Thursday, May 13, 2010

Will localizes us; thought universalizes us.
Henri Frederic Amiel

This morning -

Yesterday -
5/12/10 -

HAITI - The earth still is trembling in Haiti, four months after the quake that killed a quarter million people. There is "sickening subterranean thunder as aftershocks shift the ground". "It went back and forth, back and forth. I was afraid." More than a million people are living in squalor in makeshift camps, the rainy season upon them.


ICELAND - There were more than 40 small earthquakes at the Eyjafjallajökull volcano on Monday, beginning around 11:00 a.m. Most of them were between one and two on the Richter scale and were estimated to be between 11 and 12 miles below the surface. This could be in part that because the background tremor, the rumbling of the volcano itself, is lower than last week, so smaller earthquakes that might previously not have been detected are being picked up. The series of earthquakes indicates that magma is still flowing in to the volcano from the Earth's mantle. Presently, there are no indications that the eruption is about to end.
There was a slight increase in explosive activity Monday, resulting in a briefly higher ash plume. Observations from web cameras showed activity similar to Sunday. The volcano's crater is getting higher, its lava flow is low and not visible to the cameras. In Iceland, ashfall was reported at Drangshlíð and Skarðshlíð almost continuously beginning Sunday at 3 p.m.. The ash was rather coarse, said farmers on whose land it fell.

No current tropical cyclones.


U.S. - Tennessee's RECORD FLOODING a sign of things to come. Climate change could make the devastating rain and flooding seen last week in Nashville much more common. "This was such an extreme event. It was just surreal to see. We were driving boats in the tree canopies." Rivers in the middle of Tennessee crested on May 2 and 3, breaking records. Flows on the Harpeth River exceeded 46,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) on May 3 - and that was a day after the stream peaked 4 feet higher. This breaks the previous record of 40,000 cfs, set in 1948.
The flows surprised even the experts. They were GREATER THAN ANY EVER SEEN BEFORE, including the floods of 1975, 1927 and any other event SINCE RECORDS STARTED BEING KEPT IN THE 1880s. "Several of these estimates were based on the last observations received by satellite before our stream gauges were submerged."
While the new heights and breadths of flooding will likely change FEMA flood maps for Nashville and surrounding areas, the extreme conditions may also be instructive in other ways - specifically what kind of storms to expect in a warmer world. "The Tennessee storms are just the latest in a sequence (of severe weather events) this year that includes Washington, D.C., and New York." The devastating rain and flooding that paralyzed Nashville is just the sort of extreme precipitation event that global warming is expected to make more common. The same weather conditions that produce such events could indicate a rough hurricane season ahead. For every one degree Fahrenheit that the atmosphere warms, the water-holding capacity for the atmosphere increases 4 percent. That means 4 percent more water vapor over the oceans.
The air temperatures over the tropical and subtropical Atlantic Ocean are currently REACHING ALL-TIME HIGHS.


Climate change could make half of the world uninhabitable for humans as a rise in temperature makes it too hot to survive, scientists have warned. Researchers said global warming will not stop after 2100, the point where most previous projections have ended. In fact temperatures may rise by up to 12C (21.6F) within just three centuries making many countries into deserts. The study, published in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said humans will not be able to adapt or survive in such conditions. One of the authors said if the world continues to pump out greenhouse gases at the current rate it will cause catastrophic warming. There is no chance of the Earth reaching such temperatures this century.
"There's not much we can do about climate change over the next two decades but there's still a lot we can do about the longer term changes." The UN process has failed, they argue, and a global approach concentrating on CO2 cuts will never work. They urge instead the use of carbon tax revenue to develop technologies that can supply clean energy to everyone and provide 'human dignity'. Their Hartwell Paper is criticised by others who say the UN process has curbed carbon emissions.

CHINA - CORN CROP - The corn harvest plunged by 13 percent to a four-year low last year because of drought. Production dropped to 144.4 million tons from 165.9 million. Cold and rain delayed planting this year, increasing speculation supplies may fall short of demand. Rain and stormy weather reduced planting by two weeks in Heilongjiang province, the biggest supplier. Planting around the country is affected.
China, the biggest corn consumer after the U.S., made at least its second purchase of foreign grain in two weeks, as the country seeks to cool local prices. China is boosting imports as domestic futures advance to the highest level in almost two years because of lower output and planting delays. Sales of close to 3 million tons from stockpiles since April 13 have failed to curb prices. Chicago futures gained 1.5 percent to the highest level in two months. Prices in bellwether Shandong province have surged as much 100 yuan to a RECORD 2,050 yuan ($300) a ton this month.
“This purchase may only be the beginning and it marks an historical change of China’s corn supply going into a deficit." The last time the country was a net importer was 14 years ago when drought cut crops. The country’s imports may climb to 1.5 million tons this year. Purchases may increase in the next three to five years, resembling the gain in soybean shipments in recent years.

INDIA - CORN, RICE, SUGAR CANE, OILSEEDS - India’s food grain output may drop in the year ending next month after the WEAKEST MONSOON IN MORE THAN THREE DECADES reduced rice yields. Food grain production may total 218.2 million metric tons, 7 percent less than the 234.5 million tons a year earlier. India is the biggest producer of rice and wheat after China. The lightest rains since 1972 pushed up food prices in the South Asian nation, prompting imports of sugar, edible oils and pulses. Data to be released on May 14 will show wholesale prices climbed 9.5 percent in the 12 months through April.
Rice production may fall to 89.3 million tons from 99.2 million tons a year earlier. Corn output may decline 17 percent to 16.3 million tons from 19.7 million tons. Wheat production may gain to 80.98 million tons from 80.68 million tons. India’s oilseeds output may drop to 25.4 million tons from 27.7 million tons a year earlier. Sugar cane harvest may drop 3.6 percent to 274.7 million tons. Prices may ease with the help of a good monsoon this year. Rains this year may be 98 percent of the 50-year average.


A German UFO expert claims that a NASA spacecraft may have been hijacked by aliens - who are now attempting to contact Earth. Hartwig Hausdorf claims that Voyager 2 - an unmanned interplanetary probe blasted into space 33 years ago - has started transmitting strange, unintelligible signals. NASA installed a 12-inch disk containing music and greetings in 55 languages in case intelligent extraterrestrial life ever found it. But last month the probe began sending back distorted messages from its location near the edge of the solar system that baffled NASA scientists were unable to decode. "It seems almost as if someone had reprogrammed or hijacked the probe, thus perhaps we do not yet know the whole truth." The signal from Voyager 2 - which takes 13 hours to reach the Earth - broke off fully on April 22. NASA said engineers are working to solve a data transmission fault. The space agency has not commented specifically on Mr Hausdorf's comments, although it says the fault is likely to be a glitch in the probe's computer memory.
Voyager 2 and its twin, Voyager 1, were launched in 1977 to explore Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Three decades on, they are the most distant human-made objects in outer space. Voyager 1 is currently more than 8.5 billion miles from Earth. It will soon travel beyond the heliosphere - a bubble the sun creates around the solar system - into interstellar space.