Climate Change: Designing for Sea Level Rise

Ecologists, the World Bank and insurance companies share one thing in common: within a turbulence of climate change controversy and denial by certain politicians and corporate mavens, they get it. They get climate change. Insurance companies in North America have dropped thousands of East Coast customers and raised rates on the rest—in part resulting from climate predictions. Ecologists have been modeling exponential climate-induced ecosystem behaviour for decades. The World Bank recently indicated that they would…

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When Our Wetlands Exhale…

Covering only 6% of our land surface, wetlands store 10-20% of Earth’s terrestrial carbon; they include marshes, peat bogs, swamps, river deltas, mangroves, tundra, lagoons and river floodplains. Wetlands slow the decay of organic material by trapping and locking it away under low oxygen conditions over long periods of time. These waterlogged areas have sequestered about 771 gigatonnes (771 billion tonnes) of greenhouse gases—CO2 and methane—an amount equivalent to the carbon content of today’s atmosphere. Hudson…

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Climate Change: Coastal Wetlands Disappearing with Sea Level Rise

Coastal wetlands are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world; they provide a rich ecotone habitat for many aquatic and terrestrial wildlife and wetlands support the productivity of adjacent coastal waters by exporting nutrients. Coastal wetlands are particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise because of their location in low lying areas and the nature of their habitat. A number of studies have predicted the submergence of 20–78% of the world’s coastal wetlands by the…

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Climate Change: The Exponential Curve of Sea Level Rise

Climate change is all about water. Water plays a key role from microscopic to local to global perspectives. Hydrogen bonding. Freezing point. Heat of vaporization. Surface tension. Viscosity. Cohesion … Atmospheric rivers. Hurricanes and cyclones. Ocean currents. The hydrological cycle. Monsoons. Storms. Floods. Deluge. Drought… Water is either there; or ostensibly not there. Either way, it is a key player. surface melt of Greenland ice sheet One of the key effects that water plays in…

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Climate Change: As Greenland’s Ice Melts…

Meltwater-filled ice fractures of Greenland Ice Sheet darkened with dust and algae “The ice sheet below tells a tale of disintegration,” writes Eli Kintisch of Science as the helicopter of scientists hovers over Greenland’s interior. “Long, roughly parallel cracks score the surface, formed by water and pressure; impossibly blue lakes of meltwater fill depressions; and veiny networks of azure streams meander west, flowing to the edge of the ice sheet and eventually out to sea.”…

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A Tardigrade Christmas…

 …A Different Christmas Story…   Blika lived in Mossland with her clone sestras, gathering and sucking the delicious juices of detritus and algae. Never in a hurry, she lumbered from frond to frond on eight stubby legs in a gestalt of feasting and being. Blika led a microscopic life of bloated bliss—unaware of forests, human beings, quantum physics or the coming singularity… A sudden fierce wind wicked her water away. In a burst of alien…

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Water Is…

“For the Love of Water… When Margaret Atwood recommends a book, you pay attention. Nina Munteanu’s Water Is … has earned that praise and much more. Water Is … is a timely treatise that answers any question you may have had about water, from its properties to its potential, from its tangible uses to its abstract benefits. Munteanu writes about water and humanity and our role in commodifying this resource and the impact of that…

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Ice Is…

The solid form of water—ice and snow—isn’t on most people’s minds—unless you live in the north-temperate region or high north and it’s winter. Here, in Canada, we face this form of water for close to six months of the year. You could say we have a long-lasting intimate relationship with it. Canadians have a lot of time to ponder the splendid nature of solid water; from chilling blizzards, snowstorms and ice-storms to dripping icicles, street…

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Snow Is…

“No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place.” —Zen Proverb I grew up in southern Quebec, where the first snow of the season often came from the sky in a thick passion. Huge flakes of unique beauty settled on my coat sleeves and within minutes I was covered in snow. I would stand enraptured and study each one as I could. Snow wraps everything in a blanket of soft acceptance. It creates a dazzling face…

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How the Wolves Changed a River…

Three years ago I watched a short movie by Chris and Dawn Agnos about the reintroduction of the gray wolf (Canis lupus) to Yellowstone National Park. It was as amazing as it was revealing.1 When forty-one wolves from Canada and northwest Montana were reintroduced to the park in 1995—after wolves had been absent for seventy years—something incredible happened. The wolf helped provide balance, complexity and stability to an ecosystem that had been mismanaged and lacked…

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