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Posts tagged Louisiana

Disappearance of Coastal Wetlands in Mississippi Delta, USA

29.9N 90W

May 4th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Wetlands

USA – May 4th, 2013

Coastal wetlands in the Mississippi Delta are disappearing. Many factors contribute to the stress placed on wetlands, including the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in the summer of 2010. But natural forces are at work as well—local sinking of the ground and accelerating rates of sea-level rise, which scientists expect to further accelerate due to climate change.

Over the past century, Louisiana has lost 1,900 square miles (4,920 square kilometers) of coastal wetlands—more than one-third of its coastal plain. Because coastal wetlands help protect the coastline from storm surge, Louisiana’s capacity to absorb the surge from hurricanes such as Katrina in 2005 has been weakened. Increases in extreme weather in the Gulf Coast region—home to the U.S. oil and gas industry—are expected to disrupt the nation’s energy production and supply (click here for more information).

Drought and Low Water Levels in the Mississippi River, USA

37.0N 89.1W

April 30th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Rivers

USA – April 29th, 2013

For months along the Mississippi River here, the withering drought has caused record-breaking low water levels that have threatened to shut down traffic on the world’s largest navigable inland waterway.

The river has remained open  for shipping from Missouri to Illinois due to dredging, blasting and scraping away of rock obstructions along the riverbed, effectively lowering the bottom of the channel by two feet. Despite the success in keeping the Mississippi open, the effects of the low water can be seen up and down the river, both in reduced barge traffic and in the disarray caused by receding waters.

Fires East of Mississippi Delta, Southeastern USA – March 29th, 2013

30.2N 85.1W

March 29th, 2013 Category: Fires, Image of the day

USA – March 27th, 2013

Although moderate to heavy rains over the last week greatly improved the drought conditions in the southeastern USA, particularly across Georgia, most of Alabama and South Carolina, and northern and central Florida, many fires can still be seen burning in the region. Here, multiple plumes of smoke blow southwards towards the Gulf of Mexico. Also visible at the lower left is the Mississippi River Delta. Cooling temperatures and more rain are expected to slow the spread of the fires over the weekend.

Fires Across Southeastern USA – March 28th, 2013

31.3N 83.3W

March 28th, 2013 Category: Fires, Image of the day

USA – March 27th, 2013

Many plumes of smoke from fires burning across the southeastern United States of America can be seen here. The fires are affecting several states (from left to right): Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, as well as Florida (below).

There are currently nine active large fires that have burned 13,226 acres as well as numerous smaller ones. A “large fire” is defined by the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) as a wildfire of 100 acres or more occurring in timber, or a wildfire of 300 acres or more occurring in grass/sage.

Mississippi River Delta and Sediments Along Louisiana Coastline, USA

March 6th, 2013 Category: Sediments

USA – March 6th, 2013

Looking at this vibrant, colorful image of sediments along the Louisiana coastline and by the Mississippi River Delta, it is perhaps too easy to forget that not so long ago the BP oil disaster dumped nearly five million barrels of oil— the equivalent of over 200 million gallons—into the Gulf of Mexico and oiled hundreds of miles of coastline in the five gulf states, with Louisiana’s coast and wildlife receiving the greatest percentage of direct ecological damage.

The disaster’s long-term effects are still unfolding. Damage done to animals and plants will have ripple effects through the food web for many years to come. Hydrocarbons from the crude oil remain in the Gulf of Mexico habitats and waters, and – we can expect based on studies of previous spills – will linger in some places for many years.

The full consequences of this event will be understood more fully over time, but it is already clear that the catastrophe further damaged ecosystems that were already compromised and collapsing, especially in the Mississippi River Delta. An oil spill of monumental proportions was the last thing the region needed.

The RESTORE Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act) dedicates 80 percent of the penalties paid by BP and others responsible for the 2010 oil disaster toward gulf restoration, as recommended by the bipartisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. The money from these fines will go towards jump starting long-term restoration (click here for more information).

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