Tag Archives: Coastal Issues

Bangkok Floods Could Go Into Next Year

Photo source: ©© Philip Roeland


Parts of Bangkok could still be flooded next year, Thailand’s prime minister said on Tuesday, despite waters receding significantly in some areas of the city after weeks of inundation.
Thailand’s worst floods in half a century, caused by months of unusually heavy monsoon rains, have left at least 562 people dead and damaged millions of homes and livelihoods around the country.

Read Full Article, AFP

First Picture Emerges of Infant Underwater Volcano

The submarine volcanic eruption that began in mid-October in the Canary Islands, off the island of El Hierro, continued in early November 2011. Satellite acquired this natural-color image of El Hierro and a plume of volcanic material in the surrounding waters on November 2, 2011. The waters south of the island have been bubbling and fizzing with heat, sediment, bits of volcanic rock, and minerals for weeks, with the plume stretching tens of kilometers. The eruption is believed to be venting about 50 to 100 meters below the water surface, and it is warming the waters by as much as 10 degrees Celsius.
Caption and Photo source: NASA


It is rare that the birth of an island can be watched by humans in real-time, but that could be what is happening in Spain’s Canary Islands.

Residents of La Restinga on the island of El Hierro were recently evacuated after weeks of earthquakes and the growing threat of an erupting underwater volcano that is making its presence known on the surface with an expanding, bubbling patch of dark debris.

The seismic activity off the coast alerted scientists to the fact that something interesting was happening under the sea…

Read Full Article, Our Amazing Planet

El Hierro Submarine Eruption

Brazil Court Refuses To Stop Work On Bel Monte Dam, Amazon

No rio, Amazonia. Photo source: ©© By Daniel Zanini H


A federal court on Wednesday rejected an appeal for suspending construction of Brazil’s controversial $11 billion Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in the heart of the Amazon until after indigenous people have been consulted.

The court, based in Brasilia, upheld a legislative decree that authorized construction, which is opposed by environmentalists and Amazon Indian tribes who say the dam will cause massive destruction of fauna and flora in the area…

Amazonia. Photo source: ©© By Daniel Zanini H

Read Full Article, AFP

Bel Monte Dam Controversy

Dead Sea Protection Bill Pushed Ahead Of New 7 Wonders Competition

The Dead Sea is one of the 28 finalists in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition. It is a salt lake between Palestine and Israel to the west and Jordan to the east. At almost 1,378 feet (420 meters) below sea level, its shores are the lowest point on Earth that are on dry land. In the deepest part, at the very bottom of the sea, it is over 2,300 feet below sea level. The ‘Salt Sea’ has 30% salinity which is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean and people can float in it with no effort required. The Dead Sea is 1,237 ft (377 m) deep, making it the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. It has attracted visitors for thousands of years . . . Photo source: ©© M Disdero


This weekend, the winners of the worldwide New 7 Wonders of Nature competition will be announced, and Israel is rooting for the Dead Sea to be on the list. But Israeli environmentalists hope the government won’t be content with the mere honor, and will instead actually save the sea by supporting a bill to regulate the pumping of water from its sources and construction of infrastructure on its beaches.

The bill, entitled “Protection and Rehabilitation of the Dead Sea,” was drafted by the Israel Union for Environmental Defense (Adam, Teva V’Din) and submitted to the Knesset by a group of MKs headed by Dov Khenin (Hadash), and focuses on damages caused by the Dead Sea Works. The Ministerial Committee for Legislation is due to convene next week to decide whether the government will back it.”

Rooted in four main principles, the bill aims to preserve the Dead Sea and its internationally treasured natural resources, maintain the salty waters for the benefit of the next generation, curb the plunging water levels of the northern basin and determine new terms of management for the region, which will provide for continued reasonable extraction of minerals while protecting the ecosystems and biodiversity, according to the text.“If we don’t protect the Dead Sea from menacing damage inflicted upon it daily, we will be responsible for the disappearance of this natural wonder,” Henin said in a statement… (Jerusalem Post.)

Photo source: ©© David Shankbone

Read Full Article,Haaretz

Henin launches Dead Sea protection bill in Knesset, The Jerusalem Post

La mer Morte menacée d’assèchement, Le Figaro

Rescue The Dead Sea

Protecting the Dead Sea Basin: The Position of Friends of the Earth Middle East on the Red Dead Conduit and the protection of River Jordan

Springs of Life in the Dead Sea: Dense and Diverse Microbial Communities in and Around Fresh Water Springs, in Science Daily
The deepest point on the surface of Earth is the Dead Sea in Israel. Now a joint Israeli-German team of scientists found several systems of freshwater springs on the Dead Sea floor. Their presence has been speculated for decades as concentric ripples on the water surface are visible near the shore, but only with divers it was possible to detect this complex system of springs reaching 30 m depth. To locate and study these springs was quite a task for the scientific diving team, as the high salt concentration makes the diving dangerous and difficult. The divers located the springs and took water and sediment samples in which they detected novel microorganisms.

Huge Bering Sea Storm Bears Down On Alaska’s West Coast

Photo source: ©© emarquetti


A giant Pacific storm headed toward Alaska’s western coast has the potential to cause major coastal flooding, serious beach erosion, heavy snowfall and widespread damage, and could become “one of the worst on record” for the region, the National Weather Service said in an alert…

Read Full Article, MSNBC

Severe storm expected to cause widespread erosion along western Alaska coast, Fairbanks Daily News

NOAA declares string of seal deaths on New England Shores an unusual mortality event

Photo source: ©© Mike Baird


NOAA announced that the high number of seal deaths that have occurred along the New England coast since September has been declared an “Unusual Mortality Event.”

An unusual mortality event (UME) is defined under the Marine Mammal Protection Act as: “a stranding that is unexpected; involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal population; and demands immediate response.”

This will enable the agency to direct additional resources to further investigate the cause of these seal deaths.

“We want to remind people to not get close to seals encountered along the shore, to keep their pets away and to report any sightings to us through our stranding hotline, while we continue to assess whether there is any potential human health risk,” said Dr. Teri Rowles, National Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program Coordinator, NOAA Fisheries Service.

The declaration of an Unusual Mortality Event (UME) was determined after a formal consultation with the Working Group on Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events, a panel of international experts established under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to monitor and investigate marine mammal health concerns.

From Sept. 1 to Nov. 3, NOAA’s national Marine Mammal Stranding Network, the New England Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Program and the University of New England’s Marine Animal Rescue Center, have been working with NOAA to respond to a reported 146 seals strandings in Maine, New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. Most of the animals were harbor seals less than a year old. This is more than three times the average number of strandings that typically occur this time of year.

Preliminary pathology, biotoxin and virology analysis has been conducted on samples from five seals examined by the New England Aquarium. Samples from the five seals has tested positive for the Influenza A virus, while test results for six other viral pathogens and biotoxins were negative.

Even though preliminary results have been received, they are only indicative of those five cases, and additional evaluations are underway to determine whether the influenza virus has played a role in the overall mortalities.

An investigation team of marine mammal experts will work closely with NOAA, New England Stranding Network partners and the Working Group on Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events to identify and characterize the specific type of Influenza A virus found in these animals.

Seals, like other marine mammals (dolphins, whales, and sea lions), are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. People and their pets should maintain a safe distance to avoid disturbing the animal, being subject to a fine or risking injury. Some safe viewing tips:

Call NOAA Fisheries Service’s stranding hotline at 1-866-755-NOAA (6622), or a local marine mammal stranding network member or visit NOAA’s Northeast Region website for local contact information.
Stay at least 50 yards (150 feet) away from seals or other marine mammals.
Keep dogs on a leash and don’t allow them to approach seals. Seals and dogs can easily infect each other with diseases since they are closely related species.

Original Article

Viking Sunstone More Than A Myth

Viking Ship Prow, Viking Ship Museum, Oslo, Norway. Photo source: ©© mithrandir3


Ancient tales of Norse mariners using mysterious sunstones to navigate the ocean when clouds obscured the Sun and stars are more than just legend, according to a study, in Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences, a peer-reviewed journal published by Britain’s de facto academy of science, the Royal Society.

Over 1,000 years ago, before the invention of the compass, Vikings ventured thousands of kilometres from home toward Iceland and Greenland, and most likely as far as North America, centuries ahead of Christopher Columbus.

Evidence show that these fearless and fearsome seamen navigated by reading the position of the Sun and stars, and through an intimate knowledge of landmarks, currents and waves.
But how they could voyage long distances across seas at northern latitudes often socked in by light-obscuring fog and clouds has remained an enigma.

Enter the sunstone…

Read Full Article, AFP

“A depolarizer as a possible precise sunstone for Viking navigation by polarized skylight”, Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Seven Billion People Are Not The Issue: Human Sustainable Development Is What Counts

sustainable living
Photo source: ©© Kekko72

Excerpts; By The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).

As the global media speculate on the number of people likely to inhabit the planet on October 31 an international team of population and development experts argue that it is not simply the number of people that matters but more so their distribution by age, education, health status and location that is most relevant to local and global sustainability.

Any realistic attempt to achieve sustainable development must focus primarily on the human wellbeing and be founded on an understanding of the inherent differences in people in terms of their differential impact on the environment and their vulnerabilities…

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Seven Billion And Counting, BBC Video

Climate: Which Nations, Cities Most At Risk?

Continuous Rising Waters Prompt Large Scale Evacuation In Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok Floods 2011, Pakkred and beyond, on 27-Oct-11. Caption and Photo source: ©© Philip Roeland


Residents fled Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, on Thursday after authorities warned the city would soon be flooded and called a special five-day holiday to let people escape…

Residents flee Bangkok after “massive” flood warning, Reuters

Bangkok residents flee floods as river threatens to burst banks, Guardian UK