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Pollution, Climate Change & other anthropogenic effects on Biosphere

India Rishi Offline
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India Rishi Offline
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Big Grin  ( This post was last modified: 04-04-2020, 06:21 PM by Rishi )

(03-29-2020, 10:05 AM)Rishi Wrote: I hope by April14 that filthy drain beside Delhi-Agra that passes of as a river will become clean too.

It happened!.. I bet most Indians wouldn't even recognise their Yamuna after only halfway through the lockdown.




Usual Yamuna.


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India Rishi Offline
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( This post was last modified: 04-15-2020, 09:41 AM by Rishi )






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BorneanTiger Offline
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( This post was last modified: 05-24-2020, 07:01 PM by BorneanTiger )

With the pandemic having significantly reduced pollution in Nepal, a photographer in the capital city, Kathmandu, was able to capture a sight that had been shrouded in the city's smog for nearly 50 years: https://wildfact.com/forum/topic-hillock...#pid117532
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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#36

Arctic Circle oil spill prompts Putin to declare state of emergency

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has declared a state of emergency after 20,000 tonnes of diesel oil leaked into a river within the Arctic Circle.
The spill happened when a fuel tank at a power plant near the Siberian city of Norilsk collapsed last Friday.
The power plant's director Vyacheslav Starostin has been taken into custody until 31 July, but not yet charged.
The plant is owned by a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel, which is the world's leading nickel and palladium producer.
The Russian Investigative Committee (SK) has launched a criminal case over the pollution and alleged negligence, as there was reportedly a two-day delay in informing the Moscow authorities about the spill.
Ground subsidence beneath the fuel storage tanks is believed to have caused the spill. Arctic permafrost has been melting in exceptionally warm weather for this time of year.
President Putin expressed anger after discovering officials only learnt about the incident on Sunday.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Map

*This image is copyright of its original author

Russian Minister for Emergencies Yevgeny Zinichev told Mr Putin that the Norilsk plant had spent two days trying to contain the spill, before alerting his ministry.
The leaked oil drifted some 12km (7.5 miles) from the accident site, turning long stretches of the Ambarnaya river crimson red.
Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

Image captionPower plant manager Vyacheslav Starostin has been detained
In a televised video conference on Wednesday, Mr Putin criticised the head of the company over its response.

"Why did government agencies only find out about this two days after the fact?" he asked the subsidiary's chief, Sergei Lipin. "Are we going to learn about emergency situations from social media?"

The region's governor, Alexander Uss, had earlier told President Putin that he became aware of the oil spill on Sunday after "alarming information appeared in social media".

The spill has contaminated a 350 sq km (135 sq mile) area, state media report.

Image copyrightAFP
*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author


Image captionPresident Putin expressed shock after hearing officials only became aware of the spill days later

In a statement, Norilsk Nickel said the incident had been reported in a "timely and proper" way.

The state of emergency means extra forces are going to the area to assist with the clean-up operation.

The accident is believed to be the second largest in modern Russian history in terms of volume, an expert from the World Wildlife Fund, Alexei Knizhnikov, told the AFP news agency.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author


Image captionEmergencies ministry specialists have been flown in from Novosibirsk

What can be done?

The incident has prompted stark warnings from environmental groups, who say the scale of the spill and geography of the river mean it will be difficult to clean up.

Greenpeace has compared it to the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska.

Image copyrightAFP
*This image is copyright of its original author


Image captionExperts have warned that the clean-up operation poses huge challenges

Oleg Mitvol, former deputy head of Russia's environmental watchdog Rosprirodnadzor, said there had "never been such an accident in the Arctic zone".

He said the clean-up could cost 100bn roubles (£1.2bn; $1.5bn) and take between five and 10 years.

It is not the first time Norilsk Nickel has been involved in oil spillages.

In 2016, it admitted that an accident at one of its plants was responsible for turning a nearby river red.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
*This image is copyright of its original author


Image captionThe source of the spill: Part of the power plant in Norilsk

Minister of Natural Resources Dmitry Kobylkin warned against trying to burn off such a vast quantity of fuel oil.

He proposed trying to dilute the oil with reagents. Only the emergencies ministry with military support could deal with the pollution, he said.

Barges with booms could not contain the slick because the Ambarnaya river was too shallow, he warned.
He suggested pumping the oil on to the adjacent tundra, although President Putin added: "The soil there is probably saturated [with oil] already."



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You can see how bad it is here
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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#37

Climate change is killing off our old forests creating a vicious feedback loop, read about the new study below 

https://api.nationalgeographic.com/distr...ssion=true
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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How climate change is making baobab trees more susceptible to elephants 

https://news.mongabay.com/2020/05/they-s...ssion=true
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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United States Polar Offline
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(06-10-2020, 12:05 AM)Sully Wrote: How climate change is making baobab trees more susceptible to elephants 

https://news.mongabay.com/2020/05/they-s...ssion=true

Southern Africa, from what I read, seems to be facing the harshest consequences of climate change. Lots of simultaneous flooding and desertification in Mozambique, huge shortage of potable water in South Africa, rapid flora destruction in the grasslands in the region. This isn't looking good.
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Malaysia scilover Offline
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#41

Climate changes happened every day yet people still taught that the earth is okay with that. Absolute no, we are in the middle of something that if we do nothing of all the habits of doesn't care about the world and continue to make pollution, we might see the end of the world soon.
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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Humans have altered North America’s ecosystems more than melting glaciers

Recent human activity, including agriculture, has had a greater impact on North America’s plants and animals than even the glaciers that retreated more than 10,000 years ago. Those findings, presented this week at the virtual annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America, reveal that more North American forests and grasslands have abruptly disappeared in the past 250 years than in the previous 14,000 years, likely as a result of human activity. The authors say the new work, based on hundreds of fossilized pollen samples, supports the establishment of a new epoch in geological history known as the Anthropocene, with a start date in the past 250 years.
“It’s hard to overemphasize how profound the effects of ending a glacial cycle are,” says Zak Ratajczak, an ecologist at Kansas State University, Manhattan, who was not involved with the work. “So for humans to have that kind of impact is pretty amazing.”
For more than 10 years, researchers have debated when humans started to make their mark on the planet. Some argue agriculture transformed landscapes thousands of years ago, disrupting previously stable interactions between plants and animals. Others argue the launch of large-scale mining and smelting operations—seen in glacial records going back thousands of years—means the Anthropocene predates the industrial revolution. For geologists, however, the epoch starts with a different signal: nuclear explosions and a sharp uptick in fossil fuel use in the mid–20th century.

But some skeptics suggest the ice ages have had an even greater effect on the world’s ecosystems. To test that idea, Stanford University paleoecologist M. Allison Stegner turned to Neotoma, a decade-old fossil database that combines records from thousands of sites around the world. Her question: When—and how abruptly—did ecosystems change in North America over the past 14,000 years? Climate-altering glaciers, which started their retreat roughly 20,000 years ago, pulsed back during a cold period called the Younger Dryas, from about 12,800 until 11,700 years ago. After that, North America abruptly warmed, marking the beginning of our current epoch, the Holocene.

To answer her question, Stegner and colleagues looked at how vegetation shifted in locations across North America, using fossilized pollen to determine which species of plants were present at any given time. From 1900 records of mud cores drilled from lake bottom, Stegner found 400 with enough fossil pollen—and accurate enough dating—to analyze.

She and her colleagues then tracked how the mix of pollen in each core changed over time, paying close attention to abrupt shifts. Such shifts can mark the transformation of an entire ecosystem, for example, when a grassland becomes a forest or when a spruce forest changes into an oak forest. Looking at 250-year intervals, the researchers ran two types of statistical analyses that separately picked out temporary and long-term disruptions. “Allison used some very creative and rigorous methods,” says Jennifer McGuire, a paleoecologist at the Georgia Institute of Technology who was not involved with the work.

When the last ice age ended, forests and grasslands regrew across North America, creating a landscape that remained stable for thousands of years. But humans have changed all that, Stegner reports this week. Her team found just 10 abrupt changes per 250 years for every 100 sites from 11,000 years ago to about 1700 C.E. But that number doubled, to 20 abrupt changes per 100 sites, in the 250-year interval between 1700 and 1950. When the ice sheets of the Younger Dryas retreated, starting about 12,000 years ago, that number was 15. This suggests, Stegner says, that human activity starting 250 years ago—from land use change to pollution and perhaps even climate change—had more of an impact on ecosystems than the last glaciers.

The researchers also analyzed whether some regions have changed more swiftly than others. Over the past 250 years the U.S. Midwest, Southwest, and Southeast have undergone massive shifts from forest, grassland, and desert ecosystems to agriculture and tree plantations, she says. In contrast, Alaska, northern Canada, and parts of the Pacific Northwest underwent more changes as the glaciers melted than in the past 250 years.

“We already know plenty about climate change,” says Kai Zhu, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “This study adds land use change, [which] might accelerate climate change in altering plants at a continental scale.”
That’s worrisome, McGuire adds, because plants are the foundation of an ecosystem. “This rapid turnover is a harbinger of the extinction risk and the overall ecosystem disruption that is impending,” she says. At another meeting session, she and student Yue Wang reported “very similar trends” after using pollen to examine how forests, tundra, deserts, and other biomes have bounced back from disruptions through time. Combined, the new work “eliminates any doubt” that humans have set off a new geologic epoch, Stegner says.
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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#43

An insight into what could happen if we follow our current trend

Soil carbon loss by experimental warming in a tropical forest

Abstract

Tropical soils contain one-third of the carbon stored in soils globally1, so destabilization of soil organic matter caused by the warming predicted for tropical regions this century2 could accelerate climate change by releasing additional carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere3,4,5,6. Theory predicts that warming should cause only modest carbon loss from tropical soils relative to those at higher latitudes5,7, but there have been no warming experiments in tropical forests to test this8. Here we show that in situ experimental warming of a lowland tropical forest soil on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, caused an unexpectedly large increase in soil CO2 emissions. Two years of warming of the whole soil profile by four degrees Celsius increased CO2 emissions by 55 per cent compared to soils at ambient temperature. The additional CO2 originated from heterotrophic rather than autotrophic sources, and equated to a loss of 8.2 ± 4.2 (one standard error) tonnes of carbon per hectare per year from the breakdown of soil organic matter. During this time, we detected no acclimation of respiration rates, no thermal compensation or change in the temperature sensitivity of enzyme activities, and no change in microbial carbon-use efficiency. These results demonstrate that soil carbon in tropical forests is highly sensitive to warming, creating a potentially substantial positive feedback to climate change.
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BorneanTiger Offline
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#44

Bad news:

* August: At least 40 dolphins died after Mauritius' oil spill | Witnesses described the heart-rending deaths of one mother dolphin and her baby (and related stories): https://www.thenational.ae/world/africa/...-1.1069855, https://www.forbes.com/sites/nishandegna...18321a8e40, https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/m...ian-ocean/, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-53819112, https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02446-7, https://www.forbes.com/sites/nishandegna...95841353a1

A dead dolphin is taken to the marine fish farm of Mahebourg, Mauritius, on August 28, 2020, credit: Reuters
   

* August: Oil spill off the UAE's east coast forces closure of Kalba’ beach | Dead turtle covered in oil washes up on beach as fishermen say those responsible should face sanction: https://www.thenational.ae/uae/oil-spill....1068828#1

Black sludge has washed up on Kalba’ beach, courtesy: Sharjah Environment and Protected Areas Authority
   

* June: Three-kilometre (1.86 miles) oil spill reported on eastern UAE beach | Municipality dispatches cleaners after oil is washes up along a three-kilometre area in Khor Fakkan: 

Oil washes ashore along a beach in Khor Fakkan in late June, courtesy: Khor Fakkan Municipality (and by the way, those hills or mountains are of the Hajar range in the eastern UAE and northern Oman)
   

* May: Mass deforestation risks more deadly global pandemics, scientists warn | A UN summit will hear from leading biologists that there is now clear evidence of link between environmental destruction and deadly new diseases: https://www.thenational.ae/world/mass-de...-1.1070346, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article...emics.htmlhttps://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/a...scientistshttps://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/09/coronavi...emics.htmlhttps://www.independent.co.uk/environmen...87926.html

This file picture taken on May 29, 2019 shows an aerial view of an agriculture field next to a native Cerrado (savanna) in Formosa do Rio Preto, western Bahia State, Brazil, credit: AFP
   
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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#45

Strategy for halting and reversing biodiversity loss revealed


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A team of world-leading scientists have identified the 6 key actions needed to bend the curve of terrestrial biodiversity loss caused by land use change.
In a study published today in Nature, ground-breaking modelling and newly developed scenarios show that it could be possible by 2050 to halt and reverse terrestrial biodiversity loss caused by land use change.
This requires an ambitious, integrated strategy combining the following conservation action and changes to food systems, alongside wider sustainability efforts including on climate change:

  • Sustainable increases in crop yields.
  • Trade increases in agricultural goods with reduced trade barriers.
  • Reducing the waste of agricultural goods from field to fork by 50%.
  • Cutting the share of animal calories in human diets by 50%[1].
  • Increasing Protected Area extent to 40% terrestrial coverage, covering important sites for biodiversity and with improved management.
  • Increasing restoration (reaching about 8% of terrestrial areas by 2050) and landscape-level conservation planning that balances production and conservation objectives on all managed land.
Full article: https://www.unep-wcmc.org/news/strategy-for-halting-and-reversing-biodiversity-loss-revealed
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