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Saturday Art: Return of the Sun

8:59 am in Uncategorized by Crane-Station

‘Return of the Sun’ is a portrait of a modern Inuit family. Set against the fearsome North Greenland landscape, the film follows a fisherman and his son as their lives are forced to adapt with the Arctic environment.
Shot, directed & edited by Glen Milner & Ben Hilton
(Twitter: @glen_milner @mrbenhilton )

Note: You may wish to watch this beautiful short film on a larger screen, directly from Vimeo.

Over Easy: Environment and Climate Links

4:41 am in Uncategorized by Crane-Station

In case you missed it (hat tip Margaret in Pull up Your Cat), in Kona, Hawaii, on January 11, 2013, a wild Bottlenose dolphin approached some night divers who were enjoying and filming Manta Rays, and asked the divers for help. The dolphin’s fin was entangled in a fishing hook and line, limiting its ability to swim and maneuver. The dolphin approached one of the divers and allowed the diver to untangle the line, even using a knife. The dolphin surfaced for air and returned to the diver, who removed both line and hook. If you are unable to read the rest of this post, have a look at the video. Here is a more recent “mind blowing” BBC video of the dolphin rescue, with the camerawoman narrating.

On a sad note, enraged tweets question a no-intervention decision that ultimately led to a dolphin’s death:

The Hard Decision Not to Rescue an Ailing Dolphin

The director of the Riverhead Foundation, the area’s official marine-mammal rescue group, discusses why his staff did not try to rescue a dolphin discovered in Gowanus Canal before it died.
NYT Metro Desk @NYTMetro ·

Fledge Watch Now! on Phoebe Allen’s Hummingbird Live Nest Cam. The two adorable chicks are not much larger than fat bumble bees. (As I typed this, one of them officially fledged!)

UPDATE: Both chicks have now fledged (1-28 and 1-29) and the beautiful clip is here.

Phoebe is a Channel Island Allen (S.s. sedentarius) hummingbird in Orange County, California. She has been laying 4 to 5 clutches each year for several years and I’ve been broadcasting her nest since 2007.

We are still waiting to see if the Decorah Eagle pair will use the camera-visible nest this year, but there are many other nest Live Cams as well. Unsafe power poles resulted in electrocution of last year’s Decorah Eagle juveniles D12 and D14. Puget Sound Energy is a leader in the industry in making electricity safer for raptors and other wildlife.

Alzajeera asks: How serious is Obama about climate change?

Barents Observer reports “The ice covering the Arctic is 5,2 percent less than the normal and also thinner than average, Russian meteorologists report.”

Nicholas Stern: ‘I got it wrong on climate change – it’s far, far worse’

This is potentially so dangerous that we have to act strongly. Do we want to play Russian roulette with two bullets or one? These risks for many people are existential.

Report: Climate change a threat to wildlife

Wildlife decline related to climate change is a topic for a separate diary, but this report from today is a start. As an aside, I often address the Arctic region, because it is a ground zero for climate change.

Brookings Institute announces this event (today):

Arctic Indigenous Peoples, Displacement, and Climate Change: Tracing the Connections and explains:

For thousands of years, Arctic peoples have migrated in response to changing environmental conditions. But today climate change is putting unprecedented pressure on those indigenous communities. Temperatures are rising much faster in the Arctic than in the rest of the world, raising questions about the extent to which significant numbers of indigenous people will move away from their traditional habitats and whether they will be able to maintain their cultures and livelihoods. For the 400,000 indigenous people in the Arctic these are not only questions of adaptation but also of culture and survival.

Major climate changes looming

This next thing is out of place with the rest of the world’s reports, but whatever, it’s the Kochs:

Koch Family Uses Fund To Channel Millions To Anti-Climate Science Groups: Report International Business Times reports:

Millions of dollars are being secretly funneled to the climate change “counter movement” by groups connected to the Koch family, UK newspaper the Independent reported on Friday.

The CPC (Climate Prediction Center) Precip outlook for April – June 2013 reads right out of a chaser horror story. Drier than normal conditions are expected across the Southern Plains. More here. There’s also more here for “non-technical users,” but to be honest, it’s pretty technical (That means we need FDL’s WeatherDem to explain it In Plain English!)

If you have been sick lately, you may want to read this: Climate change ‘causing rise in flu epidemics’, claims study.

The Center for Disease Control has a CDC Climate Ready States and Cities Initiative map here.

Check out the US Environmental Protection Agency Home to learn climate issues, news, and impacts. For starters, you can click on your region on their map, and read data and predictions.

15 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Off-topic 787 Dreamliner: The New York Times reports that Boeing knew about problems with the lithium batteries, and that

Officials at All Nippon Airways, the jets’ biggest operator, said in an interview on Tuesday that it replaced 10 of the batteries in the months before fire in one plane and smoke in another led regulators around the world to ground the jets.

Over Easy: Links From the Environment

4:57 am in Uncategorized by Crane-Station

Requiem 2019:

Obama signals new focus on climate change, but will there be any realistic action or coordination with other countries?

The Arctic Council has an action group to address and reduce emissions, in an effort to halt climate change.

Changing climate is to blame for the whales that were trapped, according to locals.

Andean glaciers melting at ‘unprecedented’ rates. According to a study, the glaciers are melting at the fastest rates in 300 years.

6 Ways Climate Change Will Affect You

Best Space Pictures of 2012

“Fantastic” New Flying Frog Found—Has Flappy Forearms

Amphibians are in decline, and although the causes have not yet been determined, changing climate is one theory.

Use of Amphibians as Indicators of Ecosystem Restoration Success. Literally permeable, amphibians are very sensitive to any changes in the environment. We have not seen frogs in well over a year, and it was at least a year ago since we heard the songs of frogs.

Himalayas: Water Towers of Asia

I apologize for the very brief post this morning. I am under the weather (no pun intended) and will not be able to stay for very long, because I am not feeling well. I do hope that everyone has a great day. Please feel free to speak about any topic!

Arctic Report Card 2012

9:20 am in Uncategorized by Crane-Station

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tracks changes in the environment and has released the Arctic Report Card: Update for 2012. Based on multiple observations, the report finds “strong evidence of widespread, sustained change driving Arctic environmental system into new state,” and highlights the following:

Record low snow extent and low sea ice extent occurred in June and September, respectively.

Growing season length is increasing along with tundra greenness and above-ground biomass. Below the tundra, record high permafrost temperatures occurred in northernmost Alaska. Duration of melting was the longest observed yet on the Greenland ice sheet, and a rare, nearly ice sheet-wide melt event occurred in July.

Massive phytoplankton blooms below summer sea ice suggest previous estimates of ocean primary productivity might be ten times too low. Arctic fox is close to extinction in Fennoscandia and vulnerable to further changes in the lemming cycle and the encroaching Red fox.

Severe weather events included extreme cold and snowfall in Eurasia, and two major storms with deep central pressure and strong winds offshore of western and northern Alaska.

This year also marks the first time that there has been less than 4 million square kilometers (1.54 million square miles) of sea ice since satellite observations began in 1979. Visualization here.

The Potentially Profitable New Arctic Zone

4:34 am in Uncategorized by Crane-Station

If you see a web page not available error message on the video, please refresh the page.

As countries surrounding the freshly exposed waters in the Arctic region are poised to claim the areas for commercial fishing and other exploits, more than 2000 scientists have signed an open letter begging for a moratorium on the use of natural resources in the area, until ecological studies are completed. The warming climate trend has melted a 2.8 million km square of ice in an international waters area, and raised policy concerns.

In a document titled Expanding the EU’s Institutional Capacities
in the Arctic Region
Policy Briefing and Key Recommendations
, Roderick Kefferpütz & Danila Bochkarev state:

According to the recent U.S. Geological Survey, the region holds significant oil and natural gas reserves. Melting ice cover would facilitate the exploitation of these resources and open up access to fish stocks and particularly new shipping routes, which promise shorter distances for trade between
Europe and East Asia. On the other hand, the melting of the Arctic’s ice cap, while increasing the region’s geopolitical and geo-economic importance, significantly exacerbates its environmental fragility, threatens the traditional way of life of the indigenous population and increases the potential for conflict in the region.

What countries stand to profit from Arctic ice melt? Kefferpütz and Bochkarev explain:

Besides the Arctic 5 countries (A5) that encircle the North Pole (United States, Canada, Russia, Norway, Denmark and Greenland), the European Union has signalled a clear interest in the region.
Commissioners Piebalgs and Borg have both stressed the need to tap the region’s natural resources while the EU’s High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, acknowledged the Arctic in his recent report on climate change and international security.

The authors point out that the mixture of power and resources could well result in militarization of the new Arctic zone, meaning that climate change and international security will likely be connected in the future. China and Japan are also involved, with Japan funding research for Arctic-class tankers. Legal issues, area governance and regulations are complex and will likely be the topic of concern and discussion among policymakers and international lawyers. Currently, no clear regulations are in place.

Meanwhile, the newly exposed area contains a new and fragile ecosystem. Scientists have insufficient data at this point on what is in the ecosystem, let alone the impact of removing what is there through commercial fishing, for example.

The authors note that the New Arctic zone has fish stocks, metals and likely the world’s largest untapped hydrocarbon (oil) reserves. They also predict “Heavy militarisation, a relic of the Cold War, remains an important challenge for the foreseeable future, particularly in the context of policies pursued by Russia, the U.S. and Canada.”

Will the scientists be kicked to the curb in the name of money? Will the Arctic be kicked to the curb in the name of money?


Saturday Art: BBC Arctic Melt Time Lapse, And Table 7

4:43 am in Uncategorized by Crane-Station

Sir David Attenborough narrates this BBC time lapse clip on YouTube. If you do not have the BBC Planet Earth series, and you are concerned with all things related to nature and our planet, I recommend that you get it if you can. The quality and flow are better than with YouTube.

Watching the polar bears as they struggle with a disappearing habitat was heartbreaking for me. (In order to see that, you will need to watch the next one-minute clip in the series, called Polar Bears on Thin Ice) Read the rest of this entry →