22 April 2016

This Week in Water

Earth Day, 2016. Greetings! Let's see what's happening these days with our planet's most precious resource.

As much as 93% of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the largest living structure on Earth, is experiencing coral bleaching—the worst on record—due to increased ocean temperatures.

Experts in the field are predicting that if earth's temperatures continue to increase, unprecedented rising sea levels and devastating superstorms from melting ice in Antarctica and Greenland will have destabilizing effects on climate and civilization. Current models appear to be far too conservative.

Arctic sea ice levels are lower than they've ever been after a historically warm winter.

Melting ice sheets are causing the position of Earth's axis to shift—which could magnify the effects of climate change as global temperatures get hotter, weather events become more extreme, and sea levels rise.

Some are suggesting to pump seawater to the surface of Antarctica to increase the size of the ice sheets and, theoretically, slow or even halt rising sea levels—at a tremendous cost.

One of the strongest typhoons on record, Fantala, struck the Indian Ocean.

More than 80% of the water in rural China is unfit for drinking due to contamination from industry and farming.

Are whale sharks dying out?

Pacific bluefin tuna population has dropped 97% from historic levels due primarily to overfishing.

Nearly 40% of the population of Somalia is suffering from an extreme drought that is fast becoming a humanitarian crisis. Ethiopians are feeling its effects as well.

Criminal charges—purportedly the first of many—have been filed in the ongoing Flint, Michigan, drinking water crisis, though remediation has yet to happen.

An Italian team has arrived to help repair the Mosul Dam in Iraq which threatens to collapse, potentially killing millions.

Is the most important river in the Western U.S., the Colorado River, dying a slow man-made death?

The level of Northern India's groundwater is dropping approximately one foot per year due to overuse.

The White House held a summit meeting on March, 22, 2016, to raise awareness of water issues and potential solutions in the U.S., including crumbling water infrastructure.

Can a biodegradable, algae-based bottle help end the world's plastic addiction?

And finally, the U.K. science minister "torpedoed" 'Boaty McBoatface' as the name of its new $300 million Arctic research vessel much to the chagrin of the thousands of people who voted for the name in a much-ballyhoed internet poll.

1 comment:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Nice roundup, Jim H.

A boring reminder from me: The TPP (and TTIP, and TISA) will thwart attempts to address global warming far more than anything positive Obama has done in that regard.

And I expect President Hillary will take the next step (after Obama got Fast Track for the three, primarily with GOP votes*) and get them all signed.

* P.S. Got to love that title: "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow Federal law enforcement officers, firefighters, and air traffic controllers to make penalty-free withdrawals from governmental plans after age 50, and for other purposes"

But it was indeed, the Fast Track vote.