Category Archives: Erosion

Asia and Pacific: climate disasters displace 42 million

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Photograph: © SAF

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Climate-related disasters have displaced more than 42 million people in Asia over the past two years, the Asian Development Bank said Tuesday in a report calling for swift action to avert future crises.

Asia and the Pacific is the global area most prone to natural disasters, and Asia has six of the 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change, with Bangladesh and India in the top two places on a list that also includes Nepal, the Philippines, Afghanistan and Myanmar…

Read Full Article, AFP

People Displaced by Climate Change Need Our Help, But So Do Those Who Cannot Leave, American Scientist
The environment is already affecting patterns of human migration. On the island of Hatia, along coastal Bangladesh, 22 percent of households have migrated to cities as a coping strategy following tidal surges. A recent UK report has shown that a focus on populations migrating away from environmental change neglects 2 key groups of vulnerable people: the many millions who will actually migrate into areas of environmental threat, and those who will be trapped there by economic, social or environmental challenges.

Was Human Evolution Caused by Climate Change? Science Daily
According to a paper published in Science, models of how animal and plant distributions are affected by climate change may also explain aspects of human evolution.

Controversial dam projects – in pictures

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A hydroelectric dam in Chile. The government has approved a project to build five dams on two of Patagonia’s rivers. Photograph: EPA

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To mark the international day of action for rivers on Wednesday, a look is taken at some of the world’s most contentious dam projects, from the Three Gorges in China to Brazil’s Belo Monte dam…

Read Full Article, The Guardian UK

A WAy of Life Under Threat, Patagonia, The Guardian UK

Malaysia’s Borneo tribes lose test case over mega-dam, AFP

The Problems With Dams

Elwha Dam Removal: A New Life When The Dam Breaks

Rising Sea Levels Seen as Threat to Coastal U.S.

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Sea level rise, Topsail beach, North Carolina. Photo courtesy of © Denis Delestrac

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About 3.7 million Americans live within a few feet of high tide and risk being hit by more frequent coastal flooding in coming decades because of the sea level rise caused by global warming, according to new research.

If the pace of the rise accelerates as much as expected, researchers found, coastal flooding at levels that were once exceedingly rare could become an every-few-years occurrence by the middle of this century…

Read Full Article, The New York Times

Landslide raises questions about $15.7 billion Exxon plan

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Southern Highlands, River Valley,Papua New Guinea. Photo source: ©© Drew Douglas

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A deadly landslide in the mountains of Papua New Guinea, near where U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil is building a $15.7 billion gas project, is raising fresh questions about the global energy industry’s scramble for ever harder-to-reach resources.

The landslide tore through a quarry used by Exxon in January, killing at least 25 people in the poor South Pacific country, but it has stirred little international publicity, even though an expert report had questioned the safety of the excavations.

Read Full Article, MSNBC / Reuters

Analysing the pre-landslide image from Tumbi Quarry, by The American Geological Union

Before and After Landslide Images, by The American Geological Union

Guinean Landslide Survivors Wait in Vain for Justice
Six weeks later, landslide survivors still awaiting government assistance, are speaking out following a flawed preliminary investigation.

Context for the Tumbi Quarry landslide – an image gallery for quarry and open cast landslides AGU, by The American Geological Union

Rapid Demise of Papua New Guinean Forests, NASA

Half of Papua New Guinea’s forests gone by 2021: Study

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Huli Fences, Southern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea. The Huli are an indigenous people who live in the Southern Highlands districts of Tari, Koroba, Margaraima and Komo, of Papua New Guinea. Wikipedia. Photo source: ©© Drew Douglas

In Patagonia, Caught Between Visions of the Future

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Protesting in Santiago, Chile. Government approval of a plan for a dam in a pristine part of the country has brought thousands to the streets.Photo source: ©© VisionShare

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Two competing visions of Patagonia, stirring a national debate over the future, and the soul of Patagonia itself: a $10 billion hydroelectric dam project known as HidroAysén, triggering a national outcry against what critics call the destruction of one of Chile’s most pristine ecosystems, and just within eyeshot of the proposed Dam, is the entrance to an entirely different view of Patagonia’s destiny: the 660,000-acre Patagonia National Park, which seeks to preserve the region’s grandeur by drawing tens of thousands of visitors a year…

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Torres del Paine from Lake Pehoé, Torres del Paine National Park, Southern Chile. Caption and Photo source: ©© Miguel V.

Read Full Article, The New York Times

HidroAysén’s Approval Takes Chile in the Wrong Direction

Chilean Patagonia: a Way of Life Under Threat by Dams

A North Carolina Lifeline Built on Shifting Sands

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Oblique aerial photograph of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, NC, looking north along the coast on August 30, 2011, three days after landfall of Hurricane Irene. Caption and photo source: USGS.

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Last August, when Hurricane Irene sliced across the Outer Banks, it cut Highway 12, Hatteras Island’s lifeline, in two places. Engineers rushed to repair the damage, filling and repaving a washed-out stretch of roadway here and building a bridge over a newly formed inlet a few miles to the north.

The road reopened on Oct. 11, to the cheers of anglers, would-be vacationers and the innkeepers, restaurateurs and merchants whose livelihoods had taken a huge blow.

But the winds and waves that shape the coast were already gnawing at the new bridge. By January, engineers were reinforcing its southern approach with sandbags and rock trucked in from the mainland, in hopes of keeping the road open until a more permanent fix could be designed and built…

Read Full Article, The New York Times

Rising Seas To Have Uneven Consequences For California Beach Towns

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Coastal erosion, South California. Photograph: © SAF

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Rising sea levels projected over the next century could trigger uneven economic gains and losses for towns along the California coast, according to a new study.

Using a series of models to predict the effects of climate-related sea level rise at 51 Southern California beaches, researchers projected that some beaches could shrink or disappear altogether, while others can be expected to remain relatively large.

According to their study, published in the journal Climate Change, a 1-meter rise in sea levels would reduce the width of all beaches. But as smaller beaches diminish, many beachgoers are expected to drive farther to enjoy wider shores…

Read Full Article Yale 360

California beach towns: Who wins, who loses as sea levels rise, The Los Angeles Times
There will be winners and there will be losers as Southern California beaches erode unevenly in response to rising sea levels over the next century, according to a new study.

Estimating the potential economic impacts of climate change on Southern California beaches, Original Study, by Linwood Pendleton, Philip King, Craig Mohn, D. G. Webster, Ryan Vaughn and Peter N. Adams
Climate change could substantially alter the width of beaches in Southern California. Climate-driven sea level rise will have at least two important impacts on beaches: (1) higher sea level will cause all beaches to become more narrow, all things being held constant, and (2) sea level rise may affect patterns of beach erosion and accretion when severe storms combine with higher high tides. To understand the potential economic impacts of these two outcomes, this study examined the physical and economic effects of permanent beach loss caused by inundation due to sea level rise of one meter and of erosion and accretion caused by a single, extremely stormy year.

Global Permafrost Zones in High-Resolution Images On Google Earth

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Permafrost Erosion Measurement. USGS researcher measures erosion near a collapsed block of ice-rich permafrost along Alaska’s Arctic coast. Captions Benjamin Jones USGS. Photo source: Christopher Arp, U.S. Geological Survey

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Thawing permafrost will have far-reaching ramifications for populated areas, infrastructure and ecosystems. A geographer from the University of Zurich reveals where it is important to confront the issue based on new permafrost maps, the most precise global maps around. They depict the global distribution of permafrost in high-resolution images and are available on Google Earth…

Read Full Article, Science Daily

Alaskan Permafrost Mapped from the Skies, USGRP
Last week, the Interior Department’s US Geological Survey (USGS) released details about a landmark airborne survey of permafrost in the Yukon Flats of Alaska that yielded some of the most detailed, data-rich maps of permafrost ever generated. Permafrost—frozen ground that remains at or below water’s freezing point for at least two years—accounts for only 0.022% of all water on Earth, but it covers more than 20% of exposed land of Earth’s northern high latitudes (in addition to areas of Antarctica and the Patagonia region), where it plays a potentially important role in climate dynamics.
There are many reasons scientists seek to understand where permafrost is and how it is changing. One reason is that changes in permafrost can impact ground stability, affecting infrastructure such as roads, home foundations, water treatment facilities, and industrial sites. Another is that it changes in response to changes in temperature and water systems, and so is a key indicator of climate change…

Palm Beach County’s new beach erosion fight reignites sea turtle concerns

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Photograph: © SAF

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One year ago, threats to endangered sea turtles helped sink Palm Beach County plans to build erosion-fighting rock walls offshore from shrinking beaches in front of condominium towers.

Now a new proposal has surfaced to use different shoreline structures to combat erosion without creating as many obstacles for newly hatched turtles trying to make it from sand to sea…

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About two-thirds of Palm Beach County’s 46 miles of beach is considered “critically eroded,” according to state standards. Photo source: ©© Benson Kua

Read Full Article, Palm Beach News