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Author Topic: The ecologial effects of Katrina  (Read 9192 times)

Offline Tronix

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The ecologial effects of Katrina
« on: 01/09/2005 01:02:14 »
A dark time has dawned on us in the U.S. once again, this time dealt by the immense force of Katrina the Hurricane. The worst doomsday nightmares of civil engineers, climatologists, and ecologists, not to mention city officals, has seemed to come true, New Orleans is flooded and filled, and the threat of more water looms.

I am interested in trying to know as much about this event as possible, and try to come up with possible solutions to the enviromental hazards to come.

Whom has an idea, or even good maths to preict the effects of the enviroment by Katrina? If you do, lets discuss some soultions, and maybe even send them to the people in chatge of the relief efforts. might as well do somethign with our expertise, i think.  



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The BPRD rejected my application becuase their brain-controled by Cthulhu Rip-offs. And im sure "Sparky" is sleeping with them too, kinky little firecracker she is...


 

Offline Simmer

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Re: The ecologial effects of Katrina
« Reply #1 on: 03/09/2005 17:58:36 »
Good luck with this but I think the problem may be too complex even for the mighty intellects that comprise the Naked Scientists' Forum :)

There are stacks of unknowns, such as the state of the chemical and petrochemical production/storage facilities in the area, salinity (if any) of the water, sewage effluent disruption, number vehicles flooded and general domestic and industrial toxins.  Just thinking about the kinds of poisons that could escape from my house were it flooded is slightly worrying!
 

Offline Ultima

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Re: The ecologial effects of Katrina
« Reply #2 on: 03/09/2005 19:20:05 »
Heh it's not that complicated. All the land humans reclaimed from the sea which was once swamp/marsh/bog, is reverting back due to global warming. Any cities below sea level or close to the present one need to be relocated. In about 20 years London is going to be screwed. The Thames barrier is already being used far more than it was designed to, and it's getting to the point where in a couple of years it wont do the job anymore. If you are going to move a city you need to start now. The world is changing it’s about time people woke up and smelled the natural disasters! We are getting destructive tornadoes in the UK FFS!

wOw the world spins?
 

Offline Simmer

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Re: The ecologial effects of Katrina
« Reply #3 on: 03/09/2005 23:03:11 »
quote:
Originally posted by Ultima

Heh it's not that complicated. All the land humans reclaimed from the sea which was once swamp/marsh/bog, is reverting back due to global warming. Any cities below sea level or close to the present one need to be relocated.


I think you're right about the long term threat.  Problem is that nearly all cities are build on the coast (i.e. sea level) or by big navigable rivers (i.e. recovered flood plains)! :)

Getting enough people to agree to the colossal financial and human cost of moving hundreds of millions of people and hundreds of billions worth of infrastructure when a large proportion of them don't even recognise the threat - well it's not going to happen.

I think we're on this ride all the way to the bottom.  And we'll be driving SUVs! :D
 

Offline David Sparkman

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Re: The ecologial effects of Katrina
« Reply #4 on: 04/09/2005 02:03:38 »
I agree, it should be very interesting to see if they just keep doing the same old thing behind higher dikes or if they do try moving out of harm's way. In the old days, we couldn't let good farm land go to waste. Now we grow everything and more that we need to, and are letting the marginal farmland go back to nature. Many citys have flood plains where you can only build parks in or use just for grazing.

New Orleans is the city of water transport. It has been since before the US got it. And a tremondous amount of barge transport moves between the ocean and the midwest states though N.O.

I would hope that manufactoring businesses that have been seriously hurt or destroyed will think twice about the low lands as a location for rebuilding.

David
 

Offline Simmer

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Re: The ecologial effects of Katrina
« Reply #5 on: 04/09/2005 08:39:09 »
It's a classic dilemma, New Orleans needs a port for ocean-going trade/petrochemicals and it needs to be by the river for inland trade and distribution.  So there there aren't many other places you could put it and probably none much better than where it already is!  I suppose they could build the residential areas higher, if there is anywhere suitable within reasonable commuting distance?

You also alluded to the other problem; New Orleans is a historic city, a cultural icon in the US and known of across the world.  It would leave a big gap if it had to be abandoned :(
 

Offline David Sparkman

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Re: The ecologial effects of Katrina
« Reply #6 on: 04/09/2005 15:16:53 »
A lot of people don't have the time to wait for rebuilding, and will simply move elsewhere. I think New orleans will see a sharp decline in population starting with the welfare class. There will be lots of jobs for rebuilding, but those will go to the skilled labor group, not the "what me work?" group.

Likewise the lawlessness will discourage some businessmen from coming back. I would hazard to guess that it will be a smaller, better designed city in the 4 to 5 years that it will take to finish rebuilding. And government, by its nature, is slow.

David
 

Offline VAlibrarian

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Re: The ecologial effects of Katrina
« Reply #7 on: 05/09/2005 03:44:07 »
Consider the fact that environmentalists have been concerned for years about the rapid disapperance of the Louisiana marshland due to erosion. Before the Channelization of the Mississippi river, the silt load of the slow river was deposited in the marsh, and land was actually growing at the mouth of the river. channelization reversed that process and helped to make new Orleans vulnerable to storm surge- less land there to soak up the water.

It is possible that along with higher levees, the Army Corps of Engineers may make an effort to reduce the straightness and speed of the Mississippi, so that it may once again replenish the delta land mass through silt deposition. We need to monitor the governmental process (sausage factory) of funding "improvements" to the new New Orleans.- (once they pump out the water, which will take months).  Building higher levees alone is not an "improvement"- it is fighting nature rather than working with it.  A fast river without curves will always deposit the silt load out to sea, and the delta will always disappear because of the lack.

chris wiegard
 

Offline Allison

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Re: The ecologial effects of Katrina
« Reply #8 on: 05/09/2005 04:37:27 »
First, someone will have to slap the Corps of Engineers upside the head and convince them that channelization is NOT the best plan in every situation--in most situations.  Because of channelization and over-zealous flood control, parts of the Mississippi River delta have been subsiding up to three feet a year--a staggering figure.  I hope the Corps of Engineers sits up and takes notice--a disaster of this magnitude was just waiting to happen.
 

Offline David Sparkman

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Re: The ecologial effects of Katrina
« Reply #9 on: 05/09/2005 04:44:36 »
I agree with the silting problem. The straight through design is good for shipping though, and shipping is so much cheaper than any other form of transport.

I would suggest that the rebuilding of this city will be an experiment in what can be done that will protect the city enviromentally and keep it as a major shipping hub for the world. It probabily wont satisfy anyone as most compromises don't.

David
 

Offline Tronix

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Re: The ecologial effects of Katrina
« Reply #10 on: 05/09/2005 19:04:59 »
I dont think there is to much that we can do to prevent this from happening. Geologically, its nearly destined to take a hurricane badly. buildings are just plain diffuilcat to build on a marsh. I think what could be cheaper (i dont knwo im no economist) and less disruptivew to the enviorment (after all, changing an entire major riveres course is not something that we dont feel in the end) woudl be coming up with a way to make New Orleans itself less vulnerabel to a hurricane. Better evacuation methods, levvees that will last long enough for people to get out, and a well funded, trained, and maintianed rescue force for those that cant or wont evac until its too late. Unless we put that highest technology and huge sums of money to work, i dont think we will make new orleans hurricane proof, but we can less the effect a bit by getting as many peole out as we can and rebuilding as best we can.

As for the complication of the ecological effects, ecology is complicated itself. its about huge numbers of different unquantified factors. Thus it helps to start at the top and with what we can work with. For example, someone coudl find out how much oil on average was stored in the refienry that were hit, as they are buisnesses and they would have files on it, and salinity of the delta is probably measured by scientists frequenlty. Sewage could be dirved for the sewage distubution structures, and is probably known by the citys engineers, asuming they are still alive. As for household chemicals and cars, the concentration will be small in comparsion to billion gallon oil tanks, while of course they will have an effect, we wont be able to figure out what it is till much later. Its not impossible to at least make a good guess, which is what us scientists do.

In the very least, i think we should try to study this disater as much as possible, as this will yeild volumes of information we can use to save lives in the future. We have always guessed thsi woudl happen, but now that it has, we can finally concretly quantify almost every factor, from a accurate estimate of the gigaliters of water trapped by the "bowl" to the surface area of the oil slick (assuming there will be one, though i cant imagine that all the oil tanks made it through un touched) Now we can put the senario to paper and show it to the politcians that have ignored the warnings, and they will knwo the devestaion quantified on the file in front of them is partially there doing. im sorry if that offened anyone, but we knew about thsi ahead of time, and we still took our sweet time getting there! ITs on the bloody coast from craps sake, the coast guard coudl have been on route the minute new orlens made it out of the eye wall! Still, i cant blame the devestation on people, and there are facotrs on not accounting for their tardiness. still it burns me quite a bit.

Well, it looks liek we already got at least on idea: Dont use channelization to fix this. Lets continue to discuss this and come up with new ideas.

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"If i cannot have company whose minds are clearly free, I would prefer to go alone."                  -Dr. Gideon Lincecum

The BPRD rejected my application becuase their brain-controled by Cthulhu Rip-offs. And im sure "Sparky" is sleeping with them too, kinky little firecracker she is...
 

Offline David Sparkman

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Re: The ecologial effects of Katrina
« Reply #11 on: 05/09/2005 23:53:01 »
A couple of things for those depending on news coverage, which is doing a poor job of reporting the facts (too interested in Bush Bashing as usual).

The Hurricane scaled down to a level 1 storm as it slugged across Florida. A level 1 storm is the lowest kind. Then over the short time it took to cross the gulf, it picked up a tremendous amount of energy from the warm water and grew into a level 5 storm that slightly weakened as it neared shore and was pushed a little eastward before hitting shore. (It could have hit New Orleans directly if this hadn't happened.) It hit level 5 (highest level storm) only 3 hours before slamming into the coast.

Law and order were never an issue in Mississippi or Alabama, where the police were willing to shoot looters and told them in advance that looters would be shot. New Orleans, being a little more relaxed ended up with gangs thinking they could get away with murder. And they did due to the lax cops. It was the national guard that took on the gunmen and killed 5 of those firing at firemen and other rescue personnel.

The national guardsmen are reserve military men (army, navy, air force and marines). They are not really trained to arrest people who are resisting. They generally just kill the enemy until they surrender.

The President is hampered by our laws in rendering aid, and cannot do much until formally requested by the state governor. And then much of the operation will be directed by the locals with the Federal government assisting. Louisiana government took a long time before allowing the Feds to do their thing. And the fed thing is not exactly how you might think, as they want to avoid chaos and control the roads so that the immediate needs are taken care of first. That means that certain kinds of aid must be delayed until after the essential things are taken care of.

Many communities and cities were hit hard by this storm. The loss of the levee and just poor local management in New Orleans has made that city the disaster it is. Certain critical planning could have been done that wasn’t. If you know fresh water will be a problem, you make arrangements with the local factories to secure their water towers at the start of the emergency so that the water in them remains uncontaminated, and the rescue people can bring trucks to the towers (normally used for emergency fire protection at a plant), and draw clean drinking water. Using the city busses and school busses for an emergency evacuation is another thing no one planned for. I am sure the list will be quite long before this matter is settled. But this city is known for its political corruption, and these things weren’t done.


David
« Last Edit: 06/09/2005 01:13:48 by David Sparkman »
 

Offline entropy

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Re: The ecologial effects of Katrina
« Reply #12 on: 09/09/2005 07:18:01 »
quote:
Originally posted by Tronix

A dark time has dawned on us in the U.S. once again, this time dealt by the immense force of Katrina the Hurricane. The worst doomsday nightmares of civil engineers, climatologists, and ecologists, not to mention city officals, has seemed to come true, New Orleans is flooded and filled, and the threat of more water looms.

I am interested in trying to know as much about this event as possible, and try to come up with possible solutions to the enviromental hazards to come.

Whom has an idea, or even good maths to preict the effects of the enviroment by Katrina? If you do, lets discuss some soultions, and maybe even send them to the people in chatge of the relief efforts. might as well do somethign with our expertise, i think.  




Ive got an idea, when u live under sea level move house, stop having babies so people dont live in ridiculous places. Take the tsunami for example, apparantley some people who lived on isladns that were close to  the epicentre, saw the sea get sucked back, they knew what was happening and they moved to higher groud (obviously a lot of people didnt know this, but regardless) people knew what was going on, they knew to got out of there, why, because this knowledge has been passed down for centuries. Katrina, this is a natural thing that occurs regularly in history, why the hell build a city below sea level and put up some dykes to stop the water right in the path of where hurricanes hit the country then carry on thinking everything is gonns be fine, its ridiculous.

Sort out the toxins by all means, think of all the wildlife etc polluted and devastated by human waste etc, but you dont need to waste youo time thinking of ways people can live there, It is simply another demonstration of mans fight against nature, move the people on and let nature take its course

I would like to appologise if this offends anyone, im not a mean person, but i feel strongly about this, as its another demo of mans perpetual and blind stupidity.

One further point id like to make which highlights the stupidity of the situatuion...

I believe the dutch should pack up camp and move to higher ground, EVERYONE knows it is a disaster waiting to happen

Holland protects from storm surge probability 1 in every 4000years

London 1 in every 2000 (London needs to move on, its innrvitable its going to happen, its just when!!! Bristol for capital!)

New Orleans 1 in every 200 years.

We as a society need to stop trying to beat mother nature, history shows us it has its was of leveling the playing fields no matter what anyone thinks, we need to move these people out for good, thats the best way we can help.
 

Offline VAlibrarian

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Re: The ecologial effects of Katrina
« Reply #13 on: 17/09/2005 01:55:41 »
I have to disagree with some of what is being said here. To begin with, Katrina was so obviously a serious danger to Louisiana that the head of the national hurricane Center was making phone calls over 24 hours before landfall to tell local governmental officials such as Haley Barbour in Mississippi and Ray Nagin in New orleans that it could be just as bad as Hurricane Camille was 40 years ago- hundreds of deaths. There was a couple days warning for anyone who watches TV. So let's not point out that it was a category 1 in Florida a couple of days earlier, because that is irrelevant and misleading. President Bush declared a state of emergency either Saturday or Sunday. Hurricane arrives Monday and everybody in politics is surprised?
If you want to talk about environmentally irresponsible construction please do not just talk about new Orleans. The entire shore of Mississippi was houses right up to the beach, houses that are now driftwood. Is anybody mentioning that it is insane to rebuild those houses? This is not the last category 4 storm that will be arriving there.



chris wiegard
 

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Re: The ecologial effects of Katrina
« Reply #13 on: 17/09/2005 01:55:41 »

 

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