Sand appears such a freely available universal resource that it is easy to forget that availability is not a given and mining it can give rise to problems. In South Africa we are well aware of the exploitation of ilmenite sands and the effect on the environment. These sands are the most important source of… Continue reading Sand
[This account was written in 2015 and is the first of a series of travelogues first circulated as emails. Pictures by the author except for the Great Zimbabwe ruins and exterior of the museum.] Mapungubwe is an historic site in the far north of South Africa bordering the Limpopo River, now included in a national… Continue reading Mapungubwe
A number of my local readers are familiar with the 11,595ha Suikerbosrand Reserve, the Afrikaans name meaning ridge of the sugar bushes, where sugar bushes are not the maple syrup yielding trees of North America but rather proteas. This is one of the few places close to the built up areas of Johannesburg where one… Continue reading Suikerbosrand, Judgement Reserved?
Good rains have occurred in the northern part of the region while drought conditions continue in the south. This has allowed dam levels to increase rapidly in one part of the region while reaching dangerously low levels in other parts. Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society reports that mid March conditions in… Continue reading Southern Africa Climate, Outlook and Dam Levels
This two part blog covers the Katse Dam itself and the road trip to the dam from the eastern Free State The Katse Dam in Lesotho is one of the largest, and highest, in Africa, providing water for the densely populated Gauteng Province of South Africa. It is wedged in a narrow valley between mountain… Continue reading Katse Dam and Access
I see that at one time on 7 October 2015 Denmark was generating 140% of its local electricity demand from wind turbines enabling it to export to neighbouring countries. The country has a population of only 5.6 million, but a long coastline suitable for offshore generation. The rated capacity of its wind turbines was only 4.8… Continue reading Renewable Energy
As the Pacific sea surface temperature anomaly weakened from its strong positive number scientists became less confident about future trends with forecasts subject to more than the normal variation month to month. On 8 December the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University’s Earth institute (IRI) reported that the anomaly was -0.5°C,… Continue reading Southern Africa Drought #3