sexta-feira, outubro 28, 2005

Amazonas - O Rumo Mas Perdido

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Sabado, 5 Novembro
Estiagem em leitos de rios deixa cidades sem alimentos, água e luz
Globo Out 28 - Dias contados para a estiagem na Amazônia
CPTEC - Seca na Amazônia em 2005
Amazônia.org
SEIAM - Chuvas, Estiagem está no fim na Amazônia
Amazônia Revista
Ministério do Meio Ambiente
O Centro de Trabalho Indigenista (CTI)

Falamos para os índios: "O que é meu é meu, o que é seu é nosso".

Sexta-feira, 28 Outubro
Oct 14 BBC - Amazon drought emergency widens
Oct 24 Climate Ark - Amazon Drought Worst in 100 Years
(The text of these articles is included in the Comments section.)


Barreirinha / Ilha Trindade / Lago Curuai (2)

Este de Manaus (2) / Rio Manaquiri / Margem de Amazona

The Rocks and Shoals of the Internet:
Getting coherent information on this Amazon situation is relatively difficult. Imagine that it was the St. Lawrence river that was suddenly dried up and the Seaway shut, or the Mississippi. The news would be everywhere! So the first difficulty is that information is not published widely without responding interest. Some blogger may put it out but unless it makes the big leagues and pays its freight one way or the other it is soon Gone! Watch the flow of images on and off the Reuters website for a few days, what catches on and is followed and what slips away.

A related problem is that everything eventually does slip away. Vegitative reproduction of Bryophytes by death-from-behind. I saw Bill Gates on TV the other day giving a talk to the students at Waterloo University, and he said that soon there will not be any storage media such as floppy diskettes and CD ROMs and DVDs, that it will all be handled by servers (and a net so broad and fast that you will never need another). We are already at the mercy of generalized interest, then we will be at the mercy of powerful interest as well (or at least to a greater degree). Has anyone read Orwell's 1984? Poor old Winston labouring over which facts will survive and which will be burnt.

Interesting too (sorry to digress) to see the increasing predominance of head-and-shoulders portraits. This has always been the case on the Radiobras site for instance - there I think it is a cultural thing. But the Reuters and Yahoo sites are going more and more that way as well - endless images of George Bush and other talking heads. I understand the tendency - human brains are, after all, specially equipped to interpret faces. I suppose that when you select images from larger and larger numbers of feeds it is natural to select an increasing proportion of faces.

Additional difficulties come in several ways.

First, for me, is wanting to know exactly where Lago Curuai or Ilha Trindade actually are. North America is well covered by Google Maps - it is a matter of seconds or minutes to zero in on a town. There are problems when you want to find some other kind of 'object', a river say, or a mountain, but it can be done (provided that some one else is also interested). Finding an obscure (I like that word in this context) village in Brasil is considerably more difficult. The maps that are available on the web have the information but it is graphical and not textual. It ends up being a correlation exercise between tourist sites, government sites and the map itself to find a town - and this is nevermind a river or a mountain. There are some GIS (Graphical Information System) sites but the quality is pretty poor - the big GIS installations (which I know exist) are simply not available on the web. The internet consists mostly of text. The order might go something like: text, advertising images, porn images, and finally, pictures of interest.

Correlating geographical information segues into the next difficulty - credibility - knowing what to believe. If one of the tributaries is drying up but it turns out to be a minor stream, then it could be a clue that the story is being hyped and spun by the likes of Greenpeace. I had doubts myself initially - it was finding the first photographs on the Reuters site, which gave it credibility, and having a personal connection with Brasil, which gave me the energy to pursue the issue. There is a phenomenon which shows up on the scene - virtual credibility - somtimes known as an urban myth (which term seems entirely wrong for the job but you know what I mean).

Then there are all of the difficulties of using tools not fit for purpose. Word processors, text editors, graphics editors (and associated graphical incompatibilities), indeed - whole languages (such as HTML), and successful applications (such as Adobe). A veritable gauntlet that incompletely formed ideas must run through to be born - a minefield! Clever little coloured toys that explode and maim or kill when you pick them up. And then there are the tools which defeat you instead of helping - spell checkers, and search engines without wildcards (like Google Desktop). And hierarchies and hierarchical ways of thinking that have forgotten their antecedents and their reasons for being but continue to twist reality to suit them.

Finally, time - all of these difficulties slow you down. You get into a rush and even the little bit of truth that can possibly be extracted from the dross is lost and gone. Until someone who knows comes along and says, "No man, Lago Curuai is a slough, only three inches deep at the best of times, dries out just like that every year." (And the probably unspoken, "You nincompoop!")

A friend of mine used to say: Teaching your brain is like teaching your children - at some point they have to learn that just because it's warm and it's brown and lying at the side of the road doesn't mean you have to pick it up and eat it!

None of this is any remedy, nor do I have any remedy in hand or in sight.

Down.
Posted outubro 29, 2005 10:02 AM by Blogger sexierexie /  

Nice blog!

Posted outubro 29, 2005 10:22 AM by Blogger David Wilson /  

Amazon Drought Worst in 100 Years

BRASILIA, Brazil, October 24, 2005 (ENS)
- Manaus, capital of the state of Amazonas, and the entire eastern region of the state are suffering the worst drought in more than a century. A government scientist who calls it an "atypical" drought says it is chiefly caused by warmer ocean temperatures.

Scientist Carlos Nobre, of the National Institute of Space Research (INPE), said, "When it comes to the Rio Negro, in Manaus, this drought has no parallel in the last 103 years. That is, since 1902, when the level of the Rio Negro began to be measured," he said.

In the eastern part of the region, this is the worst drought in the last 50 or 60 years, he estimates. The governor of Amazonas state has declared a crisis due to the drought.

The Amazon River floodplains have dried up and people are walking and using bicycles on areas in which canoes and riverboats used to be the only means of transport, Greenpeace Amazon campaigners have observed.

"Large boats have become stuck in the dry mud and the landscape is covered with thousands of rotting dead fish, which are attracting dozens of vultures," Greenpeace said.

The drought is caused by three factors, Nobre told the Brazilian state news agency - the warming of the Atlantic Ocean, reduction in arboreal transpiration, and the smoke emitted by forest burnings.

"The chief reason is the warming of the Northern Tropical Ocean, which is up to two degrees warmer than average," he said.

"The water induces considerable rainfall in the region, as well as an upward movement - common in places where it rains a lot. And everything that rises must fall. This air, which descends upon the Amazon region, interferes with cloud formation," he says.

"This explains the great extension, gravity, and duration of this quite atypical drought."

Deforestation has wiped out 17 percent of the rainforest that once blanketed the Brazilian Amazon, Nobre pointed out. Now wildfires are crackling through the unusually dry forest, destroying thousands of hectares.

Nobre, who holds a doctorate in meterorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is senior scientist at INPE. He was director of INPE's Center for Weather Forecasting and Climate Studies from 1991 to 2003.

A member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, Nobre's research interests lie in tropical meteorology, climate modeling, and biosphere-atmosphere interactions. He is president of the International Geosphere Biosphere Program and program scientist for the Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia.

This experiment is designed to create the new knowledge needed to understand the climatological, ecological, biogeochemical, and hydrological functioning of Amazonia, the impact of land use change on these functions, and the interactions between Amazonia and the Earth system.

"Brazil is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate changes in the world because of its invaluable biodiversity," said Nobre. "If the Amazon loses more than 40 percent of its forest cover, we will reach a turning point from where we cannot reverse the savannization process of the world's largest forest."

The other two factors are less important in determining the intensity of the drought, said Nobre. He concurs that prolonged droughts cause plants to transpire less, curtailing the water cycle.

Nobre cites studies showing that smoke from the forest burnings "can also interfere with cloud formation during the dry season."

Carlos Rittl, Greenpeace Brazil's climate campaigner, said, "This drought and its effects are really shocking. Towns are lacking food, medicines and fuel because boats cannot get through."

Greenpeace warns that a cycle created by the combined affects of global warming and deforestation could cause the "collapse" of the Amazon rainforest.

"If the landscape I've seen this week is a sign of things to come, we're in serious trouble," Rittl said. "We risk losing the world's largest rainforest, the network of rivers and invaluable and varied life it sustains, much of which we haven't even discovered or researched."

Greenpeace is calling on governments to take urgent action to stop deforestation of the Amazon and commit to the massive reductions in carbon dioxide emissions needed to protect the Earth's biodiversity and millions of people who are at risk from the impacts of climate change and ancient forest destruction.

Burning of fossil fuels emits carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, which traps the Sun's heat close to the planet, raising the surface temperature of both land and sea.

Amazonian deforestation and fires account for more than 75 percent of Brazil's greenhouse gas emissions and place it among the top four contributors to global climate change, Greenpeace says.

On Thursday, Greenpeace campaigners in Madrid linked the city's Queen Sofia Museum with deforestation of the Amazone and sealed it off with yellow crime scene tape. The action was prompted by Greenpeace's discovery that the museum's newly opened extension was built using timber bought from companies involved in the illegal logging of the Amazon rainforest.

Originally posted at: http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/oct2005/2005-10-24-05.asp

A Note on Process:
Environment News Service (ens-newswire) lock their postings, so somebody goes and un-locks it somehow and posts it somewhere else and I go and grab it from there - BECAUSE - this internet is a moving target, it reproduces like the ancient Bryophytes by a mechanism known as death-from-behind, meaning that one day you can find the article and the next you can't for any one of a number of reasons, usually that it no longer exists on the original site - there it is, not disrespect of copyright, but protection from loss.

Posted outubro 31, 2005 5:29 PM by Blogger David Wilson /  

Amazon drought emergency widens

A worsening drought in the Amazon basin has prompted Brazil to extend an emergency across the Amazonas state.
Brazil's military has been distributing supplies and medicine to tens of thousands of people stranded by the dramatic drop in water levels. Lakes such as the Anama have been drying up in the drought. Witnesses say some rivers and lakes have dried up completely, leaving behind kilometres of sand and mud.

Environmental campaign group Greenpeace has blamed deforestation and global warming for the drought. (Greenpeace gotta blame somebody!) It quoted scientists as saying that the burning of forests has raised temperatures in the Amazon, preventing the formation of clouds. (Even Bush has got 'scientists' who support the creationism theory - you can always rent a scientist.)

Brazilian government meteorologists, however, have said the drought is the result of unusually high temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, that have also been linked to this year's devastating hurricanes.

Airlift lifeline

A state of emergency has been declared in all 61 municipalities of Brazil's Amazonas state as the drought has started affecting towns and cities further downstream, reports the BBC's Tom Gibb in Sao Paolo. Brazil's armed forces have been delivering water, food and medical supplies to communities isolated by the worst drought in the Amazon for decades. The air force has been distributing water-purifying chemicals to counter the threat of disease from water supplies contaminated by dead fish in the Amazon.

Low river levels are preventing boats - for many the only means of transport - from using the Amazon safely, leaving communities depending on government airlifts for their survival. Big ships have been left stranded in the world's second-largest river and millions of fish are rotting in the sun, witnesses say.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4344310.stm

The search engines, both Google and Yahoo, report this on the 29th, but when you get to BBC it turns out to be the 14th. Another series of potential fnords. I included it because of the name of the Lake which I will go looking for later. And still in the Brasilian press there is next to nothing. Maybe I do not know how to spell drought in Portugese ...