Category Archives: environment

Two Chinese cities close poultry markets after H7N9 bird flu infection, East Asia News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

A 44-year-old man who sold poultry at a farmers market in south-western Sichuan province’s Zigong city was diagnosed with H7N9, China News Service reported. Local authorities announced a one-month halt to poultry markets in the city’s Ziliujing district from midnight on Monday.Separately, a 74-year old man who had visited poultry markets in Shandong province’s Binzhou city was also diagnosed with H7N9, China Central Television reported. Binzhou authorities will temporarily halt poultry markets in three of its districts.

Source: Two Chinese cities close poultry markets after H7N9 bird flu infection, East Asia News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

Trump’s pick for top USDA scientist isn’t one | Pesticide Action Network

Just who is Trump’s latest nominee then? Clovis is a conservative radio talk show host who was unsuccessful in a 2014 run for Senate in his native Iowa. He has no professional experience in food or agriculture, and is openly skeptical of climate change. He was co-chair of Trump’s campaign and has since been serving as the Department of Agriculture’s senior White House adviser.

Source: Trump’s pick for top USDA scientist isn’t one | Pesticide Action Network

Global warming is reshaping the world′s forests | DW Environment | DW.COM | 04.05.2017

In the mountains, trees are racing uphill to escape the heat – and in Canada, invasive insects have already killed massive swaths of forest. Such changes will have significant consequences for communities and ecosystems.

Source: Global warming is reshaping the world′s forests | DW Environment | DW.COM | 04.05.2017

River Piracy in the Yukon : Image of the Day AKA: Climate Change in Action

In the spring and summer of 2016, Daniel Shugar and colleagues witnessed an act of piracy in Canada’s Yukon Territory. The Kaskawulsh River hijacked the Slims River, stealing much of its supply of water and dramatically reshaping the region’s drainage.The ongoing retreat of the Kaskawulsh glacier in the St. Elias Mountains spurred this rarely seen process of “river piracy.” For years, meltwater from the Kaskawulsh glacier has fed two large lakes at the glacier front; those lakes feed the Slims and Kaskawulsh rivers. Previously, most of the water flowed northward via the Slims River and into a watershed that ultimately empties into the Bering Sea. A lesser amount flowed southward via the Kaskawulsh into a watershed that empties into the North Pacific Ocean.Roles reversed in spring 2016—that’s when pilots first informed Shugar, a geomorphologist at University of Washington-Tacoma, that the Slims River was running low and the Kaskawulsh River was flooded. Shugar and colleagues visited the site in August, and that’s when the magnitude of the change “really sunk in.”The river piracy is visible in this image pair, acquired with the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8. The false-color images combine observations of shortwave infrared, near-infrared, and red light (OLI bands 6, 5, 4) to better distinguish areas of water (dark blue) from the surrounding landscape. Vegetation is green, and snow and ice are light blue.

Source: River Piracy in the Yukon : Image of the Day

Batagaika Crater Expands : Image of the Day

Batagaika Crater has formed as rising temperatures have thawed the permafrost in Siberia. Warmer summers and shorter winters are causing the frozen layer cake of ice and soil to collapse (or “slump”) and erode away in much of the Arctic. Dozens of permafrost craters pock Russia’s northern landscape, but none rival the size of Batagaika, a so-called “megaslump” that has been devouring the slope above it and moving backwards into the hillside.“There have been reports that these backwards-thawing features are appearing around the Arctic, but this one is in a league of its own,” said Mary Edwards, a professor at the University of Southampton who co-authored a 2017 study of the crater. “Scientifically, it’s very interesting because we can see what’s underground.”The site—the biggest permafrost crater in the world—holds clues to prehistoric life on Earth. Researchers believe the exposed ice and soil along the crater’s edges could hold up to 200,000 years of geological and biological history.Batagaika has disgorged a handful of animals since it began growing, likely in the early 1980s. Equus lenensis (a Pleistocene horse) and Bison priscus (prehistoric steppe bison) have emerged from the thawing soil, as have assorted remains of cave lions and wolves. Researchers have found evidence that the region had a warmer climate and relatively dry, windy conditions during the Pleistocene Epoch. Spruce and pine forests once grew here, according to bits of wood found in the thawing soil.Today, low shrubs and larch trees grow across this tundra landscape. From space, the gash of exposed soil appears rough-cut, brown against the green terrain. The steep hills inside the crater contain few plants, a sign of their recent formation. The natural-color image above was captured on June 7, 2016 by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite. The images below, taken by OLI (right) and the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) on Landsat 7 shows Batagaika’s rapid advance since 1999.

Source: Batagaika Crater Expands : Image of the Day

Climate Change Reroutes a Yukon River in a Geological Instant – The New York Times – Oops! Deny this?

The researchers concluded that the rerouted flow from the glacier shows that “radical reorganizations of drainage can occur in a geologic instant, although they may also be driven by longer-term climate change.” Or, as a writer for the CBC put it in a story about the phenomenon last year, “It’s a reminder that glacier-caused change is not always glacial-paced.”The underlying message of the new research is clear, said Dr. Shugar in a telephone interview. “We may be surprised by what climate change has in store for us — and some of the effects might be much more rapid than we are expecting.”

Energy Fuels Completes Drilling Near Grand Canyon – Intercontinental Cry

Havasupai council member Carletta Tilousi previously stated, “The Canyon Mine not only threatens the Havasupai people and land but, potentially all Colorado River users downriver including Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The Havasupai Tribe, guardians of the Grand Canyon, are under attack and request your support and prayers to protect the Grand Canyon from mining for uranium for use in nuclear reactors for the benefit of the US and the profit of the dying nuclear industry.”Red Butte is a sacred site and designated as a traditional cultural property, Canyon Mine is located within the sacred site’s established boundaries.Red Butte, sacred Site under attackThe Havasupai Nation & environmental groups have pending lawsuits against the Forest Service and Energy Fuels regarding threats to the sacred site and violations of the NEPA process. A decision is expected any day.If Energy Fuels is permitted to proceed, up to 25 trucks hauling up to 30 tons of highly radioactive ore per day could be barrelling down small roads and highways through Arizona. The ore would travel through towns such as Valle, Williams, and Flagstaff; through Navajo reservation communities including Cameron, Tuba City, and Kayenta; near the Hopi reservation; and finally arrive at Energy Fuel’s White Mesa Mill only three miles from the Ute Mountain Ute tribal community of White Mesa, Utah.The Navajo Nation has a law that restricts transport of radioactive materials, including uranium ore, “over, under or across Navajo Indian Country”; however, Navajo does not have jurisdiction over the state roads of the haul route. The Navajo Nation has already been devastated by 523 abandoned uranium mines and 22 wells that have been closed by the EPA due to high levels of radioactive pollution

Source: Energy Fuels Completes Drilling Near Grand Canyon – Intercontinental Cry

Report warns of rise in drug-resistant tuberculosis | CIDRAP

Growing drug resistance

According to the report, approximately 20% of TB cases globally are estimated to be resistant to at least one of the first- or second-line anti-TB drugs, and 5% are resistant to both isoniazid and rifampicin, the most powerful and commonly used antibiotics in first-line treatment. Of the estimated 480,000 cases of multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB, approximately 10% are either extensively drug-resistant (XDR)—with additional resistance to second-line drugs—or totally drug resistant.While TB is curable when patients adhere to the treatment regimen, MDR- and XDR-TB are more problematic. Treatment options are limited, expensive, and often toxic, and drug therapy can last up to 2 years. The report estimates mortality rates of around 40% for MDR-TB and 60% for XDR-TB. And while China, India, Russia, and South Africa have the highest burden of MDR- and XDR-TB, widespread international travel and migration means drug-resistant TB has no borders.Although shorter treatment regimens and new drugs are providing hope for some MDR- and XDR-TB patients, the authors of the report say the fight against drug-resistant TB has to be fought on several fronts.  “Addressing drug-resistant tuberculosis requires an urgent and concerted effort to manage the disease and prevent onward transmission with sustained research to develop and assess new tools,” the authors write.

Source: Report warns of rise in drug-resistant tuberculosis | CIDRAP

ECDC reports spike in yellow fever from South America travel | CIDRAP

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) released a risk assessment on yellow fever yesterday, noting a new case of travel-associated disease in a person from the Netherlands. This is the fourth case reported in Europeans who had recently traveled to South America in the past 8 months.The traveler had recently returned from Suriname, a former Dutch colony on the northwestern coast of South America. The patient had traveled to Suriname in February and March, and the case was reported to the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in the Netherlands on Mar 9.The three other recent yellow fever cases in Europeans with a history of travel to South America include two French nationals who visited several endemic areas of Peru and a Danish citizen got sick in Bolivia after visiting yellow fever endemic areas in the Amazon basin.

Source: ECDC reports spike in yellow fever from South America travel | CIDRAP