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I filmed this chaotic scene in Hanoi, Vietnam recently. Watch the guy in the tank top (far right) cross through without a hitch.

Any readers use ELDIS?

Climate change is among the factors Defense Department officials consider in protect national security around the globe, a senior DOD official recently told a Senate panel.

Daniel Y. Chiu, deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy, testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee May 21.

Chiu said while DOD plans for contingencies and unexpected developments to protect the nation’s security, climate change can create sea-level rise, storm surge, shifting climate zones and more severe weather conditions that can affect operations. And while some of those conditions have affected military installations, he said, such changes can also have a negative impact on other DOD concerns.

We are also seeing the potential for decreased capacity of DOD properties to support training, as well as implications for supply chains, equipment, vehicles and weapon systems that the department buys,” he explained.

Even while infrastructures are being adapted to climate change threats, DOD also is conducting a baseline study to determine which infrastructure elements are most vulnerable to extreme weather events and sea-level increases, he said, adding that the study is due for completion late this year.

Climate change effects potentially could alter, limit or constrain environments where troops operate, Chiu said, using sea-level increases as an example of an impact on amphibious operations.

Chiu states the US Dept. of Defense’s infrastructure is underprepared and vulnerable to climate impacts. Calls for more adaptation measures.


Welcome to Deep Look

We’re excited about Deep Look, which will make its debut on Tuesday, October 21. Check out the trailer to learn more about our new series! 

This looks great!

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who is second in command over the US Military (Obama is first) announced Department of Defense Climate Adaptation Roadmap. The plan aims to plan for climate impacts on US military assets and operations, and collaborates with other nations to further adapt. Some highlights:

  • Build natural infrastructure to protect bases
  • Strengthen supply chains vulnerable to climate impacts
  • Prepare forces for changing environmental conditions
  • Assess assets for vulnerabilities

Interesting coverage of the first people to be moved from their homes at a large scale due to climate change.

via Climate Central

What non-climate change books have most influenced you? What novels/books would you most recommend to others?
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:
Hi, I'm doing a dissertation on whether biomimicry is more of a help or a hindrance to architecture. I read your post about it, and just want to know whether you have any examples of where biomimicry has completely failed architecture? You listed Frank Gehry as an example of failing architecture, but from what I understand, he focuses on modern styles of architecture, not incorporating biomimicry. My dissertation is leaning towards "biomimicry is helpful" and i'd like to know how it's not. tq!
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hi wondererwandered,

I vaguely remember the post. I think it was grouchy and dismissive, and pointed to Gehry’s many leaky roofs and probably velcro.

Gehry’s buildings are frequently cited as examples of biomimicry in architecture journalism, green blogs, and sometimes serious literature (see here), regardless if his work meets even a loose definition.

My general issue with biomimicry is a standard, off-the-shelf criticism: it doesn’t scale up. With nearly 2 billion homes in the world, it’s unclear how a new design based on biomimic design could retro fit so many existing homes. See the problem of green roofs…

Of the articles I’ve read on biomimicry, most are just celebratory blatherings that discuss discrete technologies, like shark skin buildings and spider webs and bullet proof vest. Does the world need these? What would sway me towards supporting biomimicry in architecture is showing that it’s more than a fad for a flashy few…



Earth’s thin atmosphere via astronaut Reid Wiseman.


World population to keep growing this century, hit 11 billion by 2100

Using modern statistical tools, a new study led by the University of Washington and the United Nations finds that world population is likely to keep growing throughout the 21st century. The number of people on Earth is likely to reach 11 billion by 2100, the study concludes, about 2 billion higher than some previous estimates.

The paper published online Sept. 18 in the journal Science includes the most up-to-date estimates for future world population, as well as a new method for creating such estimates.

E.g., the case for removing old dams to restore ecosystems.

At over 100 sites throughout the Connecticut River basin, the largest river system in New England, we characterized species composition, valley and channel morphology, and hydrologic regime to define conditions promoting distinct floodplain forest assemblages. Species assemblages were dominated by floodplain-associated trees on surfaces experiencing flood durations between 4.5 and 91 days/year, which were generally well below the stage of the two-year recurrence interval flood, a widely-used benchmark for floodplain restoration. These tree species rarely occurred on surfaces that flooded less than 1 day/year. By contrast abundance of most woody invasive species decreased with flooding.
Such flood-prone surfaces were jointly determined by characteristics of the hydrograph (high discharges of long duration) and topography (low gradient and reduced valley constraint), resulting in increased availability of floodplain habitat with increasing watershed area and/or decreasing stream gradient. Downstream mainstem reaches provided the most floodplain habitat, largely associated with low-energy features such as back swamps and point bars, and were dominated by silver maple (Acer saccharinum). However, we were able to identify a number of suitable sites in the upper part of the basin and in large tributaries, often associated with in-channel islands and bars and frequently dominated by sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) and flood disturbance-dependent species.
Our results imply that restoring flows by modifying dam operations to benefit floodplain forests on existing surfaces need not conflict with flood protection in some regional settings.

Pretty cool engineering project in New Orleans. The journalist explains how adding sod to the top of levees will increase the capacity of the berms to retain water. (though, I though levees were generally covered in grass, so it’s a bit confusing.) Anyway, this is a good and simple example of an adaptation.

2014 Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Sixth Lowest on Record: Arctic sea ice coverage continued its below-average trend this year as the ice declined to its annual minimum. Learn more: #EarthRightNow #ActOnClimate