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Devastation as World’s Biggest Wetland Burns: ‘those that Cannot Run don’t Stand a Chance’. Blackened Trees, Dead Animals and Scorched Earth

Devastation as world’s biggest wetland burns: ‘those that cannot run don’t stand a chance’. Blackened trees, dead animals and scorched earth – early wildfires have already devastated Brazil’s Pantanal and local people worry they may lose the battle to save them. Guardian Harriet Barber in Corumbá Tue 9 Jul 2024  Perched atop blackened trees, howler monkeys survey the ashes around them. A flock of rheas treads, disoriented, in search of water. The skeletons of alligators lie lifeless and charred. [Caused by burning fossil fuels,] the Pantanal, the world’s largest wetland and one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, is on fire. Huge stretches of land resemble the aftermath of a battle, with thick green shrubbery now a carpet of white ash, and chunks of debris falling from the sky. More than 760,000 hectares(1.8m acres) have already burned across the Brazilian Pantanal in 2024, as fires surge to the highest levels since 2020, the worst year on record. From January to July, blazes increased by 1,500% compared with the same period last year, according to the country’s Institute for Space Research. “The impact is devastating. Animals are dying, wildfires are vanishing huge areas,” says Gustavo Figueirôa, a biologist at SOS Pantanal, a non-governmental organisation. “We expect it is only going to get worse.” Stretching across Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, the Pantanal covers 16.9m hectares (42m acres) and harbours rich biodiversity. It is one of the world’s main refuges for jaguars and houses a host of vulnerable and endangered species, including giant river otters, giant armadillos and hyacinth macaws. Its ecosystem is also unique. Every year its “flood pulse” sees it swell with water during the rainy season and empty throughout the dry months.                       

But the climate crisis, droughts and weak rains have disrupted this seasonal pattern, turning the land into a tinderbox. With the blazes starting unusually early this year – in late May and early June, before the annual fire season between July and September – experts predict 2024 will be the most devastating in decades. “The wildfires are a signal – nature is raising a flag,” says Pierre Girard at the Federal University of Mato Grosso. “We had fires before but now thousands and thousands of hectares burn every year. We are losing the battle.” The fires get worse every year. "The Pantanal is dying"..... Jane Silva. On the banks of the Paraguay River, several hours by boat north of the nearest city of Corumbá, three children stand in their garden, their bodies intermittently concealed by smoke. Their mother, Jane Silva, 53, watches from her blue, wooden house. “This year’s fires are really bad. There is a lot of smoke and the children are struggling to breathe,” she says. Fifty of her animals died in a recent fire, and she has received no support from the state, she says. “The fires get worse every year – we thought this year’s fires had been extinguished, but the wind has brought them back to life. Now it is getting close again,” she says. “The Pantanal is dying, but we have nowhere to go.”

Hospitals and health centres in Corumbá are crowded with patients suffering respiratory issues, with children under five and those over 60 most affected by the smoke. But while humans can usually flee the infernos and seek medical help, animals perish in their thousands.Reptiles and amphibians face the greatest risk, while monkeys die from smoke inhalation, and jaguars, too, have been found suffering with third-degree burns. In the 2020 fires, known as “the year of flames”, which saw almost 30% of the biome burned, 17 million vertebrates were on for more destruction!    


SO VERY SAD- THE MOUNTAINS ARE MELTING!  Century of climbers' notes from alpine shelter offer a glimpse of changing peaks. Climate change reflected in Abbot Hut's summit registerAbbot Hut, a historic alpine refuge, is seen in 2021, before it was dismantled due to climate change damage.CBC Helen Pike Apr. 28, 2024 The view from the shore of Lake Louise appears like a perfectly framed photo of the Rockies built by nature: the turquoise water leading the eye to a central point, where two dark and treed mountains guard a glacier-adorned pass. It's a view that, for more than a century, has drawn tourists from around the world and beckoned climbers looking for the next challenge. These mountaineers trod a well-worn path, trekking to Abbot Pass. That alone is a difficult climb. But for those looking to reach new heights, Abbot is a gateway to bigger feats: the summits of Mount Lefroy and Mount Victoria. The pass gets its name from Philip Stanley Abbot, a mountaineer and American lawyer who died from a fall during the first known attempt to reach the summit of Mount Lefroy in 1896. The following year, a group of alpinists climbed both Victoria and Lefroy and named the pass in between Abbot Pass, to honour their friend.

Canadian Pacific was building what would eventually become the Chateau Lake Louise that people know today: first as a cabin sleeping two, then a chalet sleeping 15. Swiss Guides became part of the experience, leading novice and skilled climbers on excursions.In 1922, the guides and the CPR undertook the construction of a stone hut shelter.Along the way, climbers left their mark, a record of their trips jotted into a register in a stone-built refuge known as Abbot Hut.These drawings, songs and scribbles are personal — proof that thousands of people made it to the same slice of the Rockies. But these entries provide more than just cultural and historical value. They’ve helped complete a picture of how the mountains surrounding Lake Louise are transforming in a warming climate.

New research from the University of Calgary examined the two most common approaches to Abbot Pass, and how a warming climate has changed access and safety. The paper relies on data from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s weather station at Banff and is complemented by 100 years of summit register entries.  Mountaineers documented their trips and choices on the Swiss Guide route, more commonly known today as the “Death Trap” and Lake O’Hara Gully.  The result is a unique piece of research that centres the local experience in climate science. Kate Hanly is a PhD candidate in the U of C’s department of geography and the lead author of the research paper. She says the trend, reflected in the climate data and the summit registers of generations of climbers, is clear: “We’re seeing less glaciers, less snow, faster melting snow. “Climbers are climbing increasingly on rock or on loose scree, the material that was underlying the ice, and they're seeing more rockfall.” But these historical notes logged over time also have another story to tell: one of adaptation to the climate reality that mountaineers are facing. "It just reminds us of what we have to lose,” Hanly said. “It's so much more than a hike, Hanly spent only one night in Abbot Hut. In 2012, she made the journey with her father, guided by Albi Sole, a well-known mountaineer who taught at the University of Calgary’s Outdoor Centre. The view and the experience left an impression. +It was the first glacier we walked on together and the first kind of bigger hike for [my dad] and he was so proud of himself, as he should be,” Hanly said.  At that time, Hanly was just beginning to spend more time in the mountains — and the more she visited the landscape, the more she thought about how it was changing. For those who live in the Bow Valley west of Calgary, this is a universal experience and part of daily conversations. Locals wonder if the experiences that drew them to live in the Bow Valley are in danger of becoming extinct, a loss for the next on- stunning photos and also videos

The Guardian- George Monbiot- We Need to Talk about Water– and the Fact that the World is Running Out of it

The Guardian- George Monbiot We need to talk about water– and the fact that the world is running out of it.On a planet getting hotter and drier by the year, governments are wilfully ignoring a looming crisis Guardian 8 March 2024 There’s a flaw in the plan. It’s not a small one: it is an Earth-sized hole in our calculations. To keep pace with the global demand for food, crop production needs to grow by at least 50% by 2050. In principle, if nothing else changes, this is feasible, thanks mostly to improvements in crop breeding and farming techniques. But everything else is going to change.Even if we set aside all other issues – heat impacts, soil degradation, epidemic plant diseases accelerated by the loss of genetic diversity – there is one which, without help from any other cause, could prevent the world’s people from being fed. Water.A paper published in 2017 estimated that to match crop production to expected demand, water use for irrigation would have to increase by 146% by the middle of this century. One minor problem. Water is already maxed out. In general, the dry parts of the world are becoming drier, partly through reduced rainfall; partly through declining river flow as mountain ice and snow retreats; and partly through rising temperatures causing increased evaporation and increased transpiration by plants. Many of the world’s major growing regions are now threatened by “flash droughts”, in which hot and dry weather sucks moisture from the soil at frightening speed. Some places, such as the southwest of the US, now in its 24th year of drought, may have switched permanently to a drier state. Rivers fail to reach the sea, lakes and aquifers are shrinking, species living in freshwater are becoming extinct at roughly five times the rate of species that live on land and major cities are threatened by extreme water stress.

Already, agriculture accounts for 90% of the world’s freshwater use. We have pumped so much out of the ground that we’ve changed the Earth’s spin. The water required to meet growing food demand simply does not exist.

That 2017 paper should have sent everyone scrambling. But as usual, it was ignored by policymakers and the media. Only when the problem arrives in Europe do we acknowledge that there’s a crisis. But while there is understandable panic about the drought in Catalonia and Andalusia, there’s an almost total failure among powerful interests to acknowledge that this is just one instance of a global problem, a problem that should feature at the top of the political agenda.Though drought measures have triggered protests in Spain, this is far from the most dangerous flashpoint. The catchment of the Indus river is shared by three nuclear powers – India, Pakistan and China – and several highly unstable and divided regions already afflicted by hunger and extreme poverty. Today, 95% of the river’s dry season flowis extracted, mostly for irrigation. But water demand in both Pakistan and India is growing rapidly. Supply – temporarily boosted by the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush – will, before long, peak and then go into decline. Even under the most optimistic climate scenario, runoff from Asian glaciers is expected to peak before mid-century, and glacier mass will shrink by about 46% by 2100. Some analysts see water competition between India and Pakistan as a major cause of the repeated conflicts in Kashmir. But unless a new Indus waters treaty is struck, taking falling supplies into account, this fighting could be a mere prelude for something much worse.There’s a widespread belief that these problems can be solved simply by enhancing the efficiency of irrigation: huge amounts of water are wasted in agriculture. So let me introduce you to the irrigation efficiency paradox. As better techniques ensure that less water is required to grow a given volume of crops, irrigation becomes cheaper. As a result, it attracts more investment, encourages farmers to grow thirstier, more profitable plants, and expands across a wider area. This is what happened, for instance, in the Guadiana river basin in Spain, where a €600m investment to reduce water use by improving the efficiency of irrigation has instead increased itYou can overcome the paradox through regulation: laws to limit both total and individual water consumption. But governments prefer to rely on technology alone. Without political and economic measures, it doesn’t work. Nor are other technofixes likely to solve the problem. Governments are planning massive engineering schemes to pipe water from one place to another. But climate breakdown and rising demand ensure that many of the donor regions are also likely to run dry. Water from desalination plants typically costs five or 10 times as much as water from the ground or the sky, while the process requires masses of energy and generates great volumes of toxic brine.

Above all, we need to change our diets. Those of us with dietary choices (in other words, the richer half of the world’s population) should seek to minimise the water footprint of our food. With apologies for harping on about it, this is yet another reason to switch to an animal-free diet, which reduces both total crop demand and, in most cases, water use. The water demand of certain plant products, especially almonds and pistachios in California, has become a major theme in the culture wars, as rightwing influencers attack plant-based on and act!   

Airports, Subway Tunnels, and Nuclear Plants are at Risk along the U.S. East Coast as the Ground Sinks and Sea Levels Ris

 Weather Network May. 17, 2024, 2:22 PM

Airports, subway tunnels, and nuclear plants are at risk along the U.S. East Coast as the ground sinks and sea levels rise Weather Network May. 17, 2024,   A recent study found that land subsidence—the ground sinking in elevation—is a growing hazard along the U.S. East Coast, and it’s one that puts millions of people at risk in some of the continent’s most densely populated cities. Flooding is an ever-present hazard for communities along the coast. Every major storm serves as a constant reminder that living near the ocean is a precarious balancing act. While most folks are prepared to deal with rising waters rushing inland, few are ready for the consequences of the land sinking beneath our feet

Subsidence compounds the effects of sea level rise........Scientists have long warned about the dangerous effects of sea level rise. It’s already a problem in Charleston, South Carolina, which routinely experiences coastal flooding during both storms and high tides. It’s likely that sea level rise plays a significant factor in this tidal flooding on otherwise calm days. Over time, that elevation loss could expose more areas to the effects of sea level rise, storm surge flooding, and infrastructure damage from the stress of the changing land itself.

Some cities are sinking faster than others.......Researchers from Virginia Tech and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) analyzed satellite data from 2007 and 2020 to measure how much the land sank or rose along the East Coast from Maine all the way to the southern tip of Florida. The analysis found that most coastal cities are subsiding at a rate of 1 mm per year. That may not seem like much, but some communities are subsiding at a rate of 5+ mm per year.  A few high-population cities are subsiding at a sharp clip. Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, are each home to about 150,000 people. Each of these low-lying cities on the southeastern coast are sinking at more than 4 mm per year—a particularly harrowing prospect for flood-stricken Charleston.
Atlantic City, New Jersey, is also sinking at the same rate. This popular tourist destination is particularly vulnerable to landfalling storms, and parts of the area are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy more than a decade later.  Much of North America remains depressed from the weight of glaciers that covered the continentmore than 10,000 years ago. The land is still bouncing back from the weight of those glaciers. This pattern on its own should lead to an overall net rise in elevations over time.  However, widespread subsidence is working against the land adjusting from the last ice age. Researchers worked to identify several factors driving this sinking trend along the East on and watch the Videos...... 

World has witnessed a Tenfold Increase in the Number of Natural Disasters Since the 1960s,

 The world has witnessed a tenfold increase in the number of natural disasters since the 1960s, the 2020 Ecological Threat RegisterETR) shows. Increase in Natural Disasters on a Global Scale by Ten Times

Data captured between 1900 and 2019 by the Institute for Economics and Peace reveal an increase from 39 incidents in 1960 to 396 in 2019. The world has witnessed a tenfold increase in the number of natural disasters since the 1960s, the 2020 Ecological Threat Register (ETR) shows. Data captured between 1900 and 2019 by the Institute for Economics and Peace reveal an increase from 39 incidents in 1960 to 396 in 2019. In 2005, the world experienced the largest amount of natural disasters that left a death toll of more than 90,000 after 442 incidents with another 160 million people in need of immediate assistance. The negative impacts of natural disasters depend on the intensity of individual incidents. Natural disasters can be of low intensity and occurring frequently, or they can be one-off catastrophic events. In 2004, a tsunami affected numerous countries in Southeast Asia and represents a one-off catastrophic incident that has substantial impacts. The tsunami caused more than 220,000 deaths and widespread destruction across the region. The resulting cost of addressing damage caused by natural disasters has risen from US$50 billion per year in the 1980s to US$ 200 billion per year in the last decade.

Flooding is the most common natural disaster since 1990. From 1990 to 2019, a total of 9,924 natural disasters occurred globally, of which 42 per cent were floods. Storms including cyclones, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, and dust storms, followed and accounted for 30% of the total natural disasters in this time period. Together, floods and storms account for 71% of the disasters that have occurred since 1990. Changes in climate conditions, especially the warming of global temperatures increases the likelihood of weather-related natural disasters. Hotter global temperatures increase the risk of droughts as well as increase the intensity of storms and create wetter monsoons. This is most visible when seen through changes in the intensity and frequency of droughts, storms, floods, extreme temperatures and wildfires. In the face of more common extreme weather events and climate related disasters, natural resources such as land and water will be most vulnerable.                                         .......AND.......
United Arab Emirates swamped after heaviest ever recorded rainfall- 4-18-2024 The United Arab Emirates struggled Thursday to recover from the heaviest recorded rainfall ever to hit the desert nation, as its main airport worked to restore normal operations even as floodwater still covered portions of major highways and roads.   
Brazil floods: 'We've never experienced anything like it'- 5-9-2024  People in southern Brazil have described the unprecedented devastation wreaked by flooding and overflowing rivers which have left swathes of the area under water. The floods are the worst natural calamity ever to hit the state of Rio Grande do Sul, officials say. At least 95 people have died and more than 130 are still missing. An estimated 1.4 million people have been affected by the floods and aid workers are struggling to provide them with drinking water. Days of torrential rain caused rivers to overflow and have submerged entire towns.   
Deadly tornado reported in Oklahoma after barrage of destructive storms 5-7-2024 Powerful storms moved through Oklahoma late Monday night, including a powerful tornado that hit Barnsdall, Oklahoma, where extensive damage and at least one death was reported.  The severe storm threat is ongoing across the Central US Tuesday, with the strongest storms expected across the Ohio Valley, but storms are possible from Texas to Pennsylvania.      
Drought- Alberta’s Brutal Water Reckoning- Scientists who studied the region’s arid past warned this drought was coming. Thirst for growth won out. A Tyee special report.  Andrew Nikiforuk 19 Feb 2024The TyeeTyee contributing editor Andrew Nikiforuk is an award-winning journalist whose books and articles focus on epidemics, the energy industry, nature and more. Alberta’s water reckoning has begun in earnest. Snowpack accumulations in the Oldman River basin, the Bow River basin and the North Saskatchewan River basin range from 33 to 62 per cent below normal. A reduced snowpack means less summer water for the fish and all water drinkers. Ancient glaciers that feed and top up prairie rivers in the late summer melted at record speeds last year, the hottest on global records. Many indomitable ice packs, such as the well-studied Peyto Glacier, are disappearing altogether, wasted by the desiccating hand of climate disorder. Fifty-one river basins from Milk River to Hay River report critical water shortages due to low rainfall and high temperatures, according tothe provincial government. With less water in the rivers and ground, the cottonwoods and willows that decorate the banks of prairie rivers are dyingParched rural communities have even begun to question the huge thirst of the powerful oil and gas industry. A water commission that provides potable water to the municipalities of Innisfail, Bowden, Olds, Didsbury, Carstairs and Crossfield has banned treated bulk water supplies to the fracking industry, which permanently removes water from the water cycle. One study recently noted that water consumption by frackers “intensifies local water competition and alters water supply threatened by climate variability.” Yet the Alberta government has not declared an emergency. It says it is planning for extreme drought but hoping for snow and rain.Meanwhile Danielle Smith’s United Conservative Party government has appointed an advisory body with no known water experts. But it does include Ian Anderson, a promoter of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that will transport bitumen from the oilsands to the Port of Vancouver, criss-crossing many dwindling rivers, creeks and streams as it does.