Climate Change Films by Bruce Melton PE
From the Greenland Ice Sheet to the deserted barrier islands of the Gulf Coast of Texas and all through the Rocky Mountains, climate change is happening. The scientists say that it is happening faster and with greater impacts than they expected. I am a professional engineer, environmental researcher, adventurer and climate science outreach specialist. I read the scientific papers so you don't have to. Then I take this knowledge and go to where the scientists say we have changed our planet. There I make my films and interpret the latest scientific findings into plain English for you, so you do not have to learn the ways of the dendrochronologists, tempestologist and biogeochemists.
Follow me to the ends of the earth and see for yourself, then tell your friends. We have a big challenge to overcome.
What Have We Done (46 minutes) - The astonishing forest die-off hitting the Rockies from a warming induced bark beetle infestation has reached a critical level. The attack is 20 times larger than anything ever before experienced. In August 2009, I spent 19 days and 5,000 miles crisscrossing the high Rockies from New Mexico to Montana. Everywhere I went I found dead trees - more than I was expecting - and it is not just the pine beetle that is killing the forests of the Rockies. Insects and disease are attacking these high altitude forest because, like the Arctic, climate change happens here first. Half the campgrounds I stayed in were clear cut because of falling tree hazards. Fifty two million acres have succumbed in North America by 2008. Eighteen million of the fifty two million acres were attacked in 2007 and 2008. Most of the trees in these forests will die in the next few years. The forest professionals see no reason why the pandemic will not spread continent wide. The US Forest Service says that all of the mature lodgepole forests in the US will be killed by 2013. This is 11% of the forests in the U.S. Rockies and the beetle is now jumping species. Implications for climate change feedback and impacts to other non-forest earth systems are immense.
The Ice and the Sea (45 minutes) - Come camp with me at the edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet and see "The Big Melt" for yourself. The latest discoveries from the new super sensitive gravity satellites show sea level rise is accelrating 0.08 to 0.09 mm per year, every year. That's 25 times faster than the 20th century, and it is increasing. More and more of the rise is coming from the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets. The Big Melt started in about 2004. The Scientists in Greenland (the ones who are calling it "the big melt") say that the old way of thinking, that it takes millenia for ice sheets to melt - is all wrong. Oceanographers studying ancient sea level have documented past rises from disintegrating ice sheets that have been as much as ten feet in fifty years, that continued for centuries. So hop into my big green truck and accompany me down the 62 mile long four-wheel drive beach (now rapidly dissapearing) at Padre Island National Seashore. I will tell you about the scientists at the Army Corp of Engineers that now understand that, maybe in as little as five years, sea level rise will increase to a point where our beaches and coastal wetlands will not be able to withstand the onslought. As it is, our beaches are almost gone. If you have not been in a while, take yourself there soon. It is amazing how small they have become so quickly.
Environmental Films by Bruce Melton PE
(Note - please let the film download before viewing. the resolution density is too high on this one, my bad. I will upgrade it (web optimization . . .) some day soon hope, thanks - BM
I have been fortunate enough to get a sponsorship to go to Costa Rica and help with a river mining issue at one of the most fabulous places on the planet. Yes, river mining. They are taking the gravel out of the river for road and resort development. This basically removes the river from its bed. This type of activity is extremely difficult to repair by man, and takes decades and even centuries for mother nature herself to repair. There have been 28 recent applications for this kind of thing - across the entire river bed, for up to two kilometers per application. The activity that I am focusing on is in SW Costa Rica on 12 different rivers. Now don't forget that Costa Rica packs a powerful ecological punch. Rainfall is extremely high and the mountains rise to 11,000 feet, so ecological diversity could be the highest on the planet. The area in SW Costa Rica where the mining is happening is only the size of the Houston metropolitan area, yet the Smithsonian Institute calls it the "single most important ecological area on the Pacific Coast of Central America".
Copyright October 31, 2010 by Bruce Melton P.E.