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Source of Vast Oil Spill Covering Brazil's Northeast Coast Unknown
Brazil's main environmental agency said on Thursday the source of a sprawling oil spill along the northeast coast remains unknown, but that the crude oil was not produced in the country.
The spill stretches over 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) of Brazil's northeast coast, affecting 46 cities and around one hundred of the country's nicest beaches since being first detected on Sept. 2.
Brazilian television has shown slicks at sea and oil puddles along shores, as well as turtles covered in black tar. Other marine life has also been found dead.
The Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, Ibama, said state oil company Petrobras analyzed the spill and determined it came from a single source.
However, it said, a molecular analysis of the crude showed that it was not produced in Brazil, the world's 9th largest crude producer at 3.43 million barrels a day.
Petrobras reported that "the oil found is not produced by Brazil. Ibama requested support from Petrobras to work on beach cleaning. In the coming days, the company will make available a contingent of about 100 people," the environmental institute announced in a statement.
Extent of Damage
The tests were done at the Petrobras Research Center (Cenpes) in Rio de Janeiro.
So far, 105 crude oil spills have been detected.
Since the beginning of September, Ibama, together with the Federal District Fire Department, Brazil's navy and Petrobras, have been investigating the causes.
Ninety-nine locations in 46 municipalities in 8 states have been affected, including Maranhão, Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas and Sergipe. In the Northeast, only the state of Bahia has not been affected yet.
Authorities were still conducting cleaning procedures on the Potiguar coast earlier this week.
"Analysts on the monitoring team concluded that the situation in the state is stable so far," the institute wrote.
Who Is at Risk
Ibama stated that to date, "there is no evidence of the contamination of fish and shellfish" but warned that bathers and fishermen should not have contact with oil.
Authorities also said that anyone who discovers suspicious items in the sea or on the beaches should report it to the city council. They also advised locals that collected oil should be properly disposed of and not mixed with other waste. People were also told not to wash affected animals and to take them for veterinary assessments before returning them to sea.
The institute said that the assessment of the quality of fish caught in affected areas for human consumption is the responsibility of Brazil's health surveillance agency.
President Jair Bolsonaro has been widely criticized for rolling back environmental regulations and monitoring since taking office in January.
Massive forest fires this summer have destroyed large swaths of the Amazon, drawing international condemnation of Brazil's management of the environment.
Reposted with permission from our media associate DW.
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- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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