Rare Aurora Over Norway

2017 Northern Norway
Photographer, Phillip Halper. Published by Earth Sciences Picture of the Day

While we spend time counting who is kneeling and who is not kneeling, who is getting berated publicly by The Twit, who has resigned from the corrupt regime, we should remember than we all live on a spectacular planet. Do check out the EPOD link, in the summary description there is a link to an amazing video of the strongest solar X flare in a decade.

Are Plants Producing More Sugars?

apples

New (and old) research suggest that the nutrient balance in plants is being upset by the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Plants use carbon dioxide much like we depend on oxygen. It looks like increased levels of carbon dioxide shift the balance of nutrients in plants with decreases in proteins and other nutrients and increases in glucose (sugar). This will have global implications since many people depend on a plant-based diet for protein. Even the bees are affected because the nutrients in pollen has changed. The relationship between increased carbon dioxide and plant nutrition is finally getting attention in the research communities. This may very well turn out to be a Big Deal.

The Great Nutrient Collapse: The atmosphere is literally changing the food we eat, for the worse. And almost nobody is paying attention.
Politico, Sept. 13, 2017 by Helena Bottemiller Evich

 

Billion Dollar Disasters, 2017

2017-billion-dollar-disaster-map
2017 Public Domain, NOAA

The weather and climate disasters depicted above do not include Hurricane Harvey. The nine events above all happened this year and the economic cost of each event is $1,000,000,000.00 at minimum.

The NOAA report (Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview) found that the average number of billion-dollar events during 1980-2016, was 5.5 events per year. When looking at more recent years, 2012-2016, the average jumps to 10.6 events per year. This is not normal. This is very expensive. The map above is not yet complete. We still have several months left in 2017. I wonder how many more billion-dollar disasters will be added to the map at the end of the year.

Here We Go Again, Another Dam

HooverDamFrontWater
Source: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

The United States Army Corps of Engineers have given a water agency in Colorado’s Front Range the green light to build a large dam and reservoir to divert and store water from the Colorado River – the first such project that has been permitted in decades.

The $400 million Chimney Hollow dam and reservoir is designed to “firm” water supply to nearly a dozen quickly growing communities in Colorado’s Front Range communities, north of Denver. In water parlance, firming refers to making a variable water supply secure.

Feds Issue Permit for Large Dam on Colorado River Headwaters, Water Deeply, May 31 2017, by Mary Catherine O’Connor

I’ll start off by saying, “This is insane!” Gary Wockner, director of Save the Colorado River,  points out that the Colorado River “is already the most dammed, drained, depleted river on the planet – with every drop drained before it reaches the Gulf of California.” The Colorado River provides water to over 40 million people in the Southwestern states. Currently its two major reservoirs, Lakes Powell and Mead, are already only half full. The Colorado River use to drain into the Gulf of California providing for a rich farming area in northern Mexico. Those days are long gone.

The purpose of the dam is to provide water to the Front Range communities north of Denver. While it is true that these communities are growing at a fast rate and will need water, there are other alternatives available. As a former Californian experienced in living with droughts, I have been living in a Front Range community for 10+ years. I have not witnessed my water district supporting any education about water use. If I ask people around here to describe their water shed, I’m met with blank stares. These Front Range communities have large green lawns and enjoy generous maximum water usage amounts before a higher tiered rate is applied.

In times of drought, water use restriction have been mild compared to what I dealt with in California. Before we dam an over-taxed river, there needs to be some eduction in Colorado. The accelerated rate of building residential properties should take into consideration our existing water supply and restrict building that exceeds the current capacity. Damming rivers is a last resort, not a first resort. Below is a picture of the headwaters area of the Colorado River. A dam and the infrastructure required to built a dam does not belong in this remote area.

 

Kawuneeche_Valley
Kawuneeche Valley, Rocky Mountains, Colorado River, USA (cc) Darekk2

 

EPA’s Climate Change Page

epa_current

“We are currently updating our website to reflect EPA’s priorities under the leadership of President Trump and Administrator Pruitt.” Given that statement, I guess the EPA’s Climate Change page will remain in a state of being updated for quite some time.

However, the City of Chicago has published the EPA’s former Climate Change page and the underlying archive of information.

EPA_Chicago.jpg

You can visit the City of Chicago/EPA Climate Change page and obtain current information about climate change and how it affects us. It is being hosted on the City of Chicago’s website.

The Wall, Again

wall_sand-dune-fence
United States Border Patrol at Algodones Sand Dunes, California, USA. 
Source: Department of Homeland Security, United States Border Patrol

 Trump’s wall is unChristian. Trump’s wall is anti-Christian. Christians who supported Trump should be publicly asked if they support his wall. Call them up. Members of Congress who will be asked to approve funding to build Trump’s wall should be told by the Christians in their districts to vote against it. Call them up.

Christians Can Stop Trump’s Wall
Sojourners, April 26, 2017, by Jim Wallis

The wall, intended to halt illegal immigration, would also block many rivers and streams. This consequence has not yet been discussed much. The wall itself could restrict water flow important to farms and cities on both sides of the border. This could worsen water pollution and lead to flooding disasters. It might also change groundwater recharge in areas fed by rivers.

Trump’s Border Wall Could Have Lasting Effect on Rivers, Water Supply
Water Deeply, April 24, 2017, by Matt Weiser

Mexican engineers believe construction of the border barrier may violate a 47-year-old treaty governing the shared waters of the Rio Grande. If Mexico protests, the fate of the wall could end up in an international court.

Mexico Worries That A New Border Wall Will Worsen Flooding
National Public Radio (KRWG), April 25, 2017, by John Burnett