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Archive for August, 2010




Has HELL frozen over? Not Likely, but in the first days of devastating global warming, before its done, it might seem that the world has turned upside down. Last year’s drought brought Lake Mead for the first time came within ten feet of the rationing line. The first cutbacks in delivery could occur this year, it is certain that Lake Mead is 40% it’s former self and will drop another three-to-four more feet this year.


What happens next year? “Maybe we’ll have a wet year”, seems to the extent of the plan, it’s a lot like me buying lottery tickets for my retirement, its proactive, optimistic but nothing to take to the bank.
I visited the New York Times, the editorial page of the Salt Lake Tribune, the Las Vegas Headlight-Sun, the Los Angeles Times and the Arizona Republic to see how each spun the story about Lake Mead facing shortages. Perhaps the best story I found was a gardening column for the LA Times, complaining that they were getting mixed signals whether or not they should put in lawns. The Vegas spin was more sobering when you realize Sin City gets 90 percent of its drinking water from Mead. Vegas has two large siphons attached to the lake and a third under construction, they are scared–by the end of the year one siphon may be above Mead’s water level and worthless. The new siphon runs through the bottom of the lake and will be able to literally suck Lake Mead dry. Nobody believes that will happen-but the new siphon is nearing completion in spite of setbacks. The Southern Nevada Water Authority has begun pursuing permits necessary to build a $3.5 billion, 300-mile pipeline to shuttle water from the mountains in northern Nevada, many question the plan.
Southern California believes every time a sprinkler is turned on, choices are being made between lawns and their fisheries and still-no one believes anything will change until the courts start ordering changes. Already California water companies are trying to linkup with snow melt from the Northern High Sierra, just in case, they say. Lake Mead’s reservoirs have reached 1087 feet for the first time since 1956 when the lake dropped ten feet in order to fill Lake Powell. These twin reservoirs will require years of snow melt and runoff to make up the deficit and tree ring dating data frankly doesn’t support that optimism, it does suggest the droughts since 1990 frankly are nothing out of the ordinary and things could get worse. Utah has a $2billion “pie-in-the-sky” pipe line planned to bring more water from Lake Powell…water that might not be there. Kinda of reminds me of the Hohokam, all we really find of them are the water canals they built to bring water to the desert and therefore brought life itself.
In Phoenix, the Arizona Republic reports Lake Mead water levels determine drought status on the river under a set of guidelines adopted in 2007 by the seven Colorado River states: Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. If the lake reaches the first drought trigger, measured at an elevation of 1,075 feet above sea level, water deliveries below Lake Mead are reduced by a little more than 10 percent. Additional cutbacks would occur if the lake continued to drop. For Arizona, the stakes are high. Arizona absorbs 96 percent of any water rationing on the river under a decades-old agreement that ensured construction of the 336-mile CAP Canal. Nevada absorbs the other 4 percent under a separate deal with Arizona. Although rationing would affect some users on the river in western Arizona, most of the cuts would come from the canal, whose annual flow of 1.5 million acre-feet would be reduced in stages. (An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons, enough to serve two average families for one year.)
Farmers and users of excess water, such as underground-storage programs, would be affected first. It’s unlikely cities and business in Phoenix and Tucson would lose any water in the earliest stages.


“It’s a clear warning,” said Tim Barnett, a scientist and Lake Mead expert from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography who sounded the alarm in 2008 that Mead had a 50% chance of running dry by 2021. “The thing that’s astounding to me is the head-in-the-sand attitude of the bureaucrats that we’ve talked to.” “The water situation in Southern California is serious,” he added, “But I don’t think it’s dire yet. Six months or a year from now, we might not be using ‘serious.’ ‘We might be using dire'”.
During the last decade the Southwest has loss snow pack, vegetation and endured serial wildfires and increased temperature and all the while the region has grown faster than any other part of the US. Study after study predict that climate change will reduce the banked snow pack from 6 to 45 percent over the next half century. Every year more water is drained than deposited with an annual deficit of 1.6 million acre-feet, still without a “full-fledged crisis” most folks won’t do anything. In Las Vegas, for instance”, the “Cash for Grass” program pays homeowners $1-per-square-foot to convert to desert landscaping.
In 2007 the Feds mandated an agreement between the seven US states sharing the rivers flow. The lowest reduction cuts deliveries by 333,000 acre-feet, about half of what Las Angeles consumes in a year. Should the lake’s surface fall another 12 feet to 1075 feet below sea level or about 33 percent capacity. some say this will happen next year. When the 28.5-million-acre-foot reservoir’s surface hits 1,050 feet, or about 26 percent capacity, deliveries get slashed by 417,000 acre-feet, Las Vegas shuts down one of its two intakes and Hoover Dam’s massive turbines lose the hydraulic pressure needed to generate electricity. The maximum cutback of 500,000 acre-feet kicks in when Mead surfaces hits 1,025 foot, or about 20 percent capacity.


The mighty Colorado carries the lifeblood of the Southwest. It services the water needs of an area the size of France, in which live 40 million people. In its natural state, the river poured 15.7 million acre-feet of water into the Gulf of California each year. Today, twelve years of drought have reduced the flow to about 12 million acre-feet, and human demand siphons off every bit of it; at its mouth, the riverbed is nothing but dust.

The U.S. intelligence community understands what is happening, according to one report released last year, the global need for water will exceed the global supply of “current sustainable water supplies” by 40 percent by the year 2030…




HAWKS are meat eating machines and they are the homeowners friend, pack rats are a favorite meal says Kathie Schroeder a Arizona Wildlife rehabilatator who raised Sueno the Harris Hawk from birth. The State and Federally licensed wildlife advocate says her Hawk prefers “Jackrabbit” when they can get it, but occasionally, a Yorkie or Daschund, will do in a pinch. Schroeder says the birds live and feed in family groups and often one will land to flush out a jackrabbitt from a bush so the others can nail it with their razor-sharp talons. She said a UA study showed 75% of the annual birth may die through electrocution, so Tucson and Electric Power Company, has developed a Raptor Protection Program which reacts when customers report raptors nesting or perching near energized wires. Hawks mate for life says Schroeder but infidelities have been reported but if lucky, a hawk, may live twelve years. Schroeder said the Oro Valley Country Club grounds is a big feeding place for raptors and several nests have been reported around Oracle Junction and further north along the Pinal Parkway others reports a golden eagle has been seen in the Pima Canyon area. The Horned Owl is the only real predator of the Harris Hawk, she says, owls do not build nests and will often land there, eat the Harris Hawk’s young and leave their young in the newly vacated nests. The Harris Hawk is said to often return the favor, resettling the nest and starting over after snacking on baby Horned Owls. To report nesting raptors near energized wire call 623-7711<img src="” alt=”schroederwsueno” />


Every morning about an hour before sunrise Chester and I head out for our walk. Its quiet and the coolest it’s going to be for the rest of the day. Now days the humidity has dropped our walk down to about 2 miles but it takes about the same time due to Chester’s slowing pace–the monsoon humidity really heats things up quickly and he slows.
Regardless, it’s the act of doing, being there, getting the exercise, awaking to the day on the walk, watching the sun flirt with the rim of Pusch Ridge and finally getting home just as the sun peaks over the ridge and into my valley. Things are going to get hot and its time to head for the house, maybe some quick yard work and then slaving away on the computer. It is the morning walk that gets the blood pumping, allows for meditation and mapping out the day and assures we’re up and ready for the morning.
Many of my neighbors, meet me out there everyday–same time and same place and we always reflect on the weather and in Tucson, that makes for a short conversation.
Maybe another month, perhaps five weeks, and our best weather of the year will be upon us and our walks become blessed and full of anticipation. I should be able to sleep-in a bit and have less pressure to beat the sun. Chester is always excited about our early start and it his joy and how he savors and relish his morning outing that fuels my walking the most and why I don’t sleep in when I would rather crawl slowly from the bed. In the final exam, my doctor and vet, both believe the morning jaunt does us both a lot of good and when it comes to my doc, anything I can do to make him happy is important, he finds so little. And I owe all of it to Chester, my faithful walking companion.<img src="http://” alt=”walkingthedawg3512.jpg” />


WATER is always a emotional topic in the Southwest United States. Talk of water rights and who owns the rights to Green Valley’s CAP allotment, can they sell it and who can use the Central Arizona Project will always be big news and the fights will just get bigger and more important as time goes by. The new CAP spur being built to Green Valley is said allow the new ROSEMONT MINE access to all the water they will need but what about LOS ANGELES and LAS VEGAS, I thought these U.S. cities got whatever water that was left over and wasn’t sent south to MEXICO and we owe MEXICO water by TREATY. Shall we assume since the mine will not have to pump ground water that its construction on the slopes of the Santa Rita Range is now a slam dunk. Better get used to the idea says Congresswomen Gabbie Giffords. According to Giffords, there has never been a Copper Mine not allowed to be built in ARIZONA because of the 1872 Mining Law, a law written, passed and enacted long before Global Warming

Abandoned due to drought which made farming impossible, fuel scarce and building supplies 50 miles away.

.[/caption] SOUTHWEST DROUGHT ENDS ANASAZI CIVILIZATION … WHAT MAKES SW IMMUNE TODAY ? GB Cornucopia, a park ranger, is taking the two professors from the University of Arizona on a tour of a major climate catastrophe. Here in New Mexico, a civilization grew and thrived for centuries before disappearing in the face of a 50-year drought. “Well, once a lot of people lived here, or at least came here to visit and then they went away, and they have a lot of ideas why, but no one knows for sure,” Jonathan Overpeck explains. “And one of the reasons we think they went away was, in part, because it got dryer. And it got so dry that it was difficult to live here.”This is not as far-fetched as it might seem. The Southwest is in the midst of a drought that started in 1999. And if forecasts of global warming are correct, the region could end up in a drought that’s even longer and more severe than the one that forced the Anasazi to abandon Chaco Canyon .Julie Cole can’t help but see that parallel.”I have often imagined the streets of Tucson or Phoenix as abandoned, and it’s a bit scary,” she says. “You think that the place that’s the center of your region, the biggest city around, could never crumble and fall, and here it has.”Of course, there is more advanced technology now, not only to predict droughts, but to adapt to a changing climate. A permanent drought in the Southwest would surely force some changes in the way people live.


Satellite images of the Petermann Glacier in Greenland before and after breaking off
Monday, August 9, 2010 – 20:39

On the 5th of August we reported that a massive chunk of the Petermann Glacier broke off in Greenland, this was the biggest chunk of ice to break from the Petermann Glacier in a long time. Nasa recorded satellite images of the ice after and before it broke off so we can easily compare the two and see just how big this chunk of ice was.

According to NASA:

On August 5, 2010, an enormous chunk of ice, roughly 97 square miles (251 square kilometers) in size, broke off the Petermann Glacier, along the northwestern coast of Greenland. The Canadian Ice Service detected the remote event within hours in near real-time data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. The Peterman Glacier lost about one-quarter of its 70-kilometer (40-mile) long floating ice shelf, said researchers who analyzed the satellite data at the University of Delaware.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured these natural-color images of Petermann Glacier 18:05 UTC on August 5, 2010 (top), and 17:15 UTC on July 28, 2010 (bottom). The Terra image of the Petermann Glacier on August 5 was acquired almost 10 hours after the Aqua observation that first recorded the event. By the time Terra took this image, skies were less cloudy than they had been earlier in the day, and the oblong iceberg had broken free of the glacier and moved a short distance down the fjord.

Icebergs calving off the Petermann Glacier are not unusual. Petermann Glacier’s floating ice tongue is the Northern Hemisphere’s largest, and it has occasionally calved large icebergs. The recently calved iceberg is the largest to form in the Arctic since 1962, said the University of Delaware.

UPDATE: STOCKHOLM — An island of ice more than four times the size of Manhattan is drifting across the Arctic Ocean after breaking off from a glacier in Greenland. Potentially in the path of this unstoppable giant are oil platforms and shipping lanes – and any collision could do untold damage. In a worst case scenario, large chunks could reach the heavily trafficked waters where another Greenland iceberg sank the Titanic in 1912. It’s been a summer of near biblical climatic havoc across the planet, with wildfires, heat and smog in Russia and killer floods in Asia. But the moment the Petermann glacier cracked last week – creating the biggest Arctic ice island in half a century – may symbolize a warming world like no other.
“It’s so big that you can’t prevent it from drifting. You can’t stop it,” said Jon-Ove Methlie Hagen, a glaciologist at the University of Oslo.Few images can capture the world’s climate fears like a 100-square- mile (260-sqare-kilometer) chunk of ice breaking off Greenland’s vast ice sheet, a reservoir of freshwater that if it collapsed would raise global sea levels by a devastating 20 feet (6 meters).
The world’s newest ice island already is being used as a powerful emblem in the global warming debate, with U.S. Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts suggesting it could serve as a home for climate change skeptics.Researchers are in a scramble to plot the trajectory of the floating ice shelf, which is moving toward the Nares Strait separating Greenland’s northwestern coast and Canada’s Ellsemere Island. If it makes it into the strait before the winter freeze – due to start next month – it would likely be carried south by ocean currents, hugging Canada’s east coast until it enters waters busy with oil activities and shipping off Newfoundland.”That’s where it starts to become dangerous,” said Mark Drinkwater, of the European Space Agency.
Update by Karl Ritter/AP


Many of us believe our lives will be just one quiet moment to the next. Some call it boredom, others realize if you step in the middle of i-10 life gets different real fast, because of that, many of us have decided not to become Indy Car drivers or Border Patrol, instead there are leagues of insurance agents, salespersons and education positions usually come with a roof and four walls. What if you were sitting at home, enjoying Oprah, eating bom-boms and instantly the roof disappears and then all four walls…….
A tornado was caught on camera destroying a farmhouse this Video shot by a storm chaser shows the tornado touching down near the house in Wilkin County, Minnesota, and debris flying into the air as the funnel tears into the building. As the tornado moves away, the home appears shredded, with part of its roof missing. Tornados were reported on Saturday evening near Tyler, North Dakota, Tenney, Minnesota, and Fergus Falls, Minnesota. 8/8/2010
Imagine you are running down field on a soccer play one moment, and the next, you are running for your life.


Maybe three hundred protesters closed Tucson Streets Thursday to show their displeasure in the new law many believe will cut severely into their civil rights particularly in Arizona. Hispanics fear walking out the front door and being deported to Mexico, insponse Hispanic have risen up all over the United Sates. Cities and States all across the United States have taken sides on the controversial law, many feel it is needed because of the lack of enforcement by the Feds, many residents fear they will no longer be free of the stigma of being a Hispanic.

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TPD’s bikecops were very professional, well-trained and efficient Thursday as they setup a parameter with their two-wheeled squads and slowly regained control of the intersection which had been closed down at Rush Hour by Hispanic protesting SB10-70 going into effect. The specialty team, SWAT, was trotted in and out enmass to arrest and haul off these 95 pound civil disobedient individuals. When I arrived the last of 12 protesters was marched off surrounded by 12 big guys …so everything was calm and cool. The protesters seemed mindful of the news hour and most of the signs were gone by 6:15 pm. Last Thursday may have been one shot fired–but it was heard all around the world–Arizona’s Immigration Law SB10-70 has sent ripples far beyond the borders of this beautiful state. Estimates of 40 conventions who have canceled and estimates of $15 million, from folks who changed their minds and stayed home instead of traveling to the state of the bigot. Its hard to look at this any other way, when the Governor chooses to chase Hispanics from the state who fear walking out their front door. Meanwhile the Superintendent of Education Tom Horne is harassing La Raza Classes being held in Tucson schools and is trying to get elected as State Attorney General, while Jan Brewer, tries to become governor, all on the backs of the Hispanic population. I predict this huge shot of bad karma will blow up in their faces, lose their races, and slowly dropping completely off the face of the earth–never to be seen in ARIZONA politics again. Good riddance!


Summer’s in Tucson are suffered by those without the funds to spend those months at the beach in California. That said, after three hot months, folks in Tucson tend to get a wee bit crazed and that’s when they have to get out…but where to go, its hot, too hot to even leave the house. So when the Mount Lemmon Sky Center offered an evening of looking at the stars through a world class telescope, it seemed almost too good to be true. Many of the astronomical photographs being produced today are taken by Adam Block at UA’s Mount Lemmon Sky Center using a 24-inch RC Optical Instruments telescope, the same scope visitors get to use. From that 24 inch scope Astrophotographer Adam Block captured this image with the telescope at the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter showing two galaxies on a collision path, earlier he had captured the huge appetite of a black hole 50 million light years away.

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[ Our guide to the heavens Mike Terenzoni lectured and guided us to a 9100 foot view of the sunset. Later, dinner was served–as was some liquid nitrogen dished up to demonstrate the adverse temps in outer space. A great opportunity is coming up with the August 11 | Perseid Meteor Shower which should be perfectly viewed from Tucson on Mt. Lemmon The University of Arizona’s SkyCenter is sold out for this annual event but for other evenings it costs, $70 adults, $35 youth (under 18), reservations required 4:45 pm, 520-626-8122 or http://skycenter.arizona.edu

LINK to HUBBLE’S Ultra Deep Field Photo encompasses 800 exposures totaling ONE MILLION SECONDS..said to look back past the BIG BANG