20 Jan 2017: Use salt to turn common surgical masks into virus killers
Update as of 21 Oct 2016
John Moore, The Liberty Man, & Ann
Dr. Bill Deagle, Nutrimedical Report, & Ann
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- Arctic Ozone Watch 17 January 2017
- Antarctic Ozone Hole Watch 17 January 2017
- Northern Jet Stream crosses the Equator!
- Six Large Fire Incidents across Oklahoma, 1 in Texas, 1 in Tennessee
- British Antarctic Survey abandons Brunt Ice Shelf as crack grows
- Earth breaks heat record in 2016 for third year in a row
- Understanding Causes and Effects of Rapid Warming in the Arctic
- Climate Change Is the World’s Biggest Risk, in 3 Charts
- Solar storms could spark soils at moon’s poles
- Cosmic Rays at South Pole up 3 percent
- EARTH’S MAGNETIC FIELD RINGS LIKE A BELL:
- Volcanic Activity for the week of 11 January-17 January 2017
- SIGMETs valid 1834 UTC 19 Jan 2017 Volcanic Ash Hazards
- Dramatic Colima Volcanic eruption in Mexico
- Tiny Bogoslof Island rises from the Bering Sea
- World Earthquakes for the week ending 19 Jan 2017
- UTC 2017-01-19 23:04:20 M 6.5 – 42 mi W of Kirakira, Solomon Islands 18.6 mi depth
- UTC 2017-01-18 13:33:37 M 5.2 – 3 mi N of Montereale, Italy 4.3 mi depth
Arctic Ozone Watch 17 January 2017
National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center
Antarctic Ozone Hole Watch 17 January 2017
Northern Jet Stream crosses the Equator!
Current Large Fire Incidents as of 19 January 2017
Six Large Fire Incidents across Oklahoma, 1 in Texas, 1 in Tennessee
British Antarctic Survey abandons polar base as worrying crack grows in ice
Sarah Knapton, Science Editor 16 January 2017 • 6:09pm
Scientists at the British Antarctic Survey are abandoning their research station for the first time ever this winter after a new worrying crack developed in the ice sheet.
The renowned Halley VI ice base, from which the hole in the ozone layer was first detected, was already scheduled to be relocated 14 miles across the Brunt Ice Shelf because of an encroaching fissure in the ice.
But a new crack has been steadily growing to the north of the base, and computer modelling suggests that it could cause a large iceberg to calve away from the sheet, which could destabalise the area.
The Halley VI ice base is in danger from a growing ice crack Credit: BAS
Although the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) says nobody is immediate danger, they cannot be sure that conditions would not worsen during the difficult conditions of the southern polar winter when an evacuation would be impossible.
“We want to do the right thing for our people,” said Captain Tim Stockings, the Director of Operations at the base.
“Bringing them home for winter is a prudent precaution given the changes that our glaciologists have seen in the ice shelf in recent months.
“The Halley VI Research Station sits on a floating ice shelf. It was designed specifically to move inland if required. The current work to relocate our station is going very well. This challenging engineering project is scheduled to complete as planned by early March 2017.
“Our goal is to winterise the station and leave it ready for re-occupation as soon as possible after the Antarctic winter.”
It is the first time the base has been closed for the winter Credit: BAS
During the summer months the BAS could quickly airlift staff to safety should there by a sudden fracturing of the ice sheet. But, access to Halley by ship or aircraft is extremely difficult during the winter months of 24-hour darkness, extremely low temperatures and the frozen sea.
There are currently 88 people on station including summer-only staff working on the relocation project and 16 who were scheduled to over-winter. Some staff may be deployed to other BAS teams.
The BAS said every effort was being made to ensure the continuity of long-term scientific data capture.
It is the latest problem to beset the base. In 2012, satellite monitoring of the ice shelf revealed the first signs of movement in the chasm that had lain dormant for at least 35 years and, by 2013, it began opening at an alarming pace of one mile per year. If the base does not move, it could be in danger of tumbling into the chasm by 2020.
To make matters more time critical, in October, a new crack emerged 10 miles to the north of the research station across the route sometimes used to resupply the base.
The team had just nine weeks to relocate operations, before the harsh winter begins, making it difficult to move the structure amid complete darkness, plummeting temperatures and gale-force winds.
The base was to be broken up into its eight modules and driven further inland on the back of large tractors. But the exercise has been abandoned to allow staff to be taken to safety.
The base is crucial to studies into global issues such as the impact of extreme space weather events, climate change, and atmospheric phenomena.
Ozone measurements have also been made continuously at Halley since 1956 and it was scientific investigations from this location that led to the discovery of the Antarctic Ozone Hole in 1985.
Space weather data captured at Halley VI contributes to the Space Environment Impacts Expert Group that provides advice to Government on the impact of space weather on UK infrastructure and business.
The station is also home to an ongoing European Space Agency (ESA) experiment which is testing how well people can adapt to life in remote and isolated locations in preparations for long space flights, such as the first Mars landing.
© Telegraph Media Group Limited 2017
Accessed at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/01/16/british-antarctic-survey-abandons-polar-base-worrying-crack/ on January 18, 2017.
British Antarctic Survey
Halley VI Research Station after the 30-mile crack appeared around 10 miles to the north of the site in October.
Brunt Ice Shelf
Earth breaks heat record in 2016 for third year in a row
Variation in global temperature compared to the 20th century average
January 18, 2017
The global average temperature last year was 1.69 Fahrenheit (0.94 Celsius) above the 20th century average
Last year, the Earth sweltered under the hottest temperatures in modern times for the third year in a row, US scientists said Wednesday, raising new concerns about the quickening pace of climate change.
Temperatures spiked to new national highs in parts of India, Kuwait and Iran, while sea ice melted faster than ever in the fragile Arctic, said the report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Taking a global average of the land and sea surface temperatures for the entire year, NOAA found the data for “2016 was the highest since record keeping began in 1880,” said the announcement.
The global average temperature last year was 1.69 Fahrenheit (0.94 Celsius) above the 20th century average, and 0.07 degrees F (0.04 C) warmer than in 2015, the last record-setting year, according to NOAA.
A separate analysis by the US space agency NASA also found that 2016 was the hottest on record.
The World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, Switzerland confirmed the US findings, and noted that atmospheric concentrations of both carbon dioxide and methane reached record levels.
“2016 was an extreme year for the global climate and stands out as the hottest year on record,” said Petteri Taalas, the agency’s secretary general.
Land and ocean temperature change above/below the average in 2016
Each of the first eight months of the year “had record high temperatures for their respective months,” NOAA said.
The main reason for the rise is the burning of fossil fuels like oil and gas, which send carbon dioxide, methane and other pollutants known as greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and warm the planet.
The mounting toll of industrialization on the Earth’s natural balance is increasingly apparent in the record books.
“Since the start of the 21st century, the annual global temperature record has been broken five times (2005, 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2016),” said NOAA.
Another factor has been the Pacific Ocean warming trend of El Nino, which experts say exacerbates the planet’s already rising warmth.
El Nino comes and goes. The latest episode became particularly strong in 2015, and subsided about halfway through 2016.
The rising temperatures led to Arctic sea ice shrinking to approximately 3.92 million square miles—the smallest area ever recorded
But El Nino was responsible for just a small fraction of last year’s warmth, according to Peter Stott, acting director of Britain’s Met Office Hadley Center.
“The main contributor to warming over the last 150 years is human influence on climate from increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” he said.
Piers Forster, director of the Priestley International Center for Climate at the University of Leeds, agreed.
“Even if you remove the extra warming due to El Nino, 2016 was the warmest year ever recorded,” Forster said.
“2017 will likely be cooler. However, unless we have a major volcanic eruption, I expect the record to be broken again within a few years.”
Scenes from a warming world
All of North America was the warmest since records began in 1910, breaking that region’s last record set in 1998.
Europe and Asia each saw their third hottest years on record, while Australia marked its fourth warmest year since records began more than a century ago.
Unusual spikes in temperature were seen in Phalodi, India, which reached 124 F (51 C) on May 19—marking India’s hottest temperature ever.
Dehloran, Iran hit 127 F (53 C) on July 22, a new national record.
Meanwhile, Mitribah, Kuwait hit an all-time high of 129 F (54 C) on July 21, which may be the highest temperature ever recorded in all of Asia, NOAA said.
Planet-wide, the heat led to more melting at the poles. In the Arctic, average annual sea ice extent was approximately 3.92 million square miles (10.2 million square kilometers), the smallest annual average in the record, NOAA said.
“In the Antarctic, annual Antarctic sea ice extent was the second smallest on record, behind 1986, at 4.31 million square miles,” it said.
“Both the November and December 2016 extents were record small.”
Climate experts say the only solution to the rising temperatures is to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels
- Unusually hot years wreak havoc on the planet by increasing heavy rainfall in some parts of the world while leading to drought in others, damaging crops.
- Fish and birds must migrate farther than ever to find suitable temperatures.
- Diseases can spread faster in the warming oceans, sickening marine life and killing corals.
- Glaciers and polar ice caps melt, leading to sea level rise that will eventually swallow many of the globe’s coastal communities, home to some one billion people.
Experts say the only solution is to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, in favor of Earth-friendly renewable energy such as wind and solar.
“Climate change is one of the great challenges of the twenty first century and shows no signs of slowing down,” said Mark Maslin, professor of climatology at University College London.
“The decarbonization of the global economy is the ultimate goal to prevent the worst effects of climate change.”
© 2017 AFP
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-01-earth-year-row.html#jCp
© Phys.org 2003 – 2017, Science X network
Accessed at https://phys.org/news/2017-01-earth-year-row.html on January 18, 2017.
Understanding Causes and Effects of Rapid Warming in the Arctic
Fig. 1. Mean temperatures (by location and year, measured in kelvins), shown as variations from 1951–1980 mean temperatures. The increase in red areas in more recent years indicates global warming. The area inside the black box shows how this warming is amplified in the Arctic, particularly within the past 25 years. The data are provided by the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
A new German research consortium is investigating why near-surface air temperatures in the Artic are rising more quickly than in the rest of the world.
Frozen and snow-covered meltwater ponds appear more frequently on the diminishing Arctic sea ice.
Frozen and snow-covered meltwater ponds appear more frequently on the diminishing Arctic sea ice. A new research consortium is searching for the reasons behind unusually rapid warming in the Arctic, and they are working to improve models that simulate this effect. Credit: Stefan Hendricks, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Alfred-Wegener-Institut
By Manfred Wendisch, Marlen Brückner, John P. Burrows, Susanne Crewell, Klaus Dethloff, Kerstin Ebell, Christof Lüpkes, Andreas Macke, Justus Notholt, Johannes Quaas, Annette Rinke, and Ina Tegen 5 hours ago
For meteorologists and climate scientists, the Arctic is one of the most interesting regions on Earth. There climate changes currently take place at an unprecedented pace and intensity, and the reported dramatic changes have not been completely anticipated. The Arctic is warming more rapidly than the rest of the world, a process referred to as the Arctic amplification.
Over the past 25 years, scientists have observed a remarkable increase of near-surface Arctic air temperatures, which exceeds the global warming by a factor of 2 to 3.
Over the past 25 years, scientists have observed a remarkable increase of near-surface air temperatures, which exceeds the global warming by a factor of 2 to 3 (Figure 1). To find out why this is happening, in January 2016 the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) launched a new Transregional Collaborative Research Center (TR 172) called “Arctic Amplification: Climate Relevant Atmospheric and Surface Processes, and Feedback Mechanisms.”
This effort, known by the abbreviation (AC)3, has as its overarching scientific objectives the identification, investigation, and evaluation of key processes involved in Arctic amplification; improving the understanding of the major feedback mechanisms; and quantifying the relative importance of these mechanisms.
Warming is amplified in the Arctic, particularly within the past 25 years.
Our current understanding of the rapid changes in the Arctic climate implies that atmospheric processes likely dominate the short-term warming mechanisms involved. Thus, research in (AC)³ has an atmospheric focus during Phase I, which was approved to obtain funding by DFG from January 2016 to December 2019. In Phases II and III (planned for January 2020 to December 2027) the researchers of TR 172 plan to investigate the interactions between oceanic and atmospheric components more thoroughly.
Recent Arctic Climate Changes
As a consequence of the recent drastic warming in the Arctic, other climate variables will also be affected dramatically [Serreze and Barry, 2011]. For example, routine satellite measurements have documented an enormous decline in the extent of Arctic sea ice that is even more than models predicted [Stroeve et al., 2012; Jeffries et al., 2013]. The past 9 years of satellite data have revealed the six smallest annual minima of sea ice extent since appropriate and reliable satellite observations began in 1979. The recent decline is larger than any observed in more than 1400 years [Kinnard et al., 2011]. Climate models predict that the summer Arctic sea ice may completely vanish by the end of the 21st century or earlier.
Not only is the Arctic sea ice extent shrinking, but so is its thickness [Lindsay and Schweiger, 2015]. The reduced summer sea ice in the Arctic results in larger areas of thinner first-year ice forming during the subsequent winters. The average thinning of the Arctic sea ice causes a higher transmission of solar radiation into the ocean and enhanced heat energy fluxes from the ocean to the atmosphere. It also accelerates transpolar ice drift, a migration of ice from Russia’s Siberian coast across the Arctic basin, resulting in an increased export of sea ice into the North Atlantic off the eastern coast of Greenland. The thinner sea ice is also more vulnerable to storms like the major Arctic cyclone in summer 2012.
The extent of the snow cover in both Eurasia and North America reached a record low in June 2012 [Shi et al., 2013]. In contrast, snow cover over Eurasia has tended to increase in autumn in recent years, enhancing the strength of the Siberian high-pressure system during winter. This change in snow cover strongly affected the surface albedo of the Arctic land areas, the length of the growing season, the timing and dynamics of spring river runoff, the thawing of permafrost, and the wildlife population.
A continued amplified warming in the Arctic is also expected to decrease the temperature gradient between the Arctic and midlatitudes, which is anticipated to influence the meandering of the polar jet stream and wind patterns [Walsh, 2014]. Consequently, this might increase the probability of extreme weather events in the mid-latitudes, including colder winters and summer heat waves.
Models Have Room for Improvement
Unfortunately, coupled regional and global climate models do not yet unambiguously reproduce the recent drastic changes of Arctic climate parameters. For example, they systematically underestimate the decline of observed sea ice extent. These significant differences between models and observations imply that the climate models do not adequately describe the underlying physical processes and feedback mechanisms in the Arctic. As a result, the projections from these models are also likely to be inadequate and not yet fit for use.
As human influence on climate increases, more significant and potentially drastic climate changes in the Arctic are likely, although the accuracy of current projections is uncertain. These changes will have perceptible socioeconomic and ecological consequences for marine transportation, fisheries, ecosystems and ecosystem services, and tourism, as well as for oil, gas, and mineral exploration. It is thus a matter of urgency to qualitatively and quantitatively improve our knowledge of the Arctic climate system and the accuracy of its prediction.
How the Arctic Is Unusual
The Arctic climate exhibits many unique features. For example, the Sun does not rise high over the horizon, and seasonal variations in daylight are extreme (polar day and night). Bright ice and snow cover provide a highly reflective surface, low-level mixed-phase (water and ice) clouds are quite frequent, and the prevailing atmospheric boundary layer is especially shallow in the Arctic. These special characteristics profoundly influence physical and biogeochemical processes and atmospheric composition, as well as meteorological and surface parameters in the Arctic.
Feedback processes that amplify an initial near-surface air temperature rise caused by global warming.
Fig. 2. Examples of feedback processes that amplify an initial near-surface air temperature rise caused by global warming. Red, surface albedo effect; blue, changes in north–south atmospheric and oceanic transport; black, effects of water vapor and clouds; green, effects of aerosol particles; purple, increased oceanic biological activity.
Several feedback mechanisms are particularly effective in the Arctic, and these generally increase the sensitivity of the Arctic climate system (Figure 2). The most famous and already well-studied feedback mechanism is the surface albedo effect, which reinforces warming over highly reflecting surfaces worldwide but is amplified even more in the Arctic. The increased near-surface air temperature causes a melting of the sea ice and snow cover. This reduced coverage, in turn, exposes less reflective surfaces, including open seawater, bare ground, and vegetated land. The less reflective surfaces absorb more solar radiation, which warms the land surface and the upper oceanic mixing layer, enhancing the energy fluxes from the surface to the atmosphere, which increases the near-surface air temperature even further.
The surface albedo effect amplifies global warming in the Arctic, and other changes might intensify this warming even further. Such changes include meridional (north–south or vice versa) atmospheric and oceanic mass transport processes and related modifications of vertical turbulent exchange of energy between the ocean and the atmosphere. A warmer ocean surface could increase the atmospheric water vapor amount and enhance the occurrence of clouds in the atmosphere, which warm the lower atmosphere by radiating heat downward. An increase in the abundance of soot aerosol particles could enhance the absorption of solar radiation both in the atmosphere and on snow or ice surfaces, further intensifying the warming effect. Biological activity changes in the ice-free ocean could increase the amounts of phytoplankton, which would also absorb more solar radiation.
There is not yet a consensus in the Arctic research community about the dominant mechanisms leading to Arctic amplification.
These changes will have an impact on the unique atmospheric chemical processes taking place at high latitudes, removing short-lived climate pollutants and toxic heavy metals in the troposphere and controlling the stratospheric ozone layer. In addition, algae and phytoplankton production depend on these processes and their modifications, and the organohalogens they release into the atmosphere will also change.
Although many individual consequences of changes in these Arctic climate parameters are known, their combined influence and relative importance for Arctic amplification are complicated to quantify and difficult to disentangle. As a result, there is not yet a consensus in the Arctic research community about the dominant mechanisms leading to the phenomenon of Arctic amplification.
Planned Observations and Modeling Studies
In the framework of (AC)3, we will use campaign-based and continuous observations to establish consistent shorter- and longer-term measurements and data product records. These observations will be collected by instrumentation carried on aircraft, tethered balloons, research vessels, and satellites and from instruments at a selected set of ground-based sites. We will conduct field studies in different seasons and meteorological conditions, covering a suitably wide range of spatial and temporal scales (Figure 3).
Results of field observations will be compared with satellite data and predictions from climate models.
Fig. 3. Field observations within the framework of (AC)3. Results of these field observations will be compared with satellite data and predictions from climate models. CONCORD, continuous characterization of the Ny-Ålesund/Spitsbergen column and radiative effects from ground-based remote sensing (ongoing project); ABEX, Arctic Balloon-borne profiling Experiment (May–June 2017); ACLOUD, Arctic Clouds–Characterization of Ice, aerosol Particles and Energy fluxes (May–June 2017); PAMARCMiP, Polar Airborne Measurements and Arctic Regional Climate Model Simulation Project (spring 2018); AFLUX, Arctic Amplification: Fluxes in the Cloudy Atmospheric Boundary Layer (spring 2019); PASCAL, Physical feedback of Arctic Atmospheric Boundary Layer, Sea ice, Cloud and Aerosol (May–June 2017); MOSAiC, Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (2019–2020).
The shorter-term intensive campaigns are embedded in longer-term data sampling programs (i.e., the past 30 years), which aim to identify trends in the spatiotemporal variability of Arctic climate parameters. We will carry out this observational strategy in an international context and in close collaboration with modeling activities.
A hierarchy of models covering a wide range of spatial and temporal scales for studying Arctic amplification.
Fig. 4. The (AC)3 consortium will use a hierarchy of models covering a wide range of spatial and temporal scales to study Arctic amplification.
Modelers will use a hierarchy of process, regional, and global models to bridge the spatiotemporal scales, from local processes to appropriate global and long-term climate indicators (Figure 4). The models will serve several purposes. They will guide the planning and performance of field campaigns, assist in the interpretation of the local measurements, serve as test beds to evaluate process parameterizations, quantify feedback mechanisms, and help researchers determine the origins of observed Arctic climate changes. The observations, in turn, will be used to evaluate the predictive skills of the models.
We will place particular emphasis on evaluating different parameterizations, analyzing and quantifying feedback mechanisms in sensitivity studies, and assessing the importance of processes for Arctic climate and their interaction with the global dynamics and climate change.
Plans for the Coming Year
We have made preparations for a major observational campaign using R/V Polarstern, tethered balloon measurements from an ice floe camp, and research aircraft Polar 5 and Polar 6 (based in Longyearbyen, Svalbard) during May and June 2017. In particular, we will investigate the coupling of sea ice, clouds, and aerosol in the transition zone between open ocean and sea ice.
We will investigate the coupling of sea ice, clouds, and aerosol in the transition zone between open ocean and sea ice.
The instrumentation on board R/V Polarstern will provide standard and additional spectral radiation measurements to determine the surface energy budget and a detailed characterization of surface, cloud, and aerosol properties. A continuous ground-based measurement site at Svalbard, close to the open ocean, will provide similar measurements.
Polar 5 and Polar 6 will operate between Svalbard and the actual location of R/V Polarstern along the sea ice edge. The airborne observations will be supplemented by measurements of the boundary layer structure (turbulent and radiative energy fluxes) from a tethered balloon. The campaign will be the basis for extended modeling efforts to improve our understanding of Arctic climate changes.
We gratefully acknowledge the support from the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) within the Transregional Collaborative Research Center (TR 172) “Arctic Amplification: Climate Relevant Atmospheric and Surface Processes, and Feedback Mechanisms (AC)3.”
Jeffries, M. O., J. E. Overland, and D. K. Perovich (2013), The Arctic shifts to a new normal, Phys. Today, 66(10), 35–40.
Kinnard, C., et al. (2011), Reconstructed changes in Arctic sea ice over the past 1,450 years, Nature, 479, 509–512, doi:10.1038/nature10581.
Lindsay, R., and A. Schweiger (2015), Arctic sea ice thickness loss determined using subsurface, aircraft, and satellite observations, Cryosphere, 9, 269–283, doi:10.5194/tc-9-269-2015.
Serreze, M. C., and R. C. Barry (2011), Processes and impacts of Arctic amplification: A research synthesis, Global Planet. Change, 77, 85–96, doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2011.03.004.
Shi, X., et al. (2013), Relationships between recent pan-Arctic snow cover and hydroclimate trends, J. Clim., 26, 2048–2064, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00044.1.
Stroeve, J. C., et al. (2012), Trends in Arctic sea ice extent from CMIP5, CMIP3 and observations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L16502, doi:10.1029/2012GL052676.
Walsh, J. E. (2014), Intensified warming of the Arctic: Causes and impacts on middle latitudes, Global Planet. Change, 117, 52–63, doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2014.03.003.
Manfred Wendisch (email: email@example.com) and Marlen Brückner, Leipzig Institute for Meteorology, University of Leipzig, Germany; John P. Burrows, Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, Germany; Susanne Crewell, Institute for Geophysics and Meteorology, University of Cologne, Germany; Klaus Dethloff, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Ocean Research, Alfred Wegener Institute, Potsdam, Germany; Kerstin Ebell, Institute for Geophysics and Meteorology, University of Cologne, Germany; Christof Lüpkes, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Ocean Research, Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany; Andreas Macke, Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany; Justus Notholt, Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, Germany; Johannes Quaas, Leipzig Institute for Meteorology, University of Leipzig, Germany; Annette Rinke, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Ocean Research, Alfred Wegener Institute, Potsdam, Germany; and Ina Tegen, Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany
© 2017. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
Citation: Wendisch, M., et al. (2017), Understanding causes and effects of rapid warming in the Arctic, Eos, 98, doi:10.1029/2017EO064803. Published on 17 January 2017.
© 2017 American Geophysical Union. All rights reserved.
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Accessed at https://eos.org/project-updates/understanding-causes-and-effects-of-rapid-warming-in-the-arctic?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_content=understanding-causes-and-effects-of-rapid-warming-in-the-arctic&utm_campaign=ealert&utm_source=Eos+Primary+List&utm_campaign=f1f6bd80eb-Weekly_All_Content_Digest&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f923f18da4-f1f6bd80eb-500686449 on January 17, 2017.
Climate Change Is the World’s Biggest Risk, in 3 Charts
Credit: World Economic Forum
By Brian Kahn Published: January 12th, 2017
The rise of the machines isn’t the biggest threat to humanity. It’s climate change, extreme weather and other environmental factors.
The World Economic Forum surveyed 750 experts on what the most likely and impactful risks facing humanity are in 2017. In a report released Thursday, 12 January 2017, they ranked extreme weather as the most likely risk and the second-most impactful, trailing only the use of weapons of mass destruction. Climate change is responsible for driving an increase in the likelihood and intensity of extreme weather events, notably heat waves.
Failing to adapt to or mitigate climate change and a host of other climate-connected risks including water and food crises and involuntary migration also rank in the top 10.
A matrix outlining the most likely and most impactful risks facing the world in 2017.
Credit: World Economic Forum
To be sure, the machines, rise of illiberalism, income inequality and a raft of other problems all could disrupt the global order, according to the report. But climate change is growing in prominence as humanity’s biggest threat. It’s been a fixture in the top 5 threats in terms of likelihood and impact since 2011.
Extreme weather tops the likelihood list a year after floods ravaged Louisiana and Hurricane Matthew inflicted $10 billion in damage. There were 15 disasters that cost the U.S. $1 billion or more in 2016, trailing only 2011 for a record number of billion-dollar disasters.
Climate change has become a growing problem since its first appearance on the list. That’s because the ways that carbon pollution are altering the climate are “strongly interconnected with many other risks, such as conflict and migration,” the authors of the report wrote. “This year, environmental concerns are more prominent than ever, with all five risks in this category assessed as being above average for both impact and likelihood.”
Climate change and its related impacts has been a fixture on the most likely global risks list since 2011.
The impacts of climate change are becoming clearer with each passing day as we continue to pour carbon pollution into our atmosphere at an unprecedented pace. Among numerous impacts, the world just had its hottest year on record, Arctic sea ice is in sharp decline, and sea levels are rising and threatening coastal cities.
Scientists have warned about knock-on effects ranging from increased risk of drought and conflict, changes to animal migration patterns and in the case of extreme weather, the potential for widescale human suffering after a storm passes.
For all the concerns about the threat that climate change poses, there’s also a clear-cut path to reduce the risk. Cutting carbon pollution would help ensure that the worst impacts of climate change don’t come to pass and the World Economic Forum report makes a strong economic case for doing so rapidly.
Climate change and its related impacts has also been among the most impactful risks to humanity since 2011.
Credit: World Economic Forum
The report cites the freefall of solar panel costs, the rise of battery technologies and the record-setting pace of investment in renewables as signals that a new Industrial Revolution is already underway. Corporations such as Google are also plunging money into running on renewables, further underscoring the transition to a low-carbon economy.
It’s a promising start, but investments will have to keep ramping up if the world is to meet its climate change goals outlined in the Paris Agreement. Otherwise, robots may end up owning the world after all.
Copyright © 2017 Climate Central.
Acessed at https://www.climatecentral.org/news/climate-change-worlds-biggest-risk-charts-21050 on January 16, 2017.
Solar storms could spark soils at moon’s poles
Illustration showing how solar energetic particles may cause dielectric breakdown in lunar regolith in a permanently shadowed region (PSR). Tiny breakdown events could occur throughout the floor of the PSR. Credit: NASA/Andrew Jordan
Date: January 6, 2017
Source: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Powerful solar storms can charge up the soil in frigid, permanently shadowed regions near the lunar poles, and may possibly produce ‘sparks’ that could vaporize and melt the soil, perhaps as much as meteoroid impacts, according to new research. This alteration may become evident when analyzing future samples from these regions that could hold the key to understanding the history of the moon and solar system.
Powerful solar storms can charge up the soil in frigid, permanently shadowed regions near the lunar poles, and may possibly produce “sparks” that could vaporize and melt the soil, perhaps as much as meteoroid impacts, according to NASA-funded research. This alteration may become evident when analyzing future samples from these regions that could hold the key to understanding the history of the moon and solar system.
The moon has almost no atmosphere, so its surface is exposed to the harsh space environment. Impacts from small meteoroids constantly churn or “garden” the top layer of the dust and rock, called regolith, on the moon. “About 10 percent of this gardened layer has been melted or vaporized by meteoroid impacts,” said Andrew Jordan of the University of New Hampshire, Durham. “We found that in the moon’s permanently shadowed regions, sparks from solar storms could melt or vaporize a similar percentage.” Jordan is lead author of a paper on this recently published research published in Icarus.
Explosive solar activity, like flares and coronal mass ejections, blasts highly energetic, electrically charged particles into space. Earth’s atmosphere shields us from most of this radiation, but on the moon, these particles — ions and electrons — slam directly into the surface. They accumulate in two layers beneath the surface; the bulky ions can’t penetrate deeply because they are more likely to hit atoms in the regolith, so they form a layer closer to the surface while the tiny electrons slip through and form a deeper layer. The ions have positive charge while the electrons carry negative charge. Since opposite charges attract, normally these charges flow towards each other and balance out.
In August 2014, however, Jordan’s team published simulation results predicting that strong solar storms would cause the regolith in the moon’s permanently shadowed regions (PSRs) to accumulate charge in these two layers until explosively released, like a miniature lightning strike. The PSRs are so frigid that regolith becomes an extremely poor conductor of electricity. Therefore, during intense solar storms, the regolith is expected to dissipate the build-up of charge too slowly to avoid the destructive effects of a sudden electric discharge, called dielectric breakdown. The research estimates the extent that this process can alter the regolith.
“This process isn’t completely new to space science — electrostatic discharges can occur in any poorly conducting (dielectric) material exposed to intense space radiation, and is actually the leading cause of spacecraft anomalies,” said Timothy Stubbs of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, a co-author of the paper. The team’s analysis was based on this experience. From spacecraft studies and analysis of samples from NASA’s Apollo lunar missions, the researchers knew how often large solar storms occur. From previous lunar research, they estimated that the top millimeter of regolith would be buried by meteoroid impacts after about a million years, so it would be too deep to be subject to electric charging during solar storms. Then they estimated the energy that would be deposited over a million years by both meteoroid impacts and dielectric breakdown driven by solar storms, and found that each process releases enough energy to alter the regolith by a similar amount.
“Lab experiments show that dielectric breakdown is an explosive process on a tiny scale,” said Jordan. “During breakdown, channels could be melted and vaporized through the grains of soil. Some of the grains may even be blown apart by the tiny explosion. The PSRs are important locations on the moon, because they contain clues to the moon’s history, such as the role that easily vaporized material like water has played. But to decipher that history, we need to know in what ways PSRs are not pristine; that is, how they have been weathered by the space environment, including solar storms and meteoroid impacts.”
The next step is to search for evidence of dielectric breakdown in PSRs and determine if it could happen in other areas on the moon. Observations from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft indicate that the soil in PSRs is more porous or “fluffy” than other areas, which might be expected if breakdown was blasting apart some of the soil grains there. However, experiments, some already underway, are needed to confirm that breakdown is responsible for this. Also, the lunar night is long — about two weeks — so it can become cold enough for breakdown to occur in other areas on the moon, according to the team. There may even be “sparked” material in the Apollo samples, but the difficulty would be determining if this material was altered by breakdown or a meteoroid impact. The team is working with scientists at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory on experiments to see how breakdown affects the regolith and to look for any tell-tale signatures that could distinguish it from the effects of meteoroid impacts.
Materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
A.P. Jordan, T.J. Stubbs, J.K. Wilson, N.A. Schwadron, H.E. Spence. The rate of dielectric breakdown weathering of lunar regolith in permanently shadowed regions. Icarus, 2017; 283: 352 DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2016.08.027
Cite This Page:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. “Solar storms could spark soils at moon’s poles.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170106150921.htm>.
Copyright 2016 ScienceDaily or by third parties, where indicated. All rights controlled by their respective owners.
Content on this website is for information only. It is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice.
Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily, its staff, its contributors, or its partners.
Accessed at https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170106150921.htm on January 18, 2017.
COSMIC RAYS ARE INTENSIFYING:
University of Delaware’s Bartol Research Institute
Cosmic Rays at South Pole up 3 percent
A neutron monitor at the South Pole is detecting an upswing in cosmic rays penetrating Earth’s atmosphere. Here are the data, courtesy of the University of Delaware’s Bartol Research Institute:
This is a sign of changing times on the sun. The solar cycle is shifting from Solar Maximum to Solar Minimum. As the sun’s magnetic field weakens, cosmic rays are having an easier time penetrating the inner solar system. Earth is in the cross-hairs of these high-energy particles.
To find out if cosmic rays are also surging in the atmosphere at mid-latitudes, yesterday the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched a space weather balloon from the shores of Mono Lake in central California. At the time of the launch, the lake was wrapped in a cloud of rare fog called “Poconip” that coated every surface with feathery ice crystals:
The payload has landed at 10,400 feet elevation on the slopes of Mount Basin near Bishop CA. National Jr. snowboarding champion Carson Reid, a longtime member of Earth to Sky, will lead the recovery expedition on Wednesday. Stay tuned for results!
Our radiation monitoring program receives no support from corporate sponsors or government grants. Instead, we are crowd-funded. Or rather … bear-funded:
Accessed at ©2016 Spaceweather.com. All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips. on January 16, 2017.
EARTH’S MAGNETIC FIELD RINGS LIKE A BELL:
Details: Jan.13 2017,this morning around 03.30 UTC or 04.30 local winter time for about one hour ground induced pulsations on my instruments. Induced by Ultra-low frequency magnetospheric variations in a 2 minute time period.Pc4 pulsations, a rare phenomenon.
In the Lofoten Islands of Norway, Spaceweather.com reader Rob Stammes operates a magnetic observatory. Twenty-four hours a day, he measures the strength and direction of the local magnetic field as well as electrical currents running through the ground. During geomagnetic storms, his chart recordings go haywire. On January 13th, 2017, something different happened. They rang like a bell:
“For about an hour, electrical currents in the ground beneath my observatory flowed back and forth with a sinusoidal period near 2 minutes,” says Stammes. “This is rare.”
These are natural ultra-low frequency oscillations known to researchers as “pulsations continuous” (Pc). The physics is familiar to anyone who has studied bells or resonant cavities. Earth’s magnetic field carves out a cavity in the surrounding solar wind. Gusts of solar wind can make the cavity “ring” akin to a bell (references: #1, #2, #3). Human ears cannot hear this ringing; it is electromagnetic rather than acoustic. The physical effect is felt beneath our feet. As the cavity vibrates, magnetic fields swing back and forth, causing electrical currents to flow through the ground below.
The Pc waves Stammes detected are a variety known as Pc4, which oscillate in the frequency range 6.7–22 mHz. Such waves are good at energizing particles trapped in Earth’s magnetic field and often cause local outbursts of bright auroras.
Accessed at ©2016 Spaceweather.com. All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips on January 18, 2017.
Volcanic Activity for the week of 11 January-17 January 2017
Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey’s Volcano Hazards Program
The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report is a cooperative project between the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey’s Volcano Hazards Program. Updated by 2300 UTC every Wednesday, notices of volcanic activity posted on these pages are preliminary and subject to change as events are studied in more detail. This is not a comprehensive list of all of Earth’s volcanoes erupting during the week, but rather a summary of activity at volcanoes that meet criteria discussed in detail in the “Criteria and Disclaimers” section. Carefully reviewed, detailed reports on various volcanoes are published monthly in the Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network.
|Bezymianny||Central Kamchatka (Russia)||New|
|1. Bogoslof||Fox Islands (USA)||New|
|2. Ebeko||Paramushir Island (Russia)||New|
|3. Ibu||Halmahera (Indonesia)||New|
|4. Klyuchevskoy||Central Kamchatka (Russia)||New|
|8. Dukono||Halmahera (Indonesia)||Ongoing|
|9. Kilauea||Hawaiian Islands (USA)||Ongoing|
|10. Langila||New Britain (Papua New Guinea)||Ongoing|
|11. Nevado del Ruiz||Colombia||Ongoing|
|12. Nevados de Chillan||Chile||Ongoing|
|13. Sheveluch||Central Kamchatka (Russia)||Ongoing|
|15. Suwanosejima||Ryukyu Islands (Japan)||Ongoing|
SIGMETs valid 1834 UTC 19 Jan 2017 Volcanic Ash Hazards
SABANCAYA, Begins: 2017-01-19T18:20:00Z, Ends: 2017-01-20T00:20:00Z
Dramatic volcanic eruption in Mexico caught on camera video
Last updated 21:52, January 19 2017
The dramatic night-time eruption of one of Mexico’s largest volcanoes has been caught live on camera.
It’s the third time Colima volcano has erupted in January.
The eruption on Wednesday, local time, was so fierce it could be heard up to 37 mi (60km away), and lasted several hours, sending lava and dense ash column shooting about 2 – 4km skyward.
The eruption could be heard up to 37 mi (60km) away.
Nearby residents were told to stay indoors, and to keep the windows and doors closed.
If they needed to venture out, they were warned to wear long-sleeved clothing and a hat.
There were no reports of injuries.
An 4.5 mi (8km) exclusion zone has been established around the volcano.
© 2017 Fairfax New Zealand Limited
Accessed at http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/88596724/Dramatic-volcanic-eruption-in-Mexico-caught-on-camera on January 19, 2017.
Ash Cloud Tells a Story of a Volcano Rising
acquired January 18, 2016
January 20, 2017
About halfway down the Aleutian Island chain, tiny Bogoslof Island rises from the Bering Sea. Nobody lives there; the larger Unalaska and Umnak islands to the south have proven more favorable for human settlement. But when Bogoslof erupts, scientists and aircraft pilots take note.
“Bogoslof is just so off the grid, so to speak,” said Erik Klemetti, a volcanologist at Denison University and author of the Eruptions blog at Wired magazine. “However, it ends up being important to know what it’s doing for the sake of flights over the Aleutians.”
Because the Alaskan island is so remote, scientists monitor the eruptions from a distance by satellite and seismologic data. At 11:35 a.m. local time (22:35 Universal Time) on January 18, 2017, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of a plume rising from the volcano.
Much of the volcano is under water; the tallest parts reach about 150 meters (500 feet) above sea level and span just a few pixels in this image. “Submarine eruptions in the Aleutian arc are rare,” said Chris Waythomas, a geophysicist at the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO). “This is the first submarine eruption AVO has been able to monitor with a combination of instruments and techniques—seismic, infrasound, satellite, lightning—so it’s definitely something new for us.”
Note how the plume appears to be two colors. The lower part is white and composed primarily of steam and water vapor. Because the vent has been under water for most of the eruption, its plume contains more water vapor than a plume from a typical terrestrial volcano in Alaska. The upper part of the plume is dark gray-brown and rich in ash. According to Waythomas, “this is the first significant ash-rich volcanic cloud observed during the Bogoslof eruption.”
The presence of an ash cloud has led scientists to speculate that the vent might now be above sea level, but there is no direct evidence. Still, the island is changing shape with every large eruptive event. Thermal data (not pictured) show high temperatures for the first time, a clue that lava might be finding its way to the surface above the water line.
References and Related Reading
Alaska Volcano Observatory (2017, January 19) Bogoslof. Accessed January 19, 2017.
Klemetti, E. (2017, January 5) Explosive Eruptions Continue to Rock Alaska’s Bogoslof Volcano. Wired Science: Eruptions Blog. Accessed January 19, 2017.
NASA Earth Observatory (2017, January 3) Bogoslof Kicks Off 2017 with a Bang.
Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program (2017, January 17) Bogoslof. Accessed January 19, 2017.
NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response. Caption by Kathryn Hansen.
Terra – MODIS
The Earth Observatory is part of the EOS Project Science Office located at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
webmaster: Paul Przyborski | NASA official: Charles Ichoku
Accessed at http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=89476&eocn=home&eoci=iotd_image on January 20, 2017.
World Earthquakes for the week ending 19 Jan 2017
UTC 2017-01-19 23:04:20 M 6.5 – 42 mi W of Kirakira, Solomon Islands 18.6 mi depth
UTC 2017-01-18 13:33:37 M 5.2 – 3 mi N of Montereale, Italy 4.3 mi depth
Fitzpatrick New York Event 52490 SCRAM Hot Shutdown Water Leak of steam
|Power Reactor||Event Number: 52490|
|Facility: FITZPATRICK||Region: 1 State: NY|
|Unit:  [ ] [ ]||RX Type:  GE-4|
|NRC Notified By: HENDRIK VERWEY||HQ OPS Officer: JOHN SHOEMAKER|
|Notification Date: 01/14/2017||Notification Time: 13:09 [ET]|
|Event Date: 01/14/2017||Event Time: 06:13 [EST]|
|Last Update Date: 01/14/2017||Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY|
|10 CFR Section:||50.72(b)(3)(ii)(A) – DEGRADED CONDITION|
|Person (Organization):||ANTHONY DIMITRIADIS (R1DO)|
|Unit||SCRAM Code||RX CRIT||Initial PWR||Initial RX Mode||Current PWR||Current RX Mode|
DEGRADED CONDITION DUE TO THROUGH-WALL LEAK
“At 0613 EST on 1/14/2017, with the unit in Mode 2 at 0 percent power at the start of Refueling Outage 22, Drywell inspection identified a through-wall leak on the 3/4-inch vent line off the bonnet of valve 02MOV-43A, Reactor Water Recirc Pump A Suction Isolation Valve, in the Reactor Coolant System (RCS) loop inside the Primary Containment. This condition constitutes a defect in the primary coolant system.
“This event notification is being made in accordance with 10 CFR 50.72(b)(3)(ii)(A) as a condition that results in the condition of the nuclear power plant, including its principal safety barriers, being seriously degraded.”
The licensee has notified the NRC Resident Inspector.
Accessed at https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2017/20170117en.html on January 19, 2017.
RADCON on 19 January 2017 None of Concern-Watch
© Copyright 2012-2014 Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center, LLC (netc.com).All information that is produced by netc.com websites belongs to Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center, LLC (netc.com).
NETC.COM © 2014
Constitution – Crony Capitalism
Wisconsin Tribe Votes to Evict Oil Pipeline From Its Reservation
The success of the Native Americans opposing the Dakota Access pipeline has inspired other tribes, including a band of Chippewa Indians in Wisconsin, to oppose other projects on tribal land. Credit: Getty Images
Bad River Band of Chippewa Indians cites successful Dakota Access opposition for decision to end right-of-way lease for Enbridge Line 5 pipeline.
By Phil McKenna Jan 16, 2017
Successful Dakota Access pipeline protest has inspired other Native American tribes
The Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians in northern Wisconsin voted not to renew an easement for a major oil and gas pipeline that passes through its reservation. In the wake of the successful protest against the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota, this decision is the latest example of Native American tribes using sovereignty rights to oppose fossil fuel projects.
The Bad River tribal council voted unanimously in early January to revoke rights-of-way that pass through the roughly 200-square-mile reservation and the decision could prove difficult to overturn. Pipeline companies often take ownership of private land through the use of eminent domain. But using Native American land typically requires tribal consent and easements are negotiated for a fixed period.
The pipeline in question, Line 5, spans 645 miles and is owned by Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge. It is used to ship as much as 540,000 barrels of fossil fuels, including crude oil and propane, per day from Superior, Wisc. to Sarnia, Ontario and is part of Canada’s largest export oil pipeline network. The resolution passed by the tribe calls for the decommissioning and removal of the pipeline from all Bad River lands and its watershed, which flows into Lake Superior.
Robert Blanchard, chairman of the Bad River band said the 64-year-old pipeline is “an accident waiting to happen.” A spill from the pipeline could affect land and water that the tribal members rely on for hunting, fishing, and gathering wild rice, Blanchard said.
“If something were to happen, no matter how big or how small, it’s going to have an effect on us,” Blanchard said. “We figure that now is the time to do something about it.”
Easements granted to the pipeline company on 11 parcels of land owned by the tribe expired in 2013. The company said it had been working with the tribe since then to negotiate a renewal and Enbridge spokesperson Michael Barnes said the company was surprised by the tribe’s decision.
“In addition to working toward a mutually beneficial agreement, Enbridge also worked with the band’s cultural resources, natural resources, and legal departmental staff to maintain safe pipeline operations within the boundaries of the Reservation,” Barnes said in an email.
Tribal officials said they have not been negotiating with the pipeline company about the easements and vowed to ensure that the pipeline does not remain. “We will reach out to federal, state and local officials to evaluate how to remove Line 5,” Blanchard said in a statement.
The vote by the tribe comes amidst increasing concerns by Native Americans and environmentalists in Michigan. They who worry that Line 5 could contaminate the Great Lakes if it were to leak at the Straits of Mackinac where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet. Reps. Dave Trott (R-Mich.) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) introduced legislation on January 12 calling for a shutdown of the pipeline if a federal study finds it poses significant risk to the Great Lakes.
If the company and the tribe do not reach an agreement, the company may be forced to reroute the existing pipeline around the reservation or shut the pipeline down.
If the pipeline is rerouted, it wouldn’t be the first time that a Native American tribe succeeded in pushing a pipeline off its reservation. In 1995, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Montana fought and won a similar battle with Yellowstone Pipeline Co.
That pipeline leaked 10,000 gallons of gasoline in 1993, just as the 20-year permit to cross the Flathead Indian Reservation was up for renewal. When the tribes declined to renew the lease, the pipeline company had to use tanker cars to ship the fuel around the reservation, something it continues to do two decades later.
Similarly, the easement for a gasoline pipeline that passed through the town of Bellingham, Wash. had expired when the pipeline exploded in 1999, killing three people. As with tribal land, municipal land in Washington State cannot be taken through eminent domain.
“The Olympic Pipeline folks came to an agreement with the city that added in a whole lot more safety than what the federal government would have required, including different types of valves and different types of inspections,” said Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, a nonprofit watchdog organization based in Bellingham.
In 2015, the Department of the Interior strengthened tribal sovereignty rights with regulations stating that the federal government cannot overrule tribal decisions on the granting of rights-of-way.
Denying easement renewals, however, is unlikely to become a common form of opposition.
“I doubt that there are that many places where pipelines actually extend through a reservation,” William Rastetter an attorney representing the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians in Michigan said. “And even if they do, they may be subject to easements that have many years to go before they would have to be redone.”
The Grand Traverse band is challenging safety upgrades proposed for the Line 5 pipeline in Michigan, including a call for greater environmental scrutiny of the proposed work. Its legal objections are similar to arguments being used by the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota to halt Dakota Access.
“I think what has happened in Standing Rock has galvanized Indian country,” Rastetter said of the high-profile fight to stop the $3.8 billion pipeline.
Indigenous activists recently set up camps in west Texas to fight the Trans Pecos pipeline that would transport hydraulically fractured natural gas to Mexico. They have vowed to “follow the same model as Standing Rock.”
Honor the Earth, a Native American environmental organization that has been a leader in opposing Dakota Access is now looking to Enbridge’s Line 3, a proposed pipeline that would transport tar sands oil from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin, where it would connect with the existing Line 5.
Tribes are increasingly seeking, and obtaining, rights-of-way contracts that require disputes to be resolved in tribal court, said Sarah Krakoff, a Native American law professor at the University of Colorado Law School.
Enbridge officials would not specify what, if anything, the company had offered the Bad River tribe in financial compensation, enhanced safety measures or legal jurisdiction in any negotiations or offers.
The company’s spokesperson, however, suggested that they would continue to try to reach an agreement with the tribe.
“We are still very hopeful about negotiations,” Barnes said.
About the Author
Phil McKenna is a Boston-based reporter for InsideClimate News. Before joining ICN in 2016, he was a freelance writer covering energy and the environment for publications including The New York Times, Smithsonian, Audubon and WIRED. Uprising, a story he wrote about gas leaks under U.S. cities, won the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award and the 2014 NASW Science in Society Award. Phil has a master’s degree in science writing from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was an Environmental Journalism Fellow at Middlebury College.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning, non-profit, non-partisan news organization dedicated to covering climate change, energy and the environment.
Accessed at https://insideclimatenews.org/news/10012017/dakota-access-pipeline-standing-rock-enbridge-line-5-native-american-protest on January 16, 2017.
U.S. insurers get inside cars, mouths, grocery carts in profit search
Scott Ozawa brushes his teeth with a Beam toothbrush at his home in Belmont, California, U.S. December 18, 2016. Picture taken December 18, 2016. REUTERS/Noah Berger
Technology News | Mon Jan 16, 2017 | 6:50am EST
By Suzanne Barlyn | NEW YORK
Twice a day, Scott Ozawa’s Bluetooth-enabled toothbrush tells his dental insurer if he brushed for a full two minutes. In return, the 41-year-old software engineer gets free brush heads and the employer which bought his insurance gets premium discounts.
The scheme, devised by Beam Technologies Inc, is just one of the latest uses of technology by insurers hungry for more real-time information on their customers that they say lets them assess risk more accurately and set rates accordingly.
In theory, everybody wins, as policyholders adopt better habits and insurance companies save money on claims.
However, there are concerns that insurers will eventually use the data they get to cherry-pick the best and most profitable customers, while hiking rates or even denying coverage to people who choose not to participate.
“It’s not expected today, but in the near future it will be used to penalize people,” said Mitchell Wein at Novarica Inc, who advises clients on insurance technology.
Insurers are still in the data collection stage, said Wein, but he predicts that in about five years, tracking tools will have a direct impact on pricing and coverage on a range of policies.
Insurers recognize the dangers but consumers have nothing to fear, according to Michael Barry, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute, an industry-funded communications group.
“Insurance is such a heavily regulated industry that insurers must justify, in actuarial terms, the reason for any rate increase they’re seeking in almost any line of business,” he said.
Moreover, the insurance marketplace is competitive. “If any insurer raises rates to the point where a consumer is dissatisfied, the consumer can go elsewhere,” he added.
Beam’s technology follows auto insurers using devices in cars to find out how far and how safely policyholders drive – known as telematics – and life and health insurers giving customers wearable devices such as Fitbit and Apple Watch to keep track of their activity.
U.S. insurers and their customers have generally been slow to adopt new monitoring techniques, which have been common in auto insurance in South Africa, Italy, Brazil and Britain for years.
But the world’s biggest insurance market, with $1.3 trillion in premiums in 2015 – more than a quarter of the global total – is catching up.
Mayfield, Ohio-based Progressive Corp (PGR.N), an early leader in the area, said its telematics-based ‘Snapshot’ auto policy allows it to “attract, identify and reward good drivers while also retaining those customers longer.” Progressive has more than 2 million Snapshot policies in force, about a fifth of its total U.S. auto business.
About 30 percent of North American auto insurers now have telematics programs, according to a survey last year by insurance consultants Strategy Meets Action (SMA). That will rise to 70 percent by 2020, SMA said.
In health insurance, health insurer Anthem Inc (ANTM.N) has been working since 2013 with Fitbit Inc (FIT.N) and Garmin Ltd (GRMN.O) to offer premium discounts to eligible customers who wear the devices and transmit information to the insurer.
In life insurance, John Hancock Financial started offering a policy in 2015 that gives customers discounts on healthy groceries when shopping at certain retailers and rewards for hitting exercise targets as measured by a wearable device.
The program, designed in partnership with Vitality Group, includes a free Fitbit or an Apple Watch for as little as $25 if a customer hits their targets.
“We get to know you better than your doctor does,” said Brooks Tingle, head of insurance marketing for John Hancock, owned by Canada’s Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO).
Insurers generally do not disclose data on premiums or profit on specific types of policies, so it is hard to tell what effect such approaches have had on their bottom lines, or whether riskier customers are being asked to pay more.
However, people in the industry agree that increased data from technology means insurers can target more desirable customers.
The benefit for insurers is “competitive advantage, pure and simple,” said Katie DeGraaf, a senior consultant at insurance advisory firm Willis Towers Watson, in a recent report. “Companies that have integrated granular telematics data into rating plans are better positioned to attract and retain the most profitable customers.”
Much of the pioneering work in the area has taken place in South Africa, which suffers chronic high crime and accident rates.
Johannesburg-based financial services firm Discovery Ltd (DSYJ.J), whose car insurance unit has been tracking customers’ driving and using the information in pricing since 2011, said it has seen a 10 percent drop in accident claims since then.
Discovery’s ratio of losses to premiums for drivers in the tracking scheme is more than a quarter lower than those not participating, the company said. Data has also upended a longstanding rule of thumb in the insurance industry that younger drivers are the riskiest.
“The whole beauty is that someone who might be seen to be a bad risk can turn out to be a good risk,” said Anton Ossip, CEO of Discovery Insure, the company’s auto insurer.
The new approach has “substantially improved the quality of new business and our ability to attract and select high-quality clients,” Discovery Insure said in its latest financial report.
Still, Ossip is concerned about consumers who do not want to use the telematics devices to relay data: “Generally, someone who chooses not to use it is a worse risk,” he said.
Insurers interviewed by Reuters said better data collection allows them to underwrite risk better, and customers tend to take better care of themselves when confronted with numbers.
They described participation in data-tracking programs as voluntary, and said they are transparent about what information they collect and confident about data security.
Some of that might be changing, however. Root Insurance Co, a Columbus, Ohio-based startup, immediately uses the information it gathers and only insures what it believes are good drivers.
Root’s smartphone app tracks car movements for two weeks before offering eligible customers a quote, according to CEO Alexander Timm. An algorithm assesses risk using factors such as tailgating, fast turns and texting.
Using data to segment risks in such a way is only set to spread.
“Pricing will change,” said Anand Rao, a principal at consultancy PwC who focuses on analytics and uses of artificial intelligence in business. “Not everyone will change their behavior, which will start translating into different pricing and different types of products.”
Some industry-watchers worry that approach will fundamentally change how the insurance business works. But for now, consumers do not seem too concerned.
“There are a lot of pieces of information that companies are tracking about you anyway,” said Ozawa, referring to Facebook Inc (FB.O) and other social media.
While Ozawa no longer works for the company that introduced him to Beam, he expects the impact will be long-lasting. The two-minute requirement has motivated his kids to do more than a simple “swish-swish” when they brush, he said.
(Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by Lauren LaCapra and Bill Rigby)
© 2017 Reuters. All Rights Reserved.
Accessed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-insurance-tracking-idUSKBN14Z0G4 on January 17, 2017.
Researcher develops innovative way to turn common surgical masks into virus killers
Published on January 6, 2017 at 4:16 AM ·
A University of Alberta engineering researcher has developed a new way to treat common surgical masks so they are capable of trapping and killing airborne viruses. His research findings appear in the prestigious journal Scientific Reports, published by Nature Publishing Group.
Hyo-Jick Choi, a professor in the University of Alberta Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, noticed that many people wear a simple surgical-style mask for protection during outbreaks of influenza or other potentially deadly viruses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
Trouble is, the masks weren’t designed to prevent the spread of viruses.
“Surgical masks were originally designed to protect the wearer from infectious droplets in clinical settings, but it doesn’t help much to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases such as SARS or MERS or influenza,” says Choi.
Airborne pathogens like influenza are transmitted in aerosol droplets when we cough or sneeze. The masks may well trap the virus-laden droplets but the virus is still infectious on the mask. Merely handling the mask opens up new avenues for infection. Even respirators designed to protect individuals from viral aerosols have the same shortcoming–viruses trapped in respirators still pose risks for infection and transmission.
Masks capable of killing viruses would save lives, especially in an epidemic or pandemic situation. During the 2014-2015 season nearly 8,000 Canadians were hospitalized with the flu. That same year, deaths related to influenza in Canada reached an all-time high of nearly 600.
Knowing that the masks are inexpensive and commonly used, Choi and his research team went about exploring ways to improve the mask’s filter. And this is where a problem he is struggling with in one field of research–the development of oral vaccines
A major hurdle in the development of oral vaccines is that when liquid solutions dry, crystals form and destroy the virus used in vaccines, rendering the treatment useless. In a nifty bit of engineering judo, Choi flipped the problem on its head and turned crystallization into a bug buster, using it as a tool to kill active viruses.
Choi and his team developed a salt formulation and applied it to the filters, in the hope that salt crystals would “deactivate” the influenza virus.
The mechanics of simple chemistry make the treatment work. When an aerosol droplet carrying the influenza virus contacts the treated filter, the droplet absorbs salt on the filter. The virus is exposed to continually increasing concentrations of salt. As the droplet evaporates, the virus suffers fatal physical damage when the salt returns to its crystalized state.
While developing solid vaccines, Choi observed that sugar used for stabilizing the vaccine during the drying process crystalizes as it dries out. When crystals form, sharp edges and spikes take shape and they physically destroy the virus vaccine.
“We realized that we could use that to our advantage to improve surgical masks,” said Choi.
In a series of experiments and tests at the University of Alberta and in the Department of Medical Zoology at the Kyung Hee University School of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea, the team arrived at a perfect treatment that improves the efficacy of the fibre filter inside the masks.
By using a safe substance (table salt) to improve an existing, approved product, Choi sees very few roadblocks to implementing the innovation.
Source: University of Alberta
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Japanese tapeworm found in Alaskan-caught salmon
A raw fresh Salmon fillet, lemon slice and dill. A tapeworm previously found in fish from Asia has now been identified in Alaskan-caught salmon. The news doesn’t exactly mean the end of salmon sashimi, however. Photo: Ian Milburn / spectrumblue – Fotolia
Dianne de Guzman Published 7:44 pm, Sunday, January 15, 2017
Here’s the gross news first: A tapeworm found in fish from Asia has now been found in Alaskan salmon.
The Centers for Disease Control recently posted an article in its Emerging Infectious Disease journal, stating that Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense has been found in wild pink salmon from Alaska. Due to that reason, the CDC wrote that “salmon from the American and Asian Pacific coasts and elsewhere pose potential dangers for persons who eat these fish raw.”
(Pair that info with the nightmare fact that tapeworms can grow up to 30 feet long, according to the CDC.)
The good news, however, is that this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to swear off salmon sashimi completely. On the upside, the FDA really is here to protect you: As the Seattle Times points out, all raw fish served and sold in the United States is frozen — according to FDA standards — in order to kill parasites such as this new one mentioned.
A raw fresh Salmon fillet, lemon slice and dill. A tapeworm previously found in fish from Asia has now been identified in Alaskan-caught salmon. The news doesn’t exactly mean the end of salmon sashimi, however.
Jayde Ferguson, co-author of the study and fish pathologist with the Department of Fish and Game, confirmed there isn’t much concern with eating raw salmon in a restaurant, other than the usual concerns about eating uncooked seafood.
“If it was anything that was of concern, increased risk or anything like that from a management standpoint, we would have said something,” Ferguson told the Alaska Dispatch News. “They’re wild animals — they’re going to have parasites, they’re out in nature.”
There is some concern in regards to those who have caught the fish themselves or have bought it freshly caught from someone else, and want to eat their salmon raw — in those instances, consumers should freeze their fish first, for at least a few days.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many surefire signs that you have a tapeworm, CNN stated. Like other tapeworms, the symptoms could include abdominal pains, nausea, loose stools and weight loss. Once the tapeworm is identified, however, it can be effectively treated.
If this all sounds too gross for you, and you would rather be extra cautious, you can also cook your salmon at 145 degrees Fahrenheit for four or five minutes to destroy the tapeworm.
Hearst Newspapers © Copyright 2017 Hearst Communications, Inc.
Accessed at http://www.sfgate.com/food/article/Salmon-sushi-tapeworm-u-s-fish-10859478.php on January 16, 2017.
Use cryogenic method or blast freezing to eliminate parasites from wild food
Processing Parameters Needed to Control Pathogens in Cold Smoked Fish Chapter V.
Effect of freezing on micro-organisms and parasites http://slideplayer.com/slide/10704091/
Potential Hazards in Cold-Smoked Fish: Parasites
This section reviews methods of control of parasites that may be of concern in cold-smoked fish. Evidence suggests some fish parasites that are currently not considered human pathogens may become a human health concern in the future, but a description and the control of such parasites are beyond the scope of this report. Consequently, this report will discuss only those parasites that have been known to cause disease in humans.
A variety of parasites have been identified in raw fish. Most of the scientific literature describes methods to control the most significant parasites of concern in the western world, such as anisakid parasites. Although trematode diseases are endemic to countries other than the United States, interest in their control is increasing, given the number of diseases caused by these parasites. A number of parasites also are emerging as possible hazards in the future. For example, evidence shows that anisakids Contracaecum multipapillatum and Hysterothylacium type MB can infect primates and mammals, respectively. In addition, it is well known that recent climatological changes and expanded human activities will accelerate the global transport and dissemination of species and will accelerate host-shifts in a manner difficult to predict (Harvell and others 1999). The growing number of marine mammals, particularly seals and sea lions in the northern Pacific and Atlantic oceans, is increasing the occurrence of parasites in fish. This is expected to continue. Other phenomena that may result in an increase in marine infections are the global distribution and increasing popularity of undercooked seafood products (Overstreet 1999). The following descriptions of the life cycles of the parasites of concern have been summarized from Bier (1992), Hayunga (1997), Goldsmid and Speare (1997), Reilly and Kaferstein (1997), and Adams and Rausch (1997).
Anisakiasis is a disease that includes infections by all ascaroid nematodes having larval stages in aquatic hosts. The main nematodes known to have caused disease in humans are Anisakis simplex and Pseudoterranova decipiens. These nematodes reach sexual maturity in the intestinal tract of marine mammals. Eggs are expelled into the intestinal tract and then are expelled in the feces. In the water the eggs embryonate and undergo at least one moult. The larvae that hatch may infect a small crustacean that may in turn be ingested by a fish (that is, rockfish, herring, mackerel, and salmon). When an infected fish is consumed by another fish, the larvae may penetrate the viscera and infect the new fish host. Marine mammals (such as dolphins, seals, and so on) or humans may become infected from eating the infected intermediate host. In humans, these nematodes do not normally mature, but the worms can migrate from the gastrointestinal tract, becoming embedded in the gastrointestinal mucosa and causing tissue reaction and discomfort (that is, gastric pain, diarrhea, vomiting).
Cestodes are tapeworms and the species of major concern associated with consumption of fish are in the genus Diphyllobothrium. This tapeworm reaches sexual maturity in the intestinal tract of mammals. Eggs are excreted with the feces and develop in water into larvae that hatch into coracidium and may be eaten by a crustacean. In the crustacean body cavity it develops into the next stage, the procercoid. The larvae may then become infective to fish that ingest the crustacean. These larvae then develop into the plerocercoid. Plerocercoids may infect other fish and cease development or infect mammals when they reach sexual maturity. Humans are one of the definitive hosts. Salmon is the most common fish that transmits diphyllobothriasis, although it may also be transmitted by whitefish, trout, and pike. Because the disease is not contagious (and, in the United States, the Center for Disease Control does not require reporting the disease) often it is not reported to health authorities. Some of the symptoms include nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weakness.
Trematode (or flukes) species of concern have very similar life cycles. Depending on the species, trematodes transmitted by the ingestion of seafood may reach sexual maturity in the liver (for example, Clonorchis, Opisthorchis), intestine (for example, Nanophyetus, Heterophyes), or lungs (for example, Paragonimus) of humans and other mammals. Eggs pass out to the environment in feces and infect mollusks after being ingested. The larvae penetrate the tissue through morphologically distinct stages that asexually produce free swimming larvae. In general, they have a snail intermediate host and use various aquatic animals to harbor metacercaria, the infective stage. The clinical effects of intestinal flukes are generally not serious, although Clonorchis sinensis and Opisthorchis viverrini can cause serious liver damage to humans, and have been associated with carcinoma of the liver.
2. Prevalence of parasites in raw, frozen, and smoked fish
Human pathogenic parasites occur in several species of fish that may be cold-smoked, including gadoids, salmonids, sole or flounder, grouper, halibut (Hippoglossus spp and Paralichthys sp.), herring, mackerel, mullet, sablefish, sprat, small tunas, and turbot. Parasites are also identified as a potential hazard in some invertebrates that may be cold-smoked or cold-smoked and dried, including octopus, squid, snails, and crabs/crayfish. Several species of salmonid parasites, such as Anisakis spp. (a nematode or roundworm), Diphyllobothrium spp. (a cestode or tapeworm) and Nanophyetus salmincola are of public health concern (Turner and others 1981; Eastburn and others 1987).
All wild-caught Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) are considered to have A. simplex larvae present. Prevalence reached more than 75% in fresh U.S. commercial sockeye salmon (O. nerka), chum salmon (O. keta), coho salmon (O. kisutch), and king salmon (O. tschawyscha) (Myers 1979; Deardoff and Overstreet 1991). High incidence was also reported from U.S. supermarkets (Rosset and others 1982). There seems to be a high prevalence of larvae in Atlantic salmon, particularly in the muscle (39%) and intestinal cavity (64%) (Beverley-Burton and Pippy 1978; Bristow and Berland 1991). Anisakis simplex larvae were detected at a high incidence (78-97%) in herring (Clupea harengus) during 1981-86 in the Mancha Channel (Declerck 1988) and in smoked herring from a French supermarket (Lagoin 1980). Pacini and others (1993) tested commercial samples of fresh, frozen and smoked fish on the Italian market for presence of anisakid larvae. They observed that 54% of fresh, 28% of frozen, and 75% of smoked fish samples contained nematodes belonging to Anisakidae; all larvae detected in frozen fish products were dead.
In contrast to wild-caught salmon, farmed salmon, particularly Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), are not considered to be hosts of Anisakis spp. when fed normal pelleted feed. When 2,832 Norwegian-farmed Atlantic salmon and 876 Scottish-farmed Atlantic smoked salmon fillets were analyzed for anisakid larvae infestation, none were detected (Angot and Brasseur 1993). This result is in agreement with results from previous studies that indicated that farmed salmon (Atlantic, coho, and chinook species) are virtually free from anisakid larvae (Bristow and Berland 1991; Deardoff and Kent 1989). Nevertheless, it should be emphasized that aquacultured fish can become hosts of anisakids if fed moist feeds (that is, raw fish).
Other nematodes, including Gnathostoma spp., Eustrongylides spp., and Pseudoterranova spp., may cause disease in humans. Diphyllobothrium spp. has been reported in salmonids and has caused human illness. These cestodes should be considered a possible hazard in all environments and cannot be ruled out from aquaculture systems. The majority of trematode infections occurs endemically in some countries of Eastern Asia, South America, Eastern Europe, and West Africa and derive mostly from wild-caught fish; however, with an increasing global fish trade, trematodes or flukes, including Heterophyes spp., Metagonimus spp., Opisthorchis spp., Clonorchis sinensis, Echinostoma spp, and N. salmincola, could become a public health concern.
While normally not fatal, parasitic worms can cause intestinal discomfort and other more serious symptoms (Turner and others 1981). Although few cases of anisakiasis have been documented in the United States, many cases have been reported in Japan (Oshima 1972), principally resulting from the consumption of cold-smoked or raw salmon. A recent study on the occurrence of anisakiasis in 27 countries revealed 33,747 cases of anisakiasis, estimated from Japanese and other databases from 1968 to 1998. In Japan, eight of those cases were from Pseudoterranova decipiens (Ishikura and others 1998).
At least two known outbreaks of diphyllobothriasis associated with salmon consumption have been documented in the United States (Turner and others 1981). Interestingly, the disease is thought to be more prevalent than anisakiasis, but it is not usually reported. It has been estimated that there are 13 million carriers globally (Crompton and Joyner 1980), with greater prevalence in Eastern Europe.
Fish trematode infections, particularly chlonorchiasis, opistorchiasis, and paragonimiasis, may also be derived from the consumption of raw or underprocessed fish. Trematode infections are a public health issue mainly in Eastern and Southern Asia. Although the source was not identified, it has been estimated that 50 million people are affected throughout the world (Lima dos Santos 1997). For example, between 1974 and 1985, 8 out of 10 patients in Oregon reported either gastrointestinal complaints or unexplained peripheral blood eosinophilia and had eggs typical for N. salmincola recovered from their stools. They also recalled eating fish prior to the onset of symptoms and had a history of ingestion of raw, incompletely cooked, or smoked salmon (Onchorhynhcus sp.), steelhead trout (Salmon gairdneri), or steelhead eggs. The authors point out that this problem exists West of the Cascade mountain range from Northern California to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, United States (Eastburn and others 1987).
4. Effects of processing steps and their use in controlling parasites
4.1. Salting and cold-smoking
Although A. simplex seems to be sensitive to salt, the high salt concentrations and times needed for its elimination make salting an inadequate method of inactivation. For example, Karl and others (1995) reported that in herring processed with the traditional German and Danish procedures, larvae were killed only after being marinated for 5-6 wk in 8-9% salt. When salt concentration was lowered to 4.3%, the time to kill all the larvae increased to 7 wk. Similarly, Fan (1998) reported that metacercariae of Clonorchis sinensis from fresh water fish (Pseudorasbora parva) were killed if kept in heavy salt. These results clearly demonstrate that the more typical water phase salt contents of 3 – 3.5% in cold-smoked fish would not be sufficient to kill the organisms. In addition, dry salting does tend to kill those parasites residing on fish surfaces, but generally does not do so for those imbedded within the tissue.
Several studies have reported temperatures and times needed to kill parasites. For example, Bier (1976) indicated that 60 oC (140 oF) for 1 min was needed to kill the anisakid larvae. These temperatures are not achieved during cold-smoking of fish and therefore parasites are not eliminated by the cold-smoking process. Gardiner (1990) reported that neither cold-smoking for 12 h at 25.6 oC (78 oF) nor refrigeration for 27 d reduced the amount of larvae in salmon. This analysis indicated that fresh salmon and cold-smoked salmon had 1 – 3 and 1 – 5 Anisakis spp. viable larvae / 200 g of fish, respectively. A similar result was found in whole Pacific herring (Clupea harengus pallasi), where Hauck (1977) reported that Anisakis larval viability after brining and smoking at an average temperature of 19 oC (66 oF) for 24 h was 100% and 87.5%, respectively.
Unlike bacteria, molds, and viruses, most parasites are relatively easy to destroy by holding the raw material or finished product at freezing temperatures for a specified period of time; of course, this is dependent upon the internal temperature of the material. The Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guide recommends a temperature below -4 oF (-20 oC) for 7 d or -31 oF (-35 oC) (internal) for 15 h to kill the parasites of concern (FDA 1998). Although, based on the data currently available, these recommendations may appear stringent, it is because they were developed for the parasites that are considered most resistant to freezing (G. Hoskin 2001; personal communication; unreferenced). Already in 1975 (Food Chemical News, October 1975) Dr. G. J. Jackson cautioned that the anisakid nematodes vary in their ability to survive at low temperatures. For instance, certain species of anisakids have been reported to survive up to 52 h at -4 oF. A number of other time and temperature regimes have been prescribed to accomplish the inactivation of parasites. Another such option prescribes holding the fish at -10 oF (-23 oC) for 60 h (Ching 1984). Alternatively, E.U. regulations require freezing at a temperature of no more than -4 oF (-20 oC) in all parts of the product for not less than 24 h in order to control parasites in fish.
Some published studies support the effectiveness in controlling parasites by freezing at -4 oF (-20 oC) in all parts of the product for not less than 24 h. Very early studies by Gustafson (1953) demonstrated that temperatures of less than -17 0C (1.4 oF) for 24 h could kill Anisakis larvae. Higher temperatures or shorter times were not as effective. Studies in herring (Houwing 1969) demonstrated that at -4 oF, nematodes were killed in 24 h, but if the product temperature reached -30 0C (-22 oF) by a cryogenic method, the inactivation was immediate, and no further storage was necessary. A more recent study by Deardoff and Throm (1988) used blast freezing to freeze salmon and rockfish at -31 oF (-35 0C). Fish were stored frozen for 15 h and then at -18 0C (0 oF) for up to 48 h. Out of 3,545, they found no viable larvae after 1 h of storage at -18 0C. Similar results were found in herring by Karl and Leinemann (1989). They investigated the effect of freezing and cold storage on survival of Anisakix simplex in herring and herring fillets at -20 0C (-4 0F) for 24 h and found no surviving parasites. Although Hauck (1977) reported no viable Anisakis after freezing, the conditions were not detailed. The use of freezing has also been investigated for the control of other parasites of human health concern. Although the World Health Organization (1979) indicated that freezing fish at -10 0C (14 0F) for 5 d would kill all trematodes of concern, later research data indicate that longer times may be needed. For instance, Fan (1998) reported that metacercariae of Clonorchis sinensis from fresh water fish (Pseudorasbora parva) remained viable after frozen storage at -12 0C (10 0F) for 10-18 d and -20 0C for 3-7 d. As mentioned previously, clonorchiasis is not common in Western countries. The metacercariae of Heterophyes are also very resistant to freezing; since they survived 30 h of storage at -10 or -20 0F (Hamed and Elias 1970).
While the parasites can be killed by freezing the finished product, it is generally considered more appropriate to freeze the raw material prior to processing. Nematodes in particular will attempt to depart the gut during processing and will then establish themselves in the muscle during salting or smoking (Hauck 1977). The result may be the presence of nematodes on the surface of the finished product, often perpendicular to the surface. Their presence becomes a quality issue resulting in an aesthetically unwholesome (although safe) product. For this reason, it is a good practice to freeze susceptible raw material, even for hot-smoked fish.
Visual inspection of the product before brining or smoking is also advised. This measure, however, is effective only to ensure that visible parasites are not present rather than to ensure inactivation of viable organisms. Similarly, inspection of fish after slicing will also assist in producing a quality product but cannot be relied upon for assurance against the presence of live parasites in product from commercial operations.
Some recent research has shown that the current regulation and production practice for fishery products does not protect the consumers against allergic hazards due to the ingestion of killed parasites. Audicana and others (1997) have reported that freezing of fish may not protect against allergenic reactions to ingested Anisakis simplex antigens in humans. This issue was discussed in an opinion paper from the Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures Relating to Public Health (EC 1998) that identified parasite antigens (what is left of the parasite in the fish after it is frozen to kill the parasite) as a possible human health hazard.
Irradiation of fish is an effective method of eliminating metacercariae and other parasites (WHO 1995). For example, low-dose irradiation (0.15 kGy or less) was sufficient to inactivate metacercariae of C. sinensis and O. viverrini without affecting the sensory qualities of the fish (FAO/IAEA 1992). Hamster infectivity of O. viverrini metacercariae was prevented with 0.5 kGy (Bhaibulaya 1985). Trematodes, however, appear to be more sensitive to irradiation than other parasites. Earlier studies indicated that in order to kill A. simplex in salted herring, doses of as high as 6-10 kGy were necessary (van Mameren and Houwing 1968). Similarly, another study found A. simplex larvae to be highly resistant to irradiation doses of 2 kGy or 10 kGy (FAO/IAEA 1992). Data from studies on sensory characteristics of such products are inconsistent. The reason that anisakid larvae require much higher doses of irradiation than other parasites (for example, metacercariae, Trichinella larvae, coccidian protozoa) is that anisakiasis results from infection by the larvae. The doses of irradiation must be high enough to kill the larvae. For the other parasites just mentioned, irradiation prevents the parasitic worms from developing into adults that cause the respective diseases.
The applicability and consumer acceptability of irradiation of fish as well as any organoleptic effects should be considered and evaluated before attempting commercialization of this process and these products.
The following conclusions are based on a thorough analysis and evaluation of the current science on control methods of parasites that may be associated with the consumption of cold-smoked fish.
Some of the fish species used for cold-smoked processing are either intermediate or final hosts to parasites. For this reason, assuring the harvesting of parasite-free fish in the wild is difficult.
Some aquacultured fish are considered free of parasites (if their feeding regime has not been supplemented with raw fish) because their diet can be controlled using net-pens, closed recycled systems or their equivalent, and commercially pelleted diets. Consequently, these control measures must be carefully considered and applied. An analysis of the potential control points for parasites in aquacultured fish is beyond the scope of this report.
Freezing raw fish prior to smoking remains the most effective way to ensure that viable parasites are not present in cold-smoked products consumed by the public. It is essential, therefore, that raw fish potentially containing viable parasites be frozen and held in that state for a period of time that assures destruction of all viable parasites in that fish species.
6. Research Needs
The following is a list of research areas that the panel suggests need further attention:
Describe possible alternative freezing procedures that are or could be effective for inactivation of various fish parasites.
Establish the kinetics and lethal effect of specific regimes of freezing on various fish parasites.
Evaluate alternative processing procedures, such as high pressure and X-ray or e-beam irradiation for control of various fish parasites.
Investigate the possible human health risks of allergic reactions due to parasite antigens remaining after freezing the fish to inactivate the live parasites.
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Accessed at http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodScienceResearch/SafePracticesforFoodProcesses/ucm094578.htm on January 16, 2017.
Is ethanol GM corn a disaster waiting to happen?
By Ken Roseboro, Published: October 3, 2013, Category: GMO Contamination
Farmer feeding cows non-gmo animal feed
Grain supplier says Syngenta’s Enogen GMO corn threatens food processors, corn markets, and farmers’ rights to grow non-GMO
As a supplier of non-GMO and organic grains, Lynn Clarkson has enough challenges keeping his corn and soybeans from being contaminated by genetically modified crops. But Clarkson, president of Clarkson Grain, says a new GM corn from Syngenta adds a whole new set of threats to his business, farmers, and customers—and he is angry. “I think it is potentially the most market disruptive seed being commercialized,” he says.
“Contamination from Enogen would be devastating”
Clarkson is talking about Enogen, a corn developed by Syngenta to aid in the production of ethanol. Enogen is genetically engineered to contain high levels of a heat-resistant enzyme that breaks down starches in corn into sugars, the first step in the conversion of corn to ethanol.
Syngenta developed Enogen to tap into the growing demand for ethanol; about 40% of US corn production goes to make ethanol.
The problem is that Enogen could mix with corn grown for food and break down its starches, which would lead to crumbly corn chips and soggy cereals and corn bread.
“This will ruin corn for milling,” says Clarkson, who sells non-GMO and organic corn to food processors and millers. “The ethanol industry is happy but other industries are seriously undermined by this corn.”
“Getting contamination from Enogen in corn for the tortilla industry would be devastating,” said Jerry Strissel, a corn breeder who worked at Syngenta for 20 years and who now breeds non-GMO corn for food use.
“Bailing wire and duct tape” GMO regulations
Enogen was approved for commercial production in 2011 by the US Department of Agriculture despite opposition from the North American Millers Association (NAMA), which represents 43 major food companies including General Mills and ConAgra Mills.
Clarkson agreed with NAMA. “I think the USDA should have considered the market disruption that could be caused and denied approval.”
At a biotechnology conference in Iowa in 2011, Jim Bair, NAMA vice president, criticized the US government’s regulations of GM crops, saying they had been “cobbled together with bailing wire and duct tape.”
Furthermore, the Center for Food Safety said the enzyme found in the GM corn was not assessed for potential negative effects on human health and the environment.
The European Union has rejected Syngenta’s application to market Enogen corn. The European Food Safety Authority said Syngenta failed to provide sufficient information to ensure that the seeds were safe.
“Watching the situation closely”
According to Jack Bernens, who heads Enogen marketing and stakeholder relations at Syngenta, the Enogen corn is being produced in a “closed production” system.
“Growers must adhere to a robust production system with specific stewardship requirements that were designed to minimize the potential for cross pollination at full adoption of Enogen corn,” Bernens says.
The closed production system comprises contracting farmers to grow Enogen and training them in stewardship practices to minimize contamination, traceability of all grain, fields, bins, and trucks, and delivery to ethanol plants that are in different regions than food processing facilities, among others. Syngenta provides both GMO “strip” and PCR tests to detect Enogen.
Syngenta has also established an Enogen Advisory Council, which includes farmers, and individuals from NAMA and farm and food organizations to discuss stewardship issues and provide updates on Enogen.
Bair says his organization “takes Syngenta at its word” that its closed production system will work but says “we are watching the situation closely.”
One kernel in 10,000 could ruin corn processing
But industry observers point to past GMO contamination incidents—such as StarLink corn in 2000 or Liberty Link Rice in 2006, which caused million dollar losses in food recalls and lost export markets—to show that preventing GMO crops from going where they shouldn’t is difficult, if not impossible.
“Even with the most stringent precautions, the wind will blow and standards will slip,” said Margaret Mellon, senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
It would only take one kernel of Enogen GM corn mixed with 10,000 kernels of food corn to ruin the food processing abilities of food corn, according to NAMA.
“Enogen’s contamination of other corns ruins those corns for making grits for corn flakes at levels of 0.01% and for making tortillas and tortilla chips, at 0.25%,” Clarkson says.
He also says Syngenta’s recommended buffer of 30 feet separating Enogen corn and conventional corn is inadequate. “Are you joking? I would need a mile, certainly a half mile contamination zone.”
Clarkson isn’t alone in his contamination fears. “I definitely share concerns regarding the possible commingling or cross-contamination to our food-grade varieties,” says Rodrigo Ariceaga, CEO of Minsa, a leading producer of corn masa flour.
If a food company were to find Enogen corn mixed with food corn, Clarkson predicts they would sue. “I would expect the suit to be against Syngenta and perhaps the USDA and/or the FDA,” he says.
As acreage increases so does likelihood of contamination
As acreage of Enogen corn increases so does the threat that the GM corn will contaminate food corn.
According to Clarkson, 5,000 acres of Enogen was grown in Kansas and Nebraska in 2012. That increased to 60,000 acres this year with many of those acres in Iowa. So far, 11 ethanol plants in those three states have signed agreements to use Enogen.
Syngenta aims to have Enogen corn grown on 2.5 million acres, which would produce four billion bushels of the GM corn.
Strissel sees potential problems. “You get to a point where it could be hard to manage it because of the magnitude of the system,” he says. “The potential for problems grow as the acreage increases. You get up to 2.5 million acres and that’s a whole different regulation than 5,000 acres.”
“Liberty to grow and liberty to not be contaminated”
Clarkson says increasing acreage of Enogen will infringe on farmers’ rights to grow food corn, making it a property rights issue. “Farmers should have the liberty to grow and the liberty to not be contaminated. Syngenta’s 2.5 million acres will cut a large swath across the Midwest, determining the market fate of many more acres than their 2.5 million. This will make it impossible for farmers in Enogen production areas to market corn to starch markets; markets that do not want an enzyme eating away their starch.”
Clarkson has already seen a problem. One of his contract farmers in Nebraska discovered that Enogen was being grown in his area. The farmer called Syngenta to find out where the GM corn was being grown but the biotech company refused to say. “They are not being responsible to the farm community,” Clarkson said.
According to Bernens, Syngenta can’t disclose specific grower information due to privacy requirements. But he did say: “The two fields were about 10 miles apart, which is well beyond any published distance recommendations for pollen isolation.”
He also said Syngenta is committed to open communication and working with companies like Clarkson’s to “determine mutual steps that can be taken to alleviate concerns about cross pollination.”
“They must be confident they can handle this, but they haven’t convinced the rest of the world they can do this,” Strissel says.
Clarkson isn’t reassured. “I have no confidence that Syngenta will be able to contain its GMO trait.”
© Copyright The Organic & Non-GMO Report, October 2013
© 2002 – 2015 The Organic & Non-GMO Report
Accessed at http://non-gmoreport.com/articles/october2013/ethanol-gm-corn-disaster.php on January 18, 2017.
China raises DDGS import tariffs on US distillers dried grains
DDGS is a byproduct of ethanol production used for animal feed. Photo courtesy of iStock/Michael Hendricks.
January 12, 2017 – by Holly Demaree BEIJING, CHINA —
China raised tariffs on imports of U.S. distillers dried grains (DDGS) from the preliminary level it first announced in September 2016 after the U.S. launched a trade enforcement at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
China’s Ministry of Commerce said on January 11, 2017, that anti-dumping duties would range from 42.2% to 53.7%, up from its 33.8% preliminary decision made on September 23, 2017.
“The U.S. Grains Council is deeply disappointed in this series of events that is a severe departure from our industry’s three decades of broad, cooperative work with China’s government and livestock industry and that follows a year of extensive cooperation on the part of the U.S. DDGS and ethanol industry with MOFCOM investigations,” said Tom Sleight, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC). “The decisions in the anti-dumping and countervailing duties investigations are not supported by the evidence and raise serious questions regarding the Ministry’s compliance with standard anti-dumping and countervailing duties procedures and with China’s international obligations. While painful and damaging to the U.S. DDGS industry, their biggest negative impact will ultimately be on China’s feed and livestock industries, which risk losing access to an important and cost-effective feed ingredient, and on millions of Chinese households that will likely face greater food price inflation and less access to affordable, wholesome pork, poultry and dairy products.”
The U.S. is the largest DDGS producer and has a surplus to export, while China is the biggest importer. DDGS is a byproduct of ethanol production used for animal feed.
“The Chinese tariffs are negatively impacting the U.S. ethanol industry’s exports, of not only ethanol, but our co-product of Dry Distillers Grain, a high-quality animal feed that is favored by Chinese livestock producers and is the largest export market for U.S. DDGS,” said Mark Marquis CEO of Marquis Energy. “These tariffs are the poster child of bad trade deals. It is our opinion that the Chinese calculations are not in line with WTO trade rules.”
This action by China is the latest in an ongoing trade battle with the U.S.
The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has taken action and is looking into China’s tariff-rate quota for rice, corn and wheat as well as its level of domestic support for Chinese producers of rice, wheat and corn.
©2017 Sosland Publishing Co.
Accessed at http://www.world-grain.com/articles/news_home/World_Grain_News/2017/01/China_raises_DDGS_import_tarif.aspx?ID=%7B9F8B89FD-F286-4792-9CB7-FAD72BBEEA3D%7D&cck=1 on January 14, 2017.
A statement from U.S. Grains Council (USGC) President and CEO Tom Sleight:
U.S. Grains Council
“The announcement Tuesday (January 10, 2017) by China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) that it will subject U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) to anti-dumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVDs) is the latest in a rash of measures taken by the Chinese government to restrict access to that market for U.S. feed grains and related products, specifically corn, distiller’s dried grains (DDGS) and ethanol.
“It came just ten days after action by the Chinese government to dramatically increase tariffs on imported U.S. ethanol from 5 to 30 percent, effectively stopping a growth market for U.S. farmers and ethanol producers. U.S. farmers also continue to wait for China’s approvals of biotech corn events, which last happened in 2014.
“The U.S. Grains Council is deeply disappointed in this series of events that is a severe departure from our industry’s three decades of broad, cooperative work with China’s government and livestock industry and that follows a year of extensive cooperation on the part of the U.S. DDGS and ethanol industry with MOFCOM investigations.
“The decisions in the anti-dumping and countervailing duties investigations are not supported by the evidence and raise serious questions regarding the Ministry’s compliance with standard AD/CVD procedures and with China’s international obligations. While painful and damaging to the U.S. DDGS industry, their biggest negative impact will ultimately be on China’s feed and livestock industries, which risk losing access to an important and cost-effective feed ingredient, and on millions of Chinese households that will likely face greater food price inflation and less access to affordable, wholesome pork, poultry and dairy products.
“The decisions to raise tariffs on ethanol and to delay further the approval of helpful plant technology that enhances food safety and environmental protection are short-signed trade barriers that also, ultimately, most hurt the Chinese people, who deserve cleaner air and increased food security through both production and trade.
“This new year marks the 35th anniversary of U.S. Grains Council programs in China. We deeply appreciate the opportunities we have had over this time to partner with a broad cross section of members of local industries and government who are working to make their production more efficient, safer and more environmentally-friendly. The implication of these recent moves is clearly that we are less than welcome in their market, and this will challenge the extent of our engagement with China.
“Protectionist trade restrictions based on false allegations do not benefit either China or the United States and represent a threat to a global trading system that has promoted consumer welfare and jobs around the world while lifting millions of families out of poverty. We look forward to and will continue to work toward the day when U.S.-China trade relations are back on a better and more sensible course that results in benefits for both countries, their farmers and their consumers. Thirty-five years of solid work and cooperation have showed this is possible.”
Accessed at http://www.farmforum.net/2017/01/13/us-grains-council-statement-on-china-actions/ on January 14, 2017.
Biosecurity: Superbug CRE
Notes from the Field: Pan-Resistant New Delhi Metallo-Beta-Lactamase-Producing Klebsiella pneumoniae — Washoe County, Nevada, 2016
CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)
Weekly / January 13, 2017 / 66(1);33
Lei Chen, PhD1; Randall Todd, DrPH1; Julia Kiehlbauch, PhD2,3; Maroya Walters, PhD4; Alexander Kallen, MD4 (View author affiliations)
On August 25, 2016, the Washoe County Health District in Reno, Nevada, was notified of a patient at an acute care hospital with carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) that was resistant to all available antimicrobial drugs. The specific CRE, Klebsiella pneumoniae, was isolated from a wound specimen collected on August 19, 2016. After CRE was identified, the patient was placed in a single room under contact precautions. The patient had a history of recent hospitalization outside the United States. Therefore, based on CDC guidance (1), the isolate was sent to CDC for testing to determine the mechanism of antimicrobial resistance, which confirmed the presence of New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM).
The patient was a female Washoe County resident in her 70s who arrived in the United States in early August 2016 after an extended visit to India. She was admitted to the acute care hospital on August 18 with a primary diagnosis of systemic inflammatory response syndrome, likely resulting from an infected right hip seroma. The patient developed septic shock and died in early September. During the 2 years preceding this U.S. hospitalization, the patient had multiple hospitalizations in India related to a right femur fracture and subsequent osteomyelitis of the right femur and hip; the most recent hospitalization in India had been in June 2016.
Antimicrobial susceptibility testing in the United States indicated that the isolate was resistant to 26 antibiotics, including all aminoglycosides and polymyxins tested, and intermediately resistant to tigecycline (a tetracycline derivative developed in response to emerging antibiotic resistance). Because of a high minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) to colistin, the isolate was tested at CDC for the mcr-1 gene, which confers plasma-mediated resistance to colistin; the results were negative. The isolate had a relatively low fosfomycin MIC of 16 µg/mL by ETEST.* However, fosfomycin is approved in the United States only as an oral treatment of uncomplicated cystitis; an intravenous formulation is available in other countries.
A point prevalence survey, using rectal swab specimens and conducted among patients currently admitted to the same unit as the patient, did not identify additional CRE. Active surveillance for multidrug-resistant bacilli including CRE has been conducted in Washoe County since 2010 and is ongoing; no additional NDM CRE have been identified.
This report highlights three important issues in the control of CRE.
- First, although CRE are commonly sent to CDC as part of surveillance programs or for reference testing, isolates that are resistant to all antimicrobials are very uncommon. Among >250 CRE isolate reports collected as part of the Emerging Infections Program, approximately 80% remained susceptible to at least one aminoglycoside and nearly 90% were susceptible to tigecycline (2).
- Second, to slow the spread of bacteria with resistance mechanisms of greatest concern (e.g., gene encoding NDM or mcr-1) or with pan-resistance to all drug classes, CDC recommends that when these bacteria are identified, facilities ensure that appropriate infection control contact precautions are instituted to prevent transmission and that health care contacts are evaluated for evidence of transmission (3).
- Third, the patient in this report had inpatient health care exposure in India before receiving care in the United States. Health care facilities should obtain a history of health care exposures outside their region upon admission and consider screening for CRE when patients report recent exposure outside the United States or in regions of the United States known to have a higher incidence of CRE (1).
Corresponding author: Lei Chen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 775-328-2447.
1Washoe County Health District, Nevada; 2University of Nevada, Reno, 3Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, 4Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC.
CDC. New carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae warrant additional action by healthcare providers. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2013. https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00341.asp
Guh AY, Bulens SN, Mu Y, et al. Epidemiology of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae in seven U.S. communities, 2012–2013. JAMA 2015;314:1479–87. CrossRef PubMed
CDC. CRE toolkit: facility guidance for control of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2015. https://www.cdc.gov/hai/pdfs/cre/CRE-guidance-508.pdf
Suggested citation for this article: Chen L, Todd R, Kiehlbauch J, Walters M, Kallen A. Notes from the Field: Pan-Resistant New Delhi Metallo-Beta-Lactamase-Producing Klebsiella pneumoniae — Washoe County, Nevada, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:33. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6601a7.
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Accessed at https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6601a7.htm?s_cid=mm6601a7_w on January 16, 2017.