How have travel restrictions affected carbon emissions and air quality?
China’s efforts to control the COVID-19 outbreak seem to have curbed energy consumption — and air pollution. Satellite data collected by NASA and the European Space Agency show a sharp reduction in atmospheric levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is produced during fossil fuel combustion, across the country.
Each year, industrial activity typically drops off as businesses and factories close for celebrations of the lunar New Year, which this year began on 25 January. This usually causes a brief dip in levels of NO2. “Normally, the pollution levels pick back up after 7–10 days, but that has not happened this year,” says Fei Liu, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. A preliminary analysis suggests that NO2 pollution after the lunar New Year was around 10–30% lower this year than during the same period in previous years. A similar trend of declining NO2 pollution has also been documented in northern Italy — where cities remain on lockdown — using data from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite.
Ongoing efforts to contain the coronavirus have suppressed China’s industrial activity by 15–40%, according to an analysis by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air in Helsinki. Coal consumption hit a four-year low in February, and oil refining fell by more than one-third. Overall, the centre’s analysis suggests that China’s carbon emissions have dropped by more than 25% as a result of the ongoing efforts to contain the coronavirus.
By Kirk Moore on MARCH 12, 2020 An autonomous undersea glider deployed in December 2019 is helping to map cod spawning habitat around offshore wind energy areas off southern New England. NMFS photo.
A three-year study of cod and other commercial fish species is underway around New England offshore wind energy sites, part of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration effort to better understand how proposed turbine arrays will affect the environment and fisheries.
With universities and other partners, the agency’s National Marine Fisheries Service in December deployed a Slocum electric glider, a type of autonomous underwater vehicle that has proven highly successful in long-term oceanographic studies.
The glider’s instrument payload includes a hydrophone to detect the sounds of whales and of fish spawning, and an acoustic telemetry receiver to pick up signals from fish that have been captured and released with acoustic tags to track their movements.
Now surveying the area around Cox’s Ledge, the glider is covering an area that includes wind developer Ørsted’s planned South Fork wind energy area south of Rhode Island and east of Montauk, N.Y.The survey is covering an area that includes the proposed South Fork Wind Farm south of Rhode Island. BOEM image.
Running on battery power, undersea gliders use a system of water ballast and pumps to slowly climb and dive in the water column, their wings generating lift and forward motion. With their long range and endurance, gliders can survey large areas for weeks at a time, occasionally surfacing to send collected data to vessels or shore by satellite uplink.
For this phase of the study, the acoustic data “will identify location and seasonal occurrence of hotspots for key commercial and federally listed fish species,” according to NOAA.
There is little specific information on Atlantic cod spawning in southern New England waters, according to project lead Sofie Van Parijs, who heads the Passive Acoustics Research Group at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass.
Elsewhere, cod have been are known to form large, dense spawning aggregations in predictable locations relatively close to shore. That can make them vulnerable to disturbances that might affect spawning success, according to NMFS.
“Biological sampling will determine the population’s onset of spawning and track growth, maturity, age structure, and other life history parameters,” Van Parijs said. “This information will help inform the starting date for our glider surveys each year. We will tentatively conduct these surveys from December through March this year and for longer periods in the subsequent two years.”
Even before the agencies came to an impasse over the environmental assessment, fisheries scientists had been warning there needs to be more baseline information about fish populations around proposed wind power sites before construction.
Now BOEM is funding the acoustic surveys. Data for a larger study by the offshore energy planners, including potential cumulative impacts of Vineyard Wind and other projects, is scheduled to start being assembled by mid-June, with a final report scheduled for December 2020.The glider uses water ballast and wings to slowly ‘fly’ underwater over long ranges carrying its instrument package. Christopher McGuire/Nature Conservancy photo.
Ørsted is using the glider detection of endangered whales to guide plans for monitoring and mitigation requirements in the South Fork project, where the company hopes begin construction as early as 2021. Similar mapping will be used for planning the company’s other projects off the East Coast, including Ocean Wind array off southern New Jersey.
For the fisheries aspect of the study, researchers will tag up to 100 spawning cod with acoustic transmitters so the glider can identify spawning area. Other sensors carried on the glider collect detailed environmental data, to help scientists better understand the temperature preferences and habitat use of spawning cod in the region.
A new near real-time telemetry system is operating detect whales and fish, and the public can see data and photos as they come in from the project on a new public web page.
The project team includes experts from the NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries; The Nature Conservancy; University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School for Marine Science & Technology; the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office; and Rutgers University.
Last Sunday’s Opinion, winds of change, is clearly an opinion of NIMBY folks in Wainscott (population 700+) who don’t let facts interfere with their story.
Win With Wind’s (formed in 2019) sole purpose is to produce fact-based information regarding the benefits of renewable offshore wind energy. Win With Wind is independent and not affiliated with any wind or energy development company and has no financial ties with any interest group or individual who has a monetary stake in such an enterprise. Win With Wind is non-partisan and does not promote or oppose the candidacy of any individuals for public office at any level. The only former town official on its 4 member board or 7 member steering committee is a former East Hampton Town Supervisor who left office more than 30 years ago.
Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott is a small group with significant money that has hired teams of lawyers, engineers, PR firms, etc., to push alternative landing sites, that are all problematic.
East Hampton locals are concerned about climate change. Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott selfishly don’t want to be inconvenienced.
The South Fork Wind Farm will power 70,000 homes and off-set 300,000 tons of carbon emissions each year.