Henderson Island, Paradise Lost In Plastic.

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Henderson Island, a small, uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean. An area of about 37.3 sq km. The nearest populated area is 193 km (120 mi) northeast of Pitcairn Island. A Pacific island uninhabited and far removed from humans. It is halfway between New Zealand and Chile. One of the last raised atolls in the world unaffected by human contact. A place complete with beaches. Sounds like paradise, doesn’t it?

Not anymore. Henderson Island has now developed a messy distinction. It now holds the title as the world’s largest density of plastic trash pollution. It has literally become paradise lost in a rubbish tip. Over 38 million pieces of plastic trash have been found on this island. What is even more bizarre is that no one lives on this island. And there are likely places with far more tourism and exploration than Henderson Island.

How does a place get so inundated with plastic trash, without the aid of humans?

Truth is, plastic trash is far more common in the world’s oceans than one might think. There have been reports of plastic trash in the oceans as the Great Pacific garbage patch. It is estimated to be anywhere from 700,000 sq km in area to 15,000,000 sq km in area. To put this in an appropriate perspective, Zambia is over 750,000 sq km in area. Antarctica is  14,000,000 sq km in area. In short, there is enough plastic garbage in the ocean to cover areas ranging from the size of Zambia and higher. Henderson Island is a mere 37.3 sq km. The amount of plastic in the Great Pacific garbage patch is estimated to be enough to cover Henderson Island over 18,700 times.

The truth is, there is a big issue with people dumping their garbage in oceans. It has been documented in affected ecosystems. Many marine animals have choked on or have been strangled to death by plastic debris. And thanks to ocean currents, that trash isn’t going to stay in just one place. 24°21′S 128°19′W is the geographic coordinates of Henderson Island. That is on the other side of the Equator, far away from the Great Pacific garbage patch. So we can rule out that garbage patch as been the cause of the plastic landing on Henderson Island. The South Pacific Gyre has played a big factor. Henderson Island is located towards the center of this Pacific gyre. In short, plastic garbage, which non-biodegradable, is being carried through the lengths of the earth and throughout the oceans via ocean currents, landing in even the most remote places

With plastic showing up in such a remote place, this is the lesson to take from this. The littering that humans can do will not only affect the immediate area. It isn’t just your neighborhood, your city, or even your country. The garbage in the world’s oceans is being carried to other places. It has created a situation where we could create a garbage pit in a place so far away without us deliberately putting it there. A garbage dump on an island where humans have never lived, and it wasn’t brought in by boat or airplane. Rather, by the ocean currents from far away. The litter we dump on the roads, in the oceans, can be carried far away.  It shows that the earth is more connected than we realize, even in the most remote places.

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World’s Coldest Capital City

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Cities located in the higher latitudes are obviously going to be colder relative to cities at lower latitudes. However, that is not the only factor.

Elevation is a factor. The higher up one goes in altitude, the colder it will be. This is why Quito, Ecuador, located along the Equator, has a cooler climate than Tampa,FL,USA, located just outside of the Tropics.

If you factor in distance towards or from oceanic influences, and terrain, these are more factors to consider. Seattle, the northernmost major city in the contiguous 48 US states, has much warmer winters than Kansas City,MO. Seattle, being sheltered by the Olympic and Cascade ranges and having oceanic influences from the Alaska and California currents, keep its winters markedly warmer than Kansas City, located near the middle of the contiguous USA, with cold winter able to sweep down the nation’s midsection unfettered, with no oceanic influences nearby or mountains to block cold winds.

Now, this is about the world’s coldest capital city. Believe it not, Moscow is not the world’s coldest capital city. Neither is Greenland’s capital city. Greenland is not a sovereign nation.

Ulaanbataar, Mongolia is the world’s coldest capital city of a sovereign nation. It has an average annual temperature of -1 C (31 F). All the factors discussed in this blog entry apply to Ulaanbataar. This is a city with a high latitude(very close to 48 N), high altitude(1300 m/4300 ft above sea level), and far away from ocean influences. Temperatures in this city can drop as low as -45 C in the winter. Considering that -40 is the same at both Centigrade and Fahrenheit, that is extreme.

And thus, how geography and weather are connected.

Peachless in Georgia

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If you go to Georgia, one thing you will quickly figure out is that it’s called “The Peach State”. It isn’t just a nickname. It is a big part of the state.  Georgia isn’t the biggest producer of peaches, but it’s among the top 4 states.

California – 620,000 tons

South Carolina – 60,800 tons

Georgia – 33,000 tons

New Jersey – 21,050

Source: http://www.agmrc.org/commodities-products/fruits/peaches/

California produces 49 percent of the USA’s peaches. However, it’s the 3rd largest state in the USA. Georgia is a leading grower of peaches. And it has the climate for it. A state with a humid, subtropical climate with cool to mild winters and hot summers is climate that peaches can grow in. Peach crops are tolerant to frost. However, Georgia gets lesser amounts of cold weather compared to other regions in the USA, considering that it’s in the Southeastern USA.

This year, however, Georgia may not be a big leader in peach production. Why? WEATHER. For those who do not get the difference between weather and climate, a simple explanation. Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get. Watch the video below to get a better idea.

This is what happened. Georgia had one of its warmest winters ever. Apart from the ice storm that hit the Atlanta area on 6-7 January 2017, there are many days when high temperatures reached the upper 60s/low 70s. Temperatures dropping below freezing serves to prevent blooming from taking place. Unless there is a guarantee that no killing frost will take place, it is best not to have prolonged periods of warm weather in the winter. Georgia had these prolonged periods of warm weather, and then in early March, a freeze took place. This killed half of the state’s peach crops. The plants likely bloomed too early and were not given a chance to become full-grown peaches thanks to an early March freeze.

What impact will this have? Let us start with the price of peaches. Supply and demand applies to economics, and this can be affected by things such as geography and weather. Fewer peaches, but the demand remains the same, the prices goes up. Farmers will also be at a loss. Money will be lost because of the loss of product.

Weather is different from climate. What can be grown in a geographic area is often determined by climate. Weather, on the other hand, isn’t as certain.

Photo by WABE 90.1

Leonardo DiCaprio, climate change, and a geography lesson.

Leonardo DiCaprio is very much into the environment. It is understandable that he would have concerns about climate change. For this reason, he served as a United Nations representative on climate change.

It is also important to educate one’s self about geography, weather, and climate. Leonardo DiCaprio was in Calgary,Alberta,Canada filming “The Revenant”. He noticed there was alot of snow, and then a warm gust of wind melted it. He said he was told this never happened in Alberta.

Sources:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/dec/10/leonardo-dicaprio-mocked-for-confusing-canadas-chi/http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/leonardo-dicaprio-chinooks-climate-change-1.3358972

This is why more people need to learn geography.

Location of Calgary.

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Calgary is located 50 miles(80 km) east of the Rocky Mountains, on the leeward side. This is the area of Canada where chinooks occur the most. It is a local wind. This phenomenon frequently occurs in places on the leeward side of the Rockies. This is even mentioned in National Geographic.

This video below will show how the chinook wind(also known as foehn) works.

 

It is also important to understand the difference between weather and climate. Weather is what takes place in the short term. Climate is long term. Video below will explain.

 

This is not to say that climate change isn’t an issue. This is to say that in order to understand things like climate change, and local weather, you must learn geography.