Archive for Nursery

Andean and Patagonian Glaciers Melting in a Hurry

pastoruriIce fields in Andean South America are rapidly losing volume and in most cases thinning at even the highest elevations, contributing to sea-level rise at “substantially higher” rates than observed from the 1970s through the 1990s, according to a study published recently. The findings spell trouble for other glaciers worldwide.

The rapid melting, based on satellite observations, suggests the ice field’s contribution to global sea-level rise has increased by half since the end of the 20th century, jumping from 0.04 millimeters per year to about .07 mm, and accounting for 2 percent of annual sea-level rise since 1998.

The southern and northern Patagonian ice fields are the largest mass of ice in the southern hemisphere outside of Antarctica. The findings spell trouble for other glaciers worldwide, according to the study’s lead author, Cornell University researcher Michael Willis. Read more

Water: How much should you drink every day? (continued)

Factors that influence water needs

You may need to modify your total fluid intake depending on how active you are, the climate you live in, your health status, and if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.


Exercise. If you exercise or engage in any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to compensate for the fluid loss. An extra 400 to 600 milliliters (about 1.5 to 2.5 cups) of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than an hour (for example, running a marathon) requires more fluid intake. How much additional fluid you need depends on how much you sweat during exercise, and the duration and type of exercise. During long bouts of intense exercise, it’s best to use a sports drink that contains sodium, as this will help replace sodium lost in sweat and reduce the chances of developing hyponatremia, which can be life-threatening. Also, continue to replace fluids after you’re finished exercising. Read more

Water: The Measure of America

A subtle death-process played a godfather role in the conception and designing of the refrigerator, the vacuum cleaner, the automobile, and the turbine. Natural laws were stripped of wisdom and projected into matter. — Theodor Schwenk.

Thelma and Harold Grochocki (the couple in the cartoon, in case you didn’t recognize them) not only sprayed a heavy dose of some pretty deadly roachicides yesterday; they also fertilized, mowed, and watered their lawn, ate their fill of burgers, steak, bacon. and eggs, drove their van 63 miles, poured half a can of paint thinner and a jar of pickle juice down the drain, watched TV most of the afternoon, washed their clothes, their dishes, and their dog, bathed, perfumed, and deodorized their bodies, vacuumed the carpet, and urinated and defecated repeatedly. It is interesting that although they spent most of their day at activities that directly or indirectly contaminate water, they seem surprised that the stuff that flows on demand from the kitchen tap isn’t pristine mountain spring water. Read more

Water Funds: Investing in Nature and Clean Water

Our water comes from nature. The vast majority of the world’s population depends on rivers and lakes to supply water for drinking, cooking, growing crops and more (i). Yet worldwide we are crippling nature’s ability to provide the clean water we need in order to live and to thrive.

Scientists predict that, if we continue on our current course, two-thirds of the world’s population will face water shortages by 2025.

As the world’s forests and grasslands are degraded or removed, the threats to our water supplies grow. The roots of trees and other native vegetation filter water, prevent erosion and slow water down, helping keep flow levels steady. Without this protective system, lakes and rivers are exposed to soil run-off, chemicals and other debris carried across the land by rain and snowmelt.

When sediment and pollution wash into our waterways, businesses, communities and governments are forced to pay higher costs for water treatment. In vulnerable communities that simply cannot afford water treatment, people face increasingly dirty, unhealthy water. Read more

What makes sea-level rise?

Last week the science community was shocked by the claim that 42% of the sea-level rise of the past decades is due to groundwater pumping for irrigation purposes. What could this mean for the future – and is it true?

The causes of global sea level rise can be roughly split into three categories: (1) thermal expansion of sea water as it warms up, (2) melting of land ice and (3) changes in the amount of water stored on land. There are independent estimates for these contributions, and obviously an important question is whether their sum is consistent with the total sea level rise actually observed.

 foto (c) Stefan Rahmstorf 2012

In the last IPCC report (2007), the time period 1961-2003 was analysed in some detail, and a problem was found: the individual contributions summed up to less than the observed rise – albeit with rather large uncertainties in the estimates. In the years since then, much research effort has been devoted to better quantify all contributions. For the last decade there is also improved observation systems, e.g. the GRACE satellite mission and thousands of autonomous ARGO floats monitoring globally the warming ocean. Read more