planetwater

ground- water, geo- statistics, environmental- engineering, earth- science

Archive for 2008

Climate Change Picks Up Pace in South-West Germany

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Climate Change picks up pace, reports [SWR]

Written by Claus

June 29th, 2008 at 9:14 am

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Water in the News

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White House sits problems out (does not open email from EPA)

Six months ago, the EPA was told by the US Supreme Court to determine whether greenhouse gases represent a danger to health or the environment. The EPA answered that question in an email to the White House, stating that greenhouse gases are pollutants that must be controlled. The White House decided that this email officially has never been opened. Now, six months later, the EPA is writing a new watered down letter. Reported by the New York Times, via scientificactivist

NASA: “world’s only hope is drastic action”

NASA scientist James Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute of Space Sciences, has warned the US Congress 20 years ago about the negative effects of Global Warming. He just did it again.

The year of Hansen’s original testimony was the world’s hottest year on record. Since then, 14 years have been hotter, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

All Chinese Water is Funneled to Beijing

Wired is reporting on how much water is needed in Beijing, especially for the upcoming summer Olympic Games, that in the vicinity of Beijing more and more wells are running dry.

Changing Climate Can Trigger Wars

Weird has a piece on how changing climate can trigger wars

Written by Claus

June 25th, 2008 at 7:16 am

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Disable Pathogens to Make Drinking Water

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There’s a new approach to drinking water treatment: “Disabling” pathogens by means of genetic engineering might make “dirty” water drinkable, reports Science Daily.

Written by Claus

June 12th, 2008 at 12:54 am

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Private Water Resource Company Forced to Leave Felton, California

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The german daily newspaper “die Tageszeitung” reported yesterday about drinking water supply issues in the city of Felton, California. In 2002, a company called Cal-Am bought the water related civic works. According to “die Tageszeitung”, Cal-Am is going to quit supplying water for Felton.

Cal-Am is part of another company called RWE, which is traditionally a fairly big German electric power generation company, and since recently is the third largest private water resource management company. This is the link to Cal-Am, I guess designed for Felton. It is pretty interesting what they post in their “Facts” section.

Additional links:

Written by Claus

June 10th, 2008 at 5:56 am

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Reindeer Herders Experience Abnormal Weather Patterns

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The independent has a little text for one example that demonstrates how the climate is changing: Reindeer herders in northern Scandinavia see in their daily lives how fast climate changes, and how they experience weather types that they have never experienced at the given times of the year, rain in winter, f.ex.

Written by Claus

May 18th, 2008 at 5:56 am

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Mineral Resources Across the World

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This is a great website with links to kmz-files containing information about mineral resources around the world. Looking at these files in google earth shows the locations of an individual mineral resource and its type. I’ve been always wondering if there are some resources in Tibet, and it turns out there are (see screenshot; from GoogleEarth with data from here). Can anybody tell me the value of those resources?

Mineral Resources in Tibet

Written by Claus

May 1st, 2008 at 1:26 pm

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Painting a Picture of the “Era of Peak Water”

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Wired has a great article on the “era of peak water”. The author, Matthew Power, makes an argument for the need of more and better data:

One barrier to better management of water resources is simply lack of data — where the water is, where it’s going, how much is being used and for what purposes, how much might be saved by doing things differently. In this way, the water problem is largely an information problem. The information we can assemble has a huge bearing on how we cope with a world at peak water.

The article investigates the problem of water scarcity by looking at three case studies:

  • Chandler, Arizona, in the US South-West dessert, where Intel currently has three chip plants running. And chip plants need a lot and very clean water. Of course, Intel will always have more money than the average water needing person.

  • London, UK, where Thames Water, a private water-supply company, needs to deal with old and leaking pipe networks

  • Australia, “the most arid continent after Antarctica”, where droughts have catastrophic effect on rice farming. Of course you might ask, why try to grow rice in an arid region?

On top of agriculture, industry, and human needs, all of which grow on a global scale, the impacts of climate changing towards more extreme conditions effects the water supply at all those three sites negatively and severely.

Written by Claus

April 30th, 2008 at 7:14 am

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Food Prices Rising

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Food production is related to water because food does not grow without water. Since a little while rising food prices are on my radar screen. At first I thought, wow finally somebody (the UN and media covering the story, MSNBC, f.ex.) is talking about it. Then I saw another hockey stick curve, and those sure attract attention, not only since Al Gore’s talk. Then I saw this news-site, telling me how food is rationed in the US. This was the point when I decided to dig a little deeper — why is food getting more expensive?

Rising Food Prices

(from the Economist)

I found this really great german blog post, including great answers and links to other resources, where Don Dahlmann asks

Can somebody explain to me why on a global scale food is getting a) short and b) expensive right now? I’ve googled a bit, but I didn’t find a thing that would have helped me to understand. What’s behind this? Creating artificial shortages by companies with the goal of increase profits? An ecologic problem?

The funny thing is, you can read all those great resources, but I can still not find the real reason, or a real reason for that matter.

  • It seems to me if it was just population growth and hence more people eating more meat (“western standard”), then the cost increase for wheat would have been not that abrupt.
  • I also don’t think that the single reason for cost increase is farmers converting their crops to “bio-fuel”, because I think this is a western (US, and Europe to some extent) phenomenon, and prices also increase in other food-producing countries.
  • Is it a water distribution problem? Generally, there is enough water in the US and Europe for farming. Granted, some of the farming practices in the US (Mid-West or California) are not vastly sustainable, but generally there is water.
  • Is it a climate change phenomenon — were there any severely bad harvests on a global scale last year (due to extreme weather conditions happening)?
  • The food-companies are mentioned sometimes, but are also not linked conclusively to the recent cost-increase.

All in all, there seem to be a variety of reasons. Has the sum of all of them been enough to reach the “tipping point”? But, it seems to me, we are missing something! So I’m asking the same question as Don did, again: What is it?

Update [2008-05-18]: Here is the official explanation of the UN

Written by Claus

April 29th, 2008 at 1:52 am

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Water Balloon Exploding in Slow Motion

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This is a little movie of a water-balloon exploding after somebody stuck a needle into it. The cool thing: it’s filmed at 2000 frames per second!

(via wired)

Written by Claus

April 17th, 2008 at 12:53 am

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Red Books are Online

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The legendary red books, also known as the IAHS publication series, can be accessed now online as pdfs, free of charge. Check out [this article in volume 297]! 😉

Written by Claus

April 16th, 2008 at 9:16 am

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