How Wildfire Burn Scars Create Thunderstorms. This story and other headlines for September 25, 2021


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September 25, 2021

Hurricane Ida leaves thousands stranded without running water

It’s been about two weeks since Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast, and while New Orleans had almost all power restored, nearly 135,000 people in Louisiana were still without power to run refrigerators and air conditioners in the hot and humid climate .

Many urban water systems have been offline, creating a crisis that authorities warn could last for weeks. About a week ago, almost 650,000 residents still lacked running water. The storm – exacerbated by climate change – had sustained winds of up to 250 miles per hour that blew power lines used to pump the groundwater and power conditioning equipment. Roads, bridges and water pipes were also destroyed.

Regrind reports that the ongoing crisis is also due to Louisiana having one of the worst water systems in the US with outdated pumping and wastewater infrastructure. In addition, about a third of the communities in the state depend on wells and aquifers that are at risk from saltwater ingress. Both agriculture and the oil and gas industry have been shown to overpump groundwater. Even before Ida met, the Biden government had estimated that Louisiana’s drinking water system would require $ 7 billion in funding.

Meanwhile, CNN reports that the Coast Guard has investigated hundreds of oil spills in the Gulf and monitored cleanup and containment efforts at more than 560 pollution locations. Satellite imagery shows oil floating on the water near East Timbalier National Wildlife Refuge. A report earlier this year showed that the federal government has allowed the oil and gas industry to leave 97 percent of old pipelines – about 18,000 miles of them – on the ocean floor since the 1960s. They can contain contaminants if they are not properly cleaned and taken out of service. Louisiana wildlife officials say they documented more than 100 birds covered in oil from an oil spill at a refinery not far from New Orleans.

Burn scars after forest fires can cause thunderstorms

A year ago, wildfire in Colorado left a major burn scar near Interstate 70, a major east-west corridor through the Rocky Mountains. That summer – a year later – heavy rains in the blackened area caused mudslides that destroyed parts of the highway, causing significant traffic delays and closures.

The risk of burn scars flooding is known, but it is not known that these locations can trigger and even intensify thunderstorms. Registered mail The conversation, William Cotton of Colorado State University, explains that there are three factors that create burn scars that fuel thunderstorms: lack of vegetation, reduced moisture in the soil, and more heat absorption by the soil due to the darker burned surface.

The result is higher surface temperatures over scarred areas compared to nearby unburned areas. The temperature difference between the two can cause warmer air to rise and cooler air to sink – a process known as convection. Convection pulls moist air up from areas around burn scars, creating clouds and thunderstorms that can lead to rain, flooding, and lightning strikes that cause more fires. The intensity of this effect of burn scars that storms create diminishes over time, but the risk remains until vegetation grows back.

Scientists take a smelly problem and turn it into a clean solution

Ohio State University scientists say they found a way to turn a smelly problem into a clean solution. As the name suggests, sewage gas is produced from rotting household and industrial waste. It contains hydrogen sulfide, which is highly toxic and flammable. And if you’ve ever been exposed to hydrogen sulfide, you know it smells like rotten eggs.

A team of researchers was looking for ways to turn hydrogen sulfide into something less harmful and potentially valuable when they discovered a new chemical process that converts it into a clean-burning hydrogen fuel. Their method uses relatively cheap materials – the chemical iron sulfide with traces of molybdenum as an additive – and requires little energy, which is a significant hurdle in the development of green fuels.

The study builds on previous work by the same research group, which uses a process called chemical looping, which involves adding metal oxide particles in high pressure reactors to burn fuels without direct air-fuel contact. The team first used chemical looping for coal and shale gas to convert fossil fuels into electricity without emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The initial process used iron oxide to break down the fossil fuels. Researchers later applied the concept to hydrogen sulfide and invented the SULGEN process, which converts hydrogen sulfide to hydrogen.

While the team says it’s just beginning its experiments and that it needs to be tested on an industrial scale, the idea of ​​converting a toxic gas into an alternative to fossil fuels is encouraging.

Entry into the dairy market is no small potato

Plant milk made from almonds, coconuts, oats or soy is becoming increasingly popular. People chose it for health reasons, but also because cow’s milk has a significant carbon footprint when you consider the cultivation of their feed, the methane that the animals burp, and the water and energy used to process milk.

So which herbal alternative to dairy is best for the environment? The field just got more crowded with a newcomer – potato milk. A product called DUG was developed by Professor Eva Tornberg in the Food Technology, Engineering and Nutrition Department at Lund University in Sweden and claims to have strong green credentials. They say DUG has a quarter of the carbon footprint of cow’s milk and takes up half the land used to produce oat milk. They also say potatoes require 56 percent less water to grow than almonds, most of which come from drought-stricken California.

Potatoes get a bad rap for often being fried or in French fries, but they’re full of antioxidants, high in essential amino acids, and high in vitamins.

The entry into the already overcrowded market for plant-based drinks is no small potato, so the bottom line is – how does it taste? the Vegan review gave it high marks and other sites rated it a bit positive. It’s currently only available in Sweden and the UK, but maybe soon when you step up to the counter to order your half caff, no-foam pumpkin spice latte, you can add a potato to it.


H2O Radio’s goal is to help its audience become dedicated and knowledgeable guardians of our environment and water supply by cutting through noise, opinions and ideological narratives to present facts and truth with a clear, strong signal. Given the pressing climate change situation, there is little time to lose.

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About Mike Crayton

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