Posted on March 5, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New waterway could take a huge environmental toll
Preparations have started for construction of a new canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean across Nicaragua. Map courtesy Pedro Alvarez Grou.
FRISCO — Expediting construction of a planned transoceanic canal in Nicaragua raises a host of environmental and social issues, according to a panel of scientists who recently met at a conference to discuss the potential impacts of the project.
The scientists urged caution and international collaboration, saying that sediment discharges during construction will threaten aquatic species, Nicaragua’s lucrative ecotourism and the supply of fresh water for drinking, irrigation and power generation.
The Nicaragua Interoceanic Grand Canal will cut through Lake Cocibolca , Central America’s main freshwater reservoir and the largest tropical freshwater lake of the Americas. The plan will force the relocation of indigenous populations and impact a fragile ecosystem, including species at risk of extinction, according to Rice University environmental engineer Pedro Alvarez and other members of the consortium. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, invasive species | Tagged: Central America, Environment, Nicaragua Interoceanic Grand Canal, water | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 10, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Extreme weather likely disrupted advanced Central American civilization
The Altun Ha Maya site, near Belize City. Bob Berwyn photo.
Researchers used a stalactite from a cave to help establish an accurate climate record. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Archaeologists and paleoclimatologists have teamed to offer more proof that climate extremes likely caused the collapse on the ancient Maya civilization of Central America.
The Maya demise has long fascinated researchers, who wonder how a civilization that seemed to be at its peak simply vanished within the span of a few decades. Numerous studies have pointed to climate as a factor — even in the Earth’s pre-industrial era, natural cycles of rainfall and drought apparently had an impact.
“Here you had an amazing state-level society that had created calendars, magnificent architecture, works of art, and was engaged in trade throughout Central America,” said UC Davis anthropology professor and co-author Bruce Winterhalder. “They were incredible craftspersons, proficient in agriculture, statesmanship and warfare — and within about 80 years, it fell completely apart.” Continue reading
Filed under: Archaeology, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Central America, climate change, Maya, Maya script, UC Davis | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 19, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Tropical Storm Harvey is headed for Belize.
Strong winds, dangerous surf on the coast; threatening rains in the higher terrain
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Popular tourist beaches in Central America are bracing for the arrival of Tropical Storm Harvey, now taking direct aim at Belize, where tropical storm warnings have been issued.
The storm has sustained winds of 40 mph and could drop three to five inches of rain, with higher amounts possible over the mountains. This rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides over the higher terrain.
A tropical storm warning is also in effect for the Bay Islands of Honduras. According to the latest National Weather Service advisory, the storm is moving slowly and could gain more strength over the warm Caribbean before making landfall in about 24 hours. At mid-day Friday, Harvey was about 285 miles southeast of Belize City and expected to pass over the Bay Islands during the day.
Tropical storm watches have been issued for the coast of Honduras and the coast of Guatemala. Tropical storm-force winds could also affected the southeastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula by Saturday night. At present, tropical storm-force winds extend about 40 miles from the center of the storm, mainly to the north.
Filed under: climate and weather | Tagged: Belize, Belize City, Central America, Tropical cyclone, Tropical cyclone warnings and watches, Tropical Storm Harvey | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 12, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
A 1,100-year old Montezuma tree from Barranca de Amealco, Mexico, used in the rainfall chronology. This tree species is called "ahuehuete" in the indigenous language Nahuatl, meaning 'old man of the water'.
Dry spells may be linked to decline of pre-Hispanic civilizations in Mexico and Central America
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A new tree ring study spanning more than 1,200 years is helping archaeologists pinpoint the exact dates of ancient mega-droughts that may have been key factors in the decline of major pre-Hispanic cultures in Mexico and Central America.
The new data supports other evidence that droughts played a big role in the rise and fall of the Toltecs and Maya, but the record had many gaps, leaving researchers guessing as to the exact dates geographic extent of the dry spells.
The new, 1,238-year-long tree-ring chronology is the longest and most accurate of its kind for Mesoamerica, and the first to reconstruct the climate of pre-colonial Mexico on an annual basis for more than a millennium, pinning down four ancient mega-droughts to their exact years. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado | Tagged: Central America, dendrochronology. climate change, drought, Environment, Maya civilization, mesoamerica, Mexico, paleoclimatology, pre-Hispanic, Summit County News, Taxodium mucronatum, United States, University of Arkansas | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 4, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
A traditional dug-out fishing boat in the kuna yala of Panama.
On her honeymoon, Golden-based adventure and travel writer Emily A. Palm Mulica explores indigenous cultures and tropical islands. Please scroll down for the slide show.
Story and photos by Emily A. Palm Mulica
Despite the fame of the canal, the fact the U.S. dollar serves as the national currency, and the allure of beaches and jungle, not too many Americans visit Panama. I’ve met far more folks who have ventured to Costa Rica (Panama’s northern neighbor), and this was a contributing factor to why my husband and I honeymooned last fall in Central America’s southernmost country.
Please click the “read more” tab for the full story, along with a slide show: Continue reading
Filed under: Travel | Tagged: Central America, Emily A Palm Mulica, Kuna Yala, Panama, photography Bocas de Toro, San Blas Islands, Summit Voice, Travel | 3 Comments »