Monthly Archives: April 2019

Stormier Oceans Ahead

According to a new study from the University of Melbourne the world’s oceans have become more turbulent over the past 33 years, higher waves ..stronger winds.

Stormier oceans give rise to concern for our coastal communities from flooding and erosion. Climate change is the most likely suspect, but we are not sure exactly y how it all works.

 

The researchers had data from 31 satellites, calibrated against 80 ocean bouys , between 1985 and 2018. It was found that wave height and speed increased worldwide, with a significant rise in big winds and waves.

There is potential to have an impact on coastal flooding and erosion. We need to put thought in the design of coastal  and off shore structures….even the breakup of the Antarctic ice pack.

The Ottawa River

According to the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board the continued rainfall and snow melt will cause the water level in the Ottawa is set to surpass the May 2017 floods. in some cases by more than 70 cms.

All areas that were affected in 2017 are already affected or most likely will be.

On Thursday the City of Ottawa declared an emergency. Everything is being thrown at the flood , including the military.

Let’s see what the latest video on the river looks like on Friday afternoon.

Spring Flooding in Eastern Ontario Possible

Here we are at the time of the spring melt in Eastern Ontario. What can we expect this year?

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority warn that people in flood prone or low-lying areas should take precautions. The snow pack in the Ottawa region is well above average with indications of near record water content amounts in the snow for this time of year.

From 2017…

 

The warning signs are there…be prepared as required. New home owners or people new to a community should talk with their neighbours or their conservation authority to get the lay of the land. Consider homes may be set back, but docks or lawn furniture may be vulnerable.

The Yukon warmest in 13,600 years.

From the University of Toronto a new study reveals alarming climate change information in Canada’s north. Recent climate warming in the central Yukon has gone beyond the warmest temperatures seen in the previous 13,600 years.

Researchers can usually rely on ice core samples and water isotopes to help us look long into the past. In central Yukon, glaciers have long gone so in this area plant pollen and small winged bugs called midges preserved in layers of lake sediment are used as well.

The researchers were able to collect data to reconstruct summer temperatures over the last 13,600 years. Each centimeter of permafrost represents 20-30 years of precipitation which settles into well blended layers of information. the permafrost offers an excellent archive for water isotopes that could be used to advance our understanding of climate change through the ages.

One of the conclusions is that industrial era warming has led to current summer temperatures, which are historically unprecedented, exceeding all previous max temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius.  The central Yukon has experienced warming of just over 2 celsius, which is above the global average and above the average Arctic region in general.

As the permafrost warms up previously frozen soil carbon gets released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide…meaning more green house gases. If this continues it threatens to amplify global climate change.

 

 

 

Iceland is Happy

Iceland is blessed with some real physical beauty in the land, but face long dark winters. An advantage the Icelanders have to deal with winter and help they get out an socialize is the vast geothermal pool network. Snow, sleet, and rain can just pelt the island through the winter, with most of the population of 332,000 hunkering down indoors to wait it out.

If outdoors in the winter it not unusual to find the locals gathering at the local pool or hot tub. It is even considered a right to have access within walking distance to your home.

Even with the harsh climate Iceland finds itself ranked in the top three for happiness. These geothermal tubs and pools could be the key to their happiness. They go to their local place , meet their neighbours, they get out and socialize…mental and social human needs are dealt with in a comfortable setting.

In the 1950’s and 60’s Iceland changed from coal powered heat to geothermal, harnessing the islands volcanic activity. The infrastructure provided by the switch allowed for the formation of communal pools which have become centers of the community.

A few simple rules apply ..keep the conversation light nothing too personnel..don’t shake hands.. and shower before and after.

Gov’t of Canada Provides Update on Drinking Water Advisories.

The Minister of Indigenous Services has provided monthly progress reports on the government’s commitment to end long-term drinking water advisories.

In March one long-term drinking advisory was lifted, and two short-term advisories that were in danger of becoming long-term was lifted on reserves. No long-term advisories were added for March.

The long-term advisory that wad lifted came from Nekaneet, Sask. , it had been in effect since October 2017. Short term advisories were lifted in the Buffalo River Dene Nation and the Key First Nation…both in Sask.

The number of long-term drinking water advisories affecting public systems on reserves has declined from 105 in November 2015, to 59 as of March 2019.

The First Nations and the Government of Canada continue to work towards clean water for all.

Pharmaceuticals in the Great Lakes.

A new study has examined what is known about pharmaceuticals in the Great Lakes, their pathways, impacts on the aquatic systems and human health.

We get many benefits from pharmaceuticals, diseases are treated, quality of life improved in both humans and animals. Widespread use of the drugs has led to these substances being discharged into the environment, including our waterways. concerns are being raised with respect to their impact on the ecosystems and human health, as well as simple pollution.

Pharmaceuticals are finding their way into the Great Lakes, but our understanding of the sources , pathways, and impacts is limited. There is no coordinated approach to address the issue in Canada.

The new report by Pollution Probe and the Clean Water Foundation provides an overview of actions taken within Canada on this subject and compares this to what is going on in the USA and the EU.

The study identifies key knowledge gaps  and proposes a way forward by identifying  actions to better understand and manage pharmaceutical pollution  and protect the health of the Great Lakes.

Looks like we have much to do in this area.