It was fairly un-nerving when, a chunk of ice broke loose from the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf off the coast of Ellesmere Island recently, but it had to have been somewhat expected.
The Ward Hunt is near the most northerly point in North America. Located in quttinirpaaq National Park it is the largest of five remnants of a much larger ice shelf discovered by Admiral Peary in 1906.
More than 6 years ago Derek Mueller, then at Universite Laval, Quebec, found the biggest ice shelf in the Arctic was indeed breaking apart.
Canadian RADARSAT images acquired in August 2002 showed a huge crack running North-south down the center of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf. Secondary fractures running west had fragmented a large area of the shelf into free-floating ice blocks.
At that time the shelf was home to a fresh water lake. These fresh water lakes are known as ehishelf lakes. That fracturing caused the immediate and catastrophic drainage of an ehishelf lake that had called the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf home. Ehishelf lakes are an important link in the ecology chain. This fresh water ‘floats’ on the more dense ocean water. Located in Disraeli Fjord this was the largest and best-understood epishelf lake in the Northern Hemisphere.
The epishelf lake suddenly spilled more than 3 billion cubic meters of fresh water into the Arctic Ocean.
Ice-dependant ecosystems are made vulnerable by the shifting climate. Microbial communities of algae, micro-invertebrates, and bacteria that could withstand near-freezing water temperatures, freezing and thawing cycles and organisms that used pigment changes to withstand ultraviolet radiation were suddenly and forever lost in that 2000-2002 crack-up and with them much information, and probably many untold secrets.
This most recent chunk of ice to separate from the Ward Hunt is 18 square kilometers across.
The Ward Hunt Ice Shelf is estimated to be around 3,000 years old. Ice core climate data and lake sediments indicate the ‘Little Ice Age’ ended about 150 years ago and the climate has been warming since then. Only about 10% of the original ice shelf may be remaining.
They say the precise triggering mechanism for these fractures isn’t known. Although temperature records from Alert which is 175 km east of the Ward Hunt Ice shelf show a significant increase in the annual mean air temperatures during the last 30 years which parallel the thinning and loss of the epishelf lake.
If the treatment is more deadly than the cure, then find another cure. That’s the Canadian motto.
Canadians are working on a project that would store, underground, a billion tonnes of CO2. The Redwater reef could soak up all greenhouse gas emissions for 20 years if their plan can be implemented. What’s the plan?
$50 billion and 7 oilsands bitumen upgrader projects in Alberta Industrial Heartland district. $500 million to be spent on capturing carbon-dioxide emissions from nearby could be turned into liquefied C02 and pumped into Redwater wells to revive the old oil field. 130 million to 180 million barrels of light premium oil could be pumped out at a rate of 10,000 to 15,000 barrels a day.
The U.S. has taken the position that it won’t buy fuel from Alberta’s tar sands, on the grounds that, it is too environmentally tainted. That’s the pot calling the kettle black, but a good decision none the less.
The U.S. can’t sign contracts to buy gasoline and other fuels whose production releases more global warming pollution than conventional petroleum.
Neil Shelly, executive director of Alberta Industrial Heartland Association says, this project could make Edmonton area’s oilsands upgrader ally one of the very few heavy industrial areas in the world able to comply with emerging controls of greenhouse gas emissions.
It seems to me carbon capture is a modern-day C02 distillery; of a sort. Capturing something that would normally rise up, mix with the air and become lost is the same principle Bootleggers use to make moonshine.
Some industrial operations put off C02 gases that simply rise up and mix with the air and become lost, or at least out of our control; of course they aren’t really lost.
Carbon capture will trap those gases transform them into something magical, or so it would seem. The CO2 will get pumped into the ground for a time yet to be determined and with an outcome yet to be determined.
Bootlegging Moonshine has been going on in nearly every country on the globe, in nearly every generation. Man usually finds a way to alter his perceptions, hide what he doesn’t want to face and often times bury the problems he creates; hoping they simply disappear, or at least stay buried until he is long.
At Redwater reef, the intent is to send the CO2 about 1,000 metres under a hard rock cap where it will be stored. How long, how well, and how safely is yet to be determined.
It takes 2 – 4.5 cubic metres of water to produce 1 cubic metre of synthetic crude oil from oil sands. With the price and availability of oil these days, billions of barrels of water are at risk of being poisoned and abandoned in tailing ponds.
Water, used to extract the bitumen required to produce millions of barrels of oil, will end up a toxic soup of sludge. The same toxic soup water killed more than 500 ducks on April 28th in Alberta, Canada.
What may be the world’s largest oil deposit, in oil sand, is located in Alberta, Canada. It’s estimated as much as 180 billion barrels of oil could be recoverable in the Athabasca region of Alberta. There are toxic lakes covering 50 square kilometres around Syncrude Canada, who, if found negligent in the deaths of the ducks could face fines of $1 million.
Alberta’s 59 tar sands sites represent the largest single industrial zone on the face of the planet. Investment in the oil sands is expected to exceed $75 Billion over the next 5 years. Oil production will increase by 160% and the man-made wasteland that will come along will as well, maybe by 54,000 square miles.
The oil industry uses 15% of the Athabasca Rivers winter water flow. Summer flows and winter low flows in the Athabasca have declined by nearly 30% since 1970. The industry is licensed to draw 414,396 cubic decameters of water per year from the river. That’s enough water to supply the water needs for a city of 2 million people for one year.
Demand for food, water and oil are increasing at rates the world has never before seen.
We will all have plenty of gas in our cars so that we can drive around looking for food and water. We can die of thirst or starve to death, but at least we won’t have to be walking!
In light of the fact that the U.S. Emergency Management team, FEMA has demonstrated a fairly woeful response to disasters I thought it was time to have a look at what other countries were doing to ‘manage’ disasters.
Come and “Network with your peers-there are solutions out there; you may even have the solution to someone [else's] problem.” says their beautiful Website.
The theme of the coming event is going to be: ‘Resiliency-Individual, Community and Business”.
The Resiliency of the individual is something we all need to pay close attention to and pack our own shoots. If we leave our safety in the time of a disaster in the hands of government and business we will be in for a rude awakening.
“This is one conference you can’t afford to miss.” touts the home page of the conference. “This is your chance to participate in a knowledge exchange unlike any other event of its kind.”
We can only hope no one is going to take back the knowledge of the FEMA team, unless it’s the knowledge of what they have learned doesn’t work. FEMA may demonstrate how to hold “fake” news conferences. They may teach “schilling” your own employee’s as actual news reporters. This way you may “field” only the questions you want to answer, and avoid those nasty follow-up questions.
Disaster relief teams from around the world could learn a lot from FEMA. Some things very helpful, and others ‘not so much’.
In 2007, this event ‘attracted more than 1,800 participants from Canada, and the U.S. as well as internationally. They expect this coming year to have even more attendees. So “Take Advantage now!”. “Reserve Space” so that you too may sell your disaster wears both at home and abroad.
Don’t miss the many mixers planned for the event either. You may even have the opportunity to watch the Heimlich Maneuver in action!
Perhaps the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA will have the greatest detrimental impact on Mexico.
Operating under the rubric of global concerns, global terror, global warming and global action we are supposed to swallow the notion that 3 nations are better than one. In order to Secure our Prosperity through Partnership, SPP could have little to do with partnership, less to do with security and everything to do with prosperity. The prosperity of the military-industrial-congressional complex may actually be what is afoot.
Canadian and U.S. citizens are finally awakening to see NAFTA and the SPP as stripping our liberty, sovernty and economic stability from us. At some point the citizens of Mexico may wake up to a harsher reality.
Mexico may look like a delicious lobster to be lured, gently, into what they perceive as a warm pot of prosperity. Once lured into the pot it will be too late to escape. Escape what?
The population of Mexico alone was a whopping 103 million plus in the year 2005. By some estimates there could be as many as another 12 million illegal Mexicans in the U.S.. 50% of Mexicans are under the age of 25.
Consider the U.S. military first started missing its recruitment goals since the early fall of 2003. Now, in 2007 millions of Mexicans, the ripe age of cannon fodder, may find themselves served up intentionally, or inadvertently onto the plate of the military-industrial-congressional complex, who is very hungry.
Signing bonuses of $10,000 dollars up and college scholarships raised to $70,000 dollars failed to entice young Americans, but may look far more appealing to the Mexican youth. Once the blanket of NAFTA falls over our 3 nations, these young people may even find military service a ‘condition’.
It’s easy for us in the North to overlook the fact that the richest man in the world, is a Mexican, Carlos Slim Helu. We are constantly reminded of Mexico’s poverty, the plight of the poor Mexicans risking death to make it to America for all those low paying jobs. In fact, according to CNNMoney.com Carlos Slim-controlled companies make up a full 1/3 of the $422 billion (dollar) stock exchange. There is a vast chasm between the wealthy and the poorest population in Mexico. It would be naive of us to think the only major players behind the closed doors of NAFTA are wealthy Americans and Canadians.
The Iron Triangle of government, industry and the military may indeed be the true Axis of Evil.
In 1961 President and former Army General Dwight D. Eisenhower said of the Military-Industrial-(congressional*) complex,
“…The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” “We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
Waging a permanent war, thereby creating a permanent war economy, is certainly not good for the environment. War not only devastates life, but the implements of war devastate the environment. NAFTA and the SPP may have little to do with tooth paste, wheat, or cheap t-shirts and everything to do with the prosperity of war.
Our neighbors South of the Rio Grande are certainly no strangers to rebellion and revolt. It would also be naive to believe the citizens of Mexico won’t soon be waking up SPP and NAFTA.
It may be time to withdraw the fork from the red herring, and cleanse our palate with a spoonful of cold, bitter sorbet.
*”congressional” It is widely held when Congressional leaders saw this word, they requested that it be removed. Eisenhower did so.
Photo Thanks:Project Gutenberg ‘the young mountaineers’ ebook Charles Egbert Craddock
George Bush says the Northwest Passage is an ‘international passageway’. That seems like a lot of syllables for Bush to be using in only two words, but Bush says a lot of things. Bush also used a lot of syllables when he said ’serious consultations’ need to take place regarding border security. Some language attributed to Bush just don’t sound very Bush’esque. Though he followed up with a Bushism we can believe when he added they were “working hard to get a plan ready”…now that is some Bush language we’ve all grown familiar with.
Paul Cellucci, US ambassador to Canada recently said it would benefit the US if Bush would accept Canada’s claim to the Northwest Passage.
I think we can safely read that as ‘if we all agree the Passage belongs to Canada, then it will be up to Canada to fund, protect and oversee the Passage.
Canada gearing up with a C$100m military training center in Resolute, and a deepwater facility near the Northwest Passage is certainly the first step toward giving Canada the ability to protect and oversee the Passage.
11 ships were able to use the Passage in 2006. With more and more of the polar ice melting more and more ships will be attempting to cut thousands of miles off their voyages.
No good deed goes unpunished. After the US handed the Panama Canal over to Panama they found the monumental canal in the hands of the Chinese. This illustrates the desperate need for another passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific if the opportunity arises.
It would do the free world quite a lot of good to assess in what hands the Northwest Passage should rest. The canal was cut through the very core of the Continental Divide. Until and if the Northwest passage opens up and becomes a truly viable route, the Panama Canal remains the most vital piece of water on the planet. Illustrating the importance of the this little bit of water is the fact that it shaves 4,500 miles off a trip by sea from Tokyo and London. Forget what that means to commerce, and just consider the meaning in military terms.
Ah, for just one time I would take the Northwest Passage To find the hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort Sea Tracing one warm line through a land so wide and savage And make a northwest passage to the sea Stan Rogers
Denmark is but the next nation in the race to stake a claim to the Arctic’s north pole and its potentially vast oil and mineral deposits. Helge Sander, Denmark’s Minister of science , technology and innovation believes …”there are things suggesting that Denmark could be given the North Pole.”
Begging the question sir…PSMI would like to know: Given by whom?
Peter MacKay, the Canadian Foreign Minister has said of the Russians “…You can’t go around the world and just plant flags and say, ‘We’re claiming this territory’.”
Apparently the Russians don’t believe this to be the case. The Russians claim to have planted a rust-proof Titanium flag which, as Akademik Fedorov claims will be there 100, or even 1,000 years from now planted in Yellow colored gravel 4,261 meters beneath the North Pole.
One might wonder who would be going 13,980 feet below the North Pole besides Mrs. Claus, looking for the mister. But, there is an apparent rush by several nations to reach just that depth.
Among the Russian plummeting the depths of the deep sea beds were a Swedish Pharmaceuticals millionaire and an Australian who co-sponsored the expedition along with the Russian Government. As a special bonus, Putin awarded Artur Chilingarov, who led the expedition, the status of “presidential envoy to the Arctic”.
Samples were taken of the soil in an effort to scientifically and legally claim the ‘yellow gravel’ under the North Pole is Russian Gravel.
Now the line to lay claim to the vast wealth that could be sleeping below the North Pole forms behind the Russians. Next in cue: Canada as they have no Titanium flag planted yet, followed by Denmark, Norway and the US.
Until recently the biggest challenge, or more succinctly put hindrance, was the Arctic Ice. Until global warming came to melt it all away there really was no point in becoming involved in a race that could have no profitable outcome.
With so many nations, peppered with the occasional mogul, one has to start wondering in what language they should print their “snow cone hut’ signage.
Open voor Zaken, Open for Business Eh, Open, Open, Open!
A Russian expedition expected to send divers into the Arctic waters around the pole yesterday or today.
This development ups the ante for the Canadian Arctic Rangers who protect Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic.
Is the Lomonosov Ridge an extension of the Siberian continental shelf? If so the ridge that runs under the Arctic Ocean would belong to Russia. Russia is wanting to prove that the Arctic is Russian. In fact they are intent on proving the North Pole is an extension of the Russian Coastal shelf.
Malery Kuznetsov, is head of a Russian expedition team who thinks they may even discover as yet…”unknown Organisms”…
If the Arctic is found to be Russian the Geopolitical ramifications would be huge. Some geologists believe as much as 18% of the world’s oil reserve may be underneath the Arctic. 18% of the world’s oil reserve would put the Arctic in the same league as Saudi Arabia.
As it stands now, any country that borders the Arctic Ocean can “exploit” resources within a 200-nautical mile economic zone of its territory. Russia needs to prove with scientific evidence that the Region does belong to them.
Canada and Denmark also have a dog in this fight, both claiming the Lomonosov Ridge is connected to their territories.
The Canadian Government recently placed a $7 Billion C order for new naval patrol vessels. Prime Minister Harper said they would be designed to ‘defend its sovereignty over the Arctic’.
The North West Passage is opening up due to melting ice from ‘Global Warming’. As temperatures heat up the North West Passage could possibly remain open all year. This little development could shave 2,000 nautical miles off the trip from Europe to Asia.
The ramifications of that would be rather astounding. Holy Cod Fish Batman, Oil isn’t the only precious item that could be ‘exploited’ in the Arctic. There are large mineral deposits, coal beds, and perhaps large fish reserves.
As the planet heats up, the cold war may also be heating up.
Photo thanks goes to “Bob Shavelson/Marine Photobank”.
Kinder Morgan has a facinating past, but not such a facinating present. The pipe that was broken in Burnaby Tuesday is exposing the corrosive underbelly that lies 3 feet below Kinder Morgans tender underbelly.
Reported in The Tyee.ca back in September 2005, Kinder Morgan had been hit with a corrective action order from the US Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, PHMSA.
What was being reported as ‘A widespread failure’ to address adequately, outside force damage could lead us to the conclusion that when Kinder Morgan blames Burnaby road crews for rupturing its pipe they may be right.
On the flip side of this greasy coin the road crew believes the pipeline was improperly marked. Finding the truth may be more difficult than catching a greased pig at the county fair.
In an explosion November 9, 2004 that killed 5 people and seriously injured 4 others Kinder Morgan was found to have not marked the pipeline properly and was fined $140,000 for their part in the accident. Cal/OSHA found the accident to have been completely preventable.
Indeed if history is repeating itself the pipe broken in Burnaby may not have been properly marked. Interestingly enough one of the arguments for Kinder Morgan to be approved to take over Terasen Inc. inspite of a less than stellar safety record was that the same people maintaining the pipes would still be maintaining them after the sale.
Terasen pipes were transporting natural gas, and propane to about 900,000 customers in British Columbia when in February the company announced it would sell Terasen Inc. to Fortis Inc. for 3.2 billion US, and assumed debt taking Kinder Morgan out of the retail business.
If all of this is putting you to sleep here is where you’ll want to get an extra cup of coffee.
In an interview by Martin Rosenberg, EnergyBizOnline, Scott Parker of Kinder Morgan “Kinder Morgans Pipe” Scott Parker gets it done we learn that 1 week after Enron’s Key Ley was convicted of fraud and conspiracy Richard Kinder announced that he would take Kinder Morgan private in a 13.5 billion dollar deal.
Richard Kinder formed Kinder Morgan in 1997 with $40 million worth of pipeline assets that Ken Lay had unloaded. Kinder jumped the Enron ship’s CEO position in 1996.
Parker says in the interview “Rich Kinder is a very smart individual…our company was in a position to be on very sound footing when Enron’s problems surfaced and the trouble occurred in the industry.”
Very smart indeed. However the pipe that was ruptured by a work crew in Burnaby on tuesday has been in operation since 1953, long before it was a Kinder Morgan pipe.
It’s current capacity prior to the break was 225,000 barrels of crude oil per day and is Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. That’s some pretty old pipe. The records as to where that pipe was buried may certainly have been lost or corrupted over that many years. It would have seemed prudent for Kinder Morgan to aquire accurate maps and records at the time of purchasing the pipe though.
Mother Jones reports Richard Kinder and his wife Nancy served as regional co-chairs for George Bush’s Presidential Exploratory Committee and that Kinder pledged to give the Bush campaign at least $100,000.00. WHOOwah!
Scott Parker says in the EnergyBizOnline interview “Everything we do is buried. It, (The Rockies Express) will have a minimum of a 3-foot cover, so agriculture can occur over the pipe.
As far as I know most places require that a dead human body must be buried at a 6 foot depth. The big question today may be:
Who decided a dead body was 2 times more dangerous to the environment than a pipe traveling thousands of miles across a nation, carrying thousands of barrels of crude oil per day to the environment?
Hang on to your wallet, you maybe about to be mugged.
Any time I go to a government website and see pages that defend, counter, and protest being picked-on…color me dubious. That’s the situation we have going on at the USA’s Security and Prosperity Partnership website.
There you’ll find a prominent Myth vs. Fact page where the U.S. is taking the very mature and ever popular ’school yard approach’to their critics. “oh yeah?” “Well, NAH AH!”
Canada on the other hand is taking an entirely different approach to Canadian critics on their official SPP website. Instead they have compiled letters from the ‘important’ and ‘in the know’ that are singing the praises of the SPP. After all, after you read what Jim Flaherty, had to say about the SPP you would surely have to agree that this plan is a good one. Dig deep and read long to come across what he has to say about the SPP on the official website.
According to the USA’s myth busting page,”The SPP in no way, shape or form considers the creation of a European Union-like structure or a common currency. The SPP does not attempt to modify our sovereignty or currency or change the American system of government designed by our Founding Fathers.”
So is the Amero ‘much ado about nothing?’ If so, why are a growing number of Canadians and Americans not laughing?
A collapse of the American greenback dollar could pave the way for the debut of the ‘Amero’. China would be the key to a collapse. Maurice Strong is still singing the praises of the Chinese economy’s potential and believes “China will soon replace America as economic king,” I’m not sure how much credibility that garners but…
On a side note, my ex-husband has been saying the same thing for years. If it gives anyone any comfort, he is wrong about nearly everything!