Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category
Deep in the heart of Assam, a remote northeastern province of India, a group of 150 guards watch for poachers in Kaziranga National Park, home to three-quarters of the world’s one-horned rhinoceroses.
But with an area of 330 square miles (855 sq km) to cover, the guards can’t be everywhere. Last year poachers killed 22 rhinos. And another 13 have already been killed this year.
The Indian federal government is granting $7 million in additional aid to help protect the rhinos, reports the Wall Street Journal (paywall). The state government has sent in another 500 special guards.
And it will soon deploy drones.
Drones are not a common sight in India’s skies. But as rhino sanctuaries go, Kaziranga is not unique—reserve administrators around the world are increasingly turning to unmanned aerial vehicles to help guard their beleaguered rhinos. In January, a reserve in Kenya used crowdsourcing site Indiegogo to raise half of the $70,000 it needed to buy a drone. The World Wildlife Fund, a conservation group, is also planning to deploy a drone somewhere in either Africa or Asia this year, followed by another one next year, backed by money from a Google grant.
SOME YEARS AGO, I sat on a stone-cut bench in a dark chamber in the catacombs of Paris wearing a headlamp and muddied boots, and listened to the strange story of Félix Nadar, the first man to photograph the underground of Paris. In 1861, Nadar invented a battery-operated flash lamp, one of the first artificial lights in the history of photography, and promptly brought his camera into Paris’s sewers and catacombs. Over three months, Nadar—41, moustachioed, with unruly red hair—shot in the darkness beneath the streets. He used 18-minute exposures and, as models, wooden mannequins dressed in the garb of city workers. On the surface, the images of dim, claustrophobic passageways created a stir. Parisians had heard of the vast subterranean networks underlying their streets and Nadar brought this dark lattice to light. The pictures opened up Paris’s relationship to its subterranean spaces—catacombs and crypts, sewers and canals, reservoirs and utility tunnels—a connection which, over the years, has grown deeper and more peculiar than in any other city.
New York City’s seemingly star-crossed bike-share program, once promised for last summer but delayed until the spring amid software problems, has found its way into Hurricane Sandy’s unsparing path.
The storm dumped several feet of water at some points across the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where the city had been storing equipment like bicycles and docking stations in Building 293, near the northern tip of the yard and the waters of Wallabout Bay.
Building 293 was among those that flooded, and a spokesman for the mayor’s office said Tuesday that there appeared to be damage to program equipment, including docking stations for bicycles, as a result.
Slow-motion catastrophe: Homes, crops lost as Haitian, Dominican lakes mysteriously expand – The Washington Post
No one thought much about it when the largest lake in the Caribbean began rising in a year of heavy rains. But then it never stopped.
Lake Enriquillo in the Dominican Republic has doubled in size over the past eight years, swallowing thousands of acres of farms and more than a dozen villages.
In neighboring Haiti, smaller Lake Azuei has also steadily swelled, destroying homes and farms as well as disrupting trade by occasionally blocking a key cross-border highway. The two lakes are only three miles (five kilometers) apart and are fed by some of the same streams.
It’s been a slow-motion disaster and potentially catastrophic for two countries already burdened by major environmental challenges. The waters’ rise has worsened exponentially in recent years, especially after heavy rains in 2007 and 2008 hit the island of Hispaniola, which both countries share. Tropical Storm Isaac dumped more water on the region last month, sparking more damage.
While the cause remains a mystery, theories as to why the lakes are rising range from sediment and trash clogging the water system to increased rainfall from climate change and heavy storms.
Dominican farmer Domingo Bautista recalls how the water gradually overtook his sugar cane, banana and sweet potato crop. Within two months, the family had to abandon their one-bedroom home in the sunbaked village of Boca de Cachon.
The sun is out, it’s the start of a new day… That usually means I stumble quietly around the house on the hunt for a fresh coffee or two or… And when it’s not pouring down, I like to have my coffee outside in the fresh air when the sun is slowly waking up too. Those quiet early morning moments are precious to me, just me, my coffee and the world. And how beautiful our world can be if we just take the time to look around. There’s a lot of beauty right out of our doorstep if we’re just willing to see it. I’ve taken my iPhone and captured some of my lovely treasures so I could share them with you.
Just minutes ago, the federal government approved Wyoming’s wolf-slaughter plan, stripping protections from wolves in 80 percent of the state.
Hundreds of these magnificent animals, critical to the ecology and wildlife of Wyoming, will now be wiped out in the designated kill zone. We have to stop this massacre.
As we’ve been writing you all month, the Center for Biological Diversity is leading wolf advocacy across the entire United States, and we’re in this fight to win for Wyoming’s wolves. Help us now to take emergency legal action to stop the wolf hunt in court by making a generous donation to the Emergency Wolf Protection Fund.
Wyoming’s kill-at-will plan will promote the quick extermination of 170 wolves, from aerial gunning to gassing pups in their dens. Wolves are already being killed in vast numbers in Montana and Idaho — we have to stop that killing at Wyoming’s border and save this critical population of wolves.
A new statistical analysis by NASA scientists has found that Earth’s land areas have become much more likely to experience an extreme summer heat wave than they were in the middle of the 20th century.
The research was published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The statistics show that the recent bouts of extremely warm summers, including the intense heat wave afflicting the U.S. Midwest this year, very likely are the consequence of global warming, according to lead author James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.
“This summer people are seeing extreme heat and agricultural impacts,” Hansen says. “We’re asserting that this is causally connected to global warming, and in this paper we present the scientific evidence for that.”
Hansen and colleagues analyzed mean summer temperatures since 1951 and showed that the odds have increased in recent decades for what they define as “hot,” “very hot” and “extremely hot” summers.
The researchers detailed how “extremely hot” summers are becoming far more routine. “Extremely hot” is defined as a mean summer temperature experienced by less than one percent of Earth’s land area between 1951 and 1980, the base period for this study. But since 2006, about 10 percent of land area across the Northern Hemisphere has experienced these temperatures each summer.
The wind has shifted, forcing the massive High Park fire to blow back on itself, at least northwest of Horsetooth Reservoir.
“We are making good progress and in some cases, the fire has died down and moderated,” Larimer County executive officer Nick Christensen said this afternoon at a briefing.
However, there are new concerns about flame activity and movement in the northeast corner of the fire, near where the Hewlett fire burned, moving toward the Bonner Peaks subdivision and the large Glacier View neighborhood.
“We have helicopters making water drops and additional crews because of concerns we have up there,” Christensen said.
There are no pre-evacuation notifications for Glacier View, but fire commanders
This picture shows the size of a sphere that would contain all of Earth’s water in comparison to the size of the Earth. The blue sphere sitting on the United States, reaching from about Salt Lake City, Utah to Topeka, Kansas, has a diameter of about 860 miles (about 1,385 kilometers) , with a volume of about 332,500,000 cubic miles (1,386,000,000 cubic kilometers). The sphere includes all the water in the oceans, seas, ice caps, lakes and rivers as well as groundwater, atmospheric water, and even the water in you, your dog, and your tomato plant.