India's Water, Urban Forestry, Polar Opposites, and a Rock

New Nooze, compiled for your reading pleasure on this blustery Wednesday in Western Montana! First, from Cheryl Colopy, writing for the op-ed page of The New York Times, a look at an ancient solution to a modern problem in India:

Age-Old Fixes for India's Water

INDIA’S monsoon rains are retreating this week, a delayed end to a yearly wet season that has become ever more unpredictable as a result of global warming. Of all the challenges that face India, few are more pressing than how it manages water. In vast cities like New Delhi, where showers and flush toilets have become necessities for a rapidly expanding middle class, groundwater has been depleted. New Delhi once had many ponds and an open floodplain to absorb the monsoon and replenish aquifers; now the sprawling city has more concrete and asphalt than it has ponds and fields to absorb water.

India’s capital has come to rely for half its water on dams in the Himalaya range that capture monsoon runoff. But the dams disrupt the ecology of the Himalaya, South Asia’s precious watershed. Much of the waste from New Delhi’s overwhelmed sewage treatment system ends up in the Yamuna River, one of the main tributaries of the Ganges, which winds down from the Himalaya and flows 1,500 miles across India to the Bay of Bengal. Combined with under-regulated industrial effluents, urban waste has turned India’s mythic and misused rivers into cesspools... Read more.

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Cassandra Profita with Oregon Public Broadcasting's Ecotrope explores a new take on the future of forestry:

Logging Urban Trees to Save Forests?

When David Barmon looks around at the trees in his east Portland neighborhood, he doesn’t just see green. He also sees lumber. Big, beautiful slabs of lumber that could become furniture, decking, fencing and cabinetry.

“That cone-shaped tree is a giant sequoia,” he says. “Look over there. That’s a cedar, and a doug fir.”

He points out a deodar cedar in a nearby yard.

“This one is super straight, really big around,” he says. “This is a good log.”

Barmon owns a landscaping company, but he’s also started stockpiling wood in his garage from urban trees that have to be removed for one reason or another. He built his front port out of a black locust tree that was removed from the college campus across the street.

Urban logging is still a pretty rare phenomenon, but Barmon sees potential to grow the industry and use more urban trees for wood products instead of trees from far-off forests... Read more.

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Seth Borenstein with the AP discusses ice, and how the Arctic and the Antarctic are, well, polar opposites:

Experts: Global Warming Means More Antarctic Ice

WASHINGTON (AP) — The ice goes on seemingly forever in a white pancake-flat landscape, stretching farther than ever before. And yet in this confounding region of the world, that spreading ice may be a cockeyed signal of man-made climate change, scientists say.

This is Antarctica, the polar opposite of the Arctic.

While the North Pole has been losing sea ice over the years, the water nearest the South Pole has been gaining it. Antarctic sea ice hit a record 7.51 million square miles in September. That happened just days after reports of the biggest loss of Arctic sea ice on record... Read more.

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And Ashley Braun, writing for NOAA's response and restoration blog, writes about a rock:

The Never-ending History of Life on a Rock

In 1989 when Dr. Alan Mearns first caught sight of a certain seaweed-encrusted boulder in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, he had little idea he would be visiting that chest-high, relatively nondescript rock year after year … for the next two decades. Or that, along the way, the boulder would eventually bear his name: Mearns Rock.

This particular rock—like many others in the southwest corner of the sound—was coated in oil after the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on nearby Bligh Reef and flooded the salty waters with nearly 11 million gallons of crude oil in March 1989. For the next ten years, Mearns and other NOAA biologists examined how marine life in these tidal areas reacted to the Exxon oiling. Some of the rocky areas in their study had been oiled; others had later been cleaned of oil using high-pressure, hot-water hoses, while still others, serving as a “control” or baseline comparison, had been untouched by oil or cleaning efforts—as if the Exxon Valdez had never disemboweled its oily innards at all... Read more.