Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 11 July 2017

News from the East Bay Regional Parks

From Park It column by Ned MacKay 

There are lots of great activities planned in the East Bay Regional Parks in coming days. Here
are just a few examples:

You can get an early start on the weekend at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley, with Dawn Chorus Yoga from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 8.
Bring a yoga mat if you have one, wear warm, comfortable clothes, and join in yoga and meditation with staff from the park and from the Brentwood Yoga Center.
The program repeats at the same time on Aug. 12. Both sessions are free, but registration is required. To register, call 888-327-2757 and select option 2. For July 8 refer to program 17752, and for Aug. 12 it’s program 17808.
Big Break is hosting an exhibit of works by local artists, too. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, July 8-9 and 15-16.
And there’s more: you can build a miniature solar oven to explore the mysteries of our closest star, in a program from 2 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 9.
Big Break also offers Delta Discoveries, a drop-in program from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, with hands-on arts and crafts activities.
Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Oakley’s Main Street. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.


Naturalist Kevin Dixon will bring a friendly snake to a session from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 8, at Contra Loma Regional Park in Antioch. You can meet the snake and share your snake encounter experiences. Meet Kevin in the lawn area by the swim lagoon.
Contra Loma is at the end of Frederickson Avenue off Golf Course Road. For information on Kevin’s program and directions to the park, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.


Bats are the stars of a free evening program from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 15 at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch. Led by naturalist Virginia Delgado, the group will monitor the park’s bat colony as the bats fly out of the mines in search of insect entrees.
Black Diamond Mines is at the end of Somersville Road, 3½ miles south of Highway 4. The bat program is for ages seven and older, and registration is required. To register, call 888-327-2757, select option 2, and refer to program 17506.


Ice cream is the theme of a program from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 8, at Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley. With the help of visitors, interpretive student aide Brianna Contaxis-Tucker will churn up some of the sweet treat, while explaining how ice cream is made.
And naturalist Trent Pearce will lead a microscopic scavenger hunt from 3 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 9. The group will collect various tiny things, then examine them under the microscope.
Both programs are based at Tilden’s Environmental Education Center, which is at the north end of Central Park Drive. For information, call 510-544-2233.
Young children will enjoy helping to take care of the animals at Tilden’s Little Farm, which is next door to the Environmental Education Center. From 10:30 to 11 a.m. every Saturday in July and August, meet at the rabbit hutch for a variety of age appropriate activities.


Trent also plans a bug hunt from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 9 at Briones Regional Park. The idea is to search the park’s grassland for six-legged creatures. Nets will be provided.
Meet Trent at Briones’ Bear Creek Staging Area, which is on Bear Creek Road about five miles east of the intersection with San Pablo Dam Road in Orinda. Call 510-544-2233 for information.


There’s a full moon on Sunday, July 9, and naturalist Susan Ramos will mark the occasion with an evening walk from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Bort Meadow in Anthony Chabot Regional Park near Castro Valley.
At the meadow, the group will hear some moon lore, learn the moon phases, and watch the rising full moon. Bring a blanket to sit on, and a flashlight.
Meet at the Bort Meadow parking lot on Redwood Road between Oakland and Castro Valley. Redwood Road may be closed northbound from Castro Valley. For information on the program, call 510-544-3187.


For a complete schedule of upcoming programs, check out the regional park district website at


PABA, APABA congratulate Keh’s appointment as California's 16th FilAm judge

Los Angeles, CA - The Philippine American Bar Association (PABA) and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County (APABA) congratulated the Honorable Winston Keh on his appointment as Judge for the San Bernardino County Superior Court. He was sworn in as a judge on May 26. PABA will be hosting a reception for Judge Keh, co-sponsored by APABA, on Saturday, July 8, starting at 2 p.m. at The L.A. Hotel.
Judge Keh, of Chinese and Filipino heritage, joined the PABA Board of Governors in 2007. He served as the President in 2013. Judge Keh also served as a board member of APABA from 2012 through 2013.
Prior to his appointment, Judge Keh served as Court Commissioner for the San Bernardino County Superior Court since 2015. He previously served as Judge Pro Tem for the Los Angeles County Superior Court, presiding over traffic and small claims cases. Judge Keh served as a volunteer attorney for the Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (formerly Asian Pacific American Legal Center), assisting members of the community with immigration documents and petitions for expungement. In addition, during his tenure as the President of PABA, Judge Keh led a group of Filipino-American attorneys in providing pro-bono legal assistance to members of the Filipino-American community.
“Winston has been a tremendous friend, mentor and example to us all at PABA. His appointment is well deserved and we congratulate him. He follows in the footsteps of many other fine PABA board members who have been elevated to the judiciary, and he also leads the path for others. We are greatly proud of Winston's accomplishments as they are reflective of PABA's role in the community. With Winston, there are now sixteen Filipino-American judges in California,” said Philip Nulud, PABA President.
“​APABA congratulates our friend and former board member Winston on his well-deserved appointment to the bench. Throughout his distinguished legal career, Winston has shown he has a tremendous heart for community service, giving countless pro bono hours to serving others. We are glad that the Governor made such a great choice in appointing Winston, and we know that he will be a real asset to the courts,” said Deborah Yim, APABA President.


Giant iceberg splits from Antarctic

By Jonathan Amos
BBC Science Correspondent

Image: Larsen C crackImage copyrightBAS
It's currently mid-winter in the Antarctic. The berg-producing crack was last filmed in the summer
One of the biggest icebergs ever recorded has just broken away from Antarctica.
The giant block is estimated to cover an area of roughly 6,000 sq km; that's about a quarter the size of Wales.
An US satellite observed the berg on Wednesday while passing over a region known as the Larsen C Ice Shelf.
Scientists were expecting it. They'd been following the development of a large crack in Larsen's ice for more than a decade.
The rift's propagation had accelerated since 2014, making an imminent calving ever more likely.
The more than 200m-thick tabular berg will not move very far, very fast in the short term. But it will need to be monitored. Currents and winds might eventually push it north of the Antarctic where it could become a hazard to shipping.
An infrared sensor on the American space agency's Aqua satellite spied clear water in the rift between the shelf and the berg on Wednesday. The water is warmer relative to the surrounding ice and air - both of which are sub-zero.
"The rift was barely visible in these data in recent weeks, but the signature is so clear now that it must have opened considerably along its whole length," explained Prof Adrian Luckman, whose Project Midas at Swansea University has followed the berg's evolution most closely.
The European Sentinel-1 satellite-radar system should also have acquired imagery in recent hours to confirm the break. Sentinel can sense any changes in the giant block's motion relative to the shelf.
How does it compare with past bergs?
The new Larsen berg is probably in the top 10 biggest ever recorded, but it is no match for some of the true monsters that have been witnessed in the Antarctic.
The largest observed in the satellite era was an object called B-15. It came away from the Ross Ice Shelf in 2000 and measured some 11,000 sq km. Six years later, fragments of this super-berg still persisted and passed by New Zealand.
In 1956, it was reported that a US Navy icebreaker had encountered an object of roughly 32,000 sq km. That is bigger than Belgium. Unfortunately, there were no satellites at the time to follow up and verify the observation.
It has been known also for the Larsen C Ice Shelf itself to spawn bigger bergs. An object measuring some 9,000 sq km came away in 1986. Many of Larsen's progeny can get wound up in a gyre in the Weddell sea or can be despatched north on currents into the Southern Ocean, and even into the South Atlantic.
A good number of bergs from this sector can end up being caught on the shallow continental shelf around the British overseas territory of South Georgia where they gradually wither away.

Media captionHelen Fricker: "Iceberg calving is the natural background mass-loss process"
What is the significance of the calving?
In and of itself, probably very little. The Larsen C shelf is a mass of floating ice formed by glaciers that have flowed down off the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula into the ocean. On entering the water, their buoyant fronts lift up and join together to make a single protrusion.
The calving of bergs at the forward edge of the shelf is a very natural behaviour. The shelf likes to maintain an equilibrium and the ejection of bergs is one way it balances the accumulation of mass from snowfall and the input of more ice from the feeding glaciers on land.
That said, scientists think Larsen C is now at its smallest extent since the end of the last ice age some 11,700 years ago, and about 10 other shelves further to the north along the Peninsula have either collapsed or greatly retreated in recent decades.
The two nearby, smaller shelves, Larsen A and Larsen B, disintegrated around the turn of the century; and a warming climate very probably had a role in their demise.
But Larsen C today does not look like its siblings. Prof Helen Fricker, from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, told BBC News: "The signs we saw at Larsen A and B - we're not seeing yet. The thinning we saw for Larsen A and B - we're not seeing. And we're not seeing any evidence for large volumes of surface meltwater on the order of what you would need to hydro-fracture the ice shelf.
"Most glaciologists are not particularly alarmed by what's going on at Larsen C, yet. It's business as usual."
Researchers will be looking to see how the shelf responds in the coming years; to see how well it maintains a stable configuration, and if its calving rate changes.
There was some keen interest a while back when the crack, which spread across the shelf from a pinning point known as the Gipps Ice Rise, looked as though it might sweep around behind another such anchor called the Bawden Ice Rise. Had that happened, it could have prompted a significant speed-up in the shelf's seaward movement once the berg came off.
As it is, scientists are not now expecting a big change in the speed of the ice.
One fascinating focus for future study will be a strip of "warm", malleable ice that runs east-west through the shelf, reaching the ocean edge about 100km north from the Gipps Ice Rise. This strip is referred to as the Joerg suture zone. There is a large queue of cracks held behind it.
"Calving of the iceberg is not likely itself to make the existing cracks at the Joerg Peninsula suture zone more likely to jump across this boundary," observed Chris Borstad, from the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS).
"At this stage we really don't know whether there is some larger-scale process that might be weakening this zone, like ocean melting at the base of the shelf, or whether the current rift was just a random or episodic event that was bound to happen at some point.
"We know that rifts like this periodically propagate and cause large tabular icebergs to break from ice shelves, even in the absence of any climate-driven changes.
"I am working with a number of colleagues to design field experiments on Larsen C to answer this specific question (by measuring the properties of the Joerg suture zone directly). But until we get down there and take some more measurements we can only speculate."

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