#Venice; #Italy; #FloodRisk; #MediterraneanSea; #RisingSeas; #Ecosystem
Venice/Canadian-Media: To combat a growing flood risk, Venice, Italy, has spent billions of euros to build three barriers that can temporarily close off the lagoon surrounding the city from the Mediterranean Sea, https://www.science.org/reports said.
Image credit: weather.com
Now, scientists are reporting that by blocking the stormwater that causes floods, the barriers also prevent salt marshes in the lagoon from receiving vital sediment, which ultimately may hinder their ability to stay above the rising sea level.
The findings offer a cautionary tale about the unexpected impacts of flood protection and the need to maintain the natural dynamics of ecosystems, says Rusty Feagin, a coastal ecologist at Texas A&M University, College Station, who was not involved with the new research. “These engineering gate-barrier structures are multiplying around the world, and Venice is a great harbinger.”
As a low-lying island city surrounded by a lagoon, Venice is especially vulnerable to flooding when storms hit during high tides. After a record-breaking flood in 1966, the government began to plan ways to prevent further damage. The long-delayed result: a barrier called MOSE (an acronym in Italian for Experimental Electromechanical Module, and a nod to the biblical prophet who parted the Red Sea), which consists of submerged gates at the three inlets to the Venice lagoon. When storms begin to raise the water too high, large panels emerge to close the inlets. Construction started in 2003 and costs are estimated at more than €6 billion. The barrier was first activated during a storm in October 2020.
This was good timing for Davide Tognin, a Ph.D. student at the University of Padua. He had been studying how sediment gets deposited on marshes in the Venice lagoon. Sediment is vital, because it provides nourishment and anchorage for plants. Over decades to centuries, as it accumulates, the material also helps plants keep up with rising sea levels. Tognin and his colleagues wanted to know how much of this sediment lands on the marsh from Venice’s gentle tides and how much arrives during storms.
Beginning in October 2018, Tognin measured the accumulation of sediment in 54 shallow plastic containers at three salt marshes. The marshes were in different kinds of locations—close to the inlet, behind barrier islands, and near shore—to check whether various wave patterns might change the sediment delivery.
“We wanted to have the big picture of the whole lagoon,” Tognin says. Over the next 39 months, he collected 1446 samples. When the weather was good and the tides normal, there was no sediment in the containers or just a few grains. But a storm could inundate the marshes with 50 to 100 centimeters of water and leave up to 5 millimeters of sediment behind, he found.
All told, storms deposited 70% of the total sediment on the marshes each year. But after the barrier began to operate, the annual rate of sedimentation at the three sites fell by 25% on average, Tognin and colleagues report online today in Nature Geoscience. This decline is surprisingly large, they say, given that the barriers were only closed for about 70 hours per year.
Those figures matter because the marshes are building up vertically at only about 3 millimeters per year. Meanwhile sea level has been rising in the lagoon by 2.5 millimeters per year, a rate likely to grow because of global warming. The loss of sediment from the closures of the barrier would stunt the growth of the marshes by 1.1 millimeters—enough that they might slowly drown, even at current rates of sea level rise says co-author Andrea D’Alpaos of the University of Padua. “It’s a very important millimeter for the marshes,” Tognin says.
Coastal wetlands that experience small tides, as in the Venice lagoon, seem to be especially vulnerable to sea level rise, says Tom Spencer of the University of Cambridge. To make matters worse, the salt marshes there are already starved of sediment, notes Zoe Hughes, a coastal geomorphologist at Boston University who was not involved in the research. Five hundred years ago, Venice diverted rivers that had been flowing into the lagoon. The rivers carrying sediment that helped keep the marshes healthy were also filling up the waterways and hindering the passage of ships. Then, in the 20th century, jetties built at the three inlets to the lagoon altered the currents so that the tides regularly remove sediment from the lagoon.
Feagin notes the study was relatively brief and that it’s difficult to get a comprehensive assessment of sedimentation, which can vary a lot from marsh to marsh. But co-author Luca Carniello, a coastal scientist at the University of Padua, is confident of the results. “It’s a precise picture of what is happening now,” he says. The researchers have continued to monitor the sediment traps and the new data are consistent with the findings in the paper, he and Tognin say.
So what should be done to help the marshes? It’s possible the operation of the barrier could be modified to lessen the impact, the authors say. By delaying its activation until water is 20 centimeters higher than the current threshold, only 10% less sediment would be deposited during storms than before the barrier was constructed. It might also be possible to only close certain gates during particular conditions, Carniello adds. Another option is to add more sediment from other sources, such as dredges or by diverting sediment-laden water from nearby rivers. Such approaches together might extend the life expectancy of the marshes, Tognin says.
The barrier is essential to protect Venice at the moment, but a larger vision is missing, says Jane da Mosto, an environmental scientist and executive director of We Are Here Venice, a nongovernmental organization that promotes understanding of Venice’s fragile ecology. “Everybody in Venice is desperate for some kind of strategy to be articulated and implemented.”
Longer term planning will also be important, says co-author Marco Marani of the University of Padua. Floods in Venice have become more common in the past 30 years, a trend that will continue as the ocean rises. More frequent closures of the barriers will not only starve the marshes of sediment, they will also interfere even more with ship traffic and obstruct the healthy circulation of water in and out of the lagoon. “Here in Venice,” Marani says, “we will have to think harder about the future.”
#ClimateCrisis; #UNDP; #Ethiopia; #SolarWaterFacility
New York/Canadian-Media: Today, when the UN plans initiatives to help vulnerable communities become more resilient, the climate crisis has to be part of the equation. The UN Development Program (UNDP) is connecting the dots between people and the impacts that climate change is having on their lives.
Image credit: UNDP
Solar water facility in Ethiopia, by UNDP
Every solution is different, and is adapted to the needs of each community. From micro-hydropower in Nepal, to decentralizing access to water systems in Colombia, climate-proofing rural settlements in Rwanda, and building more integrated national adaptation plans in Bhutan.
As countries work to reduce their carbon footprint and adapt to climate change, reduce risks, and build more resilient societies, important progress is being made towards a more sustainable future. Find out more here.
New York/IBNS: Children and young people are nearly 50 per cent more likely than older people to believe that the world is becoming a better place with each generation, according to a new international survey by UNICEF and Gallup released ahead of World Children’s Day.
Image credit: Pixaby
The survey shows that young people are also more likely to believe childhood itself has improved, with overwhelming majorities believing that healthcare, education, and physical safety are better for today's children than for their parents' generation.
Yet, despite their optimism, young people are far from naïve, expressing restlessness for action on climate change, skepticism about information they consume on social media, and struggling with feelings of depression and anxiety.
They are far more likely than older people to see themselves as global citizens, and more likely to embrace international cooperation to tackle threats like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is no shortage of reasons for pessimism in the world today: Climate change, the pandemic, poverty and inequality, rising distrust, and growing nationalism. But here is a reason for optimism: Children and young people refuse to see the world through the bleak lens of adults,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Compared to older generations, the world’s young people remain hopeful, much more globally minded, and determined to make the world a better place. Today’s young people have concerns for the future but see themselves as part of the solution.”
The poll, The Changing Childhood Project, is the first of its kind to ask multiple generations for their views on the world and what it is like to be a child today. It surveyed more than 21,000 people across two age cohorts (15-24 years old and 40 years old and up) in 21 countries.
Nationally representative surveys were undertaken in countries across all regions – Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America – and income levels.
Overall, the data paint a picture of young generations as products of globalization. For example, young people (39 per cent) are on average almost twice as likely as older people (22 per cent) to identify most with being part of the world, versus their own nation or locale.
With each additional year of age, people are on average about one per cent less likely to identify as a global citizen.
The survey – conducted during the pandemic – also finds that children and young people are generally more trusting of national governments, scientists and international news media as sources of accurate information. And yet, the poll shows, young people today are aware of problems the world is facing:
The majority of young people see serious risks for children online, such as seeing violent or sexually explicit content (78 per cent) or being bullied (79 per cent).
Just 17 per cent of young people say they trust social media platforms “a lot” to provide accurate information.
While 64 per cent of young people in low- and middle-income countries believe children in their country will be better off economically than their parents, young people in high-income countries have little faith in economic progress. There, fewer than a third of young respondents say children today will grow up to be better off economically than their parents.
More than a third of young people report often feeling nervous or anxious, and nearly one in five say they often feel depressed or have little interest in doing things.
On average, 59 per cent of young people say children today face more pressure to succeed than their parents did growing up.
The poll also finds young people want faster progress in the fight against discrimination, more cooperation among countries, and for decision-makers to listen to them:
On average, nearly three-quarters of young people who are aware of climate change believe governments should take significant action to address it. The share is even higher in low- and lower-middle income countries (83 per cent) where the impact of climate change is expected to be greatest.
In nearly every country surveyed, large majorities of young people report that their countries would be safer from threats like COVID-19 if governments worked in coordination with other countries rather than on their own.
Young people demonstrate stronger support for LGBTQ+ rights, with young women leading the fight for equality.
On average, 58 per cent of 15-24-year-olds believe it is very important for political leaders to listen to children.
“We cannot know what is on the minds of young people if we do not ask them. UNICEF's survey reinforces the importance of hearing from the next generation and understanding their perspectives,” said Joe Daly, Senior Partner at Gallup. “The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow; it is crucial for older generations to do their part to ensure our children inherit a better world.”
The survey finds some areas of strong alignment between young and older generations – notably around climate, the importance of education, global collaboration and children’s agency. By contrast, optimism, global mindedness and recognition of historical progress reflect some of the deepest divides.
“While this research paints a nuanced view of the generational divide, a clear picture emerges: Children and young people embody the spirit of the 21st century far more readily than their parents,” said Fore. “As UNICEF prepares to mark its 75th anniversary next month, and ahead of World Children’s Day, it is critical we listen to young people directly about their well-being and how their lives are changing.”
World Children’s Day – celebrated every year on 20th November – aims to raise awareness for the millions of children that are denied their right to adequate health care, nutrition, education and protection, and to elevate young people’s voices as critical to any discussions about their future.
#BC; #IntenseStorms; #torrentialRain; #EnvironmentCanada
Vancouver/Canadian-Media British Columbia is expected to be hit by the third in a series of increasingly intense storms, leaving residents bracing for more torrential rain while the damage done across the Lower Mainland and southern Interior from the last two storms is still being addressed by the officials.
Image credit: Unsplash
The two recent storms, said Geoff Coulson, dumped precipitation for about 24 to 36 hours, while this one could bring relentless rain for 48 hours.
"The concern with this event is the long duration," said Coulson, CBC News reports said.
A series of special weather alerts has been issued Environment Canada by for much of B.C.'s southwest and coast, with up to another 100 millimeters of rainfall predicted for the Fraser Valley between Tuesday and Wednesday along with winds up to 60 km/h.
Approximately 200 millimeters of rain could be seen in areas of Vancouver Island and the Central Coast.
#Tectonicshift; #SouthernOcean; #AntarcticIceSheets; #IODP; #Environment; #CoolingEvent
Leicester/Canadian-Media: New research has shed light on a sudden cooling event 34 million years ago that contributed to formation of the Antarctic ice sheets, https://phys.org/news
Image credit: University of Leicester/Katharina Hochmuth
New research has shed light on a sudden cooling event 34 million years ago that contributed to formation of the Antarctic ice sheets.
High-resolution simulations of ocean circulations show that the tectonic opening of Southern Ocean seaways caused a fundamental reorganization of ocean currents, heat transport and initiated a strong Antarctic surface water cooling of up to 5°C.
The study, conducted by an international team of researchers from the University of Leicester, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany and Norway, is published in Nature Communications. The results shed new light on a 50-year-old question about how and why the Antarctic ice sheets formed.
Dr. Katharina Hochmuth, International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Research Associate at the University of Leicester, and co-author of the study, said, "In the last week and in the lead up to COP26, we have heard a lot about modeling projections on our planet's future. In this paper, we show that it is crucial to include atmospheric CO2 conditions as well as appropriate geographies from the past to successfully model changing climates.
"A 600m change in the depth of an ocean gateway can cause a dramatic drop in coastal temperatures, and therefore, the fate of the Antarctic ice sheet."
The last land bridges connecting Antarctica with its surrounding continents, Australia and South America, broke off about 34 million years ago. This tectonic event did not only leave the polar continent isolated by other land masses; it also led to a major reorganization of ocean currents in the Southern Ocean.
A circumpolar current started to flow, preventing subpolar gyres from transporting warm surface waters to the Antarctic coast. At the same time, ice sheets started to build on Antarctica and the Earth underwent one of its most fundamental climate change events, transitioning from warm Greenhouse to cold Icehouse conditions.
The role of the opening seaways in the formation of Antarctic ice sheets versus decreasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, has always been strongly debated by scientists.
The study was led by Dr. Isabel Sauermilch, researcher at the University of Tasmania and Utrecht University, and shows that these events were much more closely linked than previously thought.
Dr. Sauermilch added, "When we started this project, I was surprised to see how much high-resolution matters in an ocean model. These simulations are sensitive to minimal changes in the depth of these seaways of a few hundred meters and react very differently than their low-resolution counterparts.
"On top, they resolve 'eddies,' turbulent ocean currents that are smaller than 100 km and which are crucial for the accurate temperature distribution in the Southern Ocean."
The authors' high-resolution ocean simulations show that only a small deepening of the Southern Ocean seaways by a few hundred meters led to a dramatic cooling of the Antarctic surface waters. Together with declining atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations, this tectonic event played a crucial role in the first glaciation of Antarctica and in the Earth's transition into an Icehouse world.
The results presented in this study demonstrate the importance of tectonically-driven processes in the changing oceanographic and climatic conditions of the Southern Ocean.
Understanding these ancient climate stages is crucial in order to validate climate models that predict future climate conditions and to understand how the climate might behave under higher atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations.
#COP26, #China, #US, #GlobalClimateSummit, #COP26ClimateSummit,
#GlasgowClimateSummit2021, #ClimateChange, #XiJinping, #JoeBiden
Beijing/IBNS: Chinese President Xi Jinping has been facing criticism from across the globe for not attending COP26 — a global summit on climate change convened by the United Nations Organization (UNO) in Glasgow weeks ago — despite being a country that has one-quarter of the carbon emissions of the world.
Image credit: File photo of Xi Jinping by Kremlin.ru via Wikimedia Creative Commons
A Canada-based think tank said, quoting experts, that without big reductions in China's emissions, the world cannot win the fight against climate change.
Jinping's absence in the COP26 climate summit has led to all-round disappointment, and it is believed that it is hard to arrest climate change when the biggest culprit polluting the environment does not show up, Asian News International (ANI) reported quoting International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS).
Criticizing Jinping's absence in COP26, the US President Joe Biden, who led from the front a the global climate summit, said it was a "big mistake" that his Chinese counterpart had chosen not to attend the summit, when more than 120 world leaders had spent two days discussing how to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C from the pre-industrial level.
Former US President Barack Obama had also criticized China and Russia for their absence in the Glasgow climate meet.
According to a report by the US embassy in Georgia, the noxious air pollution threatens not only the people of China but also global health and the economy of the world.
"Too much of the Chinese Communist Party's economy is built on willful disregard for air, land and water quality," former US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo quoted as saying by ANI.
#Calgary; #Environment; #DavidSuzuki; #ClimateChange
Calgary/Canadian-Media: Environmentalist David Suzuki has apologized for his comments that pipelines would be "blown up" if action on climate change is not taken by the government.
Image credit: Twitter handle
It was during an interview on Saturday that Suzuki made the comments amid a protest in Victoria organized by the environmental group Extinction Rebellion.
"We're in deep, deep doo-doo," Suzuki said at the time. "And the leading experts have been telling us for over 40 years. This is what we've come to. The next stage after this, there are going to be pipelines blown up if our leaders don't pay attention to what's going on."
On Thursday Suzuki issued an apology through his foundation saying that he had spoken out of extreme frustration and added,
"The remarks I made were poorly chosen and I should not have said them," the statement said. "Any suggestion that violence is inevitable is wrong and will not lead us to a desperately needed solution to the climate crisis. My words were spoken out of extreme frustration and I apologize."
Alberta government, including Premier Jason Kenney, Energy Minister Sonya Savage and government House Leader Jason Nixon condemned Suzuki's remarks.
Suzuki was first accused by Kenney of inciting violence Monday on Twitter, and later, at a news conference on Tuesday, when he said that he believed Suzuki was inciting people to commit eco-terrorism.
"It's like in the gangster movies where they say, 'You know, nice little pipeline you've got there. It'd be a terrible thing if something happened to it.' This is totally irresponsible," Kenney said, and added that Suzuki has a track record of outrageous comments that should have had him "cancelled, CBC News reports said."
#NfldLabrador; #Storm; #TransportationDepartment; #TransCanadaHighway;
Nfld. & Labrador/Canadian-Media: Multiple washed out roads in the Codroy Valley area, including two parts of the Trans-Canada Highway near Doyles have been washed away, after a rainstorm hit Newfoundland's southwest coast overnight, the Department of Transportation reported.
Image credit: Wallpapercave
The department reported closure of Trans-Canada Highway five kilometres southwest of Doyles intersection, both lanes are washed out; Trans-Canada Highway 16 kilometres southwest of Doyles intersection, one lane washed out, 25 kilometres northwest of Port aux Basques; Route 406-11, Doyles Station Road, with an alternate available route; Route 413-01, St. Andrews Road, an alternative route is available, Loch Lomond Road, one lane is closed; Upper Ferry Road, one is lane closed.
Port aux Basques has received 128 millimetres of rain as of 9:30 a.m. NT Wednesday,
Environment Canada said.
Meteorologists expect system to bring 150 to 200 millimetres of rain to the area in total and the rain could intensify early Wednesday morning, said Rodney Barney, a meteorologist with Environment Canada's weather officer in Gander.
#BC; #HeavyRainfall; #SouthernBC; #WinterStormAndWindWarnings
Victoria/Canadian-Media: An entire city in British Columbia (B.C.) and major highways were washed away due to 252 millimeters of relentless rain battering in just two days in southern BC on Monday, leaving many communities cut off from the rest of the province.
Image credit: Screenshot from video
Snowfall, winter storm and wind warnings remain in effect across most of southern B.C.
According to the forecast by Environment Canada winds gusted up to 90 kilometers per hour on Monday evening in some regions.
In a news conference Monday afternoon, Mike Farnworth, Canada's Public Safety Minister said due to fluctuating conditions, mudslides, flooding and debris flows portions of Highway 1 and the Coquihalla Highway have been washed out forcing people from their homes in several communities.
"People in Merritt, Princeton and areas along Highway 7 and 99 and the Coquihalla are seeing the worst of it" and added,
"I would like to thank everyone who is affected for your patience, strength and for doing everything you can to stay safe. As I said this morning, the situation is dynamic and further rains, high winds and possible snow in areas are compounding the situation," he said, CBC News reported.
Despite the discord in many regions, there have been no confirmed deaths so far.
#FirstNations; #Emissions; #EnergyEfficiency; #EconomicOpportunities
Victoria/Canadian-Media: The Province of British Columbia is advancing plans for reducing emissions based on energy efficiency, electrification and fuel switching to clean sources, including in remote communities, that will open up a wide range of economic opportunities that can benefit First Nations communities, a news release reported.
Image credit: https://news.gov.bc.ca
A virtual workshop will be held on Nov. 17, 2021, to raise awareness of the engagement process and First Nations peoples throughout British Columbia can join a conversation on new opportunities in the growing and diverse clean-energy sector to help ensure First Nations are involved and benefiting from B.C.’s low-carbon economy.
The Indigenous Clean Energy Opportunities (ICEO) engagement jointly designed and led by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, and the First Nations Energy and Mining Council (FNEMC), in partnership with the First Nations Leadership Council will explore what some of these opportunities might look like in order to benefit the broadest possible range of First Nations interests around clean energy.
The Nov. 17 virtual workshop will be hosted by Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation; Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, secretary-treasurer of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs; Regional Chief Terry Tegee of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations; and Robert Phillips of the First Nations Summit. Other speakers will include Chad Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government; Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation; and Chief Gordon Planes of the T’Souke Nation.
First Nations peoples and organizations can register for the workshop, learn more about the engagement and provide input online at the ICEO webpage.
Three additional, regionally focused workshops will follow in early 2022 to explore potential clean-energy topics First Nations peoples and the Province can explore under the ICEO, and to gather feedback on the clean-energy priorities of First Nations communities.
A non-profit organization, the B.C. First Nations Energy and Mining Council has a mandate from Chiefs in B.C. via resolutions passed at the assemblies of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (collectively working together as the First Nations Leadership Council) to support and facilitate responsible energy and mining resource development that protects the environment and ensures cultural, economic and political well-being of First Nations in British Columbia.
B.C. was the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples through legislation. The act passed unanimously in the B.C. legislature on Nov. 26, 2019.