15 December 2014

This Week in Water

The Maldives has run out of fresh water.

Super Typhoon Hagupit slammed into the Philippines.

Despite some much-needed rains (albeit a flooding deluge in some parts), the California drought is the worst in 1200 years and the recent rains have barely put a dent in the dire conditions.

The biggest water agencies in the U.S. West are finalizing an agreement to boost water levels in Lake Mead. The Colorado River is in its 15th year of drought. Lake Powell likewise is at an all-time low.

As confirmed by satellite imagery, Mexico City continues to sink as it continues to deplete its aquifer. The process is called 'subsidence', and some areas of the city are sinking by as much as one inch per month.

Helium travels to the surface of the Earth through its underground aquifers.

This summer has seen the highest global mean sea surface temperatures ever recorded, including El Nino years.

Antarctic glaciers are melting at the rate of a Mount Everest's worth of ice every two years, contributing to rising sea levels.

Melting tropical glaciers in Peru threaten that country's towns and cities.

In 30 years the namesakes of Glacier National Park may be completely melted.

There is an estimated average of 13,000 pieces of plastic litter afloat in every single kilometer of ocean according to the United Nations Environment Programme. This only accounts for plastic on the surface of the ocean.

A morbillivirus has killed over 1500 dolphins along the U.S. East Coast according to officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The FBI filed fraud charges against and arrested Gary Southern, president of Freedom Industries, following a massive chemical spill into the Elk River in West Virginia.

Activists in Mora County, New Mexico, are fighting to preserve its anti-fracking ordinance and prevent Swepi, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, from hydro-fracking it unspoiled landscapes. (h/t Frances Madeson)

Researchers have discovered an ancient settlement in the waters off the coast of Delos, Greece, dating back to the first century B.C.E.

The Rosetta spacecraft has discovered that the water vapor on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is chemically vastly different from that found on Earth. 67P is a Kuiper Belt comet. This finding rules this entire class out as a source for Earth's oceans and implicates asteroids in initially delivering water to our planet.

In a related story, Czech chemists claim that an asteroid impact on ancient Earth triggered a cascade of chemical reactions that ultimately led to the formation of the four RNA nucleobases that form the building blocks of life. They claim to have replicated this process by firing a super powerful laser at a specially prepared plasma for a fraction of a second.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

This summer has seen the highest global mean sea surface temperatures ever recorded, including El Nino years.

Just a hoax by climate scientists to get grant monies!

Frances Madeson said...

We're going back to court for Mora on Friday. Atty Jeff Haas (who interestingly was Fred Hampton's atty back in the day and co-founder of the People's Law Office in Chicago) has filed a Motion to Dismiss for many good reasons. I hope to write about the latest developments then. But thank you for sharing awareness. This could be huge, and not just for Mora County!

(Poor Maldives, heartbreaking.)