Coach House Geography

Interesting Geography stuff for InterHigh

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Archive for the ‘Y7/8’ Category

Planting trees ‘no magic bullet’ for climate change

Posted by Lindy on June 20, 2011

By Margaret Munro, Postmedia News June 20, 2011

Planting trees may help appease travellers’ guilt about pumping carbon into the atmosphere. But new research suggests it will do little to cool the planet, especially when trees are planted in Canada and other northern countries, says climatologist Alvaro Montenegro, at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.

“There is no magic bullet” for global warming, says Montenegro, “and trees are certainly not going to be providing it.”

The idea is that while tress will undoubtedly remover CO2 from the atmosphere, it will NOT lead to temperature cooling. Why? Because of the albedo effect. In Northern latitudes, as temperature rise, the ice will melt. Thus the albedo effect will lessen. Add to this the kind of trees that grow there – conifers – and the leaves will absob even more heat than the scrub it replaces would, and thins will add to global warming, not detract from it. Dr Montenegro estimates that even if we covered ALL the farming land, we would only lower the temperatures by 0..45 deg centigrade by 2100!


Posted in Climate change, Fragile environments, Global warming, Solution to problems, Y7/8, Y9 | 2 Comments »

Toyota car plant gears up for solar power

Posted by Lindy on June 12, 2011

Toyota looks set to install a £10m solar array to power operations at its Derbyshire plant after the local authority granted planning approval for the ambitious project. The company has already started work to fit around 17,000 panels on 90,000 square metres of industrial land – an area slightly smaller than four and a half football pitches – within the plant’s boundaries. It says the array will be capable of supplying enough energy to build around 7,000 cars a year at the plant, which produces Auris hybrid, Auris and Avensis cars, as well as saving the company 2,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. It should begin supplying power to the plant in July, allowing the installation to get in ahead of the government’s proposed cuts to feed-in tariffs for large solar arrays.
Toyota claims it will be the first UK car manufacturer to install a large-scale solar panel array and said the move is part of the company’s wider strategy of lowering the company’s carbon footprint.
“Generating solar power on-site to supply electricity to the plant underlines our commitment to do even more to further reduce our carbon footprint and is yet another example of our environmental leadership,” said Tony Walker, deputy managing director at Toyota Manufacturing UK.

Posted in Appropriate technology, Climate change, Global warming, IGCSE, Renewable, solar, Solution to problems, Y7/8 | Leave a Comment »

Is climate change causing allergies?

Posted by Lindy on May 26, 2011

May 26, 2011

Apocalyptic images of global climate change include drought, rising sea levels, suffocating coral reefs and emaciated, drowning polar bears. But a new study points to some of the more immediate and mundane side effects of global warming: runny noses, itchy eyes and persistent coughs.

A research lab has found that there is a 12% rise in people they tested who are allergic to molds and 15% rise in those allergic to ragwort over the past 4 years.

“The rapid rise in common ragweed and mold is consistent with other research linking climate change to greater sensitization to select environmental allergens,” wrote the authors.

In 2010, a team of scientists showed that fungal spore growth – a common allergen – increased with rises in carbon dioxide. Also another paper “demonstrated a clear correlation between frost-free days and ragweed pollen season” and therefore, to higher exposure to the ragweed allergen, as temperatures rise

Posted in Climate change, Hazards, Y7/8 | Leave a Comment »

Change is Brewing in the Tea Industry

Posted by Lindy on May 26, 2011

Did you know that tea is the world’s most popular beverage after water? Around the globe, more than six million acres (2.4 million hectares) of land are used for growing the Camellia sinensis plant, whose leaves are brewed to make black, green and other varieties of tea. Like any tropical crop, tea raises a number of environmental and social issues.

What are the problems?

Tea is grown in cleared rain forest, as a monoculture (only one thing grown over hectares) which can lead to soil erosion, water pollution from fertilizers and pesticides and also to further rainforest loss for firewood needed in processing. They large tea plantations have lots of employees, which are often underpaid and live in poor conditions with little access to healthcare or education.

The good things about Rainforest Certified Tea?

.By adhering to the standards required for Rainforest Alliance certification, farmers are helping to build a sustainable future for themselves and their families.  The rules are both social and environmental. The workers need fair wages, good housing, access to clean water and health care. But additionally certification has stricter rules about use the of pesticides and fertilizer and how the farm stops pollution and manages waste and generally protects the environment.

Posted in Fragile environments, Solution to problems, Sustainability, Y7/8, Y9 | Leave a Comment »

Spanish Earthquakes 11th May 2011

Posted by Lindy on May 13, 2011

2 quakes of 4.4 and 5.2 hit the town of Lorca which has a population of about 90,000. 10 were killed in the quakes, and a lot of masonry fell, and there was some structural damage, in particular to older buildings.

Many people camped out on Wednesday night rather than risk being inside during after shocks. There were long queues for food and water.

But why was such a small earthquake so deadly? Many earthquakes with a scale of 5.2 have little impact. How was this one different? It is all to do with the depth of the focus – the nearer to the surface it is, the bigger the shock waves on the surface – and this one was very close, barely 1km down. Compare this with the recent earthquake in Japan, that was a scale 9, where the depth was 32km.

From our local correspondent, Shannon Robertson:

My mum was lying on the beach and she felt the sand move in a circular motion underneath her. She was going to say ” Did you guys feel that?” but we were two busy playing. Anyway, when we got home from the beach, my mum had a FB message saying “Spanish earthquake killed 10 people in Lorka, did u feel it?” and my mum said to my dad “i felt the earthquake on the beach.’

Posted in IGCSE, Tectonics, Y7/8 | Leave a Comment »

Amazing pictures of Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Posted by Lindy on May 11, 2011

Posted in IGCSE, Tectonics, Y7/8, Y9 | Leave a Comment »

IRIN | Film | The Gathering Storm – Africa | Shifting Sands

Posted by Lindy on May 11, 2011

IRIN | Film | The Gathering Storm – Africa | Shifting Sands.

Posted in Climate change, Y7/8 | Leave a Comment »

IRIN | Film | The Gathering Storm – Asia | Melting Glaciers

Posted by Lindy on May 11, 2011

IRIN | Film | The Gathering Storm – Asia | Melting Glaciers.

Posted in Climate change, Fragile environments, Y7/8 | Leave a Comment »

Why More Species Live in the Amazon Rainforests

Posted by Lindy on May 4, 2011

Released: 5/3/2011 9:00 AM EDT

For more than two hundred years, the question of why there are more species in the tropical rainforest than anywhere else has been a biological enigma. A particularly perplexing aspect is why so many species live together in a small area in the tropics, especially at some sites in the rainforests of the Amazon Basin in South America.

Treefrogs may hold the answer (yes those treeforgs Margays!).  Treefrogs are really important because they can make up nearly half of all amphibian species in some rainforest sites. At some sites in the Amazon rainforest, there are more treefrog species in a small area than there are across all of North America or Europe.”

What they found was that it was NOT the  wet, tropical climatic conditions alone. In fact in some other tropical rainforest areas, there were no more different species than anywhere in Europe. It was just in the Amazon where there were so many.

Instead, the researchers realized that the difference between the Amazon and other places, was that it had been more or less in the same part of the earth for more than 60 millions years, since before most dinosaurs became extinct.

In contrast, those sites in tropical rainforests that have relatively few treefrog species are in areas that were colonized by treefrogs much more recently.

This would explain why there are more species of other animals but plants as well in the Amazon than anywhere else.

Posted in Amazon, Y7/8 | Leave a Comment »

Art gives a new life to 350 Haitian families

Posted by Lindy on May 1, 2011


It’s spring, and signs of Haiti’s economic recovery are popping up in surprising ways: handcrafted quilts from Port-au-Prince, papier-mâché vases from Jacmel, and jewelry from Croix des Bouquets — all on store shelves throughout the United States, said a statement from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

More than 350 Haitian families are now able to provide food and afford schooling for their children thanks to the incredible success of our Fairwinds Trading project. This program is enabling a community of Haitian artists to produce market-ready goods for sale in the United States, and it’s been very successful thanks to multiple orders from retailers like Macy’s and Anthropologie.

The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund awarded a loan of $174,832 to Fairwinds Trading in January of this year. Fairwinds Trading supports hundreds of artisans by giving them the logistics support, design guidance, and the US market connections that they need to export their art.

The artists participating in this program are eager to earn their own livelihoods, proud to contribute to their “Ayiti Cheri” and are very optimistic, an optimism that is contagious and that energizes the whole community.

Posted in Fragile environments, Haiti, Hazards, IGCSE, Solution to problems, Tectonics, Y7/8 | Leave a Comment »