelled considerable distances inland and not by earthquake and river floods as has been assumed to date.

The site of Olympia, rediscovered only some 250 years ago, was buried under a massive layer of sand and other deposits that is up to 8 meters deep.

Tsunamis are well known from the eastern Mediterranean and are mainly the result of extensive seismic activities along the Hellenic Arc…

Read Full Article, Science Daily

The mission of the Santa Aguila Foundation is to raise awareness of and mobilize people against the ongoing decimation of coastlines around the world.

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