Just Some Updates.

Time moves ever onward and last years blogs need to keep up. This post will update you on some of the posts I wrote last year. Unfortunately most of the updates will not be good news. 

But–let’s start with some good news. The answer to the question, how long can a Red Knot live?, keeps getting longer and longer. This year B95 was observed at Delaware Bay, NJ near the end of May. This was at least the 21st time he has been seen during migration.

“So the bird believed to be the longest-living of his species – although scientists do not know the typical life span – is still on the wing, still stopping off at the bay to refuel on horseshoe crab eggs before setting out on the final leg of a journey to the Red Knots’ Arctic breeding grounds.

By now, he has traveled from the tip of South America to the top of Canada so many times he has been dubbed Moonbird, having flown the equivalent distance between Earth and the moon and more than halfway back.”

 I wrote about Moonbird back on May 26, 2013. You can read about this year’s sighting in, The Inquirer.

Photo courtesy of Allan Baker

Last December I wrote a post call, “What is Turning Starfish into Goo?“. This is still happening and has now hit the Oregon coast hard as revealed in this Oregon State University article

“Just in the past two weeks, the incidence of sea star wasting syndrome has exploded along the Oregon Coast and created an epidemic of historic magnitude, one that threatens to decimate the entire population of purple ochre sea stars.

The ochre sea star, which is the species most heavily affected by the disease in the intertidal zone, may be headed toward localized extinction in Oregon, according to researchers at Oregon State University who have been monitoring the outbreak. As a “keystone” predator, its loss could disrupt the entire marine intertidal ecosystem…Sea star wasting syndrome is a traumatic process in which, over the course of a week or less, the sea stars begin to lose legs, disintegrate, ultimately die and rot. They sometimes physically tear their bodies apart. Various epidemics of the syndrome have been observed in the past, but none of this extent or severity.” Below is a video of the waters off Hutt Island, British Columbia one year apart.

I’ve written several articles about the condition of our oceans. One was on acidification and another was called, “The State of the Oceans 2013”. I gave several examples about how acidic ocean waters were affecting oyster farms. You can now add scallops to the list with this Grist article called, “Carbon dioxide pollution just killed 10 million scallops“. 

A scallops producer on Vancouver Island in British Columbia just lost three years’ worth of product to high acidity levels. The disaster, which cost the company $10 million and could lead to its closure, is the latest vicious reminder of the submarine impacts of our fossil fuel–heavy energy appetites. As carbon dioxide is soaked up by the oceans, it reacts with water to produce bicarbonate and carbonic acid, increasing ocean acidity.”

 

Here are a few more links to the acidic ocean problems. Check here and here. It’s happening folks!

Birds at Risk was a post I wrote about birds and climate change. Let’s add a few more examples. 

Amid California’s Drought, Raptors Are Having One Of The Worst Breeding Seasons On Record–This ThinkProgress article explains what is happening.

“… lack of water is causing grass that serves as habitat for the insects and small mammals that raptors feed on to dry up, which is leading to a drop in the numbers of these prey creatures and in turn has led to “emaciated” hawks and owls. This lack of food means many owls and hawk pairs aren’t laying eggs, which means this breeding season could end up being one of the worst on record, Andrea Jones of the California Audubon Society told Accuweather.

 

“Birds are just not nesting,” she said. “They’re not laying eggs.””

Read the article to find out how Peregrine Falcon chicks, penguin chicks and pelican chicks are dying because of climate change.

Troubling news on Pacific Brown Pelicans–This Audubon blog post documents 5 years of breeding failure for Brown Pelicans on the U.S. Channel Islands.

Something is seriously wrong on the East Coast — and it’s killing all the baby puffins–This Grist article explains that puffin parents are trying to feed their chicks fish that they can’t swallow. 

“When he died, there was a huge outcry from viewers,” Kress tells me. “But we thought, ‘Well, that’s nature.’ They don’t all live. It’s normal to have some chicks die.” Puffins successfully raise chicks 77 percent of the time, and Petey’s parents had a good track record; Kress assumed they were just unlucky. Then he checked the other 64 burrows he was tracking: Only 31 percent had successfully fledged. He saw dead chicks and piles of rotting butterfish everywhere. “That,” he says, “was the epiphany.”

Last August I wrote a post called, “Hot! Hot! and More Hot!”. This year I could write that post in June.

In April there was this headline, “Siberia Is Already Experiencing Mid-Summer Temperatures And Major Wildfires“.

Recently we have had these headlines, “‘Climate Change Is Here’: Australia Experiences Hottest Two Years Ever Recorded” and “Record-Breaking Heat Grips India, Causing Blackouts And Riots“.

I could go on with these updates. Climate change is a blog “security” issue. Did you get that? Job security/blog security:>)

I will end with an update on my world famous “Miami is Doomed” post. 

“Scenes of street flooding, like this one on Alton Road in Miami Beach in November, are becoming increasingly common. Credit Angel Valentin for The New York Times” 

This New York Times article starts out with this paragraph, “MIAMI BEACH — The sunny-day flooding was happening again. During high tide one recent afternoon, Eliseo Toussaint looked out the window of his Alton Road laundromat and watched bottle-green saltwater seep from the gutters, fill the street and block the entrance to his front door.

“This never used to happen,” Mr. Toussaint said. “I’ve owned this place eight years, and now it’s all the time.”

There’s this Guardian article called, “The people of Miami know about climate change. We’re living it”.

And finally there’s this Miami Herald article, “Water in our shoes”. I didn’t know that they wear shoes down there.

 

 

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Update: Miami is Doomed!

Back in July, I blogged that Miami is Doomed! It actually received a fair amount of attention. This morning I found this article by Joe Romm titled, “Miami Herald Story On City’s Worsening Coastal Flooding Never Mentions Global Warming Or Sea Level Rise“. With quotes like this, “It gets super flooded from the tide every couple of months,” said [Moses] Schwartz who lived on the island for more than 20 years before moving to the Brickell area on the mainland. “It’s getting worse and worse as the years go by.” and this, “Rodriguez said the city is thinking of short-term fixes to deal with the issue.“We’re looking at improving our sea walls and raising some of them,” she said.In search of a long-term solution, a delegation recently returned from the Netherlands, Rodriguez said, and the city will determine which of that country’s strategies to hold back high tides can be used here.“Some of their ideas we can do, others we can’t as we are in different geographic areas,” Rodriguez said.”

I mentioned why Miami can’t be fixed in the original post. “South Florida sits above a vast and porous limestone plateau.”

I will quote from a Rolling Stone article, “But the unavoidable truth is that sea levels are rising and Miami is on its way to becoming an American Atlantis. It may be another century before the city is completely underwater (though some more-pessimistic­ scientists predict it could be much sooner), but life in the vibrant metropolis of 5.5 million people will begin to dissolve much quicker, most likely within a few decades. The rising waters will destroy Miami slowly, by seeping into wiring, roads, building foundations and drinking-water supplies – and quickly, by increasing the destructive power of hurricanes. “Miami, as we know it today, is doomed,” says Harold Wanless, the chairman of the department of geological sciences at the University of Miami. “It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when.”

Miami is in a state (Florida) of denial!

 Another article as to why this is happening can be found here.

Miami is Doomed!

This picture of Miami is uncredited and is attached to a story I will link to.

 

The story is titled,” Miami, as we Know it, Today, is Doomed. It’s Not a Question of if. It’s a Question of When.” It’s by Joe Romm of Thinkprogress.org. The link is here. It is based on a recent Rolling Stone article by Jeff Goodell. There is a link to the article in the story but you can also find it here.

Now this seems like one of those sensational scare stories doesn’t it. But if you read either of the articles you will soon realize that Miami is in trouble already.

“South Florida has two big problems. The first is its remarkably flat topography. Half the area that surrounds Miami is less than five feet above sea level. Its highest natural elevation, a limestone ridge that runs from Palm Beach to just south of the city, averages a scant 12 feet. With just three feet of sea-level rise, more than a third of southern Florida will vanish; at six feet, more than half will be gone; if the seas rise 12 feet, South Florida will be little more than an isolated archipelago surrounded by abandoned buildings and crumbling overpasses. And the waters won’t just come in from the east – because the region is so flat, rising seas will come in nearly as fast from the west too, through the Everglades.

Even worse, South Florida sits above a vast and porous limestone plateau. “Imagine Swiss cheese, and you’ll have a pretty good idea what the rock under southern Florida looks like,” says Glenn Landers, a senior engineer at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This means water moves around easily – it seeps into yards at high tide, bubbles up on golf courses, flows through underground caverns, corrodes building foundations from below. “Conventional sea walls and barriers are not effective here,” says Robert Daoust, an ecologist at ARCADIS, a Dutch firm that specializes in engineering solutions to rising seas.”

“Of course, South Florida is not the only place that will be devastated by sea-level rise. London, Boston, New York and Shanghai are all vulnerable, as are low-lying underdeveloped nations like Bangladesh. But South Florida is uniquely screwed, in part because about 75 percent of the 5.5 million people in South Florida live along the coast. And unlike many cities, where the wealth congregates in the hills, southern Florida’s most valuable real estate is right on the water. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development lists Miami as the number-one most vulnerable city worldwide in terms of property damage, with more than $416 billion in assets at risk to storm-related flooding and sea-level rise.”

“One of the first consequences of rising seas will be loss of drinking water. In fact, it’s already starting to happen.”

 “In South Florida, the drinking-water supply comes from a big lake just below the surface known as the Biscayne aquifer. Engineers examined the situation and determined that the combination of draining the swamps and pumping out the aquifer had changed hydrostatic pressure underground and allowed salt water to move into the aquifer.”
 
“Truth be told, it’s hard to live on a thin barrier island seven miles long like Miami Beach and be a climate-­change denier. The ocean-facing side is protected by a man-made dune and beach, which is 10 feet high on the southern end, but the west side of the island is only a few feet above Biscayne Bay. Not so many years ago, the west side was a mangrove swamp. When the city emerged in the 1920s, nobody gave any thought to sea-level rise – they just chopped down the mangroves and started building on the low, swampy ground. As a result, the west side of Miami Beach is among the most flood-prone areas in Florida. Whenever there is a full moon and a high tide, the sea water comes up through the old storm drains and flows into the streets. In some places, it bubbles up between the street and the sidewalk. During high tide, Miami Beach can feel like it is being swallowed up by the waves. And of course, as the seas rise, this is only going to get worse.”

You might want to visit while you can.

In another section of the climate change denying South is the story of Louisiana Highway One.

“The lower section of LA Highway 1, which runs from Grand Isle in south Louisiana up to Shreveport, is “at-risk infrastructure” in Lafourche and Jefferson Parishes, LA 1 Coalition executive director Henri Boulet said last week. Speaking at a Gulf Coast Restoration Summit in New Orleans last Monday, Boulet urged officials to continue elevating LA 1 before it’s too late. Barely above sea level in spots, the highway is sinking near the coast as the state’s wetlands suffer from erosion and ground subsidence.”

LA 1 now floods even in low-level storms, and road closures after storms are becoming longer and longer. Sometimes the road, which is the only one into Grand Isle, Port Fourchon and the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, is shut for five or six days at a time.” LA 1 has been designated by the U.S. Congress as “critical energy infrastructure,” he said.”

LA 1 is the hurricane evacuation route used by thousands of offshore oil and gas workers, 1,300 residents of Grand Isle and employees at Port Fourchon. Many of them, along with tourists, become stranded when the highway is closed. Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, trapped in Grand Isle several years ago after a storm brewed, had to be helicoptered to her next appointment,”

Highway 1 is facing a relative, sea-level rise of 9 millimeters per year–one of the highest rates on the U.S. Gulf Coast,” he said. “It’s subsiding at a rapid rate of 7 millimeters a year and is subject to sea-level rise of 2 millimeters yearly.”

Southern LA 1 is critical to the nation’s economy, according to a 2011 study by the U.S. Dept. of Highway Safety. The agency predicted that a 90-day closure of seven miles on the lower end of the route, along with a simultaneous shutdown of Port Fourchon, would slash oil and gas production immediately and could cut U.S. gross domestic product by up to $7.8 billion over a multi-year period.”

I will probably be talking about New Orleans in the future. Much of the city is below sea level (49%). How much of the future rise of the sea can we afford?

Edited on 7/15/13—Here’s another article on the climate change problems in South Florida.