Hurricane Katrina made landfall August 29, 2005 becoming the costliest ($75 billion) and one of the deadliest (nearly 2,000 human lives lost) hurricanes in U.S. history. With the nation still reeling from Katrina, Hurricane Rita hit on September 24, 2005, causing $10 billion in damage but taking a far less direct toll on human lives. The duo's ecological consequences were also considerable: storm surges flooded coastal areas. Powerful winds felled forests in south Louisiana and Mississippi, havens for wildlife and migratory birds. Saltwater and polluted floodwaters from New Orleans surged into Lake Pontchartrain. Taking stock nearly a year later, experts from the Gulf Coast region will address the storms' ecological consequences and will offer insights on how ecological knowledge can help mitigate damage from future hurricanes.
"Not only is the City of New Orleans built on reclaimed wetlands that have subsided by up to 5 meters, over 25 percent of coastal wetlands disappeared in the 20th century," says John Day (Louisiana State University). Day, one of the symposia's presenters, argues that serious wetland restoration plans must close or restrict the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, a canal that contributed to the flooding of New Orleans and that disconnects the river from its delta plain. Wetlands help stem storm surges and diffuse powerful winds.
Complementing Day's argument, Paul Keddy (Southeastern Louisiana University) believes residents in the Gulf Coast states will have to decide if they want "business as usual" or a dramatic change in the way people accept the limitations and realities of dynamic coastal areas. During his presentation, Keddy will lay out what he sees as the connections between hurricanes, human irrationality, and Gulf Coast ecosystems. "From the American dust bowl to the collapse of the Canadian cod fishery, people have chosen development trajectories that are catastrophic in the longer term," he says.
Gary Shaffer (Southeastern Louisiana University) will suggest some concrete wetlands restoration steps that he believes will need to go hand-in-hand with human-made flood control barriers. "Bald cypress - water tupelo swamps are particularly effective at dampening forward progress of both floodwaters and winds," he notes. Shaffer believes that cypress and tupelo seedlings could achieve 10 meter heights within a single decade and serve as major storm damage reduction agents.
Looking specifically at Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain, Carlton Dufrechou's (Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring and preserving the Lake Pontchartrain Basin) presentation will include post-storm satellite imagery that suggests that Hurricane Katrina may have destroyed over 60 square miles of the lake's wetlands in a mere 24 hour period. "As more coastal areas disappear, residents in the region become more vulnerable to the effects of tropical storms and hurricanes," says Dufrechou. On a brighter note, however, the lake's water quality appears to have recovered to pre-Katrina conditions, in spite of being the recipient of nearly nine billion gallons of highly contaminated water pumped out of New Orleans and into the lake.
International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
World Water Day 2017: It doesn’t Always Have to Be Drinking Water – Using Wastewater as a Resource
17.03.2017 | ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
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24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy