Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A natural disaster prediction come true? A Manglorean academic's prediction of natural disaster following whale deaths at New Zealand on August 20, has apparently come true. Over the years, Dr Arunachalam Kumar had espoused the theory that unexplained whale deaths are linked to natural disasters. After whale deaths of the New Zealand coast, he had received an e-mail query regarding the possible outcome of this event. He had said the incident was prelude to the eruption of a volcano in Indonesia within seven days and an earthquake would follow within two weeks. On August 29, Mt Sinabung, a long dormant volcano in Sumatra erupted suddenly. On September 4, Christchurch, New Zealand, was rocked by one of the most powerful earthquakes in its history. The doctor in December 2004 is said to have predicted the coming of the titanic Asian tsunami a full three weeks before it struck.

**We should help people, not destroy them. Abraham Lincoln said
we have to feed America and then Africa and the Middle East.
What do we do instead? We sell weapons to them.**
Tony Bennett

This morning -

Yesterday -
9/6/10 -

NEW ZEALAND - The fault that ruptured the surface of Canterbury paddocks and produced the magnitude 7.1 earthquake has been quiet for at least 16,000 years. The quake produced a 22km scarp 30km west of Christchurch, scything through rural roads, breaking riverbeds and snapping two houses in half. Underground, it split alluvial terraces deposited about 16,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. Before Saturday, nothing in the landscape suggested there was an active fault beneath the Darfield and Rolleston areas. "Geologists have no information on when the fault last ruptured as it was unknown until last weekend." The fault had accumulated extreme pressure over that period and collapsed "catastrophically" when the stress reached a certain threshold. The earth is still shaking out the last of that stress - nearly 100 aftershocks have been recorded so far, the largest of them at magnitude 5.5. The aftershocks will continue for weeks, diminishing in size and frequency.
It is highly likely there are other "hidden" faults around New Zealand which might be capable of producing large earthquakes in the future. The tremor did not awaken the more active Alpine Fault which runs along the spine of the South Island. Preliminary tests showed there had been very little effect on the stress regime of the 400km faultline.
The tremor moved the earth up to nearly 5m. "It was thrust up about a metre in some places. And it has lurched horizontally 4.6 metres to the right." The jarring jolt which woke Cantabrians early on Saturday was THE STRONGEST GROUND-SHAKING EVER RECORDED IN AN EARTHQUAKE IN NEW ZEALAND. Seismologists measured the shaking at 1.25 times the strength of gravity at Greendale, the closest township to the There is reason to believe the Canterbury quake could be part of a series of large tremors. "In 1929 there occurred, in west Canterbury, a magnitude 7 earthquake which turned out to be the first of a series of seven major, magnitude greater than 7, earthquakes over the next 13 years. The series included the second and third largest earthquakes in European times. "It is improbable that this occurrence of such large earthquakes in rapid succession was coincidental. There is no reason to think that such a series could not happen again."
At least 100,000 homes
and more than 500 commercial buildings were damaged in THE MOST DEVASTATING EARTHQUAKE TO HIT A NEW ZEALAND CITY IN NEARLY 90 YEARS.

OKLAHOMA - For the second time in less than a week, six small earthquakes have been recorded in a single day in central Oklahoma. The six earthquakes on Saturday ranged from preliminary magnitudes of 1.5 to 3.3. On Wednesday in the same area about 30 miles from Oklahoma City, geologists also recorded six earthquakes that ranged from a preliminary 1.8 magnitude to 3.1. Another quake with a preliminary magnitude of 2.7 was recorded Friday about 10 miles east of the Saturday temblors. No injuries or damage was reported from any of the earthquakes.


RUSSIA - The Klyuchevskoy volcano on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula has started emitting lava at an altitude of 500 meters, seismologists said on Monday, adding that ash emissions are expected for later this week. There were no immediate reports of damage, with local emergency officials already on heightened alert because of the eruption.

Tropical storm HERMINE was 24 nmi S of Brownsville, Texas.
Tropical storm MALOU was 169 nmi NNW of Kagoshima, Japan.

Flash floods possible in Mexico, Texas as Hermine moves inland. Tropical Storm Hermine is expected to cross into Texas today after striking the Mexican coast about 40 miles south of the U.S. border Monday night. The storm is expected to dump four to eight inches of rain over northeastern Mexico and sections of southern and north-central Texas. Isolated amounts of up to 12 inches are possible. The heavy rains could cause life-threatening flash floods, forecasters warned. Texas authorities already have blamed a Houston woman's drowning Sunday night on the storm.
The woman stepped off a sandbar into a trough and disappeared into a current. Hermine brought rough waters to Texas beaches throughout the Labor Day weekend.
At 11 p.m. ET Monday, Hermine was located about 30 miles south of Brownsville, Texas, and was packing maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 km/h). The storm was moving north-northwest at 14 mph (22 km/h). "A gradual turn toward the north and northeast is expected over the next couple of days." Hermine will move into southern Texas today and into central Texas early Wednesday. (video)

Remnants of Tropical Storm Gaston have 50% chance to re-form - Meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center had thought that former Tropical Storm Gaston would be back from the dead by now. The regeneration still hadn't happened by Monday night, but Gaston's poorly defined surface circulation had a 50 percent chance of forming into a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours.
On Monday night, the remnants of Gaston, which formed into a tropical storm on Wednesday and then fizzled on Thursday were about 250 miles northeast of the Lesser Antilles, moving west about 12 mph. The system is expected to move into more humid conditions and into an area where upper-level winds are favorable for development. It is expected to continue in a westward direction while producing heavy showers and wind gusts.

Tropical Storm Malou is forecast to miss South Korea on path toward Japan.


Latest Pakistan floods prompt fresh exodus from towns - At least 350,000 people are on the move in Sindh, fleeing the new flood surge Several hundred thousand more people have been forced to flee towns and villages in Pakistan's southern Sindh province amid fresh flooding. Water is gushing towards Dadu district after a breach in the Toori dam in the north of the already flood-hit region. In the past weeks all but four of Sindh's 23 districts have been deluged.
Weeks after monsoon rains triggered devastating floods across Pakistan, aid agencies say more than eight million displaced people need food and water. The Toori dam was washed away in August, causing the waters of the River Indus to split in two. One side is continuing to flow to the Arabian sea, while the other is going parallel to the Indus' natural course, wreaking a path of destruction. This rogue flow of water has now reached Dadu district, and is pouring into Manchar, the country's largest freshwater lake. It has swollen to the extent that it is now threatening to inundate those parts of the province which have so far escaped the disaster. If Lake Manchar overflows, the waters could cut off access to the Indus highway, the area's main connection to the rest of the country. Army engineers are trying to prevent this happening by plugging the breach at the Toori dam. Their job has been severely hampered by fresh rains in northern Pakistan, which have given a new lease of life to the flooding.
In Dadu, the authorities are battling to save two cities threatened by this latest flood surge - Dadu city and Johi - reinforcing protective embankments and dykes. "We are taking all-out measures to save them from ravaging floodwaters." The floods have ruined 3.6 million hectares (8.9 million acres) of farmland About 80% of Johi's population of 60,000 has already fled, and at least 350,000 people in the local area are on the move, heading to safer ground. More than 1,600 people have died and about 17 million of Pakistan's 166 million people have been affected by the disaster. Agricultural losses in the Sindh province will reach $1bn, with the losses in cotton production alone put at over $370m - a situation made all the more serious by the fact that cotton is the country's most important cash crop. Sindh is also known for growing rice, sugar cane, vegetables, citrus fruit and pulses, and officials say that up to a third of the harvest is now likely to have been lost or spoilt. Across the country, the floods have ruined 3.6 million hectares (8.9 million acres) of farmland, and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation said farmers urgently needed seeds to plant for next year's crops. The UN estimates that across the country, 1.2 million livestock, among them cattle used for ploughing, have drowned in the floods. Bore wells have been damaged, top soil washed away and farm equipment lost. And there are now growing concerns that fields will be too waterlogged for farmers to be able to sow the winter wheat in time.

Rain halts search for Guatemala mudslide victims - New rains made it too dangerous to conitnue the search for at least 15 missing people. A massive mudslide engulfed scores of people on Sunday in Nahuala while they had been trying to search for others caught in an earlier landslide. The mud crashed onto the Inter-American Highway north-west of Guatemala City as the crowd tried to dig out five vehicles and a bus. At least 24 people have been pulled out dead so far following the double slide.
"We have given up for dead all those trapped in the mud."
Scores more landslides and floods have struck other areas of the country. At least 45 have died in slides across the country following torrential rains. More than 11,000 people have had to be evacuated from their homes and thousands more remain at risk from further flooding and landslides. The devastation was comparable to Tropical Storm Agatha, which killed 165 Guatemalans in May. Weeks of heavy rain have saturated Guatemala's mountainous terrain, causing hillsides to collapse suddenly. Parts of the country have seen THE HEAVIEST RAINFALL FOR HALF A CENTURY. More rains are predicted in the days ahead.


A wind-driven wildfire in the rugged Colorado foothills spread across 5 1/2 square miles Monday, destroying an unknown number of homes and triggering the evacuation of 1,000 others. No injuries have been reported. Authorities didn't immediately know how many structures burned in the 3,500-acre blaze. But at least some were houses, including four that belonged to firefighters battling the blaze. The fire started Monday morning in Four Mile Canyon northwest of Boulder, and erratic winds gusting to 45 mph spread the flames quickly, sometimes in two directions at once. At least a half-dozen roads in the area were closed, and a billowing, white plume of heavy smoke was visible for miles before sunset. County health officials advised residents to stay indoors if the smoky air became irritating. The fire's cause was unknown. Officials said it was too early to say how much, if any, of the fire was contained.

Climate change is not responsible for civil wars in Africa, a study suggests. It challenges previous assumptions that environmental disasters, such as drought and prolonged heat waves, had played a part in triggering unrest. Instead, it says, traditional factors - such as economic disparity, ethnic tensions, and historic political and economic instability - were often the main factors behind the outbreak of conflicts. "These factors seemed to matter, not so when it came to climate variability."
A 2009 paper suggested that climate had been a major driver of armed conflict in Africa, and that future warming was likely to increase the number of deaths from war. US researchers found that across the continent, conflict was about 50% more likely in unusually warm years. The new study says it was too early to make such assertions. "Even if you found that conflict, defined in a particular way, appeared to be associated with climate, if you applied a number of complementary measures - which you should do in order to determine the robustness of the apparent connection - then you would find, in almost all cases, the two were actually unrelated."
The end of the Cold War also seemed to have had a impact on civil unrest in African nations. "You did see a shift in the focus of quite a few conflicts during the 1990s, when the ending of the supply of arms saw some groups lay down their arms, while others sought alternative forms of funding, such as diamonds." However, the uncertainty about the link between conflict and climate does not mean that global climate mitigation and adaptation measures did not matter. "Targeted climate adaptation initiatives, such as those outlined in various UN (strategies), can have significant positive implications for social well-being and human security. But these initiatives should not be considered a replacement for traditional peace-building strategies. The challenges imposed by future global warming are too daunting to let the debate... be sidetracked by atypical, non-robust scientific findings and actors with vested interests."