Monthly Archives: January 2015

Connecticut River Update 1/27/15: more ice

Winter has come, and the Connecticut River has begun to freeze.   The reactor at Vernon is no longer heating the river.  It is no longer giving off a thermal plume. I had predicted that the river might freeze south of the Coolidge Bridge.   Since the last posting, there has been a heavy rain of over one inch, washing out the ice, followed by more freezing.   The effects have been quite dramatic on the Mill River Bicycle Bridge, near my home.

Mill River iced up, on

Mill River iced up, on 1/16/15

Then the rain came, over one inch:

Mill River

Mill River1/20/15, showing that the ice has been washed away

The ice also washed down the ice blocks from further upstream. The rising water has broken up the ice and floated it downstream, where it is left behind by the falling waters:

ice blocks

ice blocks 1/20/15

ice block, with sandy beach

ice block, with sandy beach

With more freezing the ice has frozen again, showing clear ice trapping floating ice, to start the process again.

Black ice

Black ice 1/26/15, trapping floating ice

The rain has made little difference at the Sportsman’s Marina.  Before:

Ct river sportsman's 1/17/15

Ct river sportsman’s 1/17/15

After the rain there is not much change in the ice:

Ct River, Sportsman's

Ct River, Sportsman’s 1/21/15.

There has been beautiful ice forms below the bike  bridge at Northampton:

Ice art, 1/20/15IMG_0798

 

There was freezing of the River north of the bridge, for the first time in my memory.  view upstream from bike path bridge, Northampton

 

And after the rain:

upstream on bike path bridge, after the rain

upstream on bike path bridge, after the rain

Above view upstream from bike path bridge, Northampton and below is the view downstream.

IMG_0746

Ice has formed both above the bridge and below the bridge, but not at the bridge.  I know from rowing on the river that the area at the bridge has a stronger current than other parts of the river.   The ice is forming where the current is slow, and staying open where it is faster.   It seems that the area I had picked to discuss the freezing may be one of the last places to freeze on the river.

At Gill the river is completely frozen.  I have been unable to find old pictures of this view showing open water.

Ribert

River at Gill, 1/19/15

ROAD TRIP:

 

After the rain, I took a trip to look at the Connecticut River.

Where the Oxbow connects with the Connecticut River the River is completely frozen, unlike past years.   Note much of the ice is “black.” or non-white.   It is transparent.   The river has melted and then refrozen.

Connecticut River at Oxbow

Connecticut River at Oxbow

At the Connecticut River at the bridge in Northfield there is ice completely across the river both upsteam and down.   It too has melted and then refrozen.   In past years I have driven by and not taken pictures because the river was open.

downstream at Norhtfield

downstream at Northfield

upstream at Northfield

upstream at Northfield

 

At Northfield boat launch the river is completely frozen:

Northfield Boat launch

Northfield Boat launch

IMG_0808

At Hinsdale the Vernon pool is completely frozen, as in past years.   I met an man planning to icefish at the pool.   I choose not to follow him onto the ice, but he reassured me that the ice was was 8 inches and safe.                                                             .IMG_0812

On the Vernon side the river was frozen at the dam.   In fact, there were men out on the dam chopping on the ice.                                                                              IMG_0822

Compare this to several years ago:

Vernon pool, 1/7/13

Vernon pool, 1/7/13

At this point there are multiple points of observation showing that the river has frozen now in places it has not frozen in past years.

I spoke with my sister Margot, who reported that the river was largely frozen down in Hartford, Ct and sent me this picture.

Connecticut River at Hartford

Connecticut River at Hartford on 1/25/15

I have never seen the river completely frozen there at Hartford.   I wrote to my friend Brian, who responded:

Andy — Having just returned from Antarctica, my observations about ice on the CT river are likely to be relative. . .

That said, I have noticed since my return that the river is frozen solid from bank to bank in Hartford, which is the exception rather than the rule.  However, I understand there was some very cold weather (teens or lower) while we were away, so I’m not sure whether VY deserves any credit (or) blame for that.  Since you’ve raised the issue, I’ll keep an eye out from my office, which overlooks the river, and keep you posted on what I see.

I looked for the data and found some at the WeatherUnderground.

For 2013

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 3.13.47 PM

 

For 2014

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 3.23.07 PM

 

For 2015

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 3.14.46 PM

 

If one looks at the marker of degree days, then 2014, the year of the “polar vortex” at 1316 was the coldest year, and 2015 at 1216 is marginally colder than 2013.  This suggests that variance in the temperature cannot explain this increased icing.

I predicted that there would be ice below the Coolidge Bridge, and that has not yet happened.  However, the winter is not yet over, and colder weather is forecast.

Besides, there is much more icing of the river than in past years.  I believe that some of the increased icing is from the shutting down of Vermont Yankee.

This year “ice out” will be different.

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USA persuades India to weaken its nuclear liability law – double standards here

Under pressure from GE and Westinghouse, the two American nuclear vendors hoping to sell billions of dollars worth of reactors to India, the Obama administration has demanded that Section 17(b) and Section 46 of the Indian liability law be deleted or amended. Double standards? The irony is that American nuclear suppliers operate under a domestic liability […]

Privatize the profits, socialize the risks
http://nuclear-news.net/2015/01/26/usa-persuades-india-to-weaken-its-nuclear-liability-law-double-standards-here/

USA persuades India to weaken its nuclear liability law – double standards here

Under pressure from GE and Westinghouse, the two American nuclear vendors hoping to sell billions of dollars worth of reactors to India, the Obama administration has demanded that Section 17(b) and Section 46 of the Indian liability law be deleted or amended. Double standards? The irony is that American nuclear suppliers operate under a domestic liability […]

Privatize the profits, socialize the risks.
http://nuclear-news.net/2015/01/26/usa-persuades-india-to-weaken-its-nuclear-liability-law-double-standards-here/

Dying Pacific Ocean?

Monday, January 19, 2015 Marine defaunation: Animal loss in the global ocean. Science 16 January 2015: Vol. 347 no. 6219 DOI: 10.1126/science.1255641 Review Douglas J. McCauley Malin L. Pinsky Stephen R. Palumbi James A. Estes Francis H. Joyce Robert R. Warner [excerpted] Wildlife populations in the oceans have been badly damaged by human activity…. Human […]

A long discussion about the ongoing disaster at Fukushima and its effects on wild life in the Pacific.
http://nuclear-news.net/2015/01/20/dying-pacific-ocean/

The Connecticut River is cooler this winter

I  wrote about the thermal plume from the  reactor at Vermont Yankee, and suggested that there would be more  freezing of the water at the Coolidge Bridge.  For comparison, here is a view of the Connecticut River looking toward the Coolidge Bridge taken on Jan 19, 2013:

ElwellIsland1/19/13

Here is a similar view taken on Jan 17, 2015, after the reactor has shut down.

View from bike trail bridge, 1/17/15

View from bike trail bridge, 1/17/15

It is readily apparent that there is much more ice on the river.  I do not have pictures from last year, the very cold year associated with the “Artic Vortex.”

There are now areas of ice entirely across the river, looking upstream from the bike bridge in Northampton, MA on January 17, 2015.   I do not have photos from the past, but it was open water.

IMG_0749

Anneke and I went to the French King Bridge last weekend to look at the river, and ran into a man selling honey by the river.   I asked him if he had noticed more ice this year, and he said that the  Connecticut River was now frozen at the  bridge at Northfield.  Unprompted, he explained that there was more ice on the river because they have shut down the reactor at Vernon.

Vermont Yankee’s problems have not been solved.

There was a recent letter to the editor by Nancy Braus outlining the potential problems with waste storage at Vermont Yankee.  She points out that for the dry cast storage that:

The NRC requires examining of 1 cask per site out of dozens, only once every 25 years!

The initial idea was that this waste was to be taken elsewhere.   But where is elsewhere but someone else’s back yard?   Now it is to be stored locally, on a flood plain.   Since this storage has never been done before, how can the scientists be so confidant that no problems can arise?  Have they never heard of Murphy’s Law, that states that, if something can go wrong, it will?

Nuclear deserts in the world

There was  a recent article in Der Spiegel (h/t to Anja) about many of the nuclear disasters around the world.  There are places around the world that have been abandoned because the are no longer inhabitable.  Here are some of the stories.

Everyone knows about Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and, now, Fukushima. But what about Semipalatinsk, Palomares and Kyshtym? The world is full of nuclear disaster zones