Climate Adaptation


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The London Array is the world’s largest off-shore windfarm. Via NASA.

Twenty kilometers (12 miles) from England’s Kent and Essex coasts, the world’s largest offshore wind farm has started harvesting the breezes over the sea. Located in the Thames Estuary, where the River Thames meets the North Sea, the London Array has a maximum generating power of 630 megawatts (MW), enough to supply as many as 500,000 homes.

The wind farm became fully operational on April 8, 2013. Twenty days later, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite captured this image of the area. The second image is a closeup of the area marked by the white box in the top image. White points in the second image are the wind turbines; a few boat wakes are also visible. The sea is discolored by light tan sediment—spring runoff washed out by the Thames.

To date, the London Array includes 175 wind turbines aligned to the prevailing southwest wind and spread out across 100 square kilometers (40 square miles). Each turbine stands 650 to 1,200 meters apart (2,100 to 3,900 feet) and 147 meters (482 feet) tall. Each is connected by cables buried in the seafloor, and power is transmitted to two substations offshore and to an onshore station at Cleve Hill.

America, model for the world? This coal plant leaks and dumps waste into the Yellowstone River. Only about 30% of coal burned in a power plant produces electricity - the remaining 70% of the energy is literally wasted…

If you can stomach it, here’s a picture of an ExxonMobil oil refinery, also on the Yellowstone. This is how your electricity works…

Corette coal-fired power plant on the Yellowstone River in Montana. This facility is discharging toxic water pollution into the Yellowstone using a permit that should have expired several years ago. 

USGS moves to create climate change vulnerability database

“ The Bureau of Reclamation today announced it will reduce for the first time ever Colorado River water deliveries from the Lake Powell reservoir downstream to Lake Mead, which provides nearly all of Las Vegas’ water. ”

—    Worst drought on record impacting cities in the southwest, including millions in Las Vegas. Demand continues to rise. The Colorado River water wars have begun. Via
China gives environmental approval to country's biggest hydro dam

Environmental groups silent. Dam will be 1,000 feet tall, about the same height as the Eiffel Tower.

Architects propose various natural systems to combat sea level rise in the Upper Bay. More via MoMA

Above, the gigantic Jirau Dam is one of 34(!) hydroelectric dams being built in the Amazon by Brazil. Thousands of people and dozens of communities and towns will be flooded by the dams. Meanwhile, environmentalists are left out of negotiations.

When it is completed in 2015, the Jirau hydroelectric dam will span the Madeira River, feature more giant turbines than any other dam in the world and hold as much concrete as 47 towers the size of New York’s Empire State Building.

And then there are the power lines, draped along 2,200 km of forests and fields to carry electricity from the middle of South America to Brazil’s urban nerve center, Sao Paulo.  Still, it won’t be enough.

The Jirau Dam and the Santo Antonio complex that is being built a few kilometers downstream will provide just 5 percent of what government energy planners say Brazil will need in the next 10 years. 

So the country is building more dams, many more, courting controversy by locating the vast majority of them in the world’s largest and most biodiverse forest.

Excellent coverage by the Japan Times


Dumping of Toxic Fracking Wastewater Reaffirms Natural Gas Industry Free-for-All in Ohio

A week after the dumping of at least 20,000 gallons of toxic and potentially radioactive fracking waste into a storm drain that empties into a tributary of the Mahoning River in Youngstown, Ohio, by Hard Rock Excavating, state regulators have yet to disclose information about the quantity of waste and the chemicals involved.

Dang. Most storm drains dump untreated run-off into a river, pond, lake, or some other body of water. Storm drain infrastructure drains roads and parking lots of rain water and snow melt.

My understanding is that it is illegal under the Clean Water Act (e.g., the EPA) to dump toxic chemicals into these drains since fish, riparian mammals, amphibians, and reptiles, birds, kids, swimmers, and farmers use surface waters on a regular basis.

If the above is correct (I’m skeptical), that frackers are dumping chemical-waste-water into storm drains, holy shit - Ohioans downstream are in for a big surprise…

The Chinese government claims the red is from silt from a rain storm. It is more likely to be pollution from a factory.

Why has the Yangtze River Turned Red?

A stretch of China’s mighty Yangtze River, near the city of Chongqing, has turned an alarming shade of red…

Indeed, on 7 September the Chongqing Environmental Protection Agency noted on its website that a water-quality monitoring centre on the Yangtze had detected very high concentrations of silt in the river. The agency says that torrential rain in the upper Sichuan province caused huge amounts of silt to wash into the Yangtze. It also says that the water does not contain hazardous or noxious substances.

Scientists interviewed by Nature say that it is unlikely, although not impossible, that the colouring is a result of an algal bloom. Sudden growths of algae, fed by fertilizer run-off (a process known as eutrophication), can sometimes produce blooms of brownish diatom algae in rivers, says Sergi Sabater, a limnologist at the Catalan Institute of Water Research in Spain, who carries out research in river ecology. Such ‘red tides’ of algae are sometimes observed in warm, shallow and nutrient-rich seas.

Read the rest at Nature

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