Tag Archives: Coastal Issues

Ocean-Island Landslide At Tenerife: Onshore Record And Long-Term Effects

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Tenerife, East Coast. Tenerife is the largest and most populous island of the seven Canary Islands. Photo source: ©© Potomo

Excerpts; By University of Leicester

Volcanologists from the University of Leicester have uncovered one of the world’s best-preserved accessible onshore remains of a monstrous landslide that followed a huge volcanic eruption on the Canarian island of Tenerife.The southeast slopes of Tenerife collapsed into the sea.

Tsunamis generated from such events may travel to devastate coastlines thousands of miles away.

Read Full Article, Science Daily

NASA Leads Study of Unprecedented Arctic Ozone Loss

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Left: Ozone in Earth’s stratosphere at an altitude of approximately 12 miles (20 kilometers) in mid-March 2011, near the peak of the 2011 Arctic ozone loss. Red colors represent high levels of ozone, while purple and grey colors (over the north polar region) represent very small ozone amounts. Right: chlorine monoxide – the primary agent of chemical ozone destruction in the cold polar lower stratosphere – for the same day and altitude. Light blue and green colors represent small amounts of chlorine monoxide, while dark blue and black colors represent very large chlorine monoxide amounts. The white line marks the area within which the chemical ozone destruction took place. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

By Jet Propulsion Laboratory / NASA

A NASA-led study has documented an unprecedented depletion of Earth’s protective ozone layer above the Arctic last winter and spring caused by an unusually prolonged period of extremely low temperatures in the stratosphere.

The study, published online Sunday, Oct. 2, in the journal Nature, finds the amount of ozone destroyed in the Arctic in 2011 was comparable to that seen in some years in the Antarctic, where an ozone “hole” has formed each spring since the mid-1980s. The stratospheric ozone layer, extending from about 10 to 20 miles (15 to 35 kilometers) above the surface, protects life on Earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

The Antarctic ozone hole forms when extremely cold conditions, common in the winter Antarctic stratosphere, trigger reactions that convert atmospheric chlorine from human-produced chemicals into forms that destroy ozone. The same ozone-loss processes occur each winter in the Arctic. However, the generally warmer stratospheric conditions there limit the area affected and the time frame during which the chemical reactions occur, resulting in far less ozone loss in most years in the Arctic than in the Antarctic.

To investigate the 2011 Arctic ozone loss, scientists from 19 institutions in nine countries (United States, Germany, The Netherlands, Canada, Russia, Finland, Denmark, Japan and Spain) analyzed a comprehensive set of measurements. These included daily global observations of trace gases and clouds from NASA’s Aura and CALIPSO spacecraft; ozone measured by instrumented balloons; meteorological data and atmospheric models. The scientists found that at some altitudes, the cold period in the Arctic lasted more than 30 days longer in 2011 than in any previously studied Arctic winter, leading to the unprecedented ozone loss. Further studies are needed to determine what factors caused the cold period to last so long.

“Day-to-day temperatures in the 2010-11 Arctic winter did not reach lower values than in previous cold Arctic winters,” said lead author Gloria Manney of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro. “The difference from previous winters is that temperatures were low enough to produce ozone-destroying forms of chlorine for a much longer time. This implies that if winter Arctic stratospheric temperatures drop just slightly in the future, for example as a result of climate change, then severe Arctic ozone loss may occur more frequently.”

The 2011 Arctic ozone loss occurred over an area considerably smaller than that of the Antarctic ozone holes. This is because the Arctic polar vortex, a persistent large-scale cyclone within which the ozone loss takes place, was about 40 percent smaller than a typical Antarctic vortex. While smaller and shorter-lived than its Antarctic counterpart, the Arctic polar vortex is more mobile, often moving over densely populated northern regions. Decreases in overhead ozone lead to increases in surface ultraviolet radiation, which are known to have adverse effects on humans and other life forms.

Although the total amount of Arctic ozone measured was much more than twice that typically seen in an Antarctic spring, the amount destroyed was comparable to that in some previous Antarctic ozone holes. This is because ozone levels at the beginning of Arctic winter are typically much greater than those at the beginning of Antarctic winter.

Manney said that without the 1989 Montreal Protocol, an international treaty limiting production of ozone-depleting substances, chlorine levels already would be so high that an Arctic ozone hole would form every spring. The long atmospheric lifetimes of ozone-depleting chemicals already in the atmosphere mean that Antarctic ozone holes, and the possibility of future severe Arctic ozone loss, will continue for decades.

“Our ability to quantify polar ozone loss and associated processes will be reduced in the future when NASA’s Aura and CALIPSO spacecraft, whose trace gas and cloud measurements were central to this study, reach the end of their operational lifetimes,” Manney said. “It is imperative that this capability be maintained if we are to reliably predict future ozone loss in a changing climate.”

Original Article, NASA

$102 Million in Wetlands, Barrier Island Restoration Awards for Louisiana

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Grand Bayou, land loss. Photo source: ©© eustatic

By The Department Of Commerce

Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank announced $102 million for three Louisiana projects in the Barataria and Terrebone basins, to restore deteriorated wetlands and barrier island habitats along the state’s coast. These awards are funded by the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) program. U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Director Garret Graves and Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Project Director Bobby Guichet also participated in the announcement.

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock and Weeks Marine have been contracted to restore beach, dune and marsh on Pelican Island in Plaquemines Parish, and West Belle Pass barrier headland in Lafourche Parish, respectively. The state of Louisiana will receive the third award to rebuild marsh and construct an 11,000-foot long protective ridge in the Bayou Dupont area in Jefferson Parish. The three projects will employ local citizens and generate further economic benefits for local businesses and coastal communities.

“Restoring wetlands and barrier islands and the habitat they support provides immediate local jobs and makes a long-term investment in the health of our fisheries and the resilience of our coastline,” Acting Secretary Blank said. “This restoration will pay dividends for those whose lives and livelihoods depend on sustainable Gulf fisheries and for all Americans who enjoy Gulf seafood.”

“If one block of New York City disappeared every hour the nation would be outraged. Well, Louisiana loses a football field of wetlands every hour, which is crippling to the state and the Nation. It affects our seafood supply, gas and oil reserves, and storm protection. Reversing this trend is a critical national priority, which is why it’s my fight,” Rep. Cedric Richmond said. “This is also why these grant announcements are so critical. I am pleased that Acting Secretary Blank and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the Department of Commerce recognize the importance of New Orleans area coastal restoration efforts.”

At the event, Blank also outlined help the American Jobs Act would provide Louisiana – putting people to work and boosting businesses. The plan would provide a significant new tax cut for small businesses, make major reforms to unemployment insurance to help get more Americans back on the job, and it would put more money in the pockets of Americans by reducing payroll taxes paid by workers.

For Louisiana, the Jobs Act would mean:

80,000 firms receiving a payroll tax cut;
6,400 jobs supported for highway and transit modernization projects;
6,300 educators and first responders who get to stay on the job;
Help for 42,000 long-term unemployed workers; and,
A $1,400 tax cut for the typical Louisiana household.

The Jobs Act would complement the coastal restoration work funded by the awards announced by Blank today.

Currently, Louisiana accounts for nearly 71 percent of U.S. fisheries landings by weight from the Gulf of Mexico. Many species of finfish, shrimp, and crab depend on the wetlands of the Barataria Basin for habitat during their life cycles.

But with one of the highest rates of wetlands loss in the world, the Louisiana coastline has deteriorated extensively over the last 80 years, losing more than 420 square miles of wetlands to open water in the Barataria Basin alone.

These losses are largely the result of long-term, man-made changes, including the construction of levees, which have cut off the natural flow of nourishing sediments.

Although the area sustained damage as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, the three projects in Bayou Dupont, Pelican Island and West Belle Pass were designed prior to the spill and are intended to address long-standing issues rather than the direct repercussions of the spill.

Restoring the wetlands and barrier islands will also increase protection for Louisiana’s people and property, as well as one of America’s richest fisheries. By absorbing hurricane storm surge, rebuilt wetland and barrier island areas will help protect Orleans and Jefferson parishes, two of the top-five most densely populated counties in the Gulf coastal zone.

These three projects continue NOAA’s long-term investment in the Louisiana coastline through the CWPPRA program. Enacted in 1990, CWPPRA has designed and funded 151 coastal restoration or protection projects benefiting more than 110,000 acres in Louisiana.

Most recently, NOAA has been working to rebuild the Barataria Basin barrier island chain, constructing two barrier islands, Chaland Headlands and Pass la Mer to Grand Bayou Pass, in addition to Pelican Island.

Original Press release

Atlas of Shorleine Changes In Louisiana, 1853-1989, USGS

Chile Reels in Salmon Farming

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Fish farm, Chile. Photo source: ©© Sam Beebe

By the Wildlife Conservation Society

Chile is the second largest producer of salmon in the world. But these fish don’t occur there naturally. Instead, the salmon swim within enclosed nets, often tightly packed together. Kept off the country’s coastline, fish farms like these can pollute local ecosystems, displace native fish species, introduce diseases, and affect artisanal fisheries.

Over the last decade, the number of salmon farms has skyrocketed. But in Patagonia, Chile has begun taking steps to protect some of its wild waters from the farmed fish. WCS is commending the Chilean government for keeping the salmon industry out of Tierra del Fuego and reducing the practice in the Antarctica and Magellanes provinces.

“Chile has taken the right step in protecting invaluable coastal resources off Tierra del Fuego and nearby areas,” said Barbara Saavedra, Director of WCS’s Chile Programs. “These regions are home to rich concentrations of wildlife whose needs are only beginning to be understood.”

At the southern tip of South America, albatross, penguins, southern elephant seals, and many other species come to breed along the coasts. Since 2009, WCS has been studying Chile’s marine ecosystems and advising government officials on coastal zone planning.

Unfortunately, salmon farming still threatens other areas within Patagonia. WCS is working with partner organizations to assess alternative salmon farming techniques that might reduce the farms’ impact on these environments. In addition to identifying coastal areas for future protection, WCS conservationists are examining how salmon farming might affect the region’s burgeoning ecotourism industry.

Original Article, Wildlife Conservation Society

Impacts Of Intensive Salmon Farming On Coastal Ecosystems

Great White Shark, Studied By Oceans Research

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Great white shark. Photo source: ©© MShai

Excerpts;

The white shark is a marine apex predator that is able to maintain biodiversity through direct and indirect predation effects and this represents a keystone species essential to the functioning of coastal marine ecosystems.

White sharks are commonly found in near shore locations; slightly unfortunate as that’s often where humans water users like to spend their leisure time. As such from time to time there have been ‘interactions’ between sharks and water users. An interaction is classed as any physical encounter with a shark, whether a person is injured or not.

Thus, its important again to remind people that the environment does not belong to us selectively for our use. There is no such thing as “swimming beaches” or “surfing beaches.” These are just qualities humans attribute to these areas. All of them are just beaches, all holding the same types of dangers; rip-tides, waves, currents and of course wild animals. If we as people choose to use these areas for our recreation then we accept the possibility and responsibility of what happens in that environment.

Read Full Articles, By Oceans Initiative: Shark-Human Interaction; Great White Shark: A fascinating Enigma

Great White Shark, Studied By Oceans Research, Huffington Post
The white shark is a marine apex predator that is able to maintain biodiversity through direct and indirect predation effects and this represents a keystone species essential to the functioning of coastal marine ecosystems.

Huge Ancient Roman Shipyard Unearthed in Italy

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Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

A large Roman shipyard has been uncovered in an ancient port in Rome called Portus, researchers reported.

They found the remains of a massive building, dating to the second century, where ancient ships were likely built close to the distinctive hexagonal basin, or “harbor,” at the center of the port complex.

“Few Roman Imperial shipyards have been discovered and, if our identification is correct, this would be the largest of its kind in Italy or the Mediterranean,” dig director Simon Keay, of the University of Southampton, said in a statement.

Read Full Article, Live Science

The Portus Project

Providing a glimpse of a renewable future: Orkney Islands, Scotland

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Rough waters over huge rocky slabs just off of the Yesnaby coast, Orkney, Scotland. Photo source: ©© Chris West. Tidal power, also called tidal energy, is a form of hydropower that converts the energy of tides into useful forms of power, mainly electricity.

Excerpts;

Orkney archipelago, situated where the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean collide, a maritime crossroads that Vikings featured in their sagas, continues to provide inspiration but this time it’s for a new generation of pioneers using the land and sea to produce renewable electricity.

Cutting-edge wave and tidal technology companies, beyond the portals of the European Marine Energy Centre, are drawn to the winds and stormy seas that dominate the 70 islands that make up the Orkney archipelago, as a test bed for the latest wave and tidal power technologies…

viking-boat
Viking boat. A replica of a smaller Viking boat found near roskilde, at the Viking harbour in Bork in western Jutland. Caption and Photo source: ©© Dans Le Grand Bleu

Read Original Article, Guardian Uk

Orkney Archipelagoe, Scotland, Becomes Test Bed for Wave and Tidal Power Technologies
Nowhere in the world conducts more research into marine energy than Scotland, whose countrymen invented the telephone, steam engine and television. Scotland’s government aims to harness that talent for innovation to the country’s natural resources to lead the way on wave and tidal energy, just as Saudi Arabia has with global oil production.

Asia-Pacific Region Faces Climate Change Induced Migration

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Photo source: © Greenpeace / Peter Caton

Excerpts;

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) reported that countries in the Asia-Pacific region will need to develop policies to deal with massive population shifts as a result of climate change impacts such as sea-level rise and variable monsoons. The region is highly exposed to environmental risks, having by far the highest population density of any continent living in low-elevation coastal zones, while it is also home to the largest number of people living in poverty…

More than 30 million people were displaced last year by environmental and weather-related disasters across Asia, experts have warned, and the problem is only likely to grow worse as climate change exacerbates such problems. Tens of millions more people are likely to be similarly displaced in the future by the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels, floods, and governments must start to prepare for the problems this will create, the Asian Development Bank warned.

The report titled “Climate Change and Migration in Asia and the Pacific” says Bangladesh, India, Maldives and Pakistan face the greatest risk, but Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, China and South Korea are also especially vulnerable.

Bart Edes, director of ADB’s Poverty Reduction, Gender, and Social Development Division, said. “You combine (severe climate change) with great populations in vulnerable circumstances, fast growing cities that are in low-lying areas, high population density and you have a recipe for even more displacement.”

“Globally, eight to 10 countries with the largest number of people living in low-elevation coastal zones are in the Asia-Pacific region,” the report says. The Asian Development Bank warns that migration driven by environmental factors is emerging as a serious concern. “It’s not just a threat. It’s something we’ve already seen…”

Read Full Article, IBN

Climate Change and Migration in Asia and the Pacific, ADB Original Report- Executive Summary

ADB Workshop, September 13th, 2011
Asia and the Pacific will be amongst the global regions most affected by the impacts of climate change. Countries of the region are particularly vulnerable because of a high degree of exposure to environmental risks and large population.

ADB Warns Of Climate-Induced Migration, World Resources Report

More than 30 million climate migrants in Asia in 2010, report finds, Guardian UK

Asia faces climate-induced migration crisis, AFP

Oldest Bay Area Salt Flat Turned Into Wetland

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Salt evaporation ponds formed by salt water impounded within levees in former tidelands on the shores of San Francisco Bay. There are many of these ponds surrounding the South Bay. As the water evaporates, micro-organisms of several kinds come to predominate and change the color of the water. First come green algae, then darkening as orange brine shrimp predominate. Finally red predominates as dunaliella salina, a micro-algae containing high amounts of beta-carotene (itself with high commercial value), predominates. Other organisms can also change the hue of each pond. Colors include red, green, orange and yellow, brown and blue. Finally, when the water is evaporated, the white of salt alone remains. This is harvested with machines, and the process repeats. Caption and Photo source: ©© dsearls

Excerpts; San Francisco Chronicle

With the crunch of a bulldozer Tuesday afternoon, the oldest salt flat in the Bay Area became the region’s newest wetland…

Read Full Article, San Francisco Chronicle