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Ottawa earthquake?

Did anyone else in Ottawa just feel that? I think we just had a small earthquake.

Nothing yet on the USGS, but pots rattled, and we felt something for sure!


The Rideau River…


… truly one of the great perqs of living in this City.


Satellites show melting over much of Greenland

More weird climatic stuff going on… though I have two questions:

  1. Did they really have satellites in 1889?
  2. How can something that happened before be “unprecedented”?

Interesting topic – but poorly written.

Three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 per cent of the ice sheet had undergone thawing at or near the surface and by July 12 an estimated 97 per cent of the ice sheet had begun melting.

Nearly all of Greenland’s massive ice sheet suddenly started melting a bit this month, a freak event that surprised scientists.

Even Greenland’s coldest and highest place, Summit station, showed melting. Ice core records show that last happened in 1889 and occurs about once every 150 years.

Three satellites show what NASA calls unprecedented melting of the ice sheet that blankets the island, starting on July 8 and lasting four days. Most of the thick ice remains. While some ice usually melts during the summer, what was unusual was that the melting happened in a flash and over a widespread area.




Most of North America has seen a remarkable paucity of precipitation this summer. While this has been heaven for sun bathers, it has been a disaster for crops across the continent. Expect food prices to sky rocket this fall!

Another effect of dry weather are increased numbers and the intensity of forest fires. I found this awesome map of the USA that grimly and dramatically illustrates the extent of the fires between 2001 and 2010.

Extreme weather, llike the present drought, is a direct consequence of climate change. And the extremes will become more frequent and more “extreme” over the coming decades.

I don’t think our species is ready for this.

Of course, if you believe this continent’s conservative politicians, there is absolutely nothing to worry about; the notion that the climate is changing as a result of human activity is just a liberal conspiracy, right?


Where can I get a drink around here?

This is a pic of an old water fountain in my old home town. One side for people and the other for horses!

20120706-155109.jpgWhy post this? Well, CBC Ottawa has put together a map showing where Ottawans can find public drinking fountains. Good to know on a hot day in July!


Pollution monitoring cuts at Environment Canada

These cuts are truly irresponsible and should be of concern to all Canadians.

This EC group provides an unbiased measurement, research and analysis function that allows for an accurate assessment of the levels of potentially harmful emissions from industrial activities.

So I guess it will be up to polluters to monitors themselves. Oh boy. I feel pretty darn safe, don’t you?

20120527-061717.jpgIf you feel like a good read, try Grassy Narrows by George Hutchison. I found it to be a great example of what can go wrong when industry is allowed a free ride. I thought it so back in the early ’80’s when I interviewed the author as part of an undergrad paper I was working on… and I still think so today.



Back when Conservatives could be “progressive” too…

… there was a guy named Brian Mulroney. He was our Prime Minster. A lot of folks didn’t like the man very much. They saw him as arrogant, too pro-American and as the force behind the much-maligned GST (the ill feelings about that tax still linger today… and are completely unwarranted).

But tomorrow is the 21st anniversary of the signing of the US /Canada Air Quality Agreement, and he should be given credit for that and the other environmental initiatives that he spearheaded as PM. This Agreement, along with the Green Plan, set Canada into a position as a leader in environmental initiatives and research. A lot of lakes would have otherwise become acidified and died if it were not for this Agreement.

Of course, that was then and this is now… where Canada is really just a laughingstock on the environmental front.

Sigh. Thanks Mr. Mulroney. I really didn’t like you much for other reasons, but you were at the crest of the wave. You were by far, the greenest of our PMs to date.

And you and your colleagues were indeed progressive.


Cannot believe…

…I’m still harvesting tomatoes on October 10… Picked a half dozen yesterday and may get another two or three!


Holy ozone, Batman!

So the ozone layer over the Arctic wasn’t really, uh, “there” earlier this year. And that’s a bad thing, boys and girls, because this very thin layer of our atmosphere protects we mere humans from harmful solar radiation. And maybe even aliens. The mean kind. With ray guns.

Of course, the Harper Government is all over this…

The discovery of the “unprecedented” hole comes as the Canadian government is moving to reduce staff in what Environment Minister Peter Kent calls the “streamlining” of its ozone monitoring network.

Environment Canada scientist David Tarasick, whose team played a key role in the report published Sunday in the journal Nature, is not allowed to discuss the discovery with the media.

Environment Canada told Postmedia News that an interview with Tarasick “cannot be granted.” Tarasick is one of several Environment Canada ozone scientists who have received letters warning of possible “discontinuance of job function” as part of the downsizing underway in the department.

This is really big news … just don’t talk about it!

Maybe the Harperites are funnelling the saved money from the discontinued montoring programs to measure the gaping hole between Peter Kent’s ears?

Check out what happpens in March:




…man, I love this country…
And the Harperites can’t ruin this part of it at least.