Sunday, August 06, 2017

I think the IPCC has made compelling facts about the dangers of mismanagement of savvanna fires.

"Smokey" (click here) is still out there and still working to protect forests. The children love him. Perhaps he can visit neighborhoods around the world, too.

Each savanna is different than the next. They require dedicated staff that keep detailed records regarding NATIVE and INVASIVE SPECIES plants. Anytime I am concerned for the balance of a biotic area, I look into journals for PLANT INVENTORIES of TRANSECTS of the area. Somewhere in the history of land on Earth there is some scientist/botanist that was compelled to make a study of the land and it's flora. Most of the time when I look for these historical transect inventories I find them. The funding for such important information was available then. 

So, if there is mismanaged savannas with fire ecology there can be restoration if a search for historical inventories is made. It is fascinating the dedication that has occurred in knowing the importance to the future of such inventories. Our forefathers knew we were coming.

The loop below is made by American firefighters. The idea is to get the fire out, to save lives and property, but, most importantly to save the forest as well. I don't know if these techniques will work everywhere in the world, but, I guarantee if American firefighters were asked to look at African savannas, they could tell you what will work and won't. They are incredible people with a great deal of knowledge in how to fight and prevent unnecessary fires. The US Forest Service would be another strong resource to proper management of savannas, even African savannas. They study stuff from more than the USA. Guaranteed. They love their work.

Increasing occurrence of forest fires, including savanna fires, will be a growing source of greenhouse gases.

Savanna burning methodology (click here) for fire management and emissions reduction: a critical review of influencing factors

Tek Narayan Maraseni, Kathryn Reardon-Smith, Greg Griffiths and Armando Apan

Carbon Balance and Management, 2016, (11)26

Received: 1 August 2016
Accepted: 7 November 2016
Published: 16 November 2016

Savanna fire is a major source of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In Australia, savanna fire contributes about 3% of annual GHG emissions reportable to the Kyoto Protocol. In order to reduce GHG emissions from savanna burning, the Australian government has developed and approved a Kyoto compliant savanna controlled burning methodology—the first legal instrument of this kind at a global level—under its Emission Reduction Fund. However, this approved methodology is currently only applicable to nine vegetation fuel types across northern parts of Australia in areas which receive on average over 600 mm rainfall annually, covering only 15.4% of the total land area in Australia. Savanna ecosystems extend across a large proportion of mainland Australia. This paper provides a critical review of ten key factors that need to be considered in developing a savanna burning methodology applicable to the other parts of Australia. It will also inform discussion in other countries intent on developing similar emissions reduction strategies.

Action: Use prescribed burning on savannas (click here)

The savannas of Africa do not have the best management program and need consultants to bring about good outcomes.

...There is evidence (click here) to suggest that too frequent burning has also caused an increase in the proportion of Increaser II grass species in the rangelands. This is because an analysis of the grass fuel loads recorded in the Park during the period 1989 to 1992 indicates that the majority of the areas (73%) subjected to controlled burns during this period were in a non-moribund condition (<4000 kg/ha) and need not have been burnt. These data would suggest that the rangelands were being burnt too frequently during the burning policies that were implemented since 1980.

One of the solutions to the declining condition of the rangelands in the Kruger National Park is to modify the controlled burning program, particularly reducing the frequency of burning.

This was addressed in 1994 when a laissez faire burning policy was introduced to replace the previous subjectively structured burning program. This comprises a "hands off" policy where all fires ignited by lightning in the Park are permitted to burn freely whereas all anthropogenic fires must be extinguished as far as is possible. The basic philosophy of this laissez faire burning policy is that lightning should be regarded as the only natural ignition source and if left alone will result in the development of a natural fire regime as regards types and intensities of fires and the season and frequency of burning. It is reasoned that human interference in the functioning of one component of a natural ecosystem will eventually lead to interference in the other components with unforeseen consequences. The laissez faire burning policy is not based on any practical examples from elsewhere in the savannas of Africa but rather on the basic and sincere belief that if a natural area is large enough, as the Kruger National Park is assumed to be, the ecosystem will function normally in response to natural variations in the environment, for example seasonal variations in the rainfall.

Another option to modifying the burning program in the Kruger National Park in order to achieve the management objectives of the Park is a structured approach where controlled burning is applied following a decision support system using ecological criteria....

What is the chance methane can be recaptured from the air?

August 6, 2017
By Guest Columnist

Western Colorado (click here) would not be what we know today without a century and a half of mining. Mining made us a state....

...We went from pristine Alpine landscapes to maybe 25,000 abandoned mines, many of them sources of pollutant laden water. We have seen the good and the bad in technicolor.

We have learned. Colorado was a leader in enacting modern mine reclamation legislation. The old practice of dumping mine waste in the nearest creek, or letting the smelter smoke darken the sky is long gone....

...When these permits were issued, there was no thought of today’s issue, the considerable methane emissions these mines produce. To the extent methane was discussed, it was an occupational safety issue: methane needed to be vented from the mines to prevent explosions and protect worker safety. Now it is seems that the North Fork mines may be the West Slope’s leading methane emitter.

We now understand that this methane is a potent greenhouse gas. We need badly to control these emissions, and do so now.

But we cannot forget our Western values of working together in times of trouble. The North Fork miners deserve our support. Their jobs are technically challenging. They are widely admired for efficiency, worker safety, and technical competence....

...But the truth is that coal mining has been built on public subsidies. A 2015 International Monetary Fund study concluded that energy subsidies worldwide were enormous – 6.5 percent of the entire world economic output, some $5 trillion per year. That subsidy overwhelmingly goes to fossil fuels.

STOP PETROLEUM INDUSTRY SUBSIDIES! Is any US elected official serious about reducing the national debt? Here is a good place to star.

Coal is the most highly subsidized of all. Worldwide, coal subsidies are about 4 percent of the entire economic output of the human race.

The one remaining North Fork coal operation is requesting three things from government: First, a reduced royalty on the federal coal they are mining. Second, to build roads into a lovely roadless area, to drill methane vents to permit mining more coal. Finally, a revised permit that, like past permits, will not require control of the mine’s methane emissions.

Federal coal royalties are already below market rates. The last thing we should approve is more subsidies....

...Before roading more roadless areas, there needs to be impartial evaluation of whether we can avoid road building in these beautiful areas....

In the spirit of our region, we should come together to solve the methane problem. The blame game will get nothing done. County commissioners, coal companies, local electric utilities, public interest organizations, state agencies and others all must do their share to find a way to capture and make use of the West Elk methane.

There are multiple options for methane control and use. One small existing project captures North Fork methane, generates electricity, and sells it to Aspen. Methane can become vehicle fuel or industrial feedstock.

As to the future, this state must develop regulations for coal methane emissions. Colorado is a leader in managing oil and gas industry emissions. We must also lead for coal.

Luke Danielson is president of Sustainable Development Strategies Group, a nonprofit institution dedicated to improving management of mineral resources, headquartered in Gunnison.

The country needs to get this done. It is a great infrastructure project that needs funding. No more subsidies, fund the projects that end pollution!

Prescribed burns principles. Oh, yes. There are many principles and morality involved in all these decisions.

They gotta know their stuff. It is about water temperature of the oceans. Unless the corals are coming out of the laboratory more hearty then their predecessors, I remain concerned for the outcomes. 

...Weather conditions needed for the burn (click here)

Relative humidity and dew point are the most important factors, since they will have a controlling influence on fuel moisture. Even if the fuel was dry yesterday, a strong dewfall on the morning of the burn may delay things.

Weather conditions that are best for savanna burns are often different than for prairie burns. Whereas a wind speed of 5 mph and a relative humidity of 50% may be fine for a prairie burn, the conditions for a savanna burn should include a stronger wind speed and a lower relative humidity (for instance; 10-15 mph wind and 25-30% relative humidity). Oak leaves take longer to dry out than vertically standing grass, and flame heights are much lower, so the fire does not carry as well with lower wind speeds.

Wind direction is another important factor and the required direction will depend upon the location of the burn unit in relation to surrounding areas. Certain types of burn units can only be burned when the wind is from particular directions. Also, wind direction must be considered with different slopes and aspects of the site. A wind shift during a burn can have major effects, making it perhaps necessary to put out a burn that is already in progress (often difficult to accomplish). A north wind is generally associated with a cold front and a south wind with a warm front.

The ideal wind is one that is steady from the same direction throughout the duration of the burn. A very light wind, or none at all, may make the burn more difficult to accomplish. A steady 5 mph wind is preferable to no wind at all. For savanna burns, with their low flame heights and thin fuels, the wind should be at least 5 mph, preferably 8-10 mph, or on flat topography up to 15 mph. A steady wind of 10mph is better than a gusty wind of 5 mph.

Another consideration for wind direction is smoke management. If the burn is in an urban or suburban area, a wind direction must be selected that will blow the smoke away from the built-up area. Also, the wind cannot be allowed to blow smoke across a major highway.

Temperature is another important factor, because hot fuels ignite better than cold ones. Also, temperature affects relative humidity. A temperature of 75 degrees F may be too hot for a prairie burn but could be just right for a savanna burn. An ideal temperature for a spring savanna burn is 70 F, but successful burns can be accomplished at temperatures as low as 50 F when the R.H. is low and there is a good strong wind from the right direction....

Oxygen can't hit any closer to home to realize that a carbon sink, such as corals, are real, needed and vital to life on Earth.

August 5, 2017
By Elizabeth Djinis
Key West — A strange scene (click here) plays out in the depths below the clear azure water of Key West’s Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park on a recent morning, one that doesn’t quite fit with the serene ambiance of the area.
About a quarter-mile offshore, two Mote Marine Laboratory scientists dive into the water, holding trays with tiny pieces of coral mounted on a ceramic base. They delicately grasp each circular piece, resembling something one might see at a dinner party — a mini-quiche or canape — and place them gingerly into the rock, nearly 15 feet below the surface.
Soon, scientists expect the 320 pieces of coral planted in late July will grow and fuse into full-size mountain star coral, which will spawn and produce coral of its own. The nearly 6,000 coral fragments planted last year in an underwater landscape mere meters from this one have already begun what David Vaughan, executive director of Mote’s newly completed Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research and Restoration, calls “re-skinning.” It will take them two to three years to fully come together, but Vaughan said their progress is a positive indicator for the 7,000 corals they planted in another section this year.
“This is the good news — that’s what’s different,” Vaughan said. “This is now a turnaround that we can make a difference growing corals. But it’s not over.”
Corals have been under attack in the world’s oceans for some time. In the 1970s, Vaughan said, the Florida Keys lost 20 percent of their corals through bleaching, a process in which changes in conditions such as temperature can stress and kill them, turning them white and causing the algae inside them to leave. The Florida Keys have experienced bleaching in 12 of the last 14 years, he adds, and in 2005, half of the coral reefs in the Caribbean were lost to a bleaching event.
Vaughan grows frustrated when he hears from climate-change deniers who contest the destruction of coral and its importance....

It is time to love Earth again. Scientists can make that love interesting, wholesome and easy.

This is how intense foresters are when realizing the consequences of a controlled burn.

Cox C.A. (1987) Nesting bluebirds tolerate prescribed burn (Minnesota). Restoration and Management Notes, 5, 48-48

Flame lengths were 1 m or less (click here) (thus did not reach the nest boxes). Adult bluebirds left the boxes as the fire approached. One pair hovered over their box as the fire passed underneath. Both pairs of adults returned to the boxes when the fire had passed. No eggs were harmed by this fire and there was 100% nest success (all eggs produced fledglings) for both boxes. In the area, the success rate for 23 nests was 93%.

When entering into the idea of "controlled burn" vs "prescribed burn" is to understand the intense assessment and evaluation that exists before these burns are set. The study above is from 1987 which is before scientists of the IPCC carried concern for the climate in relation to the burning of savannas. It is testament to the perfection of the science and the intense focus of protecting life in forests.

"We stand on the shoulders of our forefathers of science."

Kindly realize the intricate methodology passed down from scientist to scientist. It is a heritage to be proud of. The article below is from 2008.

Fire ecology in Laikipia, Kenya (click here)

...The S.A.F.E. (Scale and Fire Ecology) research project set out to understand how the use of prescribed burns in Laikipia, Kenya affects the foraging ecology of wildlife. We were keen to understand whether burning is useful for maintaining wild herbivore populations. In this study we make the assumption that an animal’s preference for a burned area would be a good indicator of long-term population responses: if an animal prefers burned areas, through time this will likely translate to an increase in numbers of that species. While there have been numerous studies generally examining how wildlife respond to burning, there has been very little consensus on which species prefer burned areas. Therefore, we were particularly interested in testing the ecological theories predicting that grazers of smaller body size would make use of burns more than larger species.

While this report does not seek to be an exhaustive review of the relevant studies and literature regarding fire ecology and grazing, we provide some of the background information, which may be of interest to some land managers. The primary goal of this report is to discuss how the use of fire may be a useful tool for land managers and conservationists in Laikipia, Kenya....

I just wanted to give a "high five" to US Senator John McCain.

He looks a little tired, but, still very vital. I have a sister that has experienced multiple craniotomies, shunt revisions, radiation and five gamma knife surgeries and Senator McCain is amazing.

She does well, by the way. She has a high level of quality of life for all she has been through. The science and medicine have advanced so much that quality of life is very possible for those that recover from their tumors.

And Cindy is by his side. Nice. Really nice.

Senator McCain provided an interesting dialogue during this interview.

August 1, 2017

During his visit to The Arizona Republic (click hereeditorial board Thursday, McCain offered an analysis of the situation that reflects the dangers of the modern world.

Terrorist groups, like ISIS, pose an ongoing threat, and they will continue to launch attacks, he said. But they do not have the military capability, technology and ambition to back up their intent to rule the world.

Russia does. And Russia is not a friend to the free world.

In addition to attempting to influence the 2016 presidential campaign in this country, evidence suggests Russia also sought to influence the recent presidential election in France. Germany expects Putin’s hackers to try to influence its Sept. 24 general elections.

Russia has established a presence in the Middle East and continues to exert pressure on eastern European countries, McCain says....

Dr. Ernest Moritz worked on the methane hydrates with Japan. Methane MUST BE CONTAINED. No exceptions.

Vast amounts of methane hydrate (click here) are buried in sediment deposits on the continental slopes. The total global amount of methane carbon bound up in these hydrate deposits is in the order of 1000 to 5000 gigatonnes – i.e. about 100 to 500 times more carbon than is released annually into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas).

Methane is far more dangerous than carbon dioxide and there is little focus on controlling it. Methane hydrates should be a focus of evaluation now. The oceans are warming as evidence by the mass extinction event of the corals globally. The methane hydrates can serve to be a burgeoning climate danger. Depending on the latitude, I am sure some have already released, however, deep ocean is a fairly SAFE place for methane hydrates to exist. The surface oceans are where most climate crisis events are happening. I simply don't see ocean methane hydrates as a reasonable source of energy. They need to remain frozen without exception. Japan has other options. 

August 1, 2017
By Zack Colman

While hydrate resources (click here) look like an enormous boon to energy-starved nations like Japan, all that carbon and methane has climate scientists and advocates concerned.

Turning big, (click here) frozen deposits of methane buried under the seafloor into fuel for our cars and homes is coming closer to reality. As Japan, China and to a lesser extent the U.S. try to tap these abundant resources, important questions are arising about just how much they may contribute to climate change. The answers seem to range widely, depending on who is talking.

This issue has quickly risen because Japan conducted its second production test of these deposits, known as methane hydrates, in May. China soon followed with its first attempt to do the same. The news caught natural resource experts off guard because most of them thought it would still be years before nations tried to turn these icy gases into commercial products.

Production might still be a decade or more away in the U.S., which has been a quiet partner with Japan and China, although the Department of Energy has begun discussions with Alaska and Japanese interests about performing an extended production test in Alaska’s North Slope. The negotiations are considered “delicate,” says Tim Collett, a U.S. Geological Survey research geologist. Hydrates exist in the already commercialized Gulf of Mexico, too. If fully developed, hydrates around the globe could provide as much energy worldwide as natural gas does today....

August 1, 2017
By Mark Hand

A federal appeals court (click here) ruled late Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency must enforce Obama-era restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down the EPA’s attempt to suspend methane restrictions for the sector, formally vacating the agency’s 90-day stay of key provisions of New Source Performance Standards. The rule is now in effect....

It is called "Fire ecology." There is an aspect of nature that requires fire to reclaim itself.

Fire ecology (click here) is the study of the interaction between ecosystems and the wildfires that occur naturally within them. Wildfires are common in various ecosystems and can be necessary for plant developmental processes. Fire ecology also studies the effect of anthropogenic change and management on the incidence and effects of wildfires.

In an environment of heat where more heat spells hideous danger, it is important to understand the impacts BEYOND the primary definition of the benevolent effects of fire. It is important to understand why and how these fires can cause dangerous effects to the climate. 

Fire ecology is not permission to add heat to Earth's troposphere, but, to understand it and control it.

Rupert Seidl, Dominik Thom, Markus Kautz, Dario Martin-Benito, Mikko Peltoniemi, Giorgio Vacchiano, Jan Wild, Davide Ascoli, Michal Petr, Juha Honkaniemi, Manfred J. Lexer, Volodymyr Trotsiuk, Paola Mairota, Miroslav Svoboda, Marek Fabrika, Thomas A. Nagel & Christopher P. O. Reyer

"Forest Distrubances Under Climate Change." (Click Here) 

Received 22 August 2016
Accepted 24 April 2017
Published online 31 May 2017

Forest disturbances are sensitive to climate. However, our understanding of disturbance dynamics in response to climatic changes remains incomplete, particularly regarding large-scale patterns, interaction effects and dampening feedbacks. Here we provide a global synthesis of climate change effects on important abiotic (fire, drought, wind, snow and ice) and biotic (insects and pathogens) disturbance agents. Warmer and drier conditions particularly facilitate fire, drought and insect disturbances, while warmer and wetter conditions increase disturbances from wind and pathogens. Widespread interactions between agents are likely to amplify disturbances, while indirect climate effects such as vegetation changes can dampen long-term disturbance sensitivities to climate. Future changes in disturbance are likely to be most pronounced in coniferous forests and the boreal biome. We conclude that both ecosystems and society should be prepared for an increasingly disturbed future of forests.

I think this a bit naive, but, if the Nature Conservancy is invested in the outcome, then I wish them success.

20 July 2017
By Fiona Harvey

...Under the Cancún insurance policy, (click here) pioneered by the insurance company Swiss Re and the Nature Conservancy, a US environmental charity, local organisations dependent on tourism will pay in to a collective pot likely to amount to between $1m (£770,000) and $7.5m for the insurance premiums on the policy, and a 40 mile (60km) stretch of reef and connected beach will be monitored. If any destructive storms damage the reef system, the insurer will pay out sums likely to be $25m to $70m in any given year.

Any payouts will be used for restoration of the reef, for instance by building artificial structures that can increase the height of the reef in case of storm damage.

Corals from the reef can be removed and rested for a period of weeks or months, to help them regrow, at which point they can be safely reattached to their native habitat to regenerate the growth of the reef system.

The advantages of such restoration go far beyond the hotels that border the seafront. As well as providing a natural brake against destructive storms, coral reefs provide nurseries for fish when they are growing, and form a vital part of the marine ecosystem. Their health or decline is seen as one of the key indicators of the state of the natural environment globally....

The next on the list of "Kyoto Protocol" is "Prescribed burning of savannas."

The idea of setting forest or land on fire is an abhorrence to the essence of conservation. Yet, in some instances the land requires it. Even some seeds will not open to begin life unless it is heated to temperatures not achieved in sunlight.

The Forest Service (click here) manages prescribed fires and even some wildfires to benefit natural resources and reduce the risk of unwanted wildfires in the future. The agency also uses hand tools and machines to thin overgrown sites in preparation for the eventual return of fire.
It's Sunday Night

"The towel." The perfect picture and the perfect song to recall what is important in life and that is "self."

Alicia Keys reminds us that material belongings are more fleeting in importance than the deep emotional side of our being. The longing to be loved, needed, desired and part of the world in a great sense than we can be alone.

She reminds us how fragile we are. We can achieve the greatest wealth, the greatest power, the greatest influence in the world, but, when it comes to being whole, there is so much more that cannot be achieved by that wealth, power or influence. To be complete as a person we long for so much more than material gratification. 

"The towel." Is it seduction or is it modesty that can't be relinquished?

No one knows that answer than the woman herself. She only knows the depth of her feelings and why she is still not ready to submit or protect. It is a simple decision fraught with depth and self determination.

Decisions such as these can be the definition to a world protected or a world exploited to extinction. That is what we are facing. We are facing the real values of "The West." Do we love our possessions so much nothing else matters or do we actually have character, depth of definition to our being to value a world of beauty and purpose. 

Earth is beautiful and it has purpose and it is being destroyed by the very beings it gives life. Like a child without knowledge to the path ahead, "The West" wants to ignore the depth of decisions that lie at the feet of each one of us. Do we make that decision to protect or do we make the decision to submit. Do we allow our world to lose it's purpose of life to those that have no soul and exploit it for meaningless riches?
Used to dream of being a millionaire, without a care
But if I'm seeing my dreams and you aren't there
'Cause it's over
That just wont be fair
Rather be a poor woman living on the street
No food to eat
'Cause I don't want no pie if I have to cry
'Cause it's over
When you said goodbye!
All at once
I had it all
But it doesn't mean anything
Now that you're gone
From afar, seems I had it all
But it doesn't mean anything
Since you're gone
Now I see myself through different eyes
It's no surprise!
Being alone will make you realize
When it's over!
All in love is fair I shoulda been there
I shoulda been there, I shoulda shoulda
All at once
I had it all
It doesn't mean anything
Now that you're gone
From afar, seems I had it all
But it doesn't mean anything
Since you're
I will be late. This is too important not to address it.