Search This Blog

Friday, March 25, 2011

Antarctic icebergs play a previously unknown role in global carbon cycle, climate

Antarctic icebergs play a previously unknown role in global carbon cycle, climate

Antarctic icebergs play a previously unknown role in global carbon cycle, climateEnlarge
Image credit: NSF
(PhysOrg.com) -- In a finding that has global implications for climate research, scientists have discovered that when icebergs cool and dilute the seas through which they pass for days, they also raise chlorophyll levels in the water that may in turn increase carbon dioxide absorption in the Southern Ocean.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Scientists plan to drill all the way down to the Earth's mantle

Earth's mantleEnlarge

Credit: World Book illustration by Raymond Perlman and Steven Brayfield, Artisan-Chicago
(PhysOrg.com) -- In what can only be described as a mammoth undertaking, scientists, led by British co-chiefs, Dr Damon Teagle of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, England and Dr Benoit Ildefonse from Montpellier University in France, have announced jointly in an article in Nature that they intend to drill a hole through the Earth’s crust and into the mantle; a feat never before accomplished, much less seriously attempted.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Scientists predict Arctic could be ice-free within decades

Bad news for what is now the beginning of the "melt season" in the Arctic. Right now, the sea ice extent maximum appears to be tied for the lowest ever measured by satellites as the spring begins, according to scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder’s National Snow and Ice Data Center. And because of the trend of how the amount of Arctic sea ice has been spiraling downward in the last decade, some scientists are predicting the Arctic Ocean may be ice free in the summers within the next several decades.

Related Stories

Enhanced by Zemanta

Large-scale assessment of the Arctic Ocean: Significant increase in freshwater content since 1990s

The freshwater content of the upper Arctic Ocean has increased by about 20 percent since the 1990s. This corresponds to a rise of approx. 8,400 cubic kilometres and has the same magnitude as the volume of freshwater annually exported on average from this marine region in liquid or frozen form. This result is published by researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute in the journal Deep-Sea Research. The freshwater content in the layer of the Arctic Ocean near the surface controls whether heat from the ocean is emitted into the atmosphere or to ice. In addition, it has an impact on global ocean circulation.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Is Water The New Oil? "Water Matters" Explains the Crisis and Solutions

Is Water The New Oil? "Water Matters" Explains the Crisis and Solutions

A review of AlterNet's newest book about the global water crisis.
 
 

 
 
 
 
Editor's Note: Here's a review of AlterNet's newest book, Water Matters: Why We Need to Act Now to Save Our Most Critical Resource.

Report Uncovers Key Trends In Water Resources Research




File image.

Amsterdam. Holland (SPX) Mar 25, 2011 The report "Confronting the Global Water Crisis through Research - 2010", carried out by Elsevier, reveals the increasingly international and strategic nature of water resources research. Examining major trends in water research at the international, national and institutional levels, the report highlights the escalation in the article output of countries conducting water resources research and the expansion of such research into strategic disciplines.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thirst For Knowledge: NASA Eyes World's Water by Patrick Lynch




This satellite image of the Mississippi River basin swollen with spring rains was captured by NASA's MODIS (Moderate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) on Mar. 20, 2011. The wide fork near the center of the image forms the southern tip of Illinois, while the more compact fork opening toward the northeast forms the tip of Indiana. Spring rains are one natural component of our water cycle, which is facing growing demand from agriculture and other uses. Source: MODIS, NASA Earth Observatory. For a larger version of this image please go here.

Washington DC (SPX) Mar 24, 2011 As the world moves toward adding a few more billion people in the coming decades, many people who keep an eye on the horizon find themselves worried about water. Drinking water, water for irrigation, water for industry. Getting clean water is already a major problem for many of the world's rural impoverished, and it is becoming more of an issue for the world's major urban cities, which are growing at sometimes astonishing rates. Meanwhile, agriculture remains by far the biggest user of fresh water, and we will only need more agriculture as the population continues to grow.
This set of interrelated challenges is both why the U.N. seeks to draw attention to water every year with World Water Day and why NASA puts an intense scientific focus on improving our understanding of the world's water cycle.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Study: 2011 arctic ice extent is down

Study: 2011 arctic ice extent is down
Boulder, Colo. (UPI) Mar 24, 2011 - The 2011 maximum extent of Arctic sea ice appears to be tied for the lowest amount in area since satellite measurements began 32 year ago, U.S. researchers say.

Global food scare widens from Japan nuclear plant

Global food scare widens from Japan nuclear plant

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Secretary Salazar Charts Future For Landsat Satellite Program




File image.

Boulder CO (SPX) Mar 25, 2011 The Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has announced plans to make the Department of the Interior the permanent manager of the Landsat series of Earth observation satellites. "Bringing the Landsat satellite mission under USGS is not only the best scientific and fiscal plan for the country," said Secretary Salazar, "but also will bring stability to the high tech employers that hire and build these systems right here in the United States. Landsat drives innovation and job-creation at many levels of our economy, from the satellite manufacturers that build the technologies to the water managers, farmers, and resource managers across the West and around the world who rely on its data for smart and efficient operations."

Measurements Of Winter Arctic Sea Ice Shows Continuing Ice Loss




File image.

Boulder CO (SPX) Mar 25, 2011 The 2011 Arctic sea ice extent maximum that marks the beginning of the melt season appears to be tied for the lowest ever measured by satellites, say scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder's National Snow and Ice Data Center. The CU-Boulder research team believes the lowest annual maximum ice extent of 5,650,000 square miles occurred on March 7. The maximum ice extent was 463,000 square miles below the 1979-2000 average, an area slightly larger than the states of Texas and California combined. The 2011 measurements were tied with those from 2006 as the lowest maximum sea ice extents measured since satellite record keeping began in 1979.
Virtually all climate scientists believe shrinking Arctic sea ice is tied to warming temperatures in the region caused by an increase in human-produced greenhouse gases being pumped into Earth's atmosphere. Because of the spiraling downward trend of Arctic sea ice extent in the last decade, some CU scientists are predicting the Arctic Ocean may be ice free in the summers within the next several decades.

Cattle vs. Conoco By ANDREA PEACOCK

A CounterPunch Series on Oil and Gas in the American West

How Gas Fields Are Crowding Out New Mexico Ranchers

Cattle vs. Conoco

By ANDREA PEACOCK
Blanco, New Mexico.
Chris Velasquez sees the impacts of gas development in the San Juan Basin of northern New Mexico through the eyes of a rancher, and those of a man whose roots in this country pre-date both the gas rigs and the arrival of Anglos.

Andrea Peacock is a 2010 Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellow and the author of Wasting Libby, published by CounterPunch/AK Press. She can be reached at: apeacock@wispwest.net
This work is supported by the Alicia Patterson Foundation (Washington, DC), founded in 1965 to promote independent journalism.

World Water Day 2011: Which Nations Are Most At Risk?

World Water Day 2011: Which Nations Are Most At Risk?

Oil producing Middle East and North African countries dominate water security risk list

Oil producing Middle East and North African countries dominate water security risk list


Lack of stable supplies may lead to future oil price hikes and regional unrest
Extreme water security risks across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) may lead to further increases in global oil prices and heightened political tensions in the future, according to a new study, which rates the region as having the least secure water supplies in the world.
The Water Security Risk Index and map, developed by risk analysis and mapping firm Maplecroft, rates 18 countries at 'extreme risk' with 15 located in the troubled MENA region. These include: Mauritania (1), Kuwait (2), Jordan (3), Egypt (4), Israel (5), Niger (6), Iraq (7), Oman (8), United Arab Emirates (9), Syria (10), Saudi Arabia (11), Libya (14), Djibouti (16), Tunisia (17) and Algeria (18).
The index and map has been developed to enable business and investors to identify the countries where water supply will be limited or interrupted in the future. Maplecroft calculates water security by measuring countries' water stress; population rates; reliance on external water supplies; sustainability of water use; intensity of water use in the economy; government effectiveness; and virtual water use, which is a unique assessment of the water intensity of imported goods, such as food and oil.
Of the 12 Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members, six - Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are in the highest risk category, whilst a further two - Iran and Qatar - are rated 'high risk.' Collectively, these countries produced approximately 30% of global oil production in 2009, whilst the countries at extreme and high risk collectively produced 45% of global oil in 2009.

Middle East is world’s riskiest region for water security, study says

Middle East is world’s riskiest region for water security, study says

“The prevailing opinion is that water isn’t going to be a sole cause for civil unrest or international conflict” Tom Styles, an analyst with Maplecroft, told The Media Line. “But it could be a contributory factor to these sorts of situations, or the tipping point that causes a breakout.”
The Middle East and North Africa have the world’s least secure water supplies, a danger that heightens political risk in an already volatile region and may even lead to higher oil prices in the future, according to a study released on Tuesday.
clearpxl The Water Risk Index, developed by the British risk consultants Maplecroft, found that out of 18 countries around the world at “extreme risk” to their water security, 15 are in the Middle East. The list numbers several key oil exporters, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Libya and Algeria, whose water woes could have global implications.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Drought-Prone Pasts May Foretell New York's And Atlanta's Futures





Santa Fe NM (SPX) Mar 24, 2011 New York City and Atlanta have both experienced droughts in the past few decades that required them to implement water restrictions and conservation measures. However, a new study of tree-ring data spanning the past 400 years indicates that droughts in those cities and their surrounding regions were typically longer and more frequent centuries ago than they were for most of the 20th century. In addition, recent decades have brought longer drought cycles similar to those prevalent before the mid-1800s. A return to drought patterns of past centuries, the study's authors say, could seriously strain the water resources of both of those densely populated regions.
"We can handle two to three-year droughts, but if three and four and five-year droughts are possible, we're not prepared," says Neil Pederson, a research professor with the Tree Ring Laboratory at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, which created the new tree-ring drought records. He adds that the familiar scene in the western U.S. of fights and lawsuits over water "is starting to play out here in the East."

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

India Could Face Water Woes In Coming Decades

India Could Face Water Woes In Coming Decades

Lithium markets set to grow in S. America

Lithium markets set to grow in S. America

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers Buenos Aires (UPI) Mar 21, 2011 Lithium and lithium carbonate markets are set to grow in Latin America with the commissioning of a new lithium carbonate processing plant in Argentina and plans by Bolivia to use Iranian help in exploiting its deposits of the mineral. A new lithium carbonate processing plant that opened in the Argentine province of Salta, close to the country's borders with Bolivia and Chile, aims to become the world's largest processing facility of its kind, officials said. Currently Chile is the world's largest lithium producer.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

MAP OF THE DAY: The World Water Crisis

MAP OF THE DAY: The World Water Crisis


map
Today is World Water Day. This marks another year when water gets less attention than oil, and the coming crisis becomes more severe.
Through the Middle East and parts of America and Asia, water is a physical scarcity.
In Africa and other parts of the southern hemisphere, water is an economic scarcity, which means an adequate supply is not economically feasible.
Ban Ki-moon warns: "A shortage of water resources could spell increased conflicts in the future. Population growth will make the problem worse. So will climate change. As the global economy grows, so will its thirst. Many more conflicts lie just over the horizon."

Most of the world's major river basins face maximum stress levels



The world's most populated areas depend on irrigation for agriculture



Americans use the most water per person



View more at Business InsiderSee Also:
Enhanced by Zemanta

Distrust of climate science due to lack of media literacy: researcher

(PhysOrg.com) -- Though most climate science studies show evidence that climate change is real, the public persists in distrusting the science.

Portable solar device creates potable water

(PhysOrg.com) -- By harnessing the power of the sun, a Monash University graduate has designed a simple, sustainable and affordable water-purification device, which has the potential to help eradicate disease and save lives.

Carbon capture and storage: Carbon dioxide pressure dissipates in underground reservoirs

The debate surrounding carbon capture and storage intensifies as scientists from the Earth Sciences Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) examine the capacity for storing carbon dioxide underground, in a study published today in the new journal Greenhouse Gases: Science & Technology.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Developing strategies in a desert watershed that sustain regional water supplies

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are helping meet the water demands of a riparian desert region that is home to a national conservation area and a thriving military base.

Tsunami's effects in California offer clues about future, more powerful seismic events

Although the effect of the tsunami was minuscule in California compared with Japan, the scattered damage is providing a rare opportunity to study how the waves work and to help officials better prepare for what could be a far more destructive seismic event along the state's coast.

In the shadow of a melting glacier

In the shadow of a melting glacier

Climate change causes glacial lake to burst its banks seven times in three years.
Cachet 2The Cachet 2 glacial lake in Chile has drained and refilled seven times in three years.CECS and Jonathan Leidich (PAEX), 2008.
The people living beside the Colonia River in the Aysén region of Chilean Patagonia are under constant threat of a sudden catastrophic flood sweeping down from the mountains above them.
The region has experienced an unprecedented seven events called glacial-lake outburst floods since April 2008. Each time, Lake Cachet 2, which lies on the Colonia glacier, has drained its 200 million cubic metres of water in a matter of hours into the Colonia Lake and River, sending the water on to the river's confluence with Baker River, Chile's largest in terms of volume, and generating a wave as far as 25 kilometres upstream and 100 kilometres downstream to the Pacific Ocean.
"You can review the scientific literature and you will notice that these phenomena are known worldwide in the Himalayas, the Alps, but the difference here, and what is striking, is its recurrence," says Fabián Espinoza, regional director of the country's Bureau of Water Management.

This World Water Day, Think --- Energy

As Japan's nuclear power plant emergency has spotlighted, water is needed in copious quantities to generate energy. On this World Water Day, let's consider energy's huge slice of our water footprint pie.
By Sandra L. Postel
National Geographic Freshwater Fellow


This post is part of a special National Geographic News series and initiative on global water issues.

We don't think much about water when we flick on a light, power up our computer, or open the fridge for a drink. But there's some H20 hiding behind every activity that uses energy - which, of course, includes almost everything we do.
In fact, the single biggest draw on U. S. rivers and lakes is not toilets, golf courses, or even irrigated farms. It's thermal power plants that generate electricity to light our homes and cities, run appliances and factories, and generally keep our plugged-in society humming.
Thermoelectric generation accounts for 49 percent of the water withdrawn from the nation's water sources, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. On average it takes about 23 gallons of water to produce 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity. That means a typical refrigerator can use 40 gallons of water a day - not at your home, but at the power plant that produces your electricity.
three-mile-island.jpgPhotograph of Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant in Middleton, Pennsylvania by Chris Hamilton.
Thermal power plants - fueled by coal, oil, natural gas, or uranium - boil water to produce steam, which then drives a turbine to generate electricity. These fossil fuel and nuclear plants produce about 90 percent of the electricity used in the United States.
The vast majority of these plants are situated on a river, lake, estuary or bay because they require copious amounts of water for cooling. In contrast to irrigation, which "consumes" a great deal of water due to evaporation losses and crops' transpiration of water back to the atmosphere, most thermal power plants consume little of the water they withdraw. Most operating plants use the older "once-through" systems that release cooling water back to its source. But the heavy extractions and discharge of wastewater warmed by as much as 20-30 degrees can degrade water quality and kill large numbers of fish and other aquatic organisms.
The Indian Point nuclear power plant, located along the Hudson River 24 miles north of New York City, kills nearly a billion aquatic organisms a year, according to New York State officials. Among them are shortnose sturgeon, an ancient fish that has plied Earth's rivers for millions of years, but is now at high risk of extinction. As river water is sucked into the plant, fish get impaled against the intake screens, while smaller plankton and larvae get gobbled up by the plant's machinery.
Indian Point's two operating reactors together withdraw an astonishing volume of Hudson River water - some 2.5 billion gallons a day. That's nearly two-and-a-half times the daily water use for all of New York City.
Last year New York officials ruled that operation of the Indian Point reactors killed so many fish and degraded water quality to such a degree as to violate federal and state water standards. Entergy Corporation, the plant's owner, now faces the prospect of having to invest $1.1 billion to upgrade the plant's once-through cooling system to a closed-cycle (or re-circulating) system, which requires about a tenth as much water and kills far fewer fish. Entergy's licenses to operate the two reactors expire in 2013 and 2015, respectively, and a state-issued water quality certificate is needed for a 20-year renewal of the licenses.
(On the heels of the nuclear crisis in Japan, New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo said on March 16 that Indian Point should be closed, because one of its reactors sits on a fault line and poses unacceptable safety risks.)
Along with fish kills and water quality, there is also growing concern about the reliability of river flows needed to cool thermal power plants. During the severe drought in the southeastern U. S. in 2007, the Browns Ferry nuclear plant along the Tennessee River in Alabama reduced electricity production due to high water temperatures and low river flows. The previous year, Alabama Power Company went to court over worries that a federal plan to release water from Georgia reservoirs to protect endangered mussels downstream in Florida would leave too little flow to cool its Farley Nuclear Plant.
Electricity, of course, is only a portion of our energy use. Fuel for heating and transportation require water, too. Hidden within each gallon of gasoline we pump into our automobiles is about 13 gallons of water. All together, energy accounts for about 35 percent of the average American's water footprint.
chart.jpg
It's critical that our political leaders and we begin to grapple with the reality that energy and water are tightly entwined. All too often policies and choices aimed at solving one problem make the other one worse.
For example, a study by Rosa Dominguez-Faus at Rice University and colleagues found that the 2007 mandate by Congress that 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol be produced yearly by 2015 would annually require an estimated 1.58 trillion gallons (6 trillion liters) of additional irrigation water - a volume exceeding the annual water withdrawals of the entire state of Iowa. Viewed strictly through the lens of energy independence, ethanol production might make some sense. But overlaying a water lens gives a very different picture.
Likewise, it makes no sense to site nuclear power plants where water supplies are scarce or unreliable. Even solar energy can take on a different hue when its water footprint is factored in. A number of thirsty solar thermal plants are slated for the sunny southwest, a region climate scientists are predicting will become much drier in the decades ahead.
Sorting out this nexus of energy-water challenges will not be easy. We will have to make some uncomfortable trade-offs. But through it all the good news is that saving energy saves water - and there are still many opportunities to reap gains from this win-win. Improving the efficiency of our lighting, heating, appliances, cars and transportation systems can save billions of gallons of water and protect fish and other aquatic life, too. It's something to think about this World Water Day - and, for that matter, every day.
sandra new headshot.jpgSandra Postel directs the independent Global Water Policy Project and lectures, writes, and consults on international water issues. She is also Freshwater Fellow of the National Geographic Society, and serves as lead water expert for the Society's freshwater initiative.
Sandra is the author of several acclaimed books, including Pillar of Sand: Can the Irrigation Miracle Last? (W.W. Norton, 1999) and Last Oasis (W.W. Norton, 1997), which appears in eight languages and was the basis for a 1997 PBS documentary. She is also co-author, with Brian Richter, of Rivers for Life. Her essay "Troubled Waters" was selected for Best American Science and Nature Writing. She is a 1995 Pew Scholar in Conservation and the Environment.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The irresponsible U.S. biofuel policy only increases global hunger -- Bjorn Lomborg, Daily Star

The irresponsible U.S. biofuel policy only increases global hunger -- Bjorn Lomborg, Daily Star

Can geoengineering put the freeze on global warming?

Scientists call it "geoengineering," but in plain speak, it means things like this: blasting tons of sulfate particles into the sky to reflect sunlight away from Earth; filling the ocean with iron filings to grow plankton that will suck up carbon; even dimming sunlight with space shades.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Putting a Price on Clean Water

Putting a Price on Clean Water
By: PETER BRABECK-LETMATHE, ASIT K. BISWAS AND LEE KUAN | The Wall Street Journal

Sunday, March 20, 2011

After Japan quake, US confronts fears -- and costs




Taiwan builds first undersea earthquake sensorTaipei (AFP) March 20, 2011 - Taiwan began building its first undersea earthquake sensor on Sunday in a project aiming to give earlier warnings of the quakes and tsunamis that frequently hit the region. In the wake of the 9.0 magnitude quake and tsunami that have devastated northeastern Japan, the head of Taiwan's seismology centre said the device would give seconds or even minutes of extra time ahead of a natural disaster. "It is expected to give us an average of 10 seconds' extra warning if earthquakes hit off the east," Kuo Kai-wen told AFP. Nearly 70 percent of Taiwan's quakes strike off the east. "It will also allow us extra 10 minutes to issue tsunami warnings," he said.

The Tw$4.28 million ($14.5 million) sensor, 45 kilometres (28 miles) off Toucheng in Taiwan's Yilan county, is due to start working in October. Taiwan has more than 100 quake sensors, making it -- like Japan -- one of the world's best-equipped countries with earthquake monitoring devices. "But many of the temblors off the island had not been detected," Kuo said, adding that the centre would deploy several more seabed sensors if the government approves their construction. Taiwan is regularly hit by earthquakes, as the island lies near the junction of two tectonic plates. In September 1999, a 7.6-magnitude tremor killed around 2,400 people in the deadliest natural disaster in the island's recent history.
by Staff Writers Seaside, Oregon (AFP) March 20, 2011 Across the Pacific Ocean from Japan's devastation, the waves roll in peacefully as daytrippers stroll the wet sand while snacking on ice cream and caramel apples. But geologists warn that 60 miles (100 kilometers) into the grayish water lies the Cascadia fault, which generates earthquakes as powerful as Japan's 9.0 tremor around every 240 years. And the last one was 311 years ago.
Many policymakers agree the US Pacific Northwest is nowhere near prepared for a major earthquake and a resulting tsunami. But in a country with a deep aversion to taxes, there is a lively debate on how much money is worth paying.
A decade ago, the superintendent of the Seaside school district commissioned a geologist who delivered dire news -- tsunamis of 80-100 feet (25-30 meters) could strike the town, twice what was previously thought.
The superintendent, Doug Dougherty, proposed to rebuild four at-risk schools at an elevation above 100 feet. But the process has dragged on, with the district negotiating with the multinational company that owns the high land.
"It's very expensive. We're anticipating as much as $100 million," Dougherty said. "And we know that there are tremendous similarities between the Cascadia subduction zone and Japan."
Recent studies have found not only that Oregon is overdue for a mega-quake, but that more than half of the state's more than 1,350 schools would crumble.
Near Seaside in Cannon Beach, former mayor Jay Raskin hopes to construct the first tsunami shelter in the United States, which could temporarily house 1,500 people, or most of the local population.
Raskin, an architect, grew interested in disaster preparations after living through the 1989 San Francisco earthquake which killed 67 people. California, with more frequent earthquakes, is better prepared than the Northwest, he said.
Even though thousands died in Japan, Raskin said that the country's tsunami shelters worked when people were able to reach them, likely lessening the overall death toll.
Studying examples overseas, Raskin said that the tsunami shelter needed to be as sturdy as possible -- both in effect and in appearance. In a crisis, many people will avoid the shelter if it looks damaged, he said.
"We were realizing that we had a one-size-fits-all idea about tsunami evacuation," he said. "You ought to look at the fact that there might be older people, there might be injured people, there might be people from out of town who have no idea where the high ground is."
But the shelter has failed to find the $4 million in funding. As a first-of-a-kind project, it fell under no federal agency's budget and the US political mood has now shifted away from directly financing projects, he said.
"In the current congressional stalemate, it's gone," said Raskin, who hopes to start over and seek a federal agency's support.
Oregon had hoped to complete seismic safety standards in schools and other crowded public buildings by 2032. The Pacific Coast already has a tsunami alert system and coastal schools closed following the March 11 earthquake in Japan.
Peter Courtney, the president of the state Senate, has called for Oregon to turn attention urgently to earthquake protection including upgrading infrastructure in the wake of Japan's tragedy.
But another state senator, Republican Jeff Kruse, said that the state also needed to look at other priorities including building a new bridge across the Columbia River connecting Portland, the largest city, and Washington state.
"The question is, if there's a 9 (magnitude earthquake), virtually every bridge on the coast is gone, so do we restructure our entire bridge system or do something that is a known quantity?" he said.
At a time of limited resources, Oregon should look first to ensuring adequate helicopters, emergency personnel and warning systems before a costly refitting of all buildings, Kruse said.
Voters in Portland will have their say on May 17 in a city referendum on whether to authorize $548 million in bonds to support schools, including rebuilding eight of them to meet seismic standards.
Of the nearly 100 school buildings in Portland, only two were built with earthquake codes in mind, although most have undergone some work for seismic safety, district spokesman Matt Shelby said.
He said the district witnessed a spike in concern after the 2008 earthquake in China's Sichuan province. Thousands of children were among the 87,000 dead in the disaster as schools crumbled over their heads.
"Anytime you see something on a global scale, people talk about it, but it dies down on its own because it's not happening here," Shelby said.
Kruse, the Republican senator, said that earthquake safety was rarely a hot topic when he meets with his constituents in his coastal district.
"This is one of those things that when it's fresh like this people pay a lot of attention," he said. "But I would suggest that in a month from now, the attention will wane."
Enhanced by Zemanta