Thursday, January 21, 2016

1/21 Orca rebound, BC pipe hearing, train delays, 2015 climate, Planet 9, Site C dam protest

Puget Sound orca numbers rise fast after 30-year low in 2014
In just over a year, Puget Sound has welcomed nine baby Southern-resident orcas to the fold, as the pod continues to rebound from 30-year-low numbers reported at the end of 2014. The newest members of the J and L pods, which inhabit Washington’s inland waters along with the K pod, face myriad hazards, including pollution, busy shipping traffic and a threatened food supply. The cetaceans have been listed since 2005 for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Chinook salmon, the orcas’ favorite food, are also listed under the ESA. Evan Bush reports. (Seattle Sun)

Correction: Reader Amy Fowler pointed out that the photo accompanying the birth of J55 in yesterday's clips was of J54 taken last December. Know thy whales.

Burnaby calls on national energy regulator to suspend Trans Mountain pipeline review
The National Energy Board should suspend its review of the Trans Mountain pipeline until Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reforms the national regulator, a lawyer for the City of Burnaby said Wednesday. “You do not have the authority to speak in the interest of the citizens of Burnaby,” the city’s lawyer Gregory McDade told the NEB panel. Burnaby is both the epicentre of opposition to the $5.4 billion pipeline expansion project and the host city of the current round of NEB hearings on the project, expected to last for 10 days in B.C. and will wrap up in Calgary next month. Geoffrey Morgan reports. (Financial Post)

Study suggests ways to ease train delays in Skagit County
With an increase in rail traffic expected over the next several decades, Skagit County will have options to lessen the burden on its transportation grid, but they could be expensive. Members of the Skagit Council of Governments’ Transportation Policy Board heard a presentation Wednesday on findings and mitigation options from a study that examined traffic last year at 56 of the county’s “at-grade” railroad crossings. Evan Marczynski reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Climate change: 2015 'shattered' global temperature record by wide margin
Global temperatures in 2015 were the warmest on record, according to data published by meteorologists in the UK and US. The Met Office figures show that 2015 was 0.75C warmer than the long-term average between 1961-1990. US data suggests that 2015 "shattered" the temperature record by the widest margin ever recorded. Experts say the record temperatures were due to a combination of El NiƱo and human-induced warming.  Matt McGrath reports. (BBC)

New evidence points to giant 9th planet on solar system edge 
The solar system may have a ninth planet after all. This one is 5,000 times bigger than outcast Pluto and billions of miles farther away, say scientists who presented “good evidence” for a long-hypothesized Planet X on Wednesday. The gas giant is thought to be almost as big as its nearest planetary neighbor Neptune, quite possibly with rings and moons. It’s so distant that it would take a mind-blowing 10,000 to 20,000 years to circle the sun. Planet 9, as the pair of California Institute of Technology researchers calls it, hasn’t been spotted yet. They base their prediction on mathematical and computer modeling, and anticipate its discovery via telescope within five years or less. Marcia Dunn reports. See also: Discovering Planet Nine  Alan Burdick reports. (New Yorker) (Associated Press)

BC Hydro seeks injunction against Site C dam project protesters
BC Hydro is seeking an injunction against protesters at its Site C dam project, claiming they have been preventing contractors from completing their work on the south bank of the Peace River since Jan. 4.  In a petition filed in B.C. Supreme Court, Hydro asks for an injunction to prevent protesters from impeding work on the site and from threatening or intimidating contractors. The utility is also asking for punitive as well as general damages and costs. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  250 AM PST THU JAN 21 2016  

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM PST THIS MORNING
 

TODAY
 E WIND 25 TO 35 KT...BECOMING SE 15 TO 25 KT IN THE  AFTERNOON. COMBINED SEAS 9 TO 12 FT WITH A DOMINANT PERIOD OF  11 SECONDS. RAIN.

TONIGHT
 LIGHT WIND. WIND WAVES LESS THAN 1 FT. SW SWELL 10 FT AT  11 SECONDS...BUILDING TO W 13 FT AT 18 SECONDS AFTER MIDNIGHT. RAIN.
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