— 300-400 tons of radioactive water flowing into the Pacific every day; “What is that doing to the Pacific Ocean?”

From ENE News

February 21, 2017

Arnie Gundersen, former nuclear engineer (emphasis added), Feb 2, 2017: “When I went to school, the saying was ‘dilution is the solution to pollution,’ and that’s what the Japanese believe. If they dump [radioactive water from Fukushima Daiichi] on their side and it floats over to the West Coast of the U.S. — the Pacific’s a big place — it’ll dilute out. I don’t think that’s appropriate… people are going to die. Regardless of how low the radiation is, it does cause cellular damage and cancer. So if you spread it out in a big body of water, the concentration goes down, but on the other hand, you’ve got a couple billion people exposed to it because they’re on the edge of that big body of water. So the concentration is down but the population is up and you’re still going to get cancer; it’s inevitable.”

Dr. Helen Caldicott, Feb 13, 2017: As the water flows beneath the damaged reactors, it immerses the three molten cores and becomes extremely radioactive as it continues its journey into the adjacent Pacific Ocean. Every day since the accident began, 300 to 400 tons of water has poured into the Pacific where numerous isotopes including cesium 137, 134, strontium 90, tritium, plutonium, americium and up to 100 more, enter the ocean and bio-concentrate by orders of magnitude at each step of the food chain… tuna, salmon and other species found on the American west coast now contain some of these radioactive elements… [Fukushima Daiichi] will continue to pour water into the Pacific for the rest of time

Fox News, Feb 8, 2017: Adam Housley, who reported from the area in 2011 following the catastrophic triple-meltdown, said… small levels of radiation are still being detected off the coasts of California and Oregon and scientists fear it could get worse. “The worry is with 300 tons of radioactive water going into the Pacific every day, what is that doing to the Pacific Ocean?” said Housley…

Fox News video transcript excerpts, Feb 8, 2017: Nearly 300 tons of radioactive water is dumped into the Pacific Ocean each and every day… There is still radiation being detected off the west coast of California and Oregon… The worry is with 300 tons of radioactive water going in every day to the Pacific — what is that doing to the Pacific Ocean?… We really don’t know what this radioactive water is doing to the Pacific I think a lot of people are very concerned about that…. As we know that water moves toward the west coast of the US.”

Watch the FOX News broadcast here

http://enenews.com/tv-scientists-fear-fukushima-radiation-hitting-us-to-worsen-a-lot-of-people-are-very-concerned-experts-billions-are-being-exposed-reactors-will-continue-to-pour-water-into-pacific-for

There are various inaccuracies in the Fox report:

  • 400 tons at least, not 300 tons
  • 530 Sievert/hour reading is from a different area in the reactor that TEPCO had not been measured before which is closer to the core. It may always have been this high. 73 Sieverts/hour  was measured on 3/11 at a different location, farther away. I haven’t seen a current reading there, for comparison. The surprise is being able to measure the true levels of radiation and finding it this high (this reading is also an estimate).
    “Although the radiation level is “astoundingly high,” says Azby Brown of Safecast, a citizen science organization that monitors radiation levels, it doesn’t necessarily signify any alarming change in radiation levels at Fukushima. It’s simply the first time they have been measured that far inside the reactor.” Washington Post
  • According to Washington Post, the evidence is not for new leaks but that melted fuel escaped at some time. Many experts said this happened perhaps within hours of the melt-downs. However, radioactive contamination is constantly “leaking” or rather, pouring into the Pacific Ocean.

What’s important is that mainstream news is covering this and the ocean contamination as a very important and ongoing event that can also impact the West Coast of America. That is a change.

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— Mortality events are becoming larger, but most are unstudied, uncounted; scientists have never seen these conditions before, can’t explain cause of sea star disease; ocean conditions the new normal by 2046

The vast majority of die-offs are like the ones here — unstudied, uncounted or reported only in newspapers. Still, scientists tracking the largest mass mortality events have found that the ones they can count are becoming larger — killing more birds, fish and marine invertebrates.

…the sea stars’ pandemic began before the anomalously warm “Blob” of water appeared in the Gulf of Alaska, spreading across places with vastly different environmental conditions, linked to temperature in some places but not others.

Last winter, tens of thousands of murres starved to death. This summer, the remaining murres abandoned their nesting colonies and failed to raise chicks.

…a phytoplankton community with…smaller cells

…How weird is all this? And does it all fit together?

…”The system is just really variable,” said Katrin Iken, a marine biologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “It’s hard to pick out a change that is different than that variability.”

So, variability is the problem????

…”Mother Nature [???] is giving us this huge natural [???]experiment,” [Kris] Holderied [oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA] said. “The conditions we’ve been seeing, we’ve never seen them before. They’re three or four standard deviations above the normal — but by 2046, this will be normal.”

The enormous monster in the room — how long can the pseudo-scientific community avert its eyes?

From ADN

Kachemak Bay has seen massive die-offs of sea stars and other species. What’s going on?

by Erin McKittrick
November 14, 2017

JAKOLOF BAY — I came to the beach to count sea star corpses. You might know them as starfish — stiff, five-pointed bodies like a child’s drawing of a star, crayon-bright. About 10 species once were common in the intertidal zone here, with different colors and shapes and numbers of rays — hundreds of which had been dismembered and scattered over the beach, as if a monster had stalked through before us, tearing their bodies apart.

The monster is sea star wasting disease. Broken patches on the skin turn into fissures, with brown globs of sea star insides leaking through the cracks. Within days, the stars turn limp, fall off rocks, shed arms and melt away into soft, wet puddles.

The tide sweeps over them, scattering their last remains. We’re left with an absence, another mystery, and an ocean that seems to be shifting too quickly for anyone to keep up.

A few months earlier, my kids and I kicked the eagle-scavenged carcasses of murres off one of our favorite camping spots before heading down to low tide among a mass of then-alive sea stars. The birds were leftovers of last winter’s die-off, when tens of thousands of murres starved to death and washed up along beaches all over Southcentral and Southwest Alaska. Biologists counted more dead seabirds than they ever had before, but there were more than anyone could count, leading to the second consecutive summer of empty nesting colonies, a silencing of the usual raucous chatter of sex and birth.

It was also the second summer in a row with no clams or clammers on Ninilchik beaches, and no young clams to promise a recovery. Otters washed up dead on the shores of Kachemak Bay. Dead whales rotted on the surface, and live whales lingered in our fjords late into last winter, months past their usual departure.

Eagle-scavenged murre carcasses found in summer 2016 (Ground Truth Trekking photo)
Eagle-scavenged murre carcasses found in summer 2016 (Ground Truth Trekking photo)

How weird is all this? And does it all fit together?

“That’s the question we’re all trying to answer,” said Kris Holderied, oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. While we talked, whitecaps swept down Cook Inlet, where she had hoped to be out on a boat, monitoring the ocean. Rain spattered against the roof, and punctuated the cellphone signal with brief gaps of static. It fell on the ocean, and flowed from the rivers, creating a layer of freshwater that floated and spread across the Gulf of Alaska.

“The last two winters, we never had the big cold-air outbreak, cooling the northern Gulf of Alaska. It rained all winter long, and that freshwater stabilized the water column. Not only are you not cooling it, but it stops nutrients from mixing, and changes what happens with the plankton.”

Blooms of a plankton called Alexandrium, associated with warm water, burst into Kachemak Bay, giving us our first high levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxin recorded in more than a decade.

Pseudo-nitzschia, another blooming plankton, left domoic acid, another neurotoxin, in its wake. Holderied’s research focuses on the most basic parts of the ocean — the temperature, the nutrients and these smallest pieces of life. From there, currents swirl and plankton are swallowed by a complex food web of largely unseen creatures, until there’s something dramatic enough for us to notice.

Vanishing sea stars

Katie Aspen Gavenus, a naturalist with the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, was one of the first to notice the dying sea stars.

Gavenus’ job has her out in tidepools all summer, teaching schoolchildren and guests about the creatures. She could always make an impression with a sunflower star. Bright orange to deep purple, these stars are larger than the lid of a 5-gallon bucket, with up to two dozen creeping arms. They’re voracious predators, simultaneously fuzzy, spiny and slimy to the touch, gliding over the kelp beds with startling speed.

“I picked up one that appeared to be completely healthy, and I was showing it to some guests — a family — supporting it with two hands,” she said. “Then a ray fell off. Then another one. I knew what was happening, but I didn’t know how to explain it to them — that it was dying in front of their eyes.”

Soon there were no more sunflower stars to be found. Other species followed. Gavenus returned to the sea star plots naturalists had been surveying since 2014, recording melting sea stars, and then almost no sea stars at all.

Dismembered arms from a rainbow star that succumbed to wasting. (Ground Truth Trekking photo)
Dismembered arms from a rainbow star that succumbed to wasting. (Ground Truth Trekking photo)

She reported dead sea stars to researchers in California, as she’d reported dead seabirds to researchers in Washington state. “Sometimes this summer, it felt like I was doing nothing but counting dead animals.”

Temperatures spiked this summer in Kachemak Bay at around 57 degrees, several degrees higher than the usual summer peak and warmer than any summer since 2005. In the middle of August, the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve warned of toxic mussels in the Homer harbor, just when the sea stars were beginning to succumb. Wasting had been present here at a low level for years. Perhaps higher temperatures finally caused it to break into a full-scale plague.

It’s a simple story — but it’s too simple. Farther south, the sea stars’ pandemic began before the anomalously warm “Blob” of water appeared in the Gulf of Alaska, spreading across places with vastly different environmental conditions, linked to temperature in some places but not others.

The bodies of these dying stars teem with a virus called SSaDV (sea star-associated densovirus), but the healthy stars have it too, as do museum-preserved stars from as far back as 1942. None of the scientists I spoke to could explain what sparked the current plague, which broke out in the summer of 2013, leaping up and down the coast from Washington to California to Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska.

“It’s probably a pathogen plus environmental factors,” said Melissa Miner, a researcher with University of California, Santa Cruz who’s been tracking the outbreak for years. “Some people are looking at ocean acidification as well.”

Aquariums signal problems

In some places, the first people to notice sea star wasting were workers in aquariums, where stars in kiddie touch tanks melted away, infected by the filtered, pumped-in ocean. Water is a sea star’s blood. It enters through a pore on the top of the animal, and moves through a series of canals, operating the thousands of tiny tube feet through a system of hydraulics.

The same water soon becomes the blood of its neighbor. As land creatures, we live in our protective bags of skin. But in the ocean, currents sweep up pathogens and toxins, plankton and larvae, connecting distant places and creatures.

The vast majority of die-offs are like the ones here — unstudied, uncounted or reported only in newspapers. Still, scientists tracking the largest mass mortality events have found that the ones they can count are becoming larger — killing more birds, fish and marine invertebrates. Fewer die-offs are caused by cold stress, while more are now caused by harmful algal blooms, by disease or by several simultaneous factors.

Sea stars are brainless, heartless and inedible. They might still be important. Decades ago, scientists removing ochre stars from the beach watched mussels grow over the rocks, and invented the concept of a “keystone species.” The loss of sea stars may cascade through the entire intertidal ecosystem. Or juveniles may carpet the rocks, quickly growing to replace what was lost. Miner has seen evidence of both futures in her long-term monitoring sites — beaches with babies, beaches empty.

Blood star (Henricia leviscula) on a rock (Ground Truth Trekking photo)
Blood star (Henricia leviscula) on a rock (Ground Truth Trekking photo)

We don’t know what will happen with the sea stars. We don’t even know what is happening with the sea stars. The scientists I spoke to didn’t know why the Kachemak Bay sea stars died this summer — they didn’t even know it had happened. There are so few scientists in Alaska, scrabbling for funding, fighting the weather and dealing with a huge and complicated ocean. Plus, Alaska’s 34,000 miles of tidal shoreline, according to NOAA, is nearly four times more than the No. 2 state of Florida.

“The system is just really variable,” said Katrin Iken, a marine biologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “It’s hard to pick out a change that is different than that variability.”

Some strands braid together neatly. Last winter, tens of thousands of murres starved to death. This summer, the remaining murres abandoned their nesting colonies and failed to raise chicks.

But what about sea star viruses?

Or herring drifting into Kachemak Bay from Prince William Sound to feed humpback whales and winter kings?

Or a phytoplankton community with bigger numbers and smaller cells?

Or shifts in kelp beds?

All these braid together like my daughter’s hair after a week in the wilderness — a confusion of snarled knots and flyaway strands and tucked in bits of spruce twig.

New normal?

 We’re probably missing strands. Most of the ocean is invisible and unnoticed — built of species neither cute, iconic nor commercially harvested.

Kachemak Bay is better monitored than most. Mandy Lindberg, a biologist with NOAA, hopes that remote-sensing networks can be deployed across the state to catch some of what we’re missing: “We need instruments that send data and imagery. It’s more important now because of all these weirdnesses with the climate.” [NOAA wants to use microwave radiation sensors to “monitor” the situation? This will cause further harm to this very fragile environment.]

“Mother Nature is giving us this huge natural experiment,” Holderied said. “The conditions we’ve been seeing, we’ve never seen them before. They’re three or four standard deviations above the normal — but by 2046, this will be normal.”

This summer, I walked the beaches with a little yellow notebook in my pocket. It’s full now, scribbled with geeky little lists of each species I found at low tide — sometimes 70 in a single morning. They were records of new things I learned. Perhaps they’re also records of things that will never be the same. I used those lists when I uploaded my observations to the citizen-science site tracking sea star wasting. My pin marks showed up on the map. They made me feel important. It was unnerving, exciting and sad all at the same time.

Change is fascinating.

In October, my son and I walked down the beaches of Jakolof Bay, hands tucked into our pockets to protect against the frost. The crabs hunched motionless in the cold, and the corpses of birds and sea stars had been long since swept away. I spotted a glimpse of pink and plunged my arm into the water to pull up a single rainbow star, the only one I’d seen in a month. Three of its five arms were tiny regenerating stubs. We speculated about its brush with death, and whether this single survivor could become the grandmother to future generations. Its tube feet reached out to grip the rock. I made a mark in my notebook, and then put it back — extra carefully.

Erin McKittrick is a writer, adventurer and scientist based in Seldovia. She’s the author of “A Long Trek Home: 4,000 Miles by Boot, Raft and Ski,” the children’s book “My Coyote Nose and Ptarmigan Toes” and “Small Feet, Big Land: Adventure, Home and Family on the Edge of Alaska.” Her next book, “Mud Flats and Fish Camps: 800 Miles around Alaska’s Cook Inlet,” is due out in spring 2017. You can find her at GroundTruthTrekking.org.

https://www.adn.com/alaska-life/we-alaskans/2016/11/13/kachemak-bay-has-witnessed-massive-die-offs-of-sea-stars-and-other-species-whats-going-on/

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

— Squid are part of ocean’s core food web; in 2014, California sardines crashed

In recent years scientists have gained a deeper understanding of sardines’ value as “forage fish,” small but nutrition-packed species such as herring and market squid that form the core of the ocean food web, funneling energy upward by eating tiny plankton and being preyed on by big fish, seabirds, seals and whales.

From the Los Angeles Times
January 5, 2014
By Tony Barboza

The sardine fishing boat Eileen motored slowly through moonlit waters from San Pedro to Santa Catalina Island, its weary-eyed captain growing more desperate as the night wore on. After 12 hours and $1,000 worth of fuel, Corbin Hanson and his crew returned to port without a single fish.

“Tonight’s pretty reflective of how things have been going,” Hanson said. “Not very well.”

To blame is the biggest sardine crash in generations, which has made schools of the small, silvery fish a rarity on the West Coast. The decline has prompted steep cuts in the amount fishermen are allowed to catch, and scientists say the effects are probably radiating throughout the ecosystem, starving brown pelicans, sea lions and other predators that rely on the oily, energy-rich fish for food.

If sardines don’t recover soon, experts warn, the West Coast’s marine mammals, seabirds and fishermen could suffer for years.

The reason for the drop is unclear. Sardine populations are famously volatile, but the decline is the steepest since the collapse of the sardine fishery in the mid-20th century. And their numbers are projected to keep sliding.

One factor is a naturally occurring climate cycle known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which in recent years has brought cold, nutrient-rich water to the West Coast. While those conditions have brought a boom in some species, such as market squid, they have repelled sardines.

If nature is responsible for the decline, history shows the fish will bounce back when ocean conditions improve. But without a full understanding of the causes, the crash is raising alarm.

An assessment last fall found the population had dropped 72% since its last peak in 2006. Spawning has taken a dive too.

In November, federal fishery managers slashed harvest limits by more than two-thirds, but some environmental groups have argued the catch should be halted outright.

“We shouldn’t be harvesting sardines any time the population is this low,” said Geoff Shester, California program director for the conservation group Oceana, which contends that continuing to fish for them could speed their decline and arrest any recovery.

The Pacific sardine is the ocean’s quintessential boom-bust fish. It is short-lived and prolific, and its numbers are wildly unpredictable, surging up and down in decades-long cycles in response to natural shifts in the ocean environment. When conditions are poor, sardine populations plunge. When seas are favorable, they flourish in massive schools.

It was one of those seemingly inexhaustible swells that propelled California’s sardine fishery to a zenith in the 1940s. Aggressive pursuit of the species transformed Monterey into one of the world’s top fishing ports.

And then it collapsed.

By mid-century sardines had practically vanished, and in the 1960s California established a moratorium on sardine fishing that lasted 18 years. The population rebounded in the 1980s and fishing resumed, but never at the level of its heyday.

Since the 1940s scientists have debated how much of the collapse was caused by ocean conditions and how much by overfishing. Now, researchers are posing the same question.

“It’s a terribly difficult scientific problem,” said Russ Vetter, director of the Fisheries Resources Division at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center.

Separate sardine populations off Japan, Peru and Chile fluctuate in the same 50- to 70-year climate cycle but have been more heavily exploited, Vetter said. West Coast sardines are considered one of the most cautiously fished stocks in the world, a practice that could explain why their latest rebound lasted as long as it did. The West Coast’s last sardine decline began in 1999, but the population shot back up by the mid-2000s.

In recent years scientists have gained a deeper understanding of sardines’ value as “forage fish,” small but nutrition-packed species such as herring and market squid that form the core of the ocean food web, funneling energy upward by eating tiny plankton and being preyed on by big fish, seabirds, seals and whales.

Now, they say, there is evidence some ocean predators are starving without sardines. Scarcity of prey is the leading theory behind the 1,600 malnourished sea lion pups that washed up along beaches from Santa Barbara to San Diego in early 2013, said Sharon Melin, a wildlife biologist at the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Melin’s research indicates that nursing sea lion mothers could not find fatty sardines, so they fed on less nutritious market squid, rockfish and hake and produced less milk for their young in 2012. The following year their pups showed up on the coast in overwhelming numbers, stranded and emaciated.

We are likely to see more local events like this if sardines disappear or redistribute along the coast and into deeper water,” said Selina Heppell, a fisheries ecologist at Oregon State University.

Biologists also suspect the drop is hurting brown pelicans that breed on California’s northern Channel Islands. The seabirds, which scoop up sardines close to the ocean surface, have shown signs of starvation and have largely failed to breed or rear chicks there since 2010.

Brown pelicans were listed as endangered in 1970 after they were pushed nearly to extinction by DDT, which thinned their eggshells. They were taken off the list in 2009 and now number about 150,000 along the West Coast.

Though pelicans have had more success recently in Mexico, where about 90% of the population breeds, environmental groups think the lack of food at the northern end of their range could threaten the species’ recovery.

Normally, pelicans and sea lions would adapt by instead gobbling up anchovies. But aside from an unusual boom in Monterey Bay, anchovy numbers are depressed too.

“That does not bode well for everything in the ocean that relies on sardines to get big and fat and healthy,” said Steve Marx, policy analyst for the Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit that advocates for ecosystem-based management of fisheries.

Fishermen also attest to the scarcity.

The West Coast sardine catch oscillates with the market and was valued at about $14.5 million in 2013, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. But California fishermen pulled in just $1.5 million worth of sardines last year, preliminary data from state Department of Fish and Wildlife show.

Just a few years ago, Hanson, the sardine captain, didn’t have to travel far from port to pull in nets bulging with sardines.

Not anymore. If his crew catches sardines these days, they are larger, older fish that are mostly shipped overseas and ground up for pet or fish food. Largely absent are the small and valuable young fish that can be sold for bait or canned and eaten.

Still, when he embarked for Catalina Island on a December evening, Hanson tried to stay optimistic. “We’re going to get a lot of fish tonight,” he told a fellow sardine boat over the radio.

After hours of cruising the island’s shallow waters, the voice of another boat captain lamented over the radio, “I haven’t seen a scratch.” So the Eileen and other boats made an about-face for the Orange County coast, hoping to net sardines in their usual hideouts.

No such luck.

By daybreak, Hanson was piloting the hulking boat back to the docks with nothing in its holds.

tony.barboza@latimes.com

http://articles.latimes.com/2014/jan/05/local/la-me-sardine-crash-20140106

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

• The NRC’s policy of deception on Fukushima

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is a primary party to the biggest cover-up in modern history – the extent of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster and the growing catastrophic impacts that endanger all life on Earth.

It issued a report – “Japan Lessons Learned: Fukushima Water Contamination – Impacts on the U.S. West Coast” – just updated in January 2015. The report is a blatant lie. It fails to mention major contamination issues. It cherry picks the science. It ignores U.S. government findings.

The authors are Jessica Kratchman, Chuck Norton, and Robert Bernardo.

Here is the report link http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1502/ML15021A530.pdf

You can also access this short report here.

Here are the opening paragraphs:

FUKUSHIMA WATER CONTAMINATION- IMPACTS ON THE U.S. WEST COAST

Jessica Kratchman and Chuck Norton
Updated January 2015 – Robert Bernardo
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The NRC continues to see public interest in low concentrations of radioactive material detected off the U.S. West Coast. The material comes from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station’s catastrophic and unprecedented accident following the Great Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 2011.

While the NRC has created this background discussion, more up to date information is available through the links (such as to Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (JNRA)) at the end of this report. While the NRC continues to examine information on this situation, many other Federal and State agencies carry out the environmental monitoring needed to determine any health and safety effects from the Fukushima-based contamination.

THE FACTS: BOTTOM LINE

The available evidence continues to lead the NRC and other Federal, State and local governments to conclude the low levels of radiation leaking into the ocean from Fukushima Daiichi fall well short of posing any U.S. health or environmental risk…
———————————————————-

This is the official U.S. government stance. Please read it.

Then let others know.

This must not stand.

Break through this wall of silence. Debunk this damn report and the government that supports it.

For the Earth’s sake, for the children’s sake, and for all of our sake.