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Archive By Author - Rudi Kiefer


Earth Sense: Flooding is dangerous for Central European residents

When Germany's Elbe River flooded in May this year, Hamburg and other communities along the waterway felt reminded of the catastrophic storm flood of February 1962. I remember TV images of people clinging to rooftops that were the only portions of houses still above the water.

December 07, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Braselton hospital a model for green construction

Back in the 1950s, most hospitals were eerie places: Tiled walls, dimly lit hallways, gruff personnel. It would be tough to find such an old-style, stark facility in this country today.

December 01, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Volcanic calamities may be just a tick away

The Pacific "Ring of Fire" is living up to its name again. After some rumblings in October, Mount Sinabung on the island of Sumatra (Indonesia) erupted with ash falls and lava flows last week. Five-thousand people were forced to flee the surrounding areas.

November 24, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Killer, powerful storms are part of a worldwide pattern

In 1520, when Ferdinand Magellan's little fleet emerged from the storm-whipped straits of the tip of South America into a vast ocean to the west, it seemed so peaceful to him that he named it "Pacific Ocean."

November 16, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Right bulbs, driving habits can save energy

Colder weather is here, and we use more energy for lighting and heat. Even the car burns more gas when it has to start up at low temperatures. But it's also a time when we can realize energy savings. If you're still using the old-fashioned "Edison" incandescent bulbs, you're wasting electricity.

November 09, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Seawalls only delay inevitable destruction

Recent news articles proudly displayed measures taken in New York to prevent future damage from hurricanes and similar storms.

November 03, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Keeping an eye on the shade

In these times of terrorist attacks, the appearance of an "Urban Forest Strike Team" may raise concerns in some people's minds. But this particular task force has a purpose that's entirely in the interest of Georgia communities.

October 26, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Tornadoes don’t always follow patterns

People in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota aren't unfamiliar with tornadoes. But during the night of Oct. 4, well outside severe weather season, a dozen strong tornadoes ripped across the Great Plains.

October 20, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Severe quakes are common in Pakistan

Recently, southwestern Pakistan was rocked by a 1-2 punch of major earthquakes. The first one Sept. 24 had a magnitude of 7.7. For comparison, the Loma Prieta Quake which struck the Santa Cruz-San Francisco, Calif., area in 1989 was a 6.9. That was sufficient to collapse parts of Interstate 880, burying motorists beneath concrete. On the Bay Bridge, an entire section disengaged, causing cars to fall into the gap.

October 12, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Why we need old-growth forests

If you take a trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway this season to watch the leaves turn color, you'll be treated to nice views. But much of the wooded countryside consists of second-growth forest, following long periods of attempts to farm the land. In the Eastern U.S., reserves of old-growth forest have become small and are threatened by logging and development. Some estimates indicate that our old-growth inventory has shrunk to 10 percent of what it was in the 1600s.

October 05, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Continental air drift will bear teeth

There's no room for doubts when the weather forecast calls for "100 percent chance of precipitation." Such was the case on the last day of summer, Sept. 21. An enormous cold front stretched a line of clouds and rain showers from its southernmost point, the State of Michoacan in central Mexico, to Killiniq Island. That's the northernmost tip of Quebec and Labrador, 4,000 miles from Mexico City.

September 28, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Weather probability based on long-term patterns

One may not have heard of Lyons, Colo., before, but recent news brought this town into the spotlight. Isolated from all its surroundings by raging flood waters, this normally pretty town of 1,600 people took the brunt of heavy rains during the first weeks of September. Steep slopes on surrounding mountainsides funneled water straight through residential neighborhoods, causing death and injury, and making roadways collapse.

September 22, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Gasoline, however you create it, is a costly fuel

Turn the calendar back to October 1973. Israel was at war with Egypt, and Arab members of OPEC tried to stop the U.S. from supporting Israel by imposing an oil embargo. It caused gas shortages in the U.S. and much of Western Europe. Long lines and "no gas" signs at the pumps were the result over here.

September 15, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Hurricane season is quiet so far

"What's up with the weather?" asked a recent cover page on National Geographic. Once again, nature is not complying with the rules which we scientists are trying to nail down.

September 07, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


Earth Sense: Oakwood makes effort to save energy

A truck stands idling in front of the café, spewing diesel fumes, while its driver is having lunch inside. That scene from John Steinbeck's novel, "The Grapes of Wrath," won't be playing out with city-owned vehicles in Oakwood. This Hall County community has been making intense efforts toward resource conservation.

September 01, 2013 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


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Articles By Author - Rudi Kiefer


Earth Sense: Temperature inversions create bubbles that affect sound, smoke

Atmospheric conditions often influence the course of history.

November 15, 2014 | Rudi Kiefer | Columnists


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