Tuesday, August 24, 2010

**Some things you miss and some things you lose by keeping your arm outstretched.**
Author Unknown

This morning -

Yesterday -
8/23/10 -


COLUMBIA - Authorities and inhabitants in the south of Colombia fear an eruption of the Galeras volcano after four tremors shook the area on Sunday and Monday. The tremors are related to the activity of the volcano and an eruption is likely within days or weeks. The quakes took place in the area surrounding the active volcano just outside the city of Pasto. The Galeras volcano erputed last in January, after which 8,000 people were forced to evacuate.

JAPAN - By mid-August, Sakurajima Volcano-one of Japan's most active-had erupted ash at least once every week during 2010. On August 19, an ash plume was sighted at 9,000 feet (2,700 meters). The gray plume moved west from the volcano's summit. Simultaneously, a pyroclastic flow descended the eastern slopes.
Although Sakurajima's activity since 1955 has been characterized by frequent small eruptions, the volcano still poses a danger to the densely-populated surroundings. Roughly 7,000 years ago Sakurajima erupted with a volcanic explosivity index (VEI) of 6, equivalent to the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo. (satellite photo)

AFRICA - Battle to de-gas deadly lakes continues. Funding shortage is biggest hurdle for those striving to disarm three RARE but lethal geological hazards. After nearly a decade, a scheme to suck a deadly build-up of carbon dioxide out of Lake Nyos is nearing its final stages say project scientists. But two other African lakes may still harbour serious dangers - now or in the future.
Located in a volcanic crater in a remote area of Cameroon, Lake Nyos captured the world's attention in 1986, when an explosive release of CO2 from the lake's depths asphyxiated 1,700 people in the surrounding villages. Gas had been seeping into the lake over decades or possibly centuries from the magma deep below. The mass suffocation drew attention to a rare but lethal natural hazard and prompted scientists to consider ways of reducing the risk of it reoccurring.
In 2001, a team inserted a long pipe into the middle of Lake Nyos and started to siphon up the gassy water from the lake depths. The siphoned water releases its CO2 as it spews champagne-like from the top of the pipe, then falls harmlessly back onto the lake. In this way, the size of the gas-charged layer below and the risk it poses steadily decrease. Despite setbacks, the basic strategy is working. But one pipe makes for a slow extraction, leaving villagers at risk. The plan called for more pipes to be installed, but funds were not forthcoming. New pipes should make the region around Lake Nyos safe from a limnic eruption within 5 years.
Other lakes still pose a threat. "We haven't solved all the problems. We need to remind government officials that scientists are still worried." At nearby Lake Monoun, where a similar limnic eruption killed 37 people in 1984, three pipes have succeeded in degassing the deep waters. But new problems may lie ahead. Now that years of siphoning have effectively eliminated the separation of the lake's waters into layers, new gas entering from the lake bed could mix into a larger volume of water than before.
The problems are different at Lake Kivu, which borders Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lake Kivu's deep waters hold CO2 and methane. Several commercial projects are under way to extract the methane and turn it into energy. Both are small demonstration projects compared with what may come: several hundred-megawatt-scale plants are being planned.
A far greater threat lurks in the Gulf of Kabuno, which is connected to Lake Kivu by a narrow strait and holds a dangerous amount of gas just 12 metres below its surface. "It contains ten times more carbon dioxide than Nyos and is located in a very populated area."

VANUATU in the South Pacific - the Mount Yasur volcano cracks like thunder, spewing molten rock and billowing clouds of ash. Amid the roars from the abyss, the hiss of steam, and the thud of large pieces of magma hitting the ashen dust on the other side of the vent, more visitors arrive to view the eruptions in the pre-dawn dark.
The track to the crater's edge is strewn with rocks tossed skyward by the volcanic eruptions - ranging from the size of house bricks to one as large as a car door which almost blocks the ashen path.
In May, visiting the crater was banned and the huge plume of volcanic ash which fell over Tanna Island, clouding windscreens as people drove, disrupted international flights. One of the most accessible volcanos on Earth, the 361-metre Mount Yasur is also nearly always active - its super-hot crater a warm glow seen from around the island.
Officials say no one has ever fallen into the molten pit but acknowledge that at least two people have been killed by flying lava after venturing towards the more dangerous sites on the ashen mountain. The volcano has also been known to cause a tsunami and locals live with the constant nuisance of falling ash destroying the crops they need for their survival on the island, where most still live in traditional villages. Many of the poor roads which link the island communities are cut into the volcanic ash, meaning heavy downpours can make travel impossible, while the ash mud also has the potential for landslides which could bury villages. But the volcano, reached via a barren moonscape covered in ash and dotted with rocks of lava, also ensures that Tanna has some of the most fertile soil in the country and the island produces coffee, coconut and copra.

Hurricane DANIELLE was 965 nmi E of Bridgetown, Barbados.
Tropical storm FRANK was 98 nmi S of Acapulco, Mexico .
Tropical storm MINDULLE was 130 nmi NNW of Da Nang, Vietnam.

Tropical storm Frank weakened off the Mexican Pacific Coast on Monday but was expected to regain strength by midweek. Frank was expected to move along the Pacific coast of Mexico this week before heading out to sea by the weekend. The coast is lined with resorts popular with foreign tourists.Frank was moving west-northwest at 9 mph with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph. A tropical storm warning was in effect for the Mexican Pacific Coast between Zijuatanejo and Lagunas de Chacahua. Mexico's oil industry, which has the bulk of its operations in the Gulf of Mexico, was unaffected by the storm.

Hurricane Danielle strengthened early today as it churned through the middle of the Atlantic, far from land. The storm is expected to become a major hurricane by late today, but is forecast to stay east of Bermuda. When it becomes a major hurricane, Danielle would be a Category 3 storm, with top sustained winds of at least 111 mph and it would be capable of causing devastating damage. Danielle, the second hurricane of the Atlantic season, is currently a Category 1 storm. Danielle was moving toward the west-northwest near 20 mph (32 km/hr), with maximum sustained winds near 85 mph. The storm is forecast to take a turn more to the northwest during the day.
Will Hurricane Danielle Bear Down on New York City? - New York City, which could be in the cross hairs off Danielle, is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes. It is far too early to predict Hurricane Danielle's path. As of Monday evening, it could stay safely out to sea, particularly if it meets with a cold front currently traveling eastward across the United States, or it could head directly to the eastern seaboard of the United States, landing somewhere in the Mid-Atlantic states. While New York City has only been brushed by hurricanes for many decades, eventually one will hit directly. The United States Landfalling Hurricane Probability Project says there is a 90% probability of a major (Category 3 or higher) hurricane hitting the New York City area within the next fifty years.
New York City is vulnerable to major damage from a hurricane on a number of fronts and based on several factors. One is the value of the property in and around the New York metropolitan area. According to a 2007 study, the area has over $3.8 trillion worth of property that would be vulnerable during a direct hit to the city. The other dynamic at play in New York is the infrequency of major hurricanes making a direct hit. The last major hurricane to hit New York City directly occurred in 1938; few today remember it and as a result have no experience to draw upon. This leads to a certain complacency and lack of awareness of the dangers and threat. Another important factor in considering the potential damage done to New York City is the area's reliance on bridges and tunnels. Damage to the infrastructure could make escape and rescue efforts incredibly difficult and dangerous. Manhattan, after all, is surrounded by rivers and New York Bay.

Tropical Storm Mindulle gained strength off the eastern coast of Vietnam as the government issued a warning for floods and landslides and ordered the evacuation of people living near river mouths. Mindulle was 173 kilometers (107 miles) southeast of Vinh, Vietnam, at about 7 a.m. Hanoi time. Maximum sustained winds were 111 kilometers per hour and the storm was moving northwest in the South China Sea at 22 kilometers per hour.
Mindulle is expected to make landfall south of Hanoi near Vinh at about 7 p.m. today. The storm is dumping heavy rain on Vietnam’s coast around Hue. “The storm’s development is very complicated and keeps getting stronger.”
Mindulle will bring heavy rain to coastal provinces from Thai Binh to Ha Tinh today, which may cause floods and landslides. Vessels working offshore were ordered to seek shelter. The storm may bring heavy rain to southern parts of China near the border with Vietnam. Thousands of people have died in floods and mudslides this year in China as downpours inundated the country. Winds generated by the storm are forecast to maintain strength as it approaches land. Mindulle, the Korean word for dandelion, will be upgraded to a typhoon if winds exceed 117 kilometers per hour.
Coffee prices SET AN ABSOLUTE RECORD - Coffee futures have reached a 12-year high. The futures of Arabica coffee have reached the uptick of 12 years in New York. Robusta coffee also hit it's highest level in two years in London due to the tropical storm closing on the coffee-producing countries. It is worth noting that the tropical storm, which formed in the South China Sea, is heading towards Vietnam, the second-largest coffee producer, while Frank, another tropical storm, is approaching the southern coast of Mexico, the fifth-largest coffee producing country.


NIGER has been hit by a double disaster as recent floods compound an existing food crisis. Nearly eight million people, or HALF THE POPULATION, are already facing hunger because of failed harvests. Now more than 100,000 people have been left homeless after heavy rains washed away their homes earlier this month. Floods have destroyed crops, and thousands of animals have drowned. Flooding is also hindering the delivery of aid in remote areas. Floods will increase the risk of diseases, especially among young children suffering from acute malnutrition. The World Food Programme recently acknowledged that it was forced to limit its food distribution to only 40% of those in need because of a funding shortfall. Floods have hit many areas of West and Central Africa. The situation is stretching resources to the limit.


The US food safety agency has predicted more egg recalls as it investigates the source of salmonella-tainted eggs that have sickened as many as 2,000 people. The agency did not yet know how salmonella had entered the egg supply. Since May, the US has seen a fourfold increase in salmonella infections. In the last 10 days roughly 500 million eggs traced to two Iowa companies have been recalled across the country.
"As we move forward with the recall, we may see some additional sub-recalls over the next couple of days, maybe even weeks as we better understand the sort of network of distribution of these eggs that are potentially contaminated. We are in the midst of probably the largest egg recall that has happened in recent history."
Eggs from farms in Iowa were sold under different brand names across the country, making it difficult for regulators to trace tainted eggs through the food distribution network.
On 13 August Iowa-based Wright County Egg recalled 380 million eggs distributed under more than a dozen brand names. And on Friday, a second Iowa egg farm, Hillandale Farms, voluntarily recalled 170 million eggs after they were linked to more than 300 salmonella cases across the country. Americans are urged to avoid eating undercooked eggs.