Environment

The European Union has just launched the second of three weather satellites which should greatly increase the accuracy of weather forecasts. The 3.2 billion Euro project called MetOp is a joint venture between the European Space Agency and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) and involves a total of three satellites. MetOp-A launched back in 2006 and MetOp-C is scheduled to launch sometime in 2016-2018. The sensors on MetOp-B is considerably more accurate than before: The [satellite] measurements slice the atmosphere into air columns measuring a single horizontal kilometre wide. Scanners measure the temperature and humidity to within 1-degree C and relative 10 percent, respectively. "These crucial instruments will be used for weather forecasting and to help us all gain a better understanding of the Earth's systems," stated Gene Martin, POES Project instrument manager. With the massive increase in near real-time atmosphere data you can bet that the lonely weather forecasters in the Netherlands will be breathing a sigh of relief. Especially if local councillors get their way and pass a law fining them for every wrong forecast made... More info: gizmodo.com & wikipedia.org
I just got a sad email from my friend Tim, owner of the White Squall Paddling Centre in Parry Sound, Ontario. Due to recently announced Federal Government budget the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve found out that their funding was cut for 2012-2013. Here is the email: Sorry to bother you, but the Biosphere needs your help. They have had their core funding cut to zero – effective this year. It means Greg and Becky don’t have funding to continue unless something happens. They have come up with an innovative and simple funding effort called the $57K campaign. Basically, they need $57,000 to get through this initial crisis – and they are asking for donations of $57 in the hopes that 1000 people will heed the call.  It’s not huge for each of us, but will make a huge difference for the continuing of their work. Designated by UNESCO in 2004, the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve is an area of 347,000 hectares that stretches 200 km along the eastern coast from Port Severn to theFrenchRiver, in the world’s largest freshwater archipelago, also known as the 30,000Islands. The unique geography and geology of the area create more than 1,000 distinct habitat types which support a variety of rare species, including plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. So far they have been able to raise $2,000 but still have a long way to go. The GBBR is a fantastic organization and have been extremely supportive of the sea kayak campers who use the area. I’m opening my wallet, are you able to help? You can learn more as well as contribute here.
As floating debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami continues to drift towards the west coast of North America, scientists have been following along and using it as a giant study project in ocean currents. To help with the research The Ikkatsu Project is getting organized which will involve a group of kayakers setting out to document the flotsam as it begins to come ashore along the remoter parts of the Washington state coastline. One of the project leaders, Steve Weileman sent me some information about it: Between Neah Bay, at the tip of the peninsula, and Ruby Beach, at the southern end of the roadless section, lies approximately 60 miles of pristine Olympic coastline, much of it inaccessible to foot travel. It is here, on secluded pocket beaches surrounded by soaring sea stacks and intricate rock gardens, that the debris will make landfall. Our team is composed of three experienced professional guides, each having a multi-year resume including multiple trips and expeditions to remote coastal environments. Ken Campbell has authored several books on Pacific Northwest kayaking and is a frequent contributor to print and online magazines on subjects relating to the outdoors and the environment. Jason Goldstein began his kayaking career in Christchurch, New Zealand and currently owns his own guide service as well, he works as a cartographer and GIS specialist. Steve Weileman is a documentary film maker and photographer, with previous experience in Newfoundland and Alaska, as well as numerous locations throughout the Northwest. Each of us brings a specific set of skills to the project and is looking forward to this unique opportunity to combine science and adventure. You can find more information about The Ikkatsu Project on their website. Flickr Photo Credit: Aerial view of debris following earthquake in Japan. / Official Navy Page / CC BY 2.0
It’s that time of year - when those cute little Swans make their nests and vigorously defend them against all intruders. With that in mind make sure you give them lots of room the next time you are on the water lest you will feel their wrath as Joe Davies from the UK did when he recently got attacked. The dramatic scenes were captured this week when Joe dared to venture on to a stretch of water patrolled by a bad-tempered swan aptly nicknamed Tyson. Joe, a local pub chef, said: “He went for me as soon as I got in the water – it made me wobble in the kayak and I capsized. “As I was falling in, he went for me again, which made me panic. “I was terrified. It took my breath away. I’d heard the rumours about Tyson but I’ve never seen him before. You hear about the damage swans can do when they attack. You can read the full story here. Thanks to Fiona for the heads-up. Photo credit: express.co.uk
I’m just amazed how much current there is along the equator and little there is along the West Coast of North America. Make sure you watch this in all its HD glory.
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