Daniel Collins

Welcome Flat springs cooler after July earthquake - Crikey Creek

Dec 09, 2009

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Fiordland on July 15 was the largest in New Zealand since 1931. It caused power outages and landslides, but fortunately only minor damage and no fatalities. Land around the epicentre was uplifted by a metre, and the South Island twisted so that Dunedin moved 1 cm closer to Australia. What GNS scientists Simon Cox and Delia Strong revealed a couple of weeks ago was that it also cooled the famous Welcome Flat springs on the West Coast. The figure below, courtesy of Dr Cox, shows the time-series of spring water temperature before and after the earthquake. Temperature occasionally drops during storms, when cold rainfall infiltrates the ground and mixes with the geothermal waters, but this effect is short-lived. At the time of the earthquake, however, the temperature started to drop to a new long-term … Read More

Haiku news no. 6 - Crikey Creek

Dec 07, 2009

Haikus, belated But surely not forgotten, Are all about risks Science Regional flood risk Water storage threshold gauged By the GRACE of god Urban water risks Drought and demand managed with Leases and options Runoff, climate change Predictions with simple model: Budyko-Holland New Zealand Rain spoils cherry crop Ripening fruit swell and split Due to osmosis Waitaki DC Catches self in water ‘theft’ Camp ground flow, too free New Marlborough scheme Brings new options, certitude To irrigators International CRU scandal Misgrasped by non-science shills Climate change still real Kenya drought-insured Claims checked via satellite First case in third world On water, women: Gender inequality Hinders health and life … Read More

If doctors used climate science, part 2 - Crikey Creek

Dec 07, 2009

When I was in Uganda last year, I ran into a local medical doctor working on climate change impacts in the water resources sector. I happened to be in Uganda with the Red Cross for the very same thing. The MD was an influential figure, and got a lot of good work done, but his grasp of climate science was flawed. At an international doners’ conference on water issues he presented, among other things, three data sets that he claimed bore the hallmark of climate change: a decline in ice cover of Mount Rwenzori, an increase in food shortages, and the decline in level of Lake Victoria. For the ice cover, he presented three data points spanning 100 years. While the decline may be consistent with other more detailed observations, this emaciated data set alone was not evidence of climate … Read More

Haiku news no. 5 - Crikey Creek

Nov 27, 2009

An abridged coverage Of news this week due to a Conference, and Thriller New Zealand Earthquake cools the pools Rejigged plumbing changes flows Below Southern Alps Manawatu flows Top among polluted list Top cause: nitrogen Drinking water crap In many rural locales One in four at risk … Read More

Watergate was not about water - Crikey Creek

Nov 24, 2009

Watergate is an office complex in Washington, D.C., overlooking the Potomac River. The Watergate Scandal was so named because political operatives for then-President Nixon broke into the Democratic National Committee offices located there, while Nixon and his staff tried to subsequently cover it up. The five burglars were convicted, and Nixon eventually abdicated the presidency. “Climategate” is not about climate. The scandal is about divisive politics, how partisans will stoop to illegal and intimidatory means to propagate their value system, and how other partisans implicitly or explicitly support the theft and invasion of privacy. Read More

A phylogeny of hydrological thought - Crikey Creek

Nov 24, 2009

Science rarely proceeds in leaps and bounds. It is better characterised by the gradual accretion of knowledge. As Issac Newton remarked to rival Robert Hooke in 1676: ’If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.’ It is appropriate then, on this auspicious day, to illustrate how scientists manage to stand on one another’s shoulders, and how our science evolves. Auspicious, because it is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’, and on this very day I am giving a talk at the joint NZ Hydrological and Freshwater Science Society conference entitled ‘A phylogeny of evapotranspiration models’. Science is to a great extent about models. Not necessarily of the computer variety, but more generally of the narrative. That is, they are explanations of observed phenomena. One … Read More

Trickle down carbon sequestration - Crikey Creek

Nov 20, 2009

Nick Smith has suggested to farmers that they start offsetting their greenhouse gas emissions by planting trees. A risk with this is that planting trees may compromise water supply. Compared with pasture, trees tend to reduce the amount of rainfall that reaches rivers and aquifers. A larger canopy traps more rain as it falls, so it evaporates directly from the leaves before even seeing the soil. Deeper rooted trees are also able to tap deeper soil water and groundwater stores, supplying more water for plant transpiration. On the other hand, a row of shelter trees slows the drying of pastures during strong, warm winds, such as during Canterbury nor’westers. If there is ample water to begin with, the effect may be inconsequential. If the region already experiences seasonal water shortages, planting trees may be a risky proposition. A rule … Read More

Water news haikus no. 4 - Crikey Creek

Nov 20, 2009

From water cycle Via media cycle To haiku cycle Science Water on the moon Discovery follows probe Evidence clouded Bayes and RCMs Give projections of the Thames Water resources Water and money Modelled for Brazilian farms New method, old news Off to AGU? Geobloggers check this out Shame I won’t be there New Zealand Key to Fed Farmers: ’We only use a fraction’ Of water cycle Roaring Meg viewing Historic hydro station Enhanced, not busted Waikato tussle Over manure disposal Farmers unhappy International Argentina runs dry From wheat export to import Curse you La Nina! Like water towers? BWTAS Feeds your addiction Laundry crosses line Hanging unmentionables … Read More

Happy World Toilet Day - Crikey Creek

Nov 19, 2009

Why? Because 2.5 billion people worldwide are without access to proper sanitation, which risks their health, strips their dignity, and kills 1.8 million people, mostly children, a year. Because even the world’s wealthiest people still have toilet problems – from unhygienic public toilets to sewage disposal that destroys our waterways. [H/T: WaterWired] … Read More