A Lake in Bolivia Evaporates

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A Lake in Bolivia Evaporates

Postby zetreque on February 18th, 2016, 12:19 am 

A Lake in Bolivia Evaporates, and With It a Way of Life
NY Times By THE ASSOCIATED PRESSJAN. 23, 2016
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/24/world/americas/a-lake-in-bolivia-evaporates-and-with-it-a-way-of-life.html?_r=1

What a mess of a complex array of topics this article brings up. Mining companies blaming climate change. Angry refuges blaming everyone and everything all making it easy to not see the true science going on under it all. Then we must ask if we can trust the editor to give us the facts without being biased. People can so easily grab and just focus on one part of this article to support their belief or agenda without taking the entire thing into consideration. It's no wonder there is so much debate in this arena.

Sure species go extinct naturally just as new ones evolve naturally but what people seem to be failing to see is the rate the climate is changing is faster than species can evolve and adapt. The scientific evidence is leading us toward rapid extinction rates because species just can't evolve fast enough to the changing conditions. Species take a VERY long time to evolve if you think about it. Then you throw in all the other ways humans are altering the planet besides climate change and it gets pretty messy. We need to be careful about all possible factors in today's world because at how much we are changing this planet, every little bit counts in the grand scheme of things.

What the article doesn't talk about is what kinds of mines and where those resources are going. Most likely they are going directly to the benefit of the developed nations and not Boliva. If we forgot all other issues in this article, we could look at the issue of social justice alone along with capitalism. We can even bring up the old "do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?" Or change the topic back to global ecosystem health. Is this a rare occurrence or are we finding that this is happening across the planet? It is just because we have new ways of documenting data unlike before, or is something really going on here? Like I said. What a complex topic and what a mess to figure out unless people can go straight to the unbiased facts, and look at the BIG picture in an interdisciplinary way from social justice, to economic political systems, to ecology to biology, to physics and earth science.

Out of curiosity, I just checked and this lake is at 18.5 degrees south latitude which is just far enough south to be at the edge of the high pressure Hadley Ferrel cell convergence (desert) zone. Though the Andes have a unique orographic weather factors and a cold ocean system with (El Niño–Southern Oscillation) ENSO patterns. Being at the edge of this convergence zone would put it as a good indicator of climate change actually. If someone hasn't already (which it sounds like they are already on top of it), it would be a great factor/feature to include in correlating with other ENSO parameters.

Biologists say 75 species of birds are gone from the lake.

unrelated but reminds me of something interesting I just learned. I was just reading about a reason why birds flock all the way to the poles (which are under pressure from oil companies) to breed. It's because of the biological energy balance there. There is a correlation with latitude and clutch (# of eggs) efficiency/success. This has to do with daylight hours for foraging and energy input (among other factors like less predators) at higher latitudes.
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Re: A Lake in Bolivia Evaporates

Postby zetreque on February 18th, 2016, 12:49 am 

Without searching, this related story came up, though this one seems much more agriculturally anthropogenic, but just as complex.

The demise of Lake Urmia sparks trouble in Iran
http://www.middleeasteye.net/in-depth/f ... 1656464457
http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=253054

This lake happens to be at abotu 37 degrees north latitude or the upper edge of the Hadley-Ferrel cell high pressure zone.
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Re: A Lake in Bolivia Evaporates

Postby BadgerJelly on February 18th, 2016, 12:50 am 

Sorry little off topic but thought worth a mention ...

I have been to Bolivia and it is a very poor country with many problems and is certainly exploited by both neighbours and more "developed" countries. Anyway, I would just like to recommend visiting the country it has EVERYTHING besides a beach. Salt flats, jungle, desert and snow capped mountain peaks. For nature lovers it is a wondrous place and cheap for a fascinating trip.

If you want to help the country then encourage the tourist industry to preserve the many gems it has. I travelled through SA years back and ended up spending lots of time in Bolivia and only left to attend my friends wedding. To this day the jungle ( I mean REAL jungle) is still with me.
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Re: A Lake in Bolivia Evaporates

Postby zetreque on February 18th, 2016, 12:52 am 

BadgerJelly,

cool!
I'd love to travel there.

If their lakes keep drying up, they are certainly without a beach :o
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Re: A Lake in Bolivia Evaporates

Postby BadgerJelly on February 18th, 2016, 12:57 am 

I also remember bathing in a hot spring at high altitude (kinda goes without saying!), freezing cold and watching flamingos :)
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Re: A Lake in Bolivia Evaporates

Postby zetreque on July 14th, 2016, 5:04 pm 

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Re: A Lake in Bolivia Evaporates

Postby Eclogite on July 15th, 2016, 5:14 am 

It's not at all sensible.
It's not at all mature.
It's not at all helpful.
It's not something to be proud of.
But sometimes I hate climate change deniers.
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Re: A Lake in Bolivia Evaporates

Postby doogles on July 15th, 2016, 6:55 am 

I believe that our average near-surface global temperatures are slowly increasing since the 1970s, but I must admit that alarmist claims always make me want to check the data.

This is a report by NASA's Earth Observatory on the Lake:
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Natura ... p?id=87363 .
Lake Poopó—once Bolivia’s second-largest lake and an important fishing resource for local communities—has essentially dried up. News reports blame recurrent drought and the diversion of the lake’s water sources for mining and agriculture. ….
In a typical year, rainfall during the wet season (December through March) recharges the lake directly and via increased inflow from the Desaguadero River. But more than a month into the 2015-16 wet season, drought persists.
This is not the first time that Poopó has evaporated; the lake last dried up in 1994. In that case, it took several years for water to return, and even longer for ecosystems to recover.
At times, Lake Poopó has spanned an area approaching 3,000 square kilometers (1,200 square miles). Sitting high in the Bolivian Andes, the saline lake is particularly vulnerable to fluctuations because it is shallow—typically no more than 3 meters (9 feet) deep. Photographs from the International Space Station show how small changes in precipitation can affect the lake’s depth and area.
• References
• The Associated Press (2016, January 21) Disappearance of Bolivia’s No. 2 lake a harbinger.
• Zola, R. P. and Bengtsson, L. (2010, January 9) Long-term and extreme water level variations of the shallow Lake Poopó, Bolivia. Hydrological Sciences Journal 51 (1), 98–114.

I dare say that in view of the naturally unstable nature of the lake that the management that allowed diversions for mining and agriculture may need revision.
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Re: A Lake in Bolivia Evaporates

Postby zetreque on July 15th, 2016, 1:49 pm 

from the NYT article
Generations of Uru had watched the water recede and return in what had almost become a predictable cycle. In the 1990s, a dry spell hit that evaporated the lake into three small ponds and destroyed the fisheries for several years. But the lake eventually returned to its previous size.


Also found several references that it once covered 386 square miles.

and one saying that the longest know period of it containing water was 1975 and 1992.

Also found a source saying it's evaporation rate has tripled.

Not much comes up on the lake in academic searches.

El Nino is probably playing a roll, and something I read yesterday says that el nino years usually end up in drought for India. This is going to be very bad news in the near future.
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Re: A Lake in Bolivia Evaporates

Postby zetreque on July 15th, 2016, 2:17 pm 

Source of the evaporation statement.

Local specialists have no trouble identifying the role of climate change.

“Lake Poopo has been tracked for about 60 years and there has been evidence that climate change has had an effect in the last decade, from the 90’s in the 20th Century. The temperature has gone up 0.9 degrees Celsius,” said Milton Perez, a professor at the Oruro Technical University.

That has made water evaporate three times as fast between rains. He went on to note the changing climate patterns.
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Re: A Lake in Bolivia Evaporates

Postby zetreque on July 18th, 2016, 11:46 pm 

I'm just going to add this to the Bolivia thread.

I often try to find examples on google earth of glaciers retreating to see with my own eyes but most of them don't have satellite data going back clear enough or far enough in the remote areas that have glaciers.

Today I learned that Yosemite has a glacier. I never thought about it or knew that.
I took 2 screenshots of Lyell Glacier from google earth.
The top is 9/24/1993
The bottom is 9/14/2013
Lyell Glacier Yosemite.jpg


and here is a graphic
Image

Article about it
SF Chronicle October 16, 2015
http://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Glacier-was-once-Yosemite-s-largest-now-it-s-6572765.php#photo-8753849
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