Posted by: coastlinesproject | June 25, 2017

Chatham: C.W. Rice reports new inlet through North Beach Island.

Bill, it appears we may shortly have a small North Beach Island and a large one.
Regards
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Posted by: coastlinesproject | June 23, 2017

Plum Island; Woods Hole Group presents study.

http://www.newburyportnews.com/opinion/columns/sargent-s-view-shifting-sands-in-plum-island-studies/article_c3db416d-ac05-5c45-ab7d-d09def1197b1.html

Posted by: coastlinesproject | June 21, 2017

Very good up-to-date article on horseshoe crabs!

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/a26038/the-blood-of-the-crab/

https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/potential-tropical-depression-two-tropical-storm-bret

Posted by: coastlinesproject | June 16, 2017

Plum Island to Palm Beach

Sargent’s view: One lousy birthday present
As I See It Bill Sargent 3 hrs ago

I was born on June 1, 1946. On June 1, 2017, Donald Trump removed the United States from the Paris climate accords.

During those 70-odd intervening years, I had watched the United States become the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. I had watched us go from being one-car families with radios to SUV owners with flat screens, computers and mobile phones.

I had watched us go from taking car trip vacations to thinking nothing about flying all over the world for business and recreation. I had watched us go from eating meat and potatoes from nearby farms to having exotic food flown in from all over the globe. I had watched our rivers, streams and air become polluted and houses wash into the ocean because of climate change and sea level rise.

But I had also seen the United States become the dominant world power maintaining the peace and offering hope, aid and a symbol of freedom and democracy to the rest of the world.

During my student years, I studied biology, geology and international law to help me be able to do something about these problems. In recent years, I helped start a local environmental group and wrote four books about erosion on Plum Island in northern Massachusetts. It had taken five years but I think residents of the island had started to learn they could work with nature rather than fight the Atlantic Ocean.

Our group helped disseminate the first piece of solid science to come out about Plum Island erosion in over 40 years. We were instrumental in convincing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to build a $150,000 dual dune system to protect homes and helped convince the City of Newburyport to provide $8,000 along with the 15 other communities on the Merrimack River to keep floating debris, including heroin needles, from flushing down the river and ending up in public parks and on Plum Beach.

But that had all changed with a single stroke of a pen. President Trump had made America great again, right down there with Syria and Nicaragua, the only other countries which had refused to sign the Paris climate accords — Nicaragua because it didn’t feel the accords went far enough.

To make matters worse, I had even lost 50 cents on a long-shot bet I had made that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would somehow convince Trump to stay in the Paris accords. As a New Englander, I wasn’t quite sure what bothered me more, the end of the world or losing my 50 cents.

But I resolved then and there, on my 71st birthday, to take the battle to Donald Trump sitting in his palatial Mar-a-Lago estate only four feet above the sea. This, then, will be the story of my journey to explore the effects of sea level rise on coastal communities from Plum Island to Palm Beach.

Bill Sargent’s recent book, “Plum Island; 4,000 Years on a Barrier Beach,” is available in local bookstores and at http://www.ingramcontent.com. During the summer, he leads Storm Surge beach walks starting from the Plum Island Point lighthouse on Sundays at 2 p.m. Cost is $10.

Posted by: coastlinesproject | June 14, 2017

Are wind and solar killing grid reliability?

http://www.newburyportnews.com/cnhi_network/are-solar-and-wind-really-killing-coal-nuclear-and-grid/article_2bb6e030-40f3-5677-8cfe-740940d62ae3.html

Posted by: coastlinesproject | June 12, 2017

Plum Island. The Survey

Chapter 38

The Survey

April 28, 2017

 

 

On April 28th Plum Island was engulfed in a cold gray shawl of fog. I couldn’t see Salisbury. I couldn’t see the ocean. I couldn’t see any sign of another human being. This was a problem because I was supposed to meet Paul Croft’s students from the Essex Tech school at 10am.

 

So I decided to walk out to the end of the jetty just to make sure. Halfway there I spotted the students intently inspecting the wrackline. What had they found? I took a few more steps and watched the students magically morph into a flock of fog-enshrouded seagulls. These conditions sure weren’t going to make it easy to survey the jetty.

 

But a moment later the fog lifted just enough so I could see a spot of sunlight on the far shore. Then it got uncomfortably warm. I was still wearing an anorak I had put on to fight the morning chill, now it was just  oppressive.

 

I figured the fog was so thick that Paul had cancelled the field trip so I decided to return to my car and get rid of my coat. I also knew there was a big fat juicy chicken salad sandwich I had been saving for just such an emergency.

 

But as I walked back through the dunes I started to hear disembodied voices floating up from the beach. So I yelled through the fog.

 

“Are you from Essex Tech?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Great! I’ll meet you at the end of the jetty in a few minutes.”

 

That gave me just enough time to ditch my coat, take a swig of water and gobble down my sandwich before looking for the students in the fog. When I found them, a marine biologist was giving them an impromptu talk about marine debris, so I had a chance to catch up with Paul.

 

He had already briefed the students and separated them into three groups. Each group had to evaluate the situation and figure out the best way to survey the jetty to see how fast it was settling.

 

It was a difficult problem. You had to assume that everything on the beach was unstable and that some parts of the jetty were settling faster than others.

 

I joined a group that wanted to set up their survey equipment on several of the larger boulders and sight from them to a stationary navigation beacon. Then they planned to flash a laser at the beacon on the other side of the river. The problem with this solution was that the students had to make sure the survey equipment could be set up at exactly the same height on its tripod legs when they repeated the measurements.

 

The idea was to get one solid measurement to use as baseline data in June, and then take another measurement when school started again in the fall. Then, if all went well, they would retake measurements every month during next winter’s erosion season.

 

The second team had decided to place the survey equipment directly on the boulders to avoid the difficulty of setting up the tripod legs at exactly the same height for each measurement.

 

The third team had come up with the idea of measuring from the boulders that were settling fastest, back to the boulders they appeared to be more stable. Even though the entire jetty was settling this method would measure the dip where the jetty was settling faster. It could also been done in a thick fog!

 

By the end of the day each team would have enough data so they could debrief the other teams and decide which method they would use when they returned to make their real measurements in June.

 

It had been an instructive day and I knew the rest of my sandwich was waiting for me back in the car. What I didn’t know was whether to eat it after it had been sitting in the sun, which had finally deigned to come out. So I decided to eat it anyway, and paid the price that night.

 

 

####

 

William Sargent’s recent book, Plum Island; 4,000 Years on a Barrier Beach, is available in local bookstores and at http://www.ingramcontent.com.

 

 

####

Bill Sargent will be leading Storm Surge beach walks starting from the Plum Island Point lighthouse Sundays at 2pm. Cost $10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: coastlinesproject | June 11, 2017

China mines hydrates from South China Sea claims energy revolution.

China is talking up its achievement of mining flammable ice for the first time from underneath the South China Sea.
The fuel-hungry country has been pursuing the energy source, located at the bottom of oceans and in polar regions, for nearly two decades. China’s minister of land and resources, Jiang Daming, said Thursday that the successful collection of the frozen fuel was “a major breakthrough that may lead to a global energy revolution,” according to state media.

Experts agree that flammable ice could be a game changer for the energy industry, similar to the U.S. shale boom. But they caution that big barriers — both technological and environmental — need to be cleared to build an industry around the frozen fuel, which is also known as gas hydrate.

China, the world’s largest energy consumer, isn’t the first country to make headway with flammable ice. Japan drilled into it in the Pacific and extracted gas in 2013 — and then did so again earlier this month. The U.S. government has its own long-running research program into the fuel.

The world’s resources of flammable ice — in which gas is stored in cages of water molecules — are vast. Gas hydrates are estimated to hold more carbon than all the world’s other fossil fuels combined, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/19/news/china-flammable-ice-sea/

The South China Sea has been the subject of a territorial dispute between China and its neighbours for the last few years. In particular, China has been building air strips and reclaiming land on the Spratly Islands, which are strategically located there.

With a wealth of hydrocarbon reserves there, it is little wonder that China are so keen to lay claim.

It should now be abundantly clear that China has no intention whatsoever to move away from fossil fuels, despite what deluded Westerners may think.

et, John, the Age of Carbon is likely to go on as long as we do, i reckon.
Pity the green blob don’t understand that. I wonder what they think they are made of. No prizes for the best answer but a good giggle, maybe!

Athelstan PERMALINK
May 22, 2017 3:25 pm
This is way off base, it’s like dipping your toe in the north sea and then pretending to know and proceeding to telling all and sundry the water temperature in, Sydney Harbour.
Methane clathrates may be ‘mined’ one day but until we understand much better the forces that could be unleashed ie slope subsidence, unexpected releases of vast amounts of gas into abysal oceans, all of it is on the very edge of exploratory ‘mining’. Probably – it’s 50-100 years off into the future, there are far more and better opportunities to exploit the world’s natural resources before ‘we take the plunge’ on undersea Methane Clathrates.
it ain’t fake it’s just science fiction.

stewgreen PERMALINK
May 22, 2017 10:33 pm
Moving from coal to gas for electricity is more efficient and less CO2
So we can say that China is doing a better job of reducing CO2 than solar/wind mafia guys.
Cos Inserting solar or wind into an electricity network has never properly been shown to reduce CO2
You start off by burning a lot of EXTRA CO2 to make the new new infrastructure : panels and turbines and extra transmission systems. Essentially almost their entire CO2 footprint is front loaded onto before they have started producing ..ie you waste CO2 today in anticipation of getting electricity without CO2 in the future until decommissioning costs.
And to cap it all cos you have to keep switch on and off conventional power stations, you end up running them less efficiently and increasing their per MW, CO2

John Fuller PERMALINK
May 23, 2017 10:21 am
One should take any article that talks about a “global energy revolution” with a pinch of salt. Hydrates, as some of your other correspondents have mentioned, are not difficult to find but extremely difficult to harness. There’s along way to go yet.

Frederick Colbourne PERMALINK
May 23, 2017 2:27 pm
If politicians in developed countries persist in their deluded attempt to decarbonize, their political parties will disintegrate. In my opinion,this is a great threat to all modern democracies because it is uncertain what might creep out from under the rocks to replace our current political establishments.
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Posted by: coastlinesproject | June 9, 2017

Duxbury; Sea Level Rise.

Trying To Be Objective About Sea-level Rise

By David A. Mittell, Jr.

Ned Lawson of Sunset Road recently made a soft-spoken but impassioned appeal to the Planning Board to take the threat of sea rise seriously. He noted that some projections have sea level rising five vertical feet in the next 70 years. He apologized for making such a long forecast.

“Golly,” I thought, “I can remember Fourth of July, 1947, as if it were yesterday. That’s not such a long time!” Mr. Lawson has been watching the tides rise on Blue Fish River for almost that long, and he knows what he sees. He reports that extreme high tides are much more frequent than they ever were before.

To appreciate what a five-foot rise would really mean, one need only to plant one’s feet at the current high tide line at any town landing, and with one’s own eyes (close enough to five feet higher than one’s feet) take a horizontal look inland and upland.

If one does this at the landing at Mattakeesett Court one will see that Washington Street and the Nathaniel Winsor Jr. house would be inundated. Beyond the line-of-sight, Blue Fish River will have flooded Harrison Street and the 15th and 16th holes of the Duxbury Yacht Club’s golf course. Is this scenario an exaggeration? With polar melting, it is argued, the risk is real.

Both sides of the climate debate conflate weather, especially unusual weather, with climate. One side takes advantage of a warm spell in January; the other of a snowstorm in Washington, D.C.; and The Boston Globe titles its daily weather report “climate.” It should know better.

This is nothing if not a complicated issue. We would do well to understand that exceptional events are what weather really is and always has been — and that a school of climate scientists (not “deniers”) argues that their frequency has not been increasing as is claimed.

It seems to me that what this coastal town first needs is the most accurate possible information. I may try tell you that at the Old Cove, where I like to swim, Little Harrifoot looks the same as it did in 1947. That isn’t accurate information!

Accurate information would be this: If we take the five-feet-in-70-years projection, the sea would be rising by an average of 6/7 of an inch a year. In 10 years it would be expected to rise more than eight and a half vertical inches — a significant amount, and more than it is believed to have risen in the twentieth century. (According to the projection, the rate of rise is expected to be greater in the latter part of the period than in its first years.)

What we can say with certainty in 2017 is that Duxbury needs accurate monitoring of what the tides are doing. Such monitoring, which might entail accounting for every high tide at several locations, would not come cheap. But a town whose lifeblood is its beach, its bay and its waterfront would be reckless not to have it.

Where would this lead? If the five-feet-in-70-years projection looked to be emerging, what without accurate monitoring could fairly be called draconian boondoggles — from breakwaters to radical bylaw changes — could be effected credibly, and in time.

Sea-level rise varies greatly in different parts of the world, and it involves land level as well as sea level. In New England, where the glaciers forced the land downward for thousands of years, dry land and the sea floor are still bouncing back. Thus the sea may be rising, but so too, possibly, is the land.

The discrepancy in the relative levels of land and sea is illustrated by the concrete fish traps the Romans built two millennia ago. Traps the size of modern swimming pools were designed to let fish enter at high tide and leave them alive, but trapped and there for easy taking when the tide receded. On the Adriatic coast today some of these constructions not only survive, they still work as designed. In other words, in 2,000 years sea and land levels have not varied up or down more than an inch or two with respect to each other.

But fish traps on the volcanic west coast of Italy are now submerged in 50 feet of water. Great villas of the Roman emperors have fallen into the sea. We have to ask if this is the fate of treasures such as the Nathaniel Winsor Jr. house. The right answer, I think, is maybe, maybe not. What the town most needs in coming years is accurate and up-to-date information.

The problem gets no less complicated when we try to address the legal ramifications of subsided real estate. Currently, the Federal Emergency Management Agency — an arguably discredited agency the new president wants to de-fund — has the power to declare whose property newly lies in a flood zone. If in the future the town of Duxbury, or any other level of government, tries to restrict the rights of ownership, we can count on lawsuits on an unprecedented scale.

I need to disclose what may be a personal bias on this issue. In 26 trips to the former Soviet Union (and where I am editing this) I have witnessed the living pain three and four generations removed of the descendants of victims of the form of fascism once known as scientific socialism. Many well-educated Americans fell for this “science” — including a graduate of Powder Point School named Alger Hiss.

I thus believe that, while scientific fraud should be called out, science should not be accepted uncritically by laymen. Science is never “settled,” and often it is the outlier who sets it right.
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Posted by: coastlinesproject | June 8, 2017

Plum Island, boater missing after boat capsizes on North Jetty.

http://www.newburyportnews.com/news/local_news/search-suspended-for-man-missing-in-merrimack-river/article_3f79d1e4-2720-5e35-9adc-d4c81726008f.html

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