Sea level rise 3mm higher in 2018 than last year: report
A recent report by World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says that the Global Mean Sea Level from January to July 2018 was around 2 to 3 mm higher than for the same period in 2017. The WMO report attributed yearly changes in sea level to changes in ice-sheet loss, land storage of water and variations in ocean temperature. The rise in sea level in 2018 is close to the long-term trend following a rapid increase associated with the 2015-16 El Niño, added the report. A previous study has said that sea level rise in the 21st Century has been three times as fast as has been observed in the bulk of the 20th Century.
The Race to Dam the Himalayas
by Sunil S. Amrith
More than 400 dams are under construction, or planned for the coming decades, in Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan; at least 100 more have been proposed across the Chinese border in Tibet. If the plans come to fruition, this will be one of the world’s most heavily dammed regions. But these projects will aggravate international tensions. They carry grave ecological risks. To understand why their backers cast caution aside, it helps to look to history. An estimated 660 square miles of forest will be submerged or damaged by the planned dam projects. Faced with the prospect of catastrophic climate change, we need to better understand the benefits and dangers of 20th-century ideas about harnessing great rivers before damming even more of them. https://nyti.ms/2roDk0J
World Bank Begins Issuing $660M in Sustainable Development Bonds for Water Management
The World Bank, a financial institution that provides loans to countries for capital projects, has raised more than $660 million in Sustainable Development Bonds highlighting the critical role of ocean and water resources. The bonds will be used to fund the protection of water resources in developing countries.
For the bonds, the World Bank focused on two Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 6 and SDG 14 (clean water and sanitation, and life below water, respectively).
Litter on Britain’s beaches falls as public finally wakes up to scourge of plastic
The amount of litter on Britain’s beaches has fallen because of the plastic bag tax and an upswell of public activism inspired by BBC’s Blue Planet II, new figures show. The Marine Conservation Society said 15,000 people took part in its Great British Beach Clean event in September – double the number of last year – with nearly 500 beaches cleaned. The charity said 8,550 kilogrammes of litter was picked up across the country with volunteers collecting an average of 600 items on every 100 metres of beach surveyed. https://bit.ly/2Q3Hl9u
Virtual reality could serve as powerful environmental education tool
by Rob Jordan
In a new study, published Nov. 30 in Frontiers in Psychology, researchers at Stanford and the University of Oregon discovered that VR can be a powerful tool for improving environmental learning gains and attitudes. The researchers found that experiencing a simulation of ocean acidification’s effects spurred meaningful gains in people’s understanding of the issue. With the advent of affordable consumer-grade gear from companies such as Oculus Rift, Samsung and Microsoft, potential audiences for VR are expanding far beyond Stanford’s multimillion-dollar Virtual Human Interaction Lab. The team brought the Stanford Ocean Acidification Experience to more than 270 high school students, college students and adults. After the experience, the Sacred Heart students’ scores on questions about ocean acidification causes and mechanisms increased by almost 150 percent and they retained that knowledge when tested several weeks later. In all of the study’s in-school experiments, participants demonstrated increasing knowledge about ocean acidification as their time in the VR learning environment grew longer. https://bit.ly/2FW2aPm
EPA sued over ocean acidification
The Center for Biological Diversity today sued the Trump administration for refusing to recognize that ocean acidification caused by fossil fuel pollution is impairing the quality of Oregon’s coastal waters. The lawsuit, filed today in federal court in Portland, notes that the Environmental Protection Agency is violating the Clean Water Act by failing to identify waters impaired by ocean acidification. That would allow those waters to be subject to pollution controls and other protective measures. Shellfish and other marine life are being harmed as the Pacific Ocean absorbs carbon dioxide emissions and becomes more acidic — a condition that climate scientists expect to worsen steadily. “Ocean acidification is wreaking havoc on Oregon’s coastal waters while the Trump administration ignores the dire threat created by our fossil fuel addiction,” said Emily Jeffers, a Center attorney. “This pollution is already harming Oregon’s oysters and plankton that whales and salmon depend on. We can protect water quality and coastal communities but only if federal officials address acidification before it gets worse.” https://bit.ly/2Q58CIs
A French-American plastic pollution campaigner has given up his attempt to swim across the Pacific ocean after a storm broke the mainsail of his support ship
Ben Lecomte had completed about 2,780km (1,500 nautical miles) of the 9,260km (5,000-nautical mile) journey. The trip was to take him through 1,600km of the “Great Pacific garbage patch”, in an attempt to raise awareness of plastic pollution. The 51-year-old called the premature end to the swim a deep disappointment. “We’ve faced treacherous winds, rain and ocean swells that have forced us to alter our course, and the irreparable damage to the sail is an insurmountable blow,” he said in a news release. Lecomte, of Austin, Texas, set out on 5 June from Japan’s Pacific coast and was swimming an average of eight hours a day.
Violent storms had already forced him to interrupt the swim after 500 nautical miles and return to Japan in late July. The mainsail broke on 10 November. https://bit.ly/2BEw2vu
El Paso to drink treated sewage water due to climate change drought
By Nadia Kounang
El Paso is ready to take the next step in expanding its water portfolio. It is building a closed loop system that will treat sewage water and turn it directly into drinking water. Among water professionals, it’s called “direct potable reuse” or “advanced purification.” “It’s the logical next step for us to take,” said Gilbert Trejo, the chief technical officer of El Paso Water. El Paso; Orange County, California; Scottsdale, Arizona, and several other utilities across the country treat sewage water and then pump it back into the aquifer to ultimately drink. Trejo says it can take about five years for the water to filter through the ground before being pumped back out and treated to the standards of clean drinking water. This treated water is also frequently used for irrigation and industrial purposes. El Paso is building a completely closed loop facility; instead of being pumped back into the aquifer, the treated sewage water will undergo additional filtration and then be sent back into drinking water pipelines. “We see this water that’s clear and it’s of good quality,” Trejo explained to Gupta. “The next thing for us to do is to take a high-quality water we produce at a state-of-the-art facility and then treat it a little bit more with multiple treatment processes so we can drink it.” According to the EPA, the amount of wastewater produced in large cities can represent 50% to 60% of the total water supplied, providing a massive resource for cities like El Paso that are scouring for water. To make sure the water is clean of any pathogens or microbes, treated sewage water is sent through multiple steps of filtration, including UV and carbon filtration. Studies have found that treated water is, in fact, less likely to have contaminants than untreated river or lake water. https://cnn.it/2FN6kcp