xtanti asked: Hi Michael, Greetings from Indonesia. I enjoy your blog because I'm interested to learn about environment. As you might heard recently there're two big volcano eruptions in our country. Do you think they can influence the global weather? I've read in a journal that Krakatoa and Tambora eruptions in 19th century created global wheather changes then. Or the two recent eruptions are not significant enough for global weather? (I'm sorry if my English is not well structured) Yeni
Your English is just great! Yes, the gas and soot from erupting volcanoes do influence the climate for short periods of time. The volcanoes erupting in Indonesia right now are not getting the media coverage they deserve. Nearly 100,000 people have been evacuated, airports are closed, and the images of ash covering everything are amazing.
Mike Gunson, atmospheric chemist and director of the Global Change project at NASA has a better answer:
Can one blast from a volcano affect readings over most of the globe for an extended time?
Overall, volcanoes release about 5 percent of the equivalent amount of CO2 released by humans. Quite small. However, about once every 20 years there is a volcanic eruption (e.g., Mt. Pinatubo, El Chichon) which throws out a tremendous amount of particles and other gases. These will effectively shield us enough from the sun to lead to a period of global cooling. They typically dissipate after about two years, but the effect is nearly global.
That said, I’m not sure where to find the estimates of how these two big volcanoes will affect climate. Climate “forcings” are not my area. Maybe JAXA?
1) The Philippines has become increasingly vulnerable to typhoons for lots of reasons — and climate change is only one angle here.
Thanks to basic geography, the Philippines has long been one of the most storm-ravaged places on Earth, with about 8 to 9 typhoons making landfall each year, on average. The warm waters surrounding the island nation help fuel strong tropical cyclones, and there are few natural barriers to slow the storms down or break them up. … 2) Typhoons aren’t the only natural disaster the Philippines has to worry about. … But the precise risks are often difficult to pinpoint — and that makes preparation even harder. Many climate models still have trouble making predictions at a very fine-grained, regional level. And typhoons are especially difficult to forecast: While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change thinks it’s “likely” that tropical cyclones will get stronger as the oceans warm, it’s less clear how the frequency of storms will change in the years ahead (they may even become less frequent).
3) Adaptation can help, but it’s not always enough. Many countries have managed to reduce their exposure to natural disasters over the years by implementing detailed adaptation plans. If climate change does increase the risk of natural disasters in the years ahead, then those plans will become increasingly important. …
Bangladesh, for instance, has steadily reduced the number of deaths from tropical cyclones since the 1970s through early-warning systems, shelters and evacuation plans, and building coastal embankments.
4) Where will the money come from for adaptation? There are two key questions that always come up at international climate talks like the one now going on in Warsaw. First, how will the world cut its carbon emissions to slow global warming? And second, where will the money come from to help poorer states prepare for its effects? The second question is likely to get more attention in the wake of Haiyan. …
"We have received no climate finance to adapt or to prepare ourselves for typhoons and other extreme weather we are now experiencing," Saño told the Guardian. “It cannot be a way of life that we end up running always from storms.”
A tense opening session of the 44th Pacific Islands Forum has been dominated by appeals from pacific leaders for ‘real action’ against the threat of rising sea levels associated with climate change.
Speaking at the International Conference Center in Majuro, the capital of Marshall Islands, the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, responded to a presentation from Nobel Peace Prize Professor Elisabeth Holland by decrying what he intimated as the dollar approach of ‘theoretical scientists’ to an issue that requires ‘concrete action.’
The Halligen Islands in the North Sea are one of many low-lying and island regions that are very concerned about climate change.
Not protected by dikes, the Halligens are a set of small islands (some as small as 17 acres) that have separated from the mainland after centuries of flooding and erosion. Because of the periodic storm flooding, homes on the Halligens are built atop small, artificial hills (Warften) that keep them above sea level.
Like large areas of the Netherlands, northeastern Germany, and Denmark, the Halligen Islands are keenly aware of the risk of sea level rise due to global warming and are investing in climate adaptation strategies.
The Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) project is working in 14 Pacific Island countries to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience to the adverse effects of climate change. Go to 3:00 to skip the long intro on water shortages. The video does go over the PACC, shows maps, and various architectural design and adaptation projects.
The idyllic beaches on the island of Buoj where Marshall Islands President Christopher Loeak fished as a boy are already submerged, and the ever-encroaching ocean now threatens to wash away roads, schools and airstrips.
"The end of the island gets shorter every year. Some places we used to stand on the beach to fish are now in the water," Mr Loeak, 60, told AFP.
Buoj is one of 52 islands in Ailinglaplap, an atoll that a Marshall Islands survey found was one of its most vulnerable to climate change.
"I have great attraction to Ailinglaplap," Mr Loeak said in the capital, Majuro. "I can live on other islands, but I was born and raised there. I always think about going back there to live."
The Marshalls, an island nation of some 70,000 people about halfway between Australia and Hawaii, will have a rare moment in the international spotlight in September, when it hosts the annual Pacific Islands Forum.
Chinese ship runs into protected UNESCO reef in Philippines — while transporting 11 tons of illegal Pangolin meat
A Chinese vessel that ran into a protected coral reef in the southwestern Philippines held evidence of even more environmental destruction inside: more than 22,000 pounds of meat from a protected species, the pangolin or scaly anteater.
The steel-hulled vessel hit an atoll on April 8 at the Tubbataha National Marine Park, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site on Palawan island.
Coast guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Armand Balilo said Monday that 400 boxes, each containing 25 to 30 kilograms of frozen pangolins, were discovered during a second inspection of the boat Saturday.
The World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines said the Chinese vessel F/N Min Long Yu could have been carrying up to 2,000 of the toothless, insect-eating animals rolled up in the boxes, with their scales already removed.
The boat’s 12 Chinese crewmen are being detained on charges of poaching and attempted bribery, said Adelina Villena, the marine park’s lawyer. She said more charges are being prepared against them, including damaging the corals and violating the country’s wildlife law for being found in possession of the pangolin meat.
Father Martin, parish priest on the island of Abaiang walks through the wasteland that used to be the village of Tebunginako garden. Rising sea water made the soils heavily saline and unable to support the Bananas and Taro vital to the villagers’ survival
“What happens when you trade the foundations of your society for cash?” - Céline Rouze, a brave journalist who wrote Exxon Mobil’s Papua New Guinea LNG Project. This project is the largest energy project in the history of the entire Pacific Rim. Exxon’s promises of economic development has instead brought chaos and violence.
Céline Rouze is very courageous journalist. People like her give me hope…
terramarique asked: I'm studying the storm-surge buffering capabilities of the Boston Harbor Islands as well as possible plans to install barriers and sea gates between the islands in the future. What is the feasibility of such plans? How big of a role do the Harbor Islands currently play in protecting Boston Harbor? Do you have any suggested resources? Thank you for any help you can give.
I’m going to assume you’ve done a lot of research on climate, so I’ll just point you to some sources.
For climate science and some good maps, I’d check Woods Hole/USGS, MIT, and UMass.
You might be surprised by calling the folks at Mass/DCR, they’re actually real friendly on the phone.
You may want to look into orgs that do disaster, conservation, and beach erosion management work on the Cape (possibly Manomet, but definitely check with MassDOT).
And I’m sure the Army Corps of Engineers has their hands in the harbor (the Corps websites are a nightmare, so be persistent. There are hidden gems!).
The City of Boston’s climate report is embarrassingly weak. But, you should scour the authors and sources of the report for leads.
VHB, an engineering firm, does a lot of work on infrastructure using climate data, and I believe they have several contracts with the City of Boston, Logan Airport (in fact, Logan and VHB hosted me on a tour of the airport’s infrastructure and facilities). VHB has a strong climate division, and they’re very friendly folks and if you ask nicely, they’ll send you some climate CDs and climate reports by mail.
And finally, check with MassPort Authority. You’ll run into roadblocks when calling them directly, so you should target specific people in the organization and be persistent. Nothing gets built in the harbor without MassPort’s blessing.
That’s all I got off the top of my head. Good luck and let me know how it goes!