Tag Archives: climate

Weather prediction skills

(Survival manual / Prepper articles / Weather prediction skills)

 A.  Head For The Hills?
25 April  2013, Survival Life.com, by Joe Pasted from: http://www.survivallife.com/2013/04/25/head-for-the-hills/

Have you ever headed out in the morning to what you expect to be a bright and sunny day, only to have the bottom fall out of the sky hours later, leaving you soaked and miserable?

I have…

And while the weather is always unpredictable at best (especially in the spring) there is one simple trick that can you can do in order to keep yourself out of rough weather…. most of the time at least.

forecast cloudRead the clouds!

Cloud reading has been used as a basic primitive weather prediction for thousands of years, and unfortunately our protected, indoor lifestyle has caused us to forget how to read the world around us.

Clouds can easily be broken into four categories. These categories are high clouds, middle clouds, low clouds and clouds with vertical growth.

High clouds form at 16,000 – 43,000 feet. Basically, these are the clouds that you only encounter on the top of really high mountains or at the cruising altitude of a jet airplane. Due to the extreme conditions at which they form, they tend to be comprised primarily of ice crystals.

  •  High clouds include:
  • _Cirrostratus
  • _Cirrocumulus
  • _Cirrus
  • Middle clouds form at 6,500 to 23,000 feet. They are comprised of water, and, if cold enough, ice.
  • Middle clouds consist of:
  • _Altocumulus
  • _Altostratus
  • Low clouds form below 6,500 feet. These clouds are the ones that like to hang-around just above tall buildings. These clouds tend to contain water, but can also be comprised of snow if the weather gets cold enough. Low clouds include:_Stratocumulus
  • _Nimbostratus
  • _Stratus
  • And last, but not least, are clouds with vertical growth which tend to have a base that hangs really low (5,000 feet) and a top that climbs really high (over 50,000 feet). Clouds in this category include:_
    • _Cumulonimbus
  • _Cumulus

Clouds are one of the most reliable predictors of weather and cloud reading is a basic skill that every survivalist, hiker, camper and outdoors man should know. So how do you “read” the clouds? It’s fairly simple when you know what you are looking at.

There are 10 types of clouds that you should be able to recognize, but if you get their names confused, just remember that the higher the clouds, the better the weather will be.

forecast cloud read
1.  Cirrocumulus Clouds look like ripples of water on the surface of a lake. There are a sign of good weather and often dissipate to blue sky.
2. Altocumulus Clouds are fair weather clouds. They usually occur after a storm.
3.  Cumulonimbus Clouds are low thunder clouds that bring hail, strong wind, thunder and lightning. They have a characteristic flat, anvil-like top.
4.  Cumulus Clouds are easily recognizable, large, white, fluffy clouds. They indicate fair weather when they are widely separated, but if they are large and many headed, they are capable of bringing heavy showers.
5.  Cirrus Clouds are high altitude, wispy clouds, seen in fine weather.
6.  Cirrostratus Clouds are made up of ice particles and form a halo around the sun. If a Cirrus filled sky darkens and turns to Cirrostratus it is a sign of rain or snow, depending on temperature.
7.  Altostratus Clouds form a greyish veil over the sun or moon. If they get darker and thicken, it is a sign that rain is on the way.
8.  Nimbostratus Clouds form low blankets of cloud and indicate rain or snow, lasting for several hours.
9.  Stratocumulus Clouds can form a lumpy mass covering the entire sky and may produce light rain, but usually dissipate by the late afternoon or evening.
10. Stratus Clouds are low clouds that form a fog like layer and may produce drizzle. If they form thickly at night and cover the morning sky, they will usually burn off and produce a fine day.

So the next time you head out for the day, take a quick look at the sky and make a judgment call on whether or not you should bring sunglasses or an umbrella.

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B. Weather Forecasting
WeatherShack.com
Pasted from: http://www.weathershack.com/static/ed-weather-forecasting.html

Sharpen Your Weather Forecasting Skillt

Deterioraating Weather Indicators:

  • Clouds lowering and thickening, ceiling lowers
  • Puffy clouds begin to develop vertically and darken
  • Sky is dark and threatening to the West
  • Clouds increasing in numbers, moving rapidly across the sky
  • Clouds at different heights moving in different directions
  • Clouds moving from East or Northeast towards the South
  • Heavy rain occurring at night
  • Barometer falling steadily or rapidly
  • Smoke from stacks lowers
  • Static on AM radio
  • Wind shifting North to East and possibly through East to South
  • There is a ring (halo) around the moon
  • If on land, leaves that grow according to prevailing winds turn over and show their backs
  • Strong wind and/or a red sky in the morning
  • Temperature far above or below normal for the time of year

Impending Precipitation Weather Indicators:

  • Distant objects seem to stand above the horizon
  • Sounds are very clear and can be heard for great distances
  • Transparent veil-like cirrus clouds thicken, ceiling lowers
  • Hazy and sticky air. Rain may occur in 18-36 hours
  • Halo around the sun or moon
  • Increasing South wind with clouds moving from the West
  • Wind (especially North wind) shifting to West and then South
  • Steadily falling barometer
  • Pale sunset
  • Red sky to the West at dawn
  • No dew after a hot day

Impending Strong Winds Weather Indicators:

  • Light, scattered clouds alone in a clear sky
  • Sharp, clearly defined edges to clouds
  • Yellow sunset
  • Unusually bright stars
  • Major changes in the temperature

Clearing Weather Indicators:

  • Cloud bases rise
  • Smoke from stacks rise
  • Wind shifts to West, especially from East through South
  • Barometer rises quickly
  • A cold front has passed in the past 4 to 7 hours
  • Gray early morning sky shows signs of clearing
  • Morning fog or dew
  • Rain stopping and clouds breaking away at sunset

Continuing Fair Weather Indicators:

  • Early morning fog that clears
  • Gentle wind from the West or Northwest
  • Barometer steady or rising slightly
  • Red sky to East with clear sky to the West at sunset
  • Bright moon and light breeze at night
  • Heavy dew or frost
  • Clear blue morning sky to West
  • Clouds dot the afternoon summer sky.\
    .

WEATHER FORECAST CHART

 

WIND DIRECTION: BAROMETER (AIR PRESSURE) AT SEA LEVEL: EXPECTED WEATHER:
SW To NW 30.10 to 30.20, steady Fair with little temp. change for 2 days
SW To NW 30.10 to 30.20, rising fast Fair followed by precipitation in 2 days
SW To NW 30.20 or above, steady Continued fair with little temp. change
SW To NW 30.20 or above, falling slowly Slowly rising temp; fair for 2 days
S To SE 30.10 to 30.20, falling slowly Precipitation within 24 hours
S To SE 30.10 to 30.20, falling fast Increasing wind; precipitation in 12 – 24 hours
SE To NE 30.10 to 30.20, falling slowly Precipitation in 12 – 18 hours
SE To NE 30.10 to 30.20, falling fast Wind rising; precipitation within 12 hours
E To NE 30.10 or above, falling slowly Rain (snow) within 24 hours in winter
E To NE 30.10 or below, falling fast Precipitation, wind
SE To NE 30.00 or below, falling slowly Steady rain for 1 – 2 days
SE To NE 30.00 or below, falling fast Rain and high wind clearing in 36 hours
S to SW 30.00 or below, rising slowly Clearing within a few hours then fair
S to E 29.80 or below, falling fast Severe storm imminent, clearing in 24 hrs
E to N 29.80 or below, falling fast Severe northeast gale, precipitation
Going to W 29.80 or below, rising fast Clearing and colder

Naturally there are other factors than these, but this gives you a rough guide to start with.

Tools to help you make a reasonable forecast:

forecast tools

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to keep cool indoors and out: vests

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ How to keep cool indoors and out: vests)

Think about maintaining your normal body core temperature, whether inside and outdoors during an extended emergency summer power outage.

A.  Keeping Your Cool: cooling vest type
April 2010, mitoaction,
http://www.mitoaction.org/red-tape/keeping-your-cool-cooling-vest-types-sources-financial-assistance

There are a variety of personal cooling systems that are available for purchase, and each style has unique advantages and drawbacks. Here is a brief summary of the three most popular systems:

1.  Evaporative Cooling Vests:
These vests feel like terry cloth but have tiny pockets of highly absorbable beads that can take in water and expand to 6 times their dry size. The vest is soaked in cool water and gently wrung out to remove excess. The vest is placed over a t-shirt and cools by evaporation; the air moves faster next to the water-logged beads, which creates a layer of cool air between the vest and the skin. Evaporative cooling vests are light weight, inexpensive, and there is no need to purchase a second vest to swap; the vest can be re-wet and immediately used again. Evaporative cooling apparel is not limited to vests; headbands, wristbands, floor mats, and even dog vests are available for purchasing. If an evaporative vest is damaged, it can be re-sewn by hand. The function of the vest isn’t seriously compromised if a few beads escape. (The beads are non-toxic, but always check the vest carefully to avoid ingestion by a child.) Evaporative cooling vests are of limited benefit in humid environments and are sometimes not tolerated by individuals with sensitive skin due to the slight dampness of the garment.

 2.  Phase Change Cooling Systems:
This type of vest contains inserts that are activated by placing them in the freezer or a container of ice water, and then the inserts maintain a consistent temperature (usually 53-56 degrees F.) for up to three hours. The inserts can then be re-activated (10 to 20 minutes for activation) and reused. Many people choose to purchase an extra set of inserts and rotate them, so that the vest can be used continuously. The inserts are not exactly ice packs; they do not reach freezing temperatures so they are unlikely to cause damage if left in contact with bare skin. This makes them safe to use with young children or individuals who are unable to feel heat or cold due to neuropathy or communicate discomfort. They are activated when exposed to temperatures above freezing, and need much less time to recharge than an actual frozen ice pack would take. Also, the inserts do not “sweat” when the cold is being transferred to the wearer, so clothing stays dry. Phase change vests can be made to fit wearers of all ages and sizes, custom vests can be made for individuals weighing more or less than the displayed vests are recommended for.

There are drawbacks to purchasing and using phase change vests. The inserts add weight to the vest, from 1 ½ to 2 lbs for children’s vests to 4 lbs or more for 3X or 4X adult sizes. Fortunately, the weight is evenly distributed on the body and is close to the individual’s center of gravity, so the balance issues associated with backpacks or weights shouldn’t be a problem. The cooling vest system is much more expensive than an evaporative vest; you can expect to pay around $200 for a vest and two sets of inserts. The phase change inserts are filled with a viscous fluid and are durable but not indestructible. If an insert is damaged it must be discarded and replaced.

3.  Hybrid Cooling Vests:
This vest combines the benefits of the evaporative as well as phase change vests. The user has the ability to choose between using the evaporative or phase change cooling methods, and can also choose to use both systems simultaneously to complement one another. This type of vest is new to the market, but customers who have purchased hybrid guests have reported high satisfaction rates.

4.  Cold Pack Cooling Vests:
These vests look just like phase change cooling vests, but use actual ice packs that freeze at 32 degrees or in some cases, even colder. These cold packs give the highest level of cooling because the cold packs are the lowest temperature. These vests are effective in extreme humidity and very high temperatures. Extra packs can be added or changed out over time.

There are several drawbacks to cold pack vests. The frozen inserts are generally heavier than phase change inserts, are usually inflexible when frozen, and must be returned to an actual freezer, below 32 degrees farenheight, to be refrozen, which can take several hours. Most frozen packs “sweat” while discharging cold energy, which some individuals may find uncomfortable. Most importantly, ice packs cannot be applied directly to skin and should never be used by individuals who may have impaired sensation, are asleep, or unable to communicate discomfort, as frostbite and serious injury can occur.

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B .  MSolutions Cooling Climate Control Products
http://www.mscooling.com/faq
1.  WHO NEEDS A COOLING VEST?
If work, leisure activities or medical conditions make you uncomfortably hot and/or affect your performance, you could benefit from a Cooling Vest.

2.  WHAT IS HEAT STRESS?
Heat stress occurs when the body’s reaction to the environment causes its core temperature to rise above safe limits. This can result in a racing heart, profuse sweating, dizziness, reduced energy and slowed reaction times. This reduces safety, decreases efficiency and lowers productivity.
What is the difference between the many different types of body cooling systems available?
There are many different cooling products available and the best one for you depends on your personal situation, activity and environment. We recommend you consult your health care professional prior to purchasing a cooling garment or system.

A summary of the systems:

Evaporative
Cooling Power: Low*
Cost: Very Low
(*depending on humidity and outside variables)

Cold packs
Cooling Power: High
Cost: Low to Medium

Phase Change
Cooling Power: Medium
Cost: Medium

Active Cooling
Cooling Power: Very High
Cost: High to Very High

Evaporative Cooling: These products come in an assortment of garments that fit a wide variety of locations on the body. They are soaked in water to charge special polymer materials built into the garments. As the water evaporates (sometimes over several days), the garment provides surface cooling. These systems are typically low cost and light weight.
Advantages: Low cost, light weight works for an extended period of time
Disadvantages: Requires wetting of garment loses effectiveness in higher humidity

Cold pack cooling: These products typically come in vests, neck coolers and wrist coolers. The products work by incorporating cold packs into pockets of the wraps. The cold packs are placed in a freezer or a refrigerator until ready for use and then are placed in pockets designed into the wraps. The packs will stay cold for 2 to 4 hours depending on environmental conditions.
Advantages: Medium cost, no wetting required effective for 2-4 hours, highest cooling capacity works in all environments adjustable cooling with more / less packs extra packs easily carried for extended cooling
Disadvantages: Requires access to freezer / refrigerator requires time for packs to freeze medium weight: 4-5 lbs.

Phase Change Cold Pack Cooling: These products are similar to the cold pack systems only use a phase change polymer in the cold packs or the garment. This technology controls the release of temperature to a specific range through out the cooling cycle. A typical temperature is 58 degree F. Phase change cold packs may be recharged in the freezer, refrigerator or in ice water.
Advantages: Charges in ice water, refrigerator, freezer wetting not required, effective for 2-3 hours provides moderate cooling temperature  works in all environments extra packs easily carried for extended cooling
DisadvantagesHigher cost system, high cost of spare packs Lower cooling efficiency than cold packs medium weight: 5-7 lbs. medium cooling capacity.

Active Cooling: These products typically incorporate a coolant, often ice water, that is circulated from a reservoir by a pump system through channels or tubes embedded in a vest. Often a hood for the head is incorporated into the system also. The temperature of the circulating coolant usually can be adjusted. The system operates on batteries, house or car current. This type of system will provide many hours of cooling before the ice and water needs to be recharged.
AdvantagesMost effective cooling – core body cooling adjustable cooling temperature extended cooling time between recharges no wetting required, works in all environments light weight garments.
Disadvantages: Very high cost system tethered system limits mobility requires ice water reservoir.

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C.  Glacier Tec  Phase Change cooling vest
Pasted from <http://blog.coolvest.com/easy-rider-glacier-tek-coolvest-product-review/>

Original RPCM® Cooling Vest – Tan Khaki
Price: $179.00, get a 10% discount with the special sales code “fjrforum-10”    from <http://www.fjrforum.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=139799>

I have this vest and it works well, it does keep you cool out doors at temperatures of around 100F while doing light to medium work . I prefer using this,  the “phase change” vest for “in the house” applications when the power is out. It’s dry and doesn’t damped furniture; for for a similar reason, I prefer the evaporative vest, discussed below, for outdoor use.

Product Details:
RPCM® Cooling Vests feature side elastic straps and over-the-shoulder adjustability to fit a wide range of body sizes. RPCM® Cool Vests provide you with the maximum comfort available in the market today. They maintain a cool, constant 59°F/15°C temperature for up to 2½ hours, weigh less than 5 lbs., and recharge in minutes. The RPCM® Cool Vest is extremely durable. It can be easily cleaned in regular laundry. .                                                           

> RPCM® Cool Packs quickly recharge in only 20 minutes in ice water. The packs charge (freeze solid) at a temperature about 50 degrees. There are 3 ways to fully charge the packs. They will be rock solid even using the refrigerator which is my favorite of the 3 ways.
__1) On the road toss them in a plastic bag full of ice for 30 minutes.
__2) Put them in the freezer for 1 hour.
__3) Put them in the refrigerator for 2 hours
> RPCM® Cool Vests are Glacier Tek’s exclusive Patent-Pending technology that uses a unique “green” formula.
> RPCM® contains absolutely no hazardous ingredients or chemicals and is completely non-toxic.
> Vest weigh less than 5 lbs.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Pasted from <http://www.glaciertek.com/RPCM_Cooling_Vest/FAQ.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1>

Q. Is the material in the RPCM® Cooling Vest hazardous?
A. No. The phase change material in the RPCM® Cool Pack is unique among phase change materials used for cooling. It is the only phase change cooling vest on the market which contains no hazardous ingredients or materials. It is also non-toxic, safe, and environmentally friendly. Should the RPCM® Cool Pack become punctured and leak onto your skin, it may be washed off with soap and water.

Q. How many times can the RPCM® Cooling Vest be used?
A. If the RPCM® Cool Packs are not punctured or torn, they can be used indefinitely. Our RPCM Cooling Vest has no shelf life. Some of our cooling packs have been recharged 10,000 times with no measurable change in performance.

Q. Can I store my cooling vest in the freezer?
A. Yes, the RPCM® Cooling Packs can be deep-frozen indefinitely without affecting performance.

Q. How long do RPCM® Cooling Vests take to recharge?
A. Typically 20 minutes in ice water will fully recharge a set of cooling packs, longer in a freezer or refrigerator. They recharge more quickly in ice water because of the conductive method of heat transfer. In a freezer, they chill convectively, which takes longer. They can be stored in a refrigerator or freezer indefinitely without damage or loss of functionality. Recharging in a cold freezer with the door kept shut takes about an hour. In a refrigerator, it can be several hours to overnight, depending on the heat load, how many times the refrigerator is opened, etc.

Q. What are the benefits of RPCM® Cool Packs over ice or frozen gel packs?
A. There are three key benefits:

  1. RPCM® Cool Packs operate at a much more comfortable 59° F (15°C) temperature. That means they can’t cause skin or tissue damage or cause extreme discomfort like ice or frozen gel can do.
  2. RPCM® Cool Packs will be effective for a longer period of time between charges. The reason? The difference in temperature between ambient (surrounding) air and the phase change product is much less than the difference in temperature between ambient air and ice. That means more cooling is absorbed by the body and less is lost to the air.
  3. RPCM® Cool Packs are cooled to a temperature that is usually above the dew point. That means they normally won’t condense or sweat against your body or clothing. Ice and frozen gel packs are below the dew point, so they sweat, making them uncomfortable to wear and adding to the weight of the vest or jacket. Condensation also robs the ice pack of efficiency because condensation creates heat, which is absorbed by the pack, further reducing its efficiency.

Q. How do RPCM® Cooling Vests compare with evaporative-type products?
A. RPCM® Cooling Vests provide much greater efficiency and better performance. Evaporative-type products by design retain water, so are always wet and can grow bacteria. This makes them uncomfortable against your skin. It also means they will grow mildew quickly over time, as they rarely dry out. Further, evaporative-type products can’t operate in high humidity environments (or under protective clothing,) because the atmosphere is already saturated with water, so there is no place for the evaporation to go. RPCM® Cooling Vests, on the other hand, are unaffected by humidity.

Q. Will RPCM® Cooling Vests reduce body core temperature?
A. Our products are worn to help maintain a normal body core temperature. The purpose of phase change cooling technology is to help maintain a comfortable core temperature and prevent that temperature from increasing above normal. It’s our goal to help you avoid heat stress in the first place.

Q. Isn’t water a phase change material?
A. Yes. A phase change occurs whenever matter changes from one form into another. Water can change from a solid (ice) to a liquid, as well as to a vapor. Water changes into a solid at a specific temperature: 32ºF (0°C). But RPCM® Cooling Vest packs change into their solid form at 59º F (15°C). Since water changes into its solid form at a much lower temperature, it loses more of its cooling ability to ambient (surrounding) temperature. It’s also below the dew point, so it causes condensation as it melts. Further, it’s uncomfortable and requires an overnight stay in the freezer to refreeze.

Q. Will RPCM® Cooling Vests cause vasoconstriction?
A. That’s one of the advantages of RPCM® Cooling Vests: They function within a comfortable temperature range that unlikely to promote vasoconstriction of blood vessels, unlike ice or frozen gel which promotes rapid vasoconstriction. This is an important benefit, as non-constricted blood vessels allow your circulatory system to freely move blood throughout your body, then release heat at the skin surface. With ice, the body is fooled into defending itself agains the intense cold. It reacts by constricting the blood vessels near the skin, limiting the body’s natural cooling system. The heart and lungs then have to work harder, expending extra energy in the chest cavity and creating yet more body heat and other risks.

Q. Do RPCM® Cooling Vests come in sizes?
A. No. The RPCM® Cooling Vest is adjustable across a wide range of sizes to enable it to fit many people. Inventories of various sizes are reduced and one vest may be adjusted to fit several people, enabling sharing of the product from person to person. It adjusts over the shoulders and around the waist for a comfortable fit in a wide range of body sizes.

Q. Where can I purchase Glacier Tek Products?
A. Glacier Tek, Inc. wishes to offer you the most expedient service possible, and allows you to choose from several ordering options: Order On-Line, Fill out an Information Sheet, or call us at 800-482-0533 for more information or to locate a distributor near you. Thank you for your interest in Glacier Tek, Inc. and our cooling technology products.

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D.  Tech Deluxe Evaporative Cooling vest
Amazon.com, $49.99
See: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FGD8SA/ref=gno_cart_title_1

[Photo at left] TechNiche Deluxe Hyperkewl Evaporative cooling vest, Large size (40-42),, silver colored exterior, $49.99: High mandarin collar, front pockets, and zipper closure combine to offer the ultimate cooling and sun protection solution.

The evaporative vest works, I have one and prefer it for outdoor use. I’ve tested it doing my afternoon walks at temperatures of about 100F.

HyperKewl™ Evaporative Cooling Fabric is 47% Fluff Pulp, 33% Crosslinked Super Absorbent Polymer Fiber, Sodium Acrylate Coploymer and 20 % Bicomponent Polyolefin Bonding Fiber

EASY TO USE:
1.  Soak garment in cool water for 1-3 minutes
2.  Gently squeeze out excess water
3.  Wear; repeat steps as needed
4.  Hang to dry
5.  Wash in mild, soapy water (as needed)

Improved HyperKewl™ Evaporative Cooling Fabric ((PEF6519) – Helps our Evaporative Cooling products to last longer, and withstand more wear and tear. No gel or beads. This simple and effective technology works by combining water with our HyperKewl™ Fabric to create garments that gradually release water through evaporation to keep you cool and comfortable. Comfortable quilted Oxford nylon outer w/ polymer embedded fabric inner, water repellent nylon liner, and black poly-cotton trim.
Provides 5-10 hours of cooling relief per soaking; lightweight, durable and washable.

* Between use the vests are each hung on a sturdy wide shouldered clothes hanger.

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Volcanic winter

(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/ Volcanic winter)

A.  Vuncanism as a threat
How many volcanoes are there?
During the past 10,000 years, there are about 1,500 volcanoes on land that are known to have  been active, while the even larger number of submarine volcanoes is unknown. At present, there are about 600 volcanoes that have had known eruptions during recorded history, while about 50-70 volcanoes are active (erupting) each year. At any given time, there is an average of about 20 volcanoes that are erupting. Active volcanoes in the U.S. are found mainly in Hawaii, Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington.

One of the major factors that affect overall climate are volcanoes. If a volcanic eruption occurs in Russia, it can affect North American weather if the eruption is at least 3 kilometers high. If an eruption occurs in the southern hemisphere and is 16 kilometers high, the entire globe will have its climate affected. Simply put, volcanic eruptions can alter the expected outcome of crops, investments, oil, ranching and many other factors that affect the economy of the world.

A ‘Triple Crown’ of global cooling could pose serious threat to humanity
Sea surface temperatures, extremely low solar activity and increased volcanic activity would lead to
widespread food shortages and famine.  By Kirk Myers
19 May 10 – “Global warming” may become one of those quaint cocktail party conversations of the past if three key climate drivers – 1) cooling North Pacific sea surface temperatures, 2) extremely low solar activity and 3) increased volcanic eruptions – converge to form a “perfect storm” of plummeting temperatures that send our planet into a long-term cool-down lasting 20 or 30 years or longer.
“There are some wild cards that are different from what we saw when we came out of the last warm PDO [Pacific Decadal Oscillation] and entered its cool phase [1947 to 1976]. Now we have a very weak solar cycle and the possibility of increased volcanic activity. Together, they would create what I call the ‘Triple Crown of Cooling,’” says Accuweather meteorologist Joe Bastardi.
If all three climate-change ingredients come together, it would be a recipe for dangerously cold temperatures that would shorten the agricultural growing season in northern latitudes, crippling grain production in the wheat belts of the United States and Canada and triggering widespread food shortages and famine.

1.  Cool Pacific Decadal Oscillation
The Pacific Decadal Oscillation refers to cyclical variations in sea surface temperatures that occur in the North Pacific Ocean. (The PDO is often described as a long-lived El Niño-like pattern.) PDO events usually persist for 20 to 30 years, alternating between warm and cool phases.
From 1977 to 1998, during the height of “global warming,” North America was in the midst of a warm PDO.
But the PDO has once again resumed its negative cool phase, and, as such, represents the first climate driver in the Triple Crown of Cooling. With the switch to a cool PDO, we’ve seen a change in the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which alternates between El Nino (warm phase) and La Nina (cool phase) every few years. The recent strong El Nino that began in July 2009 is now transitioning to a La Nina, a sign of cooler temperatures ahead.
“We’re definitely headed towards La Nina conditions before summer is over, and we’re looking at a moderate to strong La Nina by fall and winter, which …should bring us cooler temperatures over the next few years,” predicts Joe D’Aleo, founder of the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project (ICECAP) and the first director of meteorology at the Weather Channel.
He is not alone in his forecast. Bastardi also sees a La Nina just around the corner.
“I’ve been saying since February that we’ll transition to La Nina by the middle of the hurricane season. I think we’re already seeing the atmosphere going into a La Nina state in advance of water temperatures. This will have interesting implications down the road. La Nina will dramatically cool off everything later this year and into next year, and it is a signal for strong hurricane activity,” Bastardi predicts.
The difference in sea surface temperature between positive and negative PDO phases is not more than 1 to 2 degrees Celsius, but the affected area is huge. So the temperature changes can have a big impact on the climate in North America.

2.  Declining solar activity
Another real concern – and the second climate driver in the Triple Crown of Cooling – is the continued stretch of weak solar activity… We recently exited the longest solar minimum –12.7 years compared to the 11-year average – in 100 years. It was a historically inactive period in terms of sunspot numbers. During the minimum, which began in 2004, we have experienced 800 spotless days. A normal cycle averages 485 spotless days.
In 2008, we experienced 265 days without a sunspot, the fourth-highest number of spotless days since continuous daily observations began in 1849. In 2009, the trend continued, with 261 spotless days, ranking it among the top five blank-sun years. Only 1878, 1901 and 1913 (the record-holder with 311 days) recorded more spotless days.
In 2010, the sun continues to remain in a funk. There were 27 spotless days (according to Layman’s sunspot count) in April and, as of May 19, 12 days without a spot. Both months exhibited periods of inexplicably low solar activity during a time when the sun should be flexing its “solar muscle” and ramping up towards the next solar maximum.

3.  Strong correlation between sunspot activity and global temperature
Why are sunspot numbers important? Very simple: there is a strong correlation between sunspot activity and global temperature. During the Dalton Minimum (1790 – 1830) and Maunder Minimum (1645 -1715), two periods with very low sunspot activity, temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere plummeted.
During the Dalton Minimum, the abnormally cold weather destroyed crops in northern Europe, the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. Historian John D. Post called it “the last great subsistence crisis in the Western world.” The record cold intensified after the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815, the largest volcanic eruption in more than 1,600 years (see details below).
During the 70-year Maunder Minimum, astronomers at the time counted only a few dozen sunspots per year, thousands fewer than usual. As sunspots vanished, temperatures fell. The River Thames in London froze, sea ice was reported along the coasts of southeast England, and ice floes blocked many harbors. Agricultural production nose-dived as growing seasons became shorter, leading to lower crop yields, food shortages and famine.
If the low levels of solar activity during the past three years continue through the current solar cycle … we could be facing a severe temperature decline within the next five to eight years.
“The sun is behaving very quietly – like it did in the late 1700s during the transition from Solar Cycle 4 to Solar Cycle 5 – which was the start of the Dalton Minimum,” D’Aleo says. If the official sunspot number reaches only 40 or 50 – a low number indicating very weak solar energy levels – during the next solar maximum, we could be facing much lower global temperatures down the road.”
Even NASA solar physicist David Hathaway has said this is “the quietest sun we’ve seen in almost a century.”

Volcanic eruptions
Unfortunately, there is a very real chance Eyjafjallajokull’s much larger neighbor, the Katla volcano, could blow its top, creating the third-climate driver in the ‘Triple Crown of Cooling’. If Katla does erupt, it would send global temperatures into a nosedive, with a big assist from the cool PDO and a slumbering sun.
The Katla caldera measures 42 square miles and has a magma chamber with a volume of around 2.4 cubic miles, enough to produce a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) level-six eruption – an event ten times larger than Mount St. Helens.
Katla erupts about every 70 years or so, most recently in 1918, often in tandem with neighboring Eyjafjallajokull, which is not a good sign.
According to Bastardi, “The Katla volcano in Iceland is a game changer. If it erupts and sends plumes of ash and SO2 into the stratosphere, any cooling caused by the oceanic cycles would be strengthened and amplified.”
Iceland’s President Olafur Grimsson says the eruption of Eyjafjallajoekull volcano is only a “small rehearsal.”
“The time for Katla to erupt is coming close . . . I don’t say if, but I say when Katla will erupt,” Grimsson predicts. And when Katla finally erupts it will “create for a long period, extraordinary damage to modern advanced society.”
Not a very encouraging outlook. Yet major eruptions throughout history bear witness to the deadly impact of volcanoes.
The Tambora eruption in 1815, the largest in 1,600 years, sent the earth’s climate into a deep freeze, triggering “the year without a summer.” Columnist Art Horn, writing in the Energy Tribune, describes the impact:
“During early June of 1815, a foot of snow fell on Quebec City. In July and August, lake and river ice were observed as far south as Pennsylvania. Frost killed crops across New England with resulting famine. During the brutal winter of 1816/17, the temperature fell to -32 in New York City.”
When (Katla) unleashed its fury in the 1700s, the volcano sent temperatures into a tailspin in North America.
“The Mississippi River froze just north of New Orleans and the East Coast, especially New England, had an extremely cold winter.

Global cooling: a life-threatening event
Says D’Aleo:  “Cold is far more threatening than the little extra warmth we experienced from 1977 to 1998 … A cooling down to Dalton Minimum temperatures or worse would lead to shortened growing seasons and large-scale crop failures. Food shortages would make worse the fact that more people die from cold than heat.”
Actions to limit CO2 emissions should be shelved and preparations made for an extended period of global cooling that would pose far more danger to humankind than any real or imagined warming predicted by today’s climate models.
Pasted from <http://www.iceagenow.com/Triple_Crown_of_global_cooling.htm>

B.  The Year Without a Summer
The Year Without a Summer (also known as, a) The Poverty Year, b) The Year There Was No Summer and c) Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death) was 1816, in which severe summer climate abnormalities caused average global temperatures to decrease by about 0.4–0.7 °C (0.7–1.3 °F), resulting in major food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere. It is believed that the anomaly was caused by a combination of 1) a historic low in solar activity with 2) a volcanic winter event, the latter caused by a succession of major volcanic eruptions capped off by the Mount Tambora eruption of 1815, the largest known eruption in over 1,600 years. Historian John D. Post has called this “the last great subsistence crisis in the Western world”.

[Chart above:The 1816 summer temperature anomaly with respect to 1971-2000 climatology.]

Description of The Year Without a Summer 
The unusual climatic aberrations of 1816 had the greatest effect on the Northeastern United States, the Canadian Maritimes, Newfoundland, and Northern Europe. Typically, the late spring and summer of the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada are relatively stable: temperatures (average of both day and night) average about 68–77 °F and rarely fall below 41 °F. Summer snow is an extreme rarity.
In the spring and summer of 1816, a persistent “dry fog” was observed in the northeastern United States. The fog reddened and dimmed the sunlight, such that sunspots were visible to the naked eye. Neither wind nor rainfall dispersed the “fog”. It has been characterized as a stratospheric sulfate aerosol veil.
In May 1816, frost killed off most of the crops that had been planted, and on 4 June 1816, frosts were reported in Connecticut, and by the following day, most of New England was gripped by the cold front. On 6 June 1816, snow fell in Albany, New York, and Dennysville, Maine. Nearly a foot of snow was observed in Quebec City in early June, with consequent additional loss of crops—most summer-growing plants have cell walls which rupture even in a mild frost. The result was regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality.
In July and August, lake and river ice were observed as far south as Pennsylvania. Rapid, dramatic temperature swings were common, with temperatures sometimes reverting from normal or above-normal summer temperatures as high as 95°F to near-freezing within hours. Even though farmers south of New England did succeed in bringing some crops to maturity, maize and other grain prices rose dramatically. The staple food oats, for example, rose from 12¢ a bushel the previous year to 92¢ a bushel –nearly eight times as much. Those areas suffering local crop failures had to deal with the lack of roads in the early 19th Century, preventing any easy importation of bulky food stuffs.
Cool temperatures and heavy rains resulted in failed harvests in the British Isles as well. Families in Wales traveled long distances as refugees, begging for food. Famine was prevalent in north and southwest Ireland, following the failure of wheat, oat, and potato harvests. The crisis was severe in Germany, where food prices rose sharply. Due to the unknown cause of the problems, demonstrations in front of grain markets and bakeries, followed by riots, arson, and looting, took place in many European cities. It was the worst famine of the 19th Century.
In China, the cold weather killed trees, rice crops, and even water buffalo, especially in northern China. Floods destroyed many remaining crops. Mount Tambora’s eruption disrupted China’s monsoon season, resulting in overwhelming floods in the Yangtze Valley in 1816. In India the delayed summer monsoon caused late torrential rains that aggravated the spread of cholera from a region near the River Ganges in Bengal to as far as Moscow.
In the ensuing bitter winter of 1817, when the thermometer dropped to -26°F, the waters of New York’s Upper Bay froze deeply enough for horse-drawn sleighs to be driven across Buttermilk Channel from Brooklyn to Governors Island.
The effects were widespread and lasted beyond the winter. In eastern Switzerland, the summers of 1816 and 1817 were so cool that an ice dam formed below a tongue of the Giétro Glacier high in the Val de Bagnes. In spite of the efforts of the engineer Ignaz Venetz to drain the growing lake, the ice dam collapsed catastrophically in June 1818.

Causes
It is now generally thought that the aberrations occurred because of the 1815 (April 5–15) volcanic Mount Tambora eruption on the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia (then part of the Dutch East Indies). The eruption had a Volcanic Explosivity Index ranking of 7, a super-colossal event that ejected immense amounts of volcanic dust into the upper atmosphere. It was the world’s largest eruption since the Hatepe eruption over 1,630 years earlier in AD 180. The fact that the 1815 eruption occurred during the middle of the Dalton Minimum (a period of unusually low solar activity) is also significant.
Other large volcanic eruptions (with VEI at least 4) during the same time frame are:
•  1812, La Soufrière on Saint Vincent in the Caribbean
•  1812, Awu on Sangihe Islands, Indonesia
•  1813, Suwanosejima on Ryukyu Islands, Japan
•  1814, Mayon in the Philippines
These other eruptions had already built up a substantial amount of atmospheric dust. As is common following a massive volcanic eruption, temperatures fell worldwide because less sunlight passed through the atmosphere.

Effects
As a result of the series of volcanic eruptions, crops in the above-cited areas had been poor for several years; the final blow came in 1815 with the eruption of Tambora. In the United States, many historians cite the “Year Without a Summer” as a primary motivation for the western movement and rapid settlement of what is now western and central New York and the American Midwest. Many New Englanders were wiped out by the year, and tens of thousands struck out for the richer soil and better growing conditions of the Upper Midwest (then the Northwest Territory).
Europe, still recuperating from the Napoleonic Wars, suffered from food shortages. Food riots broke out in the United Kingdom and France, and grain warehouses were looted. The violence was worst in landlocked Switzerland, where famine caused the government to declare a national emergency. Huge storms and abnormal rainfall with floodings of the major rivers of Europe (including the Rhine) are attributed to the event, as was the frost setting in during August 1816. A major typhus epidemic occurred in Ireland between 1816 and 1819, precipitated by the famine caused by “The Year Without a Summer”. It is estimated that 100,000 Irish perished during this period. A BBC documentary using figures compiled in Switzerland estimated that fatality rates in 1816 were twice that of average years, giving an approximate European fatality total of 200,000 deaths.
The eruption of Tambora also caused Hungary to experience brown snow. Italy experienced something similar, with red snow falling throughout the year. The cause of this is believed to have been volcanic ash in the atmosphere.
In China, unusually low temperatures in summer and fall devastated rice production in Yunnan province in the southwest, resulting in widespread famine. Fort Shuangcheng, now in Heilongjiang province, reported fields disrupted by frost and conscripts deserting as a result. Summer snowfall was reported in various locations in Jiangxi and Anhui provinces, both in the south of the country. In Taiwan, which has a tropical climate, snow was reported in Hsinchu and Miaoli, while frost was reported in Changhua.

Cultural effect
High levels of ash in the atmosphere led to unusually spectacular sunsets during this period, a feature celebrated in the paintings of J. M. W. Turner. It has been theorized that it was this that gave rise to the yellow tinge that is predominant in his paintings such as Chichester Canal circa 1828. Similar phenomena were observed after the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa and on the West Coast of the United States following the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. [‘Google’ for images]
The lack of oats to feed horses may have inspired the German inventor Karl Drais to research new ways of horseless transportation, which led to the invention of the Draisine or velocipede. This was the ancestor of the modern bicycle and a step toward mechanized personal transport.
The crop failures of the “Year without Summer” forced the family of Joseph Smith to move from Sharon, Vermont, to Palmyra, New York,  precipitating a series of events which culminated in the publication of the Book of Mormon and the founding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In July 1816 “incessant rainfall” during that “wet, ungenial summer” forced Mary Shelley, John William Polidori, and their friends to stay indoors for much of their Swiss holiday. They decided to have a contest to see who could write the scariest story, leading Shelley to write Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus and Polidori to write The Vampyre. In addition, their host, Lord Byron, was inspired to write a poem, Darkness, at the same time.
Justus von Liebig, a chemist who had experienced the famine as a child in Darmstadt, later studied plant nutrition and introduced mineral fertilizers.

Comparable events
•  Toba catastrophe 70,000 to 75,000 years ago.
•  The 1628–26 BC climate disturbances, usually attributed to the Minoan eruption of Santorini.
•  The Hekla 3 eruption of about 1200 BC, contemporary with the historical bronze age collapse.
•  Climate changes of 535–536 have been linked to the effects of a volcanic eruption, possibly at Krakatoa.
•  An eruption of Kuwae, a Pacific volcano, has been implicated in events surrounding the Fall of Constantinople in 1453.
•  An eruption of Huaynaputina, in Peru, caused 1601 to be the coldest year in the Northern Hemisphere for six centuries (see Russian famine of 1601–1603).
•  An eruption of Laki, in Iceland, caused major fatalities in Europe, 1783–84.
•  The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 led to odd weather patterns and temporary cooling in the United States, particularly in the Midwest and parts of the Northeast. An unusually mild winter and warm and early spring were followed by an unusually cool and wet summer in 1992.
Pasted from <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer>

C.  Three discussions of Volcanic Winter
1.  Days of Darkness (AD 535-AD 546)
Each day, the morning sunrise is taken for granted. Based on the laws of science, it is expected that the sun will rise each day from east to west. Yet, the question must be asked, “what would happen if the sun didn’t rise?” This was the case from AD 535 through AD 546, with the darkest days in AD 536.
“A mighty roar of thunder” came out of the local mountain; there was a furious shaking of the earth, total darkness, thunder and lightning.” A Chinese court journal also made mention of “a huge thunderous sound coming from the south west” in February 535.2 And as a Hopi elder had said, thousands of miles away, “When the changes begin, there will be a big noise heard all over the Earth,” a low rumble reverberated across the planet.
“Then came forth a furious gale together with torrential rain and a deadly storm darkened the entire world,” read the Pustaka Raja Purwa or The Book of Ancient Kings, a buried Indonesian chronicle.
“The sun began to go dark, rain poured red, as if tinted by blood. Clouds of dust enveloped the earth… Yellow dust rained down like snow. It could be scooped up in handfuls,” wrote The Nan Shi Ancient Chronicle of Southern China, referring to the country’s weather in November and December 535.
Darkness followed making the day indistinguishable from the night. “There was a sign from the Sun, the likes of which had never been seen or reported before. The Sun became dark, and its darkness lasted for about 18 months. Each day, it shone for about four hours and still this light was only a feeble shadow. Everyone declared that the Sun would never recover its full light again. The fruits did not ripen and the wine tasted like sour grapes,” John of Ephesus, a Syrian bishop and contemporary writer, wrote in describing the unending darkness. “The sun became dim… for nearly the whole year… so that the fruits were killed at an unseasonable time,” John Lydus added, which was further confirmed by Procopius, a prominent Roman historian who served as Emperor Justinian’s chief archivist and secretary, when he wrote of 536, “…during this year a most dread portent took place. For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the Moon, during this whole year… and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear.”  “The sun… seems to have lost its wonted light, and appears of a bluish color. We marvel to see no shadows of our bodies at noon, to feel the mighty vigor of the sun’s heat wasted into feebleness,” Flavius Cassiodorus, another Roman historian wrote. Reports even indicated that midday consisted of “almost night-like darkness.”
A cold then gripped the world as temperatures declined. “We have had a winter without storms…”1 “a spring without mildness [and] a summer without heat… The months which should have been maturing the crops have been chilled by north winds,” wrote Cassiodorus. “When can we hope for mild weather, now that the months that once ripened the crops have become deadly sick under the northern blasts? …Out of all the elements, we find these two against us: perpetual frost and unnatural drought,” he added, while in China, it was written, “the stars were lost from view for three months. The sun dimmed, the rain failed, and snow fell in the summertime. Famine spread, and the emperor abandoned his capital…” Other Chinese records referred to a ‘dust veil’ obscuring the sky” while Mediterranean historians wrote about a “‘dry fog’ blocking out much of the sun’s heat for more than year.” The sun was so ineffective that snow even fell during August in southern China and in every month of the year in northern Europe.
“Then came drought [or floods], famine, plague, death…” “Food is the basis of the Empire. Yellow gold and ten thousand strings of cash cannot cure hunger. What avails a thousand boxes of pearls to him who is starving of cold,” the Japanese Great King lamented in 540, while Cassiodorus added, “Rain is denied and the reaper fears new frosts.” And “as hard winters and drought continued into the second and third years [in Mongolia and parts of China, the Avars] unable to find food, unable to barter food from others…” began a 3,000-mile trek to new lands to save themselves and their families from annihilation and starvation.
During this sustained period of unseasonably cold temperatures from 535-546 when the sun was ineffective and blotted out, plant life experienced stunted growth – tree rings from this period show little or no growth – and many crops failed. According to climatological research presented in 2001 by Markus Lindholm of the University of Helsinki, Finland, Abrupt changes in northern Fennoscandian summer temperatures extracted from the 7500-year ring-width chronology of Scots pine, the “most dramatic shift in growing conditions, from favorable to unfavorable, between two years, took place between A.D. 535-536” in Europe and Africa. His findings were corroborated by Mike Baillie of the University of Belfast, who based on his tree ring chronologies, some from specimens preserved in bogs, that dated back thousands of years stated, “It was a catastrophic environmental downturn that shows up in trees all over the world. Temperatures dropped enough to hinder the growth of trees as widely dispersed as northern Europe, Siberia, western North America, and southern South America.” Ominously, the cold brought rats, mice and fleas that normally lived outdoors, into peoples’ homes in search of food and warmth because of the decimation that was occurring to the animal population in the suddenly hostile, chilly dark environment. Deadly bacterium, Yersinia pestis was then transmitted to people and their pets.
In the ensuing unending darkness, chaos reigned as “whole cities were wiped out – civilizations crumbled.” Wars raged across Europe and the Middle East, prosperous societies were stripped of sustenance and wealth, economies collapsed and huge swaths of populations succumbed to disease and plague. “With some people it began in the head, made the eyes bloody and the face swollen, descended to the throat and then removed them from Mankind. With others, there was a flowing of the bowels. Some came out in buboes [pus-filled swellings] which gave rise to great fevers, and they would die two or three days later with their minds in the same state as those who had suffered nothing and with their bodies still robust. Others lost their senses before dying. Malignant pustules erupted and did away with them. Sometimes people were afflicted once or twice and then recovered, only to fall victim a third time and then succumb,” Evagrius, a 6th century Church historian wrote. In their final stages, people “generally entered a semi-conscious, lethargic state, and would not… eat or drink. Following this stage, the victims would be seized by madness… Many people died painfully when their buboes gangrened. A number of victims broke out with black blisters covering their bodies, and these individuals died swiftly.”
Within seven years, due to the ivory trade, in which ships brought rats and sailors infected by the plague, Europe and the Middle East were being ravaged. In Constantinople alone, “they had to dispose of over 10,000 bodies a day, week after week, throwing them into the sea off special boats, sticking them in the towers of the city wall, filling up cisterns, digging up orchards. Soldiers were forced to dig mass graves… chaos and pandemonium [reigned]. Constantinople stank for months after months [from the decaying bodies that were stuffed in towers and stacked or dumped in streets]… [and] when the number of dead reached a quarter of a million, Constantinople officials simply stopped counting.
An account by Procopius went as follows: “At first, relatives and domestics attended to the burial of the dead, but as the violence of the plague increased this duty was neglected, and corpses lay forlorn narrow in the streets, but even in the houses of notable men whose servants were sick or dead. Aware of this, Justinian placed considerable sums at the disposal of Theodore, one of his private secretaries, to take measures for the disposal of the dead. Huge pits [that could hold up to 70,000 corpses] were dug at Sycae, on the other side of the Golden Horn, in which the bodies were laid in rows and tramped down tightly; but the men who were engaged on this work, unable to keep up with the number of the dying, mounted the towers of the wall of the suburb, tore off their roofs, and threw the bodies in. Virtually all the towers were filled with corpses, and as a result ‘an evil stench pervaded the city and distressed the inhabitants still more, and especially whenever the wind blew fresh from that quarter.’”
Out of fear, many people refused to venture out of their homes — “…houses became tombs, as whole families died from the plague without anyone from the outside world even knowing. Streets were deserted…” Furthermore because of this fear and/or the affects of suffering from high fever, scores of people hallucinated, seeing apparitions and visions. And with the vast pestilence and destruction all around them, many could not help but wonder if the apocalypse as described in Revelation 6:8 “And I looked, and behold, a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was Death” was upon them.
It was so bad that some thirty years later, Pope Gregory The Great wrote of Rome, “Ruins on ruins… Where is the senate? Where are the people? All the pomp of secular dignities has been destroyed… And we, the few that we are who remain, every day we are menaced by scourges and innumerable trials.” In its height, the plague “depopulated towns, turned the country into a desert and made the habitations of men to become the haunts of wild beasts” while in Africa, major ports ceased to exist and agricultural practices all but vanished.
“And as others left the stricken city wearing identification tags so that their bodies would be buried if found] they took the plague to towns, villages and farms throughout the empire. To compound matters, with trade and commerce virtually nonexistent, food became scarce leading to the starvation of others. Untold millions perished,” with an estimated death toll of 100 million, the worst pandemic in human history.
“Scandinavian elites” in feeble desperation, “sacrificed large amounts of gold… to appease the angry gods and get the sunlight back.” In Mesoamerica and the Andes, cities “of perhaps one million people” emptied out “practically overnight” through starvation and disease. Peoples turned on their gods and goddesses, violently smashing their images and burning temples and towards the end, they viciously fought each other having become “savage and warlike.”
When the sun finally came out, overcoming the affects of a massive volcanic eruption, even though it hadn’t really been gone, minimizing the adverse affects and saving living creatures from complete extinction, the world was forever transformed. Countries and civilizations had ceased to exist while others emerged as the days of darkness “weakened the Eastern Roman Empire; created horrendous living conditions in the western part of Great Britain; contributed through drought… to the fall of the Teotihuacan civilization in Mexico; and through flooding to the collapse of a major center of civilization in Yemen;” while major upheavals occurred in China and France. More than half the world’s population when taking Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, into account, along with countless numbers of plants and animals, had perished illustrating the fragile relationship that exists between people and nature.
Pasted from <http://ezinearticles.com/?Days-of-Darkness-(AD-535-AD-546)&id=202540>

2.  The Great Famine,  ca. 1315-1322
The first half of the Great Famine of 1315–1322 in Europe may have been precipitated by a volcanic event, perhaps that of Kaharoa, New Zealand; the unusual weather patterns of the period are similar to those found following volcanic eruptions, such as the Mount Tambora eruption of April 1815 that caused ‘The Year Without a Summer’ in Europe.
The Great Famine lasted seven years, from 1315 to 1322, for which reason it is sometimes compared to the famine of Egypt in Genesis 41.  The first three years, however, were the most severe, and they adversely affected the next decade.  Even chroniclers in the 18th and 19th centuries pointed out the severe food shortages and torrential weather patterns of  1310-1320.
There was a catastrophic dip in the weather during the Medieval Warm Period that coincided with the onset of the Great Famine. Between 1310 and 1330 northern Europe saw some of the worst and most sustained periods of bad weather in the entire Middle Ages, characterized by severe winters and rainy and cold summers.
In the spring of 1315, unusually heavy rain began in much of Europe. Throughout the spring and summer, it continued to rain and the temperature remained cool. The rains began early in May and did not let up until September. These conditions caused widespread crop failures. The straw and hay for the animals could not be cured and there was no fodder for the livestock. The price of food began to rise.
Food prices in England doubled between spring and midsummer. Salt, the only way to cure and preserve meat, was difficult to obtain because it could not be evaporated in the wet weather; it went from 30 shillings to 40 shillings. In Lorraine, wheat prices increased by 320 percent and peasants could no longer afford bread. Stores of grain for long-term emergencies were limited to the lords and nobles.
Because of the general increased population pressures, even lower-than-average harvests meant some people would go hungry; there was little margin for failure. People began to harvest wild edible roots, plants, grasses, nuts, and bark in the forests. There are a number of documented incidents that show the extent of the famine. Edward II, King of England, stopped at St Albans on 10 August 1315 and no bread could be found for him or his entourage; it was a rare occasion in which the King of England was unable to eat.
In the spring of 1316, it continued to rain on a European population deprived of energy and reserves to sustain itself. All segments of society from nobles to peasants were affected, but especially the peasants who represented 95% of the population and who had no reserve food supplies. To provide some measure of relief, draft animals were butchered, seed grain was consumed, children were abandoned to fend for themselves (see “Hansel and Gretel”), and some elderly people voluntarily refused food in order to provide nourishment needed for the younger generation to survive. The chroniclers of the time wrote of many incidents of cannibalism.

“When God saw that the world was so over proud,
He sent a dearth on earth, and made it full hard.
A bushel of wheat was at four shillings or more,
Of which men might have had a quarter before….
And then they turned pale who had laughed so loud,
And they became all docile who before were so proud.
A man’s heart might bleed for to hear the cry
Of poor men who called out, “Alas! For hunger I die …!
—Poem on the Evil Times of Edward II, c. 1321.
Pasted from <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Famine_of_1315%E2%80%931317>

The height of the famine was reached in 1317 as the wet weather continued. Finally, in the summer the weather returned to its normal patterns. By now, however, people were so weakened by diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and tuberculosis, and so much of the seed stock had been eaten, that it was not until 1325 that the food supply returned to relatively normal conditions and the population began to increase again. Historians debate the toll but it is estimated that 10–25% of the population of many cities and towns died. While the Black Death (1338–1375) would kill more people, it often swept through an area in a matter of months whereas the Great Famine lingered for years, drawing out the suffering of the populace.

3.  The Year Without Summer, 1816
In 1815, the Indonesian volcano Tambora propelled more ash and volcanic gases into the atmosphere than any other eruption in history and resulted in significant atmospheric cooling on a global scale, much like Krakatau a few decades later.
New England and Europe were particularly hard hit, with snowfalls as late as August and massive crop failures. The cold, wet, and unpleasant climatic effects of the eruption led 1816 to be known as “the year without a summer,” and inspired Lord Byron to write:

“The bright Sun was extinguished and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space
Rayless and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went and came,
And brought no day.”

1816 was known as the year without summer … famines in Europe and China … snowstorms killing people in June in Canada and New England …. even a book describing processions held by the church in the holy land (around Jerusalem ) praying for the famine to end … the wet weather caused eruption of ergot in France … just like in the medieval times.
Pasted from <http://www.historum.com/general-history/6893-volcanic-eruptions-world-history.html>

D.  Effect Of Volcanoes On World Climate
The first connection between volcanoes and global climate was made by Benjamin Franklin in 1783 while stationed in Paris as the first diplomatic representative of the United States of America.
He observed that during the summer of 1783, the climate was abnormally cold, both in Europe and back in the U.S. The ground froze early, the first snow stayed on the ground without melting, the winter was more severe than usual, and there seemed to be “a constant fog over all Europe, and a great part of North America.
What Benjamin Franklin observed was indeed the result of volcanic activity. An enormous eruption of the Laid fissure system (a chain of volcanoes in which the lava erupts through a crack in the ground instead of from a single point) in Iceland caused the disruptions.
The Laid eruptions produced about 14 cubic kilometers of basalt (thin, black, fluid lava) during more than eight months of activity. More importantly in terms of global climate, however, the Laid Event also produced an ash cloud that may have reached up into the stratosphere. This cloud caused a dense haze across Europe that dimmed the sun, perhaps far west as Siberia. In addition to ash, the eruptive cloud consisted primarily of vast quantities of sulfur dioxide (SO2), hydrogen chloride (HCL), and hydrogen fluoride gases (HF).
The gases combined with water in the atmosphere to produce acid rain, destroying crops and killing livestock. The effects, of course, were most severe in Iceland; ultimately, more than 75 percent of Iceland’s livestock and 25 percent of its human population died from famine or the toxic impact of the Laid eruption clouds. Consequences were also felt far beyond Iceland.
Temperature data from the U.S. indicate that records low occurred during the winter of 1783-1784. In fact, the temperature decreased about one degree Celsius in the Northern Hemisphere. It may not sound like much, but it had enormous effects in terms of food supplies and the survival of people across the Northern Hemisphere. For comparison, the global temperature of the most recent Ice Age was only about five degrees C below the current average.
There are many reasons that large volcanic eruptions have such far-reaching effects on global climate. First, volcanic eruptions produce major quantities of carbon dioxide (C02), a gas known to contribute to the greenhouse effect. Such greenhouse gases trap heat radiated off of the surface of the earth forming a type of insulation around the planet.
The greenhouse effect is essential for our survival because it maintains the temperature of our planet within a habitable range. Nevertheless, there is growing concern that our production of gases such as CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels may be pushing the system a little too far, resulting in excessive warming on a global scale.
There is no doubt that volcanic eruptions add CO2 to the atmosphere, but compared to the quantity produced by human activities, their impact is virtually trivial: volcanic eruptions produce about 110 million tons of CO2 each year, whereas human activities contribute almost 10,000 times that quantity.
By far the more substantive climatic effect from volcanoes results from the production of atmospheric haze. Large eruption columns inject ash particles and sulfur-rich gases into the troposphere and stratosphere and these clouds can circle the globe within weeks of the volcanic activity.
The small ash particles decrease the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the earth and lower average global temperatures. The sulfurous gases combine with water in the atmosphere to form acidic aerosols that also absorb incoming solar radiation and scatter it back out into space.
The ash and aerosol clouds from large volcanic eruptions spread quickly through the atmosphere. On August26 and 27, 1883, the volcano Krakatau erupted in a catastrophic event that ejected about 20 cubic kilometers of material in an eruption column almost 40 kilometers high.
Darkness immediately enveloped the neighboring Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra. Fine particles, however, rode atmospheric currents westward. By the afternoon of August 28th, haze from the Krakatau eruption had reached South Africa and by September 9th it had circled the globe, only to do so several more times before settling out of the atmosphere.
Initially, scientists believed that it was volcanoes stratospheric ash clouds that had the dominant effect on global temperatures. The 1982 eruption of El Chichon in Mexico, however, altered that view. Only two years earlier, the major Mt. St. Helens eruption had lowered global temperatures by about 0.1 degree C.
The much smaller eruption of El Chichon, in contrast, had three to five times the global cooling effect worldwide. Despite its smaller ash cloud, El Chichon emitted more than 40 times the volume of sulfur-rich gases produced by Mt. St. Helens, which revealed that the formation of atmospheric sulfur aerosols has a more substantial effect on global temperatures than simply the volume of ash produced during an eruption. Sulfate aerosols appear to take several years to settle out of the atmosphere, which is one of the reasons their effects are so widespread and long lasting.
The atmospheric effects of volcanic eruptions were confirmed by the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, in the Philippines. Pinatubo’s eruption cloud reached over 40 kilometers into the atmosphere and ejected about 17 million tons of SO2, just over two times that of El Chichon in 1982. The sulfur-rich aerosols circled the globe within three weeks and produced a global cooling effect approximately twice that of El Chichon.
The Northern Hemisphere cooled by up to 0.6 degrees C during 1992 and 1993. Moreover, the aerosol particles may have contributed to an accelerated rate of ozone depletion during that same period. Interestingly, some scientists argue that without the cooling effect of major volcanic eruptions such as El Chichon and Mount Pinatubo, global warming effects caused by human activities would have been far more substantial.
Major volcanic eruptions have additional climatic effects beyond global temperature decreases and acid rain. Ash and aerosol particles suspended in the atmosphere scatter light of red wavelengths, often resulting in brilliantly colored sunsets and sunrises around the world. The spectacular optical effects of the 1883 Krakatau eruption cloud were observed across the globe, and may have inspired numerous artists and writers in theft work.
The luminous, vibrant renderings of the fiery late day skyline above the Thames River in London by the British painter William Ascroft, for instance, may be the result of the distant Krakatau eruption.

Krakatau (1883) — Eruption of the Indonesian volcano Krakatau in August 1883 generated twenty times the volume of tephra released by the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Krakatau was the second largest eruption in recorded history, dwarfed only by the eruption of neighboring Tambora in 1815 (see above). For months after the Krakatau eruption, the world experienced unseasonably cool weather, brilliant sunsets, and prolonged twilights due to the spread of aerosols throughout the stratosphere. The brilliant sunsets are typical of atmospheric haze. The unusual and prolonged sunsets generated considerable contemporary debate on their origin. They also provided inspiration for artists who depicted the vibrant nature of the sunsets in several late 19th-century paintings, two of which are noted here.
In London, the Krakatau sunsets were clearly distinct from the familiar red sunsets seen through the smoke-laden atmosphere of the city. This is demonstrated in the painting shown here of a sunset from the banks of the Thames River, created by artist William Ascroft on November 26, 1883 The vivid red sky in Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream” was inspired by the vibrant twilights in Norway, his native land.

Volcano Danger: What you can do
The further from the volcano you are, the more time you have to respond and the fewer dangers exist. Immediately around the volcano, dangers include earthquake damage, flying rocks, heat blast, lava, floods, and mudslides. Rocks can be thrown 20 miles from a volcanic eruption but the ash can travel hundreds of miles.

Ash facts include:
•  can dissipate into the high altitude wind stream and travel around the globe, possibly causing world-wide temperature changes.
•  can clog water systems, damage vehicle engines, make walking slippery, and effect vegetation.
•  can damage lungs and cause respiratory problems because it is extremely abrasive. It can also scratch eye tissue.
•  can accumulate and collapse buildings. 1 inch of ash weighs up to 10 pounds dry and up to 15 pounds when wet.
•  can short circuit electrical items such as computers.
•  can cause power outages which often happen after an eruption.
•  can corrode metal with long-term exposure.
•  can linger and cause problems for months and months after an eruption.

There is usually plenty of warning that a volcano is preparing to erupt. Scientists monitor the Cascade range volcanoes as well as those in Hawaii and Alaska for information to help predict volcanic events. Many communities close to volcanoes now have volcano warning systems to alert citizens. But, if you live anywhere in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Utah, and possibly Wyoming and Nevada you may be affected by an eruption in the Cascade range. Taking a few precautions now won’t cost much and are a good idea to do anyway:
•  Keep 3 extra air filters and oil filters on hand for your vehicle.
•  Keep 3 extra filters for your home heating/cooling system.
•  Keep a roll of plastic wrap and packing tape so you can wrap and protect computers, electronics, and appliances from ash.
•  Store emergency food and water in your home.
•  Find out if your community has a warning system and know the warning signs.
•  Create an evacuation plan. It is best to head for high ground away from the eruption to protect against flood danger.
•  Define an out-of-town contact for all family members to reach to check in.
•  Besides your family emergency kit, have disposable breathing masks and goggles for each family member.

The North American Cascade Volcanic Arc
The Cascade Volcanic Arc is a continental volcanic arc that extends from northern California to the coastal mountains of British Columbia, a distance of well over 700 mi (1,100 km). The arc consists of a series of Quaternary age stratovolcanoes that grew on top of pre-existing geologic materials that ranged from Miocene volcanics to glacial ice. The Cascade Volcanic arc is located approximately 100 km inland from the coast, and forms a north-to-south chain of peaks that average over 10,000 feet in elevation. The major peaks from south to north include:
•  Lassen Peak and Mt. Shasta (California)
•  Crater Lake (Mazama), Three Sisters, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Hood (Oregon)
•  Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, Glacier Peak, Mt. Baker (Washington)
•  Mt. Garibaldi and Mt. Meager (British Columbia)
The most active volcanoes in the chain include Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Baker, Lassen Peak, and Mt. Hood. St. Helens captured worldwide attention when it erupted catastrophically in 1980. St. Helens continues to rumble, albeit more quietly, emitting occasional steam plumes and experiencing small earthquakes, both signs of continuing magmatic activity.  Most of the volcanoes have a main, central vent from which the most recent eruptions have occurred.
The arc has formed due to subduction along the Cascadia subduction zone. Although taking its name from the Cascade Range, this term is a geologic grouping rather than a geographic one, and the Cascade Volcanoes extend north into the Coast Mountains, past the Fraser River which is the northward limit of the Cascade Range proper.
Some of the major cities along the length of the arc include Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, and the population in the region exceeds 10,000,000. All could be potentially affected by volcanic activity and great subduction-zone earthquakes along the arc. Because the population of the Pacific Northwest is rapidly increasing, the Cascade volcanoes are some of the most dangerous, due to their past eruptive history, potential eruptions and because they are underlain by weak, hydrothermally altered volcanic rocks that are susceptible to failure. Many large, long-runout landslides originating on Cascade volcanoes have inundated valleys tens of kilometers from their sources, and some of the inundated areas now support large populations.

Volcanoes within the subduction zone include:
Silverthrone Caldera     Mount Meager
Mount Cayley                  Mount Garibaldi
Mount Baker                   Glacier Peak
Mount Rainier                Mount St. Helens
Mount Adams                 Mount Hood
Mount Jefferson             Three Sisters
Newberry Volcano         Mount Mazama
Mount McLoughlin       Medicine Lake Volcano
Mount Shasta                  Lassen Peak
Black Butte

Could We Survive a Super Volcano?
Observing the volcanic ash cloud and the disruptions to northern Europe from Iceland’s recent volcanic eruption causes one to think about other scenarios which would have grim and wider consequences from an event called – a Super Volcano.
Our experiences with volcanoes have for the most part been with classifications that are somewhat tame in comparison to some events that have occurred in the distant past. I recall having observed a volcanic effect following the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. At the time I was living in Massachusetts, about 2,500 miles from the volcano. Within a few days of the eruption, the ash reached the east coast of the US, and within 2 weeks was circling the globe up in the stratosphere (between 6 and 31 miles altitude). I clearly remember the reddish skies from the ash up in the high atmosphere, as well as spectacular orange and red sunsets. The ash remained in the atmosphere for years.
Mount St. Helens was minuscule compared to the most dangerous type of volcano, the super volcano. Try to imagine an eruption that would be up to 10,000 times stronger than a Mount St. Helens. One that would threaten the very survival of all humankind. The super volcano is quite likely the worse case scenario of any and all possible disaster scenarios, mainly due to the fact that there is absolutely nothing that we can do to deter or prevent it. It’s devastation ranks up there with a large asteroid hit, world nuclear war, and worldwide deadly pandemic.

Super Volcano locations include
•  Yellowstone in Wyoming (USA)
•  Long Valley in California (USA)
•  Valley Grande in New Mexico (USA)
•  Lake Taupo in New Zealand
•  Aira in Japan
•  Lake Toba in Sumatra
•  Siberian Traps supervolcano field in Russia

Super Volcano Effects
•  Magma would be hurled 30 miles up into the atmosphere
•  Complete devastation of an area the size of North America or Europe
•  Volcanic ash would cover the devastated area to depths ranging from hundreds of feet to as much as six inches – thousands of miles away
•  Anything within 500 miles of the eruption would be completely destroyed
•  Sunlight would be blotted out for months followed by a dim and cold volcanic winter lasting for several years
•  Global temperature would drop 20 degrees
•  Mini Ice Age
•  75% off of all plant species would die off
•  World agriculture would be devastated
•  Mass starvation would ensue
•  The very survival of human civilization would be threatened.

An alarming statistic regarding Yellowstone is that it’s eruption cycle is about 600,000 years. That in itself is not alarming, however the fact that the last eruption was 640,000 years ago is alarming. Yellowstone is 40,000 years overdue!
When considering the affects that such an event would have upon the world, it is nearly incomprehensible to create a survival plan. When considering Yellowstone for example, those that live in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming will have a terrible if not impossible chance of survival. The entire United States will be covered with ash, probably at a minimum depth of 5 inches. How could one expect a chance to survive the effects of such a catastrophe? You may decide not to consider a plan of action due to the odds and magnitude of the situation. Well, you may be right if you live in the region, however there is always hope and a way for those living further away.
Pasted from <http://modernsurvivalblog.com/volcano/could-we-survive-a-super-volcano/>

[The Four Horsemen: Their effects spread over the period of several years]

The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse
The ‘four horseman’ will ride amongst Mankind in the aftermath of 1) the eruption of a supervolcano caldera; 2) a full scale, multi strike nuclear war; 3) a medium size asteroid impact; or 4) a solar flare that knocks out 1/4  the worlds electric power with an EMP.
Anyone living during the time of even a ‘major’ volcanic volcano eruption, will come to know the concept of ‘The Four Horsemen’. That will be a time when human ‘over population’ quickly encounters a greatly reduced global harvest that continues for several consecutive years, or longer.

[A Crisis, followed by 1) national plans to reduce disruption and maximize population survival, 2) those not part of the political definition of the solution are part of the problem, there is discontent, civil war and international wars follow, 3) the aftermath of the crisis and wars work together increasing the effects of famine-hunger-disease, 4) there are local and regional die offs, great hardship for a year or two, then things improve. Basically, the ‘Four Horsemen’ represent the downside-collapse of  the growth and prosperity curve. Mr Larry.]

In Biblical phraseology:  The first Horseman rides a white horse, and he represents the anti-Christ, proclaiming false prophecies and crying the end if the world.  He wears a golden crown and carries a bow in his hand.  He is crafty, spreading a false sense of God’s Will while hiding behind the facade of Divine favor.
The second Horseman comes colored in the blood of conflict.  To roughly translate what Emil Bock writes, the Red Horseman rides “to destroy peace on Earth and to sow fighting amongst the people.”  With his arrival, countries’ leaders will fight each other, while the Horseman oppresses the faithful of God’s children.
The Black Horsemen brings with him disease and famine.  His actions are directed to affect mostly the economy of a society, driving up food prices when crops fail, and making labor more valuable when plague kills off workers.  Under him, the wealthy thrive upon the misfortune of the poor, who are unable to pay for the items they need to survive.
Finally comes Death, riding a pale horse – one which is often described as ashen or greenish-yellow, the color of a corpse.  His goal is to destroy all that has life on Earth.

Where the land is overpopulated and because of disaster mankind is forced to swiftly reallocate resources, there will be fighting and death until balance is reestablished. – Mr Larry

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Filed under __1. Disaster

About famine

(News & Editorial: About famine)

A.  Famine an often unnatural disaster

__1.  ‘Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962,’
 by Yang Jisheng
7 Dec 2012, New York Times Sunday Book Review, news article by JONATHAN MIRSKY
Pasted from: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/09/books/review/tombstone-the-great-chinese-famine-1958-1962-by-yang-jisheng.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0

famine chinaA rice field in what is now Guangdong Province, 1958.

In the summer of 1962, China’s president, Liu Shaoqi, warned Mao Zedong that “history will record the role you and I played in the starvation of so many people, and the cannibalism will also be memorialized!” Liu had visited Hunan, his home province as well as Mao’s, where almost a million people died of hunger. Some of the survivors had eaten dead bodies or had killed and eaten their comrades. In “Tombstone,” an eye-­opening study of the worst famine in history, Yang Jisheng concludes that 36 million Chinese starved to death in the years between 1958 and 1962, while 40 million others failed to be born, which means that “China’s total population loss during the Great Famine then comes to 76 million.”


__2.  Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962
By Yang Jisheng,  Translated by Stacy Mosher and Guo Jian,  629 pp. Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
There are good earlier studies of the famine and one excellent recent one, “Mao’s Great Famine” by Frank Dikötter, but Yang’s is significant because he lives in China and is boldly unsparing. Mao’s rule, he writes, “became a secular theocracy. . . . Divergence from Mao’s views was heresy. . . . Dread and falsehood were thus both the result and the lifeblood of totalitarianism.” This political system, he argues, “caused the degeneration of the national character of the Chinese people.”

Yang, who was born in 1940, is a well-known veteran journalist and a Communist Party member. Before I quote the following sentence, remember that a huge portrait of Chairman Mao still hangs over the main gate into Beijing’s Forbidden City and can be seen from every corner of Tiananmen Square, where his embalmed body lies in an elaborate mausoleum. Despite this continued public veneration, Yang looks squarely at the real chairman: “In power, Mao became immersed in China’s traditional monarchal culture and Lenin and Stalin’s ‘dictatorship of the proletariat.’ . . . When Mao was provided with a list of slogans for his approval, he personally added one: ‘Long Live Chairman Mao.’ ” Two years ago, in an interview with the journalist Ian Johnson, Yang remarked that he views the famine “as part of the totalitarian system that China had at the time. The chief culprit was Mao.”

From the early 1990s, Yang writes, he began combing normally closed official archives containing confidential reports of the ravages of the famine, and reading accounts of the official killing of protesters. He found references to cannibalism and interviewed men and women who survived by eating human flesh.

Chinese statistics are always overwhelming, so Yang helps us to conceptualize what 36 million deaths actually means. It is, he writes, “450 times the number of people killed by the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki” and “greater than the number of people killed in World War I.” It also, he insists, “outstripped the ravages of World War II.” While 40 to 50 million died in that war, it stretched over seven or eight years, while most deaths in the great Chinese famine, he notes, were “concentrated in a six-month period.” The famine occurred neither during a war nor in a period of natural calamity. When mentioned in China, which is rarely, bad weather or Russian treachery are usually blamed for this disaster, and both are knowledgeably dismissed by Yang.

The most staggering and detailed chapter in Yang’s narrative relates what happened in Xinyang Prefecture, in Henan Province. A lush region, it was “the economic engine of the province,” with a population in 1958 of 8.5 million. Mao’s policies had driven the peasants from their individual small holdings; working communally, they were now forced to yield almost everything to the state, either to feed the cities or — crazily — to increase exports. The peasants were allotted enough grain for just a few months. In Xinyang alone, Yang calculates, over a million people died.

Mao had pronounced that the family, in the new order of collective farming and eating, was no longer necessary. Liu Shaoqi, reliably sycophantic, agreed: “The family is a historically produced phenomenon and will be eliminated.” Grain production plummeted, the communal kitchens collapsed. As yields dived, Zhou Enlai and other leaders, “the falcons and hounds of evil,” as Yang describes them, assured Mao that agricultural production had in fact soared. Mao himself proclaimed that under the new dispensation yields could be exponentially higher. “Tell the peasants to resume eating chaff and herbs for half the year,” he said, “and after some hardship for one or two or three years things will turn around.”


__3.   Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962
By Yang Jisheng, Translated by Stacy Mosher and Guo Jian, 629 pp. Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

A journalist reporting on Xinyang at the time saw the desperation of ordinary people. Years later, he told Yang that he had witnessed a Party secretary — during the famine, cadres were well fed — treating his guests to a local delicacy. But he knew what happened to people who recorded the truth, so he said nothing: “How could I dare to write an internal reference report?” Indeed. Liu Shaoqi confronted Mao, who remembered all slights, and during the Cultural Revolution he was accused of being a traitor and an enemy agent. Expelled from the Party, he died alone, uncared for, anonymous.

Of course, “Tombstone” has been banned in China, but in 2008 it was published in Hong Kong in two mighty volumes. Pirated texts and Internet summaries soon slipped over the border. This English version, although substantial, is roughly half the size of the original. Its eloquent translators, Stacy Mosher and Guo Jian, say their aim, like the author’s, is to “present the tragedy in all its horror” and to render Yang’s searching analysis in a manner that is both accessible to general readers and informative for specialists. There is much in this readable “Tombstone” I needed to know.

Yang writes that one reason for the book’s title is to establish a memorial for the uncle who raised him like a son and starved to death in 1959. At the time a devout believer in the Party and ignorant of the extent of what was going on in the country at large, Yang felt that everything, no matter how difficult, was part of China’s battle for a new socialist order. Discovering official secrets during his work as a young journalist, he began to lose his faith. His real “awakening,” however, came after the 1989 Tiananmen massacre: “The blood of those young students cleansed my brain of all the lies I had accepted over the previous decades.” This is brave talk. Words and phrases associated with “Tiananmen” remain blocked on China’s Internet.

Nowadays, Yang asserts, “rulers and ordinary citizens alike know in their hearts that the totalitarian system has reached its end.” He hopes “Tombstone” will help banish the “historical amnesia imposed by those in power” and spur his countrymen to “renounce man-made calamity, darkness and evil.” While guardedly hopeful about the rise of democracy, Yang is ultimately a realist. Despite China’s economic and social transformation, this courageous man concludes, “the political system remains unchanged.” “Tombstone” doesn’t directly challenge China’s current regime, nor is its author part of an organized movement. And so, unlike the Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, Yang Jisheng is not serving a long prison sentence. But he has driven a stake through the hearts of Mao Zedong and the party he helped found.

.

B.  Hunger and Famine
2011, Illinois State University, by Robert Dirks
Pasted from: http://www.academia.edu/484324/Hunger_and_Famine

Introduction
Hunger takes many forms:
1) It smolders as chronic under nutrition.
2) It can flare up intermittently, sometimes annually, because food stores are never quite sufficient to last until next harvest.
3) Occasionally, hunger erupts in famine, an episode of want so acute as to precipitate the breakdown of societies’ most fundamental institutions.
Whatever the form, the costs are immense. Eighteen million people die every year from hunger-related causes.The biggest known loss of life from a single famine occurred between 1959 and 1961 when at least 15 million people died.

What causes hunger and leads to such tragic consequences? Certainly it is not always shortcomings in food production. Pockets of hunger exist within some of the most agriculturally productive countries in the world, including the United States. Great regions of persistent famine exist on a planet producing more than enough food for everyone. Currently, parts of Africa suffer the most from famine. Formerly, it was areas of Asia and before that Europe.

Were famine fire, the historical pattern would suggest arson or some other human agency. In fact, careful studies never fail to disclose human causes. I discuss some of these in the first part of this essay. I turn my attention to effects in the second part.

Causes of Famine
Conditions and events of many sorts can contribute to the development of famine. These include natural disasters (e.g., flood, plant disease) and technological failures (e.g., unreliable storage, destructive farming practices) as well as various social, economic, and political factors (e.g., class inequities, market collapse, war). Rarely, if ever, can we attribute a particular famine to any single cause. Take, for example, the most recent famines that have plagued portions of Africa’s Sahel, an arid to semi-arid belt just south of the Sahara Desert.  

As some popular accounts would have it, these were natural disasters caused by drought, one beginning in 1968, another in 1984. Yet, the pastoralists of the region, the chief victims, have coped with periods of unusually scant rainfall for centuries. Key to their survival was their nomadic lifestyle and the movement of livestock over great distances when necessary. No less important was their practice of maintaining larger than needed herds during normal times as insurance against catastrophic loss during exceptionally dry years. While this double-edged strategy was never entirely fail-safe, it did for the most part prevent major catastrophes.

So what happened? For one thing, overgrazing and the reduction of grass cover; desertification was prevented so long as the pastoral tribes moved their herds throughout the year. But, the construction of boreholes by development agencies (to provide water) eliminated the incentive to move. Political concerns also conspired against migration; the enforcement of  international political boundaries became stricter. Later on, crop production began to press into the southern reaches of the region decreasing the availability of pasture. To make matters worse, farmers began turning to cotton and other cash crops, reducing the opportunity to graze animals on grain stubble. The commercialization of the region’s economy created yet another hazard finally realized when drought set in. No longer able to rely on traditional reciprocities with farmers (who now wanted money for their grain) but more dependent than ever on grain because of the poor condition of their herds, the pastoralists brought increasing numbers of animals to market. This upsurge in supply sent cattle prices plunging. Grossly disadvantaged in the marketplace and unable to meet their Caloric requirements, the pastoralists starved, their physical condition deteriorating more than any other Sahelian people. There were 100,000 starvation-related deaths in the region in 1973. Yet, throughout the crisis years, only one Sahelian country, Mauritania (where much of the economy depends on mining), fell short of producing enough food to feed its total population. In addition to illustrating causal complexity, what happened in the Sahelal so demonstrates that disastrous situations do not develop overnight. The stage for famine is often set decades or more prior to the death of the first victim. More or less remote occurrences, such as those that upset traditional Sahelian grazing patterns, are sometimes referred to as “underlying causes.” More immediate events like drought are usually “the last straw.”   That straw can break the camel’s back but only if there are underlying weaknesses or pre-existing burdens, and these are usually traceable to cultural developments.

Foraging, Food production, and Famine
One such development is agriculture, the very foundation of civilization and all modern food systems. Jared Diamond calls it “the worst mistake in the history of the human race.”

Diamond’s label represents a drastic revision of prehistory. Not long ago nobody doubted that the transition from foraging (hunting and gathering) to cultivation brought with it more bountiful and reliable food supplies and that nutritional well-being increased as a result. Studies showing that modern foragers are generally well nourished first led scholars to question this received wisdom. Later, paleo pathological data gleaned from examinations of prehistoric skeletal materials provided more direct evidence that agriculture was not the great blessing once imaged. Mark Cohen, comparing a variety of information collected from the bones of both foragers and early agriculturalists came to the conclusion that at best farming did nothing to improve nutritional conditions.

Signs of nutritional stress enscribed in tooth enamel indicate worse, that people who gave up foraging inadvertently traded in relatively mild bouts with starvation in exchange for episodes of stark famine. My research using famine records from the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample (SCCS) support this view, particularly when the experience of foragers in especially difficult environments is discounted. Cohen reminds us that before their displacement by agriculturalists, foragers did not live in the harshest habitats earth has to offer.

Following up on this point and removing foragers occupying especially difficult habitats (arctic, sub-arctic, and desert regions) from consideration, I found a significantly greater occurrence of famine among farmers and herders than among foragers.

If agriculture developed as a solution to increasing population and hunger, as Cohen believes, then it would appear that the solution did no more than exacerbate the problem.

Population and Famine
Population growth beyond society’s means of subsistence is widely regarded as an underlying cause of hunger and famine. The problem, as Thomas Malthus pointed out near two centuries ago, is that populations unchecked grow exponentially.

The ability to provide food increases linearly. Consequently, unless society institutes preventive checks on growth– say, for instance, by tolerating abortions – starvation and violent efforts to avoid it are inevitable. The temptation to neglect preventive checks is probably the greatest in agricultural societies in which children can perform simple but economically important tasks.

This presents no problem so long as extra hands increase food supply beyond the additional cost of feeding them. Overpopulation begins once this is no longer the case. For the shifting cultivator, it becomes a matter of too many people attempting to wrest a living from an area to allow soils adequate recovery time between crops. Thus, among shifting cultivators, susceptibility to famine increases with population density.

This is not so among intensive agriculturalists, farmers who have eliminated long fallows by applying manures and irrigation silts to their fields. These ecological imports liberate populations from the natural constraints of soil restoration cycles. This encourages growth and provides an opening for abroad range of technological and organization variables to affect how many people a particular agricultural region can safely support. Once human ecologies become open systems and their productivity depends heavily on non-local resources it becomes impossible to speak of any necessary connection between population growth and the likelihood of famine. An expanding population may go further and further afield in its quest for food. Population pressure has spurred the discovery of new food resources. In some cases, it has pushed standards of living upward by driving trade and industrial development. Nevertheless, the earth’s resources are infinite. For a particular locality, the consequences of unabashedly pro-natal attitudes (favoring reproduction) are not entirely as Malthus predicted; but for the world as a whole, they are almost certainly inescapable.

World Economic System and Famine
Studies of hunger and famine in the Third World frequently point to foreign economic intrusions and changes initiated in the name of “development” as important causes. Various schemes promoting international agribusiness have come under especially severe criticism in recent years. Critics argue that the business of agribusiness, contrary to public claims, is not to feed the world, but to turn a profit. This causes food to flow from where it is needed most to where it can fetch the highest price.

Third World governments, eager for export income, participate in this process by encouraging farmers to raise commodities for the world market at the expense of growing traditional food crops. The upshot in the case of Africa has been a steady decline in per capita food production concurrent with a dramatic increase in the production of such crops as coffee and tea.

Historically, the displacement of traditional systems devoted to locally important subsistence foods was well underway by the early seventeenth century. famine BosniaPlanters, then, no less than modern apologists for international agribusiness, saw their enterprises as progressive and indigenous regimes as backward. It counted for naught that they were the products of hundreds of years of biological and cultural evolution. But, from the standpoint of local food supply, it may be that backwardness has its advantages. Anthropologists often marvel at the ingenuity of traditional food economies and how generations of trial and error have paid off in practices closely attuned to local conditions. Elaborate backup systems, including complex institutions for food redistribution and knowledge of so-called “famine foods,” are seen as part of this accumulated wisdom. While no one contends that lessons from the past can lead to an absolutely fail-safe food system, it has been argued that relatively long-standing ones may be inherently less prone to disastrous breakdowns than newer orders introduced in the name of progress. [ie., “Just in time” grocery shelf  restocking? Mr. Larry]

While recent cross-cultural research does not support this sweeping contention, it does suggest that certain specific economic changes introduced from abroad have repeatedly contributed to the development of food emergencies.

The introduction of foreign trade is one such change. In the past, societies new to trade have been far more susceptible to famine than those having long histories of commerce with other nations. Another change significantly associated with the occurrence of famine worldwide is increased land use. Often this has been at the expense of foragers, pastoralists, or shifting agriculturalists. The practice of the French in colonial Vietnam was to drive peasants from villages in sparsely populated areas and declare the land “unused.” Between 1860 and 1931, large areas formerly devoted to subsistence production were seized by this and various others means and converted to export agriculture. The Vietnamese diet went into steady decline. The final blow came during World War II when under Japanese occupation the entire food system collapsed and more than two million Vietnamese starved to death.

The historical relationship between increased land use and famine susceptibility ought to be especially worrisome at present given the expansion of intensive farming and ranching in tropical forest regions.

Class Inequity, Poverty, and Famine
W.R. Aykroyd, an international authority on nutrition, asserts that all famine may be called “class famines” since it is always the poor who die.

While this may be true, it is not the case that societies with formal class systems have had a monopoly on famine. They appear in fact to be no more prone to famine than their more egalitarian counterparts.

Yet when famine does strike the class-structure society it tends to be especially severe, particularly if the class (or caste) system is relatively complex.

I suspect the reason is because complex systems restrict individuals’ income opportunities to relatively narrow occupational spheres. The makes it possible for economic disturbances to have unequal effects. When the brunt of deprivation falls on a limited segment of society its effects are amplified. This follows from the simple rule that the weight of a burden placed on the shoulders of a few is always more difficult to be than when it is carried equally by many.

Food Entitlements and Famine
Amartya Sen believes that the occurrence of famine is culturally conditioned through society’s rules of ownership and exchange.

These define legal abilities to command resources, including food. Famine in Sen’s view arises when many people simultaneously find themselves unable to survive on the commodities to which they are legally entitled. Sen thinks it is a mistake to think most famines arise from declines in overall food availability. Even granting unusual scarcity, whether starvation actually occurs is almost always a matter of who is entitled legally to whatever food is available. Consider farmers who suffer crop failure. They experience both a reduction in food supply and a loss of direct entitlement to food (i.e., what they own as the fruits of their rightful land and labor). Yet when they and their families starve, it is usually not because there is absolutely no food to be had anywhere. Rather, it is because the food they own or can acquire through trade is inadequate. This distinction, the difference between the general availability of food and the food an individual is entitled to by the rules of ownership and exchange, is of utmost importance. It helps explain why so often it is only some members of society that go hungry. It helps explain, for instance, why Sahelians starved in the early 1970s and their countrymen to the south did not. The influence of legal entitlements on the prospects for famine is seen in comparing societies having some kind of collective ownership with those in which individual ownership is the rule. My research shows that famine occurs less often in non-industrial societies where land and other properties are held collectively.

With collective ownership, one person’s failure to obtain food can only be part of a general shortage. In contrast, individualized property rights allow the effects of untoward events to fall disproportionately on some people. Thus, the potential for famine increases because the immediate event that causes some members of society to starve does not have to be as great as one that reduces food availability for everyone. The influence of entitlements on the prospects for famine can also be seen in comparing societies subscribing to different rules of exchange. On the one hand, there are societies in which members are entitled to food as a status right. Social relationships, such as kinship, encumber individual ownership and compel sharing. On the other hand, there are societies in which members must trade for food. Trade allows the legal right to deny food to others. To put it bluntly, people can be allowed to starve without violating their rights in the slightest. I have found that famine tends to be relatively more severe where trade rather than social status is the cornerstone of exchange.

I believe this is because emergencies are prone to become more serious if people who have food are under no strong obligation to feed the starving. In light of the apparent dangers associated with private ownership and trade, what accounts for the relatively famine-free histories of many modern capitalist economies? It is certainly not because they are immune to disasters nor because they have eradicated poverty. What stands between disaster and poverty on the one hand and starvation on the other are political entitlements, government programs that range from price supports through unemployment benefits and child welfare.

One suspects that by building similar fail-safe programs – at the very least programs that prevent chronic under nutrition (a powerful predictor of famine) – we actually would be doing more to foster the nutritional security of famine-prone nations than we are now doing through efforts to boost food production.

Effects of Famine
Famine has both immediate and long-term effects. Its immediate biological effects include epidemics of disease and sharp increases in mortality. Behaviorally, many conventions of ordinary life disappear. Social contacts, for example, are avoided rather than sought out. Hunger’s long-term effects include physical and psychological scars (e.g., developmental abnormalities and mental illness). In addition, hunger and famine often condition profound transformations in culture (e.g., changes in food habits, forms of government, and magical and religious practices).

Biological Effects
Starvation, meaning a condition in which the body draws on its own reserves for energy, becomes a disease once it begins to damage active tissue. This condition is referred to as “general starvation.” In children, kwashiorkor and marasmus (protein-calorie malnutritional diseases) show up early.
• Before gross weight loss is seen in older victims, there is loss of endurance.
• As general starvation becomes more advanced, victims become apathetic and a series of physical symptoms unfolds, including
 • rapid weight loss,
 • edema
(abnormal accumulations of fluids in parts of the body)
• and diarrhea.

General starvation increases susceptibility to many contagious diseases.
• Individual resistance is undermined at every line of defense.
• As protein is lost, protective surface such as skin and mucous membranes lose their integrity and fail as barriers against the invasion of pathogens.
• Infectious agents once inside the body encounter an impaired immune system.
• Population dislocations and the overcrowding of public facilities favor the spread of infections at the community level.
• Energy-sparing behavioral economies cause inattention to personal hygiene and public sanitation.
• The infections facilitated by famine accelerate the course of general starvation by increasing the body’s nutritional demands. During famines more people die of contagious diseases that of starvation itself.
• Famine’s survivors come away with both physical and mental scars. On the physical side, starvation can result in the curtailment of growth and permanent stunting.
• Work capacity and productivity suffer.

Careful investigation of the long-term consequences of the Dutch Hunger Winter(1944-1945) disclosed lasting damage among those who lived through it while still in their mothers’ wombs. Problems included central nervous system abnormalities detected in military inductees nineteen years later.

Among the Kaiadilt, a group of Australian Aborigines, psychiatric problems arising from famine, including chronic depression, were still evident some twenty years after rescue.

famine group

Social and Cultural Effects
Behavior amidst famine shows certain regularities.
1) The first response, particularly when food emergencies are unfamiliar or of unprecedented proportions, is alarm. This often means panic in the marketplace, mass emigration, and increased (and sometimes violent) political protest and anti-government activity. However, in face-to-face communities the situation is liable to be quite different. Here neighborhoods and other localities often experience a “disaster utopia,” the development of a social environment of intense mutual care and assistance. This environment disappears once starvation begins to exact its physical toll and individuals become weaker and more easily fatigued.

2) The question of available energy becomes paramount at this point. People resort to unusual foods. To conserve energy, expenditures other than those immediately related to obtaining food are pared to a minimum.

3) Social atomization results. Essentially, households close themselves off, and any signs of concern or generosity beyond the bounds of family and household disappear. Supplies are hidden. Food preparation and eating takes place in secret.

4) Lawlessness, including physical aggression, continues to increase but tends to be less concerted and sustained.

5) As victims approach exhaustion, the mayhem ceases. Indeed, activity of any sort practically disappears.

6) Eventually comes the disintegration of the household.  Its collapse is foreshadowed as food sharing within becomes increasingly  discriminatory. There is a tendency to see the elderly as a drain on provisions. Tolerance toward younger dependent erodes less quickly, but there comes a point when children too are receiving disproportionately small amounts of available food. The appearance of neglected wandering children is a certain sign that pockets of exhaustion exist within a famine region. The abandonment or sale of children might be attributed to parents’ concern for their own survival or to their hope that some other person or agency will save their off springs’ lives. In either case, an underlying cause is almost certainly the mental fatigue and exasperation that arises from hearing the children’s incessant cries for food.

Famine can leave cultural legacies that persist for many generations. It is not unusual to find customs that appear to reflect food-related anxieties. Eating patterns, for example, sometimes appear anticipatory, almost as if people were anxiously preparing themselves or “practicing” for another bout with starvation. That Cagaba of Northern Columbia, who have been trouble repeatedly by food crises, glorify fasting.

Goodenough Islanders, likewise no strangers to starvation, use magic to depress their appetites.

Anxiety manifested as a mistrust of others is especially rampant in societies familiar with famines. Famine and mistrust are strong predictors of societies’ readiness to engage in war.

Prolonged or repeated famine has the effect of allowing emergency behavior, patterns essential to survival in the midst of a crisis, to become normalized. This apparently occurs because younger members of society grow up knowing no alternatives. Colin Turnbull felt he witnessed a pivotal moment among the Ik of Uganda when memories of food sharing died with the last members of the society who could recall what life was like in the absence of famine.

For those still living, sharing food with anyone beyond the age of three had become unthinkable, even when food was now and again plentiful. William Shack’s work among the Gurage of Ethiopia provides some indication of the depth to which famine-inspired traits can become embedded in a culture. Shack found the Gurage to be astonishingly light eaters, which he interpreted as the product of “rational fears about physical survival.”

At the time of his fieldwork, however, he found nutrition ample. The Gurage nevertheless behaved as though food were scarce. Meals taken during the day amounted to no more than slight handfuls. Eating more was considered vulgar. It was a different story in private. At night in the dim light of their fireplaces, family members showed none of the restraint they displayed during the day. Shack saw this two-faced attitude as fundamentally selfish. One shared food only when observed eating. The key to minimize sharing was to minimize eating in public.
Shack explains this historically. Four centuries of pillage at the hands of various enemies ended in 1889, but by then the Gurage had learned the consequences of indulging one’s appetite in public and appearing conspicuously plump. To reduce the risk of attack and subsequent starvation, the Gurage developed the habit of never eating more than a handful in public and cultivating an emaciated appearance. These practices set the course of cultural development; what at one time was adaptive became no more than arbitrary virtue. Will this fossilized sense of virtue serve the Gurage well should hunger become a problem again in the future?

The Study of Hunger and Famine
It has been argued that famine is avoidable if government has incentive to act in time. Recent history would suggest that political democracy and a free press create the strongest incentive. According to Sen, no democratic country with a free press has ever suffered famine. If office holders must seek reelection and the media are free to report hunger and criticize policies, then leaders must take pre-emptive steps or risk losing office.

While this may be true, it ought not to be imagined that democratic institutions are the answer. Economic programs that all alleviate immediate concerns of an electorate at the expense of long-term prospects for food security may do more harm than good. Granting the desirability of institutions that foster responsive government, there remains the need for arming the public with knowledge that renders politically unacceptable any response that wins a reprieve from hunger by placing others, including future generations, at greater risk. The realization that nutritional impoverishment is largely a cultural problem places anthropology, the science of culture, under an obligation to respond to this need. To date it has lived up to that obligation. Its holistic, historically informed, and comparative outlooks have contributed substantially to broader, more sophisticated understandings of hunger and famine. The challenge for the future is not to develop some ultimate model for prevention. There are no lasting solutions. Rather, hope resides in relentlessly engaging hunger and famine as topics of investigation and, through research, continuously constructing the knowledge people will need to identify and avert threats to food security in the future.

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Surviving with the electric grid down

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Surviving with the electric grid down)

home battery bank everything on table

[Deep cycle battery powering household personal electronics, low wattage lamps and charging batteries. See Steve Harris videos for “How to”: http://battery1234.com/]

How do you live without electricity
January/February, 2002, Backwoods Home magazine, Issue 373, by Anita Evangelista 
Pasted from: http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/evangelista73.html

It’s going to happen. Sooner or later, the power will go off, and you won’t know when (or if) it will come back on. This doesn’t have to be the work of evil-doers, either. It could be a sudden ice storm that brings down the power lines. It could result from other severe weather such as a tornado or hurricane, or from a disruption caused by faulty power company equipment, or even something as simple as a tree branch falling on your own personal segment of the grid. The effect is the same: everything electrical in your home stops working.

For most modern Americans, the loss of power means the complete loss of normalcy. Their lifestyle is so dependent upon the grid’s constancy that they do not know how to function without it. How do you cook a meal if your gas stove has an electric ignition? How do your children find their way to the bathroom at night if the light switches don’t work? How do you keep warm if your wood heat is moved through ducts by an electric fan? What do you do with a freezer full of expensive meat? How do you find out what is happening in your area with the TV and radio silent? What will you drink if your water comes from a system shtf schooldependent on electrical pumps?

These are questions that both the Red Cross and Federal Emergency Management Agency are asking people to seriously consider. Both of these agencies have suggested that preparations for three days without power are prudent commonsense actions that all Americans should now undertake.

We’ll look at these issues in the broad context of living without access to the grid, whether you’ve chosen to separate from it or whether the choice is made for you by outside forces. What you can do now to mitigate your difficulties if the power goes off in the future, and what you can do then to help keep your situation under control, will be the focus of this article.

Remember, too, that an important principle in all preparations is that you maintain as much “normalcy” in your lifestyle as possible. For example, if television is part of your relaxation and unwinding process, don’t assume you can easily do without it. The closer you can keep your daily routines to “the norm” for your family, the more easily you can deal with power outages.

There are five primary areas that are easily disrupted if the power goes off. Each of these is critical to daily survival, as well, so when making preparations for emergencies keep these in mind. In order of importance, they are: light, water, cooking, heating/cooling, and communication.

1. LightApollo2
While living on our Ozark farm without the grid, we spent some time rising with the sun and going to bed when the sun set. This would probably have been a pretty healthy way to live, if everyone else in the world did the same thing. Our children’s bathroom needs didn’t stop when the sun went down, our neighbors figured that nighttime visits weren’t out of the ordinary, and those midnight raids on the pantry for crackers and peanut butter turned into fumble-fests. Sometimes the barking of our livestock guardian dogs meant strange predators were too close for comfort, somewhere in the countryside darkness. Light is the most important item on our Big Five list because without light we are not able to efficiently carry on the other activities of daily living.

The most simple and familiar form of emergency lighting is a flashlight. Do you have one that you could find in the dark, right now? If so, congratulations. You are among a very small percentage of Americans. Better yet if you have one for each member of your family, with fresh batteries, plus three extra sets of batteries for each flashlight. That should be your minimum “safe” number. Store your flashlight where you can quickly reach it in the dark night—under the mattress of your bed, for example. Each child old enough to walk should also have his or her own flashlight, and be taught how to use it.

Flashlights range in price from the 79 cent cheapie to the fancy multi-function $80 special. Consider a small 2-AA battery flashlight with a halogen bulb. These cost about $4-5 each, give an excellent clear white light, and are easily portable in a pocket or purse. Additionally, when we discuss communications later in the article, the most common battery used in these devices is also the AA, so your life will be simplified if you stick primarily to one type of battery and don’t have to buy various odd sizes for different needs.

Batteries wear out rapidly if your flashlights are used continuously: figure two changes per week of regular use. Alkaline batteries last longer, give a more AC-12v DC battery chargerpowerful light, but cost more than regular batteries. Most rechargeable batteries are suitable for flashlights, but should be recharged when the light begins to dim a little. Don’t let them get completely drained. This means you would need several sets of rechargables for each flashlight (some would be recharging while you use the others).

a)  Recharging can be done by means of a charger plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter outlet. These DC-powered rechargers can be found at auto supply stores and at Radio Shack for about $30 or less. Solar rechargers work slower but produce the same results for about $30.

b) Candles are available, slightly used, at garage sales and thrift stores (5 cents to 10 cents each or less), and some outlet stores like Big Lots have new candles for 25 cents. We have a cardboard box weighing 35 pounds that is filled with various sizes and shapes of candles. This would be about a year’s supply for my family. We’ve acquired them gradually, every time we found them inexpensively. They never go bad! Candles are easy to use and familiar. Most of us can adjust to using candles easily. The light is soft and wavering. You’ll need at least three candles if you hope to read by the light. If you have small children or indoor pets, care must be taken where you place them. Metal candle holders that hang on walls are probably the safest. Remember to place a heat proof plate underneath the holder to catch drippings. Save your wax drippings, too, to no elect candle lanternmake more candles later.

c) Oil (kerosene) lamps produce a steadier light than candles. Department store oil lamps cost about $10 each and come in attractive styles. Lamp oil is about $3 per liter. A typical lamp will burn one to two cups of oil per night, so you would use about two liters each week per lamp. The light from these lamps is not quite adequate to read by unless it is placed very close, and the light does waver a little. A single lamp can provide enough light in a room so that you don’t bump into furniture, but two or three may be needed to provide good functional light. As with candles, if you have children, these lamps need to be placed securely and out of reach. The smell of burning oil (kerosene) can get heavy in a closed room so keep ventilation open. Keep an extra set of wicks ($2) and chimneys ($3) in case of breakage.

The Cadillac of oil lamps is the Aladdin Lamp. These run from $60 up to several hundred each. The light given off is as good as a 60-watt bulb, clear, and unwavering. You can read or do needlepoint by the light of one lamp. These burn the same oil or kerosene as typical lamps, but because they burn hotter, there is much less odor. Position these lamps so that they cannot accidentally be overturned, and so that the intense heat coming from the chimney won’t ignite something. Purchase an additional “mantle” (the light-giving portion of the lamp – $3), and chimney ($15), as backups.

Solar powered lamps ($80-$120) are typically small fluorescents, and can be run off of battery systems. It may take more than one day of bright sunlight to recharge these lamps, so you may need several—one to use, while others are recharging. The light is white and clear, good for area-lighting, and rather difficult to read by. Have extra fluorescent bulbs on hand, too.

Don’t forget to store matches!

2. Water
If you live in a town or city, the loss of power to homes and businesses probably will not immediately affect your water pressure, but it could affect the purification process or allow reverse seepage of contaminants into the lines. If, instead, your water comes from an electrically-powered home water pump, your water stops flowing the moment the power does. Either way, with the loss of power comes the loss of water (or, at least, clean water). Water that is free of bacteria and contaminants is so crucial to our survival that it should be a special concern in your preparations.royal berkey internet image

The easiest way to guarantee quality water is to store it right now. The important question is: how much? Both Red Cross and FEMA suggest a minimum of one gallon per day per person. This is an absolute minimum, and covers only your real drinking and cooking needs; bathing is out of the question.

The typical American currently uses around 70 gallons a day, taking a nice long hot shower, flushing the toilet several times, washing a load of laundry, letting the water run while brushing teeth, and for cooking and drinking. In a short-term emergency situation, only drinking and cooking water is crucial, but if that short-term incident drags out to weeks or months, daily consumption would rise to include bathing and clothes washing. And this presumes that the family has prepared a sanitary “outhouse,” so flushing isn’t needed. In that case, 5-10 gallons per day per person would be a more reasonable amount, with a weekly communal bath becoming the routine.

One to three-gallon jugs, direct from the supermarket, run about 60 cents to $2; these store easily under cabinets and counters. A few tucked into the freezer will help keep things cold if the power goes off. You can also store water inexpensively in large, covered plastic trash cans; they hold 36 to 55 gallons each. Refresh the water every two weeks, so it will be ready in case the power goes off. Kiddie swimming pools—a 12-foot wide, 36-inch deep pool holds 2500 gallons and costs about $250—also make excellent above-ground holding tanks. Buy a pool cover, as well, to keep bugs out.

Farm supply stores often sell “water tanks” made of heavy grade plastic. These can be partially buried underground to keep water cooler and less susceptible to mold and bacteria. These run about $1 per gallon of holding capacity, so a 350-gallon tank new will cost $350. Plan to filter and purify the water before use.

Collecting water can be done by hand with 5-gallon plastic buckets if you live near a river or stream (it must be filtered and purified before use). You can also divert rainwater off your roof, through the rain gutters and downspouts into plastic trashcans. If you live in the Midwest, Northwest, or East Coast, rainfall is adequate to make this your primary backup water source. West Coast, high desert, and mountain areas, though, won’t have sufficient rainfall to make this a reliable source.

A drilled well with an electric pump can be retrofitted with a plastic hand-pump for about $400 – $600. These systems sit side-by-side with your electric pump down the same well-shaft, and can be put to use any time the power is off. Typical delivery is about 2 gallons per minute, and pumping strength varies from 11 to 20 pounds—a good but not exhausting workout.

Water can be purified inexpensively. Fifteen drops of bleach (plain unscented) per gallon of water costs less than 1 penny, and ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide (3%) per gallon will also destroy bacteria. Twenty minutes of a hard, rolling boil will, too. Bleach is effective against both cholera and typhoid and has kept American water supplies safe for decades. The chlorine taste can be easily removed with a charcoal filter system (such as Brita Pitcher or Pur brands for home use, about $30).

British Berkefeld water filters, along with various other brands, are more expensive ($150-$250), but can filter and purify water indefinitely. Both eliminate bacteria, contaminants, and off-flavors. We’ve used a “Big Berkey” for four or five years, and it is a very reliable gravity-fed system. When shopping for filters, if they only offer “better taste” they won’t protect you from bacterial contaminants.

Noah Water System’s travel companion will work great in case of a power outage, or your water supply becomes undrinkable. The Trekker is a portable water purificationn unit. With the Trekker you can get water from any river, lake, or pond. It’s small enough to carry like a briefcase.

3. Cooking
A person can survive indefinitely opening cold cans of beans for meals, but it wouldn’t be a very satisfying existence. In times of crisis, a hot meal goes a long way toward soothing the day’s troubles. The simplest way to heat a meal is the Boy Scout method: a couple of bricks or rocks set around a small outdoor fire, with the bean can propped over the flames. It’s low cost, and it works. However, the cook doesn’t have much control over the outcome.

Outdoor cooking of all kinds, including grilling and barbecuing, all work during emergency situations, provided you have the charcoal or wood (and matches!) needed to get the heat going. These are familiar methods, too, so family members don’t have to make a huge leap to accept these foods. It’s difficult to cook much more than meats and a few firm vegetables over open heat like this, though. Also, never use these devices in a confined space, as they emit carbon monoxide.no elect dutch oven

a) “Campfire” cooking can lend itself to some baking, if you also have a cast iron Dutch Oven—a large, heavy, cast iron covered pot. Place a well-kneaded pound of bread dough into a heavily-greased or oiled Dutch Oven and put the cover in position. Make a hole or pot-sized well in the ash near the fire, and line this with glowing coals. Put about an inch of ash over the coals, and place the Dutch Oven into this. Now, pile about an inch of hot ash around the oven and cover with glowing coals, then another layer of ash to keep the heat in. Uncover and check your bread in about 35 minutes, it should be done.

b) Propane and butane camp stoves are so much like ordinary home stoves that there is no difference in the cooking results. Portable RV 2-burner propane stoves are often available used—mine cost $5 at a garage sale—and can even do pressure canning because the heat is consistent and reliable. A typical 18-gallon propane cylinder, the kind used for barbeques, costs around $30 new, and a propane fillup is about $7. This will last for nearly a month of daily use. You’ll also need a feeder hose and pressure regulator for the stove, which can be prepared by your propane dealer for $20 or so.

c) Butane stoves are also portable and run off of a cylinder of the same kind of butane that is used in cigarette lighters. These stoves are $80-90 new, and cylinders are $5 and last for 8 hours of cooking.no elect coleman stove

d) General camp stoves (around $65 at department stores) operate on “stove fuel” (basically, propane in a small 1-pound cylinder – $3). A cylinder lasts for around 8 hours of cooking. You can also find camp stoves that will cook off of unleaded gasoline, and there are some that are “multi-fuel,” using either kerosene or gasoline—handy in case of a shortage of one fuel or the other. Use outdoors or on a covered porch to prevent carbon monoxide buildup in your home.

Solar cooking is another option, if you have plenty of unobstructed sunlight and someone who is willing to adjust the cooker to face the sun every half hour or so. A solar oven need be no more fancy than a set of nested cardboard boxes painted flat black on the inside with tempura colors, a sheet of window glass, and some aluminum foil glued to cardboard panels. Total cost for this, if you can scrounge leftover glass and cardboard, is about $1.

Place your food in a covered lightweight pan inside the box, prop it so the entire interior is exposed to the sunlight (about a 45-degree angle), cover with the sheet of glass (and tape the glass so it won’t slide), then prop the aluminum foil panels so that they reflect more sunlight down into the box. Move the box every 30 minutes so it maintains an even temperature. It will get hot fast, easily up to 325 degrees, and hold the heat as long as it faces the sun. Remember to use potholders when removing your foods! Our first solar oven had a black plastic trash bag as a heat-absorbing inner surface; it worked superbly until the plastic actually melted.no elect Global Sun over

Keeping foods cool if the power goes out can be as simple as looking for shade, even under a tree. Some Ozarkers have partially buried old broken freezers in the shade of backyard trees, storing grains and winter vegetables inside. During the winter, your parked car will stay at the same temperature as the outside air—below freezing on those cold nights—so you can store frozen goods there safely. During the daylight hours, the car interior will heat up, though, if it’s in the sun. Park it in the shade of the house, or cover the windows and roof with a blanket to keep the interior cool.

e) Kerosene refrigerator/freezers are alternative appliances that will continue to function with the power off because they are “powered” by kerosene. Their cooling and freezing capacity is exactly the same as a regular refrigerator, and they come in the same colors. Typically, they are a little smaller than conventional ‘fridges and cost up to $1500, but they’ll last for decades with care.

Portable battery-powered refrigerators that keep your foods 40-degrees cooler than outside temperatures are available at most department store sporting-goods sections ($90). These run off of both DC and AC power, so they can be plugged into your car battery through the cigarette lighter outlet or into a solar power system.Wynter 12v refrig w solar panel

What about that freezer full of expensive meat if the power goes off? First step is to cover the freezer with blankets to help retain the cold. Then, find dry ice (if everyone else in your town hasn’t already bought out the supply). Blanket coverings will keep a full freezer frozen for two days, and the addition of dry ice will prolong that to three or four days.

If power stays off, it’s time to eat and time to can the meat remaining. Canning low-acid foods like meat calls for a pressure canner ($90), canning jars ($6 for 12), a source of consistent heat (like a propane RV stove), and some skill. In considering your time requirements, it took me two days of steady canning to put a 230-pound pig into jars. Each quart jar holds 3 pounds of meat.

4. Heating and cooling
It’s a funny thing that even though we know winter is coming, we put off cutting our wood until after the first really cold night has chilled the house below comfort levels. But with the instability in the world today, it is sensible, and reasonable, to prepare well in advance of season changes. Putting in supplies a year ahead of time is a traditional farm practice, and it gives a cushion of safety against uncertain conditions.

a) Woodstove heating is more common, and comfortable to use, than it was two decades ago. New wood heaters run from $100 to several thousands, depending on materials, craftsmanship, and beauty. Better stoves hold heat longer and may have interior baffles that let you use less wood to produce more heat. Even so, the most basic metal-drum-turned-stove also works to heat a room or a house.no elect cylindar stove w h20 heater

Heating a 3-bedroom home that is moderately insulated will use about 8-12 cords of wood throughout the winter. The size of a cord (sometimes called a “rick” or a “rank”) is not standardized from region to region, but typically will be about 8′ x 8′ x 2′, roughly a pickup truck bed loaded even with the top of the sides. Prices will vary between $65 per cord to $150, depending on the region and type of wood. Hardwoods, such as oak and walnut, and fruitwoods like apple and pear, burn better and longer than softwoods like poplar. Don’t use resinous woods, such as the pines, cedars, and spruces for the main heating—only as firestarters—because they burn too hot and fast and generate creosote. Better home insulation and better quality hardwoods will decrease the amount of wood you need to use.

If you plan to secure and cut your own firewood, be willing to acquire a good-quality chainsaw—any that cost below $200 will only give you grief. Keep an extra chain on hand. Use safety precautions, too: wear ear and eye protectors, heavy gloves, and don’t chainsaw alone. Cutting your own wood will decrease your heating costs significantly, but increase your labor. It typically takes us a full week of constant work to put up a winter’s worth of wood.

b) Woodstoves require heat-proof surfaces surrounding them, an insulated chimney pipe (about $90 per 3-foot section), and some building skills in order to install. Installation costs can equal or surpass the cost of the stove itself. Chimneys need to be thoroughly cleaned of the black crusty buildup, creosote, at least twice each year (and more often if you use the stove continuously).

c) Propane heaters that don’t need venting to outdoors are a relatively new product. A plain one ($200) can be mounted on the wall in the home’s main no elect buddyroom, or more fancy models that look like built-in fireplaces complete with fake logs ($450) are available. You will need a propane tank, regulator, and appropriate copper lines, but these will all be installed by your propane company for a small charge. Propane has varied widely in cost from year to year, but typically runs around $0.95 to $1.30 per gallon.

d) Kerosene heaters ($120) are freestanding units that burn kerosene in a way that is something like a lamp—it uses a wick system and flames to provide heat. These are best used in areas that can be easily ventilated, because of the potential for buildup of carbon monoxide. Kerosene has a strong odor, as well. Kerosene costs about $1 per gallon or less (in quantity).

e) Solar heat can be “grabbed” anytime the light from the sun hits your house. Even in the dead of winter, the south-facing walls will feel noticeably warmer than the shaded north-facing ones. You can “store” the sun’s heat in any surface. Ceramic floor tiles, for instance, are excellent at retaining heat. So will a flat-black painted covered plastic trash can filled with water. If these surfaces are exposed to sunlight, say, indoors next to a south-facing window, they will absorb heat during the day. At night, with the window curtains closed, the surface will release heat slowly and steadily into the house.

One of the most efficient ways to heat is something else we have forgotten in the past 50 years—close off rooms that are not being used. If doors aren’t available, you can hang curtains in doorways (or even tack up a blanket, in a pinch), and keep your heat restricted to the room you are actually in. In an emergency situation, you can curtain up a room and set up a tent-like “den” for the family to snuggle in under blankets. Body heat alone will keep the den’s interior comfortable.

Cooling a residence during a hot summer requires just as much thought and advance planning as winter heating does. Battery and solar-powered fans help keep air moving, windows can be shaded by fast-growing vines and pole beans, and—planning way ahead—fast-growing trees like poplars can be planted on the house’s south side to shade the yard.

In areas where wind blows routinely in the summer, you can soak a sheet, ring it out, and hang it in front of a breezy window. The air passing through the window is cooled as it moves against the wet sheet, and helps to cool the house. Remember that heat rises, so make it easy for too-hot air to escape from the attic and upper floors by opening windows and vents.

5. Communications
In a time of distress, keeping in contact with family and knowing about local and national situations is important to maintaining both continuity and confidence. In general, telephone systems are on a different system than the electrical power grid, but they can be disrupted if there are earth movements or as the result of terrorist activities.

During the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, we kept informed about the damages by watching a 4-inch black and white TV set (bought used for $25) that was plugged into our car battery through the cigarette lighter. At night, we heard reports from the BBC via a 4-AA battery powered shortwave radio ($70 from Radio Shack). I consider these two devices—shortwave and TV—the required minimum communication/ information devices during a crisis, especially if the phone system is down.

Satellite internet hookups, using a battery-powered laptop, could be an excellent communication tool, both for accessing news and for staying in touch with friends and colleagues by email.

Citizens Band (CB) radios are excellent tools, as well. These portable devices can be carried with you into the field and used to stay in contact with neighbors and family when you are away from the house. Basic models run $60—you’ll need at least two—and ones with greater ranges and features are more costly. They’ll run on 6 to 8 (or more) AA batteries.

“Family Radios” are FM-band devices that have a short range, about ¼ mile ($60 for a pair). These are handy for keeping family in contact during outings, when traveling in a caravan, or when one member needs to go out to the barn during a storm. They run on 2 AA batteries.

6. Keeping things normal
Even though circumstances may change in the world, we can choose how we wish to react. We can live in a state of helpless anxiety—or control what we can. We can control our responses, in part, by maintaining as much normalcy in our lives as possible.tv_on_cobra_400_watt_inverter_on_marine_battery[1]

If your family relaxes in the evenings with a video, plan to continue doing that. Acquire a battery-powered TV/VCR combination, and make sure you have enough power sources to keep that going for at least two weeks. (If things get dicey, you can wean off the system in two weeks.) A cassette player or CD player with external speakers can provide relaxation and entertainment, and they run off of AA batteries as well.

Children have difficulty adjusting to sudden changes in their environment, so if you expect them to play board games if the power goes out, they should be comfortable with board games now. Keep routines consistent, arising at the usual time in the morning and going to bed as you have in the past. Prepare familiar meals with foods everyone enjoys. Have “fun foods” and goodies on hand. Remember to reach out to your neighbors and older folks who live nearby, and provide extras to help them, as well.

Use the knowledge you’ve gained, and your experience with non-electric living, to make your neighborhood a more secure and adaptable place.

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Filed under Prepper articles, Survival Manual

Drought, Part 2 – Beyond 2012

(News & Editorial / Drought, Part 2 – Beyond 2012)
2012 US Drought & The Four Corners region of the west: Depopulated at least once ca 1250AD, later the 1930s “Dust Bowl”.

 A.  The Price Of Corn Hits A Record High As A Global Food Crisis Looms
19 July 2012, The Economic Collapse,
Pasted  from: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-price-of-corn-hits-a-record-high-as-a-global-food-crisis-looms
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Are you ready for the next major global food crisis? The price of corn hit an all-time record high on Thursday. So did the price of soybeans. The price of corn is up about 50 percent since the middle of last month, and the price of wheat has risen by about 50 percent over the past five weeks. On Thursday, corn for September delivery reached $8.166 per bushel, and many analysts believe that it could hit $10 a bushel before this crisis is over. The worst drought in the United States in more than 50 years is projected to continue well into August, and more than 1,300 counties in the United States have been declared to be official natural disaster areas. So how is this crisis going to affect the average person on the street? Well, most Americans and most Europeans are going to notice their grocery bills go up significantly over the coming months. That will not be pleasant. But in other areas of the world this crisis could mean the difference between life and death for some people. You see, half of all global corn exports come from the United States. So what happens if the U.S. does not have any corn to export? About a billion people around the world live on the edge of starvation, and today the Financial Times ran a front page story with the following headline: “World braced for new food crisis”. Millions upon millions of families in poor countries are barely able to feed themselves right now. So what happens if the price of the food that they buy goes up dramatically?

You may not think that you eat much corn, but the truth is that it is in most of the things that we buy at the grocery store. In fact, corn is found in about 74 percent of the products we buy in the supermarket and it is used in more than 3,500 ways.

Americans consume approximately one-third of all the corn grown in the world each year, and we export massive amounts of corn to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, thanks to the drought of 2012 farmers are watching their corn die right in front of their eyes all over the United States.

The following is from a Washington Post article that was posted on Thursday….

 Nearly 40 percent of the corn crop was in poor-to-very-poor condition as of Sunday, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. That compared with just 11 percent a year ago.
“The crop, if you look going south from Illinois and Indiana, is damaged and a lot of it is damaged hopelessly and beyond repair now,” said Sterling Smith, a Citibank Institutional Client Group vice president who specializes in commodities.
About 30 percent of the soybean crop was in poor-to-very-poor condition, which compared with 10 percent a year ago.
Conditions for both crops are expected to worsen in Monday’s agriculture agency report.

More than half of the country is experiencing drought conditions right now, and this is devastating both ranchers and farmers. Right now, ranchers all over the western United States are slaughtering their herds early as feed prices rise. It is being projected that the price of meat will rise substantially later this year.

The following is from a recent MSNBC article….

For example, you may want to make room in your freezer for meat because prices for beef and pork are expected to drop in the next few months as farmers slaughter herds to deal with the high cost of grains that are used as livestock feed, said Shawn Hackett of the agricultural commodities firm Hackett Financial Advisors in Boynton Beach, Fla. But, he added, everything from milk to salad dressing is going to cost more in the near term, and eventually the meat deals will evaporate as demand outstrips supply.

So there may be some deals on meat in the short-term as all of these animals are slaughtered, but in the long-term we can expect prices to go up quite a bit.

But it isn’t as if food is not already expensive enough. The price of food rose much faster than the overall rate of inflation last year.

As I wrote about yesterday, American families found their grocery budgets stretched very thin during 2011. Just check out these food inflation rates from last year….

  • Beef: +10.2%
  • Pork: +8.5%
  • Fish: +7.1%
  • Eggs: +9.2%
  • Dairy: +6.8%
  • Oils and Fats: +9.3%

If prices rose that fast last year, what will those statistics look like at the end of this year if this drought continues?

Sadly, America is not alone. According to Bloomberg, the U.S. is not the only place that is having problems with crops right now….

Dry weather in the U.S., as well as the Black Sea region; a poor start to the Indian monsoon and the possibility of emerging El Nino conditions suggest agricultural products may rally, Barclays said in a report e-mailed yesterday.

And all of this is very bad news for a world that is really struggling to feed itself.

In many countries around the globe, the poor spend up to 75 percent of their incomes on food. Just a 10 percent increase in the price of basic food staples can be absolutely devastating for impoverished families that are living right on the edge.

You may not have ever known what it is like to wonder where your next meal is going to come from, but in many areas around the world that is a daily reality for many families.

Just check out what is happening in Yemen….

Crying and staring at his distended belly, 6-year-old Warood cannot walk on his spindly legs.
“We become so familiar with sickness,” said his mother, who according to social norms here does not give her name to outsiders.
She says she has watched two of her children die. “I have to decide: Do I buy rice or medicine?”
The United Nations estimates that 267,000 Yemeni children are facing life-threatening levels of malnutrition. In the Middle East’s poorest country hunger has doubled since 2009. More than 10 million people — 44% of the population — do not have enough food to eat, according to the United Nation’s World Food Program.

In the United States, we aren’t going to see starvation even if nearly the entire corn crop fails. Our grocery bills might be more painful, but there is still going to be plenty of food for everyone.

In other areas of the world, a bad year for global crops can mean the difference between life and death.

Sadly, it is being projected that the current drought in the United States will last well into August at least.

But even when this current drought ends, our problems will not be over. The truth is that we are facing a very severe long-term water crisis in the western United States.

Just check out the following facts from foodandwaterwatch.org….
–  California has a 20-year supply of freshwater left
–  New Mexico has only a ten-year supply of freshwater left
–  The U.S. interior west is probably the driest it has been in 500 years, according to the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Geological Survey
–  Lake Mead, the vast reservoir of the Colorado River, has a 50 percent chance of running dry by 2021
The 1,450 mile long Colorado River is probably the most important body of water in the southwestern United States.

Unfortunately, the Colorado River is rapidly dying.

The following is from a recent article by Jonathan Waterman about how the once might Colorado River is running dry…

Fifty miles from the sea, 1.5 miles south of the Mexican border, I saw a river evaporate into a scum of phosphates and discarded water bottles. This dirty water sent me home with feet so badly infected that I couldn’t walk for a week. And a delta once renowned for its wildlife and wetlands is now all but part of the surrounding and parched Sonoran Desert. According to Mexican scientists whom I met with, the river has not flowed to the sea since 1998. If the Endangered Species Act had any teeth in Mexico, we might have a chance to save the giant sea bass (totoaba), clams, the Sea of Cortez shrimp fishery that depends upon freshwater returns, and dozens of bird species.
So let this stand as an open invitation to the former Secretary of the Interior and all water buffalos who insist upon telling us that there is no scarcity of water here or in the Mexican Delta. Leave the sprinklered green lawns outside the Aspen conferences, come with me, and I’ll show you a Colorado River running dry from its headwaters to the sea. It is polluted and compromised by industry and agriculture. It is overallocated, drought stricken, and soon to suffer greatly from population growth. If other leaders in our administration continue the whitewash, the scarcity of knowledge and lack of conservation measures will cripple a western civilization built upon water. “You can either do it in crisis mode,” Pat Mulroy said at this conference, “or you can start educating now.”

People need to wake up because we have some very serious water issues in this country.
In the heartland of America, farmers pump water from a massive underground lake known as the Ogallala Aquifer to irrigate their fields.
The problem is that the Ogallala Aquifer is rapidly being pumped dry.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, “a volume equivalent to two-thirds of the water in Lake Erie” has been permanently drained from the Ogallala Aquifer since 1940.

Once upon a time, the Ogallala Aquifer had an average depth of about 240 feet.
Today, the average depth of the Ogallala Aquifer is just 80 feet, and in some parts of Texas the water is totally gone.
Right now, the Ogallala Aquifer is being drained at a rate of approximately 800 gallons per minute.
Once that water is gone it will not be replaced.
So what will the “breadbasket of America” do then?
Most Americans do not realize this, but we are facing some major, major water problems.
Let us pray that this current drought ends and let us pray that everyone around the world will have enough to eat.
But even if we get through this year okay by some miracle, that doesn’t mean that our problems are over.
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B.  NASA finds 2011 ninth warmest year on record; GISS team concludes slowdown of warming likely to prove illusory
19 January 2012, Green Car Congress
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/01/giss-20120119.html
The global average surface temperature in 2011 was the ninth warmest since 1880, according to NASA scientists; nine of the 10 warmest years in the modern meteorological record have occurred since the year 2000.

NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, which monitors global surface temperatures on an ongoing basis, released an updated analysis that shows temperatures around the globe in 2011 compared to the average global temperature from the mid-20th century. The average temperature around the globe in 2011 was 0.92 degrees F (0.51 °C) warmer than the mid-20th century baseline.
The global average surface temperature in 2011 was the ninth warmest since 1880, according to NASA scientists. The finding continues a trend in which nine of the 10 warmest years in the modern meteorological record have occurred since the year 2000.

The difference between 2011 and the warmest year in the GISS record (2010) is 0.22 degrees F (0.12 C). Because of the large natural variability of climate, scientists do not expect temperatures to rise consistently year after year. However, they do expect a continuing temperature rise over decades.

2011 was only the ninth warmest year in the GISS analysis of global temperature change, yet nine of the ten warmest years in the instrumental record (since 1880) have occurred in the 21st century. The past year has been cooled by a moderately strong La Nina. The 5-year (60-month) running mean global temperature hints at a slowdown in the global warming rate during the past few years. However, the cool La Nina phase of the cyclically variable Southern Oscillation of tropical temperatures has been dominant in the past three years, and the deepest solar minimum in the period of satellite data occurred over the past half dozen years. We conclude that the slowdown of warming is likely to prove illusory, with more rapid warming appearing over the next few years.
…………………………………………………………………………………………..
Hansen et al.

The temperature analysis produced at GISS is compiled from weather data from more than 1,000 meteorological stations around the world, satellite observations of sea surface temperature and Antarctic research station measurements. A publicly available computer program is used to calculate the difference between surface temperature in a given month and the average temperature for the same place during 1951 to 1980. This three-decade period functions as a baseline for the analysis.

[Above; 19 July 2012 U.S. Drought Monitor]

C.  June Global Temperatures Fourth Highest On Record
July 20, 2012, ScienceDaily
<http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120720204929.htm&gt;
According to NOAA scientists, the globally averaged temperature for June 2012 marked the fourth warmest June since record keeping began in 1880. The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces was 61.03°F, 1.13°F above the 20th century average [1.13F rise + 59.93 =61.03F, 2012 land and ocean]. June 2012 also marks the 36th consecutive June and 328th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average….
For the ocean, the June global sea surface temperature was 0.85°F above the 20th century average of 61.5°F, the 10th warmest June on record [0.85F rise + 61.5F average = 62.35F 2012 oceans].  Neutral ocean conditions continued across the equatorial Pacific Ocean during June as sea surface temperatures continued to warm. According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, there is an increased chance that El Niño conditions will emerge beginning in July-September 2012. In addition to influencing seasonal climate outcomes in the United States, El Niño is often, but not always, associated with global temperatures that are higher than temperatures in the neutral and La Niña phases.
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D.  Grain prices soar as drought impact deepens
10 Aug 2012, Economy Watch, NBC News, By John W. Schoen
Pasted from <http://economywatch.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/10/13219551-grain-prices-soar-as-drought-impact-deepens?lite&gt;
The worst American drought in more than half a century is driving up grain prices and deepening worries about global food shortages.
With much of the corn crop already lost, farmers are holding out hope for some weather relief that could help salvage the harvest of soybeans and other. But the latest data from the government Friday showed that the damage to the food supply chain already has been done.
“This is worse than 2008 — we’re in kind of a perfect storm scenario,” said Ana Puchi-Donnelly, senior agricultural commodities trader at London-based Marex Spectron. “We won’t really know until the whole crop is harvested. We’re talking about the worst drought in the last 50 to 70 years in one of the hottest years on record.”

[Above: 9 August 2012 U.S. Drought Monitor.]

[This graphic was made three weeks after the July Drought Monitor graphic shown above, the comparison shows a large expansion in the affected area. The “trickle down” from these images is reduced food production, reduced income for farm communities, higher expenses on US grocery shelves, increased hostilities in the 2nd and 3rd world countries, imminent volatility in global commodity and equity market prices. Mr. Larry]

Shriveling supplies have sent grain prices soaring. Corn futures set an all-time high Friday to levels roughly 50 percent higher than the end of May, before the drought took hold. Soybean prices also jumped this week to more than 25 percent above pre-drought levels.

While those price spikes have yet to work their way through the food chain, American consumers can expect to pay more to put dinner on the table. The overall impact on food prices, however, is expected to relatively small.

“If you’re a family of four on a tight budget, it’s not inconsequential,” Gregory Page, CEO of Cargill, one of the world’s largest food producers, told CNBC. “But to put it in context, it is about $75 per man, woman and child here in the U.S. vs. the levels we saw a year ago.”

The outlook for this year’s harvest has changed dramatically over just a few months. In the spring, U.S. corn farmers planted the most acreage in 75 years and expected a record harvest. Countries that rely on the United States as the world’s largest food exporter were hopeful the yield would replenish depleted global stockpiles.

But those hopes have been dashed as farmers sift through their drought-parched farmlands. The government’s latest estimate of this year’s harvest, released Friday, was even worse than expected. After predicting a bumper crop of nearly 15 billion bushels of corn in June, the USDA Friday predicted a harvest of less than 11 billion bushels, 13 percent below last year’s level.

Expected corn yields were slashed from June’s estimate of 166 bushels per acre to just 123 bushels, some 25 percent below normal. Inventories of soybeans, widely used as livestock feed from India to Indiana, will be the smallest in nine years.

There is little sign of relief in the weather forecast. The severest conditions -– which have already enveloped more than a third of the nation -– continued to spread this week, according to a report Thursday from the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska. July was the hottest month on record, beating the worst month of the Dust Bowl era in 1936. After mild weather allowed farmers to plant earlier than normal this year, modest rainfall in parts of the Midwest this week came too late for much of the crop.

“There will be some improvement; the cooler temperatures certainly will help,” said Andy Karst, a meteorologist for World Weather. “But most of the Midwest has not had enough rain for significant improvement. Crops may stabilize or decline a little more the next couple of weeks.”

Though food inflation in the U.S. so far has been relatively tame, the surge in crop prices is expected to move quickly through the global food chain, pushing up prices of beef, poultry and other processed foods.

Cattle ranchers already are dipping into stockpiles of hay set aside for winter after the drought killed much of the grass forage they typically rely on during the summer months.
“We don’t have much hay, we don’t have much corn, we don’t have much of really anything,” Brett Crosby, a cattle rancher in Cowley, Wyo., told CNBC. “Over half of the pastures in the United States are rated poor to very poor in condition.”

The U.S. crop shortfall comes as the rest of the global supply chain is already under pressure. Hot weather in Russia and too much rain in farmlands in Brazil have lowered crop yields, further straining inventories.
Demand, meanwhile, remains strong in the developing world, even as the global economy slows. The shrunken forecast for this year’s crop has raised concerns that the world could see another repeat of the severe shortfall in 2008 that led to food riots in some countries.

“Supplying countries put on embargoes against exports and we had importing countries that in many cases were buying more than they actually need,” said Page. “The combination of those two actions by governments exacerbated the sense of shortfall and I think accelerated the price increases.”

Page this year’s expected shortfall — between 3 and 4 percent below the long-term trend in production levels — is “manageable, if we make good decisions.”

That effort would require a coordinated global effort by governments to head off potential bottlenecks that produced big food price spikes in 2008. Those moves could include scaling back government subsidies put in place to promote biofuel production, which has diverted corn and soy supplies.

“Several urgent actions must be taken to address the current situation to prevent a potential global food price crisis,” said Shenggen Fan, head of the International Food Policy Research Institute, a think tank funded by the World Bank.
(Reuters contributed.)

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E.  Food prices set to soar as worst U.S. drought for half a century forces corn farmers to abandon fields the size of Belgium and Luxembourg
11 August 2012, MailOnline News, by Rob Preece
<http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2186936/U-S–drought-Food-prices-set-soar-corn-farmers-abandon-fields-size-Belgium-Luxembourg.html>
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•  Drought has destroyed one-sixth of U.S. expected corn crop
• Soybean harvest expected to be the worst for five years
• Food manufacturers warn they will pass on price rises to consumers

Food prices are expected to surge after the worst drought in the U.S. for half a century destroyed one-sixth of the country’s expected corn crop over the past month.
The hottest July in U.S. history has caused irreparable damage to crops, forcing corn farmers to abandon fields greater in area than Belgium and Luxembourg.
Soybeans, which are used for animal feed and to make vegetable oil, have also been affected, with this harvest likely to be the worst for five years.

[Damaged: The worst drought for half a century in the U.S. has destroyed one-sixth of the country’s expected corn crop.]

The crisis has prompted the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to forecast record-breaking price rises, and some of the world’s largest food manufacturers, including Kraft, Tyson and Nestle, have already indicated that they will pass on the increase to consumers.

USDA now expects 10.8 billion bushels of corn to be produced this year – 2.2billion bushels less than the projection it made last month.
USDA chief economist Joseph Glauber told the Financial Times: ‘We’re going to see very high prices.’
The problem could have far-reaching consequences internationally.
In 2007-08, high food costs led to riots in more than 30 countries, but Jose Graziano da Silva, the director general of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, said the current crisis was not as severe.
‘We do not have the demand pressure from China and India as five years ago.’


The situation has worsened since the week ending July 29, when USDA found that 48 per cent of the nation’s corn crop was either poor or very poor.
The department said 47 per cent of the soybean crop was in very poor or poor condition.
They were the worst ratings since the drought of 1988, which cut production by 20 per cent and cost the economy tens of billions of dollars.
With grazing pastures also parched and feed prices at record highs, many ranchers are sending their animals to slaughter early because it is too costly to keep them until full size.

President Barack Obama’s administration has opened up protected US land to help farmers and ranchers and has encouraged crop insurance companies to forgo charging interest.

It has also provided emergency low-interest loans to farmers in 31 states, where disaster areas have been declared due to the drought.

Help for farmers: The US Agriculture Department has unveiled new help for frustrated, cash-strapped farmers and crop insurers have agreed to provide farmers with a 30 day grace period on premiums
Crisis: Disaster areas have been declared in 31 U.S. states after the worst drought for decades.

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F.  The Mississippi River Is Drying Up
August 14th, 2012, The Economic Collapse
Pasted from: <http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-mississippi-river-is-drying-up&gt;
The worst drought in more than 50 years is having a devastating impact on the Mississippi River. The Mississippi has become very thin and very narrow, and if it keeps on dropping there is a very real possibility that all river traffic could get shut down. And considering the fact that approximately 60 percent of our grain, 22 percent of our oil and natural gas, and one-fifth of our coal travel down the Mississippi River, that would be absolutely crippling for our economy. It has been estimated that if all Mississippi River traffic was stopped that it would cost the U.S. economy 300 million dollars a day. So far most of the media coverage of this historic drought has focused on the impact that it is having on farmers and ranchers, but the health of the Mississippi River is also absolutely crucial to the economic success of this nation, and right now the Mississippi is in incredibly bad shape. In some areas the river is already 20 feet below normal and the water is expected to continue to drop. If we have another 12 months of weather ahead of us similar to what we have seen over the last 12 months then the mighty Mississippi is going to be a complete and total disaster zone by this time next year.

Most Americans simply do not understand how vitally important the Mississippi River is to all of us. If the Mississippi River continues drying up to the point where commercial travel is no longer possible, it would be an absolutely devastating blow to the U.S. economy.

Unfortunately, vast stretches of the Mississippi are already dangerously low. The following is an excerpt from a transcript of a CNN report that aired on August 14th….

You might think this is some kind of desert just outside of Memphis. It’s not. I’m actually standing on the exposed bottom of the Mississippi River. That’s how dramatic the drought impact is being felt here. Hard to believe, a year ago we were talking about record flooding. Now, they are worried about a new kind of record: a record low. The river was three miles wide here, it’s now down to three tenths of a mile. And that’s causing all kinds of problems. There are some benefits, I mean, take a look over here: new beach front. In fact, some quip that now the Mississippi River has more beaches than the entire state of Florida, which would be funny if it didn’t have an impact on trade.

A lot of stuff we use goes up and down the Mississippi River. We are talking steel, coal, ore, grain. The problem is now a lot of those barges have had to lighten their loads, and even doing that, they are still running aground. There is a real fear that there could be a possibility of closing the Mississippi River. If that happens, well, all that product that used to be carried cheaply by barge is now going to be carried more expensively by truck or train. And guess who is going to pay for all of that.

[August 2012, aerial view of the Mississippi River, exposed mid-channel sand banks, a growing navigation hazard for commercial transport.]

It really is amazing that last year we were talking about historic flooding along the Mississippi and this year we are talking about the Mississippi possibly drying up.
As I mentioned earlier, there are some areas along the river that are already 20 feet below normal levels. The following is from a recent article posted on inquisitr.com….

‘Just outside of Memphis the river is 13 feet below normal depth while the National Weather Service says Vicksburg, Mississippi is 20 feet below normal levels. Overall the Mississippi is 13 feet below normal averages for this time of year.

The drying up river is forcing barge, tugboat and towboat operators to navigate narrower and more shallow spots in the river, slowing their speeds as they pass dangerously close to one another. In some parts of the Mississippi the river is so narrow that one-way traffic is being utilized.

A lot of barges have been forced to go with greatly reduced loads so that they will sit higher in the river, and other commercial craft have been forced to stop operating completely.

For example, the Mississippi has dropped so low at this point that the famous American Queen Steamboat can no longer safely navigate the river.
Down south, the Mississippi River has gotten so low that saltwater is actually starting to move upriver. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is fighting hard to keep that contained.
Other waterways in the middle part of the country are in even worse shape.
For example, a 100 mile stretch of the Platte River has already dried up. Millions of fish are dying as rivers and streams all over the country continue to get shallower and warmer as a result of the ongoing drought.

The last time the condition of the Mississippi River was this bad was back in 1988. At that time, a lot of barge traffic was stopped completely and the shipping industry lost approximately a billion dollars.
If a similar thing were to happen now, the consequences could potentially be far worse.

As I wrote about recently, a standstill along the Mississippi would cost the U.S. economy about 300 million dollars a day.
In fact, one towing company that works on the Mississippi says that it has already been losing about $500,000 a month since May.
In the end, who is going to pay for all of this?
You and I will.
In fact, this crisis could end up costing American consumers a whole lot of money….

So here’s the math. If you want to raise the average barge one inch above the water, you’ve got to take off 17-tons of cargo. To raise it a foot, you’re talking 200 tons.

And since, according to the American Waterways Operators, moving cargo by river is $11 a ton cheaper than by train or truck. The more that now has to be moved on land, well, the more the costs go up. Steven Barry says, “And, eventually, the consumer’s gonna pay that price somewhere along the line.”

And considering the fact that we are already facing a potential food crisis due to the drought, the last thing we need is for the Mississippi River to dry up.
So is there any hope on the horizon for the Mississippi?

Unfortunately, things do not look promising.
The fall and the winter are typically drier than the summer is along the Mississippi River. That means that conditions along the river could actually get even worse in the months ahead. The following is from a recent Time Magazine article….
But without significant rainfall, which isn’t in any long-range forecasts, things are likely to get worse. As summer turns to fall, the weather tends to get drier. Lower temperatures generally mean fewer thunderstorms and less rainfall.
“Take away the thunderstorm mechanism and you run into more serious problems,” says Alex Sosnowski, expert senior meteorologist for AccuWeather.com. And while droughts tend to be a temporary setback, longer-range forecasts are troublesome. Sosnowski says he is anticipating an El Niño weather pattern next year, which would mean below-normal snowfall and above-average temperatures.

Let us hope and pray that we don’t see another 12 months similar to the 12 months that we have just been through.
The U.S. economy is already in bad enough shape.
We don’t need any more major problems on top of what we are already dealing with.
So what do you think about this? Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….
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G.  Circa 1250AD: The Anasazi of the Four Corners region: Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado

__1) What happened to these people? [and could this happen to us across the southwest? Mr Larry]
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/ahc/who_were_the_anasazi.html
The Ancestral Puebloan farmers were relatively successful in the Four Corners area for over a thousand years, but by AD 1300 they had left the entire region. Long-term climate changes that reduced crop yield may have been among the reasons that the Ancestral Puebloans finally moved away from their former homeland.

Tree-ring records and other indicators show that persistent drought and/or shortened frost-free seasons affected this region during several prehistoric periods, including the early 900s, the early 1100s, and the late 1200s. Each of these periods corresponds to shifts in settlement pattern. The last period (late 1200s) witnessed the final, widespread Puebloan migrations out of the Four Corners. Other factors responsible for this exodus may have been deforestation or other kinds of environmental degradation, a growing scarcity of land or other resources, and/or political conflicts related to these problems.

The Ancestral Puebloans may have reached the limit of the natural resources available to them. When crops consistently failed, the people moved to a better location. Archaeologists also see evidence of social changes over time, changes perhaps related to internal pressures or to outside competition from non-Pueblo groups.
In the Dolores Valley, research revealed that people began settling in small villages around AD 500. The settlements were heavily populated between AD 600 and 900 when conditions were most favorable for agriculture. The number of households, hamlets, and villages increased as the population grew.
Environmental conditions began to change around AD 900, as cooler temperatures made farming unreliable. Families began leaving the Dolores area to pursue agriculture and community life at lower elevations nearby. In later centuries the population rebounded and use of the area continued through the 1200s. In southwestern Colorado, some settlement areas persisted for centuries but with internal changes such as a trend toward concentration into larger, fewer villages.

__2)  What happened to the Anasazi?
<http://pages.swcp.com/~spsvs/outdoors/anasazi/history.html&gt;


No one really knows. Toward the end of the Anasazi period they built and moved into the famous cliff houses which seem to provide great defensive capabilities, and yet there is little or no evidence of violent conflict. Abruptly around 1300 AD, following several years of severe drought, the Anasazi seem to have abandoned their cliff house dwellings and dispersed. The general consensus seems to be that their agrarian way of life had led to a population explosion, which coupled with poor farming methods had depleted the soil and other resources, just as a drought led to reduced harvests. As a result, the Anasazi left their cliff homes and moved to new territories, probably along the Rio Grande and on the Hopi mesas. Under this interpretation, today’s pueblo Indians are the descendents of the Anasazi.

__3)  Riddles of the Anasazi
July 2003, Smithsonian magazine,  By David Roberts
<http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/anasazi.html&gt;
Toward the end of the 13th century, something went terribly wrong among the Anasazi. What awful event forced the people to flee their homeland, never to return?

[Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. The site covers almost two acres and incorporates 650 to 800 rooms. In parts of the village, the tiered structure was four and five stories high. A family may have inhabited 3 to 4 rooms, with many small interior spaces being used for storage. There was generally no outside access to the room blocks other than from the central courtyard. The total population of Pueblo Bonito was probably around 1,200 people at its height. Surrounding the pueblo were a number of smaller dwellings and  structures. Numerous communities looked to Chaco Canyon for political and religious guidance.]

…What drove the Anasazi to retreat to the cliffs and fortified villages? And, later, what precipitated the exodus? For a long time, experts focused on environmental explanations. Using data from tree rings, researchers know that a terrible drought seized the Southwest from 1276 to 1299; it is possible that in certain areas there was virtually no rain at all during those 23 years. In addition, the Anasazi people may have nearly deforested the region, chopping down trees for roof beams and firewood. But environmental problems don’t explain everything. Throughout the centuries, the Anasazi weathered comparable crises—a longer and more severe drought, for example, from 1130 to 1180—without heading for the cliffs or abandoning their lands.
Another theory, put forward by early explorers, speculated that nomadic raiders may have driven the Anasazi out of their homeland. But, says Lipe, “There’s simply no evidence of nomadic tribes in this area in the 13th century. This is one of the most thoroughly investigated regions in the world. If there were enough nomads to drive out tens of thousands of people, surely the invaders would have left plenty of archaeological evidence.”

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Drought, Part 1: Before 2012

(News & Editorial / Drought, Part 1 – Before 2012)
Mayan Drought & the developing US perma-drought of 2009+ 

 A.  Archaeologists uncover largest ancient dam built by Maya in Central America
July 16, 2012, Provided by University of Cincinnati
Pasted from <http://phys.org/news/2012-07-archaeologists-uncover-largest-ancient-built.html#&gt;
[This image shows excavation of the dam identified by the UC-led team. A collapsed sluice gate is outlined in red. Credit: University of Cincinnati researchers]

Recent excavations, sediment coring and mapping by a multi-university team led by the University of Cincinnati at the pre-Columbian city of Tikal, a paramount urban center of the ancient Maya, have identified new landscaping and engineering feats, including the largest ancient dam built by the Maya of Central America.

That dam – constructed from cut stone, rubble and earth – stretched more than 260 feet in length, stood about 33 feet high and held about 20 million gallons of water in a man-made reservoir.

These findings on ancient Maya water and land-use systems at Tikal, located in northern Guatemala, are scheduled to appear this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in an article titled “Water and Sustainable Land Use at the Ancient Tropical City of Tikal, Guatemala.” The research sheds new light on how the Maya conserved and used their natural resources to support a populous, highly complex society for over 1,500 years despite environmental challenges, including periodic drought.

The paper is authored by Vernon Scarborough, UC professor of anthropology; Nicholas Dunning, UC professor of geography; archaeologist Kenneth Tankersley, UC assistant professor of anthropology; Christopher Carr, UC doctoral student in geography; Eric Weaver, UC doctoral student in geography; Liwy Grazioso of the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala; Brian Lane, former UC master’s student in anthropology now pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Hawaii; John Jones, associate professor of anthropology, Washington State University; Palma Buttles, technical staff senior member, SEI Carnegie Mellon University; Fred Valdez, professor of anthropology, University of Texas-Austin; and David Lentz, UC professor of biology.

Starting in 2009, the UC team was the first North American group permitted to work at the Tikal site core in more than 40 years.
What was once thought to be a sluice is outlined in red and is now filled with slump-down debriss.

Detailed in the latest findings by the UC-led efforts are:
•  The largest ancient dam built by the ancient Maya of Central America
•  Discussion on how reservoir waters were likely released
•  Details on the construction of a cofferdam needed by the Maya to dredge one of the largest reservoirs at Tikal
•  The presence of ancient springs linked to the initial colonization of Tikal
•  Use of sand filtration to cleanse water entering reservoirs
•  A “switching station” that accommodated seasonal filling and release of water
•  Finding of the deepest, rock-cut canal segment in the Maya lowlands

According to UC’s Scarborough, “The overall goal of the UC research is to better understand how the ancient Maya supported a population at Tikal of perhaps 60,000 to 80,000 inhabitants and an estimated population of five million in the overall Maya lowlands by AD 700.”
He added, “That is a much higher number than is supported by the current environment. So, they managed to sustain a populous, highly complex society for well over 1,500 years in a tropical ecology. Their resource needs were great, but they used only stone-age tools and technology to develop a sophisticated, long-lasting management system in order to thrive.”

Water collection and storage were critical in the environment where rainfall is seasonal and extended droughts not uncommon. And so, the Maya carefully integrated the built environment – expansive plazas, roadways, buildings and canals – into a water-collection and management system. At Tikal, they collected literally all the water that fell onto these paved and/or plastered surfaces and sluiced it into man-made reservoirs. For instance, the city’s plastered plaza and courtyard surfaces and canals were canted in order to direct and retain rainwater runoff into these tanks.

In fact, by the Classic Period (AD 250-800), the dam (called the Palace Dam) identified by the UC-led team was constructed to contain the waters that were now directed from the many sealed plaster surfaces in the central precinct. It was this dam on which the team focused its latest work, completed in 2010. This gravity dam presents the largest hydraulic architectural feature known in the Maya area. In terms of greater Mesoamerica, it is second in size only to the huge Purron Dam built in Mexico’s Tehuacan Valley sometime between AD 250-400.

Said Scarborough, “We also termed the Palace Dam at Tikal the Causeway Dam, as the top of the structure served as a roadway linking one part of the city to another. For a long time, it was considered primarily a causeway, one that tourists coming to the site still use today. However, our research now shows that it did double duty and was used as an important reservoir dam as well as a causeway.”

[At rights is a view of a Maya-built canal. Pictured is Guatemalan researcher Liwy Grazioso, who has participated in the work by a UC-led team. Credit: University of Cincinnati researchers]

Another discovery by the UC-led team: To help purify water as it sluiced into the reservoir tanks via catchment runoff and canals, the Maya employed deliberately positioned “sand boxes” that served to filter the water as it entered into the reservoirs. “These filtration beds consisted of quartz sand, which is not naturally found in the greater Tikal area. The Maya of Tikal traveled at least 20 miles (about 30 kilometers) to obtain the quartz sand to create their water filters. It was a fairly laborious transportation effort. That speaks to the value they placed on water and water management,” said UC’s Nicholas Dunning.

According to UC’s Ken Tankersley, “It’s likely that the overall system of reservoirs and early water-diversion features, which were highly adaptable and resilient over a long stretch, helped Tikal and some other centers survive periodic droughts when many other settlement sites had to be abandoned due to lack of rainfall.”

UC paleoethnobotanist David Lentz explained that the sophisticated water management practiced by the ancient Maya impacted the availability of food, fuel, medicinal plants and other necessities. He said, “Water management by the Maya included irrigation, which directly impacted how many people could be fed and overall population growth. Accordingly, it is essential to understand the array of canals and reservoirs at Tikal, which conserved water during the annual dry season and controlled floodwaters during the rainy months. These practices allowed the Tikal Maya to sustain relatively high population densities for several centuries. As it evolved, this system of reservoirs was largely dependent on rainfall for recharging. With the onset of the 9th century droughts however, water supplies dwindled, causing the resource base and social fabric of the Tikal Maya to come under considerable stress. These developments may well have contributed to the abandonment of the city.”

Of significance to Scarborough and the entire team are the potential lessons that can be gleaned from identifying a water system like that at ancient Tikal. Said Scarborough, “Water management in the ancient context can be dismissed as less relevant to our current water crisis because of its lack of technological sophistication. Nevertheless, in many areas of the world today, the energy requirements for even simple pumping and filtering devices – to say nothing about replacement-part acquisition – challenges access to potable sources. Tropical settings can be especially difficult regions because of high infectious disease loads borne by unfiltered water schemes. The ancient Maya, however, developed a clever rainwater catchment and delivery system based on elevated, seasonally charged reservoirs positioned in immediate proximity to the grand pavements and pyramidal architecture of their urban cores. Allocation and potability were developmental concerns from the outset of colonization. Perhaps the past can fundamentally inform the present, if we, too, can be clever.

.

B.  The Fall of the Maya: ‘They Did it to Themselves’
October 7, 2009, Science@NASA, by Dauna Coulter
Read more at: http://phys.org/news174152911.html#jCp
For 1200 years, the Maya dominated Central America. At their peak around 900 A.D., Maya cities teemed with more than 2,000 people per square mile — comparable to modern Los Angeles County. Even in rural areas the Maya numbered 200 to 400 people per square mile. But suddenly, all was quiet. And the profound silence testified to one of the greatest demographic disasters in human prehistory — the demise of the once vibrant Maya society.

[Photo at left: Mayan ruins in Guatemala.]

What happened? Some NASA-funded researchers think they have a pretty good idea. “They did it to themselves,” says veteran archeologist Tom Sever.

“The Maya are often depicted as people who lived in complete harmony with their environment,’ says PhD student Robert Griffin. “But like many other cultures before and after them, they ended up deforesting and destroying their landscape in efforts to eke out a living in hard times.”

A major drought occurred about the time the Maya began to disappear. And at the time of their collapse, the Maya had cut down most of the trees across large swaths of the land to clear fields for growing corn to feed their burgeoning population. They also cut trees for firewood and for making building materials.

“They had to burn 20 trees to heat the limestone for making just 1 square meter of the lime plaster they used to build their tremendous temples, reservoirs, and monuments,” explains Sever.

He and his team used computer simulations to reconstruct how the deforestation could have played a role in worsening the drought. They isolated the effects of deforestation using a pair of proven computer climate models: the PSU/NCAR mesoscale atmospheric circulation model, known as MM5, and the Community Climate System Model, or CCSM.

“We modeled the worst and best case scenarios: 100 percent deforestation in the Maya area and no deforestation,” says Sever. “

The results were eye opening. Loss of all the trees caused a 3-5 degree rise in temperature and a 20-30 percent decrease in rainfall.” The results are telling, but more research is needed to completely explain the mechanisms of Mayan decline. Archeological records reveal that while some Maya city-states did fall during drought periods, some survived and even thrived. “

We believe that drought was realized differently in different areas,” explains Griffin. “We propose that increases in temperature and decreases in rainfall brought on by localized deforestation caused serious enough problems to push some but not all city-states over the edge.” EnlargeA deadly cycle of drought, warming and deforestation may have doomed the Maya. The Maya deforested through the use of slash-and-burn agriculture – a method still used in their old stomping grounds today, so the researchers understand how it works.

“We know that for every 1 to 3 years you farm a piece of land, you need to let it lay fallow for 15 years to recover. In that time, trees and vegetation can grow back there while you slash and burn another area to plant in.”

But what if you don’t let the land lay fallow long enough to replenish itself? And what if you clear more and more fields to meet growing demands for food? “

We believe that’s what happened,” says Griffin. “The Maya stripped large areas of their landscape bare by over-farming.”

Not only did drought make it difficult to grow enough food, it also would have been harder for the Maya to store enough water to survive the dry season. “The cities tried to keep an 18-month supply of water in their reservoirs,” says Sever. “For example, in Tikal there was a system of reservoirs that held millions of gallons of water. Without sufficient rain, the reservoirs ran dry.” Thirst and famine don’t do much for keeping a populace happy. The rest, as the saying goes, is history. “

In some of the Maya city-states, mass graves have been found containing groups of skeletons with jade inlays in their teeth – something they reserved for Maya elites – perhaps in this case murdered aristocracy,” he speculates.

No single factor brings a civilization to its knees, but the deforestation that helped bring on drought could easily have exacerbated other problems such as civil unrest, war, starvation and disease.

Many of these insights are a result of space-based imaging, notes Sever. “By interpreting infrared satellite data, we’ve located hundreds of old and abandoned cities not previously known to exist. The Maya used lime plaster as foundations to build their great cities filled with ornate temples, observatories, and pyramids. Over hundreds of years, the lime seeped into the soil. As a result, the vegetation around the ruins looks distinctive in infrared to this day.”
Space technology is revolutionizing archeology,” he concludes. “We’re using it to learn about the plight of ancients in order to avoid a similar fate today.”

.
C.  Global Ocean Surface Temperature Warmest On Record For June
<http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090725120303.htm>
ScienceDaily (July 27, 2009) — The world’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for June, breaking the previous high mark set in 2005, according to a preliminary analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Additionally, the combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for June was second-warmest on record. The global records began in 1880.

Global Climate Statistics
The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for June 2009 was the second warmest on record, behind 2005, 1.12 degrees F (0.62 degree C) above the 20th century average of 59.9 degrees F (15.5 degrees C) [1.12F rise + 59.9 average= 61.02F, 2009 combined land and oceans].
Separately, the global ocean surface temperature for June 2009 was the warmest on record, 1.06 degrees F (0.59 degree C) above the 20th century average of 61.5 degrees F (16.4 degrees C).[1.06 rise + 61.5F average = 62.56F 2009 oceans]

[Now, fast forward 3 years to the present; see the growing effects of “the warmest global ocean surface temperature” from July 2009. Mr Larry]
.

D.  Punishing drought in Midwest shows no sign of abating
17 July 2012, Reuters, By Ernest Scheyder
Pasted from  <http://news.yahoo.com/punishing-drought-midwest-shows-no-sign-abating-012249337.html&gt;

(Reuters) – Broiling heat blanketed much of the Midwest again on Tuesday, exacerbating the region’s worst drought in more than 50 years and devastating corn, soy and other vital crops.
Across the country’s agricultural heartland, elected officials met with farmers and ranchers affected by the growing disaster promising government relief.

In Missouri, Governor Jay Nixon announced on Tuesday that all 114 counties in the state have been designated as natural disaster areas due to the drought, making farmers eligible for government loans or other assistance. Before Tuesday, 17 counties had received disaster status.

In Iowa, Governor Terry Branstad convened a hearing to discuss the drought and its effect on the state’s pork industry, which relies heavily on corn feed.
“It’s important that we do all we can to help people through this difficult time,” Branstad told local radio station KILJ. “And obviously more rain would help.”

Although weather forecasters said some parts of the parched region might get some rain next week and help pull corn prices off near-record highs, analysts slashed their forecasts for U.S. corn production by another 7 percent on Tuesday, a Reuters poll found.
From Chicago to St. Louis to Omaha, Nebraska, temperatures eclipsed 100 Fahrenheit (37.8 Celsius) and the National Weather Service issued heat advisories across Midwest and mid-Atlantic states.

Many of the heat advisories don’t expire until next week. Temperatures in Kansas City, Kansas, for instance, are expected to hit 104 F (40 C) on Wednesday. In Topeka, the intense heat is drying up soil so far beneath the surface that water lines are cracking.
So far this month, 2,202 heat records have been broken across the United States and another 787 tied, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

Another 14 U.S. cities set new record highs by 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT) on Tuesday, according to Accuweather.com, including St. Louis, Milwaukee, Detroit and Syracuse, which all topped out above 100 F.
Those temperatures have contributed to the worst drought since 1956, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a report posted on its website.

FROM CRISIS TO HORROR STORY
About 55 percent of the contiguous United States is in a drought, just as corn plants should be pollinating, a period when adequate moisture is crucial. The United States ships more than half of all world exports of corn, which is made into dozens of products, from starch and ethanol to livestock feed.
“We’re moving from a crisis to a horror story,” said Purdue University agronomist Tony Vyn. “I see an increasing number of fields that will produce zero grain.”
The soonest rain is expected in the Midwest is the middle of next week, said Jason Nicholls, meteorologist for AccuWeather. [Stunted corn grows next to a cattle feed lot in Springfield, rural Omaha, Neb. on Tuesday. The drought gripping the United States is the widest since 1956.
(Nati Harnik/AP)]

The new forecast calls for rains of 0.2 to 0.7 inch (5 mm to 18 mm) around the region, up from earlier outlooks of 0.1 to 0.6 inch.
The dry weather and intense heat likely will continue through August, further damaging the corn crop, AccuWeather said.
Corn prices are at 13-month highs and have surged 45 percent this summer, with analysts expecting the lingering drought to result in the smallest U.S. corn crop in five years.
As the worst drought since the Eisenhower administration begins to expand to the northern and western Midwest, areas that had previously been spared, analysts are slashing corn yield estimates by the hour.
“We need soaking rains now. We need two-to-three-inches and that’s not in the forecast,” AgResource Co analyst Dan Basse said.

EFFECT ON FOOD PRICES
In April concern mounted that near-record spring corn plantings would sharply increase supply and push corn prices below $5 per bushel.
Now, because of the drought, corn prices are flirting with $8 per bushel, and that could boost food prices.

With much of the Midwest pasture laid waste by the drought and ranchers facing climbing feed costs, many ranchers have begun liquidating their herds, which could translate into higher prices for meat next year.

Based on my conversations with producers, I would say 75 percent of the corn crop in the heart of the drought is beyond help,” said grains analyst Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics & Consulting in Lafayette, Indiana.

Weather problems were also reported in Eastern Europe and Asia, mirroring drought that dented Argentina and Brazil’s last harvest.
Black Sea grain producer Kazakhstan was preparing for a below-average crop this year due to an “alarming” drought in the country’s main growing regions.

The United Nations food agency said earlier this month that the U.S. drought was expected to see global food prices snap three months of declines in its July figures.
The drought is even harming equipment makers. Shares of Deere & Co, the world’s largest maker of tractors and combines, fell on Tuesday after a JPMorgan analyst said the U.S. drought was likely to harm sales in 2013.
.

E.  Global Temperature in 2011, Trends, and Prospects
18 January 2012, by James Hansen, Reto Ruedy, Makiko Sato and Ken Lo

Click to access 20120119_Temperature.pdf


Because of the ocean’s thermal inertia, global temperature change caused by solar variability lags solar irradiance by about 18 months. Thus the influence of the sun in 2011 continued to be a cooling effect. However, the sun’s influence will change rapidly to a warming effect over the next 3-5 years…

[During January of this year, Columbia University researchers were predicting global warming to increase over the next 3-5 years–2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016. So if we’re mildly upset with the heat, crop reports and grocery prices this fall, imagine the price-world social situation over, minimally, the next 2 years. – Mr Larry]

Summary
2011 was only the ninth warmest year in the GISS analysis of global temperature change, yet nine of the ten warmest years in the instrumental record (since 1880) have occurred in the 21st century. The past year has been cooled by a moderately strong La Nina. The 5-year (60-month) running mean global temperature hints at a slowdown in the global warming rate during the past few years. However, the cool La Nina phase of the cyclically variable Southern Oscillation of tropical temperatures has been dominant in the past three years, and the deepest solar minimum in the period of satellite data occurred over the past half dozen years. We conclude that the slowdown of warming is likely to prove illusory, with more rapid warming appearing over the next few years.”

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Malaria

(Survival Manual/ 6. Medical/ b)Disease/ Malaria)

Pasted from <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/malaria/DS00475/DSECTION=prevention>
Pasted from <http://www.getawayafrica.com/index.php?id=432>

Definition
Malaria produces recurrent attacks of chills and fever. Caused by a parasite that’s transmitted by mosquitoes, malaria kills about 1 million people each year worldwide.

While the disease is uncommon in temperate climates, malaria is still prevalent in tropical and subtropical countries. World health officials are trying to reduce the incidence of malaria by distributing bed nets to help protect people from mosquito bites as they sleep. A vaccine to prevent malaria is currently under development.

If you’re traveling to locations where malaria is common, take preventive medicine before, during and after your trip. Many malaria parasites are now immune to the most common drugs used to treat the disease.

[Map above: Places currently affected by Malaria.]

Symptoms
A malaria infection is generally characterized by recurrent attacks with the following signs and symptoms:
•  Moderate to severe shaking chills
•  High fever
•  Profuse sweating as body temperature falls

Other signs and symptoms may include:
•  Headache
•  Nausea
•  Vomiting
•  Diarrhea

Malaria signs and symptoms typically begin within a few weeks after a bite from an infected mosquito. However, some types of malaria parasites can lie dormant in your body for months, or even years.

 When to see a doctor
Talk to your doctor if you experience a high fever while living in or after traveling to a high-risk malaria region. The parasites that cause malaria can lie dormant in your body for months. If you have severe symptoms, seek emergency medical attention.

Causes
Malaria is caused by a type of microscopic parasite that’s transmitted most commonly by mosquito bites.

Mosquito transmission cycle
•  Uninfected mosquito. A mosquito becomes infected by feeding on a person who has malaria.
•  Transmission of parasite. If you’re the next person this mosquito bites, it can transmit malaria parasites to you.
•  In the liver. The parasites then travel to your liver — where they can lie dormant for as long as a year.
•  Into the bloodstream. When the parasites mature, they leave the liver and infect your red blood cells. This is when people typically develop malaria symptoms.
•  On to the next person. If an uninfected mosquito bites you at this point in the cycle, it will become infected with your malaria parasites and can spread them to the next person it bites.

Other modes of transmission
Because the parasites that cause malaria affect red blood cells, people can also catch malaria from exposures to infected blood, including:
•  From mother to unborn child
•  Through blood transfusions
•  By sharing needles used to inject drugs

Risk factors
The biggest risk factor for developing malaria is to live in or to visit tropical areas where the disease is common. Many different subtypes of malaria parasites exist. The variety that causes the most lethal complications is most commonly found in:
•  African countries south of the Sahara desert
•  The Indian subcontinent
•  Solomon islands, Papua New Guinea and Haiti

Risks of more severe disease
People at increased risk of serious disease include:
•  Young children and infants
•  Travelers coming from areas with no malaria
•  Pregnant women and their unborn children

Poverty, lack of knowledge, and little or no access to health care also contribute to malaria deaths worldwide.

 Immunity can wane
Residents of a malaria region may be exposed to the disease so frequently that they acquire a partial immunity, which can lessen the severity of malaria symptoms. However, this partial immunity can disappear if you move to a country where you’re no longer frequently exposed to the parasite.

Complications
Malaria can be fatal, particularly the variety that’s common in tropical parts of Africa. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 90 percent of all malaria deaths occur in Africa — most commonly in children under the age of 5.

In most cases, malaria deaths are related to one or more of these serious complications:
•  Cerebral malaria. If parasite-filled blood cells block small blood vessels to your brain (cerebral malaria), swelling of your brain or brain damage may occur.
•  Breathing problems. Accumulated fluid in your lungs (pulmonary edema) can make it difficult to breathe.
•  Organ failure. Malaria can cause your kidneys or liver to fail, or your spleen to rupture. Any of these conditions can be life-threatening.
•  Severe anemia. Malaria damages red blood cells, which can result in severe anemia.
•  Low blood sugar. Severe forms of malaria itself can cause low blood sugar, as can quinine — one of the most common medications used to combat malaria. Very low blood sugar can result in coma or death.

Recurrence may occur
Some varieties of the malaria parasite, which typically cause milder forms of the disease, can persist for years and cause relapses.

Tests and diagnosis
Blood tests can help tailor treatment by determining:
•  Whether you have malaria
•  Which type of malaria parasite is causing your symptoms
•  If your infection is caused by a parasite resistant to certain drugs
•  Whether the disease is affecting any of your vital organs
Some blood tests can take several days to complete, while others can produce results in less than 15 minutes.

Treatments and drugs
The types of drugs and the length of treatment will vary, depending on:
•  Which type of malaria parasite you have
•  The severity of your symptoms
•  Your age
•  Whether you’re pregnant

Medications
The most common antimalarial drugs include:
•  Chloroquine (Aralen)
•  Quinine sulfate (Qualaquin)
•  Recommended treatment Quinine can be given by the oral, intravenous or intramuscular routes. Quinine or quinine-containing compounds such as Quinimax ® should not be given alone for the treatment of malaria as short courses, e.g. 3 days, owing to the possibility of recrudescence (200).

When administered to patients with uncomplicated malaria, quinine should be given orally if possible, by one of the following regimens:
*  Areas where parasites are sensitive to quinine: Quinine, 8 mg of base per kg three times daily for 7 days.
*  In Areas with marked decrease in susceptibility of P. falciparum to quinine Quinine 8 mg of base per kg three times daily for 7 days plus Doxycycline 100 mg of salt daily for 7 days (not in children under 8 years of age and not during pregnancy); a pharmacologically superior regimen would include a loading dose of 200 mg of doxycycline followed by 100 mg daily for 6 days. or  Tetracycline 250 mg four times daily for 7 days (not in children under 8 years of age and not in pregnancy).

•  Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
•  Mefloquine
•  Combination of atovaquone and proguanil (Malarone)

The history of antimalarial medicine has been marked by a constant struggle between evolving drug-resistant parasites and the search for new drug formulations. In many parts of the world, for instance, resistance to chloroquine has rendered the drug ineffective.

Prevention
If you’re going to be traveling to a location where malaria is common, talk to your doctor a few months ahead of time about drugs you can take — before, during and after your trip — that can help protect you from malaria parasites.
In general, the drugs taken to prevent malaria are the same drugs used to treat the disease. Your doctor needs to know where you’ll be traveling so that he or she can prescribe the drug that will work best on the type of malaria parasite most commonly found in that region.

Doxycycline: Travellers who cannot take Mefloquine should take Doxycycline to prevent malaria if they are traveling in a malaria area. This drug is taken every day at an adult dose of 100 mg, to begin on the day before entering the malaria area, while there, and continued for 4 weeks after leaving. If Doxycycline is used, there is no need to take other preventive drugs, such as Chloroquine.

Possible side effects include skin photosensitivity that may result in an exaggerated sunburn reaction. Wearing a hat and using sunblock can minimize this risk. Women who take Doxycycline may develop vaginal yeast infections and should discuss this with their doctor before using Doxycycline.

Doxycycline should not be used by:
•  pregnant women during their entire pregnancy,
•  children under 8 years of age or
•  travellers with a known hypersensitivity to doxycycline

No vaccine yet
Scientists around the world are trying to develop a safe and effective vaccine for malaria. As of yet, however, there is still no malaria vaccine approved for human use.

 Reducing exposure to mosquitoes
In countries where malaria is common, prevention also involves keeping mosquitoes away from humans. Strategies include:
•  Spraying your home. Treating your home’s walls with insecticide can help kill adult mosquitoes that come inside.
•  Sleeping under a net. Bed nets, particularly those treated with insecticide, are especially recommended for pregnant women and young children.
•  Covering your skin. During active mosquito times, usually from dusk to dawn, wear pants and long-sleeved shirts.
•  Spraying clothing and skin. Sprays containing permethrin are safe to use on clothing, while sprays containing DEET can be used on skin.

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The derecho windstorm

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ The derecho windstorm)

Derecho windstorm: To qualify as a derecho, a storm front must be at least 240 miles wide and the winds must be a minimum of 57 miles per hour along most of the storm’s length, the storm lasts for a minimum of at least 6 hours.
Derechos are mostly produced by “bow echo” storms, which are storms that have a bowed or curved shape when viewed on Doppler radar. The bow echo storm results from the powerful winds reaching the ground and the pressure on the Earth’s surface ‘feeding back’ and distorting the entire storm.

 Jul 01, 2012, EarthSky, by Matt Daniel
http://earthsky.org/earth/videos-and-images-violent-us-storm-of-june-29-2012
“On June 29, 2012, a violent wind storm system – called a derecho – advanced eastward across Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and in parts of New Jersey. It produced hurricane force winds that gusted as high as 91 miles per hour in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Millions of people were left without power as trees snapped on power lines. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC), reported nearly 800 wind reports from this derecho. Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell declared a state of emergency Saturday, June 30, 2012 – which also affected Washington DC – after the storm devastated the region. In fact, McDonnell announced that the derecho that pushed into Virginia made it the largest non-hurricane power outage in state history.”

As many as 5 million lost power from near Chicago to the East Coast, at least 22 were killed, and it caused a yet uncounted millions or billions in damage. Yet, as of 24 hours prior and even the morning of, very little in the way of mass indication that it was coming

 Reflecting on Preparativeness:

10 things the recent D.C. power outage taught us about a real, large-scale collapse
8 July 2012, by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger Editor of NaturalNews.com
Pasted from: http://www.naturalnews.com/036406_power_grid_failure_lessons.html

[Left; 30 June 2012:  Storm-damaged trees litter the east lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington.]

(NaturalNews) In the wake of violent storms, the power went out for millions of Americans across several U.S. states. Governors of Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio declared a state of emergency. Over twenty people were confirmed dead, and millions sweltered in blistering temperatures while having no air conditioning or refrigeration. As their frozen foods melted into processed goo, some were waking up to a few lessons that we would all be wise to remember.

Here are 10 hard lessons we’re all learning (or re-learning, as the case may be) from this situation:

#1) The power grid is ridiculously vulnerable to disruptions and failure
All it takes is Mother Nature unleashing a little wind storm, and entire human cities are cut off from their power grid. Wind and trees, in other words, can destroy in seconds what takes humans years to construct. As Newt Gingrich even quipped about the situation, what we witnessed was just a small taste of what a high-altitude EMP weapon attack could unleash across all of North America. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpuyPfAZRTU)

#2) Without electricity, acquiring food and water in a major U.S. city can become a difficult task
During the outage, masses of people across the Eastern U.S. scrambled to get squared away on food and water. Fortunately for them, malls and gas stations were open, providing (processed) food, water and air conditioning. That’s because the power outages were fragmented, affecting some neighborhoods but not others.
In a total grid down scenario, food and water supplies in a given U.S. city will disappear almost overnight. It’s much the same for gasoline, batteries and even ammunition. All these supplies (and many more) will simply be stripped from the shelves.

#3) Most people are simply not prepared and therefore worsen any crisis
The average American citizen practices zero preparedness. They are 100% dependent on the power grid, the city water supply, 911 services for protection and long-distance food deliveries to their grocery store. They have no backup plans, no stored food, no emergency mindset and no practical skills for surviving a real crisis.
As a result, their lack of preparedness worsens any crisis. Instead of being part of the solution, they become a burden on all the emergency services and supplies available in the area.
Hilariously, today’s city goers actually consider malls and movie theaters to be places of refuge. As FoxNews reported last weekend, “On Saturday, many people flocked to places like malls and movie theaters in the hope the lights would be on again when they returned home.” (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/07/01/millions-without-power-brace-for&#8230;)

#4) Cell phones are a fragile technology that can’t be counted on in an emergency
One of the more interesting observations about the current crisis is that many cell phone towers are out of service. That’s because they have no electricity and / or they have been damaged by wind or debris.
As a result, people who depend on cell phones for their lifeline to friends, relatives and 911 emergency services were suddenly left with non-functioning devices. Even in areas where the cell phone towers were still operating, many people had no place to charge their phones because their own homes were cut off from electricity.
When the grid is up, and there are no storms, solar flares or disruptions, cell phones are truly amazing devices, but they are vulnerable to even small-scale natural events, and they therefore cannot be relied on when you need them most.

#5) The internet is wildly vulnerable to natural disasters
According to news reports, these storms took down a portion of the Amazon Cloud, and this in turn shut down Netflix, Pinterest and Instagram. Those services have now been restored, but they were offline for several hours during which many of their users no doubt thought the world was coming to an end.

#6) Many people have no clue what to do in an emergency
Consider this quote about the CDC telling people what to do:
“The U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention was among many government agencies trying to keep people informed — from knowing when the food in your suddenly inoperable freezer can’t be eaten to taking a cool bath if you don’t have AC.”
(http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/30/us/extreme-heat/index.html)

Seriously? Does the government have to tell people to take a cool bath in order to avoid overheating? Do people not know when food has spoiled? And even more strangely, is it now the role of the U.S. government to tell everybody what to do in every emergency?
Whatever happened to common sense? I can tell you what: It moved out to the country!
Out in the country of Texas, Georgia, Kentucky and just about everywhere else, ranchers and farmers still have common sense. They know about backup water supplies, and they can figure things out for themselves. It seems to be city people who need the most instructions from Washington D.C. because they’ve forgotten the fundamental skills of human survival.

#7) 911 and other emergency services are quickly overwhelmed or completely offline
According to MSNBC:
In Washington’s northern Virginia suburbs, emergency 911 call centers were out of service; residents were told to call local police and fire departments. Huge trees toppled across streets in the nation’s capital, crumpling cars. Cellphone and Internet service was spotty, gas stations shut down and residents were urged to conserve water.
(http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/48032427/ns/weather/

[Right: An uprooted tree blocks a street in the American University neighborhood of Washington.]Meanwhile…Triple-digit temps as millions suffer storm power outages. Air-conditioning out to 1.5 million D.C. homes, businesses; 18 deaths tied to storms, heat.]

#8) A national grid-down situation would be far more complex to repair
The recent storms that caused this “grid down” situation for millions of Americans was a local event, and its repair and restoration was aided by workers arriving from outside the affected regions. In a national grid down scenario, however, there will be no excess human capital to lend to the situation. Every worker will be busy trying to restore the power grid in their own home regions.
This means repairs will take significantly longer, and according to some experts like David Chalk and James Wesley Rawles, a national grid down scenario has the potential of being unable to be repaired at all, resulting in years of no power grid which would obviously cause a mass die-off across the U.S. population.

#9) Modern cities are built on systems that have little redundancy
When the power goes out to a local hospital, there might be a temporary backup generator, but even that generator relies on the delivery of fuel. The delivery of generator fuel, in turn, relies on the availability of diesel truck fuel, which depends on petroleum refineries functioning, which in turn depends on the power grid staying up and highways remaining navigable. This is a complex chain of dependencies which can suffer disruptions or even total failure without warning.
There are surprisingly few redundancies in modern cities: Power, water, 911 services, natural gas and even sewage systems are all vulnerable to single points of failure. Even the evacuation infrastructure of modern cities is ripe for total failure. The city of Los Angeles, for example, simply cannot — under any circumstances — be evacuated. The highways simply do not have the capacity to handle the mass of vehicles attempting to leave, and in less than 72 hours, the whole thing would turn into a giant parking lot of stranded vehicles and desperate people, ripe for the picking off by armed gangs riding motorcycles.
When 911 fails, most people have no backup plan. Most people have no skills to defend themselves against acts of violence. They have no mindset for dealing with difficulty, so they call others to solve their problems for them: the police, the plumber, the fireman, the ambulance and so on. In a collapse scenario, individuals whose specialty skills are currently shared across a broad population will suddenly be difficult or impossible to locate. Why? Because they’ll be at home protecting their families!

#10) Mother Nature will humble humanity
Any time human beings get too arrogant and too big-headed about all their amazing cell phone technology, hi-rise cities and nuclear power plants, Mother Nature just shrugs and sends forth a tsunami of water or wind. All of humanity’s greatest constructs are but fragile toys compared to the truly awesome power of Mother Nature and the resilience of planet Earth.
If the power grid goes down across planet Earth for just one year, 90% of human civilization will perish, and along with it all the DVDs, Nike shoes and designer bling as well. Even the entire fictional construct of society’s laws and banking system will cease to exist.
Mother Nature is real. Consciousness is real. Seeds are real. But much of what humanity has so far created is paper-thin and temporary. It can all cease to exist in the blink of a cosmic eye.
We are fragile beings exploring a sea of such greatness and scale that our own lives seem silly by comparison. What humans think of as a natural “disaster” is but a tiny expression of natural patterns to Mother Nature. If we truly hope to survive as a species, we would be wise to remember how insignificant we really are in the greater scope of things… and why we must learn to respect nature and the universe rather than arrogantly thinking we have conquered it with GMOs, nuclear power and a supercollider.

See also the post Survival Manual/Disaster/ARc Storm (Atmospheric River storm), California’s catastrophic “flood version” of the midcentral US-east coast derecho windstorm.

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Sunburn: Protection & Treatment

(Survival manual/6. Medical/e) Skin/Sunburn protection & treatment)

See also:
<http://wikitravel.org/en/Sunburn_and_sun_protection>
<http://www.medicinenet.com/sun_protection_and_sunscreens/article.htm>

 Protective Clothing
Sunlight is strongest when it is directly above the sky.  This is why health professionals advise that a person must avoid the sun between ten o’clock in the morning to four o’clock in the afternoon.  A marathon conducted at exactly twelve noon not only plays havoc on the skin, but also causes heat stroke and dehydration.

If going out in the sun is unavoidable during such hours, a person should wear protective clothing.  Protective clothing can reduce the skin’s exposure to sunlight.  Long pants protect the legs.  Long-sleeved shirts protect the arms.  And broad-brimmed hats can protect the face, especially the eyes.  Umbrellas are also effective tools in reducing sun exposure.
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Seven Tips for Treating a Sunburn at Home
A sunburn is an actual burn of your skin from the ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or other UV light sources (ie tanning beds). A sunburn can occur from as little as 15 minutes of midday sun exposure in a very light-skinned person.
The first signs of a sunburn may not appear for a few hours after the UV exposure. Sunburns may often appear “worse” the day after being at the beach, as it can take 24 hours or longer for the full effect of the UV damage to your skin to appear.
Sunburned skin is red and tender skin that is warm to the touch. Severe sunburned skin may result in the formation of blisters. Almost all sunburned skin will result in skin peeling on the burned areas several days after the sunburn.

It is always best to PREVENT sunburns, but when the sunburn occurs use these seven tips for comfort and healing:

  1. Take anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprophen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve) or aspirin. Do NOT give aspirin to children. These help decrease the inflammation and reduce the amount of redness and pain. The pain from a sunburn is usually worst between 6 and 48 hours after sun exposure.
  2. If your skin is not blistering, moisturizing cream may be applied to relieve discomfort. Store the moisturizing cream in the refrigerator between applications as the coolness will aid in comfort to your skin.
  3. Apply cool compresses to the burned skin. Cold wash clothes work well.
  4. Avoid hot showers or bathes. Take a luke warm bath instead. If there is no blistering of the skin, consider adding Aveeno Collodial Oatmeal to the bath water. It will aid in anti-inflammatory relief and act as a moisturizer for your skin.
  5. Avoid any additional sun or UV light exposure while your sunburn is healing. Clothing is better than protection while healing – long sleeves, hats, etc.
  6. Avoid products that contain benzocaine and lidocaine. They may actually create more itching and inflammation by causing an allergic contact dermatitis.
  7. If your sunburned skin develops blisters, resist the urge to pop them. The blister cover is actually protecting your raw skin underneath.

Sunburn Protection
Most organizations recommend using sunscreen with an SPF between 15 and 50 (SPF ratings higher than 50 have not been proven to be more effective than SPF 50). A sunscreen with an SPF of 15 protects against about 93 percent of UVB rays, and one with an SPF of 30 protects against 97 percent of rays, according to the Mayo Clinic. No SPF can block 100% of UV rays.

Because some UV radiation still gets through the sunscreen and into your skin, the SPF number refers to roughly how long it will take for a person’s skin to turn red. Sunscreen with an SPF of 15 will prevent your skin from getting red for approximately 15 times longer than usual (so if you start to burn in 10 minutes, sunscreen with SPF 15 will prevent burning for about 150 minutes, or 2.5 hours), according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
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The UV (Ultraviolet) Index
<http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/uviscale.html>
The UV Index scale used in the United States conforms with international guidelines for UVI reporting established by the World Health Organization. What follows is a description of each UV Index level and tips to help you avoid harmful exposure to UV radiation.
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** You can sign up for the free, daily  EPA (Environmental Protection Agency’s UV Index alert e-mail for your zip code, at: https://enviroflash.epa.gov/uv/Subscriber.do?method=start
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 2 or less: Low
A UV Index reading of 2 or less means low danger from the sun’s UV rays for the average person:
•  Wear sunglasses on bright days. In winter, reflection off snow can nearly double UV strength.
•  If you burn easily, cover up and use sunscreen.

Look Out Below:
Snow and water can reflect the sun’s rays. Skiers and swimmers should take special care. Wear sunglasses or goggles, and apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Remember to protect areas that could be exposed to UV rays by the sun’s reflection, including under the chin and nose.

3 – 5: Moderate
A UV Index reading of 3 to 5 means moderate risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure.
•  Take precautions, such as covering up, if you will be outside.
•  Stay in shade near midday when the sun is strongest.

Me and My Shadow: An easy way to tell how much UV exposure you are getting is to look for your shadow: If your shadow is taller than you are (in the early morning and late afternoon), your UV exposure is likely to be low. If your shadow is shorter than you are (around midday), you are being exposed to high levels of UV radiation. Seek shade and protect your skin and eyes.

6 – 7: High
A UV Index reading of 6 to 7 means high risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Apply a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15. Wear a wide-brim hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes.
•  Protection against sunburn is needed.
•  Reduce time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
•  Cover up, wear a hat and sunglasses, and use sunscreen.

Made in the Shades: Wearing sunglasses protects the lids of your eyes as well as the lens.

8 – 10: Very High
A UV Index reading of 8 to 10 means very high risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Minimize sun exposure during midday hours, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Protect yourself by liberally applying a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Wear protective clothing and sunglasses to protect the eyes.
•  Take extra precautions. Unprotected skin will be damaged and can burn quickly.
•  Minimize sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m; seek shade, cover up, wear a hat and sunglasses, and use sunscreen.

Stay in the Game: Be careful during routine outdoor activities such as gardening or playing sports. Remember that UV exposure is especially strong if you are working or playing between the peak hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Don’t forget that spectators, as well as participants, need to wear sunscreen and eye protection to avoid too much sun.

11+: Extreme
A UV Index reading of 11 or higher means extreme risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Try to avoid sun exposure during midday hours, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 liberally every 2 hours.
•  Take all precautions. Unprotected skin can burn in minutes. Beachgoers should know that white sand and other bright surfaces reflect UV and will increase UV exposure.
•  Try to avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
•  Seek shade, cover up, wear a hat and sunglasses, and use sunscreen.

Beat the Heat: It is possible to go outside when the UV Index is 11 or higher. Make sure you always seek shade, wear a hat, cover up, wear 99-100% UV-blocking sunglasses, and use sunscreen. Or you can opt to stay indoors and take the opportunity to relax with a good book rather than risk dangerous levels of sun exposure

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