Thursday, March 31, 2011

Concern over Mt. Baekdu eruption growing
- A slew of the latest environmental changes revealed by North Korean officials during a meeting with their South Korean counterparts on Tuesday has put greater weight that the dormant volcano on Mt. Baekdu could erupt. Volcanologists from North Korea cited snowfall in Gaeseong in late March as an UNUSUAL environmental change that they said was UNPRECEDENTED in the relatively southern part of the communist state. A North Korean volcanologist said that following the quake in Japan, they observed underground water shaking and splashing up to 60 centimeters, with usually clean water from wells occasionally turning muddy. He said all of the ABNORMAL events seem to be related to the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that hit northeastern Japan on March 11.
Many South Korean scientists have cautiously raised speculation that an eruption could take place in four to five years. They have claimed “STRANGE SIGNS,” including minor trembling near Mt. Baekdu in June 2002, and the frequency has increased. A Chinese institute monitoring volcanic activity at Mt. Baekdu acknowledged minor quakes which are too weak to be felt by human beings occur nearly 100 times per day. Among other indicators foreshadowing a future eruption is the height of Mt. Baekdu, which has grown nearly 10 centimeters since 2002. Scientists said bloated magma, a precondition for an eruption, is gradually increasing the height of the mountain as well as raising the temperature on the surface.
Experts say the socio-economic impact on the North in the event of an eruption would be so immense that it could pose a great threat to the isolated regime. “The North Korean regime has no capability to handle such a major natural disaster at all. the eruption will have a negative impact on the hunger-stricken country’s crop production and even lead to the collapse of the regime.” According to a simulation analysis, a large-scale eruption at Mt. Baekdu would send millions of tons of volcanic ash into the air. This huge mass, the analysis showed, would BLOCK THE SUN ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA FOR ABOUT TWO MONTHS, resulting in the average temperature dropping by two degrees Celsius. “It will devastate agriculture, meat/poultry farming and other parts of the food supply chain in North Korea, which poses the greatest risk to its dictatorship." South Korea’s weather agency has pushed to forge a partnership with its counterparts in Japan and China for more accurate weather forecasting including a natural disaster control system. Small-scale eruptions at Mt. Baekdu were recorded in 1413, 1597, 1668 and 1702 - the last activity was recorded in 1903.

Meanwhile, 13 dormant volcanoes in Japan are increasingly showing signs of eruption in the wake of the March 11 quake.

**The higher we soar,
the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.**
Friedrich Nietzsche

This morning -

Yesterday -
3/30/11 -

No current tropical cyclones.


AUSTRALIA - Evacuations after more landslips at Hideaway Bay as heavy rain continues in Queensland. Homes have been evacuated in a north Queensland coastal community after heavy rain caused more landslips overnight. Fourteen homes were evacuated in Hideaway Bay, southeast of Bowen, last night after more landslips hit the township following a big slide on Tuesday. Police declared an emergency situation and door-knocked homes.
There are no reports of injuries but because of the poor weather and dark, the level of damage to property can not be established until daylight. Police remain in the area.
There is no relief is in sight for flooded north Queensland, with TORRENTIAL RAIN EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK. The Bruce Highway remains cut and Proserpine airport and many local roads have closed as the weather bureau warns heavy falls will continue, with daily totals expected to 200mm. More than 400mm has flooded parts of the coast in the past two days, THE HEAVIEST RAIN IN MORE THAN 20 YEARS. Proserpine, north of Mackay, has been one of the wettest areas with about 450mm in 48 hours - their biggest rainfall since January 1991. Further north, Bowen has had about 400mm, their highest two-day total since February 1991.
Weatherzone meteorologists said it had rained for 23 days in the region this month, about 10 more than normal. "An unstable area of converging winds will slowly edge north and take the focus of rain closer to Townsville in the next few days and further north from the weekend. There's not a huge amount of relief ahead in the Bowen, Proserpine and Mackay area, with another 100mm still possible. Once the heavy rain eases in the next day or two, frequent showers are still likely into next week in fresh southeasterly winds." Flood warnings have been issued for coastal rivers between Townsville and Mackay, including the Don River. Proserpine had had ITS WETTEST MARCH IN AT LEAST 33 YEARS with about 900mm of rain. "Mackay has also had heavy downpours ... lifting its monthly total to over 700mm." The southeast didn't escape the rainfall, with the wet weather causing a spate of car accidents and long delays for commuters across Brisbane throughout the day. (photo)

THAILAND - Severe flooding after days of torrential rain across the south of Thailand has killed at least 15 people and stranded thousands of tourists. Trains to the region have been cancelled and several airports shut. Mainland roads are also blocked. ( 8 photos)
Odd weather puzzles Thailand academics - The extreme weather events that have assailed Thailand during what is normally midsummer - a severe cold snap in the northern half of the country and massive flooding in the South - have forced puzzled professors to throw out their forecasting textbooks. "Our department is seeking what has caused such extreme events. We're studying why a high pressure area from China could persist and reach many parts of Thailand during the summer," the deputy director general of the Meteorological Department said. A lecturer at the Disaster and Land Information Studies Unit of Chulalongkorn University urged the government to invest in and pay more attention to more accurate weather forecasts for particular areas to prevent damage and loss. The current natural phenomenon during summertime was VERY STRANGE.
"A similar situation was recorded in 1986, but that was in early March, between the cold and hot seasons. So it was understandable it could occur in the transition period. But it is now different, as it is cold and rainy in late March. The cold spell will last for two days, and the weather will then go back to hot as usual." The latest flood bulletin for the South issued by the department warned that torrential rain would continue falling over much of the area. People should beware of flooding conditions in the following one or two days. After that, there would be less rain. One said this odd weather was a side effect of La Nina, but another said La Nina was not a direct factor. La Nina appeared in July last year. It caused huge floods in the Northeast, especially in Nakhon Ratchasima, and in the South, Songkhla's Hat Yai district in particular. "According to the latest foreign models that use sea surface temperatures to forecast La Nina and El Nino, La Nina will last until May." Both said this summer would not be as hot as last summer. "Extreme events can cause disasters such as droughts, flooding and cold weather. They will affect plants and agricultural produce or even kill people. So it's time for the government to establish an independent organisation to help forecast possible disasters based on academic knowledge to reduce losses."