Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Training Opportunity: EMForum. Move People from Intention to Action

Who Depends On You?

A Public Education Campaign To Move People From Intention to Action

February 27, 2013 -- 12:00 Noon Eastern is pleased to host a one hour presentation and interactive discussion Wednesday, February 27, 2013 beginning at 12:00 Noon Eastern time (please convert to your local time)

Our topic will be "Who Depends on You?," a proven public education campaign that takes what we know from research and puts it into a simple, cost-effective, targeted marketing strategy to break through the inertia many people experience when it comes to disaster preparedness. Our guest will be Mary Schoenfeldt, Public Education Coordinator for the City of Everett (Washington) Office of Emergency Management.

Please make plans to join us, and see the Background Page for links to related resources and participant Instructions. On the day of the program, use the Webinar Login link not more than 30 minutes before the scheduled time.

Newsletter: DHHS. Office of Minority Health. Black History Month

Link to HHS.govU.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesThe Office of Minority Health - 1800-444-6472

Towards Health Equity

Provided by the Office of Minority Health Resource Center
February 26, 2012

Celebrate Black History Month in Good Health

2013 Black History Month Poster February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate the contributions of African Americans to the fabric of the United States. Black people have helped shape the nation in various ways, influencing every sector of society. But rates of chronic diseases and conditions on average remain significantly higher for African Americans, resulting in poorer quality of life and lower life expectancy. This February and beyond, the Office of Minority Health encourages you to make smart health decisions that will help you live longer, healthier and happier. Visit our website for Black History Month resources you can use year-round.

More Black History Month Resources:

  • View the National African American History Month Presidential Proclamation.
  • Read Secretary Sebelius’ Statement on African-American History Month.
  • Download the OMH Black History Month Poster. [PDF | 1MB]
  • Browse resources from the Knowledge Center’s suggested reading list.
  • View “African-American Health Profile”
  • See more resources on our website

  • May 13-15, 2013. GOVSEC

    GovSec 2013 will be held May 13-15, 2013 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.

    June 24-28, 2013. 3rd Annual Mid-Atlantic Intelligence and Law Enforcement Training Seminar (INLETS): Violent Crimes and Terrorism Trends!

    Registration is now open for the expanded 3rd Annual Mid-Atlantic Intelligence and Law Enforcement Training Seminar (INLETS):  Violent Crimes and Terrorism Trends!  The seminar will be held June 24-28, 2013 at the DoubleTree Hotel, Annapolis, MD.

    An opening night dinner presentation with the CIA Officers from Hollywood's "Argo" and "Charlie Wilson's War" will kick of a week of multi-day workshops inlcuding Social Media Exploitation, Crimes Against Children, Criminal Analysis, and profiling Arsonists and Bombers.  Scheduled to speak this year are FBI profilers, New Scotland Yard, John Reid & Associates, Dr. Kirk Yeager (FBI explosive expert), Bob Paudert (West Memphis Police Chief, Retired), and many, many, more.  In-depth case studies will also be part of the week, including a 2012 Serial Killer, a war-time kidnapping with Special Forces exfiltration, an LCN Italian Organized Crime White Collar take down, and Radiological, Chemical, and Explosive terror attacks in London.

    For more information and registration, please visit

    More precious then......Water our most precious resource


    The vast majority of the Earth's water resources are salt water, with only 2.5% being fresh water. Approximately 70% of the fresh water available on the planet is frozen in the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland leaving the remaining 30% (equal to only 0.7% of total water resources worldwide) available for consumption. From this remaining 0.7%, roughly 87% is allocated to agricultural purposes (IPCC 2007).
    These statistics are particularly illustrative of the drastic problem of water scarcity facing the world. Water scarcity is defined as per capita supplies less than 1700 m3/year (IPCC 2007).

    World freshwater availability  map 2000
    Source: World Resources 2000-2001: People and Ecosystems: The Fraying Web of Life. World Resources Institute, Washington DC (2000).
    Figure 1: Freshwater availability: groundwater and river flow (2000). InUNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library. Retrieved 15:50, March 26, 2008.
    According to the Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture, one in three people are already facing water shortages (2007). Around 1.2 billion people, or almost one-fifth of the world's population, live in areas of physical scarcity, while another 1.6 billion people, or almost one quarter of the world's population, live in a developing country that lacks the necessary infrastructure to take water from rivers and aquifers (known as an economic water shortage).
    World water use 2005
    Figure 2: Water use in the world (2005)
    There are four main factors aggravating water scarcity according to the IPCC:
    • Population growth: in the last century, world population has tripled. It is expected to rise from the present 6.5 billion to 8.9 billion by 2050. Water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century, and, although there is no global water scarcity as such, an increasing number of regions are chronically short of water.
    • Increased urbanization will focus on the demand for water among a more concentrated population. Asian cities alone are expected to grow by 1 billion people in the next 20 years.
    • High level of consumption: as the world becomes more developed, the amount of domestic water used by each person is expected to rise significantly.
    • Climate change will shrink the resources of freshwater.

    Water and Climate Change

    Water scarcity is expected to become an ever-increasing problem in the future, for various reasons. First, the distribution of precipitation in space and time is very uneven, leading to tremendous temporal variability in water resources worldwide (Oki et al, 2006). For example, the Atacama Desert in Chile, the driest place on earth, receives imperceptible annual quantities of rainfall each year. On the other hand, Mawsynram, Assam, India receives over 450 inches annually. If all the freshwater on the planet were divided equally among the global population, there would be 5,000 to 6,000 m3 of water available for everyone, every year (Vorosmarty 2000).
    Second, the rate of evaporation varies a great deal, depending on temperature and relative humidity, which impacts the amount of water available to replenish groundwater supplies. The combination of shorter duration but more intense rainfall (meaning more runoff and less infiltration) combined with increased evapotranspiration (the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the earth's land surface to atmosphere) and increased irrigation is expected to lead to groundwater depletion (Konikow and Kendy 2005).

    The Hydrological Cycle

    The hydrological cycle begins with evaporation from the surface of the ocean or land, continues as the atmosphere redistributes the water vapor to locations where it forms clouds, and then returns to the surface as precipitation. The cycle ends when the precipitation is either absorbed into the ground or runs off to the ocean, beginning the process over again.
    Key changes to the hydrological cycle (associated with an increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the resulting changes in climate) include:
    • Changes in the seasonal distribution and amount of precipitation.
    • An increase in precipitation intensity under most situations.
    • Changes in the balance between snow and rain.
    • Increased evapotranspiration and a reduction in soil moisture.
    • Changes in vegetation cover resulting from changes in temperature and precipitation.
    • Consequent changes in management of land resources.
    • Accelerated melting glacial ice.
    • Increases in fire risk in many areas.
    • Increased coastal inundation and wetland loss from sea level rise.
    • Effects of CO2 on plant physiology, leading to reduced transpiration and increased water use efficiency (Goudie 2006).

    Changes in Precipitation and Drought Patterns

    Projections of changes in total annual precipitation indicate that increases are likely in the tropics and at high latitudes, while decreases are likely in the sub-tropics, especially along its poleward edge. Thus, latitudinal variation is likely to affect the distribution of water resources. In general, there has been a decrease in precipitation between 10°S and 30°N since the 1980s (IPCC 2007). With the population of these sub-tropical regions increasing, water resources are likely to become more stressed in these areas, especially as climate change intensifies.

    While some areas will likely experience a decrease in precipitation, others (such as the tropics and high latitudes) are expected to see increasing amounts of precipitation. More precipitation will increase a region's susceptibility to a variety of factors, including:
    • Flooding
    • Rate of soil erosion
    • Mass movement of land
    • Soil moisture availability
    These factors are likely to affect key economic components of the GDP such as agricultural productivity, land values, and an area's habitability (IPCC 2007). In addition, warming accelerates the rate of surface drying, leaving less water moving in near-surface layers of soil. Less soil moisture leads to reduced downward movement of water and so less replenishment of groundwater supplies (Nearing et al 2005). In locations where both precipitation and soil moisture decrease, land surface drying is magnified, and areas are left increasingly susceptible to reduced water supplies.
    Although projecting how changed precipitation patterns will affect runoff is not yet a precise science, historical discharge records indicate it is likely that for each 1°C rise in temperature, global runoff will increase by 4%. Applying this projection to changes in evapotranspiration and precipitation leads to the conclusion that global runoff is likely to increase 7.8% globally by the end of the century (Oki and Kanae 2006). Thus, a region that experiences higher annual precipitation and more runoff increases the likelihood for flooding.
    Furthermore, in areas that are already vulnerable due to their limited groundwater storage availability, this cycle intensifies with increased warming and diminishing water supplies. In water stressed regions, variability of precipitation patterns is likely to further reduce groundwater recharge ability. Water availability is likely to be further exacerbated by poor management, elevated water tables, overuse from increasing populations, and an increase in water demand primarily from increased agricultural production (IPCC 2007).
    A recent global analysis of variations in the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) indicated that the area of land characterized as very dry has more than doubled since the 1970s, while the area of land characterized as very wet has slightly declined during the same time period. In certain susceptible regions, increased temperatures have already resulted in diminished water availability. Precipitations in both western Africa and southern Asia have decreased by 7.5% between 1900 and 2005 (Dai et al 2004).
    Most of the major deserts in the world including the Namib, Kalahari, Australian, Thar, Arabian, Patagonian and North Saharan are likely to experience decreased amounts of precipitation and runoff with increased warming. In addition, both semiarid and arid areas are expected to experience a decrease and seasonal shift in flow patterns. If increased temperatures cause an intensification of the water cycle there will be more extreme variations in weather events, as droughts will become prolonged and floods will increase in force (Huntington 2005).

    Melting Glacial Ice

    Water supplies can also be affected by warmer winter temperatures that cause a decrease in the volume of snowpack. The result is diminished water resources during the summer months. This water supply is particularly important at the midlatitudes and in mountainous regions that depend upon glacial runoff to replenish river systems and groundwater supplies. Consequently, these areas will become increasingly susceptible to water shortages with time, because increased temperatures will initially result in a rapid rise in glacial meltwater during the summer months, followed by a decrease in melt as the size of glaciers continue to shrink. This reduction in glacial runoff water is projected to affect approximately one-sixth of the world's population (IPCC 2007).
    A reduction of glacial runoff has already been observed in the Andes, whereby the usual trend of glacial replenishment during winter months has been insufficient. This is due to increased temperatures, which have caused the glaciers to retreat. It is likely that Andean communities such as El Alto in Bolivia have already observed a reduction in glacial runoff due to the scattered distribution of smaller sized glaciers, which further reduces the potential for runoff. In these areas, approximately one-third of the drinking water is dependent upon these supplies, and the recurrent trend of increased melt with diminished replenishment provides a dismal projection for water reserves if this same pattern continues (Goudie 2006).

    Water Quality

    Freshwater bodies have a limited capacity to process the pollution stemming from expanding urban, industrial and agricultural uses. Water quality degradation can be a major source of water scarcity.
    Although the IPCC projects that an increase in average temperatures of several degrees  as a result of climate change will lead to an increase in average global precipitation over the course of the 21st century, this amount does not necessarily relate to an increase in the amount of potable water available.
    A decline in water quality can result from the increase in runoff and precipitation- and while the water will carry higher levels of nutrients, it will also contain more pathogens and pollutants. These contaminants were originally stored in the groundwater reserves but the increase in precipitation will flush them out in the discharged water (IPCC 2007).
    Similarly, when drought conditions persist and groundwater reserves are depleted, the residual water that remains is often of inferior quality. This is a result of the leakage of saline or contaminated water from the land surface, the confining layers, or the adjacent water bodies that have highly concentrated quantities of contaminants. This occurs because decreased precipitation and runoff results in a concentration of pollution in the water, which leads to an increased load of microbes in waterways and drinking-water reservoirs (IPCC 2007).
    One of the most significant sources of water degradation results from an increase in water temperature. The increase in water temperatures can lead to a bloom in microbial populations, which can have a negative impact on human health. Additionally, the rise in water temperature can adversely affect different inhabitants of the ecosystem due to a species' sensitivity to temperature. The health of a body of water, such as a river, is dependent upon its ability to effectively self-purify through biodegradation, which is hindered when there is a reduced amount of dissolved oxygen. This occurs when water warms and its ability to hold oxygen decreases. Consequently, when precipitation events do occur, the contaminants are flushed into waterways and drinking reservoirs, leading to significant health implications (IPCC 2007).

    Effects on Coastal Populations

    For coastal populations, water quality is likely to be affected by salinization, or increased quantities of salt in water supplies. This will result from a rise in sea levels, which will increase salt concentrations in groundwater and estuaries. Sea-level rise will not only extend areas of salinity, but will also decrease freshwater availability in coastal areas. Saline intrusion is also a result of increased demand due in part to growing coastal populations that leave groundwater reserves increasingly vulnerable to contamination and diminishing water reserves (IPCC 2007).

    Confalonieri, U.,  Menne B., Akhtar, R., Ebi, K.L.,  Hauengue, M., Kovats, R.S., Revich, B. and Woodward, A. 2007. Human health. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 391-431.
    Dai,  A., Trenberth, K., and Qian, T. 2004. A Global Dataset of Palmer Drought Severity Index for 1870-2002: Relationship with Soil Moisture and Effects of Surface Warming. Journal of Hydrometeorology. (5). 1117- 1130.
    Goudie, Andrew. 2006.  Global Warming and Fluvial Geomorphology.Geomorphology. (79). 3-4. 384-394.
    Huntington, T. G. (2005). Evidence for Intensification of the Global Water Cycle: Review and Synthesis. Journal of Hydrology. (319): 83-95.
    Konikow, Leonard and Eloise Kendy. (2005). Groundwater Depletion: A Global Problem. Hydrogeology (13). 317-320.
    Nearing, M.A., Jetten, V., Baffaut, C., Cerdan, O., Couturier, A., Hernandez, M., Le Bissonnals, Y., Nichols, M.H., Nunes, J.P., Renschler, C.S., Souchere, V. and Van Oost, K. (2005). Modeling Response of Soil Erosion and Runoff to Changes in Precipitation and Cover. Catena (61). 131–154.
    Oki, Taikan and Shinjiro Kanae. (2006). Global Hydrological Cycles and World Water Resources. Science (313): 5790. 1068-1072.
    Vorosmarty, Charles, Green, P. Salisbury, J. Lammers, R. (2000). Global Water Resource: Vulnerability from Climate Change and Population Growth. Science (289): 5477. 284-288.
    Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture. 2007. David Molden, ed. International Water Management Institute. 3 March 2010.PDF
    Miscellaneous Hydrology Studies
    World Water Assessment Programme. 2003. Water for People, Water for Life: The United Nations World Water Development Report. UNESCO: Paris.
    Kabat, Pavel, Henk van Schaik, et al. 2003. Climate changes the water rules: How water managers can cope with today's climate variability and tomorrow's climate change. Dialogue on Water and Climate: The Netherlands. [ FULL TEXT ]
    Dialogue on Water and Climate. 2002. Coping with Impacts of Climate Variability and Climate Change in Water Management: A Scoping Paper. Dialogue on Water and Climate: The Netherlands.  [ PDF ]
    Nijssen, Bart, Greg M. O'Donnell, Alan F. Hamlet, and Dennis P. Lettenmaier. 2001. "Hydrologic Sensitivity of Global Rivers to Climate Change," Climatic Change, Vol. 50, No. 1-2, July, pp. 143-175.
    Vörösmarty, Charles J., Pamela Green, Joseph Salisbury, and Richard B. Lammers. 2000. "Global Water Resources: Vulnerability from Climate Change and Population Growth," Science, Vol. 289, 14 July, pp. 284-288.  [FULL TEXT ]
    Arnell, Nigel W. 1999. "Climate change and global water resources," Global Environmental Change, Vol. 9, Suppl. 1 , October, pp. S31-S49.
    Frederick, Kenneth D., and David C. Major. 1997. "Climate Change and Water Resources," Climatic Change, Vol. 37, No. 1, September, pp. 7-23.
    Major, David C., Kenneth D. Frederick. 1997. "Water Resources Planning and Climate Change Assessment Methods," Climatic Change, Vol. 37, No. 1, September, pp. 25-40.
    Boorman, D. B., and C. E. M. Sefton. 1997. "Recognising the Uncertainty in the Quantification of the Effects of Climate Change on Hydrological Response," Climatic Change, Vol. 35, No. 4, April, pp. 415-434.
    Frederick, Kenneth. 1997. "Water Resources and Climate Change," Resources for the Future: Washington, D.C.  [ PDF ]
    Rind, D., C. Rosenzweig, and R. Goldberg. 1992. "Modelling the hydrological cycle in assessments of climate change," Nature, 358, pp. 119-123.
    Loáiciga, H.A. 2003. "Climate Change and Ground Water," Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 93, No. 1, March, pp. 30-41.
    Stefan, H. G., X. Fang, and M. Hondzo. 1998. "Simulated Climate Change Effects on Year-Round Water Temperatures in Temperate Zone Lakes," Climatic Change, Vol. 40, No. 3-4, December, pp. 547-576.
    Qin, Boqiang, and Qun Huang. 1998. "Evaluation of the Climatic Change Impacts on the Inland Lake - A Case Study of Lake Qinghai, China," Climatic Change, Vol. 39, No. 4, August, pp. 695-714.
    Bonell, M. 1998. "Possible Impacts of Climate Variability and Change on Tropical Forest Hydrology," Climatic Change, Vol. 39, No. 2-3, July, pp. 215-272.

    Water. More precious then.......

    February 25th, 2013
    08:52 AM ET

    The coming water wars?

    For more What in the Worldwatch GPS on Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.
    By Global Public Square staff
    Imagine a large body of water – about the size of the Dead Sea – simply disappearing. It sounds like a science fiction movie. But it’s not. It’s happening in real life – and we've only just found out.
    pioneering study from NASA and the University of California Irvine shows how the Middle East is losing its fresh water reserves. As you can see from the satellite imagery in the video, we’re going from blues and greens, to yellows and reds: that’s 144 cubic kilometers of lost water between 2003 and 2009. What do we mean by “lost water”? Most of it comes from below the Earth’s surface, from water trapped in rocks. In times of drought, we tend to drill for water by constructing wells and pumps. But the Earth has a finite supply. NASA’s scientists say pumping for water is the equivalent of using up your bank savings. And that bank account is dwindling.

    This could have serious implications. Conflicts over water are as old as the story of Noah – in 3,000 BC. The Pacific Institute lists 225 such conflicts through history. What’s fascinating is that nearly half of those conflicts took place in the last two decades. Are we going to see a new era of wars fought over water?
    Consider that NASA’s study is of one of the most volatile regions in the world. We tend to think of the Middle East and its upheavals as defined by oil. Perhaps in the future it will be defined by water. We often talk of a world of nuclear haves and have-nots, but a world of water haves and have-nots could be even more dangerous.
    Part of the problem is that the world’s needs have changed. Look at the population boom. We’ve gone from 4 billion people in 1975, to around 7 billion today. The United Nations projects we will hit 9 billion by 2050. Meanwhile, as India, China, and Africa continue to add millions to their middle classes, global demand for all kinds of food and products will increase. All of those products cost money – except for water, which we like to think of as abundant and free. Yet water is the resource we need to worry most about. According to the World Health Organization, more than 780 million people – that’s two-and-a-half times the population of the United States – lack access to clean water. More than 3 million people die every year from this shortage. As our needs expand, so will the shortfall.
    What can be done? Most of our water is actually wasted – and the United States is actually one of the worst culprits. We can change that. Singapore already treats sewage water to convert it into clean drinking water. We need to consider large-scale desalinization, where the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are world leaders. And remember, agriculture uses up as much as 70 percent of water. We need to fund research into more effective crops. A village in India reportedly set a world record this month for rice produced in a single hectare. How? Simply by changing when the seedlings were planted, a process which saves water.
    Perhaps most simple and effective would be to put some kind of a price on water – so that people use it with a greater sense of efficiency and care.
    All kinds of innovations are underway.
    Next month the United Nations will mark World Water Day and the international year of water cooperation. It’s a good time to start thinking about big global measures to regulate the world’s most important resource.