Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A STRANGE double earthquake was responsible for the tsunami that devastated parts of the South Pacific in 2009, scientists claim. In a RARE set of events, an initial 8.1 magnitude earthquake was immediately followed by a second 8.0 shock. The resulting tsunami devastated the South Pacific islands of Tonga and Samoa. An estimated 192 people died as four waves each more than five metres high surged inland.
The earthquake was UNUSUAL, not only because of the double shock, but also because of the location of the first event. Almost all great earthquakes - shocks of magnitude 8.0 or bigger - occur at locations where fragments of the Earth's rigid crust, known as tectonic plates, grind against one another. However, the initial Tonga earthquake occurred up to 100 km (62 miles) from the closest tectonic plate boundary. As such it is the LARGEST EARTHQUAKE OF THIS TYPE EVER reported in more than 100 years of monitoring. The earthquake was "UNLIKE ANYTHING SEISMOLOGISTS HAVE SEEN BEFORE". This "out of place" earthquake was triggered as part of the Earth's crust was dragged under another piece of crust. As it bent, it snapped near its middle sending out shockwaves.

**Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.**
Malcolm S. Forbes

This morning -

Yesterday -
8/17/10 -

No current tropical cyclones.

Deep blue oceans spawn fewer tropical storms - Plankton have a lot to answer for. By colouring ocean waters, the microscopic plants encourage hurricanes and typhoons. The finding suggests that ocean colour, seen from space, could one day be used to predict changes in the number and intensity of hurricanes and typhoons. Climate change is predicted to decrease the amount of phytoplankton in the ocean, which the study suggests would mean many fewer hurricanes and typhoons hitting American and Asian coastlines.
Clear ocean waters look deep blue, but they become a murkier shade of blue depending on how much phytoplankton – tiny floating plants that are at the base of the ocean food web – they contain. Areas of ocean that are murky with phytoplankton get warmer nearer the surface, while clearer waters warm up further down. The findings are backed up by records from the 1960s, which show that cyclone activity in the Pacific subtropical gyres during the 1960s was about 20 per cent lower than today, while chlorophyll levels were about half of present-day levels – a trend consistent with the model. The modelling also showed that the reduction was more pronounced for cyclones whose winds had top speeds greater than 33 metres per second, suggesting that ocean colour can influence the intensity of cyclones as well as their number.
Past observations and models predict that warmer oceans will produce less phytoplankton but local effects complicate matters, making it difficult for now to predict how the colour of the gyres may change in coming decades. For instance, increased industrial activity in China has deposited more iron-rich dust in the Pacific over the past 40 years, but it's not known whether this results in more nutrients (and hence more colour) at the edges of the gyre or at the centre. "The potential for change is significant, but our understanding of the underlying dynamics is so rudimentary that it's not clear that we know which direction the change would be." There's also the issue of Atlantic hurricanes, which will require more complicated analysis. The formation of these hurricanes is affected by sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific, and preliminary analysis shows that if the Pacific gyres were completely clear, Atlantic hurricane activity would fall by 12 per cent. [So without the phytoplankton, little to no hurricanes, but also little to no fish?]


CHINA - Mass rescue after landslide. Residents of Puladi, in Yunnan province, were trapped in their homes by the rushing mud as they slept. UNUSUALLY SEVERE SUMMER RAINS have triggered mudslides and floods that have killed more than 1,500 people across China in recent months. About 470 people are still missing in Zhouqu county, Gansu province, after a landslide enveloped the town recently. More than 1,200 people have been confirmed dead after the disaster hit on 8 August. More than 305 million people across China have been affected, with damage totalling $1.7bn (£1.1bn). Roads, power lines and telecoms have been cut to Puladi, a mountainous area that borders Burma. Mudslides also destroyed a bridge and swelled the Nujiang river. The river level had risen by 6m (20ft). Litoudi Village, about 10km from Puladi, was also badly hit by mudslides. Last month, workers in Puladi building a hydro-electric power station were hit by a landslide. Eleven people died. The National Meteorological Centre said the chance of more landslides was "relatively large".


Severe weather threatens world food supply - Extreme weather conditions across the globe are destroying crops, cattle and land, as nations struggle through things like droughts, floods and other natural phenomena. And while some say that these occurrences are natural, cyclic effects from variations in solar activity, others point to climate change as the culprit. Russian wheat crop failures, Kansas cattle deaths and flooding in Pakistan are among the many struggles currently being faced by nations around the world, but why are these extreme weather conditions occurring in the first place?
Weather extremes have put a heavy strain on food production, which could lead to skyrocketing food prices like the ones seen back in 2007 and 2008 when food was in short supply due to similar events. According to a climate scientist in Australia, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from vehicles and human industrial activity is leading to "more and more hot extremes and worse unprecedented extremes." He and others believe global talks must continue to address practical ways to deal with CO2 emissions, and that the time is now to push for climate legislation. Still others, though, point to the sun's normal cyclic rise and fall in activity as the instigator of alleged global warming, and say that climate legislation will only serve to further erode personal freedom and national sovereignty.