Thursday, May 27, 2010

We Have Some Large Birds Here in Minnesota.

A couple of the parks that I frequent are very close the MSP International Airport. While I am out birding at Fort Snelling State Park or the Minnesota Valley NWR planes are always flying over head on their landing approach. I often wonder on what the long term affect of these planes are on the wildlife. The first thing that I would guess might have an affect is the noise. The noise is deafening as the planes pass over, often shaking the ground itself. The noise bothers me but does it affect the wildlife? I am sure that it has some affect but in many cases it appears that the wildlife can get used to the noise so that it does not phase them. I have seen snowy owls, which have sensitive hearing, sitting next to airport runways as planes are taking off. The owls can leave if they want but they chose to stay at the airport, it reminds them of the arctic with a lot of open space and prey.

Planes also emit pollutants. The burning of jet fuel produces several greenhouse gasses. Most of the exhaust is carbon dioxide, about 70%. The remainder of the exhaust is water, nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions that are produced from the sulphur that is in most jet fuels. None of these emissions are good, however airplanes contribute only around 3% of the total environmental pollution. Since they are really a form of mass transit they may actually help to reduce pollution. Imagine the amount of pollution of a jet going from MSP to Dallas with 100 passengers compared to the pollution of those 100 people driving in 80 different cars the same distance. Still there are better forms of mass transit. In places in Europe and Asia, where they do not have crazy tea baggers, they have high speed rail. Since HSR typically uses electricity instead of burning hydro carbons it is cleaner. Maybe some day we will get to the point here in the US where doing what is right will be more important then doing things because you get money or power.

10 comments:

Regina said...

Beautiful sky! Enjoy the weekend.
Happy SWF.

Sylvia K said...

I couldn't agree with you more!! I do have a terrific idea of what I would like to do with tea baggers though! Great post for the day! Thanks for saying what people need to hear

Sylvia

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Very well said, thank you for sharing this! I also agre with Sylvia~

Tabib said...

Fort Snelling's steel bird - probably Airbus A320.
Nice picture!

J Bar said...

Good shot.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

gnometree said...

A bird of a different feather. Maybe the birds just think it's a very big and noisy bird.
It reminds me of a joke.
(Scene: Deep heart of jungle) Cannibal: How you get here?
Peace Corps worker: I come on wings of giant silver bird
Cannibal: You big dummy. Why you not fly PanAm like everyone else?

LadyFi said...

Cool shot!

Kcalpesh said...

Now, that one's the HUGEST bird you'd ever get to see...

Pixellicious Photos

Ann said...

I won't like to live near the airport. I don't even loud noise. It gives me a headache.

Great shot of the plane.

Powell River Books said...

High speed rail would get you there quick, but there is something special about seeing the world below from an airplane. I hope we find a way that both means of transportation can co-exist. - Margy