Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => The Environment => Topic started by: Andrew K Fletcher on 28/10/2007 09:44:52

Title: Project OASIS Solution to Global Warming Pollution Deserts Floods Fires & Famine
Post by: Andrew K Fletcher on 28/10/2007 09:44:52

Heard on the radio this morning, Radio 4 that is :) (if I heard correct) the pollution equates to around 450 thousand vehicles over one year of driving.
There is a huge plume of black smoke over California apparently and people are urged to stay indoors and not to exercise outdoors.

Where on earth did they come up with the figure 450 thousand vehicles? Do they mean trucks, cars, or motorcycles? So I did a quick search using these terms radio4 pollution 450000 and low and behold the figure 450000 appears quite a lot over a whole heap of subjects, possibly some statisticians favourite number.

I doubt we shall see the true figure. For example, if it rains heavily the pollution is removed from the air, unlike 450000 vehicles used daily for a year where the pollution is constant.

I also heard that to prevent fires happening and causing as much damage in the future, huge swathes of trees need to be removed from around properties?

They just don't get it do they. The problem is not the trees, it is the human encroachment. That Old song, It never rains in California rings true here, but why? Because these stupid people have removed the forests from the coastlines which cause it to rain by removing the thermal barrier along the coast that lowers air pressure sufficiently to allow moisture from the ocean to cross on to the land!

Remove the trees? Right, does history tell these morons anything? What happens now the fires have ravaged the lands? More trees and scrub will establish itself over the next few years and more fires will happen more frequently eventually causing the soils precious remaining organic material to be desiccated and blown away in the wind. REMEMBER THE AMEICAN DUST BOWL? (

The magnificent Giant Californian Redwoods stand as witness to the logic of maintaining coastal forest, These ancient trees when left alone do not burn down, but continue to grow spectacularly, year in year out. Moisture is observed to cross over onto the land here and provides the huge volumes of water these wonders of nature require.

Can we not learn how to live in harmony with nature? Australia has completely devastated its natural living resources. Slash and burn has been long admired as land management by the Aborigines and adopted by the sheep farmers. The end result is always the same, massive deserts growing now at rates we could never have anticipated in the past. But we should have been able to anticipate them! There are many fossils of plant eating creatures found in deserts. What happened to the lands?

They did exactly the same as stupid humans are doing now but much slower. They removed the vegetation from the coastlines and then the rains stopped just as they are stopping all over the world right now! Once the rains no longer fall on the inland forests they become tinder dry! Sound familiar yet? After many fires the soil becomes so poor the wind blows away the remaining organic matter until all that is left is dust and sand, eventually the dust is all blown away into the ocean or on our car windscreens here in the UK and the rest of Europe until all that remains are the larger particles SAND!

Deserts can be both hot and cold. Hot deserts heat up the air around them to scorching temperatures this causes thermals to rise and more air to be sucked in to replace it. This is known as the Hadley Cell. Again it is a density flow system using gas rather than fluids but the principles are exactly the same. This causes air to be recycled within the desert rather than cooling cloud cover blocking out the suns energy. This is the real source of global warming. The deserts are the cylinder heads of this vehicle to our own extinction and just like the dinosaurs our own bones will be buried in the sands just like those found in the Atacama desert, one of the driest places on earth. (

I was in Spain a while back, it rained every night, but only once in the day.
The weather was very warm and dry, yet at night rain came in from the ocean and covered an amazing forested area that runs right up to the coast stretching for more than 25 miles of the most amazing picturesque landscapes, this was as far as we travelled miles. The area was East of Loret da Mar, Costa Brava, along the coastal road. Friends were staying West about 40 –45 miles from us at the same time. While it didn’t rain at all for them, they had clear blue cloudless skies and scorched landscape and very little precious tree cover close to the coast in Reus, a tightly packed heavily built up area with lots of buildings, tarmac and concrete, (Manufactured deserts)

In deserts when it does rain it often rains hard as a rapid cooling effect takes place on the hot air sucking in huge volumes of moisture which cools rapidly and delivers vast quantities of rain rapidly. The ground is not able to deal with deluges of this nature as the capacity of the organic material in the soil to hold onto the water has long since gone. The results are devastating flash floods and sure enough this had happened near where our friends were staying, there was much evidence of destruction, cars washed over the edges of roads etc. But while our friends stayed there not a drop of rain fell in this area when a week before it was pelted with torrential rain. The same has happened in many places throughout the world.

Reducing emissions is child splay compared to the real task at hand if we are even to begin slowing down global warming we must act now and reclaim desert coastal areas by planting billions of trees along the edges of the worlds deserts. To do this we need water and organic material in order to create a fertile crust above the deep sands, otherwise irrigation water will simply evaporate from the surface leaving behind a crust of salt or sink below the surface and cause the ground water to become salty. Replacing organic material in the soil can be done by using the excess human and animal bodily waste in sewage and waste water, which is currently dumped in rivers and oceans throughout the world, or processed expensively where the effluent is still released into the oceans and rivers and the solids are disposed of in landfill.

Supertankers are large ships, commonly used to carry oil, liquefied natural gas, or liquefied petroleum gas.
Among tanker ships, the very largest are called supertankers.
The largest of these are the Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC), which can carry 200,000 tons or more of oil, and the Ultra Large Crude Carrier (ULCC), which can manage over 300,000 tons.
These ships can weigh 200,000 to 400,000 tons all by themselves. The top speed of a supertanker when carrying a full load can be as much as 18 mph (or nearly 30 km/h)

We currently have a network of huge crude oil carrying ships, VLCC’s and ULCC’s that use sea water as ballast in order to lower their massive structures back into the water after delivering massive cargoes of crude oil to the developed and developing countries. It would be so simple to fill these ships with a cargo of humanure and animal manure enriched water full of essential fats and organic materials to replenish the lost material from the desert sands. And more to the point will eliminate the need to treat this sewage problem other than the removal of unwanted plastics etc and reduce our phenomenal water rate bills into the bargain, while eradicating pollution at a stroke. (

SEE: for the extent of the pollution in California

Ironically these crude carriers are returning to deserts in North and South Africa and the Middle East where the inherent lack of water prevents reforesting huge areas. Even so many of these countries are using their own wastewater to reforest and reclaim deserts by growing trees in soils irrigated with the waste water from populated areas.

Once sufficient coastal areas have been covered in trees, the thermal barrier that is in place at the moment will be effectively gone. Moisture from the ocean can now cross onto the land and the tree cover vastly reduces the surface temperature of the land enabling moisture to be milked from the sky by the low pressures that develop from irrigation and forestry.

If we only realised now that the deserts represent some of the biggest challenges for humanity and in fact our own salvation, we might begin to address this impending Armageddon we have unleashed upon this fragile world and all its inhabitants.

I have written a book about this whole scenario and require a publisher in order to progress it to the minds of people that can change policy and put this amazingly simple project into practice for the benefit of everyone.


Andrew K Fletcher     
Title: Re: Project OASIS Solution to Global Warming Pollution Deserts Floods Fires & Famine
Post by: Andrew K Fletcher on 28/10/2007 13:47:14





Can we learn from Spains example here along the South Coast? There are many more treeless landscapes in Spain along the same stretch of coastline that do not get anywhere close to the amount of rainfall we were observing here. Andalucia for example is where the Sahara demonstrates it knows no boundaries.

This process of desertification is worse in southern Spain than anywhere else in Europe, but it cannot simply be blamed on the hot climate.

According to ecologists, the problem has been hugely aggravated by the local farming and tourist industries.

  Man is responsible for the advanced state of desertification in southern Spain. So man has to change his habits to stop it Cesar Vicente Fernandez, Junta de Andalucia 

"Generally, people just care about a making a quick profit. They don't think about the long-term damage they're causing to the environment," says Jose Luis Gamez, of the Malaga-based Ecologists in Action.

"Intensive farming and mass tourism in southern Spain are straining our limited natural resources to breaking point. There simply isn't enough water to go round."

Travelled around 100 miles of coastline in Costa Brava Spain most of which was arid and irrigated. Found many dried up riverbeds and not a drop of water in any of them.
Yet the soil still produces a wide variety of cash crops (for now at least) But this cannot be sustained for much longer as most of the organic material has been leeched from the sandy soils already.

The wooded areas of Spain would benefit from the re-introduction of broad-leafed trees that provide valuable leaf litter to enrich the soil and in doing so enable the soils to hold water rather than it flushing away down the hillsides where it causes flash floods.

The Texas Ranch used to dump toxic sludge which was first dried and then transported by train from New York is not totally lost because with a little application of common sense, a vast forest could be planted. Trees are great at removing heavy metals from the soils and locking them away in timber, which can then be used in building or burned as a renewable resource. But in order to do this the same ranch would require a fairly reliable supply of grey water as has been shown already to be effective in Egypt.

Title: Re: Project OASIS Solution to Global Warming Pollution Deserts Floods Fires & Famine
Post by: Andrew K Fletcher on 13/11/2007 15:13:53
Innovative Approach to Municipal Wastewater Management:
The Egyptian Experience
Dr. Mamdouh Riad
Minister of State for Environmental Affairs
March 2004

Description of the Initiative
Egypt produces an estimated total of 2.4 billion cubic meters of municipal wastewater every year. The partial treatment of this large amount of sewage costs the government some 600 million Egyptian Pounds (the equivalent of US$100 million) annually.
In addition, Egypt has about 90% of its land area as desert, and suffers from an obvious lack of green cover and of forestry in its deserts and coastal areas. The green cover is largely needed for environmental reasons (climate change, desertification, etc.), and the forestry for economic reasons (Egypt now imports wood for its wood industry at an estimated value of about US$ 900 million annually).
Traditionally, there are two options to deal with the sewage problem: (a) to dispose of the treated sewage water by discharging it to a nearby desert land, where there is a high risk of land and ground-water pollution, or (b) to discharge the treated sewage to the sea and coastal lakes, either directly or indirectly through inland waterways and drainage canals, where there is also a high risk to human health and to the marine environment.
However, Egypt opted to take an innovative approach in responding to these daunting environmental challenges that, while will enable it to deal with such a huge amount of municipal wastewater, will also help transforming its “wasted” desert land into forests and hence increase its green cover.
To this effect, the Egyptian Government, has, since the early 1990s introduced its national plan for the re-use of its wastewater, and developed the practice of establishing on a pilot scale man-made forests of timber trees that are irrigated using treated sewage water in various desert sites nationwide, adjacent to some highly or moderately populated towns.
These pilot experiments were carried out at several locations, under different soil, weather, and environmental conditions. At present 13 forests have been established in different areas in the Governorates of Ismailia, Menoufia, Giza, Alexandria, and Dakahlia, in Lower Egypt, in Luxor, Qena and Aswan in Upper Egypt, as well as in the New Valley in the Western Desert and in South Sinai (see Map), with a total planned area of about 6,000 Feddan (equivalent to about 2700 Hectares).
The pilot experiments undertaken thus far have proved to be extremely successful, and demonstrated very promising results, with numerous environmental, economic and social benefits.


Using sludge rather than waste water is probably not a good idea, particularly in  desert and semi-desert areas where water is a valuable resource.

Sierra Blanca Sludge Ranch Between 1992 and 2001, as many as 45 train cars per day bought sewage sludge from New York City to this 129,000 acre West Texas property, where it is spread out on the ground like peanut butter. The waste site is a former resort called the Mile High Ranch, and is owned by a Long Island New York company, Merco Joint Venture. The  contract with New York City was terminated in June of 2001, and the sludge ranch, possibly the largest in the World, is now idle.
60 miles SE of El Paso, in Sierra Blanca
Title: Re: Project OASIS Solution to Global Warming Pollution Deserts Floods Fires & Famine
Post by: JimBob on 13/11/2007 20:51:36
The problem with the last example is that it was dumping chemical waste contained in massive amounts into the Rio Grande River drainage basin and eventually into food grown in the lower Rio Grande River Valley down stream. The consolidated waste was from ALL sources, not just human waste but also factory waste water, there was a rather large amount of public out cry and eventual loss of jobs at the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission because of the permits allowing the huge toxins to be dumped in the first place.

The waste is now being dumped in the original spot - the Atlantic Ocean and polluting that body of water even more. Your eating the fish in England that contain toxins dumped at sea from New York City.

See problems at , including the analysis of the waste material.
Title: Re: Project OASIS Solution to Global Warming Pollution Deserts Floods Fires & Famine
Post by: Andrew K Fletcher on 20/11/2007 13:00:06
In a report issued in March, the director of the U.N. Environment Programme called the nutrient glut "a gigantic global experiment." The World Resources Institute has ranked it as "one of the most serious threats to the aquatic environment today."

Many of the world's most famous bodies of water are highly contaminated with nutrients, including the mouth of the Mississippi River, a 7,700-square-mile "dead zone"; Chesapeake Bay, where crabs, fish and native sea grasses are smothered; and North Carolina's Pamlico Sound, where dead fish routinely wash up by the millions.

Nationally, 94% of the nitrogen comes from livestock and farms, although in urban watersheds, wastewater plants are major contributors.

In the most extreme cases, nitrogen compounds, including ammonia, are so concentrated they can poison fish and other aquatic life. In most cases, however, they kill by stealing oxygen, a process called eutrophication.

During daytime, algae and other fast-growing plants suck up nutrients and produce oxygen, so the water is so saturated that oxygen bubbles drift to the surface. But at night, plants drain oxygen from the water without replenishing it. Oxygen levels in nutrient-loaded waters frequently plummet to half the normal amount, and in some cases drop to near zero. Source
Title: Re: Project OASIS Solution to Global Warming Pollution Deserts Floods Fires & Famine
Post by: Andrew K Fletcher on 20/11/2007 13:05:30
MIT team describes unique cloud forest

September 15, 2006 -  CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Trees that live in an odd desert forest in Oman have found an unusual way to water themselves by extracting moisture from low-lying clouds, MIT scientists report.

In an area that is characterized mostly by desert, the trees have preserved an ecological niche because they exploit a wispy-thin source of water that only occurs seasonally, said Elfatih A.B. Eltahir, professor of civil and environmental engineering, and former MIT graduate student Anke Hildebrandt.

After studying the Oman site, they also expressed concern that the unusual forest could be driven into extinction if hungry camels continue eating too much of the foliage. As the greenery disappears it's possible the trees will lose the ability to pull water from the mist and recharge underground reservoirs.

A report on their research was published in a recent issue of Geophysical Research Letters. They are also advising the Omani government on handling the problem.

The forest is especially unique, said Eltahir and Hildebrandt, because it "is a water-limited seasonal cloud forest" that is kept alive by water droplets gathered from passing clouds - ground fog. The water dribbles into the ground and sustains the trees later when the weather is dry. The MIT work suggests the trees actually get more of their water through contact with clouds than via rainfall.

In general, cloud forests are not really rare. But they occur most frequently in moist tropical regions where there is ample rainfall. So it is unusual, the researchers said, to find a cloud forest in a region known for chronic dryness.

The researchers studied the area in Oman to learn how the Dhofar Mountain ecosystem "functions naturally, and how it may respond to human activity" that could lead to desertification and the need for reforestation.

Eltahir and Hildebrandt, who is now at the UFZ Center for Environmental Research, in Leipzig, Germany, said the unusual forest is an interesting remnant "of a moist vegetation belt that once spread across the Arabian Peninsula" in the distant past. At that time the regional climate was generally wetter.

The forested area in the Sultanate of Oman is now semi-arid, and most of the ancient tree vegetation is gone. This small remnant has managed to survive in the Dhofar Mountains.

But it is under threat.

Although many Omanis have moved into cities and towns as the country has grown rich on oil, Eltahir explained, a family's prestige still comes from owning many camels, and people now tend to keep more camels than they need, which is part of the problem facing the forest.

"It is an unusual place," Eltahir said. "It's a very good example of a unique and fragile ecosystem" where constant pressure from over-grazing can have consequences beyond defoliation. In fact, the forest illustrates how small changes can lead to major impact on far bigger systems, Eltahir said.

The trees in wetter ecosystems would likely recover from small amounts of over-grazing, Eltahir said, but "in this location, due to the nature of the interaction of the canopy structure with the clouds, the trees may not recover."

The two said the forest probably would not regenerate naturally once it is gone. Without the trees that sweep the extra water from clouds, the forest cannot regrow. Grass, even if abundant, cannot collect enough moisture from fog to let a forest regrow.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Title: Project OASIS Solution to Global Warming Pollution Deserts Floods Fires & Famine
Post by: Andrew K Fletcher on 20/11/2007 15:13:58
On one side of the Mediterranean coast we have forest and desert on the other side we have the Sahara desert and sparse vegetation, yet wastewater has been used in both situations to provide trees with ample water and nutrients to thrive.

Throughout Europe and indeed throughout the whole world where humans are present we have an inevitable massive waste water problem from both the human populous and farm practice resulting in the disposal of this valuable resource at sea or in the ocean causing massive problems for the marine environment and indeed for those of us that eat the fish that swim in our own bodily waste, compounded further by the recent privatisation of British Water Companies who now place higher values on share dividends and profit than addressing the serious complications and expense from current illogical waste disposal practices.

Fortunately not all countries have adopted the stupidity of handing over the most precious of all resources to ruthless corporate control and floating it on the stock market.

We are led to believe that environmentally sound practices are now in place when all that has been achieved is separation of effluent from the solids and the solids used in landfill or dumped on farmland where the run off into streams, underground water and inland lakes and reservoirs is causing problems with algal blooms, whereas the effluent that contains a lot of components including the phosphates and nitrates responsible for algal blooms are merely sent further out to sea in longer pipes or discharged into rivers so that the beaches can get their prized blue flag awards. 

In more transparent practices the problems with pollution are obvious affecting every densely populated country.

Yet the deserts continue to advance at unprecedented rates thanks to deforestation, over grazing, monoculture cash crops and worst of all grass crops for fodder and grain crops for flour and cereals, which strip the valuable nutrients from the soil. But even these crops can become sustainable under rotation farming practices, but as we have observed during the American dustbowl failure to adhere to sane farming practices becomes common practice when dollar bills are dangled in front of our eyes. America is not the only country guilty of this practice by any means. The lost civilizations around the world bare witness to the folly of over exploiting the environment.
Title: Project OASIS Solution to Global Warming Pollution Deserts Floods Fires & Famine
Post by: Karen W. on 20/11/2007 15:58:38
Beautiful Andrew!
Title: Project OASIS Solution to Global Warming Pollution Deserts Floods Fires & Famine
Post by: Andrew K Fletcher on 30/07/2009 12:11:13
Thanks Karen, just spotted your reply :)