Thursday, April 22, 2010

There was no update on 4/21/10.

Tomorrow always comes, and today is never yesterday.
S.A. Sachs

This morning -

Yesterday -
4/21/10 -
4/20/10 -

CHINA - The death toll from last week's earthquake in northwestern China has climbed to 2183, with another 84 people missing.

IRAN - President Ahmadinejad has asked Iranians - 5 million of them - to evacuate the capital to avert a deadly quake catastrophe. Like the people of San Francisco, Tehranis know their sprawling metropolis is due for a massive earthquake. In Iran, where building standards have not advanced as quickly as the population, some estimate millions could be killed or maimed. In an Islamic society where disasters are often seen as acts of God, Ahmadinejad told housing officials they could no longer rely on the power of prayer to save Tehran from annihilation. "Tehran has 13 million inhabitants. If an incident happens, how can we manage it? Therefore, Tehran should be evacuated. At least 5 million people should leave Tehran." As a huge quake is reckoned to hit the area around every 150 years, seismologists say one is now well overdue.
A veteran seismologist has been arguing for years that the entire capital should be moved far away from the fault lines at the foot of the Middle East's highest mountains, and that its various functions be relocated around the country. He estimates that Tehran faces a 90 percent risk of a quake of Richter scale 6 -- enough to devastate the city -- although he cannot say exactly when. "Maybe in 50 years. Maybe tomorrow night. Or maybe while I'm speaking to you."
An architect said it would take 100 years and billion of dollars to make Tehran's buildings earthquake proof, but he does not think the alternative policy -- moving the masses out of town -- has been properly thought through. "Of course, if the population of Tehran was 3 million it would be easier to manage the risk, but it's impossible to move the population of Tehran somewhere else." One problem is where to move them, as most of the inhabited areas of Iran are also in earthquake zones. "By moving them (there) you are just moving their graves."

Women who dress provocatively are to blame for earthquakes - An Iranian cleric has claimed that promiscuous women are responsible for literally making the earth move. "Many women who do not dress modestly ...which (consequently) increases earthquakes. What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble?'' Women in the Islamic Republic are required by law to cover from head to toe, but the increase in young women flaunting the law - and not the fact that Tehran straddles scores of fault lines - is apparently risking the lives of the city's 12 million inhabitants. More than 21,000 women are promising to test the theory by showing as much cleavage as possible on Monday, April 26. "I encourage other female skeptics to join me...With the power of our scandalous bodies combined, we should surely produce an earthquake." If the world doesn't then disappear into an apocalyptic fiery chasm, the cleric will have no option but to admit he was wrong. ( "Boobquake" Facebook page )


ICELAND - The Eyjafjallajokull volcano that is wreaking havoc with European air traffic may be reverting to a more normal, lava-spewing phase after the past six days of explosive eruption, seismologists say. Geologists in Iceland on Monday reported that the volcano is producing less smoke and ash and more lava and chunks of molten rock. "It is sputtering and bubbling and will probably create a cone formation" as the lava spills over and freezes into rock. As of late Monday, the ash plume from the volcano was very elongated and thin, and stretched as far east as mid-Russia and as far west as Newfoundland and Labrador.
There are two possibilities for why the volcano's pattern of eruption has shifted. One is that the molten magma coming up through the volcano is simply less "fizzy" with water, carbon dioxide and sulfur. Data on the chemical composition of the ash coming out of the volcano show that the lava coming to the surface now is different from what the volcano was producing when it first began its non-eruptive flow on March 20.
The other possibility is that the amount of meltwater near the opening of the volcano changed as the eruption boiled it away. When there's the right ratio of water to magma, volcanoes can have what are known as phreatomagmatic eruptions, where the water flash-steams, creating a huge plume of ash and steam. "Once the interaction with the (water in the) glacier stops, you go into dry mode." But that doesn't mean it's possible to predict what the volcano will do in the future. "If something stops for five minutes, it doesn't mean it's shutting down. There's three things we never know in volcano science: when, how big and for how long."

No current tropical cyclones.


UNITED KINGDOM - COLDEST WEATHER IN 30 YEARS marks the start of a series of extreme winters. Scientists are now warning that Britain can expect to endure a series of extreme winters - the like of which have NOT BEEN SEEN FOR MORE THAN 300 YEARS. Researchers have found that low solar activity - marked by a decrease in the sun's magnetic field - influences the weather conditions across northern Europe. The last time the sun showed similar behaviour, between 1650 and 1700, temperatures dropped so low that Londoners were able to skate and hold fairs on the iced-over River Thames. The latest winter marks the start of a Maunder minimum - when solar activity falls for a prolonged time. The sun's magnetic field is thought to influence the jet stream - a fast-moving, high altitude current of air which moves eastwards at 35,000ft over the Atlantic. During the famously cold winters of the late 1600s the mild westerly winds were blocked and replaced by much colder blasts from the north-east - bringing Arctic conditions with them.
"This year's winter in the UK has been the fourteenth coldest in the last 160 years and yet the global average temperature for the same period has been the fifth highest. We have discovered that this kind of anomaly is significantly more common when solar activity is low. Temperatures should not fall as low as they did in 1684 but we can expect an increased number of cold winters."


INDIA - A severe heat wave sweeping India, with temperatures of almost 44 C (111 F), THE HIGHEST IN 52 YEARS, has killed at least 80 people this month. The scorching weather, which officials said would continue over northern, northwestern and central India in the next 48 hours, also may have some impact on wheat production. New Delhi recorded a maximum temperature of 43.7 degrees Celsius on Saturday, presaging a hot summer in the next two months in the nation’s capital and other parts of northern and eastern India. The highest temperature in the past 24 hours was 47 C at Ganganagar city, in Rajasthan state. Summer temperatures have been 4-6 degrees Celsius above normal over most parts of northern and central India since March. India is expected to produce about 82 million tonnes of wheat in 2009/10, but there could be a shortage of 1-1.5 million tonnes due to the heatwave. India is relying on a bumper wheat crop to make up for a 14.2 percent drop in rice output, the major summer-sown food grain, marred by the worst monsoon in 37 years last year.


Bangladesh sees H1N1 cases surge - After a quiet start to the year, Bangladesh is reporting rapid spread of pandemic flu this month and has placed health officials across the country on alert. April through September is typically the busiest season for flu.