Tag Archives: Metcalfe

Satellites are key to monitoring ocean carbon

Satellites now play a key role in monitoring carbon levels in oceans, but we are only now beginning to understand their full potential.


Our ability to predict future climate relies on being able to monitor where our carbon emissions go. We will need to know how much stays in the atmosphere, or becomes stored in the oceans or on land. The oceans in particular have helped to slow climate change as they absorb and store the carbon for thousands of years. This critical role the oceans play in regulating our climate will require monitoring and understanding.

Keeping an eye on the oceans will be a huge job, in part because of their sheer mass, covering 70% of the Earth’s surface…a perfect opportunity for satellites to shine.


Satellites previously launched to study the movement of wind can also observe the waves, foam and temperature and how they combine to control the movement of heat and carbon dioxide  between the ocean and the atmosphere.

Further , satellites used to monitor gas emissions over land can also be used to measure carbon dioxide  emissions as they disperse over water.

By monitoring the oceans we can gather the necessary information to help protect ecosystems at risk.

Drinking Tigers

Here we have a video that is going viral. We have a lovely family of Tigers drinking water from a river. The video is provided by Susanta Nanda of the Indian Forest Service.

The big cats can live for two weeks without food , but only 4 days max without water.  We all need good clean water to sustain our lives.

Second Ever Interstellar Comet Contains Alien Water

Astronomers has spotted signs of water spraying off comet 21/Borisov, which is flying towards the Sun on a journey from interstellar space. This is the first time scientists have seen water in our solar system that originated elsewhere.

Olivier Hainaut, an astronmer at the European Southern Observatory in Garching, Germany..says the discovery is not surprising because most comets contain much water. What is interesting about this one is being able to confirm it’s presence in a interstellar comet and taking us another step toward understanding how water can move between the stars.


Astronomers have been able to track Borisov since its discovery on August 30th with excitement as the tracking shows the origin in deep space. Possibly billions of years ago it got knocked away from where it was to a trajectory that brought it to us today.

On October 11 scientists spotted the telltale signature of oxygen in the spectre of light coming from the comet..most likely from water breaking apart into hydrogen and oxygen.


Borisov will fly past the Sun in early December, as it gets closer the heat will cause the icy nucleus to spray out gas and dust. A big show for the scientists and a bounty of information to work with.

Changes coming to water bottling permits in Ontario

A decision on how to proceed with water bottling permits is expected by early to mid-December says Ontario’s Environment Minister Jeff Yurek.


On January 1st a moratorium on new and expanded permits to take water for bottling is set to expire. the decision on how to move forward is to be science based, but if no conclusive information is found then it is possible the moratorium will be extended.

Communities, first nations peoples, and businesses are all being consulted, as well as the scientific study.

The moratorium was put in place due to Nestle purchasing a well near Guelph. Concerns were expressed about the effect this would have on the future drinking water supply in the Township of Wellington Centre. Liberals increased the fees for bottlers from $3.71 per million litres of ground water to $503.71 per million litres. Water bottling companies have been able to take millions of litres a day.


A balance between all sides needs to be found..a tricky solution indeed.

Solar powered “Interceptor” unvieled

The Dutch inventor of Ocean Cleanup is now looking to try to atop plastic pollution at the source. Boyan Slat the 25 yr old inventor, unveiled the”Interceptor”, a floating solar powered device designed to scoop out plastic from rivers. The idea is to prevent the plastic from getting into the ocean in the first place.


About 8 million metric tons of plastic enters the world’s oceans annually, where it threatens marine life. Ocean Cleanups original idea of scooping plastic out of the ocean was fine, but it was pointed out that marine life was put in peril by this technique. Work began on the idea of stopping the plastic in the rivers , at the source as it were.

1,000 rivers dump around 80% of the plastic into our oceans. Targeting these rivers with 1,000 Interceptors would go a long way to helping. So far rivers in Indonesia, Malaysia , and Vietnam have units working on them. A fourth in the Dominican Republic will soon be installed.


On average a unit can collect 50,000 kilos of plastic daily, or 20,000 tons a year. The Interceptor is intended to be mass produced and used in rivers around the world.

Lakes worldwide see more severe algae blooms.

The intensity of summer algae blooms has increased over the past 3 decades according to the first ever global survey of dozens of large fresh water lakes.

Reports of algae blooms are growing. They are harmful in their intensity of their growth, or because they include populations of toxin producing phytoplankton. Before this recent study it was unclear if things were getting worse, or the degree to which human activity- agriculture, urbanization, and climate change was contributing.


Toxic algae blooms affect drinking water, agriculture, fishing, recreation , and tourism. Studies indicate that blooms in the USA result in a loss of $4 billion.

The study concludes the algae blooms really are getting more wide spread and more intense. The reasons for this increase can vary from lake to lake. One clear finding was that among the lakes that improved at any point over the 30 yr span looked at were the ones that experienced the least warming. The suggestion being that climate warming is playing a role.

Quebec to review how it tests drinking water.

Quebec Premier Legault says the province is planning to change how it tests drinking water for lead. An investigative report published on Wednesday  revealed the sampling method presently used does not accurately measure the true levels of exposure.

The report based on sampling data released by municipalities through access 0f information legislation and independent lab tests revealed that the province is not collecting all of the samples recommended by Health Canada, and is instead using a testing method that was abandoned by U.S. cities 30 yrs ago.


The testing method requires flushing out taps for 5 minutes before taking a sample , which means it won’t accurately capture the lead that has collected overnight in pipes that could be consumed when the taps are turned on in the morning.

Premier Legault says there will be a review. Quebec has previously said it would be reviewing it’s regulations before March 2020, in response to new recommendations made earlier by Health Canada.

Some questions answered

How much of the Earth is water in 2019?

71%..with 96.5% being salt water.

How much water do we use everyday?

Estimates can vary, but each person uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day. The largest single use is to flush the toilet…after that showers and baths.

Can the Earth run out of water?

Water as a vapor in our atmosphere could potentially escape into space from Earth. As a whole we may never run out of water, but clean ,fresh water is not always available where and when we need it. 50% of the world’s fresh water can be found in only 6 countries.

We can not live without water…let us take care of it and ourselves.

The Damage from Hurricane Dorian in the Atlantic Provinces

Hurricane Dorian hit the Atlantic provinces on Sept.7, 2019, causing 105 million in insured damage. 70% of the damage was to personnel property, 25% to commercial property, and 5% to vehicles.

$22.5 million insured damage in New Brunswick.

$2.5 million in insured damage in Newfoundland and Labrador.

$62.2 million in insured damage in Nova Scotia.

$17.5 million in insured damage in PEI.

$300,000 in insured damage in Quebec

Geographically Halifax, Moncton, and much of PEI suffered a large portion of the damage..although reports of damage was wide spread.


When it hit on September 7 it was a post tropical storm but was still hurricane strength with sustained winds of 155mph. Due to rain saturated ground and trees being in full leaf many large trees were uprooted causing many power outages. The heavy rain also caused flooding of homes and businesses.

Hurricane Dorian shows again how devastating Mother Nature can be. Severe, unpredictable weather is becoming more frequent, resulting in higher costs to homeowners, insurers, and governments. Last year in Canada insured damage in Canada exceeded $2 billion.

…and it appears to be getting worse.

Ditch the delicate wash cycle to save our seas.

New research led by Newcastle University has shown it is the volume of water used during the wash cycle  rather than the spinning action which is the key in releasing plastic microfibres from clothes.


Millions of plastic fibres are shed every time we wash our clothes. These tiny fibres drain out of our washing machines and potentially out into the marine environment.

Once out in the oceans these micro fibers are injested by the fish, and it has been proven that they are now present in the deepest parts of our oceans.

The N.U. team measured the release of the plastic fibers from polyester clothing for a range of cycles and water volumes. Counting the fibres released , the team found the higher the volume of water the more microfibers released. 800,000 more fibers were released in a delicate wash than a standard cycle.