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New interactive flood-risk map shows that global vulnerability to sea level rise is worse than previously understood.

Eastern Daily Press 23rd Jan 2020, Huge swathes of the Broads, the Fens and even parts of Great Yarmouth and Norwich could be under water in 30 years unless drastic action is taken to halt global warming.

That is the shocking conclusion drawn from a new
interactive flood-risk map built by US-based researchers who claim that
global vulnerability to sea level rise is worse than previously understood.

https://www.edp24.co.uk/business/farming/climate-central-interactive-coastaldem-map-show-impact-of-coastal-flooding-by-2050-1-6478282

January 27, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Australian bushfire smoke across the Pacific shows how French nuclear tests spread radiation

Tahiti leader says impact of Australian fires backs nuclear claims,  https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/407655/tahiti-leader-says-impact-of-australian-fires-backs-nuclear-claims

French Polynesia’s pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru says the smoke from Australia’s bushfires is concrete evidence that fallout from nuclear tests affected islands such as Tahiti. fallout from nuclear tests affected islands such as Tahiti.

fallout from nuclear tests affected islands such as Tahiti.    Smoke from Australia this month drifted over the south of French Polynesia after crossing New Zealand.

Mr Temaru said this was more than proof that fallout from France’s atmospheric nuclear weapons tests at Moruroa spread while France maintained they didn’t affect Tahiti.

He again called on France to tell the full truth about this dark chapter of history.

Until 1974 France detonated 46 atomic bombs over Moruroa and Fangataufa before continuing the tests with underground blasts.

France maintained until a decade ago that its nuclear tests were clean and posed no risk to human health.

A law brought in in 2010 offered compensation but its criteria were widely seen as too narrow because most applications by those suffering poor health were thrown out.

Its revision was changed again, leaving veterans organisations still dismayed.  Mr Temaru made the comments as his Tavini Huiraatira party campaigned for the March municipal election.

However, Mr Temaru is yet to say whether he will seek re-election to the mayoralty of Faaa which he has held since 1983.

Among the candidates known so far are two assembly members of the ruling Tapura Huiraatira party.

January 20, 2020 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The oceans are getting hot

January 14, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

U.S. Congress Demands Investigation Into the U.S.’s Nuclear Coffin, The Runit Dome

December 28, 2019 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Seafloor mapping reveals the degradation of ocean floor by Bikini nuclear bomb tests

Bikini Seafloor Hides Evidence of Nuclear Explosions,  Seafloor mapping has revealed a crater and several shipwrecks persisting 73 years after the world’s first underwater nuclear test.  Eos,  Amanda Heidt  28 Dec 19

Seventy-three years after serving as the site of the world’s first underwater nuclear test, the seafloor around the Bikini Atoll remains scarred by finely detailed craters and littered with derelict ships.

Today, an interdisciplinary team of scientists is using sonar to assess the complex submarine environment. The results provide a sobering assessment of humanity’s capacity to alter nature…..

Unleashing the Power of the Atom

In the aftermath of World War II, the U.S. Navy chose the Bikini Atoll for a series of controlled nuclear explosions. Between 1946 and 1958, 23 confirmed tests were conducted throughout the area.

Trembanis and his team studied Able and Baker, a pair of tests conducted in July 1946 as part of Operation Crossroads. Both Able and Baker involved plutonium fission bombs with a yield of between 21 and 23 kilotons, but they were deployed differently……….

Clustering around a laptop, Trembanis and his team witnessed the real-time rendering of an underwater crater more than 800 meters across—big enough to fit three Roman Colosseums. ….

Littered throughout the atoll are the husks of strategically placed ships—decommissioned dreadnaughts, aircraft carriers, and submarines meant to bear the brunt of the Able and Baker explosions. …..

Even independent of their place in nuclear history, the Pilotfish and other Bikini shipwrecks attest to the long-lived effects of human activities on the environment.

As old ships decompose, they become ecological burdens, and researchers found that several wrecks on the Bikini seafloor are leaching plumes of oil. Trembanis and his team looked at sketches from surveys the National Park Service conducted in the late 1980s and saw the degradation of the past 40 years……. https://eos.org/articles/bikini-seafloor-hides-evidence-of-nuclear-explosions

 

December 28, 2019 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans | Leave a comment

Devastating array of craters on the ocean floor, from nuclear tests

 

Enormous Craters Blasted in Seafloor by Nuclear Bombs Mapped for the First Time, Live Science, By Mindy Weisberger – Senior Writer 11 Dec FRANCISCO — Today, all seems quiet in the remote Bikini Atoll, a chain of coral reef islands in the central Pacific. But more than 70 years ago, this region’s seafloor was rocked by powerful atomic bombs detonated by the U.S. Army.

For the first time, scientists have released remarkably detailed maps of this pockmarked seabed, revealing two truly massive craters. This new map shows that the seabed is still scarred by the 22 bombs detonated at Bikini Atoll between 1946 and 1958.

The map was presented yesterday (Dec. 9) at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

During the 1946 nuclear weapons test known as “Operation Crossroads,” the U.S. wanted to test the impact of nuclear bombs on warships. To that end, the Army assembled more than 240 ships — some of which were German and Japanese — that held different amounts of fuel and munitions, then deployed two nuclear weapons to destroy them, researcher Arthur Trembanis, an associate professor with the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment at the University of Delaware, said in the presentation.

At the time of the tests, Trembanis said, comedian Bob Hope joked grimly:

“As soon as the war ended, we found the one spot on Earth that had been untouched by war and blew it to hell.”……….

But as powerful as the early atomic tests were, they were dwarfed by the later blasts caused by hydrogen and fusion bomb tests in the 1950s. The researchers investigated a crater that was 184 feet (56 m) deep and had an unusual oblong shape; they determined that it was a composite crater from multiple blasts: “Castle Bravo,” a 15-megaton bomb that was the largest ever detonated by the U.S., and “Castle Romeo,” the first deployed thermonuclear bomb.

These tests left behind a uniquely devastating array of shipwrecks and craters, and the first detailed map of their aftermath will help scientists to tell this untold story and connect to “a moment at the dawn of the nuclear age,” Trembanis said. “Our new findings provide insights into previously unknown conditions at Bikini and allow us to reflect on the lasting consequences from these and other tests.” https://www.livescience.com/mapping-reveals-bikini-atoll-nuclear-craters.html

December 12, 2019 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Antarctic ice sheets could be at greater risk of melting than previously thought

December 3, 2019 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

As the Runit nuclear waste dome crumbles, Marshall Islanders want honesty and justice

‘People want justice’: Marshalls’ fury over nuclear information US withheld–  https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/2018723289/people-want-justice-marshalls-fury-over-nuclear-information-us-withheld  From Dateline Pacific,  21 November 2019

November 25, 2019 Posted by | history, Legal, OCEANIA, oceans, Reference, wastes | Leave a comment

The hazards of nuclear submarines

Nuclear dangers of the naval kind HIMAL, BY ZIA MIAN, M V RAMANA AND A H NAYYAR, 28 OCTOBER 2019Southasia needs to pay attention to the increased risk of a nuclearised ocean.

In 2019, a new set of nuclear dangers emerged for Southasia. The growing danger was underscored during the military crisis between India and Pakistan in February 2019, when India put one or more of its nuclear submarines on “operational deployment mode.” During the crisis, the Pakistani Navy claimed to intercept an Indian submarine. No one has confirmed if this interception involved an Indian submarine carrying nuclear weapons. With India and Pakistan on an accelerated programme of acquiring and developing nuclear submarines, Southasia needs to pay urgent attention to the risks of nuclear accidents at sea.

India and Pakistan have been acquiring and developing nuclear submarines ­– those that are armed with nuclear weapons but powered by diesel as well as those that are armed with nuclear weapons and powered by nuclear reactors. With the advent of these underwater nuclear platforms comes the risk of nuclear incidents and accidents at sea. There has been a long history of such accidents around the world. In July of this year a Russian nuclear-powered submarine accident killed 14 crew members.

The expansion of nuclear operations to the sea also raises issues about who has the ability to authorise the use of these weapons, especially in a crisis. This is of particular concern in the case of India because it has already deployed such weapons. According to a November 2018 announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Arihant nuclear-powered submarine successfully completed its maiden “patrol”.

A further source of concern is the August 2019 announcement by India’s defence minister to the effect that the country’s ‘No First Use’ (NFU) policy – which pledges not to attack with nuclear weapon unless attacked first – “would depend on the circumstances.” His comments, made during a period of increased tension between India and Pakistan following the amendment to Article 370 of India’s Constitution conferring special status to Jammu & Kashmir, underscore these risks.

India’s nuclear submarines………    Strategic competition with China in the Indian Ocean may be another factor.  Serving and retired members of India’s Navy publicly express concerns about the deployment of Chinese submarines, warships and tankers in the Indian Ocean.

India’s growing arsenal also makes it a more valuable ally for the United States in its efforts to deal with the growth in China’s political and military power. For some time now, the US and India have been conducting joint naval exercises.

Pakistan’s naval force

Pakistan, for its part, announced the setting up of a Naval Strategic Force Command in 2012. Pakistan’s Navy has started preparing to put nuclear-armed cruise missiles on conventional submarines. The cruise missile is expected to be the 450-kilometer range Babur, which had a successful underwater test launch in 2018. There are reports that Pakistan is seeking to develop or acquire a nuclear-powered submarine…..

Submarine accidents

Almost all the countries operating nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed submarines have experienced accidents, often with significant loss of life and the spread of radioactivity in the environment. There have been over 40 accidents involving nuclear-powered submarines, claiming a total of over 650 lives. Of these accidents, more than half involved Soviet/Russian submarines resulting in over 400 deaths. The United States comes next, with at least a dozen submarine accidents leading to well over 200 deaths.

Two accidents have involved India’s nuclear submarines. …….

It would be unreasonable to expect that no more accidents involving nuclear submarines would ever take place. Nuclear submarines involve many technologies that are susceptible to a range of accidents affecting the submarine, nuclear reactor, missiles and nuclear weapons. All of these are operating under challenging conditions: deep under water, with limited supplies of air and water, possibly under attack. None of these factors is likely to change……..  Should a naval nuclear-reactor accident occur, especially at or near a naval base, coastal city or town the consequences could extend far beyond the vessel and its crew……

Pathways to war

The introduction of nuclear armed submarines, whether diesel or nuclear-fuelled, increases the likelihood of conventional conflicts escalating to a nuclear one. Any use of nuclear weapons would have devastating consequences, especially if the use of nuclear weapons by one country sets off a nuclear response from the other side.

In a military crisis, nuclear armed submarines increase the potential for nuclear war because they open up new risk pathways. The Australian strategist Desmond Ball pointed out in 1985 that “the sea is the only area where nuclear weapon platforms [of adversary states] … actually come into physical contact” and this contact can lead to accidents from several kinds of what seem to be typical naval operations.

There have already been incidents of Indian and Pakistani naval platforms coming into physical contact, for example in 2011, when the Pakistani vessel PNS Babur brushed past India’s INS Godavari. Contact between Navy forces from India and Pakistan might also result from deliberate attempts to attack submarines. Both countries are known to be acquiring anti-submarine warfare capabilities.The consequences of such events could be worse if submarines come into contact with each other during periods of heightened tensions or crises.

During a crisis, there may be inadvertent attacks on submarines carrying nuclear weapons, because these are intermingled with submarines carrying only conventional weapons. One notable instance occurred during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when US ships used practice depth charges against Soviet nuclear-armed submarines. This almost led to the use of nuclear weapons by the Soviet submarine.

Challenges to controlling nuclear weapons

A significant new challenge resulting from the deployment of nuclear weapons at sea is managing command and control. To the extent that such things are publicly known, India and Pakistan were believed to keep their nuclear weapons on land separate from the delivery vehicles, be they missiles or aircraft. This separation makes it harder for the weapons to be used without proper authorisation. With submarines armed with nuclear weapons at sea, this separation may not be possible and so the risk of unauthorised use is greater.

At the same time, one purpose of the nuclear-armed submarine is to be a final fail-safe means of nuclear attack even if a country’s political leadership is killed and its cities destroyed. To serve this role, the nuclear weapons on the submarine cannot rely on timely launch orders from political authorities. A further problem for submarines is that they are supposed to remain hidden from the enemy. Constant communication from the submarine to the military or civilian leadership may make it easier to detect. All of this means that during the time of a crisis, the personnel in a nuclear submarine might be the ones making decisions on whether or not to use nuclear weapons.

Southasians need to consider how they feel about trusting their lives in some future crisis to the restraint of Indian or Pakistani submariners far from home and fearful that their vessel is under attack, trying to decide about launching their nuclear missiles in a ‘use them or lose them’ scenario. The consequences would be devastating.

~Zia Mian is co-director of Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security, where he also directs the Project on Peace and Security in South Asia.

~M V Ramana is the Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security at the Liu Institute for Global Issues in the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

~Abdul H Nayyar is a physicist and a founder and former President of the Pakistan Peace Coalition, a national network of peace and justice groups. https://himalmag.com/nuclear-dangers-of-the-naval-kind-2019/?fbclid=IwAR0G8NZSV5ANg7Ag7KcuJU_80iv3pNJiqb6E_T12sylV9BaJWIvcZ3Vb_j0

October 29, 2019 Posted by | India, oceans, safety, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US govt to fund study of Marshall Islands nuclear dome water

US govt to fund study of Marshall Islands nuclear dome water,  https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/400433/us-govt-to-fund-study-of-marshall-islands-nuclear-dome-water    The US government has announced US$1.6 million in funding to investigate the water surrounding a radioactive dome in the Marshall Islands.The Runit Dome on Enewetak Atoll was built to contain nuclear waste after US nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific in the 1940s and ’50s.

However, Marshall Islands officials say the lagoon water is already more contaminated than the dome itself, which has been leaking.

The money announced last week will fund a radiochemical analysis of the water surrounding the crater, and an engineering survey of the structure.

October 6, 2019 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans | Leave a comment

Surface melting causes Antarctic glaciers to slip faster towards the ocean

Direct link between surface melting and short bursts of glacier acceleration in Antarctica

Date:
September 20, 2019
Source:
University of Sheffield
Summary:
Study shows for the first time a direct link between surface melting and short bursts of glacier acceleration in Antarctica. During these events, Antarctic Peninsula glaciers move up to 100% faster than average. Scientists call for these findings to be accounted for in sea level rise predictions…….

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190920111355.htm

 

September 22, 2019 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Russia’s nuclear torpedoes at the bottom of the sea

A Dead Russian Submarine Armed with Nuclear Torpedoes was Never Recovered, National Interest, Robert Farley, September 15, 2019

Key point: She rests at a depth of 15,000 feet —too deep to make recovery practical. 

The Bay of Biscay is one of the world’s great submarine graveyards. In late World War II, British and American aircraft sank nearly seventy German U-boats in the Bay, which joined a handful of Allied and German subs sunk in the region during World War I. On April 12, 1970, a Soviet submarine found the same resting place. Unlike the others, however, K-8 was propelled by two nuclear reactors, and carried four torpedoes tipped by nuclear warheads.

The Novembers (627):

The November (Type 627) class was the Soviet Union’s first effort at developing nuclear attack submarines…….
 The Novembers were too loud to plausibly find their way into close enough proximity to a NATO port to ever actually fire a nuclear torpedo in wartime conditions…….
On April 8, K-8 suffered two fires, resulting in a shutdown of both nuclear reactors. The boat surfaced, and Captain Vsevolod Borisovich Bessonov ordered the crew to abandon ship. Eight crew members, trapped in compartments that were either flooded or burned out, died in the initial incident. Fortunately, a Soviet repair vessel arrived, and took K-8 under tow. However, bad weather made the recover operation a difficult prospect. Much of K-8’s crew reboarded the submarine, and for three days fought a life-and-death struggle to save the boat. Although details remain scarce, there apparently was no opportunity to safely remove the four nuclear torpedoes from K-8, and transfer them to the repair ship.
Unfortunately, the loss of power onboard and the difficult weather conditions were too much for the crew to overcome. On April 12, K-8 sank with some forty crew members aboard, coming to rest at a rough depth of 15,000 feet. The depth made any effort at recovering the submarine, and the nuclear torpedoes, impractical……
R
The loss of K-8 (along with the several accidents that afflicted her sisters) undoubtedly helped the Soviet Navy learn important lessons about distant operations, if only at extraordinary costs in human lives. And her nuclear torpedoes remain at the bottom, an enduring monument to most dangerous missions of the Cold War. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/dead-russian-submarine-armed-nuclear-torpedoes-was-never-recovered-80416

September 16, 2019 Posted by | oceans, Russia, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Japan says TEPCO will dump more than 1 million tons of radioactive water from Fukushima nuclear plant into Pacific Ocean 

 10 Sept 2019 | Japan’s environment minister announced Tuesday that the country will have to dump radioactive water from the Fukushima power plant into the ocean because it is running out of space, Reuters reported. According to Reuters, Tokyo Electric, or Tepco, has collected more than 1 million tonnes of contaminated water from the cooling pipes used to keep fuel cores from melting since the plant was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. “The only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it,” the minister, Yoshiaki Harada, told a news briefing in Tokyo…The government is awaiting a report from an expert panel before making a final decision on how to dispose of the radioactive water. (The Hill, Reuters)

September 14, 2019 Posted by | Japan, oceans | Leave a comment

UN warns on need for global action – treaty – as the world’s oceans are in dire trouble

INTERVIEW-Ocean treaty needed to tackle ‘deep trouble’, says UN envoy,  http://news.trust.org/item/20190831063635-oygwk/, by Adela Suliman | @adela_suliman | Thomson Reuters Foundation, Saturday, 31 August 2019 The oceans are increasingly threatened by global warming, acidification and pollution, and the impacts will affect us all, warned the U.N. oceans envoy. By Adela Suliman

STOCKHOLM, Aug 31 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The world’s seas are increasingly threatened by global warming, acidification and pollution, making it crucial to agree on a global treaty to protect them, the U.N. oceans envoy said.

Peter Thomson warned in an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the oceans were “in deep trouble”.

“It is worse than we think and there are no easy solutions,” he said at World Water Week in Stockholm this week, as the latest round of talks on a treaty wound up in New York.

The first global ocean treaty is due to be agreed in the first half of 2020. But on Friday environmental group Greenpeace said the negotiations were “disappointing” so far, blaming a lack of political will to secure a “progressive outcome”.

Thomson said a “comprehensive global regime” was needed to accelerate action to protect waters beyond national jurisdictions.

“It is critical in these challenging times for planetary environmental conditions that we develop a binding treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in the ocean,” he said.

A flagship scientific report warned this year that two-thirds of the ocean area was already affected by growing human impacts, primarily from stressors linked to global warming.

Climate change and the oceans were “intimately linked”, Thomson said, adding humanity was on a “totally irresponsible course” by not tackling global warming urgently enough.  In 2015 nearly 200 nations signed up to the Paris Agreement that aims to keep the rise in average global temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6F) above pre-industrial times, and ideally to 1.5C.

“(Climate change) is going to have huge human impact and there will have to be a change of occupations, a change of domiciles,” Thomson warned.

Fishing communities and coastal dwellers would be worse off and needed support to adapt in a warmer world, he added.

A set of global development goals to be met by 2030 include conserving and using oceans, seas and marine resources wisely.

Much of the planet’s rainwater, drinking water, food and weather systems are provided or regulated by the sea.

“Every second breath you take comes from oxygen from the ocean,” said Thomson, a Fijian diplomat.

But seawater warming and acidification could change the chemical composition of the oceans, with profound effects for humans, he warned.

TURNING THE TIDE?

Pollution, including plastic, industrial waste, sewage and fertiliser, poses a serious threat to marine life, Thomson said.

“There are over 500 ‘dead zones’ all over the world where actually no life exists because of what’s coming down those rivers by way of pollution,” he said.

Meanwhile, irresponsible fishing practices have depleted fish stocks and are “part of the human tragedy of ending biodiversity”, he added.

Billions of people depend on oceans for their food and livelihoods, but the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has said nearly 90% of fish stocks are over-fished or fully exploited as global demand rises.

Thomson said, however, that pollution and over-fishing were “very fixable” with better environmental management.

Individual action had begun to make inroads – from public beach clean-ups to how people shop and vote.

Climate change, on the other hand, was a more “pernicious” threat to the Earth’s water, he said.

The U.N. climate science panel is due to publish a special report in late September on how climate change is affecting the world’s oceans and frozen water. Thomson said it would be a “guiding light” for future international protection efforts by providing scientific insight on how global warming is affecting life in the sea.

“The report will no doubt provide further support for dramatic scaling up of political ambition (to act),” he said.

“It’s no time to be sitting around philosophising … The changes have to be made now

September 3, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, oceans | Leave a comment

Climate change is destabilising the Earth’s marine environment

August 31, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans, Reference | Leave a comment