Tag Archives: Coastal Issues

Wetlands focus on climate talks sideline

Greater St Lucia Wetlands, South Africa. iSimangaliso Wetland Park is situated on the east coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa about 275 kilometres north of Durban. It is South Africa’s third-largest protected area, spanning 280 km of coastline, from the Mozambican border in the north to Mapelane south of the St Lucia estuary, and made up of around 3,280 km² of pristine natural ecosystems, managed by iSimangaliso Authority. Caption Wikipedia. Photo source: ©© inkie1010


Wetlands, critical for the health of South Africa’s coasts and river systems, already have been degraded or seriously altered by human activity, and experts fear global warming threatens them further.

As talks to shore up the international response to global warming entered their second and crucial week in the South African coastal city of Durban, environmentalists led a tour of a wetlands area nearby…

Read Full Article, AP

Arctic settles into new phase: warmer, greener, and less ice

Ice photos from NOAA Ships. Caption and photograph: NOAA


An international team of scientists who monitor the rapid changes in the Earth’s northern polar region say that the Arctic is entering a new state, one with warmer air and water temperatures, less summer sea ice and snow cover, and a changed ocean chemistry.

This shift is also causing changes in the region’s life, both on land and in the sea, including less habitat for polar bears and walruses, but increased access to feeding areas for whales.

Changes to the Arctic are chronicled annually in the Arctic Report Card, which was released today. The report is prepared by an international team of scientists from 14 different countries.

“This report, by a team of 121 scientists from around the globe, concludes that the Arctic region continues to warm, with less sea ice and greater green vegetation,” said Monica Medina, NOAA principal deputy under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. “With a greener and warmer Arctic, more development is likely. Reports like this one help us to prepare for increasing demands on Arctic resources so that better decisions can be made about how to manage and protect these more valuable and increasingly available resources.”

Among the 2011 highlights are:

Atmosphere: In 2011, the average annual near-surface air temperatures over much of the Arctic Ocean were approximately 2.5° F (1.5° C) greater than the 1981-2010 baseline period.

Sea ice: Minimum Arctic sea ice area in September 2011 was the second lowest recorded by satellite since 1979.

Ocean: Arctic Ocean temperature and salinity may be stabilizing after a period of warming and freshening. Acidification of sea water (“ocean acidification”) as a result of carbon dioxide absorption has also been documented in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

Land: Arctic tundra vegetation continues to increase and is associated with higher air temperatures over most of the Arctic land mass.

NOAA Arctic StarDot NetCam – Monday, July 5, 2010.Caption and photograph: NOAA

In 2006, NOAA’s Climate Program Office introduced the State of the Arctic Report which established a baseline of conditions at the beginning of the 21st century. It is updated annually as the Arctic Report Card to monitor the often-quickly changing conditions in the Arctic. Peer-review of the scientific content of the report card was facilitated by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment (AMAP) Program.

Original Article

Arctic much worse since 2006, AP
Federal officials say the Arctic region has changed dramatically in the past five years, it is melting at a near record pace, and it’s darkening and absorbing too much of the sun’s heat. The Arctic acts as Earth’s refrigerator, cooling the planet. What’s happening, scientists said, is like someone pushing the fridge’s thermostat much too high.

Landsat in Memory of the World Register

Photo source: ©© jmwk

Excerpts; by Laura Rocchio / Landsat / NASA

What do the Gutenberg Bible, Tolstoy’s personal library, the Book of Kells—an 8th century illuminated manuscript, created by Celtic monks—and the Landsat Multispectral Scanner System (MSS) data archive have in common?

They are all among the 245 international documentary collections that make up the Memory of the World Register. The register is a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) effort to preserve access to documentary heritage around the world.

Read Full Article, NASA

“Our Blue Canoe”, A Documentary Film Trailer, By Pacific Voyagers

WATCH: The first teaser trailer for the documentary film, “Our Blue Canoe” which is currently in production and highlights the epic modern-day journey of the Pacific Voyagers.


Uploaded on Youtube, by Pacific Voyagers

About the Pacific Voyagers:
All texts and photograph, property and courtesy of © Oceanic Nature Film Productions / Pacific Voyagers

The Goal:

“We are a group of Pacific Islanders who have come together from many nations, sailing as one across the Pacific Ocean. We are voyaging to strengthen our ties with the sea, renew our commitment to healthy ecosystems for future generations, and to honour our ancestors who have sailed before us. As we sail our Vaka across the Pacific, we are respectful and gentle, always remembering our voyage motto: “Move your paddle silently through the water.

The Ocean provides us with the air we breathe, the food we eat, life-sustaining medicines, and nourishment for our souls. Currently, our Ocean is in peril and these essential gifts are quickly disappearing.”

The Mission:

“Pacific Voyagers’ mission is simple: Use the wisdom of our ancestors, combined with modern science, to propel us into a more sustainable future, help heal our injured ocean, raise awareness, and to revive our cultural traditions of voyaging….

Starting in Aotearoa (New Zealand) in April of 2011, we have sailed to Tahiti, The Marquesas, and throughout Hawaii where we attended the Kava Bowl Ocean Summit. At the Kava Bowl Summit, all voyagers, along with some of the top marine scientists in the world, came together to address the effects of climate change on our ocean, the economic costs of the ocean, and the intrinsic value we hold for our ocean.

We have just concluded our North American leg of our journey. We sailed down the California coast, starting in San Francisco and concluded in San Diego where we are winterizing our vessels.

Commencing our journey again in January, 2012, we’ll continue to raise awareness of the current health of our Pacific Ocean and show people what they can do to help.

During our journey thus far, we’ve seen pockets of floating plastic and debris, litter strewn upon our beaches, and the most heartbreaking: a Fin Whale just off the shores of San Francisco, struggling in an entangled piece of plastic rope that only took hold deeper…

We’ll continue our voyage south to Cabo San Lucas, on to Costa Rica’s Cocos Islands, the Galapagos, The Marquesas, Tahiti, and then back to our Pacific Island homes. We’ll also attend the Festival of Pacific Arts in the Solomon Islands in July 2012. We invite and encourage you to continue following us on our journey. We get so much joy and pleasure from people following and encouraging us along the way!”

Read More About Pacific Voyagers And Voyage Events

pacific voyagers
Photograph by © MagnusDanbolt, skipper of HineMoana vaka; courtesy of © Oceanic Nature Film Productions / Pacific Voyagers

Can Egypt Escape Its Climate Future?

The Eye of Horus is an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection, and the right eye of Horus was associated with the sun Ra. Ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern sailors would frequently paint the symbol on the bow of their vessel to ensure safe sea travel. Caption Wikipedia. Photo source: ©© Quikwhitefox86

Excerpts; from Guardian UK

In 10 days’ time, 195 parties and 17,000 delegates will descend in Durban for the latest UN round of global climate talks.

Africa is the continent most vulnerable to climate change, because of its vastness, its poverty and its diversity. Its people also stand to lose the most because they have the least resources to adapt.

Ahead of the talks, John Vidal embarked on a journey between Africa’s two most industrialised countries – South Africa and Egypt. The route included one of Africa’s poorest nations (Malawi), its newest (Southern Sudan), its hungriest (Ethiopia), visiting some of its most remote tribes (in Uganda and Kenya), highest mountains (Uganda) and coastal areas (South Africa). All countries are experiencing climate change in different ways, and preparing and adapting at a different pace. But for all, the stakes are high, and the agreement is unanimous: climate change is real and it is happening.

This is the first in a series of articles recording that journey.

“Just a few miles north of where I am now standing, the Mediterranean is remorselessly battering the Egyptian coastline. Salt is leaching into the rich soils and invading the drinking water wells, 1,000-year-old homes are being eroded from below and hundreds of square miles of land have been inundated by rising water in just a few generations. Sea levels are inexorably rising and storms are becoming more intense…”

Read Full Article, Guardian UK

Surprising Sunken Islands Discovered Off Australia

The Pinacles. The extraordinary ancient rock formations that make up the Pinnacles are located about a three-hour drive north of Perth, the capital and largest city of the state of Western Australia, and near the coastal town of Cervantes. Regarded as one of Australia’s most unique landscapes, these incredible limestone spiers rise eerily out of the sand, some several metres tall.Photo source: ©© Badjonni


Two sunken islands almost at the site of Tasmania have been discovered in the Indian Ocean west of the Australian city of Perth. The researchers who found the islands during a recent sea voyage think that they were once part of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana, which could have ramifications for our understanding of how that giant land mass broke apart…

Read Full Article, MSNBC

Parts of Gondwana megacontinent found off Australia, AFP

Ancient Bronze Artifact from East Asia Unearthed, Alaska’s Seward Peninsula

alaska seward peninsula
Cape Espenberg, located on the Seward Peninsula in Alaska, on the Chukchi Sea coast. The Seward Peninsula is a large peninsula on the western coast of the U.S. state of Alaska. It projects about 320 kilometers (200 mi) into the Bering Sea between Norton Sound, the Bering Strait, the Chukchi Sea, and Kotzebue Sound, just below the Arctic Circle. Caption: Wikipedia. Photo source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


A team of researchers led by the University of Colorado Boulder has discovered the first prehistoric bronze artifact made from a cast ever found in Alaska, a small, buckle-like object found in an ancient Eskimo dwelling, on Alaska’s Seward Peninsula.

The object found has a rectangular bar connected to a broken circular ring. It’s about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide and resembles a small buckle. The object was found in August by a team excavating a roughly 1,000-year-old house that had been dug into the side of a beach ridge by early Inupiat Eskimos at Cape Espenberg on the Seward Peninsula, which lies within the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.

The excavations are part of a project paid for by the National Science Foundation to study human response to climate change at Cape Espenberg from A.D. 800 to A.D. 1400. Archaeologist Owen Mason, a research affiliate with the university based in Anchorage, says six or seven home sites were excavated.

Of particular interest are temperature and environmental changes that may be related to Earth’s Medieval Warm Period that lasted from about A.D. 950 to 1250.

“That particular time period is thought by some to be an analog of what is happening to our environment now as Earth’s temperatures are rising,” said Mason. “One of our goals is to find out how these people adapted to a changing climate through their subsistence activities.”

The Cape Espenberg beach ridges, wave-swept deposits made of sand and sediment running parallel to the shoreline that were deposited over centuries, often are capped by blowing sand to form high dunes. The Cape Espenberg dwellings were dug into the dunes and shored up with driftwood and occasional whale bones.

The team is examining the timing and formation of the beach ridges as well as the contents of peat and pond sediment cores to help them reconstruct the sea-level history and the changing environment faced by Cape Espenberg’s settlers…

Read Full Article, in Science Daily

Bronze artifact found on Alaska’s Seward Peninsula, AP