Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How Does a Wind Turbine Generate Electricity?

By Joaquin Altenberg

With so many ecological threats we face today, the concept of wind energy is gradually gaining a strong footing. It is imperative now to give due credence to such renewable sources of energy.

Wind is basically the movement of air, which depends on the sun. Solar heating patterns on the surface of the earth create this phenomenon.  Different land and water bodies on our planet’s surface absorb the sun’s heat at varied rates at different times of the day; for e.g. during the day, the air over land surfaces heat faster than over water. On expanding, this warm air rises with cooler, denser air replacing it, creating a movement known as wind.  During the night we see the reverse of this pattern. Geographical location, vegetation density and the intensity of solar heat are also some of contributors in wind creation.  When in motion, the air has copious amounts of resulting energy that can be gainfully used in various forms and for various purposes.

Thus the wind is not only something pleasant you look forward to on a balmy day, but can be one of the most effective forms of energy creation, when harnessed correctly. Since it depends on the sun, wind power or energy is a renewable and ‘green’ way to power our world. It can be used to create or supplement electricity and mechanical power.

The vital cog in the process of wind energy usage and creation for the generation of power, are the Wind Turbines. These turbines employ the mechanics of a reverse fan. Powered by the wind’s energy, its blades help in generating electricity. The basic mechanics consist of the turbine’s blades that are put into motion by the wind, and are connected to generators. Finally, these generators are used to transform this rotational energy into electric power.

How they work:

Turbines typically have two or three blades. Even in a wind-less situation, the blades on a wind turbine are positioned at an angle of 45 degrees so that the turbine can trap all possible energy even with the slightest of winds. When in contact with the wind, the fronts of the rotor blades (which have the larger surface area) propel to a 0 degree angle and are bombarded with energy, from the front and the back. In essence, this creates positive pressure on the fronts of the blades and negative pressure behind them, causing a suction type effect which in turns lifts the blades and transfers the wind energy to kinetic energy. This force turns the shaft connected to the rotors, creating a strong rotational energy which gets converted to electric energy by the generators.

An electric control system connects the generator. The entire system channels the produced electric energy to high voltage transformers and eventually the grid. These grids are responsible for supplying energy to places like homes, farms, factories, water pumps, as well as commercial power suppliers.

The efficiency of wind turbines depends on various factors such as location, geographical factors, mechanics, rotor shape/size, etc... Output can be regulated by a constant or variable rotational speed, as well as adjustable and non-adjustable blades. This control is essential because sometimes the wind’s speed puts too much stress on the turbine, causing safety controls to kick-in and apply brakes to the rotor to prevent it from damage.

Types of Wind Turbines:

Wind turbines can be classified into two major types. Although they work on the same basic premise, the process and design differ greatly.

Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine (HAWT): Horizontal axis wind turbines are more widely used and are the more traditional style in turbine design, mostly seen in wind farms. These are generally used to power electrical generators, because of the usage of gearboxes which enable change in rotation speed. Efficiency of a HAWT is generally high because of the angles the blades are set at, a blade pitch that is adjustable and the height of the tower (as greater wind speeds are found higher up from the ground, higher towers typically capture more wind energy). A horizontal turbine therefore is mainly run by a system of blades/rotors, a generator, a gearbox, the shaft and a supporting tower.

Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT): Vertical axis wind turbines, as the name suggests, consist of a vertically arranged rotor shaft. This is also known as the ‘egg beater’ style. A vertical axis wind turbine has proven to be very useful at locations where the wind direction tends to vary. This type of turbine however, is said to be not as reliable and efficient as a HAWT, one of the reasons being the low placement of the rotors.

Vert Investment Group ("Vert") is a leading renewable energy investment advisory firm focused on small to medium-sized wind electricity generation projects in strong power markets. Vert utilizes its proven methodology, the Staged Progression Model, to guide development projects to construction ready and identify investment opportunities that generate out-sized returns.

Article Source: ABC Article Directory | Articles |Submit Articles | Article Search Engine | Article Directory

Monday, November 29, 2010

Solar Technology – Myths Explained

Solar Technology – Myths Explained by Brown

As we speed up the momentum to save earth and its precious non renewable energy resources, more and more people are encouraged to invest in solar technology on their property.

How solar photovoltaic panels generate electricity?
A solar photovoltaic panel comprises of one or two layers of cells which are made from semi conductors such as silicon. During day light when the sun shines on the cell, an electricity field is generated across the layers. The electricity flows within the layers of the cell. This electricity is colleted at a central point on the roof space which is then converted from a direct current (DC) to an alternating current (AC) and transported into your home for use. In case the solar photovoltaic panels generate extra energy you can sell it the National Grid, UK and earn money on it as well.

Before you go ahead with installing photovoltaic panels on your property, you do need to check the property for the suitability for the same –

Your home should already have electricity supply meter
You own freehold of the property. In case you reside on a leased or rented property, you do need permission of the owner of the property.
Mid-floor flats and basement properties are not suitable for photovoltaic panel installations
Generally, you do not require permission for installing home solar panels. In case you reside in listing building area or conservation area or World Heritage Site you do need check out with planning officer of your area nevertheless.
Flat roofed properties are ideally most suitable for solar panels while      heavily shaded or north-facing roof spaces are most unsuitable.

Minimal maintenance and service required -
 As you are well aware of the advantages of installing home solar panels, you would be even more pleased to know that they require minimal maintenance. Generally, rain showers can take care of cleaning issues of these panels however for more complex issues you could always contact your installation service provider for the same. It helps if you conduct a routine check of your solar panels on an annual basis.

Compatibility of Home Solar Panels with Boilers and Heaters
In most cases, conventional boiler and heating systems do function well with solar water heating panels while combination boilers with no separate water cylinders are not compatible with solar heating panels. With regards to concerns regarding hot water generating capacity, this again depends upon the size of the solar panels installed and weather conditions. In most general cases, the solar panel is capable of generating almost 1/3 of regular hot water requirements.

Solar Technology and Power cuts
For safety reasons, most solar technology systems get automatically switched off during a power cut. When the power is restored, they do get switched on. In all, solar technology panel are safe to use especially at homes.

Solar Technology is energy efficient and green energy. As a powerful source of zero emission energy, most households could go ahead with installation of solar panels on their property if found suitable. Solar technology panels are definitely expensive but require almost no maintenance and a single annual service. Moreover, by simply using them you can lower your bills to a great extent and earn by selling extra electricity to the National Grid as well.

So take the right step in the right direction to reduce your carbon footprint and provide your future generation a healthy and greener mother earth to live  in.

Dual Fuel Tariffs  British gas Dual fuel tariffs offer you money saving combined tariff plans for electricity  & gas. Cut down your energy bills with the British Gas dual fuel offers. Know More about British Gas Websaver 7

Article Source: ABC Article Directory | Articles |Submit Articles | Article Search Engine | Article Directory

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What You Should Know about Wind Energy

Norman Kirby

Wind energy is an ancient technology used 4000 years ago. It is utilized to power sails, irrigate crops and to grind corn. Windmills are one of the evidences of its early use. The wind, just like the sun is an unlimited source of energy. It never runs out. However, unlike the sun, it continues to work even at night.

Wind is formed when certain areas in the atmosphere become warmer than the others. As the warm section rises, the air blows to take its place. The wind energy converts kinetic energy to form a sustainable force. The amount of potential energy depends on the amount of wind produced and is relatively affected by the density of the air. When there is a sufficient amount of wind, this becomes the mechanical energy or electricity. The cost of wind energy is more competitive compared to other energy generating technologies, as related expenses are minimal. Also, it does not need fuel to make it work, making it pollution free. Unlike fuels and other non-renewable energy sources, it does not produce greenhouse gases and radioactive and toxic wastes.

The wind turbines are used to gather wind energy to convert it to mechanical power or electricity. The mechanical power can be used for tasks such as pumping water or grinding grain. Modern turbines have two basic groups - the horizontal axis and the vertical axis design. The horizontal axis system is commonly seen in farms and is used for pumping water. Its components include a blade, which converts the energy in the wind; a drive train, which often includes a generator and a gearbox; and a tower that supports the drive train and the blade. It is generally accessorized with control panels, interconnection equipment and electrical cables. The vertical axis system is commonly used in large industries. It is often grouped together as a power plant or commonly known as a wind farm to generate bulk electrical power. This is then distributed to households and business establishments as a form of electricity. The electricity produced is used to supply generators to power homes, schools and industries. Wind turbines are like aircraft propeller blades that turn as the wind blows to power an electric generator. A wind turbine is an equal opposite of an electric fan. Unlike the fan, it doesn't make use of electricity to produce air. Rather, it turns with the help of the wind to produce electricity. However, not all winds can meet the demands of electricity if not stored in batteries. This is because wind as a source of power is intermittent and cannot be tied together to be a sufficient source all the time. On the other hand, to answer this issue , secluded locations are found to be sufficient wind sites. Future applications are then currently studied to make energy production more efficient. It is deliberated to enhance this energy source with the use of hydrogen generating electrolysers to work together to fill in the intermittent aspects of wind supply.

Kellie is an expert when it comes to Alternative Energy Sources. To find out the latest News and Tips on Solar and Wind Energy, visit Energy Sources Today at http://energysourcestoday.com/.

Article Source: ABC Article Directory | Articles |Submit Articles | Article Search Engine | Article Directory

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Impact of Global Warming

Causes of Global Warming

Global warming is an increase the average temperature of Earth's surface. Since the late 1800's, the global average temperature has increased about 0.7 to 1.4 degrees F (0.4 to 0.8 degrees C). Many experts estimate that the average temperature will rise an additional 2.5 to 10.4 degrees F (1.4 to 5.8 degrees C) by 2100. That rate of increase would be much superior to most past rates of increase.

Scientists are anxious that human societies and natural ecosystem may not adapt to rapid climate changes. A bionetwork consists of the living organisms and physical environment in a particular area. Global warming could cause much harm, so countries throughout the world drafted an agreement called the Kyoto Protocol to help limit it.

Impact of global warming

Climatologists (scientists who study climate) have analyzed the global warm that has occurred since the late 1800's. A majority of climatologists have concluded that human activities are responsible for most of the warming. Human activities contribute to global warming by enhancing Earth's natural greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect warms Earth's surface through a complex process involving sunlight, gases, and particles in the atmosphere. Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are known as greenhouse gases.

The main human behaviors that contribute to global warming are the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) and the clearing of land. Most of the burning occurs in automobiles, in factories, and in electric power plants that provide energy for houses and office buildings. The burning of fossil fuels creates carbon dioxide, whose chemical formula is CO2. CO2 is a greenhouse gas that slows the escape of heat into space. Trees and other plants remove CO2 from the air during photosynthesis, the process they use to produce food. The clearing of land contributes to the buildup of CO2 by reducing the rate at which the gas is removed from the atmosphere or by the decomposition of dead vegetation.

A small number of scientists argue that the increase in greenhouse gases has not made a measurable difference in the temperature. They say that natural processes could have caused global warming. Those processes include increases in the energy emitted (given off) by the sun. But the vast majority of climatologists believe that increases in the sun's energy have contributed only slightly to recent warming.

Harm to ocean life

Through global warming, the surface waters of the oceans could become warmer, increasing the stress on ocean ecosystems, such as coral reefs. High water temperatures can cause a damaging process called coral bleaching. When corals bleach, they expel the algae that give them their color and nourishment. The corals turn white and, unless the water temperature cools, they die. Added warmth also helps spread diseases that affect sea creatures.

Changes of habitat

Widespread shifts might occur in the natural habitats of animals and plants. Many species would have difficulty surviving in the regions they now inhabit. For example, many flowering plants will not bloom without a sufficient period of winter cold. And human occupation has altered the landscape in ways that would make new habitats hard to reach or unavailable altogether.

Weather damage

Extreme weather conditions might become more frequent and therefore more damaging. Changes in rainfall patterns could increase both flooding and drought in some areas. More hurricanes and other tropical storms might occur, and they could become more powerful.

Rising sea level

Continued global warming might, over centuries, melt large amounts of ice from a vast sheet that covers most of West Antarctica. As a result, the sea level would rise throughout the world. Many coastal areas would experience flooding, erosion, a loss of wetlands, and an entry of seawater into freshwater areas. High sea levels would submerge some coastal cities, small island nations, and other inhabited regions.

Threats to human health

Tropical diseases, such as malaria and dengue, might spread to larger regions. Longer-lasting and more intense heat waves could cause more deaths and illnesses. Floods and droughts could increase hunger and malnutrition.

Johnn Smith is an Expert author for International Space Station. He has written many articles like "Space station shuttle". For information visit our site Shuttle Missions.

Article Source: ArticleNexus

Friday, November 26, 2010

An Introduction To Solar Power Energy And Various Other Green Energy Resources

Joe Clark

When we speak about green electrical power we are referring to power that delivers vitality from options that won't be depleted because of our use of them. Renewable electricity is definitely an option to non-renewable fossil gas energy for causes besides the issue of non-depletion.

1 fundamental advantage of alternative power, and also the reason environmentalists all through the globe are advocate its use, is that it does give away greenhouse gases along with other dangerous pollutants as do the by-products of burning fossil gasoline for electrical power. Renewable energy including solar electrical power, h2o electrical power and wind electrical power, although the widespread dialogue of which is new, are anything but new.

In both newly creating and highly produced nations wind, sun and h2o have long been employed as power resources, though not towards the extent of providing the main vitality supply for large metropolitan communities.

The mass creation of these kinds of alternative electricity is become commonplace in current a long time as a lot more and far more individuals come to understand how local weather is changing on account of the pollution of fossil gas gases, resulting from the exhaustion with the availability of these fossil fuels as well as the political and social considerations of vitality resources such as nuclear power.

Several nations and non-profit environmentally-conscious organizations are encouraging the use of renewable vitality sources by passing legislation on tax incentives for his or her use and subsidies to offset the additional expense of converting from fossil gas to renewable energy.

The circulation of alternative vitality entails phenomena that happen naturally in our globe. Tides, natural light, wind and warmth derived by geothermal occurrences all offer green power. Each of those electrical power sources is distinctive both in wherever we can use them and the way.

Most technology that converts alternative electricity into electrical power resources we are able to use are powered at least in component by the Sunlight if not directly at the very least indirectly. The earths atmospheric system stays in these kinds of equilibrium that the warmth that it offers away from radiates into space to an quantity equal for the radiation that comes to earth through the solar.

The end result of this electrical power stage within the atmosphere is roughly translated towards the climate from the globe. The water from the world, also referred to its hydrosphere, absorbs a lot of the radiation that comes to us in the sun.

Most of the radiation gets absorbed on the lower latitudes with the planet that exist around the equator. This energy gets dissipated all around the globe, nevertheless, within the form of ocean and wind currents.

The motion of the ocean waves might possess a part in transference of mechanical energy in between the ocean plus the earths environment by way of wind tension. Photo voltaic energy also gives the suggests by which precipitations is distributed and then tapped by hydroelectric energy tasks as well as plant growth that then generates biofuels.

Want to learn more about renewable energy wind?  If so then make sure to visit the author's blog today!

Article Source: Articlestars.com

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Air Pollution and Dying Forests - The Tragedy of Human Involvement on Earth

By Karel Kosman

Air pollution means that certain substances that are released into the air, change its natural composition. It may happen by means of natural processes, such as volcanic explosion or biological decomposition, or by anthropogenic emissions, which are produced by burning of coal and heating oils in power plants or homes, or those produced by transportation or ibbindustrial manufacture.

Together with water, food, and sunlight, air is vital for people, plants, and animals. Clean air is made up of 75 percent of nitrogen, 21 percent of oxygen, and certain noble gases. Germany alone releases into the air almost 20 million tonnes of toxic gases every year. It is mainly carbon dioxide, sulphur oxide, oxides of nitrogen, and dust particles or droplets.

Air currents spread this toxic load, which can travel great distances of many hundred kilometres. This is helped greatly by tall stacks of industrial installations.

One of the major toxic wastes is sulphur oxide, which is produced by burning of heating oil and coal. This oxide, together with carbon dioxide, are contained in harmless rain. In general, rain always contains acids. It is given by volcanic explosions that expel sulphur, as well as by the composition of the air, containing acids in the form of noble gases. Natural acid contents of the rain are not dangerous to the environment. However, this changed with the arrival of the industrialisation.

Wind carries into the air the additional oxides, which in the sunlight change into sulphates and nitrates. Acids containing nitrogen and sulphuric acid collect in the clouds, and are then deposited by rain and other types of precipitation on the surface of the earth. This rain is 500 times more acid than harmless rain.

As long as it contains neutralising chemicals (such as calcite), the soil may fight these toxic materials. However, nutrients, such as magnesium or calcium, are separated from the soil by acid rain, which damages the trees. The area in Germany most impacted by acid rain is the Middle Range. In winter, the situation worsens, because the trees are covered by acid snow, which eliminates the nutrients directly from the needles of the trees. When the snow melts, acid water seeps into the soil and damages the roots. That is how the trees are assaulted by toxic materials from the environment. When there is an additional problem, such as pests or a prolonged drought, the weakened trees die.

The example of Alps gives sense of a chain reaction causing the disease of mountain forests. This region suffers from noise and air pollution, produced by automobiles, ski lifts, skiers, and tourists. With the dying forest, the area is losing the protection of existing ravines and soil. That triggers avalanches and mud- as well as landslides, making many Alpine valleys inhabitable. Agriculture is suffering, and meadows and pastures are drying out.

With no trees, wind can develop its full potential. This, together with the loss of tree roots acting as water reservoirs, causes that the soil dries out. When the trees are dying, so are the animals and plants. The value of the landscape as a recreational area decreases, leading to the decrease of tourism and elimination of jobs. In order to solve this complex problem, measures have to be taken to protect the land.

Carbon monoxide, produced by incomplete combustion in stoves and motor vehicles, impacts negatively human health. When inhaled, it joins with the haemoglobin in the blood, blocking the entry of oxygen, and thus even at very low concentrations impairs the functioning of vital organs.

The oxides of nitrogen damage the respiratory system as well, because oxidation changes them into nitric acid. Due to the ease with which it penetrates the body, this type of respiratory system disease often affects children. Nitrogen oxides are generated by fuel combustion in furnaces and vehicles.

In transport and industrial agglomerations, in particular, the air is filled with toxic material, causing smog under certain meteorological conditions. The word "smog" is made up of "smoke" and "fog." It was used as a synonym of the famous London fog.

Today, smog occurs in virtually every larger city. It is caused by the industry, solid fuel combustion, and exhaust emissions. Smog alert is often issued during wintertime. This is due to the fact, that inversion obstructs the exchange of air. Coolor surface air is blocked by the warmer upper air layers. Inversion forms usually in the areas of high air pressure.

Gas emissions lead to the water vapour condensation, producing smog, which threatens the environment. Humid air then contains oxides of nitrogen and sulphur oxide. When droplets containing acids deposit, they damage masonry, but they are toxic to flora and people inhaling these toxic materials as well. It causes lung disease and bronchitis. Frequently, these diseases are chronic in city dwellers. Children and elderly are usually the most affected segment of the population.

During a smog alert, the use of private motor vehicles is forbidden in order to prevent the increase of the toxic materials in the air. Healthy people should also avoid being outside in the toxic air. At least, physically demanding work should not be done, because it requires deep breathing.

Chloro-fluoro-carbohydrates, used in the past as cooling and cleaning agents, or in sprays, are still being used as solvents. They survive a long time in the atmosphere. In the lower layers of the air they are almost insoluble. Reaction with ultraviolet light releases chlorine, which damages the ozone layer. After eliminating ozone, an atom of chlorine is again free and can react with the next molecule of ozone. As a result, more ultraviolet light reaches the surface of the earth through the depleted oyone layer. This weakens the human immune system and increases the risk of cancer.

While smog has only a local impact, acid rain and the increasing amounts of nitrogen reach the regional level. The effects of the destruction of the ozone layer are of global proportions.

Articles Source: Air Pollution and Dying Forests - The Tragedy of Human Involvement on Earth

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Weather in Chaos - Who Pays?

They say ignorance is bliss but when it comes to the weather it ignorance can be a bitter pill to swallow. I normally keep up on the latest news and I especially keep an eye on the weather since climate change is a frequent topic in my articles and blogs. For the past few weeks I had been busy readying the release of my next book, "Jesus Taught It, Too: The Early Roots of the Law of Attraction" and signing a contract for another book to be released late fall called, "Raping Louisiana: A Diary of Deceit." While I was well aware of the heat wave out West and the deluge in Texas and other Western states, all had seemed relatively quiet on the climate change front-at I thought all was quiet.

Last night I went to check the weather on the internet and decided to take a look at the latest weather headlines. I have to admit to having been shocked to see so many weather disaster stories. I listen to NPR each morning and glance at our local paper everyday but with one or two exceptions, I did not pick up any of the headlines that follow. When the stories are scattered between many news reports I guess the enormity of the issue gets diluted. But when you begin to list the headlines in one place, a totally different picture emerges. On one site, these were the weather related stories and headlines:

94 Dead in China floods, landslides
South Dakota floods kill...
Indian floods death toll up...
Bush declares disaster area in Oklahoma...
Texas declares worst flooding in 50 years...
Heat moving eastward...
Flooded city in Kansas assesses damage...
Western US states swelter under record heat wave...
Country's wettest June on record...
Tornado kills...in China...
Pakistanis set up flood rescue...
Weather extremes whither LA...
Pakistani monsoon victims riot...
Dallas looks like Seattle...
Climate change factor in Chile's lake vanishing...
2007 seen as second warmest year...
Fires rage across sizzling Greece...
Scorching heat, floods wreak havoc across Europe...
Indian flood toll up, millions left stranded...
More heat ahead for sweltering west...

If you look a little deeper, even more stories arise concerning possible flooding from melting glaciers in Tibet, floods and deaths in England and Europe and general horror stories that are climate related.

We have also heard about many scientists claiming that the world's climate is nearing a catastrophic tipping point and that unless changes in our carbon emissions happen soon, we could be in for real trouble. Of course, looking at the above headlines it would appear that we are already in trouble. Of course other stories say that policy makers are working on finding ways to reduce carbon emissions and sometime in the next 20 years we might get 30 miles per gallon for fleet averages. It makes you want to shout, "Hello is anyone paying attention to what is happening to the climate right now?"

American auto makers complain that converting to alternative fuels of greatly increasing fleet mileages would be too costly. Producers of electricity that use coal as their energy source say that making coal plants cleaner will cost too much money. All of our political and industry leaders say that having a clean planet will cost too much money. It really begs the question. What is the cost of the floods, heat waves, raging fires in terms of property and lives? Florida officials say that they need "five feet" of rain to make up for water deficiencies to quench the thirst of existing populations and to accommodate new development. Perhaps if the sea rises, that will no longer be an issue. Millions, if not billions of dollars are being lost now to climate chaos.

Our actions and inactions of yesterday are causing the consequences of today. Today, we are doing little to alter our ways and have no real solid plans for change for at least the next twenty years. If the weather headlines we see now are the harbinger of things to come, everyone had better strap in for we are in for quite the ride. It is also said that knowledge is power but that is wrong. It is the use of knowledge that is power and one can only hope that people wake up and pay closer attention to what is happening in the world now if we want to still have a world tomorrow.

Articles Source: http://education.ezinemark.com/weather-in-chaos-who-pays-4d347b53412.html

About the Author:

Mr. Harris was born in Massachusetts. He attended The American University in Washington, D.C. and received his degree in Political Science. His graduate work was done at the University of Northern Colorado and Howard University. While in D.C., he spent several years working for local and regional government agencies. Upon moving to Maine he worked with three governors and served as the Assistant Director of the Maine State Planning Office. He worked on a White House Task Force for the development of a National Rural Policy and later served as Rural Policy Coordinator at the Federal Regional Council of New England. He has worked on gubernatorial and senatorial political campaigns and currently works in Special Education.

Mr. Harris is co-author of the novel WAKING GOD and is a nationally syndicated and featured writer for The American Chronicle. He is working on Book II of the Waking God trilogy and writing features for literary E-zines. His second novel, A MAINE CHRISTMAS CAROL has been released by Cambridge Books. Contributing writer for UPI's Religion&Spirituality web site.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kobe Earthquake - Interview With A Survivor

By Diane Diekman

The earthquake that struck Kobe (ko-bay), Japan, in 1995 registered 7.2 on the Richter scale and lasted twenty seconds. Fires and collapsed buildings and bridges throughout the city killed 5000 people and injured 21,000. More than 275,000 of the city's 1.5 million inhabitants were left homeless.

I interviewed a survivor of that earthquake. Ruth Harimoto grew up in Tokyo, the daughter of Lutheran missionaries from Wisconsin. In 1995 she was living in Kobe with her husband, Paul, and their two young sons.

One of the reasons Ruth wanted to move to Kobe was that she felt safe there. Kobe was not considered an earthquake area; it had none of the tremors commonly experienced in Tokyo. That changed at 5:47 AM on January 17.

The Harimotos heard the earthquake before they felt it. A deep train-like rumble woke them, and then the shaking began. In Tokyo tremors had always made Ruth wonder, "Is this going to be the big one?" Here in Kobe, she had no doubt. She knew immediately this was the big one.

In traditional Japanese style, the family slept together on the floor of a tatami room that contained no furniture. There was nothing to fall on them and they were uninjured. The noise increased as things started moving. Lying in their upstairs bedroom, they could hear dishes crashing to the floor downstairs. Ruth expected the house to fall on them. When she realized they would all die, she thought, through her fear, "Oh, I'm going to be in heaven any minute."

But the house did not fall, and the shaking stopped. When the family went downstairs, they found the floors covered with broken glass. The doors to the china cabinet and all the kitchen cupboards had come open and discharged their contents.

The Harimotos dressed in ski wear for warmth and bike helmets for protection against falling objects, and went outside. Carrying a bag of food and drink, they tried to decide where to go. The smell of gas prevented them from staying home, and frequent aftershocks still shook the ground.

The street was buckled, with water from broken pipes rushing down it like a river. Several houses had collapsed, with many others tilted or showing cracked walls and broken windows.

After spending three hours with nearby friends, the Harimotos returned home to find the gas smell dissipated. Their house appeared structurally sound, with no broken windows; it seemed the safest place to be. Sweeping up broken glass was almost all the cleaning required.

The electricity had already come back on, and new reports on television showed the devastation throughout the city. The earthquake originated on a small island off Kobe's southern coast and moved through the city to the mountains that bordered the northern edge.

Because Harimotos lived in the northern section, away from the congestion of the city, the damage was not as bad. There were no fires. Boulders loosened by the earthquake rolled down the mountain. One house had a big boulder in its driveway that hadn't been there before.

A heavy rain fell three days later, causing landslides and damaging hillside homes that had survived the initial earthquake. There was no gas or water. With electric heat, the Harimotos would be warm. Their major concern was lack of water.

Ruth went to a convenience store, which had all its front windows broken and all its shelves tipped over. In spite of the mess, an employee stood behind the cash register and customers waited in line to pay for their food. Ruth was amazed to see--in the middle of this disaster - people lined up in such an orderly fashion.

Numerous people stayed in the Harimoto house until their homes were repaired or they went to live with relatives. Many of them Ruth didn't even know. The population shifted day by day.

After the initial days of concentrating on survival, life turned into one of drudgery until gas and water were restored two months later. Getting enough water, thinking about being able to take a bath and wash clothes, finding food and being able to wash dishes--these were constant struggles.

Families who still had water and propane gas allowed people to come into their homes to take baths. Ruth says, "I don't know how many different places we took baths." One woman who lived up on the mountain invited people to drop off baskets of laundry, which she washed for them.

Tremors continued every day for weeks, with frequent aftershocks for months. They didn't cause much damage, but were fearful to those who had lived through "the big one."

I asked Ruth if she lives differently now. She said she doesn't sit under the balcony in church because she's afraid it will fall on her. And she no longer takes for granted the ground we walk on: "We live in the hand of God. If even the ground you walk on could crack open and swallow you up, or shake so much your house falls down on you, what is there you can trust? Basically, there isn't anything on earth you can trust. That was a good lesson."

(Originally published at Diane Diekman's weblog, and reprinted with her permission).

Articles Source: Kobe Earthquake - Interview With A Survivor


Monday, November 22, 2010

How to Survive a Tsunami

By Jarred Sadler

Tsunamis used to be the stuff of movies and until it's devastation in Asia, most people didn't think it was possible for tsunamis to occur in that magnitude. With that realization, people have become aware of the risk and possible consequences of this natural calamity.

What is a tsunami? Tsunamis are not caused by strong winds but by tectonic displacements (earthquakes, volcano eruptions, landslides) that occur on the seafloor. Earthquakes that produce tsunamis are those that reach 6.5 or more on the Richter scale. The average speed of the waves is 300 mph and can last from 5 minutes to an hour.

In open sea, tsunamis usually go unnoticed, having amplitudes of just 1 meter or even less. However, in some situations, waves that enter shallow water can swell to several feet and in some rare cases, rise high enough to strike coastal areas with terrible force.

Who's at risk? People who live in coastal areas located along or near the Pacific Ocean are most prone to tsunamis. This area is most vulnerable because of seismic activity in what is called the Ring of Fire. It has also occurred in Puerto Rico, Alaska, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands.

What to do in a tsunami emergency When a strong earthquake is felt, leave the water immediately, get to shore and go as far away as you can from the beach, fast. If your location allows it, go to a higher ground. If the area you are in is mostly flat, go as far inland as you can. If you can spot the wave, you are too close to escape it, regardless of its apparent distance.

Tune in to your local radio station, the weather radio or turn on the TV for news and updates. They will inform you if there is a tsunami watch or warning issued in your area and where the emergency centers are.

Locate all members of your family and make sure everyone is informed. Agree on a place to meet in case you're not together and make sure it's safe and as far away from the shore as possible.

If you have family members who have special needs like elderly people, small children or infants and those with disabilities, you might want to evacuate early. You might also want to prepare your pets for moving, so bring emergency supplies for them as well.

Check your emergency supply kits and bring them with you. It would be a good idea if they had been regularly restocked but if not, take what you can or get what is needed if you still have the time and opportunity. Otherwise, opt to get water, food and extra clothes instead.

You might want to secure your house, but remember that this is the last priority. Your life and that of your family's are the most important considerations during a tsunami emergency. Expect items in your house to be swept away and if you could still secure them, do so.

Tsunami watch vs. tsunami warning A tsunami watch is different from a tsunami warning. A tsunami watch means that the presence of a dangerous tsunami is not yet confirmed or verified, although it is possible there is one. It also includes predictions on what time the tsunami is expected and where it will possibly strike.

A tsunami warning means that there is a confirmed tsunami in your area and it could be close. The warning will include the time at which the tsunami is expected and which areas are affected.

As a last emergency tip... If you find yourself under the mercy of an incoming wave, climb onto the rooftop of your house or on the highest point of the nearest structure and brace yourself. Hold on tightly to anything that's strong and stable enough. Climb a tree if you have to and don't let go.

If you're already in the water, grab a floating object that can hold your weight and hold onto it until you can reach stable ground or when help is available. Grab onto anything that is firm and strive to get out of the water as much as possible. The current will be strong and there could be heavy and sharp debris in the water that could crash into you.

Tsunamis, like most things nature produces, are uncontrollable. The only advantage is that they do come with a warning (a strong earthquake). The only way to survive it is to be prepared, be ready to go and to keep your wits about you.

Articles Source: How to Survive a Tsunami

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Global Climate Change - Facts

By Ronnie Daniels

Instead of joining ranks with the parties engaged in the current cold war over climate change I would like to do something refreshing and new. This article is going to present you with a series of indisputable facts on the global climate and then ask you to decide for yourself what your opinion on the matter is.

Here I sit at my desk on a typical summer day in Tennessee. It gets in the 90F temperature range during the first part of the day and then there are thundershowers in the afternoon. It could be any summer day picked at random from the 50 odd summers of my life.

The first true fact: in over 100 years the temperature has not increased even 1degree.
2 opposing forces

One group of people with a liberal bent would have us believe that the planet is at the edge of ecological disaster due to the increase in CO2 caused by human activities, of which one is simply breathing. Led by one of my states native sons and the United Nations these forces attempt to use science (sometimes used very badly) and fear to promote their agenda of globalism and socialist ideals.
The other group, firmly entrenched in the warm and coy bed of conservatism and the corporate energy lobby struggle to use their influence to make us think that global climate change is a myth. They seek to preserve our constitutional methods of governing and let the free market deal with our energy problems. The nation would be better served if the opposing sides would address our energy and climate problems sans politics.

Fact: The climate is changing. It has been changing for millions of years and will continue to change.
Fact: Human activity does affect the climate to an extent. Cities change the weather in their immediate area simply by existing.

Fact: The Earth captures CO2 and stores it in plant life and in the sediments of the sea bottom. There is a correlation between the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and the amount of O2 ( oxygen) in the atmosphere. In times past the planet had higher temperatures and higher levels of O2 and CO2. These levels came down during the ice ages. The planet is in the final stages of the last ice age and has been for over 12,000 years.

Fact: The Earth is a self regulating organism with extremely complex interactions of millions of processes and variables. Each one in interdependent with every other in a system so complex that we don't have the technology to completely understand it. Even with cray super computers and climate modeling it is still a lot of guesswork because the system changes faster than it can be modeled.
The atmosphere begins on the sun and reaches all the way to the core of the planet. The complex interaction between the atmosphere, the cycles of water in the lakes,seas and rivers and the life processes ( respiration) of every living thing on the planet work together to produce the weather conditions prevalent today and for the foreseeable future.

Fact: There is no real consensus among scientists on this issue. One group of climate scientists who by use of computer modeling, have concluded that global warming is a fact and is caused by an increase in man made CO2 emissions. These same scientists have also stated that their computers are not capable of handling the sheer number of calculations needed for proof of their assertion.
Many other scientists in a number of disciplines including geology, earth science and meteorology hold different opinions. Some even argue that the Earth is cooling.

Fact: The problem is complex with many variables to consider and there has been a lot of misrepresentation of the facts in the press by both politicians and reporters.

We see one example of this in the way the press covered a report in 2007 by the University of Illinois showing that the arctic ice cap had the lowest level of ice cover in thirty years. This was reported widely in the popular press while omitting reports statement that in 2007 the Antarctic ice cover was at an all time high.

Fact: Over 30,000 American scientists have signed a petition stating that:

* Believe global warming is not occurring or has ceased

* Believe accuracy of IPCC climate projections is questionable

* Believe global warming is primarily caused by natural processes

* Believe cause of global warming is unknown

* Believe global warming will benefit human society

This petition has been signed by 31,478 American scientists including 9,029 with PhD. degrees and including Nobel Laureates.

The petition is as follows:

"We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth. "

(From petitionproject.org)

While it is a fact that our climate is constantly changing, is the response by government and the U.N. an over-reaction to the situation? That decision is for you to make.

Articles Source: Global Climate Change - Facts

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The most catastrophic volcanic eruptions by Catastrophe Monitor

A volcano is a landform (usually a mountain) where molten rock erupts through the surface of the planet. In simple terms a volcano is a mountain that opens downward to a pool of molten rock (magma) below the surface of the earth. It is a hole in the Earth from which molten rock and gas erupt.

The name "volcano" has its origin from the name of Vulcan, a god of fire in Roman mythology. As pressure in the molten rock builds up it needs to escape somewhere. So it forces its way up "fissures" which are narrow cracks in the earths crust. Once the magma erupts through the earth's surface it's called lava.

10. Mount Kelut (May 19, 1919)

Death Toll = 5,115

Kelut is a volcano located in East Java on Java in Indonesia. Like many Indonesian volcanoes and others on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Kelud is known for large explosive eruptions throughout its history. More than 30 eruptions have occurred since 1000 A.D.

On May 19, 1919, an eruption at Kelud killed an estimated 5,000 people, mostly through hot mudflows (also known as "lahars"). More recent eruptions in 1951, 1966, and 1990 have altogether killed another 250 people. Following the 1966 eruption, the Ampera Tunnel was built on the southwestern side of the crater to drain the crater lake and thus reduce the lahar hazard.

09. Santa Maria (October 24, 1902)

Death Toll = 6,000

Santa María Volcano is a large active volcano in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, close to the city of Quetzaltenango. Prior to the Spanish Conquest it was called Gagxanul in the local K'iche' language. Its eruption in 1902 (VEI 6) was one of the four largest eruptions of the 20th century, after the 1912 Novarupta and 1991 Pinatubo eruptions. It is also one of the five biggest eruptions of the past 200 (and probably 300) years.

The first eruption of Santa María in the recorded history occurred in October 1902. Before 1902 the volcano had been dormant for at least 500 years and possibly several thousand years, but its awakening was clearly indicated by a seismic swarm in the region starting in January 1902, which included a major earthquake in April 1902. The eruption began on 24 October, and the largest explosions occurred over the following two days, ejecting an estimated 5.5 cubic kilometres (1.3 cu mi) of magma. The eruption was one of the largest of the 20th century, only slightly less in magnitude to that of Mount Pinatubo in 1991. The eruption had a VEI of 6, thus being 'Colossal'.

08. Laki (June 8, 1783)

Death Toll = 9,350

Laki or Lakagígar (Craters of Laki) is a volcanic fissure situated in the south of Iceland, not far from the canyon of Eldgjá and the small village Kirkjubæjarklaustur, in South-East Iceland. Lakagígar is the correct name as the Laki mountain itself did not erupt, but fissures opened up on each side of it. Lakagígar is part of a volcanic system, centering on the Grímsvötn volcano and including the Thórdarhyrna volcano. It lies between the glaciers of Mýrdalsjökull and Vatnajökull, in an area of fissures which run in a south-west to north-east direction.

On 8 June 1783, a fissure with 130 craters opened with phreatomagmatic explosions because of the groundwater interacting with the rising basalt magma. Over a few days the eruptions became less explosive, Strombolian, and later Hawaiian in character, with high rates of lava effusion. This event is rated as VEI 6 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index, but the eight month emission of sulfuric aerosols resulted in one of the most important climatic and socially repercussive events of the last millennium.

07. Mount Kelut again (November 1586)

Death Toll = 10,000

Again, Mount Kelut is on the list of the most catastrophic volcano eruptions. Back in 1586, Kelut erupted and killed aproximaly 10k people.

06. Mount Unzen (1792)

Death Toll = 15,000

Mount Unzen (Unzendake) is an active volcanic group of several overlapping stratovolcanoes, near the city of Shimabara, Nagasaki Prefecture, on the island of Kyūshū, Japan's southernmost main island.

In 1792, the collapse of one of its several lava domes triggered a tsunami that killed about 15,000 people in Japan's worst-ever volcanic-related disaster. The volcano was most recently active from 1990 to 1995, and a large eruption in 1991 generated a pyroclastic flow that killed 43 people, including three volcanologists.

Unzen's deadliest eruption occurred in 1792, with a large dacitic lava flow coming from Fugendake. The east flank of the Mayuyama dome collapsed unexpectedly following a post-eruption earthquake, creating an avalanche and tsunami that killed an estimated 15,000 people. This remains Japan's worst-ever volcanic-related disaster.

05. Nevado del Ruiz (November 13, 1985)

Death Toll = 23,000

Nevado del Ruiz, also known as El Mesa de Herveo or Kumanday, is the northernmost volcano of the Andean Volcanic Belt, lying about 129 kilometers (80 mi) west of Bogotá in the Tolima Department of Colombia. It is a stratovolcano, composed of many layers of lava alternating with hardened volcanic ash and other pyroclastic rocks. Nevado del Ruiz has been active for about two million years, since the early Pleistocene or late Pliocene epoch, with three major eruptive periods. The current volcanic cone formed during the "present" eruptive period, which began 150 thousand years ago.

Beginning November 1984, geologists observed an increasing level of seismic activity near Nevado del Ruiz. Other signs of a forthcoming eruption included increased fumarole activity, deposition of sulfur on the summit of the volcano, and small phreatic eruptions. In the latter, hot magma came in contact with water, resulting in explosions as the water was almost instantly turned into steam. The most notable of these events was an ash ejection on September 11, 1985. The activity of the volcano decreased in October 1985. The most likely explanation of the events is that new magma rose into the volcanic edifice before September 1985.

At 9:09 pm, on November 13, 1985, Nevado del Ruiz erupted, ejecting dacitic tephra more than 30 kilometres (19 mi) into the atmosphere. The total mass of the erupted material (including magma) was 35 million tonnes - only 3% of the amount that erupted from Mount St. Helens in 1980. The eruption reached a value of 3 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index. The mass of the ejected sulfur dioxide was about 700,000 tonnes, or about 2% of the mass of the erupted solid material, making the eruption atypically sulfur-rich.

The eruption produced pyroclastic flows that melted summit glaciers and snow, generating four thick lahars that raced down river valleys on the volcano's flanks. It also destroyed a small lake that was observed in Arenas crater several months before the eruption. Water in such volcanic lakes tends to be extremely salty and contain dissolved volcanic gases. The lake's hot, acidic water significantly accelerated the melting of the ice; this effect was confirmed by the large amounts of sulfates and chlorides found in the lahar flow.

04. Mount Pelee (May 7 or May 8, 1902)

Death Toll = 29,000

Mount Pelée is an active volcano on the northern tip of the French overseas department of Martinique in the Lesser Antilles island arc of the Caribbean. It is among the deadliest stratovolcanoes on Earth. Its volcanic cone is composed of layers of volcanic ash and hardened lava.

The volcano is now famous for its eruption in 1902 and the destruction that resulted, now dubbed the worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century. The eruption killed about 30,121 people. Most deaths were caused by pyroclastic flows and occurred in the city of Saint-Pierre, which was, at that time, the largest city in Martinique.

On May 8, 1902, Ascension Day, a volcanic eruption destroyed the town of Saint-Pierre, about 6.4 kilometres (4.0 mi) south of the summit.

In the morning, people were observing the fireworks the mountain was displaying. The night shift telegraph operator was sending the reports of the volcano's activity, to the operator at Fort-de-France, claiming no significant new developments; his last transmission was "Allez", handing over the line to the remote operator. It was 7:52; the next second, the telegraph line went dead. A cable repair ship had the city in direct view; the upper mountainside ripped open and a dense black cloud shot out horizontally. A second black cloud rolled upwards, forming a gigantic mushroom cloud and darkening the sky in a 50-mile (80 km) radius. The initial speed of both clouds was later calculated to be over 670 kilometres (420 mi) per hour.

A rush of wind followed, this time towards the mountain. Then came a half-hour downpour of muddy rain mixed with ashes. For the next several hours, all communication with the city was severed. Nobody knew what was happening, nor who had authority over the island, as the governor was unreachable and his status unknown. Some survivors were picked from the sea, mostly badly burned sailors who had been blown into the sea by the blast and then clung for hours to floating debris.

A warship approached the shore at about 12:30, but the intense heat prevented it from landing until about 3 PM. The city burned for several more days.

The area devastated by the pyroclastic cloud covered about 8 square miles (21 km2), with the city of Saint-Pierre taking its brunt.

03. Mount Vesuvius (August 24, 79 AD)

Death Toll = 33,000

 Mount Vesuvius (Italian: Monte Vesuvio, Latin: Mons Vesuvius) is a stratovolcano on the Bay of Naples, Italy, about 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) east of Naples and a short distance from the shore. It is the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted within the last hundred years, although it is not currently erupting. The two other major active volcanoes in Italy, Etna and Stromboli, are located on islands.

Mount Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in AD 79 that led to the destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. They were never rebuilt, although surviving townspeople and probably looters did undertake extensive salvage work after the destructions. The towns' locations were eventually forgotten until their accidental rediscovery in the 18th century.

The AD 79 eruption was preceded by a powerful earthquake seventeen years beforehand on 5 February, 62, which caused widespread destruction around the Bay of Naples, and particularly to Pompeii. Some of the damage had still not been repaired when the volcano erupted. The deaths of 600 sheep from "tainted air" in the vicinity of Pompeii reported by Seneca the Younger leads Sigurdsson to compare them to similar deaths of sheep in Iceland from pools of volcanic Carbon Dioxide and to speculate that the earthquake of 62 was related to new activity by Vesuvius.

02. Krakatoa (August 26-27, 1883)

Death Toll = 36,000

Krakatoa (Indonesian: Krakatau), also spelled Cracatoa or Krakatau, is a volcanic island made of a'a lava in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. The name is used for the island group, the main island (also called Rakata), and the volcano as a whole. The island exploded in 1883, killing approximately 40,000 people, although some estimates put the death toll much higher. The explosion is still considered to be the loudest sound ever heard in modern history, with reports of it being heard nearly 3000 miles from its point of origin. The shock wave from the explosion was recorded on barographs around the globe.

On August 27, a series of four huge explosions almost entirely destroyed the island. The explosions were so violent that they were heard 3,500 km (2,200 mi) away in Perth, Western Australia and the island of Rodrigues near Mauritius, 4,800 km (3,000 mi) away. The pressure wave from the final explosion was recorded on barographs around the world, which continued to register it up to 5 days after the explosion. The recordings show that the shockwave from the final explosion reverberated around the globe 7 times in total. Ash was propelled to a height of 80 km (50 mi).

Average global temperatures fell by as much as 1.2 degrees Celsius in the year following the eruption. Weather patterns continued to be chaotic for years and temperatures did not return to normal until 1888.

01. Mount Tambora (April 10, 1815)

Death Toll = 92,000

Mount Tambora (or Tamboro) is an active stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, on the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia.

The 1815 eruption is rated 7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index, the only such eruption since the Lake Taupo eruption in about 180 AD. With an estimated ejecta volume of 160 cubic kilometers, Tambora's 1815 outburst was the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history. The explosion was heard on Sumatra island (more than 2,000 km (1,200 mi) away). Heavy volcanic ash falls were observed as far away as Borneo, Sulawesi, Java and Maluku islands. Most deaths from the eruption were from starvation and disease, as the eruptive fallout ruined agricultural productivity in the local region. The death toll was at least 71,000 people (the most deadly eruption in recorded history), of whom 11,000-12,000 were killed directly by the eruption; the often-cited figure of 92,000 people killed is believed to be overestimated. The eruption created global climate anomalies that included the phenomenon known as "volcanic winter": 1816 became known as the "Year Without a Summer" because of the effect on North American and European weather. Agricultural crops failed and livestock died in much of the Northern Hemisphere, resulting in the worst famine of the 19th century.

Catastrophe Monitor: We monitor catastrophes around the world!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Solutions for Global warming and climate change: Carbon footprints

Global warming, today has become a major issue worldwide, or rather we can say that it is one of the major critical environmental challenges which are being faced by the world today. There is no doubt in the fact that today there is a strong need of global warming solutions and climate change solutions. Global warming is basically a process of heating up of earth's atmosphere, with a significant increase in the level of CO2. Usually green house gases are responsible for increasing the earth's average temperature. Our planet, earth, is wrapped in the layers of heat- trapping gaseous content.

And when this harmful gaseous content get released in the atmosphere, it acts like a blanket, which traps heat in the atmosphere and altering climatic conditions globally. The main and the principal green house gas which enters the atmosphere of the earth due to some particular harmful activities of human beings. For example, burning of fossil fuels, solid wastes, trees and wood products, and also as a result of chemical reactions is carbon dioxide (CO2) - which is the main driver for the green house effect. Since industrial revolution, we have observed that humans have been burning fuels on a large scale to run automobiles, to generate electricity, to heat homes etc and are releasing CO2 into the air which is causing damage to environment on a very large scale.

Climate change, today, is also a very big issue, which is also a very big threat to humanity and nature in the 21st century. It is certainly a high time that we all must act now so as to reduce this great threat of climate change to secure a healthy and pollution free life for future generation. One more thing that we must take note of is that not only human deeds and activities, but also some natural processes contribute to rising global temperature and cause a drastic change in climate. For an example if see that animals and plants respiration, by which oxygen and carbon dioxide are converted into the CO2 and energy, and also the process of photosynthesis by which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and stored as carbon in plants biomass. During Ocean atmospheric change, in which CO2 is absorbed and released at the sea surface. Release of carbon during the process of volcanic eruptions from rocks situated in the deep of earth's crust. Therefore, usage of carbon footprint as climate change solutions becomes inevitable.

For more information about sell carbon offset and business carbon offsetting please visit http://www.carbonadvicegroup.com/us/

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Earth Changes

Subtle alterations to the geography of the planet could be considered as earth changes. However when talking about the earth and how it will be changing, many people feel that the alterations are going to be large and potentially life ending.

Scientific Confirmation

The scientific community is hesitant to confirm that the planet is undergoing any type of major upheaval. Data collected over the past few decades indicates that earth changes are occurring. Satellite images are sent to computers around the globe offering real time pictures of storms, solar flare and volcanic activity. Computer applications, including weather information, allows people all over the planet to watch and tracks storms of all types.

It has only been a century since people started recording daily temperatures, weather conditions, wind, rain and snowfall amounts. While this information allows scientists to see patterns, data from a hundred years is like a blink of the eye where the planet is concerned. What one scientist may see as a global warming pattern, another may view the same data as confirmation of global cooling. One side of the scientific fence promotes human activity as the cause for severe weather, while the other side staunchly believes these weather patterns are a common cyclic pattern. The only thing that scientists have in common is that they all believe their theories are correct.

Polar Shift

It is a well-known fact that polar shifts have occurred many times since the planet was formed. Ice cores, volcanic sediments and earth core samples have all confirmed that the poles shift every so often. The shortest number of years ever documented between pole shifts was only 5,000. A pole shift occurring a thousand years ago did not affect the human population as it would today. Unlike now, those people used hand tools and communicated through oral and hand written letters. If a pole shift were to occur today, it would cause major earth changes. Nothing electronic would work including telephones, radios, computers and electrical grids. Since there is no written record of how the last pole shift affected migratory birds and animals, scientists can only theorize what the effect will be for them. Keeping additional foods on hand, over the counter medicine and hand tools may be one way to prepare for a pole shift.

Solar Activity

According to the scientific community, our sun is nearing the end of an eleven-year cycle. In the past few months, the sun has been quite active. Solar flares and magnetic storms have swept across the surface of the earth with little to no warnings from the scientific community. Solar flares have classes just like hurricanes and tornados. Class C flares can cause some communication interference and cause the aurora borealis to be brighter and more colorful. Class M flares disrupt communications including satellite feeds, telephones and cell phones. Class X flares can be very destructive shutting down computers and electrical grids. Unfortunately, scientists do not know much about the sun and it can affect the earth. Data is being collected from the sun through the use of space telescopes, un-manned exploration modules and larger more efficient computers that correlate the information collected. Eventually this data will help us understand how the sun can change the lives of those on earth.

Volcanic Activity

Dormant volcanoes around the globe are becoming active. Although hidden from view, underwater volcanic activity has increased as well. The Pacific Ring of Fire, an area in the Pacific Ocean where the sub-oceanic crust is thin, has become more and more active. Yellowstone Park is located over one of the world's biggest magma chambers. The caldera at Yellowstone is big and the ground between the magma chamber and the surface is not very thick. Should the earth's crust become unstable, it is possible that the dormant volcano, that formed the Yellowstone caldera, will become active once again causing severe earth changes.


Hardly a day goes by without an earthquake being reported. Twenty to fifty years ago, earthquakes were a rarity and even then, they were minor. In the last year, the world has watched Haiti and Chili reel from the affects of unexpected earthquakes. The Chilean quake, which measured 8.8 on the Richter scale, actually moved a town ten feet. Haiti suffered massive devastation from an earthquake that occurred along a previously unknown fault line. Unless there is activity along them, many fault lines go undetected. Even a moderate earthquake in an area that is not expecting one will cause substantial devastation. Earthquakes are events that can change the shape of the earth forever.

Earthquake, volcanic eruptions and severe weather are all types of earth changes. Knowing how to take care of yourself during an emergency and having the supplies on hand to help get you through one will be invaluable.

Original Article

Pat Fisher - Introduced to preparedness, he began learning as much as he could, and now shares that information with you in American Teotwawki

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Environment-related GIS Apps

GIS apps for environment related issues are growing by the day. GIS facilitates efficient resource management within an organization and outside it as well. One of the end-uses of this can thus be: enabling the public to report environmental issues to the powers that be. How? It's just that the data sets are linked together by GIS with the help of common data like latitude-longitude or addresses. This facilitates sharing of data between members of the public, government departments and private environmental organizations.

GIS APPS of the day have revolutionized legal prosecution for environment related violations. There are GIS-visualization-tools today that are used to furnish illustrated evidence of environmental offence or pollution. Planning and preparedness for possible environmental hazard has become much more efficient due to GIS. Pollutions such as oil spill, soil and water contamination, combustion, chemical spill etc. can be addressed better with the use of environment related GIS tools. Citizens can report pollution issues through GIS enabled web applications effortlessly.

GIS tools have become indispensable in both pre and post pollution scenario. Prevention of pollution needs GIS based assessment of risk potentials. Post pollution: cleanup drives and other corrective measures are better monitored by GIS apps.

GIS tools have become critical to disaster management. Mitigation of natural hazards needs extreme preparedness. GIS facilitates that. Monitoring of disaster prone areas and calamity related risk assessment today need to be GIS integrated. This applies for both natural and man made disasters. In case of man made disasters like fire for instance, management of fire tenders can be powered by GIS for excellent output. GIS is proving to be indispensable to several other domains like national security, elections, travel and tourism, insurance etc.

GIS apps are meant to empower the citizens more. 311 issues are integrated to GIS today. There are many environment related 311 issues which are integrated to GIS. Citizens can report environmental 311 issues like oil spill, contamination, combustion, water quality, chemical spill and a host of other such configurable issue types. One just need to enter the address of the pollution site or - even better - can just point the location on the map to report an issue.

CoolApps a sub-domain of Cybertech has a GIS tool called Environmental 311 which enables citizens to report environment related issues through an interactive Web 2.0 interface. The app has similar features as aforesaid. One can add comments on environment issues through this tool. All environment related comments are for public display. By registering email or Twitter ID citizens can receive updates of issues they report. Photos of oil spill etc. can be uploaded as well while reporting the same.


Robert Alfred is the contributing writer of Coolapps.com. He is specialized in writing articles about GIS APPS.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Seven Key Elements of a Corporate Climate Change Strategy

The greatest environmental challenge of our time is without a doubt climate change. Over the coming years and decades climate change will have a stark influence on our lives. Not only through the physical changes in the climate, but also through changes in our energy consumption, travel patterns and many other aspects of our life. Companies will not be unaffected by these changes. Markets will change, as will client requirements and there will be a steep rise in legislation with regards to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. Developing a comprehensive climate change strategy is therefore an essential part of good business management. This article gives a brief description of the elements that each corporate climate change strategy should include.

The management of climate change should adopt two distinct strategies: climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation. Climate change mitigation deals with the reduction in greenhouse gases to the earth's atmosphere. Carbon foot-printing and carbon accounting form typical measures that are used within the framework of this strategy. Climate change adaptation revolves around measures that address the changes and vulnerabilities of the organisation that will be present as a result of the inevitable physical change in our climate. A good corporate climate change strategy addresses both mitigation and adaptation.

1. Understanding greenhouse gas emissions of the organisation
An understanding of the organisation's greenhouse gas emissions is fundamental in every credible corporate climate change strategy. To achieve this a comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory should be made. The inventory is a first step to manage and reduce the emissions, which are also key elements of a corporate climate change strategy. The inventory combined with the management and reduction form the core of a greenhouse gas accounting system. At this moment there are two internationally recognised systems for greenhouse gas accounting available. These are the ISO 14064 standard and the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

2. Understanding climate change vulnerability
Most large organisations have started to make a greenhouse gas inventory and have adopted measures to reduce their carbon footprint. As I described in the introduction, climate change adaptation also forms an important part of a comprehensive corporate climate change strategy. To develop an understanding of an organisation's vulnerability to climate change a review of the operations, products and services, transport needs should be made as well as an understanding of the physical changes to the climate in which the organisation operates. There are no clear guidelines on how to develop an understanding of the climate change vulnerability, although the United Nations Panel on Climate Change has published a range of reports documenting the predicted changes to the climate in each of the global regions over the course of the current century. In addition to these global publications, many governments have funded research predicting the potential climate change at a national level.

3. Commit to reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
As part of credible corporate climate change strategy, a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions should be made at the most senior level in the organisation.

4. Develop internal corporate capacity
Development of internal capacity is an essential element to drive through improvements to both the greenhouse gas emissions and the climate change vulnerability. It is the people within the organisation that are best placed to identify practical solutions that will support any improvement programme. Ensuring an adequate level of knowledge and understanding within the members of staff with regards to the climate change issues that are facing the organisation is therefore a key element in the corporate climate change strategy.

5. Work with supply chain and engage with stakeholders
A significant contribution to the carbon footprint of a product that an organisation produces is made during the processing by suppliers. In addition an organisation should be aware of the climate change vulnerability of its own supply chain. A corporate climate change strategy should therefore address the role of the supply chain in managing climate change issues.

6. Adopt and implement improvement action plan
The first five elements provide a thorough understanding of the climate change issues facing an organisation. Based on this understanding an improvement plan should be drawn up. As with any credible action plan the actions should consist of SMART targets, be fully funded, and be relevant to the organisations climate change threats and opportunities.

7. Publish an annual report
The final element is the publication of an annual report that demonstrate progress against the action plan, re-affirms the commitment to improvement and accounts for the carbon emissions.

Paul Giesberg is founder and Principal Director at Planning for Sustainability Ltd; a firm that supports organisations meeting the challenges of sustainability in development projects. Among the services that Planning for Sustainability provides are BREEAM advice and assessments. Paul also manages a website on greenhouse gas acounting .

Monday, November 15, 2010

Understanding Climate Change

Climate change can be defined as a change in climate variables, especially temperature and rainfall that occur gradually in a long period of time between 50 to 100 years. Besides it should be understood that the changes caused by human activity (anthropogenic), especially those related to fossil fuel consumption and over-land.

So the changes caused by natural factors, such as additional aerosols from volcanic eruptions, are not accounted for in terms of climate change. So the natural phenomena that lead to extreme climatic conditions such as cyclones can occur in a year (inter-annual) and El-Nino and La Nina, which can happen in ten years (inter-decade) cannot be classified into global climate change.

Human activity in question is the activities that have led to an increase in atmospheric concentrations, especially in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). The gases then determines the temperature increase, because it is like glass, which can forward to short-wave radiation which is not hot, but hold long-wave radiation that is heat. As a result the earth's atmosphere heats up.

The impact of climate change:

Agricultural sector will be affected through the reduction of food productivity caused by the increase in cereal sterility, reduction in area can be irrigated and decrease the effectiveness of nutrient absorption and spread of pests and diseases.

In some places in the developed (high latitudes) increase in CO2 concentration will increase productivity because of increased assimilation, but in the tropics that most developing countries, an increase of assimilation was not significant compared with respiration which is also increased. On the whole, if adaptation is not done, the world will experience a decline in food production to 7 percent.

However, with continued levels of adaptation, meaning high costs, food production can be stabilized. In other words, stabilization of food production on climate change will cost very high, for example by improving irrigation facilities, provision of inputs (seeds, fertilizers, insecticides / pesticides) added.

In Indonesia, the scenario of CO2 concentrations double from current rice plant production will increase to 2.3 percent if irrigation can be maintained. But if the irrigation system did not experience improvements in rice plant production will decline to 4.4 percent (Matthews et al., 1995).

Warmer temperatures will cause a shift in vegetation species and ecosystems. Mountain areas will lose many species of original vegetation and replaced by lowland vegetation species. Along with that the condition of water resources from the mountains will also be susceptible to interference. Furthermore the stability of land in mountainous areas is also disrupted and hard to keep the original vegetation. This impact is not so apparent in the low latitude areas or low elevation area. If more and more forest fires are common in Indonesia, it was difficult to connect the incident with climate change, because most (if not all) incidents of forest fires caused by human activities associated with land clearing.

That happened in conjunction with the El-Nino events because of this phenomenon provides dry weather conditions that facilitate the occurrence of fire. However, as described above El-Nino is phenomenon of nature which associated with extreme climate events in climate variability, not climate change in the meaning as described above. Increasing of population makes pressure on water supply, especially in urban areas.

At this moment there are lots of urban residents who have difficulty getting clean water, especially those who are low- income and low-educated or unskilled. The impact of climate change which causes changes in temperature and rainfall will have an impact on the availability of water from the surface runoff, groundwater and other reservoir shapes. In the year 2080 there will be 2 - 3.5 billion people will experience water shortages.

Hi, I'm Rangga Cipta Diputra from Indonesia. I have lots of hobbies, some of my favorite hobbies are playing music instruments, writing and try something new. Recently I am so worry about this planet (Earth) due to global warming, so I decide to writing some articles about environment and try to change my lifestyle to make Earth a better place.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Can We Be Pleased with the Progress We Made on Climate Change Mitigation?

The response to climate change has hitherto been characterized either by dewy-eyed romanticism or by malignant optimism ("if we only recognize the magnitude and nature of the problem and throw money and new technologies at it, all will be well"). These twin fallacies (really, psychological defense mechanisms) have led to the adoption of implementation of measures and technologies that ranged from the futile (ethanol in gas) to the harmful (biofuels). In lieu of devising effective strategies to cope with this potential threat, leaders and civil society (NGOs, multilateral organizations) engaged in grandstanding (The Kyoto Protocol) and stonewalling, often kowtowing to special interests. The remarkable gains in energy efficiency we did gain were driven by market forces, mainly in the wake of price hikes in oil and its derivatives. Humanity failed to otherwise cope with global warming and to mitigate its consequences. It failed even to merely prepare for them in a coherent and analytical manner.

I would like to take this opportunity to digress somewhat and try to place climate change in a philosophical context:
Some physical systems increase disorder, either by decaying or by actively spreading disorder onto other systems. Such vectors we call "Entropic Agents".

Conversely, some physical systems increase order or decrease disorder either in themselves or in their environment. We call these vectors "Negentropic Agents".

Human Beings are Negentropic Agents gone awry. Now, through its excesses, Mankind is slowly being transformed into an Entropic Agent.

Antibiotics, herbicides, insecticides, pollution, deforestation, etc. are all detrimental to the environment and reduce the amount of order in the open system that is Earth.

Nature must balance this shift of allegiance, this deviation from equilibrium, by constraining the number of other Entropic Agents on Earth - or by reducing the numbers of humans.

To achieve the latter (which is the path of least resistance and a typical self-regulatory mechanism), Nature causes humans to begin to internalize and assimilate the Entropy that they themselves generate. This is done through a series of intricate and intertwined mechanisms:

The Malthusian Mechanism - Limited resources lead to wars, famine, diseases and to a decrease in the populace (and, thus, in the number of human Entropic Agents).

The Assimilative Mechanism - Diseases, old and new, and other phenomena yield negative demographic effects directly related to the entropic actions of humans.

Examples: excessive use of antibiotics leads to drug-resistant strains of pathogens, cancer and deteriorating sperm counts are caused by pollution, heart ailments are related to modern Western diet, AIDS, avian flu, SARS, swine flu, and other diseases are a result of hitherto unknown or mutated strains of viruses.

The Cognitive Mechanism - Humans limit their own propagation, using "rational", cognitive arguments, devices, and procedures: abortion, birth control, the pill.

Thus, combining these three mechanisms, nature controls the damage and disorder that Mankind spreads and restores equilibrium to the terrestrial ecosystem.

Both now-discarded Lamarckism (the supposed inheritance of acquired characteristics) and Evolution Theory postulate that function determines form. Natural selection rewards those forms best suited to carry out the function of survival ("survival of the fittest") in each and every habitat (through the mechanism of adaptive radiation).

But whose survival is natural selection concerned with? Is it the survival of the individual? Of the species? Of the habitat or ecosystem? These three - individual, species, habitat - are not necessarily compatible or mutually reinforcing in their goals and actions.

If we set aside the dewy-eyed arguments of altruism, we are compelled to accept that individual survival sometimes threatens and endangers the survival of the species (for instance, if the individual is sick, weak, or evil). As every environmental scientist can attest, the thriving of some species puts at risk the existence of whole habitats and ecological niches and leads other species to extinction.

To prevent the potential excesses of egotistic self-propagation, survival is self-limiting and self-regulating. Consider epidemics: rather than go on forever, they abate after a certain number of hosts have been infected. It is a kind of Nash equilibrium. Macroevolution (the coordinated emergence of entire groups of organisms) trumps microevolution (the selective dynamics of species, races, and subspecies) every time.

This delicate and self-correcting balance between the needs and pressures of competing populations is manifest even in the single organism or species. Different parts of the phenotype invariably develop at different rates, thus preventing an all-out scramble for resources and maladaptive changes.

This is known as "mosaic evolution". It is reminiscent of the "invisible hand of the market" that allegedly allocates resources optimally among various players and agents. Martin Nowak, a Harvard professor, argues that emergent cooperation is a fundamental principle of evolution, as basic as natural selection and mutation.

Moreover, evolution favors organisms whose rate of reproduction is such that their populations expand to no more than the number of individuals that the habitat can support (the habitat's carrying capacity). These are called K-selection species, or K-strategists and are considered the poster children of adaptation.

Live and let live is what evolution is all about - not the law of the jungle. The survival of all the species that are fit to survive is preferred to the hegemony of a few rapacious, highly-adapted, belligerent predators. Nature is about compromise, not about conquest.

Sam Vaknin ( http://samvak.tripod.com ) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East as well as many other books and ebooks about topics in psychology, relationships, philosophy, economics, and international affairs.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Advantages of Renewable Energy

These days, many countries utilizing distinct government systems all over this planet have been united by a particular environment scheme and that's promoting the installation of renewable energy as opposed to draining the currently limited stocks of coals and non-renewable fuels. It's always essential that the problem with the lowering supplies of those mineral deposits would be settled even before they're used. Whilst progressively more organizations persisted devoting their valuable time to searching extra resources of alternative energies to ensure adequate materials, several corporations already started introducing the techniques and procedures involved with converting replenishable resources such as the sunshine, wind flow, as well as waste products into helpful power sources.

Simply being replenishable is among the greatest benefit in which alternative power resources surely have. Because of this matter the inescapable lost of the non-renewable fuels and coals won't come to be a menace to the surroundings mostly into the minds among the people. This is because the sources of renewable power are generally plentiful and easily accessible just as the sunrays, water, wind power, and various components of nature herself. Aside from the reality of which they can be substituted simply these types of renewable sources carry out no harm to Mother Nature since they are widely known as clean kind of energies. In addition to that these types of minerals do not bring about polluting wastes into the natural environment which considerably contribute to the disheartening problem of climate change.

For this reason, the society's reliability on the application of non-renewable fuels and coals need to be reduced and more likely need to be ceased because of the snapping destruction of these minerals that certainly causes the global dilemma on electric power deficiency and energy turmoil. Though the adaptation from coals and standard fuels to renewable power might not exactly move through easy enough yet eventually this form of power will administer its place to be the recognized sources of energy around the globe.

One factor deemed why choosing renewable power is definitely an advantage to a place is national safety. Gasoline or diesel oils are generally traded by states with plentiful resources of the so called black gold which is commonly determined in the Middle East where the government can be risky. No state would want to be dependent on something that is volatile. By using alternative energy there will be stableness regarding the price of energy sold in the market not like the ever varying charges of oils and gases.

Regardless of the numerous advantages of renewable power, truth be told there are still drawbacks which hinder the usage of this kind of power generating process, but the wonderful thing is that there are only small. One of the disadvantages is the fact that regardless of the development and improvement in the market, the execution of alternative energy involves expense and not all corporations would like to fiscally get over this matter. And for this reason, renewable power might be unable to provide enough energy needed by an entire area. Second reason is that renewable power is a bit more expensive than the current utility energy that is allotted to every home and this is considered to be the primary reason why consumers will not accept it.

Nonetheless, as alternative power develops and boosts the cost per kilowatt hour will surely be reduced and the alternative energy plants should be able to deliver acceptable amount of power for a complete year or so. As the limited stocks of fossil fuels and coals are consumed there's no question that the sourcing cost of the utility power will arise along with the tariff of fuels. In due time renewable energy would be the most logical power source for any household, small, medium sized and large scale urban centers and sectors all over the world.

Of course, it only takes just a little time period to consume fossil fuels however it calls for more than a thousand folds before the world could possibly make a lot more of these things once again. Renewable power techniques are fantastic approaches to lessen the pace of climate change or perhaps even reverse the awful destruction caused by the consumption of classic fuels to the earth. The finest time is these days; allow no more damage come to earth. Nature may be the very good reflection of beauty and there is no better reward that the existing generation may share with the future but a healthy, peaceful and care free ecosystem.

View Original Article

Gretchen writes anything about renewable energy and anything that interests the society

Friday, November 12, 2010

Climate Change - Impacts on the Development of Real Estate

The fact that climate change will affect our future does not need introduction. Our buildings and infrastructure are important elements in how we influence and adapt to the changes associated with climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions during construction and operation, climate change resilience and changes in the way people will organise their lives are all important factors to consider when preparing to develop new real estate.

To a certain extent these factors are being considered in most new development projects. The partial provision of energy through low carbon technologies is becoming the norm as part of the planning application process for major development. Standards controlling the way flood risk assessments are carried out take into account future precipitation patterns. These considerations are often driven by current requirements from planning authorities or other statutory bodies and focus on the greenhouse gas element of climate change management.

Appraising the effects of climate change on development projects will gain in importance and a strategic and pro-active approach to its integration in the management of these projects has many benefits. These include the improved management of risks, for instance by providing protection against litigation for failing to take into account known future risks, the protection of future asset values and strengthening a forward looking reputation of the organisation.

The near future will see significant changes in the way climate change is being addressed within development projects. The awareness of client organisations and local planning authorities about the effects climate change will have on the future usability of buildings is increasing rapidly. This will lead to a range of new requirements, tools and appraisal methodologies that professionals within the property development sector cannot afford to miss.

Considering climate change in real estate development projects should be considered a strategic issue. At an early stage in the project a developer should prepare a project climate change strategy and consider three issues:

1. How can the greenhouse gas emissions as part of the development be reduced?
2. How will a changing climate effect the usability of my building?
3. Is the building required in its currently proposed form in the mid to long term future?

Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/ethics-articles/climate-change-impacts-on-the-development-of-real-estate-1290396.html#ixzz14fsopoYp 
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

About the Author

Paul Giesberg is founder and Principal Director at Planning for Sustainability Ltd. This firm specialises in supporting organisations with meeting the challenges of sustainable development in infrastructure and real estate development projects. Among the services that Planning for Sustainability provides are BREEAM advice and assessments and environmental impact assessments.