A Much Drier Future

Global warming to cut snow water storage 56 percent in Oregon watershed.

July 26, 2013 — A new report projects that by the middle of this century there will be an average 56 percent drop in the amount of water stored in peak snowpack in the McKenzie River watershed of the Oregon Cascade Range — and that similar impacts may be found on low-elevation maritime snow packs around the world.

At lower elevations, and warmer climes, the precipitation will fall as rain, and run off.  That which falls as snow will stick around until summer, then melt and feed the rivers, which supply water to farmers and cities.

“In the Willamette River, for instance, between 60-80 percent of summer stream flow comes from seasonal snow above 4,000 feet,” he said. “As more precipitation falls as rain, there will more chance of winter flooding as well as summer drought in the same season.

Lower amounts of snow will have impacts around the world

Globally, maritime snow comprises about 10 percent of Earth’s seasonal snow cover.
Snowmelt is a source of water for more than one billion people.

What will happen to farmers, and the food they produce, when the rivers run dry in the summer? How will cities provide water for their citizens?  Will hydro-electrical production drop?  And who is planning for this future?

It’s About Time


Louisiana Agency Sues Dozens of Energy Companies for Damage to Wetlands - NYTimes.com

Louisiana Agency Sues Dozens of Energy Companies for Damage to Wetlands – NYTimes.com.

“This protective buffer took 6,000 years to form,” the state board that oversees flood-protection efforts for much of the New Orleans area argued in court filings, adding that “it has been brought to the brink of destruction over the course of a single human lifetime.”

According to the lawsuit, the miles of pipelines and access canals have led to saltwater encroachment and the imminent death of the wetlands.

Why are the marshes important?  Storm floodwater protection – the wetlands act like a giant sponge, soaking up the floodwaters pushed ashore by Gulf storms.

The suit argues that the environmental buffer serves as an essential protection against storms by softening the blow of any incoming hurricane before it gets to the line of levees, flood walls, and gates and pumps maintained and operated by the board. Losing the “natural first line of defense against flooding” means that the levee system is “left bare and ill-suited to safeguard south Louisiana,” the lawsuit says.

Of course the energy companies drilling and pipelines have damaged the marsh, and that damage needs to be repaired.  But other factors are also in play – mainly the channeling of the Mississippi River.  Instead of allowing the river to flow free, and dump its heavy sediment load in the delta, people have built dams, levees, and channels to enable shipping and control floods.  And the sediment no longer rebuilds the delta.

The lawsuit relies on well-established legal theories of negligence and nuisance, as well as elements of law more particular to the Louisiana Civil Code, including “servitude of drain,” which relates to changing patterns of water flow and drainage across the Bayou State. Even though the industry has been producing oil and gas for 100 years, because the damage is continuing to occur, the board argues, the statute of limitations should not apply.

We’ll see where this ends up.  The issue is of prime importance to the people who live in coastal Louisiana, including New Orleans.

‘First time’ in history


‘First time’ in history: White deaths outnumber births in US — RT USA.

Deaths of white people outnumbered births for the very first time in US history, the Census Bureau revealed Thursday. The census predicts The Census Bureau also says that that significant drops in birth rates v death rates will be regular by 2025.

The study says that half of the under 5 age group is now racial and ethnic minorities.  Things are changing here, and those changes will have a huge impact on our future as a nation.

“More so than ever, we need to recognize the importance of young minorities for the growth and vitality of our labor force and economy,” Frey added. “Last year, we saw the majority of babies are minorities. Now we see more whites are dying than being born. Together, that tells us a lot about where we’re going as a country.”

North and South Korea Hold Talks And I Was There!

Well, not at the talks, but I was at the border.  In fact, I was actually (briefly) in North Korea!

North and South Korea Hold Talks on Shuttered Plant – NYTimes.com.

Kaesong is big money for N. Korea.  The companies pay the country, which then pays the workers.  I also found out today that the companies provide food, but not rice – the workers have to bring their own.  Our guide said this was because the North doesn’t want the workers to know how much better quality the South’s rice is.  The workers also receive  2 “moon pies” every day.  Groups of 5 or 6 workers pool the pies – every day one worker gets all the pies, which are then sold on the black market.  They bring in the equivalent of a month’s wages.

Back in April, at the height of tensions, the plant was closed.  But now the North wants money, and the workers need jobs, so the 2 sides are back at the table.

The Kaesong complex had been the centerpiece of joint projects launched when the liberal governments in Seoul introduced a period of inter-Korean rapprochement between 1998 and 2008. All those projects were suspended as relations deteriorated in the later years. The current South Korean leaders were more skeptical of North Korea, which continued to develop its nuclear weapons programs despite years of economic aid and diplomatic engagement.

Their attitude was reflected in their repeated rejection of a North Korean proposal to meet in Kaesong. They insisted that both sides meet halfway, on the border.

In the Future

In the Future

I am blogging my Korea trip at http://texasgeographylady.blogspot.com

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