Last month I wrote two articles (here, here), gave an interview to The Real News Network (here), and an interview to Uprising Radio (here) about the devastating floods in Colorado. With Boulder as its epicenter, the floods damaged more than 2,000 squares miles along the Colorado Front Range—from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins. Ten people were killed, nearly 18,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, hundreds of miles of road were washed out, and thousands of oil and gas wells flooded resulting in environmental contamination from toxic fracking fluids and nearly 40,000 gallons of spilled oil. Boulder got nearly its annual average rainfall in just five days, and it happened at a wrong time—September, not July/August, when rain usually falls in the desert southwest.
My main contribution was to raise the noise level that the corporate media had failed miserably in its reporting of the Colorado floods. Not a single journalist had raised the question on corporate TV: Did global warming play a part in causing or intensifying the Colorado floods?
Bamboozled by the lure of technology, humans have become deeply amnesic. We forget a tragedy soon after the corporate media stops reporting on a particular catastrophe. In a globally warmed Earth, however, before amnesia sets in, the next assault arrives.
This morning I woke up to the news of super cyclone Phailin in the Bay of Bengal that will make landfall tomorrow in the east coast of India. “Odisha and Andhra Pradesh braced for the “very severe” cyclone [Phailin] that is expected to hit the east coast with winds gusting up to 220 kmph [136 mph] tomorrow evening, as lakhs [1 lakh=100,000] of people were being evacuated to safer places and the military kept on standby,” The Hindu reports.
I had lived in the American southwest for eleven years, and I was born and grew up in Bengal. So, the recent Colorado floods and the super cyclone in the Bay of Bengal are personal.
There are already many news articles on the India cyclone that you can read: The Hindu here, Times of India here, India Today here, BBC here, Washington Post here. I won’t go into the details; instead, I’ll focus on bringing attention to two things: naming and blaming.
Apparently Phailin was named by Thailand and it means sapphire in Thai. What nonsense. Some humans do desire the precious stone, but no one, I’d think, is desiring Phailin. India should rename this meaningless obfuscation and call attention to global warming immediately.
Australia has been battling unseasonably bad bushfires for weeks. The flames have destroyed hundreds of homes - and have also intensified a political debate about whether there is a link with global warming.
Europe has built a fortress around itself to protect itself from ‘illegal' immigration from the South, from peoples fleeing civil war, conflict and devastating poverty. The story is best understood through maps.
“Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition” will be the focus of World Food Day in 2013.The official World Food Day theme – announced at the start of every year by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) – gives focus to World Food Day observances and helps increase understanding of problems and solutions in the drive to end hunger.
Via Maree Whiteley
Part of the Amazon rainforest may be more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than first thought, say researchers.
Findings showed that since 1979, the dry season lasted about a week longer in each decade. At the same time, the annual fire seasons have become longer. The most likely explanation for the increasingly longer dry seasons is global warming.
If the damage is severe enough, they say the loss of rainforest could cause the release of large volumes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and could also disrupt plant and animal communities in one of the world’s most biodiversity-rich regions, as outlined in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
The team used ground-based rainfall measurements from the past three decades. Findings showed that since 1979, the dry season in southern Amazonia lasted about a week longer in each decade.
Professor Fu and her colleagues say the water stored in the forest soil at the end of each wet season is all that the trees have to last them through the dry months. The longer that lasts – regardless of how wet the wet season was – the more stressed the trees become and the more susceptible they are to forest fires.
They say the most likely explanation for the lengthening dry season in recent decades is human-caused greenhouse warming, which inhibits rainfall in two ways: It makes it harder for warm, dry air near the surface to rise and freely mix with cool, moist air above; and it blocks incursions by cold weather fronts from outside the tropics which could trigger rainfall.
“ The death toll from yesterday’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the central Philippines has risen to almost 100, with rescuers continuing to dig through the rubble of a collapsed church and hospital in the search for more victims.”
Via geographil, Scott Langston
"A geyser is a rare kind of hot spring that is under pressure and erupts, sending jets of water and steam into the air. Roughly two-thirds of the world's geysers are in Yellowstone National Park in the United States. Where are some other geyser hotspots around the world? Click here for the answers."
Via Seth Dixon
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