Global environmental challenges
American sci-fi blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow warned global audiences about climate change as it showed New York smothered by ice as temperatures plunged worldwide. But the 2004 movie evidently made little impact on growth-crazy Asia, which has gone ahead spewing pollutants without imagining risks that they might disrupt the climate.
This year a group of filmmakers in newly modernised, consumption-happy Taiwan is going to the densely populated western Pacific island’s public with an hour-long alarmist movie showing the world’s second-tallest building Taipei 101 as an island in a flood that has drowned the capital after a reservoir collapses in a freak super-strength typhoon.
The free film with an obvious mission titled “Plus or Minus 2 Degrees Celsius” began showing in late February, reaching at least 11,000 people so far and with dates to screen for more audiences later in the year.
It also shows footage from snowstorms, droughts and other real natural disasters around Asia to rub in its point, which has set off critical debate among Taiwan academics.
from Photographers Blog:
Nicky Loh presents a series of time-lapse sequences of a solar power plant in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
The first time lapse sequence was shot over a period of one hour at 1 frame every two seconds on a lens baby. I chose to use still photography to capture the time lapse over video as the movement of the panels was so small that a continuous one hour raw video file on the 5D MKII would have crashed my computer.
Taiwan fisheries flopped to an 18-year low point after Typhoon Morakot flooded much of the low-lying south in August, the island’s Central News Agency told us, casting aquaculture as a victim. Fish farmers, swamped by the stench of their own produce a month after the storm, struggled to recover.
But were farmers also villains?
Taiwan’s Control Yuan, a central government agency that can censure public officials, says in a report this month they were at fault, as were Pingtung county officials who had given permits to only 29 percent of them, ignoring the rest as they pumped groundwater. The use of groundwater for fish farms has sunk surrounding land, leaving villages prone to floods, the report says.
Chronically rainy Taiwan faces a rare water shortage as leaders ask that people on the dense, consumption-happy island of 23 million finally start changing habits as dry weather is forecast into early 2010.
Taiwan, a west Pacific island covered with rainforests and topical fruit orchards, is used to rain in all seasons, bringing as much as 3,800 mm (150 inches) on average in the first 10 months of every year. But reservoirs have slipped in 2009 due to a chain of regional weather pattern flukes giving Taiwan too much dry high pressure while other parts of Asia get more storms than normal, the Central Weather Bureau says.
A pair of Taiwan environmental groups that marshaled 56 people to check the coral supply near Orchid Island, which is southeast of Taiwan proper, for the first time since 2004 found that the sensitive but colourful marine species covered only 18 percent of the surrounding ocean floor, down from 65 percent, said the Taiwan Environmental Information Center .
Taiwan, hit by its worst typhoon in 50 years in August, has found a culprit for the disaster that killed about 770 people and begun using it to get precious attention overseas where the island is usually overlooked in favour of its giant political rival China.
Global warming is taking blame for Morakot, which was freakish as Taiwan’s only major typhoon of the year and because it lingered instead of blowing straight through. The island’s foreign ministry says that as global warming’s victim it should get to participate in the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in time for its December talks in Copenhagen. Sixteen countries have already voiced support.
Slow-moving Morakot stormed into Taiwan’s typhoon hall of infamy this past week, rescue teams complained, largely because clouds hovered in the hardest hit areas even after the killer storm had passed.
The clouds blocked any aerial views of mountain villages in southern Taiwan where hundreds of people are presumed dead from landslides.
This time it’s on worldwide TV.
Typhoon Hunter, a 46-minute documentary led by Local Tiger International Co. and funded in part by the Taiwan government, tracks an effort to send weather sensing aircraft into the eye of the typhoon. Taiwan worked with Japan and the United States, both of whose territories were hit by the same storm, to fly the dangerous mission for recording changes at the centre of the typhoon.
But there may be a silver lining even to the worst storm clouds; hurricanes and typhoons may help — at least a bit – to slow global warming by washing huge amounts of leaves, branches, tree trunks, roots and soil into the ocean, according to research in the journal Nature Geoscience. Read a story about the findings here.