Tag Archives: North Gower

How does a water spout form?

The water inside a water spout is formed by condensation in the cloud. There are two major types of waterspouts: tornadic waterspouts and fairweather waterspouts. Tornadic waterspouts get their starts as true tornadoes. Influenced by winds associated with severe thunderstorms, air rises and rotates on a vertical axis. Tornadic waterspouts are the most powerful and destructive waterspout. Fairweather water spouts are rarely dangerous and are associated with a developing storm, but not the storm themselves.

Let’s look at these two types of waterspout in the following videos.

Fairweather waterspouts.


Tornadic waterspouts.



What causes hurricanes?

Hurricanes are intense low pressure areas that form over warm ocean waters in the summer and early fall. Their source of energy is water vapor which is evaporated from the ocean surface.

Water vapor is the fuel for hurricanes because it releases “latent heat of condensation”, when it condenses to form clouds and rain, which in turn warms the surrounding air.

Usually the heat is released in tropical thunderstorms, through wind shear which blows off the top of the thunder storms. However when there is little wind shear, heat can build up, causing low pressure to form. This pressure causes wind to spiral  inward.  More water is helped to evaporate, feeding more showers and thunderstorms…warming the atmosphere even more.

Rainbands form, eyewalls form. The strongest winds are at the eyewall in the centre of what will now be a hurricane.


Hurricanes have been categorized as being ,1, 2,3 , 4 ,or 5 in intensity. A category 1 has wind speeds of 74-95 mph. Damage is considered to be minimal…trees, branches, shrubs…and unanchored mobile homes are at risk. A cat 5 has winds in excess of 155mph..with damage considered to be possibly catastrophic. Complete roof failure, buildings destroyed, severe window and door damage, mobile homes destroyed.

In low-lying areas much of the damage from a hurricane is from the storm surge…which is the water being blown ashore. Entire buildings can be destroyed. Usually hurricanes move away from the equator towards the poles carrying away the heat. As hurricanes move into cooler waters or travel over land they lose their fuel source , weaken , and die.

How does an elephant drink water? Swim?

The elephant is such a unique animal with such great size…so how do they drink water? Obviously they use their trunks..but do the just suck the water up or do they do something else?

That was interesting. The trunk is used to suck up the water, then the water is poured into the mouth for drinking. They don’t drink through their trunks. It is a two-step operation.

For all their size, how is an elephant in the water?



How does a giraffe drink water?


When we are thirsty we can simply drink water from a fountain, or get a glass..fill it and drink. What about a giraffe? Long legs, long neck..it just can’t be all that easy. Let’s take a look.

All that for a drink. You can see that this giraffe looked as if it wanted to drink, started the whole procedure…then stopped and had a look around. If a predator was around, a drinking giraffe would be exposed. Better to have a good look.

This second video really does highlight the group of giraffes being very wary. They certainly seem to be having a good look around before assuming their vulnerable drinking posture.






In the beginning of the 20th Century beavers were hunted to near extinction in both North America and Europe. It is estimated there were 10 million beavers in Europe before hunting began, , out of which only some thousand survived in small pockets in isolation across the continent.

Beavers have been making a comeback, and five yrs ago the European population is estimated to have grown to at least one million. Most of these belong to the original Eurasian species, but Finland’s current population has its origins in the translocation of North American and Eurasian beavers carried out in the 1930’s. interestingly the two species do not interbreed.

A beaver family usually changes territories once every 3-5 yrs..but can stay in the same area as long as 20yrs.  After beavers move on the dam gradually disintegrates and the pond empties. It may fill up again in 10 yrs or say with returnees starting again. Beaver habitats are in fact under going a constant change between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Earthquakes and injecting wells

A study of earthquakes caused by injecting fluids deep underground has revealed surprising patterns, suggesting that current thinking on hydraulic fracturing, wastewater disposal, and geothermal wells may need to be revised.

Data from around the world was analyzed and it was found that a sole injection well can cause earthquakes at a distance of more than 10k from the well. It was also found that generally injecting fluids into sedimentary rock causes larger, more distant quakes than injecting into the underlying basement rock. The current thinking is that the sedimentary rock is safer to inject into than the base rock.

Injecting fluid into the rock is thought to induce earthquakes as a direct result of increased fluid pressure in the rock pores, causing faults to slip more easily. Secondly, poroelastic coupling is something seen when the fluid is put in one area but the pressure is transmitted through the rock to transmitting rock stresses some distance away leaving a larger footprint.

With little water…they drink Coke…but diabetes is rampant.

San Cristobal de las Casas is a town in a rainy region of Mexico. Even so running water is only available every couple of days and can be so heavily chlorinated as to be undrinkable. Potable water is becoming increasingly scarce. Many households are forced to buy water from tankers.


However, a local bottling plant produces Coca-Cola. It is readily available and almost as cheap as water. Mexico is one of the world’s biggest consumers of sugary drinks, and San Cristobal and surrounding Chiapas are very big consumers. Residents can drink an average of 2 liters a day of the sweet stuff.

The effect on public health has been critical. The mortality rate from diabetes in Chiapas  increased by 30% between 2013 and 2016, and the disease is now the second leading cause of death in the state after heart disease.

The issue seems to be that Coke is now almost more readily available than water. Kids are drinking the sugary drink more than water. Diabetes is hitting the adults now , but will soon be seen in increasing numbers in the kids.

challenged by the dual crises of diabetes and chronic water shortage the residents of San Cristobal have identified what they believe is the culprit. The Coca-cola factory.

Protests have occurred. Perhaps the people of San Cristobal need to look to the government to better serve them with potable water.