Monday, March 15, 2010

I am a part of all that I have met.
Alfred Lord Tennyson

This morning -

Yesterday -
3/14/10 -

JAPAN experienced a 6.6 earthquake on March 14. The event unfolded just weeks after Chile’s mega quake, and shows that the tectonic plate movement has continued. Japan had a 7.0 earthquake off her coast on February 26 – just one day before the Chile quake. That quake unfolded without adverse effect because it happened underwater and did not cause a tsunami. There were no casualties and no damage done. Sunday’s 6.6 quake rattled buildings in Tokyo, but the reports of damage and casualties have yet to be released. The Associated Press reports only light structural damage near the epicenter. Japan has state-of-the-art earthquake alert system that warned the country just before the quake hit. Japan wasn’t the only country to be affected by a large earthquake Sunday. Indonesia also was the recipient of an earthquake registering at 6.5 on the Richter Scale.

Cyclone TOMAS was 1386 nmi NNE of Auckland, New Zealand.
Cyclone ULUI was 882 nmi ENE of Townsville, Australia.

Tropical cyclone Thomas heading for Fiji MAY BE THE WORST CYCLONE TO EVER STRIKE THE SOUTH PACIFIC NATION. Cyclone Tomas intensified overnight and was now a category four storm. The nation was undertaking last minute preparations for a "disastrous" thrashing. The northern island of Vanua Levu was most at risk, with winds likely to peak at over 200km/h in the next 24 hours. "There's going to be a whole lot of flooding. (It's a) very destructive hurricane force area so they'll be getting quite a battering over the next 12 hours." Tomas claimed its first victim yesterday, when a 31-year-old Fijian woman was killed trying to save her family from being washed away in huge waves that crashed into the coast of Vanua Levu. "All the Fijians are kind of freaking out themselves, you can tell, cause there's no animals around. It's UNUSUALLY STILL. It's really weird. It's just overcast and kind of dark, but yesterday afternoon the sky was a really strange colour, it was like dark orange and black."

Severe tropical cyclone Ului is continuing its westwards path towards the north Queensland coast. It built up rapidly from a category three on Saturday to a category five yesterday morning, but is now approaching the coast as a category four storm, and is moving west at about 10km per hour. Ului was expected to move slowly west during the next 36 hours before adopting a more southerly track. Winds near the centre of the cyclone are almost 200km/h.


INDONESIA - Whirlwinds in many regions, hundreds of homes ruined - More than 500 homes were destroyed and hundreds of trees fell down in several regions of the country after being stricken by whirlwinds recently, and at least one person died. The whirlwinds were part of the natural disasters which happened in several regions such as in West Java`s districts of Tasikmalaya, Garut, Karawang and Sukabumi, East Java`s districts of Pacitan, Nganjuk and the city of Surabaya. It also happened in Pamekasan, Sumenep (Madura Island), East Java, Boyolali, Central Java and Kerinci, Sumatra. In Tasikmalaya alone, about 100 trees fell down last Tuesday (March 9).
In West Java province, a teenager died after being crushed by jackfruit tree which was uprooted by a whirlwind on Sunday (Feb.28). Whirlwinds had several times hit the region. Over the past two weeks, Kerinci district was twice ravaged by whirlwinds which caused many residents` homes to collapse. Aside from that, whirlwinds on Monday also hit Trosobo neighborhood in Sidoarjo district, toppling dozens of trees as well as electricity and telephone poles. The whirlwinds that followed torrential rains shook the area at 02.00 pm local time. Tens of houses in Puspa Sari housing complex in Klurak village, Candi sub-district, Sidoarjo district were also seriously damaged by the five-minute-long whirlwind. Over the weekend, 31 houses in three villages of Pakong sub-district on Madura island, East Java, were damaged. The whirlwinds also destroyed some restaurants and toppled a number of trees. In Garut district, West Java province, a whirlwind in January hit Kadunogra sub-district, causing a total of 514 houses damaged. Five residents suffered serious injuries.
Over the past two months, various parts of Indonesia have been hit by earthquakes, floods, landslides and whirlwinds. The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency had predicted extremely bad weather in parts of Indonesia in the March 12-15 period.


RUSSIA - Four people have died after a group of Russian fishermen on the Pacific island of Sakhalin were carried out to sea when their ice broke off from the coastline. The fatalities occurred when a rescue boat sent to bring the anglers back from the ice overturned in bad weather, leaving two of the rescue workers and two of the fishermen dead. A total of 15 anglers became stranded when the ice they were fishing on separated from the mainland. They allegedly set out to fish despite warnings from the emergency services. The remaining fishermen were all rescued. Ice fishing is wildly popular throughout Russia in the winter months, with legions of enthusiastic anglers taking to frozen rivers, lakes and seas to fish through holes in the ice.

CANADA - A large-scale search and rescue operation was underway in British Columbia in Canada's west on Saturday after an avalanche killed at least three people and injured 17. About 200 people were watching and participating in an annual snowmobiling event on Boulder Mountain, near Revelstoke in B.C.'s south-east, when the avalanche struck. An undetermined number of people are missing. The area had seen 10 avalanches since Friday, and it even issued an extreme avalanche warning, urging people to stay away from any known avalanche area.

FRANCE, GREECE - Heavy snow in southern France last Monday stranded hundreds of cars and made road travel impossible for trucks and buses. In some parts of the Rhone valley, up to 40 centimetres of snow fell. Meteorologists say this is EXTREMELY RARE for March.
Further east, the Greek capital Athens was hit by a dust storm. A layer of red sand carried all the way across the Mediterranean Sea from the Sahara and lay over the city. Ferry services from the city were halted and the three-kilometre-long bridge connecting western Greece with the Peloponnesian peninsula was closed due to high winds.


A new NASA-funded study has concluded that the Amazon rain forests were remarkably unaffected in the face of once-in-a-century drought in 2005, neither dying nor thriving, contrary to a previously published report and claims by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "We found no big differences in the greenness level of these forests between drought and non-drought years, which suggests that these forests may be more tolerant of droughts than we previously thought." A study published in 2007 claimed that these forests actually thrive from drought because of more sunshine under cloud-less skies typical of drought conditions. The new study found that those results were flawed and not reproducible. The IPCC is under scrutiny for various data inaccuracies, including its claim - based on a flawed World Wildlife Fund study - that up to 40 percent of the Amazonian forests could react drastically and be replaced by savannas from even a slight reduction in rainfall. "Our results certainly do not indicate such extreme sensitivity to reductions in rainfall."


Is Earth under attack from an invisible star? - In what sounds like a chilling script of a Hollywood science fiction, scientists have claimed that an invisible star, five times the size of Jupiter, might be lurking near our solar system, occasionally kicking deadly comets towards the Earth. According to NASA scientists, the brown dwarf star is up to five times the size of Jupiter and could be responsible for mass extinctions that occur on Earth every 26 million years. They believe the star nicknamed Nemesis or "The Death Star" could be hidden beyond the edge of our solar system and only emits infrared light. It is believed to orbit our solar system at 25,000 times the distance of the earth to the sun. According to them, as the star spins through the galaxy, its gravitational pull drags icy bodies out of the Oort Cloud -- a vast sphere of rock and dust twice as far away as Nemesis. "These 'snowballs' are thrown towards Earth as comets, causing devastation similar to the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago."
Now, NASA scientists believe they will be able to find Nemesis using a new heat-seeking telescope that began scanning the skies in January. The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer - expected to find a thousand brown dwarf stars within 25 light years of the Sun - has already sent back a photo of a comet possibly dislodged from the Oort Cloud. Scientists’ first clue to the existence of Nemesis was the bizarre orbit of a dwarf planet called Sedna. Scientists believe its unusual, 12,000-year-long oval orbit could be explained by a massive celestial body. “Sedna is a very odd object - it shouldn't be there. The only way to get on an eccentric orbit is to have some giant body kick you - so what is out there?”

Are our asteroid-destroying nukes big enough? A new study shows that blasted asteroids could re-form. If we try to blow up an incoming asteroid and the asteroid isn't moving fast enough, or if the nuke isn't big enough, the asteroid will pull itself back together within a matter of hours. According to the new simulations, the gravitational attraction between the various asteroid parts is strong enough to reconstitute a 3,281-foot-in-diameter asteroid in between 2 to 18 hours. To blow up the asteroid thoroughly enough to prevent its recombination, you would need a nuclear weapon with a yield of 900 kilotons - which is well within the range of current hydrogen bombs. However, the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs was ten times larger than that, meaning it could reform much faster after being nuked. So rather than blowing up the asteroid directly, many scientists advocate blowing the nuke up next to the asteroid. That explosion could shove the rock out of the way of Earth, without creating dangerous smaller meteorites or allowing it to come back together.