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Interesting Geography stuff for InterHigh

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Archive for the ‘Y9’ Category

Fuel regulations send Antarctic cruise costs up

Posted by Lindy on July 26, 2011

From August 1, they will be banned from burning or carrying heavy fuel oil and must instead use marine gas oil, which is cleaner but considerably more expensive.

The change, which could cost large-scale tour operators several million pounds a season, has prompted some cruise lines to withdraw from the region, and visitor numbers are expected to fall to their lowest in almost a decade.

“The ban will reduce the number of voyages next season available aboard larger ‘cruise-only’ ships – those carrying more than 500 passengers, with no opportunities to go ashore in Antarctica,” said Steve Wellmeier, executive director of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (Iaato). He confirmed that Holland America and Azamara Cruises will continue to offer cruise-only sailings, but Crystal, Princess, Regent Seven Seas and Oceania have dropped Antarctica from their brochures.

By Caroline Shearing


Posted in Antarctic, Fragile environments, Y9 | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Antarctica visitors drop 8.3% in 2010/11 and 25% fall for 2011/12 season, forecasts IAATO

Posted by Lindy on June 15, 2011

The total number of visitors to Antarctica during the 2010/11 season, and travelling with IAATO member-operators, was 33,824. This includes those travelling on traditional expedition ships, yachts, larger cruise-only vessels as well visitors participating in land programs. The overall seasonal results reflect a decrease of 8.3% last year’s total of 36,875 passengers.

The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) in reviewing the numbers by category, traditional small and medium-size expedition ships – which carry 500 or fewer passengers and conduct landings – accounted for 18,534 passengers. There were a total of 14,373 passengers in the cruise-only category; e.g. larger vessels that carry more than 500 passengers and only travel through the area without disembarking their guests ashore in Antarctica.

A much smaller air-sea category, that includes a combination of air transportation to Antarctica and small-ship cruising, tallied at 531 visitors. Land tourism accounted for an additional 386 visitors during the 2010-11seasons.

With a ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil (HFO) imposed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) set to take place this August, IAATO projects an anticipated decrease in the cruise-only category from 14,373 to less than 5,000 for the 2011-12 season, that is the number of ships will decrease from 12 to just five in 2011-12. Because of this and the lingering effects of the slow economy, the overall number of visitors travelling  next season is projected at 25,319, a 25% decline from the season just ended.

“Antarctic tourism numbers have been trending downward since the 2007-08 season when IAATO members carried a total of 46,265 visitors to Antarctica,” noted Steve Wellmeier, Executive Director of IAATO.

Posted in Antarctic, Fragile environments, Y9 | Leave a Comment »

Chile plans to build museum in Antarctica

Posted by Lindy on May 26, 2011

Regional authorities in Chile have announced plans to build a museum in Antarctica in an effort to bring more tourism and scientific attention to the area. The museum, which would be built in the country’s Arturo Prat Antarctic base, would be designed to highlight Chile’s part in exploring the frozen continent.

The new museum would house some important relics from Chile’s Antarctic history, including a backpack, pickaxe, and snowshoes that were used by the founders of the 280-acre base, which was established back in 1947. Navel vessels from the country also played an important role in rescuing Sir Ernest Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance, when their ship was crushed by the pack-ice, stranding them for months in the inhospitable Antarctic climate.

The plans for the project include expanding the current welcome area to the Chilean base, adding some 1076 square-feet to house the historical displays. While that probably doesn’t seem like a very large museum, the expectations of attendance are also quite modest. A spokesperson for the plan says they expect that the museum will attract “more than 500 people per year.”

While Antarctica continues to be a popular tourist destination amongst the adventure travel crowd, it is far from mainstream. When I mention the fact that I want to visit the place, I’m usually met with a strange expression, usually followed with the one-word question: “why?” Now I can simply tell them that I have to visit the museum there. I’m sure they’ll completely understand.

Posted in Antarctic, Appropriate technology, Y9 | 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 »

Declining Tourism Numbers in Antarctica from Australia

Posted by Lindy on May 18, 2011

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

There is a report out of Hobart from IAATO – the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators – expressing concern over the dramatic drop in tourist visits to Antarctica. The organization is holding an annual general meeting in the Australian city that bills itself “the gateway to Antarctica.”

The reasons?  The dramatic recession of 2008-10 has kept international vacationers home.

But also new rules on the type of fuel used by the larger 500+ passenger ships that was brought in as a result worries about heavy oil spills. This arose in November 2007 when the tourist ship M/V Explorer sank in the Bransfield Strait between the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. All 154 people aboard were evacuated into lifeboats and eventually safely rescued. The vessel sank in deep water distant from land, and while some fuel spilled from the vessel, and may continue to do so, it has so far dispersed without significant environmental impact being detected. As a result it was decided only smaller ships that use lighter fuels are permitted and this has reduced the capacity for visitors.

IAATO anticipates 26,000 Antarctic visitors in the 2011-12 season, down 20,000 from three years ago.

Posted in Antarctic, Fragile environments, Y9 | 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 »

Continental drift – really?

Posted by Lindy on April 25, 2011

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

Ozone hole blamed for increased rainfall in Australia

Posted by Lindy on April 25, 2011

The hole in the ozone layer is 30 years old, and over the last 30 years, rainfall in Southern Australia has increased by 35%, equal to an extra 30mm per month every month! And yes models to suggest a strong link. It is a bit complicated, but do follow the link above if you want to see what they say.

Posted in Antarctic, Climate change, Y7/8, Y9 | Leave a Comment »

Antarctic Lake Hides Bizarre Ecosystem

Posted by Lindy on April 24, 2011

Bacteria slowly built the mounds, known as stromatolites, layer by layer on Lake Untersee’s bottom. The lumps, which look like over-sized traffic cones, resemble similar structures that first appeared billions of years ago and remain in fossil form as one of the oldest widespread records of ancient life.

Researchers study fossil stromatolites, from 3 billion years ago or more, to understand how life got a foothold on Earth. Today, stromatolites actively form in only a few spots in the ocean, like off the western coast of Australia and in the Bahamas. They also grow in some freshwater environments, like super-salty lakes high in the Andes and in a few of Antarctica’s other freshwater lakes. But scientists have never seen anything like the size and shape of Untersee’s stromatolites

Posted in Antarctic, Fragile environments, Y9 | Leave a Comment »