Friday, October 1, 2010

There aren’t any volcanoes in upstate New York. But within the next decade, a 700-acre field station at the University at Buffalo could become one of the only facilities worldwide where researchers can study volcanic properties on their own terms. There will be infrastructure there that supports a variety of experiments. Anybody in the world who wants to take advantage of that to do a specific experiment could do that. "We’ll be doing a series of controlled explosions at different depths and looking at the effects of single explosions versus multiple explosions. Some of the more complicated things we’re interested in, but will take a longer time, include pyroclastic flows. We’re starting off with an emphasis on volcanoes because there’s a major gap there experimentally. That includes processes like mud flows and avalanches because those also occur in volcanoes. In the long term, we want this facility to be useful for a broader range of geological hazards....This field area is 700 acres...dedicated to large-scale experiments on topics related to extreme events.

**Time to make the donuts.**
Fred the Dunkin' Donut baker

This morning -

Yesterday -
9/30/10 -


SOUTH KOREA - The Ministry of Strategy and Finance on Wednesday warned of damage a volcanic eruption of Mt. Baekdu on the Chinese-North Korean border could mean to South Korea's economy. "If a volcanic eruption occurs on Mt. Baekdu in the winter, northerly or northwesterly winds could carry volcanic ashes to the country."
The prevailing winds at Mt. Baekdu are westerly, leading to forecasts of negligible damage to the South from volcanic ashes, but the wind sometimes changes in winter. If volcanic ashes were to travel over to the Korean Peninsula in the winter and disrupt air traffic for 10 days, South Korea's exports would drop by US$2.5 billion, while tourism and other service sector business and agricultural output would face huge setbacks. If the volcanic ashes deflect sunlight, the ensuing cold temperatures could adversely affect crops. (photo)

PHILIPPINES - State seismologists have noted increased volcanic tremors around Taal Volcano in Batangas and Mayon Volcano in Albay province, but maintained that alert level 1 remains over both volcanoes Thursday. Phivolcs has recorded 10 volcanic quakes around Taal and four tremors around Mayon in the last 24 hours. Phivolcs noted an increase in seismic activity around Taal this month, but maintained this is not enough to raise the alert level there. "At present, no imminent eruption is indicated although the public is advised to observe some safety precautions." From September 1 to 27, a total of 274 volcanic earthquakes, or an average of 10 events per day, were recorded.
Last Monday, a quake at Taal was felt at Intensity III in Barangays Calauit, Tuoran and Pira-piraso, north and northeast of the Volcano Island and was accompanied by rumbling sounds. Another event was also felt at Intensity I at Calauit at 9:16 p.m. last Sunday. Three unfelt volcanic earthquakes were recorded at 11:08 a.m. and 5:05 p.m. Monday, and 3:21 a.m. Tuesday. But field surveys at the Main Crater and at the 1965-1977 New Eruption site indicated no anomalous observations in the thermal and surface manifestations of both areas.
Phivolcs lowered the alert level at Taal to "1" last August 2, after noting lower levels of volcanic activity there.

No current tropical cyclones.
-A large and complex area of disturbed weather associated with two tropical waves extends from the Lesser Antilles eastward into the Atlantic for several hundred miles. 40% chance of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours.

CANADA - A swath of southern Quebec is expected to be hit by heavy rain and high winds tonight as the remnants of tropical storm Nicole pushes wet weather into the region. Environment Canada warned that between 50 and 80 mm of rain are expected to land in Montreal and as far east as Rimouski by Thursday evening. The most intense downpour is expected to stretch from Montérégie to the lower St. Lawrence.
Drummondville and Quebec City are also expected to get soaked, as the low pressure cell created by tropical storm Nicole pushes a band of heavy rain northward on its slow move across Virginia. The area is already seeing the first of the downpour. Portions of northwestern New Brunswick were also expected to see heavy rain Thursday evening. Portions of eastern Ontario are expected to get wet, with as much as 80 mm of rain in store for the Cornwall area.
Gale winds were expected along the coastline and flood warnings had been issued from North Carolina to eastern New York. In South Carolina, dozens of families were forced from their homes by high water levels. Flights were also delayed or cancelled along the Eastern Seaboard. "It's this giant bead of moisture hooking up with a front draped across the east coast, which is basically just dumping rain over a very, very large area." (map)

U.S. - A MASSIVE rainstorm drenched the US east coast from the Carolinas to Maine Thursday, causing at least five deaths, flooding roads and washing away months of dry weather. The worst of the rain fell in North Carolina, where Jacksonville picked up 300mm - nearly A QUARTER OF ITS TYPICAL ANNUAL RAINFALL - in SIX HOURS. The rain was part of a system moving ahead of the remnants of Tropical Storm Nicole, which dissipated over the Straits of Florida on Wednesday. Much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast were starting to move into a drought after the dry summer, and the autumn storm provided several inches of much-needed rain.

The death toll from Tropical Storm Nicole in Jamaica has risen to five following flash floods and mudslides triggered by the storm. At least seven others are missing, swept away by floodwaters. The latest victims include two men who died when a house in Kingston collapsed in a slide triggered by heavy rain on saturated ground. Nicole broke apart over the Atlantic late on Wednesday afternoon. But intermittent rains increased the risk of additional landslides across the island. Emergency workers were trying to locate at least seven missing people, most of whom were believed to have been washed away in slides that roared through Kingston shanty towns. Schools and universities stayed closed for a second day, while about 30% of those served by Jamaica's utility company were without power. (photo)


MEXICO - The number of people killed in a series of mudslides in southern Mexico has climbed to 30, officials said overnight, as a punishing rainy season continued to sow misery in the region.

AUSTRALIA - Global warming has given Australia ITS WETTEST SEPTEMBER IN MORE THAN 100 YEARS, but "extreme dry years" lie ahead. September saw an average of 49mm of rain nationwide, the highest since 41mm in 1906 and almost three times above the long-term average of 17mm a year. There was some evidence that increased levels of greenhouse gases contributed to the increased rainfall. Prevailing westerly winds were shifting southward, bringing wetter conditions. "September is normally the driest on record. "We expect to see, with increased levels of greenhouse gases, a decline in rainfall in southwest WA and increased frequency of extreme dry years like the one we've just had." Exceptional rainfall in northern and central Australia, normally dry at this time of year, pushed the average rainfall higher. The record rainfalls arose partly from a strong seasonal La Nina (cooling) event in the region. It was the wettest September on record in the NT and Queensland, and the third wettest in South Australia and Western Australia. That was despite very dry conditions in the far southwest of Western Australia.
[see article below] South Australia has already exceeded its average annual rainfall, making 2010 its first above-normal year since 2003. Drought-stricken Victoria largely missed out on the September deluges, however, and in 2011 the State was likely to see a 14th straight year of below-average rainfall. Victoria recorded rainfall of 500mm in the first nine months of the year, representing just over 80 per cent of its normal annual amount. This was the state's wettest start to the year since 1996. But the rainfall for the year has not been extraordinary in a historic context, with the January-September total of 552mm ranking 28th highest in the 111 years of record. For southeast Australia as a whole, it has been the wettest first nine months of the year since 1996 and the 29th highest rainfall on record.


AUSTRALIA - Residents of Perth and parts of Western Australia's southwest are allowed to use sprinklers only one day a week under a new State Government restriction. The tightening of sprinkler use follows Perth's SECOND DRIEST WINTER ON RECORD and a RECORD 18-DAY DRY SPELL in September. The long dry has left city supply dams at only 35.2 per cent full compared with 53.2 per cent full at the same time last year. The new roster will apply until November 30 and replaces the previous two-day-a-week roster. Bore owners are permitted to use their bores for three days a week and hand-watering of gardens and lawns is still allowed.
"I ask that everyone be sensible with their water use through the rest of spring and on into summer to help us manage our water supplies through a quite extraordinary time." The Perth region has experienced ITS LOWEST RUN-OFF INTO DAMS SINCE 1913. The new measures will help secure water supplies during a trying demand period leading up to the commissioning of a new desalination plant in the latter half of 2011.