High temperatures from Alberta’s heat wave, compounded by an already extremely dry season, have impacted farmers across the province.
With little rainfall in June, the streak of hot weather dried out many fields, killing some plants, and impacting the quality of others.
Poplar Bluff Organic Farms east of Calgary depends on irrigation for their crops.
However, according to owner Rosemary Wotske, her staff just couldn’t keep up during the extreme heat.
“Even so with irrigation this spring, we would put an inch of water on and it would go to this depth and everything below would be powder. It was that dry,” she said.
“So it’s hard to get enough water on the ground to soak in, when you get a hot, dry wind right behind it, it’s gone before you know.”
The farm grows primarily root vegetables, which don’t typically thrive in high heat.
“Potatoes stop growing at 30 C, other vegetables are a little more resilient, but we are normally set up for cool-season vegetables because that’s usually what we have here. So all those cool-season things were like: what’s going on? So yeah, we didn’t have a lot of growth,” said Wotske.
According to Wotske, that disruption in the growth can decrease the quality of vegetables on the market. She says consumers may notice that come fall.
“It has impacts on yield of course, and on quality, because of plants under stress. They’ll put out chemicals to protect themselves. Often they’re bitter compounds, so the quality’s not great,” said Wotske.
According to Sandeep Nain with the Gateway Research Organization, the high temperatures caused some crops to ripen faster, reducing the quality at the end of the season.
“I’m seeing a lot of stunting in the crops — you can see the early maturity is coming in the crops due to this heat stress,” said Nain.
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Nain says it’s not only vegetables that are impacted by the heat, crops such as canola have been stunted as well.
“So, all the crops are a little shortened in height and showing the symptoms of heat stress and showing the early flowering,” he said.
Cattle rancher Doug Wray says while his animals handle the heat OK, but their food source is put at risk when the high temperatures hit.
“For us to be in a situation where the pastures have almost stopped growing by the middle of June is pretty unique — it can happen in July and lots of times in August — but to have it that early in the season, you don’t have as much feed,” said Wray.
In order to guarantee his hundreds of cattle are eating well, Wray put some up for auction. They were purchased by a ranch in Northern Alberta that has more feed.
Wray has made many adjustments on his ranch due to the low-moisture, including sending some cattle to land near Cochrane. However, that reduces productivity on his primary ranch, cutting into his profits.
“This ranch will send fewer pounds beef off this land base, which means… our profits will be down because of that,” said Wray.
“We’re probably going to see some increase in prices for beef.”
According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, the first week of July saw more rainfall in the Calgary area than the entire month of June, so producers are feeling relieved.
Wray said the grass on his pastures already looks greener.
“Now that we’ve had an inch of rain over the weekend and several showers we’re feeling a whole lot better. The temperature is 20 C cooler and we’ve got a little bit of moisture so that really improves the mood,” said Wray.
According to Nain, it’s not too late for the season to improve.
“Sometimes if the situation improves and we get enough moisture and cool weather to sustain the growth, we might be able to compensate back for some of the loss,” said Nain. “Just to pinpoint how much damage we’ve seen from this heatwave, we can’t put a number yet.”
In July 2020, the Calgary area saw more than 80 mm of rainfall. As of July 6, 2021, there’s been 38.3 mm.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
NASA discovers double crater on the moon – CTV News
The moon has a new double crater after a rocket body collided with its surface on March 4.
New images shared by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling the moon since 2009, have revealed the location of the unusual crater.
The impact created two craters that overlap, an eastern crater measuring 59 feet (18 metres) across and a western crater spanning 52.5 feet (16 metres). Together, they create a depression that is roughly 91.8 feet (28 metres) wide in the longest dimension.
Although astronomers expected the impact after discovering that the rocket part was on track to collide with the moon, the double crater it created was a surprise.
Typically, spent rockets have the most mass at the motor end because the rest of the rocket is largely just an empty fuel tank. But the double crater suggests that this object had large masses at both ends when it hit the moon.
The exact origin of the rocket body, a piece of space junk that had been careening around for years, is unclear, so the double crater could help astronomers determine what it was.
The moon lacks a protective atmosphere, so it’s littered with craters created when objects like asteroids regularly slam into the surface.
This was the first time a piece of space junk unintentionally hit the lunar surface that experts know of. But craters have resulted from spacecraft being deliberately crashed into the moon.
For example, four large moon craters attributed to the Apollo 13, 14, 15 and 17 missions are all much larger than each of the overlapping craters created during the March 4 impact. However, the maximum width of the new double crater is similar to the Apollo craters.
Bill Gray, an independent researcher focused on orbital dynamics and the developer of astronomical software, was first to spot the trajectory of the rocket booster.
Gray had initially identified it as the SpaceX Falcon rocket stage that launched the US Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR, in 2015 but later said he’d gotten that wrong and it was likely from a 2014 Chinese lunar mission — an assessment NASA agreed with.
However, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the booster was from its Chang’e-5 moon mission, saying that the rocket in question burned up on reentry to Earth’s atmosphere.
No agencies systematically track space debris so far away from Earth, and the confusion over the origin of the rocket stage has underscored the need for official agencies to monitor deep-space junk more closely, rather than relying on the limited resources of private individuals and academics.
However, experts say that the bigger challenge is the space debris in low-Earth orbit, an area where it can collide with functioning satellites, create more junk and threaten human life on crewed spacecraft.
There are at least 26,000 pieces of space junk orbiting Earth that are the size of a softball or larger and could destroy a satellite on impact; over 500,000 objects the size of a marble — big enough to cause damage to spacecraft or satellites; and over 100 million pieces the size of a grain of salt, tiny debris that could nonetheless puncture a spacesuit, according to a NASA report issued last year.
7 Amazing Dark Sky National Parks – AARP
Can’t afford to join a commercial space mission offered by Jeff Bezos or Richard Branson? Consider the next best thing: seeing a starry, starry night in a sea of darkness, unimpeded by artificial light, at one of the International Dark Sky Parks in the U.S. It’s a rare treat, since light pollution prevents nearly 80 percent of Americans from seeing the Milky Way from their homes.
The International Dark-Sky Association (IDSA) has certified 14 of the nation’s 63 national parks as dark sky destinations. So visitors can take full advantage of such visibility, many of them offer specialized after-dark programs, from astronomy festivals and ranger-led full-moon walks to star parties and astrophotography workshops. If you prefer to stargaze on your own at a park, the National Park Service recommends bringing a pair of 7-by-50 binoculars, a red flashlight, which enhances night vision, and a star chart, which shows the arrangement of stars in the sky.
Here are seven of the IDSA-certified parks where you can appreciate how the heavens looked from the Earth before the dawn of electric light.
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Award-winning travel writer Veronica Stoddart is the former travel editor of USA Today. She has written for dozens of travel publications and websites.
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A Mystery Rocket Left A Crater On The Moon – Forbes
While we think of the moon as a static place, sometimes an event happens that reminds us that things can change quickly.
On March 4, a human-made object (a rocket stage) slammed into the moon and left behind a double crater, as seen by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission.
Officials announced June 23 that they spotted a double crater associated with the event. But what’s really interesting is there’s no consensus about what kind of rocket caused it.
China has denied claims that the rocket was part of a Long March 3 rocket that launched the country’s Chang’e-5 T1 mission in October 2014, although the orbit appeared to match. Previous speculation suggested it might be from a SpaceX rocket launching the DISCOVR mission, but newer analysis has mostly discredited that.
On a broader scale, the value of LRO observations like this is showing how the moon can change even over a small span of time. The spacecraft has been in orbit there since 2009 and has spotted numerous new craters since its arrival.
It’s also a great spacecraft scout, having hunted down the Apollo landing sites from orbit and also having tracked down a few craters from other missions that slammed into the moon since the dawn of space exploration.
It may be that humans return to the moon for a closer-up look in the coming decade, as NASA is developing an Artemis program to send people to the surface no earlier than 2025.
LRO will also be a valuable scout for that set of missions, as the spacecraft’s maps will be used to develop plans for lunar bases or to help scout safe landing sites for astronauts.
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