ApocaDocs
Today is May 12, 2021.
On this day (05/12), we posted 11 stories, over the years 2009-2016.


Converging Emergencies: From 2009 to 2016, 'Doc Jim and 'Doc Michael spent 30 to 90 minutes nearly every day, researching, reading, and joking about more than 8,000 news stories about Climate Chaos, Biology Breach, Resource Depletion, and Recovery. (We also captured stories about Species Collapse and Infectious Disease, but in this "greatest hits of the day" instantiation, we're skipping the last two.)
      We shared those stories and japes daily, at apocadocs.com (see our final homepage, upon the election of Trump).
      The site was our way to learn about what humans were doing to our ecosystem, as well our way to try to help wake up the world.
      You could call this new format the "we knew it all back then, but nobody wanted to know we knew it" version. Enjoy these stories and quips from a more hopeful time, when the two ApocaDocs imagined that humanity would come to its senses in time -- so it was just fine to make fun of the upcoming collapse.

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Biology
Breach


May 12, 2014, from Associated Press

Fed govt failed to inspect higher risk oil wells

All's not well that ends not well.
The government has failed to inspect thousands of oil and gas wells it considers potentially high risks for water contamination and other environmental damage, congressional investigators say. The report, obtained by The Associated Press before its public release, highlights substantial gaps in oversight by the agency that manages oil and gas development on federal and Indian lands. Investigators said weak control by the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management resulted from policies based on outdated science and from incomplete monitoring data.


May 12, 2011, from Toronto Globe and Mail

Fraser River sockeye face chemical soup of 200 contaminants

Coldcocking the sockeye!
Sockeye salmon are exposed to a soup of chemicals in the Fraser River, and some of the ingredients are accumulating to potentially lethal levels in eggs, while others may be disrupting the sexual function of fish, according to a scientific review conducted for the Cohen Commission... While it is unlikely that contaminants are "the sole cause" of sockeye population declines, the report says there is "a strong possibility that exposure to contaminants of concern, endocrine disrupting chemicals, and/or contaminants of emerging concern has contributed to the decline of sockeye salmon."


May 12, 2011, from Science News

Idling jets pollute more than thought

Apparently, it blows one's mind AND one's brain (and lungs).
Airports can pose a far bigger threat to local air than previously recognized, thanks to the transformative power of sunlight. In the first on-tarmac measurements of their kind, researchers have shown that oil droplets spewed by idling jet engines can turn into particles tiny enough to readily penetrate the lungs and brain. Allen Robinson of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and his team collected the pollution spewed from a plane powered by one of the most common types of commercial jet engines as it operated at different loads... Sunlight's oxidation of the exhaust emitted at idling can generate 35 times more particles than the engine originally emitted and 10 times what computer models have typically predicted, the researchers report online May 5 in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. Robinson says he found these new data "unbelievable. It sort of blew our minds."


May 12, 2011, from ABC Good Morning America

Mississippi River Flooding: Pollution, Fertilizers, Sewage in the Flood Waters; ABC News Does its Own Testing

All that shit is going to kill the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.
The great Mississippi River flood of 2011, cresting south of Memphis today, carries a mix of fertilizer, oil, pesticides, trash and farm runoff as it flows toward the Gulf of Mexico, say public health officials. Some of it is nasty stuff, and officials say people are wise to be careful. They urge people not to touch the water unless they're wearing rubber boots and gloves, and wash thoroughly if they get wet. "There could be a lot of untreated sewage coming downstream," said Wilma Subra, an environmental scientist and activist in Louisiana who has tangled with oil and chemical companies. "People need to be aware."

Climate
Chaos


May 12, 2015, from ThinkProgress

Sea Level Rise Is Happening Faster Than Anyone Thought

Not faster than everyone thought!
"We see acceleration, and what I find striking about that is the fact that it's consistent with the projections of sea level rise published by the IPCC," Watson told the Guardian. "Sea level rise is getting faster. We know it's been getting faster over the last two decades than its been over the 20th century and its getting faster again." Because sea levels can naturally fluctuate as water is exchanged between land and sea, Watson notes that the rate of increase is too small to be statistically significant -- though he told the Washington Post that it's clear that sea levels are now rising at roughly double the rate observed in the 20th century, something that will have potentially huge ramifications for coastal areas across the world.


May 12, 2014, from NBC News

West Antarctic Ice Sheet Collapsing, Triggers Sea Level Warning

So now I can go ahead and drive my Hummer guilt-free!
Two teams of scientists say the long-feared collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has begun, kicking off what they say will be a centuries-long, "unstoppable" process that could raise sea levels by as much as 15 feet.... A second study, published Monday in Geophysical Research Letters, reports the widespread retreat of Thwaites and other glaciers on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet -- and says the retreat can't help but continue. "It has passed the point of no return," the research team's leader, Eric Rignot of the University of California at Irvine, told reporters during a NASA teleconference on Monday. The second study projected that the glacial retreat in Antarctica's Amundsen Sea Embayment, which includes Thwaites Glacier, would result in 4 feet (1.2 meters) of sea level rise -- and open the way to more widespread retreats.


May 12, 2009, from CBC (Canada)

Federal predictions of greenhouse gas reductions are exaggerated: watchdog

Did the entire Bush administration just move north?
The federal government has overstated greenhouse gas reductions expected as a result of its climate change plans and is failing to count the actual reductions to see if they match with predictions, according to a report tabled in Parliament. "Without a system to count real emission reductions that result from its measures, the government will not be able to inform Parliament whether the measures are working," Scott Vaughan, commissioner of the environment and sustainable development, said Tuesday in the text of a prepared statement.... "A recurring flaw ... is the lack of transparency on the part of the government as to how forecast reductions are calculated," the report said. It noted that the potential effect of factors such as energy prices and economic conditions are not included.


May 12, 2009, from University of Washington, via EurekAlert

Any way you slice it, warming climate is affecting Cascades snowpack

What kind of April fools are they?
There has been sharp disagreement in recent years about how much, or even whether, winter snowpack has declined in the Cascade Mountains of Washington and Oregon during the last half-century. But new research leaves little doubt that a warmer climate has a significant effect on the snowpack, as measured by water content on April 1, even if other factors keep year-to-year measurements close to normal for a period of years.... The new research used four different methods to examine decades-long records of water contained in Cascades snowpack in the central Puget Sound basin on April 1 of each year. Scientists used simple geometry to estimate temperature sensitivity of snowpack, made detailed analysis of seasonal snowpack and temperature data, used a hydrological model to examine the data, and analyzed daily temperature and precipitation measurements to estimate water content of snowpack on April 1.... "If you assume precipitation is the same every year and look at the effects of temperature alone, all the ways we examined the data converge at about a 20 percent decline in snowpack for each degree Celsius of temperature increase," said Casola.

Resource
Depletion


May 12, 2009, from Times of India

The mad rush for water

Can't someone just invent a way to make water? C'mon, innovators!
KANPUR: The Khuranas leave bed early in the morning everyday at 5.00 this May, not to jog and gym, but to fill water as this is the only time it is easily available. Ravi Khurana, head of family and a banker said, "The water supply has a steady flow in early morning hours so we wake up early to store enough water for our daily requirements." Water has become a priced and elusive commodity in the concrete desert of this city and everybody can feel its shortage. The problem increases in high-rise buildings. Along with rising mercury, family budgets too are rising with a new entrant in their household items -- water cans. Talking to TOI, Anupam Shukla, a resident of Swaroopnagar said, "Motor pumps are proving to be incapable of supplying water to our sixth floor apartment. Hence, we are forced to buy water cans of 20 litre capacity to store drinking water." He added, "We do not use the water supplied directly for drinking purpose, rather using it for performing other household chores and for bathing etc."

Recovery


May 12, 2014, from New York Times

A Lesson in Farming, Classroom to Cafeteria

Survival 101
Beyond a stack of hay bales, past the site of Indiana's first soil-judging contest, high school students in this tiny eastern town stroll down a grassy slope to reach their newest classroom: a fenced-in field of cud-chewing cattle. Starting in the next academic year, the cattle, which arrived last month and have names like Ground Round and Honey Bear, will be fed by students enrolled in an agricultural science class. Then, when the animals are fat enough, they will be fed back to their caretakers -- as beef patties on lunchroom trays... Small-town schools across the country are turning to hands-on agricultural classes that also supply cheaper, healthier food for their cafeterias.